Every week, our Yahoo fantasy football crew will reveal their boldest predictions for the action ahead. It’s time to get bold for Week 7!
DeVonta Smith finishes as a top-five WR
Dalton Del Don: Playing indoors in a game with two fast-paced offenses, Smith cashes in all those air yards (he ranks top-15) this week. He’s been unlucky with touchdowns, and the Eagles have essentially stopped even trying to run the ball (with their running backs).
The rookie finally has his breakout game this week, as Smith posts top-five WR fantasy numbers.
Jaret Patterson scores his first TD as a pro
Liz Loza: Even if Antonio Gibson plays, the team will want to protect their RB1 from further injury and limit his exposure to the goal line. As such, Patterson could pop. An elusive player who runs angry, the rookie could rip off a few long runs versus a Packers defense that’s allowing a YPC of 4.5 to opposing rushers.
Darren Waller and Henry Ruggs combine for three TDs
Matt Harmon: The Raiders offense is strong right now. They're starting to get the best out of Josh Jacobs, Derek Carr has, on balance, played good football all year and most importantly, there's clarity in the pass-catching corps. I love the way they match up with the Eagles' pass defense. Henry Ruggs has a beefy average depth of target north of 18 right now and he's playing legitimately good football. Ruggs' speed impresses on a weekly basis but he's also started to make tough catches in contested situations. He can get behind the holes in Philadelphia's soft zone-coverage defense. I'm expecting at least one long play from Ruggs.
Looking at Waller, the Eagles annually get ripped up by tight ends because they don't employ good coverage players at linebacker and are weak at safety. This year is no different as they're tied for the most touchdowns and third-most catches allowed to the position. Waller is well overdue for a slate-breaking game.
Stafford shines with 3 TDs in Revenge Game
Jennifer Eakins: Facing his former team at home, Stafford will torch a Lions' secondary that is allowing 271 passing yards per game and 12 total touchdowns through six contests. The 33-year-old has the fourth-most pass attempts inside the 10-yard line this season and there's no reason to think that play-calling won't continue this week in LA. Put me down for three end-zone dances for Stafford and his pass-catchers.
The importance of rostering D'Ernest
Scott Pianowski: Don’t be fooled by the Broncos logo — this is not a good Denver defense. The unit ranks 24th in defensive DVOA and 20th against the run.
Cleveland will try to take advantage. D’Ernest Johnson is likely to start in the Browns backfield and with backup QB Case Keenum also starting, this should be a conservative play-calling week. Johnson has an excellent chance to get 100 yards, or a touchdown, or both (we've seen him flash before; consider the 13-95 game he had at Dallas last year).
Get your popcorn ready on Thursday night. Johnson's currently the No. 16 running back on my Week 7 board.
Sterling Shepard flirts with a WR1 finish
Troy King: I know what you’re thinking: “Have you lost your mind?? Shepard is going against the Carolina Panthers defense, which is ranked sixth overall and second in passing yards allowed. Please explain yourself!"
OK, perhaps I’m a little crazy, but I promise there is a method to the madness.
Volume is king, my friends. With Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Saquon Barkley all dealing with injuries, Sterling Shepard should see an insane volume of targets. We saw a glimpse of this last week against the LA Rams when he caught 10 passes on 14 targets for 76 receiving yards, accounting for a massive 29.2% target share. When healthy, Shepard is Daniel Jones’ safety blanket, averaging 7 receptions on 9 targets and 75 yards a game this season.
Based on this, it may be safe to say, “It's so crazy, it might just work.”