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Citak: Week 7 Fantasy Football Sweet & Sour Lineup Advice

Matt Citak
October 18, 2018 - 1:51 pm
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We're at the midway point of the fantasy football season, meaning now is the time to start your push towards the fantasy playoffs.

If you're looking for some lineup advice, you have come to the right place.

Players who look poised for a big week will fall under the "Sweet" category, while guys who might be in for a tough matchup will fall in the "Sour" section. In addition, I'll add a couple of sleeper picks at each position for those in need of a streaming option.

Let me preface this article by saying I won't be telling you the obvious. You don't need me to tell you to start Todd Gurley or Antonio Brown each week. And a player falling in the "Sour" section doesn't necessarily mean you should bench him -- it means you should lower your expectations for that player given the circumstances that week (matchup, injuries, etc.). While I want these recommendations to help you make lineup decisions, at the end of the day you have to go with your gut.

Let's dive right in.

Quarterbacks

Sweet

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears- Trubisky had yet another strong outing last week, finishing with a completion percentage over 70 percent for the third time in five games this season while also throwing for 316 yards and three touchdowns. The second-year QB now has two stellar performances in a row, and should keep the streak going against the Patriots in Week 7. Four of the last five opposing quarterbacks have finished with over 20 fantasy points against the Patriots, and Trubisky will have to throw a ton in order to keep up with New England's offense. Look for another strong outing from Trubisky.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns- The Browns are entering a five-game stretch in which they face off against the five defenses allowing the most passing yards per game, so if there is ever a time for Mayfield to go off this season, it’s now. The number one overall pick will look to get things going against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Tampa Bay has allowed 12 passing touchdowns in the last three games while surrendering at least 334 yards to every opposing QB they’ve faced this year. As long as the ankle injury is minor, and it is expected to be, Mayfield is a great streaming option this week.

Sour

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers- Rivers has been nothing short of amazing this season. The veteran QB enters Week 7 with 1,702 passing yards and a 15-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. All that has helped the Chargers jump out to a 4-2 record. While I expect the Chargers to take care of business in London against the Titans, I'm a little wary on Rivers. As bad as Tennessee has looked at times this year, its defense is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. I wouldn't bench Rivers, but lower your expectations this week as the veteran is likely to finish as a low-end QB1 at best.

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans- Watson is coming off his worst game of the season, and to make matters worse he's dealing with a chest injury that seemed to limit him a bit in Week 6. To add insult to injury the second-year QB will have to take on an angry Jaguars defense. Jacksonville was torched by the Cowboys last week and will be looking to take frustration out on the middling Texans. If you have Watson you probably aren't benching him, but don't expect a big bounce-back performance.

MORE: Citak: Mack, Rogers Among Top Waiver Wire Pick-Ups

Sleepers

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens- After three straight road games Flacco and the Ravens return to Baltimore to take on Drew Brees and the Saints. Flacco's great stats at home, paired with the Saints' inability to limit quarterbacks on the road, make the 33-year-old a great sleeper pick this week.

Eli Manning, New York Giants- Manning and the Giants have certainly looked abysmal at times, but Big Blue faces an amazing rebound spot against the Falcons in Week 7 as Atlanta has been absolutely torn apart by opposing quarterbacks this season.

Running Backs

Sweet

Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos- The Broncos enter Week 7 with the NFL's worst rushing defense, allowing 161.3 yards on the ground per game. The team right behind them? That would be Denver's Thursday night opponent: the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is allowing 151.2 rushing yards per game this season and has surrendered a league-high 10 rushing touchdowns. To sum it up, the Cardinals have been awful at stopping opposing running backs in 2018. That is unlikely to change on Thursday Night Football, so consider Lindsay a solid RB2.

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions- Despite Matt Patricia’s refusal to name Johnson as the team's featured back, even though he's by far the most talented RB on the roster, Johnson is a great play this week. The Lions take on a Dolphins defense that has allowed 368 yards and three touchdowns to opposing backs over the last three weeks. Those same backs have also accumulated 20 receptions for 183 yards and two additional touchdowns against Miami. If there was ever a game for Johnson to go off, it would be this one with Detroit coming off its bye week. I believe Johnson makes for a solid RB2 against the Dolphins.

Sour

Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens- Collins has proven to fantasy owners that he needs to find the end zone in order to put up even somewhat respectable fantasy numbers. I just don't see that happening in Week 7. The Saints come into this matchup allowing a league low 71.4 rushing yards per game and just five rushing touchdowns total. The matchup couldn't be worse, so I'm looking towards my bench to find a replacement for Collins in Week 7.

Lamar Miller, Houston Texans- Miller's poor season continued in Week 6 after the seventh-year back ran for just 46 yards on 15 carries against the Bills. As I mentioned with Watson, the Texans go up against a Jaguars defense itching to make up for last week's embarrassing loss. In two games against Jacksonville last season Miller finished with 26 carries for 97 yards and no touchdowns. Do whatever you can to get Miller out of your lineup this week.

MORE: Keidel: While Darnold Develops, Bowles Deserves Longer Leash

Sleepers

Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles- After missing two games with a quad injury, Clement returned last week and looked a lot more effective then Wendall Smallwood. Look for the Eagles to make Clement the number one back in a tasty matchup against the Panthers.

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts- Mack also returned to the field last week and went off for 89 yards on just 12 carries. The Colts will likely get Mack more touches this week, so he has a good chance of scoring at home in Week 7 against Buffalo.

Wide Receivers

Sweet

Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams- Of course you're starting Cooks every game, but in Week 7 the speedy receiver has a chance to explode for a monster day. The Rams travel to San Francisco on Sunday to take on a 49ers team that's allowing almost 280 passing yards per game. With fellow wide-out Cooper Kupp likely to miss this contest, Cooks and Robert Woods should see even more targets. Both need to be started in all leagues as both could easily put up WR1 numbers.

Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears- Gabriel has been outstanding over the last two games, catching all 12 of his targets for 214 yards and two touchdowns. The 27-year-old is challenging Allen Robinson for the honor of being the team's top wide receiver, and he’ll likely help his case on the matter in a plus-matchup against the Patriots this week. Robinson will see coverage from Stephon Gilmore, thus limiting his upside and increasing Gabriel’s. With this game having the potential of being a high-scoring affair, make sure you find a way to get Gabriel into your lineup.

Sour

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts- Hilton is not guaranteed to play this week, but even if he does I wouldn't want him in my fantasy lineup. If he does suit up, Hilton will be facing shadow coverage from one of the NFL's top young corners: Tre'Davious White. This is really bad news for Hilton and his fantasy owners. I'd avoid starting him at all costs.

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans- Davis has the talent to become one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. But unfortunately for him, that isn't likely to happen this week. The Titans are traveling to London to take on the Chargers, and while Los Angeles' pass defense is not as dominant as it was last year, it still has shutdown corner Casey Hayward. Add in the shaky play of Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense and this is an easy fade in Week 7.

MORE: Report: Giants Sign WR Coleman To Practice Squad

Sleepers

Willie Snead, Baltimore Ravens- Snead, Michael Crabtree, and John Brown all make for good plays against the Saints this week, but Snead will line up against Saints slot corner P.J. Williams, making him a great sleeper pick.

Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets- Following the injury to Quincy Enunwa last week, it was Kearse that stepped in and snagged nine passes for 94 yards. With Robby Anderson likely seeing coverage from Xavier Rhodes, Sam Darnold could look to Kearse early and often in this one.

Tight Ends

Sweet

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns- Njoku tied Jarvis Landry with a team-high 12 targets last week, and was able to reel seven of those passes in for 55 yards and a touchdown. I've been waiting for Njoku's breakout all year, and it looks like last week may have finally been the start of a strong run for the young tight end. Njoku should keep the good times rolling in Week 7 against a Buccaneers defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals- With the news that Tyler Kroft was likely joining Tyler Eifert on the sidelines for the remainder of the season, Uzomah became the Bengals de facto number one tight end. That title resulted in the 25-year-old catching six of seven targets for 54 yards last week, and the tight end should continue to improve as he develops more of a connection with the gun-slinging Andy Dalton. I expect Uzomah to put up low-end TE1 numbers for the rest of the year, starting with this Week 7 matchup against the Chiefs' struggling defense.

Sour

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers- While it was great seeing Olsen return to the field in Week 6, it's hard not to hold your breath any time he runs down the field on his just-mended broken foot. As long as he's suiting up you can't bench him, but the veteran has a tough matchup in Week 7 against the Eagles. Philadelphia is allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and with their struggles at corner I expect Cam Newton to look for his receivers on the outside a lot more than the reliable tight end.

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins- After a promising start to the season, Reed has seemingly disappeared from fantasy relevance over the last few weeks. Despite seeing nine targets against the Panthers in Week 6 Reed pulled in just five passes for 36 yards. He has found the end zone only once in five games, and he might find it hard to score his second TD against Dallas this week. The Cowboys have allowed just one tight end to score in 2018.

Sleepers

Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals- Seals-Jones is coming off a strong performance against the Vikings in which he caught five of six targets for 69 yards. He will continue to build on his rapport with rookie QB Josh Rosen against the Broncos on Thursday Night Football. 

Nick O'Leary, Miami Dolphins- Talk about a deep sleeper... O'Leary caught all four of his targets for 49 yards and a score last week, and this week he’s challenging rookie tight end Mike Gesicki as the Dolphins' top pass-catching tight end.

Matt Citak is a Web producer for WFAN Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewCitak.