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START/BENCH: Week 7

Break out the marching bands. Fire up the talking heads. Bust out the nachos and head for the can.

It’s just about halftime of the 2020 fantasy football season.

Just please, for the love of God and all that is holy, don’t subject us to “Up with People.”

What the holy hell was that?

Six weeks into the 2020 season, there have been players who performed as expected this year. Others who were a pleasant surprise. And others still who have disappointed.

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara has been just the Top 5 running back we expected him to be. As a matter of fact, Kamara is the No. 1 running back in Sharks League Scoring — the only player at his position averaging over 30 fantasy points a game.

We didn’t expect that sort of thing from Jacksonville’s James Robinson. We didn’t expect much of anything from the undrafted rookie free agent for most of the summer. But Robinson has gone from an unheralded player from Illinois State to an every-down back and a Top 10 fantasy option.

It hasn’t all been smiles and good times, though. Even after his best stat line of the 2020 season, Lamar Jackson is just a so-so seventh among fantasy quarterbacks. The top of the running back and wide receiver positions have both been hit hard by injuries. Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz has been in full milk-carton mode most of the season.

For every fantasy team that is 5-1 and rolling along, there is another that is 3-3 or 2-4 and scrambling to keep their season afloat. Teams for which every week’s game and every matchup within said game is crucially important.

The point of this column is to help in that regard, so let’s get to it.

Week 7 brings with it another four-team bye week — Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami and Minnesota are off this week.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at Denver)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (BYE)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Arizona)

Kyler Murray, Arizona (vs. Seattle)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (at New York Jets)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (at Houston)

ROLL THEM OUT

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati (vs. Cleveland): The Cleveland defense has had all sorts of problems against the pass in 2020. When Burrow and Cincinnati faced Cleveland in Week 2, the first overall pick in the 2020 draft threw for a season-high 316 yards and three touchdowns.

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Jacksonville): When last we saw Herbert, he was throwing four touchdown passes against New Orleans. This week’s matchup with a struggling Jacksonville defense presents an opportunity for Herbert to have a second straight big game.

Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville (at Los Angeles Chargers): Minshew has been decent for fantasy managers this season — 11th in fantasy points among quarterbacks this season. He should be a solid source of QB1 production this week against a Chargers team giving up the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit (at Atlanta): Stafford hasn’t been much of a fantasy factor in 2020 — he barely ranks inside the Top 25 fantasy quarterbacks for the season. But no team in the National Football League has given up more fantasy points this year to quarterbacks than Atlanta.

SIT THEM DOWN

Derek Carr, Las Vegas (vs. Tampa Bay): Carr was excellent last time out — season-highs in both passing yards (347) and touchdowns (three) in a Week 5 win in Kansas City. Don’t look for a repeat this week against a Tampa Bay defense that just put the clamps on Aaron Rodgers in Week 6.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Chicago): Goff’s last outing was a shaky one — less than 200 passing yards and 19-of-38 passing against San Francisco. Things aren’t like to improve markedly against a Chicago defense allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.

Cam Newton, New England (vs. San Francisco): The limitations of the New England offense were painfully evident last week against Denver. Newton’s rushing numbers offers some fantasy upside, but he’s at best a low-end weekly starter when the matchup is right. It isn’t in Week 7.

Ryan Tannehill , Tennessee (vs. Pittsburgh): Tannehill is an underrated fantasy asset who just torched Houston for 364 passing yards and four touchdown passes. But this week Tennessee isn’t facing a suspect Houston defense — Tennessee is taking on arguably the best defense in the league in Pittsburgh.

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 an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. 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.