Friday - Jul 30, 2021

Home / Commentary / RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 7


Welcome to the Week 7 edition of “Red Light, Green Light,” a matchup guide for all of this weekend’s NFL contests (and Monday night).

In each NFL Week 7 game profile below, I will choose a total of 3 players to highlight as green, yellow or red light options.

green-light Green Light: Players who have a great matchup. These guys are usually flying under the radar, and can be counted on as a strong source of fantasy production.
yellow-light Yellow Light: Players with just an OK matchup and/or usage concerns. These guys are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire.
red-light Red Light: Players with serious matchup/usage concerns, thus requiring lowered expectations lowered for the week, and/or should just be avoided altogether if possible.

Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not carry your team to victory.

As always, the information conveyed below is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, but can be used to evaluate those decisions as well.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default points per reception (PPR) scoring system. Point Spreads and Over/Unders are based off the Fantasy Sharks consensus analysis.

Bye Week Teams: Minnesota, Miami, Indianapolis, Baltimore

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Steelers Titans
Quarterback 26th 19th
Running Back 31st 16th
Wide Receiver 8th 12th
Tight End 26th 4th
Defense/Special Teams 28th 32nd
Vegas Line: Steelers -0.5
Vegas Over/Under: 50.5

Green Light – Eric Ebron (TE, Pittsburgh)

Coming off his lowest yardage output of 2020 (2-9-0 on four targets against Cleveland), it is understandable if you’re averse to giving the inconsistent Ebron a shot this week. Do take note though the Titans have allowed an opposing tight end to score in four of their five games this season.

Yellow Light – Diontae Johnson (WR, Pittsburgh)

Assuming Johnson (back) can return to the field after sitting out last week, he’ll have a favorable matchup against a Titans defense allowing 198.8 receiving yards per game this season. Figuring out who among Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Washington will continue to be a weekly puzzle though.

Red Light – Derrick Henry (RB, Tennessee)

It is no secret the Titans want to pound the rock with their 247 lb. running back in Henry. The Texans knew that last Sunday, and still had no answer for the Titans’ behemoth as Henry trampled them for 212 rushing yards and a pair of scores. Unlike Houston, Pittsburgh has the defensive personnel to keep Henry contained, and overall have allowed the fewest rushing yards per game to opposing backfields.

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Cowboys Football Team
Quarterback 9th 6th
Running Back 11th 25th
Wide Receiver 5th 32nd
Tight End 14th 6th
Defense/Special Teams 18th 1st
Vegas Line: Football Team -0.5
Vegas Over/Under: 45

Green Light –  Terry McLaurin (WR, Washington)

While the fantasy production has somewhat tailed off the past two weeks, McLaurin is still currently 4th in the NFL with 60 targets. Dallas has allowed the 5th-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts.

Yellow Light – Dalton Schultz (TE, Dallas)

Quarterback Andy Dalton has had an affinity for throwing to his tight ends going back to his days playing with Tyler Eifert in Cincinnati, and that connection was on display last Monday night with Schultz reeling in 4 of 5 targets for 35 yards. Washington is extremely generous to opposing tight ends, having allowed the 4th-most receiving yards to the position.

Red Light – Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Dallas)

The Cowboys’ offensive line is starting to mirror that of the Eagles, as they could be without all five starters this weekend if G Zack Martin (concussion) can’t get cleared. Either way, Washington’s front seven figures to make it impossible for the Dallas run game to get any push.

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Bills Jets
Quarterback 25th 16th
Running Back 28th 7th
Wide Receiver 27th 15th
Tight End 5th 15th
Defense/Special Teams 31st 2nd
Vegas Line: Bills -12.5
Vegas Over/Under: 44

Green Light – Bills D/ST

From a fantasy perspective, this group has been a major disappointment considering preseason expectations (Buffalo’s defense allows 28.0 points per game and has generated just 11 sacks). However, the Jets and their 32nd-ranked offense (12.5 points for per game) has been the miracle tonic that cures all that ails struggling stop units.

Yellow Light – Stefon Diggs (WR, Buffalo)

Not known for consistency while with the Vikings, Diggs has at least 86 receiving yards or a touchdown in every game this season. The worrisome element to this week’s matchup is the Bills may very well not need to ratchet up their passing attack as they make short work of the Jets.

Red Light – Chris Herndon (TE, New York Jets)

The Bills are the NFL’s worst team at defending opposing tight ends (80.3 receiving yards per game allowed to the position), though there does not seem to be any indication the Jets plan to make Herndon a featured part of their offense. Herndon has tallied just 6 receptions in five games since going 6-37-0 on 7 targets in the season opener (coincidentally, that performance also came against Buffalo).

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Panthers Saints
Quarterback 29th 4th
Running Back 4th 18th
Wide Receiver 29th 22nd
Tight End 21st 1st
Defense/Special Teams 16th 27th
Vegas Line: Saints -8.5
Vegas Over/Under: 49.5

Green Light – Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Carolina)

While the Saints as a team are allowing just 237.2 passing yards per game, it is the 15 passing touchdowns (second-most in the NFL) that makes Bridgewater appealing. As heavy underdogs, the Panthers are going to be throwing a ton.

Yellow Light – Latavius Murray (RB, New Orleans)

Murray thrives in game scripts where the Saints take a commanding lead early and milk the clock via the run game, and this contest projects as such. Carolina allows 103.5 rushing yards per game to opposing backfields.

Red Light – Michael Thomas (WR, New Orleans)

The season of bizarre continues for Thomas (ankle/hamstring), who just a week after being deactivated by the Saints for disciplinary reasons picked up a new injury in practice, and sat out of Thursday’s session. Even if Thomas plays, Carolina has allowed just the 4th-fewest receiving yards to opposing wideouts this season.

Update: Thomas is officially OUT for Week 7.

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Packers Texans
Quarterback 23rd 15th
Running Back 1st 3rd
Wide Receiver 23rd 9th
Tight End 20th 11th
Defense/Special Teams 29th 11th
Vegas Line: Packers -2.5
Vegas Over/Under: 54.5

Green Light – Aaron Jones (RB, Green Bay)

Update: Jones (calf) did not practice Friday, and is considered a game-time decision. If Jones can’t go, expect Jamaal Williams and rookie A.J. Dillon to form a committee, with Williams handling all the work on passing downs.

Fantasy managers with Jones on their rosters should be salivating at this matchup after seeing what Derrick Henry just did to the Houston Texans last Sunday (264 total yards and two touchdowns). With that abysmal defensive showing, Houston has now taken the lead as the team allowing the most rushing yards to opposing backfields.

Yellow Light – Brandin Cooks (WR, Houston)

Since Bill O’Brien’s departure, Cooks has racked up a 17-229-2 receiving line on 21 targets. There’s a distinct possibility Green Bay decides to stick stud CB Jaire Alexander on Will Fuller, which would leave Cooks matched up with either Kevin King (thigh) or Josh Jackson.

Red Light – Darren Fells (TE, Houston)

The 34-year old veteran had one of the better games of his career against the Titans last week, going 6-85-1 on a season-high 7 targets. However, fellow tight end Jordan Akins (concussion) should be closer to a return this week, which would result in the pair resuming their timeshare if/when that happens.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.