Week 7 Free Agent Focus

Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, RBs, Cowboys

Blind-bid recommendation: 40-50%

Both these guys need to be rostered while we (again) wait for Ezekiel Elliott’s situation to clear up. It’s unclear at this point exactly what Dallas’ Elliott-less backfield would look like, though.

McFadden ran with the 1st-team offense this preseason but has been a healthy scratch for each of the Cowboys’ first 5 games. That could mean he’s fallen behind Morris on the depth chart — or that he simply wasn’t needed behind Elliott with no special teams value.

Morris has carried 8 times for 87 yards this season, although the vast majority of that came on a 70-yarder back in Week 4.

One thing we do know is that McFadden is the superior pass-catcher, with 254 career receptions, including 40 for the Cowboys in 2015. Morris has just 50 career grabs and has never topped 17 in a season.

That makes McFadden the guy we’re leaning toward for now, especially in PPR leagues.

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots

Blind-bid recommendation: 35-40%

He led New England with 11 carries vs. the Jets — at least in part because RB Mike Gillislee lost a fumble early on. Lewis looked deserving of an increased role, though, ripping off 52 yards and a score. That followed a 53-yard night on 7 carries at Tampa Bay in Week 5.

The Patriots backfield is muddy (again) heading into Week 7, but Lewis should be owned in all fantasy leagues at this point. We’ll see what happens to his role once Rex Burkhead returns from a rib injury.

Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants

Blind-bid recommendation: 25-30%

Darkwa worked as the clear rushing leader in the Giants backfield for Sunday night’s surprising victory at Denver. He carried 21 times for a career-high 117 yards, including a 47-yard scamper. And that came against a Broncos defense that entered the week #1 against the run.

It was just the 2nd 100-yard game for a Giants' RB since the beginning of last season and blew away the previous rushing efficiency numbers from this year. A Week 7 matchup with Seattle presents a run D that has under-performed for much of the season but shut down Rams RB Todd Gurley its last time out.

After that and the bye come better spots against the Rams and Chiefs – 18th and 24th in Football Outsiders’ run-D rankings before Sunday – sandwiching a neutral matchup with the Niners.

Alex Collins, RB, Ravens

Blind-bid recommendation: 20-25%

He led the team with 15 carries and 74 rushing yards in the OT loss to the Bears. Collins has now seen his rushing attempts grow from 7 to 9 to 9 to 12 to 15 over the past 5 weeks. He’s averaging 67 yards per game on a beastly 6.4 yards per carry.

Collins deserves RB3 consideration, at least in non-PPR leagues, going forward. Matchups at Minnesota and back home vs. Miami the next 2 weeks don’t look too friendly, however.

Chris Ivory, RB, Jaguars

Blind-bid recommendation: 12-15%

He’s the type of high-upside backup RB you want to be stashing at the end of your bench. Leonard Fournette’s ankle injury Sunday — even if not serious — brings Ivory to the forefront.

The veteran has run well behind the rookie all season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. And he (very surprisingly) hauled in 9 of 10 targets for 74 yards and a score in Sunday’s loss to the Rams.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles

Blind-bid recommendation: 15-20%

We highlighted Agholor in the “Deep” section last week. He graduates to every-league consideration after his 4-55-1 line in Thursday night’s win over the Panthers.

Agholor has now scored in 2 straight and 4 of 6 overall. He’s also seen his targets climb in 3 straight weeks, culminating in his 7 looks on Thursday. Philly’s slot man has garnered red-zone targets in 5 of 6 outings as well.

Agholor will be in the WR3 mix the next 2 games vs. Washington and San Francisco.

Ted Ginn, WR, Saints

Blind-bid recommendation: 15-20%

Ginn tallied a season-high 66 yards and his 2nd TD of the year in Sunday’s win over the Lions. That came on 4 catches among just 4 targets on an uncharacteristically light passing day (31 attempts) for the Saints.

But he’s a pickup – available in nearly 60% of ESPN leagues – because of favorable matchups at Green Bay and home against Tampa within the next 3 weeks.

Roger Lewis, WR, Giants

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%

Lewis isn’t likely to be useful for a couple of weeks. He follows a tough debut as the de facto #1 Giants wideout at Denver with a home date against the Seahawks and then a Week 8 bye. But after that comes a decent stretch of matchups vs. the Rams, Niners and Chiefs.

Lewis flashed some big-play ability in scant opportunities as a 2016 rookie, snaring TD catches of 24 and 30 yards. Week 5 brought another TD from 29 yards out.

He delivered promising production over his final 2 college seasons, though. As a Bowling Green sophomore, Lewis accounted for 30.1% of the team’s receiving yardage and 41.2% of the TD catches. The next year found Lewis collecting 30.1% of the yards and 34.0% of the TDs. Over the 2-year span, he accounted for 22.1% of the receptions, 30.1% of the receiving yards and 35.9% of the TD receptions.

That skill set – which averaged 16.7 yards per reception over the 2 college seasons – sets him up as a decent complement to shorter-range slot WR Sterling Shepard, who should be back soon from his ankle sprain.

Bennie Fowler, WR, Broncos

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-10%

Denver watched WR Emmanuel Sanders go down with a left ankle injury in the 2nd half of Sunday night's loss to the Giants. That came while WR Demaryius Thomas was playing through his own right leg injury.

Both are due for further evaluation Monday, according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. We'll see what results come of those checks. But keep Denver's #3 wideout in mind should either guy appear to be on track for missed time in Week 7.

Fowler could be in position for a little extra work even if Sanders turns out OK for games at the Chargers and Chiefs the next 2 weeks. Both opponents present big scoring potential and favorable matchups in the slot. Fowler scored against each of those opponents last season. He finished Sunday night's game with 8 targets.

Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-12%

He led the team with 9 targets and 7 catches in Sunday’s loss to Miami, finishing with 48 scoreless yards. That followed a 7-target, 5-catch day for Hooper in Atlanta’s last game.

He has benefitted from the absence of WR Mohamed Sanu, who should be back within the next week or 2. But Hooper deserves to be a significant part of this passing game going forward. He gets a plus matchup against the Patriots next weekend.

George Kittle, TE, 49ers

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-12%

His 4-46 line on Sunday wasn’t nearly as big as his Week 5. But Kittle’s 8 targets ranked 2nd on the team behind only Pierre Garcon. Note, too, that he was college teammates with C.J. Beathard, who will be San Francisco’s starting QB going forward.

Week 7 will bring another favorable matchup with Dallas, which hit its Week 6 bye rated 27th in the league in TE coverage by Football Outsiders.

Deep-League Options:

Brett Hundley, QB, Packers

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-12%

He mostly struggled in relief of Aaron Rodgers in Minnesota, completing 18 of 33 passes for 157 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs. That’s a tough task, though, coming into a game cold against a talented defense on the road.

Hundley’s combination of weaponry and athleticism could make him a spot-start option — even next week at home against the Saints. He connected on 63.2% of his passes with 3 TDs and 1 INT this preseason.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings

Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

He’s scheduled for a checkup on his knee Monday that could clear him to practice this week. It’s possible that Bridgewater beats QB Sam Bradford, who continues to struggle with his own knee problem, back to the field.

That makes Bridgewater worth adding in 2-QB leagues. He’d have a talented WR duo at his disposal — plus a reliable pass-catching TE and explosive RB.

Adam Humphries, WR, Buccaneers

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%

Humphries’ 6-catch game at Arizona on Sunday came in a favorable spot, as lead WR Mike Evans dragged a Patrick Peterson shadow around the field with him. But it was also Humphries’ 3rd six-catch outing among his past 4 contests.

Humphries drew 7+ targets in each of those weeks (surrounding a 5-target night vs. New England in Week 5). He has also topped 50 yards receiving in 4 straight weeks – and produced his Week 6 numbers with Jameis Winston out for most of the game.