Stars of Week 7

QB: Joe Burrow, CIN: 23-38, 416 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

RB: Damien Harris, NE: 14 carries, 106 yards, 2 TDs                 

WR: Cooper Kupp, LAR: 10 catches, 156 yards, 2 TDs     

TE: CJ Uzomah, CIN: 3 catches, 91 yards, 2 TDs

It’s a new era when two Cincinnati Bengals make the honor roll during the same week. Even more incredible, neither individual was Joe Mixon or J’Marr Chase. The Ravens have a tough defense, but that didn’t matter to QB Joe Burrow, who threw for 3 TDs and more than 400 yards. In case you didn’t know, Joe Burrow szn has arrived. He’s a top 10 fantasy QB and a weekly must start. 

Patriots’ RB Damien Harris has settled in nicely within the team’s offensive ecosystem, serving as the undisputed starter while lining up behind a traditional style QB (i.e. not a rushing QB who syphons TDs). Harris took advantage of a putrid Jets’ defense, crossing the 100 yard mark while only needing 14 carries. Two of those carries led to the end zone as well. Harris is locked in as an RB2.

The wide receiver who’s made the biggest jump this season may well be Cooper Kupp, who has morphed from very good to elite. New Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford has unlocked Kupp at a level previously unseen, with Kupp topping 150 yards and scoring twice among his 10 catches versus the Lions. There’s an argument to be made that Kupp should be the top WR in fantasy moving forward. In any event, he’s conservatively top 5, and probably top 3.

Three weeks back, Bengals’ TE CJ Uzomah scored 2 TDs to go along with 95 receiving yards, and I mentioned that he’s too unpredictable from week to week to rely upon. Well, Uzomah led all TEs again this week, this time with 91 yards and 2 TDs. So why isn’t he a must own TE? In the two weeks sandwiched in between, Uzomah had 16 and 15 yards, respectively – which is more indicative of his average weekly performance totals. Note that Uzomah has only had one game with more than three receptions this season. The initial issue remains…not enough targets or consistent weekly production to rely upon as anything other than a fill-in starter.

Week 7 Takeaways – A Closer Look

Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward. 

Patrick Mahomes, QB – KC: 20-35, 206 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT

Analysis: The NFL’s top quarterback has had a rough 2021 season by his lofty standards, as have the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. The wheels fell off this past weekend versus the Titans, as Mahomes barely passed the 200 yard mark, while failing to throw for a TD. Mahomes already has 9 interceptions through 7 games this season. By comparison, Mahomes threw 11 interceptions between the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined (29 games). So what’s going on here? The Chiefs’ defense has fallen apart, and Mahomes is pressing…making an unusually high number of poor decisions, while also experiencing some bad luck with tipped passes. The good news here is that Mahomes looks fine physically, and he still has Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce at his disposal. Also on the plus side, Mahomes has thrown for at least 2 TDs in all games except for this past weekend, and sits on pace for 43 TDs. So, view this as a terrible day at the office, but nothing more worrisome than that. Moving forward, Mahomes should go back to posting Superman-type numbers, especially with the defense ensuring comfortable leads will be few and far between. This also presents an opening - one that will close this week – to try to pry Mahomes away on a discount from the manager in your league. Mahomes remains a top 3 fantasy QB, despite the early season “struggles”.    

Khalil Herbert, RB – Chicago Bears: 18 carries, 100 yards, 0 TDs (5 catches, 33 yards, 0 TDs)

Analysis: The Chicago Bears will likely undergo a regime change this offseason, with a new GM and head coach. Quite frankly, the team needs it. Years of questionable roster decisions from GM Ryan Pace, combined with coach Matt Nagy’s incompetence when it comes to designing an offense built around rookie QB Justin Fields’ strengths. The Bucs absolutely crushed the Bears this past Sunday to the tune of 38-3, with Fields looking like a deer in headlights yet again. Nevertheless, there was one bright light for the team, as rookie sixth round RB Khalil Herbert continued to shine in place of injured starter David Montgomery. Herbert rushed for 100 yards on only 18 carries, which is even more remarkable when considering how the Bucs featuring arguably the best run defense in the NFL. But yes, there’s more – Herbert also caught 5 passes. Herbert outcarried fellow RB Damien Williams by an 18 to 3 margin, so this job belongs to Herbert at least until Montgomery returns. Herbert will be an RB2 during this time, while Williams can be dropped from fantasy rosters. Don’t be surprised if Herbert cuts into Montgomery’s carries upon his return as well. 

Rashod Bateman, WR – BAL: 3 catches, 80 yards, 0 TDs

Analysis: The Baltimore Ravens have done the previously unthinkable, morphing into a pass first offense with QB Lamar Jackson at the helm. Third year WR Marquise Brown has emerged as a viable fantasy starter at WR this season, and perhaps a second receiver will be joining him. The Ravens selected WR Rashod Batemen with their 2021 first round pick, and after missing the first five games with an injury, Bateman has flashed in his two games back. Versus the Bengals this past weekend, Jackson looked Bateman’s way six times, resulting in 3 receptions for 80 yards. Bateman has solid route running skills and good hands, creating separation without needing to rely on top end speed. Bateman fits well with Brown and tight end Mark Andrews to comprise a formidable trio of passing weapons. Given the improved receiving weapons, Jackson’s considerable improvement as a passer, and the running back group having been downgraded by injuries, expect the pass heavy (by Ravens’ standards) game flow to continue. Bateman remains available in 68% of leagues as of this writing. Expect that number to dwindle to single digits after this week’s waiver period. He’s the top add at WR. 

Zach Ertz, TE – ARI: 3 catches, 66 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: After seven weeks, the Arizona Cardinals remain as the NFL’s only undefeated team. QB Kyler Murray has taken a huge leap in his third season, lifting the Cardinals’ offense to juggernaut status. Tight end was the one clear hole for the team once starter Maxx Williams suffered a season ending injury, and the team went out and acquired Zach Ertz from the Eagles. In Ertz’s debut versus the Texans, he connected with Murray on a beautiful downfield pass for a TD. The Cardinals have a deep group of pass catchers, so number of targets is critical in analyzing Ertz’s prospects going forward. Against the Texans, Murray targeted Ertz 5 times, tied for second with WR Christian Kirk – lead WR DeAndre Hopkins had 9 targets. Defenses have to contend not only with several receiving weapons, but also Murray’s threat to tuck it and run. This means that Ertz will have favorable coverage in his sphere, and should see enough snaps to play a relevant role for fantasy purposes. You should view Ertz somewhere in the top 10-12 range, meaning he’s solid enough to start weekly, but doesn’t fall into the must-start category.  

Rapid Fire Pickups 

Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case a player 1) who has NOT been featured above, and 2) remains available in more than 50% of leagues. 

QB: Carson Wentz, IND (vs TEN)

RB: Boston Scott (if Miles Sanders out) & Kenneth Gainwell, PHI (@ DET)

RB: Jeff Wilson Jr, SF (@ CHI) *note this is a RB stash, as he’s on IR

WR: Darius Slayton, NYG (@ KC)

WR: Tim Patrick, DEN (vs WAS)

TE: Evan Engram, NYG (@ KC)

Personal Note

Thank you for reading my articles on RealGM! I have a request of you – if you enjoy my work, I kindly ask that you consider following me on Twitter if you aren’t already. My Twitter handle is @NeemaHodjatNFL. Your support is very much appreciated.