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START/BENCH: Week 7

We’re halfway home in the 2018 fantasy football season—and fantasy owners have broken into several different camps.

If you spent the No. 1 overall pick on Los Angeles Rams tailback Todd Gurley, you’re probably among the camp that’s sitting pretty. You’re at least .500—maybe better. Gurley’s been as advertised and then some. The fourth-year pro is not only the No. 1 running back in Sharks League Scoring. He’s the No. 1 player overall—by a margin of almost four points per game.

It’s happy dance time.

On second thought…don’t do that.

If you drafted David Johnson of the Cardinals or Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys at No. 1, you’re likely in the camp hovering around .500. You might be 4-2. Or 2-4, depending on whether the rest of your team rallied around Zeke. Elliott’s been decent—he ranks sixth among running backs in PPR fantasy points this season. But he hasn’t quite met expectations. Ditto for Johnson, who is ninth playing on a dog crap offense.

Things could be better. But they could be worse too.

Like say drafting Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers at No. 1.

Bell still hasn’t touched a football in an NFL game this year. Or seen a field. Or reported to the Steelers. Per ESPN, Bell isn’t expected to show up during Pittsburgh’s bye week, although hope remains that he might show up before Pittsburgh plays again in Week 8.

If you spent 1.01 and are better than 2-4, congratulations. Outside that pick you either drafted well, played the wire like a boss or both.

However, whether you’re 6-0, 0-6 or all parts in-between, every fantasy owner still has one thing in common. Everyone wants to field the best lineup possible in Week 7.

And that’s where (hopefully) Start/Bench here at Fantasy Sharks comes in. Week 7 brings with it the first of the four-team bye weeks. The aforementioned Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers are all off. No Russell Wilson, Big Ben or Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood this week.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

SPOT-START OF THE WEEK

Baker Mayfield, CLE (at TBB)

As Pat McManamon reported for ESPN, Mayfield didn’t pull any punches when describing his performance in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. “We did not execute, we did not do our job, we were not detailed,” Mayfield said. “We did not do the things that we talked about all week. That is the most disappointing thing. Any time you do not do your job … I am at fault for the majority of that. I am going to be very hard on myself.”

Mayfield’s had his share of rookie struggles this season—he’s completing less than 56 percent of his passes with five interceptions against just four interceptions. But Week 7’s trip to Florida should bring a cure for all that ails him. The Buccaneers are dead last in the NFL in pass defense and lead the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks by a substantial margin.

ROLL THEM OUT

Andy Dalton, CIN (at KCC)

Dalton has spent the first half of the 2018 season on the fringe of QB1 territory in 12-team fantasy football leagues—he’s 14th in fantasy points at the position through six weeks. You know Dalton will be throwing allot against the Chiefs in a favorable fantasy matchup on Sunday night.

Jared Goff, LAR (at SFO)

After failing to throw a touchdown pass last week in Denver, Goff fell from the top-five fantasy quarterbacks on the season. Shake off that clunker and roll Goff out again in Week 7—the 49ers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2018.

Mitchell Trubisky (vs. NEP)

It got lost a bit in Chicago’s collapse against the Miami Dolphins last week, but another big game by Trubisky has thrust him into the top-15 fantasy quarterbacks for the year. As with Dalton, you know Trubisky’s going to have it air it out a bit against the Patriots.

SIT THEM DOWN

Drew Brees, NOS (at BAL)

Sitting the new all-time leading passer in NFL history isn’t easy—and by not easy I mean next to impossible. But the reality is that Brees historically hasn’t been as good outdoors as under a roof, and the Ravens defense looked like the 1985 Bears last week in Tennessee.

Andrew Luck, IND (vs. BUF)

No one seems to have noticed, but the Bills are playing excellent defense in 2018. The team is third in total defense, third in pass defense, third in sacks and most importantly third in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks this year.

Deshaun Watson, HOU (at JAX)

Watson’s another stud quarterback who is a hard player to sit—or is he? Coming off his lowest output of the season Watson has fallen to sixth in fantasy points among quarterbacks, and the Jaguars are 42 kinds oh honked off after getting embarrassed in Dallas a week ago.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is a seven-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who was named the organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year for 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.