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Week 7 fantasy football matchups preview

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Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers (London), 9:30 a.m. ET, CBS


Titans


Marcus Mariota: Sit
Dion Lewis: Flex
Derrick Henry: Sit
Corey Davis: Sleeper
Taywan Taylor: Deep sleeper
Titans DST: Beware

What even is the Titans offense? This group frequently struggles to move the ball both on the ground and through the air. It doesn't have a consistent offensive producer in the passing game and has shown no inclination of establishing either of its running backs. Because the defense has kept games close, game script hasn't forced offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur's hand one way or another. That could be the case this week but past performances haven't done enough to inspire a lot of confidence for this week's matchup.

Chargers


Philip Rivers: Beware
Melvin Gordon: Start
Austin Ekeler: Flex
Keenan Allen: Start
Mike Williams: Flex
Tyrell Williams: Sleeper
Antonio Gates: Sit
Chargers DST: Start

On paper, the matchup doesn't look too appealing but Philip Rivers and company have quietly been one of the NFL's most consistent offenses, averaging more than 400 yards and nearly 30 points per game. That should give you some faith to keep Rivers in your lineup. Certainly Melvin Gordon has been too much of a dual threat to sit at any point this season and Austin Ekeler has contributed to make the Chargers backfield one of the league's most fearsome. Fantasy managers have been frustrated by Keenan Allen's lack of production but it's hard to ignore his target share. The Williamses -- Mike and Tyrell -- have been hard to predict in recent weeks but I still like Mike to have the higher ceiling. Considering my feelings about the Titans offense, starting the Chargers defense is a no-brainer.

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Texans


Deshaun Watson: Sit
Lamar Miller: Sit
Alfred Blue: Sit
DeAndre Hopkins: Start
Will Fuller: Sit
Keke Coutee: Flex
Texans DST: Start

The Texans offense has been a bust recently with Deshaun Watson taking too many hits and not throwing enough touchdowns. This isn't likely to get any better with an angry group of Jaguars on deck. Anyone starting DeAndre Hopkins should still believe in his ability to produce in nearly any situation but the rest of the Texans' pass-catchers should be on alert. There is some hope for Keke Coutee after Cole Beasley ripped the Jaguars from the slot last week but you should temper your expectations. Houston's running game has been pretty awful all season and there's no reason to believe in it this week. However, with Blake Bortles captaining the offense on the other side, it's a good time to give the Texans defense a spin.

Jaguars


Blake Bortles: Sit
T.J. Yeldon: Flex
Carlos Hyde: Sit
Dede Westbrook: Sleeper
Keelan Cole: Sit
Donte Moncrief: Sit
Jaguars DST: Start

The Jaguars made a trade for Browns running back Carlos Hyde on Friday but he's unlikely to see any snaps this week. His longterm value could see a boost in an offense that would like to be more run-heavy. In the meantime, T.J. Yeldon still has some appeal this week against an inconsistent Texans defense. The Jacksonville receivers have been tough to figure out but Westbrook has a chance to produce from the slot this week. Everyone else hasn't shown enough to warrant a starting nod. After being shredded last week, the Jaguars defense should be extra salty this week against a division foe.

Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles, 1:000 p.m. ET, FOX


Panthers


Cam Newton: Start
Christian McCaffrey: Start
C.J. Anderson: Sit
Devin Funchess: Flex
Torrey Smith: Sit
Greg Olsen: Beware
Panthers DST: Beware

The Eagles defense hasn't been the obstacle it was last season and with the Panthers offense funneling through Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey, those two are solid starts. Devin Funchess has flex appeal against a set of Philly corners that haven't lived up to their billing this year. Greg Olsen was unimpressive last week in his first game back from injury and has to face a defense that has handcuffed tight ends all season. Carolina's defense is a tough play this week against a Philadelphia defense that has started to get rolling lately.

Eagles


Carson Wentz: Start
Corey Clement: Flex
Wendell Smallwood: Sleeper
Alshon Jeffery: Start
Nelson Agholor: Flex
Zach Ertz: Start
Eagles DST: Beware

Carson Wentz has returned to his form from last season and it's doing wonders for Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz as the Eagles' top two pass-catchers. The Riddle of Nelson Agholor has been harder to decipher because of a generally small target share. The running back duo of Clement and Smallwood are sharing snaps and touches, though Clement appears to be the PPR back of choice. Philly's defense has underwhelmed and is only a mildly appealing play against a tough Carolina offense.

Minnesota Vikings at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Vikings


Kirk Cousins: Start
Latavius Murray: Flex
Adam Thielen: Start
Stefon Diggs: Start
Kyle Rudolph: Start
Vikings DST: Stream

Kirk Cousins has slowed down after a hot start but facing a Jets defense that could be missing two of its top defensive backs is a recipe to getting back on track. You shouldn't have had any concerns about starting either Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs but just in case, those Jets injuries should ease your mind. Kyle Rudolph has only topped eight standard fantasy points once this season but he's still the TE10, so you're playing him. Minnesota's defense has had its issues this year but it's worth seeing if they can force rookie Sam Darnold into some giveaways.

Jets


Sam Darnold: Sit
Isaiah Crowell: Flex
Bilal Powell: Sleeper
Jermaine Kearse: Flex
Robby Anderson: Beware
Chris Herndon: Deep sleeper
Jets DST: Start

Darnold's upside hasn't crystallized enough into production that you'd consider starting him against this defense. Likewise, Robby Anderson is a tough start considering Darnold's preference for targeting slot receivers. However, that makes Jermaine Kearse a nice option with Quincy Enunwa out of action. For anyone streaming tight ends and in dire need to fill a slot, Chris Herndon is worth a deep league add. The Jets are the top scoring defense in fantasy entering Week 7 and should be in your starting lineup.

New England Patriots at Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Patriots


Tom Brady: Start
James White: Start
Sony Michel: Start
Julian Edelman: Start
Josh Gordon: Flex
Rob Gronkoswki: Start
Patriots DST: Beware

Ever since the return of Julian Edelman, the Pats offense has been humming. This week is a tough matchup against a good Bears defense but it's hard to consider sitting any of New England's key pieces. It's worth being cautious about the ever-volatile Josh Gordon. Stay the course with Rob Gronkowski, who hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1 but is still among the fantasy leaders at tight end. You might be better off avoiding the Patriots defense versus a Bears offense that has gotten hot in the past few weeks.

Bears


Mitchell Trubisky: Stream
Jordan Howard: Flex
Tarik Cohen: Flex
Allen Robinson: Flex
Taylor Gabriel: Flex
Trey Burton: Start
Bears DST: Start

Mitchell Trubisky has caught fire in his past couple of games and could very well stay hot against a Patriots defense that hasn't put much pressure on quarterbacks. Part of Trubisky's ascendance has coincided with Taylor Gabriel's explosion in the offense. Hopefully this week allows Allen Robinson and Trey Burton to also come along for the ride. Jordan Howard has disappointed recently but could get back on track against a mediocre run defense. Tarik Cohen seems to have found his stride in the offense and is a solid play in PPR leagues. The Bears defense wasn't great last week but could rebound in Week 7.

Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Bills


Derek Anderson: Sit
LeSean McCoy: Flex
Kelvin Benjamin: Sit
Zay Jones: Sit
Charles Clay: Deep sleeper
Bills DST: Stream

The Bills quarterback woes continue ... this week it's journeyman Derek Anderson, fresh out of retirement, getting his turn at bat. That's not a start you want to take a chance on. Hopefully it means more touches for LeSean McCoy against a poor run defense. You haven't been able to count on a Bills receiver yet and this week doesn't seem like the time to start. Charles Clay is deep play if you're really hurting at tight end. The Bills defense has outperformed expectations and is an interesting stream against a quarterback who has been known to throw picks occasionally.

Colts


Andrew Luck: Start
Marlon Mack: Beware
Nyheim Hines: Sleeper
T.Y. Hilton: Start
Chester Rogers: Beware
Eric Ebron: Start
Colts DST: Stream

Andrew Luck has been a volume shooter this season and that alone is reason to give him a start against a feisty Bills defense. It's even better news with T.Y. Hilton returning to take his place as Indy's top target. That pushes Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant down the pecking order and makes them more curious options. Eric Ebron is the top tight end in fantasy, making it hard to keep him on the bench. The running back situation isn't the greatest but Nyheim Hines retains some value as Indy's pass-catching back. Beware Marlon Mack running against the Bills front. If you prefer to stream defenses, the Colts have some value against Derek Anderson.

Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Browns


Baker Mayfield: Stream
Duke Johnson: Sleeper
Nick Chubb: Sleeper
Jarvis Landry: Start
Antonio Callway: Sleeper
Damion Ratley: Deep sleeper
David Njoku: Start
Browns DST: Start

We've been picking on the Buccaneers defense all season long ... why stop now? Baker Mayfield has no qualms with chucking the ball downfield, which could work out very well against a bad defense in the midst of learning a new scheme with a new coordinator. The only concern is that Jarvis Landry and David Njoku have been his only two reliable pass-catchers. Both Callaway and Ratley have potential -- but only if they hold onto the ball. With Carlos Hyde now in Jacksonville, the backfield is open for Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb to get more work. The Bucs offense can score, but Jameis Winston is also good for multiple giveaways. That makes the Browns defense worth a spin.

Buccaneers


Jameis Winston: Stream
Peyton Barber: Beware
Ronald Jones: Sit
Mike Evans: Start
DeSean Jackson: Flex
Chris Godwin: Flex
O.J. Howard: Start
Cameron Brate: Stream
Buccaneers DST: Sit

The Buccaners throw the ball around a lot. That's good news for Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin. Not so much for Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones. Aside from last week's rushing outburst against a bad Falcons defense, Tampa's run game hasn't produced much this year. Don't chase the points with Barber. The Bucs have produced a pair of decent tight ends, though it appears that Howard has the edge over Brate in the passing game. However the latter still sees targets in the red zone. Avoid playing the Bucs defense at all costs.

Detroit Lions at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Lions


Matthew Stafford: Start
Kerryon Johnson: Start
LeGarrette Blount: Deep sleeper
Ameer Abdullah: Deep sleeper
Golden Tate: Start
Kenny Golladay: Flex
Marvin Jones: Beware
Lions DST: Stream

The strength of the Lions has been their passing game, which could be problematic against a Dolphins defense that has been strong against aerial attacks. Nonetheless, expect Matthew Stafford and company to keep airing it out this week. Golden Tate normally finds a way to get his production but take some care in starting either of Detroit's outside receivers. There hasn't been much clarity in the running game. It would be nice to find some this week against one of the NFL's weaker run defenses. The Lions defense is a nice stream with Brock Osweiler set to start again for Miami.

Dolphins


Brock Osweiler: Sit
Kenyan Drake: Start
Frank Gore: Sleeper
Albert Wilson: Beware
Danny Amendola: Sit
Kenny Stills: Sit
Dolphins DST: Beware

Don't expect Brock Osweiler to repeat last week's surprise performance this week against Detroit. Add to it that all of Miami's pass-catchers have been far too inconsistent to consider against the Lions secondary. However, there should be plenty of room for Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore to run the ball against the Lions front seven. Those are the only two Dolphins that should get a serious look in your lineup this week.

New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX


Saints


Drew Brees: Start
Alvin Kamara: Start
Mark Ingram: Flex
Michael Thomas: Start
Tre'Quan Smith: Beware
Cameron Meredith: Beware
Benjamin Watson: Sit
Saints DST: Sit

The matchup is not a favorable one but this is where you have to trust in the ability of your players. Drew Brees has been good against the blitz and he should see plenty of them from the Ravens this week. Having Kamara and Ingram in the short passing game will help. Michael Thomas should find positive matchups in the slot that can be exploited. But it could be hit-or-miss for Smith and Meredith on the outside. Ben Watson has been too inconsistent to play this season. Same for a floundering Saints defense.

Ravens


Joe Flacco: Stream
Alex Collins: Beware
Javorius Allen: Sit
John Brown: Flex
Michael Crabtree: Sleeper
Willie Snead: Deep sleeper
Nick Boyle: Stream
Mark Andrews: Stream
Ravens DST: Start

This has the makings of a good week for Joe Flacco and his receivers. The Saints secondary hasn't offered much resistance this season. It could be especially good for John Brown, who has a chance to beat New Orleans for some deep throws. Figuring out which Ravens tight end to play has been a headache that's better avoided most weeks. The Saints might struggle against the pass but they've been pretty good against the run. That makes both Alex Collins and Javorius Allen tough starts this week.

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


Cowboys


Dak Prescott: Sleeper
Ezekiel Elliott: Start
Cole Beasley: Sleeper
Allen Hurns: Sit
Geoff Swaim: Stream
Cowboys DST: Stream

Dak Prescott had an explosion last week and could put up a nice number against a Washington defense that has been exposed in recent weeks. You're starting Ezekiel Elliott. End of story. The receivers are a different story. Cole Beasley has been the most productive of the group but even that is a relative standard. Geoff Swaim could see some targets at tight end but is only a deep league play. The Cowboys defense has been underrated this year and could slow down an inconsistent Washington offense.

Redskins


Alex Smith: Sit
Adrian Peterson: Flex
Chris Thompson: Beware
Paul Richardson: Beware
Josh Doctson: Deep sleeper
Jordan Reed: Start
Redskins DST: Sit

This Washington offense has disappointed this season and there's not much that will excite you about the passing game this week. Alex Smith has returned to his checkdown ways and won't have Jamison Crowder this week. Paul Richardson and Chris Thompson are both game time decisions. If the latter can't go, it could mean a bigger workload for Adrian Peterson. We're still waiting for the big Jordan Reed game. Maybe it happens this week with Washington down a couple of pass-catchers. The Washington defense was torched by New Orleans last week. Dallas' offense isn't quite as good but Washington isn't stout enough to warrant an automatic play.

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


Rams


Jared Goff: Start
Todd Gurley: Start
Robert Woods: Start
Brandin Cooks: Start
Josh Reynolds: Sleeper
Gerald Everett: Sit
Rams DST: Start

Nearly everything the Rams offense has done this season has been successful. If you have any Rams on your roster, they've turned into nearly automatic starts. Josh Reynolds is a sleeper on the outside with Cooper Kupp out with a knee injury. The Rams defense has allowed some yards but they could force some turnovers against C.J. Beathard this week.

49ers


C.J. Beathard: Sit
Matt Breida: Sleeper
Alfred Morris: Beware
Raheem Mostert: Beware
Marquise Goodwin: Flex
Pierre Garcon: Sit
George Kittle: Start
49ers DST: Sit

The Niners offense acquitted itself well last week against the Packers but can you trust C.J. Beathard against the Rams? It seems like a lot to ask when other quarterbacks have better matchups. Matt Breida and George Kittle have maintained safe floors regardless of the signal-caller. The rest of the backfield is a huge question mark after Raheem Mostert got plenty of work last week over Alfred Morris. Marquise Goodwin looks healthy and could once again be the fantasy sleeper we thought he could be.

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC


Bengals


Andy Dalton: Start
Joe Mixon: Start
A.J. Green: Start
Tyler Boyd: Start
C.J. Uzomah: Stream
Bengals DST: Sit

One of the mantras this fantasy season has been "start guys against the Chiefs." That's not going to change this week. Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd should all have solid numbers this week. C.J. Uzomah is once again an option for anyone seeking help at tight end. Joe Mixon has handled a huge workload in the backfield and should do so again versus one of the NFL's worst defenses. On the flipside, you can't start any defenses against a red-hot Chiefs offense.

Chiefs


Patrick Mahomes: Start
Kareem Hunt: Start
Tyreek Hill: Start
Sammy Watkins: Flex
Travis Kelce: Start
Chiefs DST: Sit

There's not much I can tell you that you don't already know about the Chiefs offense this season. As long as those guys are playing, you're putting them in your starting lineup. That's especially true against a Bengals defense that has struggled this season. As good as the Chiefs offense has been, their defense has been problematic. Avoid starting them at all costs.

New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN


Giants


Eli Manning: Stream
Saquon Barkley: Start
Odell Beckham, Jr.: Start
Sterling Shepard: Flex
Evan Engram: Start
Giants DST: Sit

The Falcons defense has been one of the groups that we've taken advantage of this season. That will continue with Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham on tap this week. Even Eli Manning has some potential as a streaming option. Sterling Shepard has flex appeal this week and Evan Engram's return is a boost to the tight end position overall. The Giants defense has been pretty good but starting them on the road against the Falcons isn't advisable.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who could probably use a haircut. Tell him about your grooming needs via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.

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