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Week 7 Free Agent Focus


Sam Darnold, QB, Jets

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Darnold returned from a 4-week absence to post a big 338-2-1 passing line in Sunday's win over the Cowboys. He won’t be a recommended starter vs. the Patriots in Week 7. But he gets a neutral matchup against the Jaguars in Week 8, followed by a beautiful 7-game stretch: at Dolphins, vs. Giants, at Redskins, vs. Raiders, at Bengals, vs. Dolphins and at Ravens.


Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

Cousins -- along with OC Kevin Stefanski -- has now showed in consecutive weeks that he can exploit upside passing matchups, even in lopsided victories. He threw for 333 yards and 4 TDs on just 29 pass attempts in Sunday’s big win over Philly.

Week 7 holds a tougher matchup with the Lions, but that could be a playable spot for many fantasy owners. And the Week 8 home date with Washington just might finally push Cousins into the top 12 in our weekly rankings.


Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins

Blind-bid recommendation: 15-20%

He’s a 34-year-old with nearly 3,000 career carries. But 118 yards on 23 carries showed that Peterson can still excel — at least against a bottom-of-the-barrel defense like Miami’s. Interim HC Bill Callahan stuck to the run Sunday, resulting in 27 RB rushes vs. 25 Case Keenum passes. Peterson even added 2 catches on 2 targets, and it’s noteworthy that Chris Thompson departed with a foot injury.

The only downside looking forward is AP’s daunting short-term schedule: vs. San Francisco, at Minnesota and at Buffalo over his next 3.


Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-20%

Outside of a lost fumble, the rookie looked like the Rams’ best RB in Sunday’s loss to the 49ers. He ripped off 39 yards on 6 carries, while Malcolm Brown mustered just 40 yards on 11 attempts. Henderson also caught 1 of 2 targets for 9 yards.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on Sunday morning that Todd Gurley only has a “chance” to return for Week 7. If he doesn’t, Henderson could take on a bigger role at Atlanta.


Benny Snell, RB, Steelers

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

James Conner battled a quad injury throughout Sunday night's win over the Chargers and didn't hit the field in the 4th quarter. Snell played well in relief, taking 17 carries for 75 yards and catching his lone target for 14 more yards.

The Steelers have a Week 7 bye, which helps Conner's chances of not missing further time with the quad. But Snell is still worth stashing if you have a spot on your bench. Conner has also dealt with knee and ankle issues this season -- after missing 3 games last year with a sprained ankle. RB Jaylen Samuels figures to miss another game or 2 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week.


Auden Tate, WR, Bengals

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%

Tate led Cincinnati with 12 targets, 5 catches and 91 yards in the loss to Baltimore. He's averaging 8.5 targets over the past 4 games.

WR A.J. Green appears to have a shot to return from his toe injury in Week 7, which would take Tate out of consideration. But if Green remains out, Tate will be in the WR3 mix vs. Jacksonville.


Demaryius Thomas, WR, Jets

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Thomas ranked 3rd among Jets with 5 targets (15.6% of the team total) in Sunday's win over the Cowboys. He caught 4 for 62 yards in an offense that sprang to life with QB Sam Darnold back. That followed Thomas tying Le'Veon Bell for the Week 5 target lead in the final game of the Luke Falk era. Thomas looks ready to assume the Quincy Enunwa role, which can produce some useful outings.


Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

The rookie will find himself as New England’s #2 WR next week if Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) are unable to play. Meyers caught all 4 of his targets for 54 yards in Thursday night’s win over the Giants. And he turned in an impressive 20-253-2 line this preseason.


49ers D/ST

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

We’ve clearly been underestimating this defense. San Francisco started out with a fairly friendly slate of matchups: Buccaneers, Bengals and Steelers before the Week 4 bye. Then the Browns continued a struggling start last Monday night. But going on the road and holding the Rams to 7 points and 157 total yards was the most definitive statement to date.

The Niners should be near-universally owned in fantasy by Week 7, especially with Washington up next. The 49ers defense from Sunday might be startable on a weekly basis the rest of the way. It hit the weekend still available in 47% of ESPN leagues.


Saints D/ST

Blind-bid recommendation: 2-3%

The Saints have now held 3 straight opponents to less than 260 total yards. The Jaguars became the latest victim Sunday, posting season lows in yards (226) and points (7).

New Orleans heads next to Chicago to face a Bears offense that has yet to reach 300 total yards in a game. The Bears have also scored 16 points or fewer in 3 of 5 games, while averaging just 1.6 offensive TDs per contest. The matchup might actually gain upside for the Saints if starting QB Mitchell Trubisky returns from his shoulder injury.



Deep-League Options:

Mark Walton, RB, Dolphins

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-12%

Coming out of a bye, the Dolphins kept Walton involved against Washington. He drew the start and proceeded to rack up 6 carries for 32 yards, plus 5 catches on 6 targets for 43 yards. Miami’s schedule looks brutal in the short term — at Buffalo and at Pittsburgh. But volume puts Walton in play for owners desperate at RB.


DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Broncos

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Hamilton would step in as Denver’s #2 WR if Emmanuel Sanders’ knee injury costs the veteran further time. Hamilton proved plenty capable late last season, racking up 25 catches over the final 4 games. He ranked 20th among WRs in PPR points and 29th in non-PPR during that span.

NFL Network reports that Denver doesn't seem overly concerned about Sanders' status even for Week 7. Hamilton might be worth even a speculative add in deeper leagues, though. Sunday wasn't the first time the joint has bothered Sanders this season.


Darius Slayton, WR, Giants

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

The rookie caught just 3 balls for 32 scoreless yards in a tough matchup against the Patriots on Thursday night. But Slayton finished 2nd on the team with 8 targets — after seeing 5 targets in Week 5.

We’ll see if RB Saquon Barkley, WR Sterling Shepard and TE Evan Engram are able to return next week. But if 1 or 2 of them remain out, Slayton will be worth considering in deep leagues vs. the Cardinals.


N’Keal Harry, WR, Patriots

Blind-bid recommendation: 2-3%

If you have a free roster spot to play with, consider adding Harry this week. The Pats spent a 1st-round pick on the 6’4, 225-pounder this spring, and he could find opportunity when he’s eligible to be activated from IR in Week 9. Both Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) are dealing with injuries.


Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Goedert’s not going to work as a weekly TE. But he showed Sunday that he can pop up for a usable game at a tough position. Goedert drew a career-high 8 targets in the loss to the Vikings, catching 5 for 48 yards. He did so even with Zach Ertz ranking 2nd on the team with 9 looks. QB Carson Wentz attempted 40 throws for the game -- high but not outlandish.

Week 7 holds another game with high scoring potential at Dallas, which has rated below average in TE coverage on the year.