RotoWire Partners

Depth Chart Watch: Fallout From Week 7

Andrew Fiorentino

Managing hockey editor, talent wrangler, football columnist, FSWA's 2015 fantasy hockey writer of the year. Twitter: @akfiorentino

I hope holding onto Arian Foster was worth it, guys. At least you got three good weeks out of him! Now you can spend the rest of the season wishing you drafted the injured Todd Gurley instead of the injured Foster. Ah, sweet hindsight.

Arizona WR: John Brown (hamstring) is a game-time call Monday night, but there’s reportedly optimism that he’ll play. If not, look for a bigger role for Michael Floyd. As usual, there should be plenty of action for Larry Fitzgerald regardless.

Atlanta WR: Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) was a no-go Sunday, so yay, more Roddy White! Well, not so much. As it turned out, it was the same amount of White we’ve been seeing (three catches on four targets for 48 yards), a ton of Julio Jones (17 targets!), and a surprising amount of guy-you’ve-never-heard-of Nick Williams (three catches on five targets for 43 yards). White’s been targeted exactly four times for four consecutive weeks.

Buffalo QB: After a poor start that featured two turnovers returned for touchdowns, EJ Manuel led the Bills to a fourth-quarter comeback Sunday in London, but ended up falling short. Despite the fact that he reached nearly 300 yards passing with a couple touchdowns and some rush yards to boot, Manuel’s expected to cede the starting role back to Tyrod Taylor (knee) in his anticipated return following the Bills’ Week 8 bye.

Buffalo WR: Well, Chris Hogan set season highs with six catches and 56 yards in Week 7, but it took 11 targets to get him there. That’s the kind of exciting fantasy line we all get to enjoy when Sammy Watkins (who notably has not received double-digit targets in any game he’s played in this year) is riding the pine with an ankle injury, just the latest in his parade of ailments. No-name wideout Marcus Easley (who?) was targeted exactly once, and his 58-yard touchdown made him about 11 times better on a per-target basis than Hogan. It was Robert Woods who actually drew the most attention and produced the most, catching nine of 13 targets for 84 and a score.

Cleveland QB: Josh McCown time gave way to Johnny Football time after McCown left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. He’s also got a concussion test on tap. So yes, good ol’ Johnny Manziel came in and went 4-for-5 for 27 yards with a five-yard rush in limited action. You’ll have to check in on McCown’s status as the week goes on if you’re invested in the surprisingly useful Cleveland passing game.

Cleveland RB: Isaiah Crowell reached near-peak inefficiency in Week 7, carrying (a team-high!) eight times for nine yards. Duke Johnson wasn’t horribly efficient on the ground himself, but did reel in seven catches for 73 yards to make his fantasy day a decent one. And Robert Turbin’s 30 yards on five carries led the rushing attack. Don’t you love committees at running back?

Dallas QB: Matt Cassel drew his first start as a Cowboy on Sunday and was medium terrible – he completed 17 of 27 passes, but three of those incompletions went into the hands of the Giants’ defense. Still, after all those picks, he finished a game-tying fourth-quarter drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass and doesn’t seem to be at risk of losing his job as the new fill-in for Tony Romo.

Dallas RB: First, Week 7 was supposed to be the coming-out party for Christine Michael. Then, no, Joseph Randle was going to get the start. And start Randle did, but he suffered a back injury after getting off to a strong start with carries of 11 and 13 yards. Finally, the moment of truth! It’s good ol’ Christine Michael’s time to shine—wait, what? The Cowboys handed the ball to Darren McFadden 29 times? And he rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown? What year is it? I’m pretty sure “Back to the Future” Day was, like, last week, man. Anyway, this is the point where I give up on fantasy sports. They have left me cold and dead inside.

Dallas WR: Because Dez Bryant had to go and make it seem like he might maybe, potentially conceivably return Sunday, but of course he didn’t, here I am, writing about that slightly possible event not happening. Terrance Williams and Brice Butler (yeah) were Cassel’s favorite targets, and the best guesses have Dez waiting ‘til Week 9 after his foot caused him some pain during conditioning work last week.

Denver RB: The last hope of C.J. Anderson owners is that this week’s bye provided enough rest for him to retake the starting role and run with it next week against the Packers. If that doesn’t materialize, his suffering owners will probably get the go-ahead to cut him loose.

Detroit TE: Holy Eric Ebron! The second-year man got back on the field Sunday after missing a couple weeks, and all he did was lead the Lions in receiving with five catches for 89 yards and a score.

Green Bay RB: We’ll want to monitor the post-bye breakdown of Eddie Lacy vs. James Starks next week. Lacy’s been awful and as a result, Starks has been gaining ground fast.

Houston RB: Disaster time. Arian Foster: done for the year. As it turned out, his Achilles tendon was his, um, Achilles heel. That leaves Alfred Blue once again at the front of the line in what will likely be a backfield to avoid most weeks.

Houston WR: Despite a dozen targets from Brian Hoyer (who threw the ball 49 times and completed less than half), DeAndre Hopkins came away with his first low-end fantasy effort in a while, catching six balls for 50 yards. Nate Washington took advantage of all the attention being on Hopkins to have a simply enormous game, catching nine of 16 (!) targets for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Congratulations to the one guy who started him. Only one other Texans wideout caught a pass – Keith Mumphery reeled in one of his three targets for 16 yards.

Indianapolis WR: While Donte Moncrief saved a slow day with a late touchdown, it was T.Y. Hilton who, um… excelled? Here’s the thing: He caught only four of 15 targets – that’s awful. But he made those four count in a huge way, to the tune of 150 yards and two touchdowns.

Jacksonville RB: T.J. Yeldon returned to the field Sunday after missing Week 6 with a groin ailment, and he did so with a vengeance, ripping off 115 and a score on 20 carries. Not much else to see here; six rushes for eight yards by Toby Gerhart won’t get many hearts thumping.

Kansas City RB: Charcandrick West put his stamp on this job Sunday, rushing 22 times for 110 yards and a score. It’s all him in KC.

Kansas City WR: For the second straight week, Chris Conley led the Chiefs in targets, and this time it worked out better – he caught six of seven for 63 yards and a score. Albert Wilson outgained him slightly with 71 yards on three catches (six targets). They’ve become the clear top two with Jeremy Maclin (concussion) on the sidelines, but it seems overwhelmingly likely that Maclin will be back in Week 8.

Miami RB: When I said, “Perhaps the bye week and coaching switch will be good for” Lamar Miller, I may have been understating things. I should have said “perhaps the bye week and coaching switch will turn Lamar Miller into the midseason version of Devonta Freeman.” That’s exactly what he looked like against Houston on Sunday, putting up 236 total yards and two touchdowns. And yet, because the game was a blowout by halftime, he only carried two more times than backup Jonas Gray.

Minnesota WR: You guys, Stefon Diggs is for real. He set that in stone with a six-catch, 108-yard game against Detroit on Sunday, scoring one more touchdown and gaining 51 more yards than the fantasy-unplayable Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace put together.

New England RB: With no Dion Lewis (abdomen) and no hope of running the ball against the Jets’ defense, the Patriots almost completely abandoned the run in favor of the pass Sunday. LeGarrette Blount carried three times, losing three yards, while James White took the receiving-oriented role usually occupied by Lewis. He didn’t do much with it, catching three of five targets for 26 yards to go with two rushes for four yards.

New England WR: Brandon LaFell returned from the PUP list Sunday in midseason ball-dropping form, reeling in only two of eight targets. Meanwhile, Danny Amendola tied for the team targets lead with Julian Edelman (who also had a case of the dropsies in this one). In fact, Amendola led the Pats’ non-Gronkowskis in catches and receiving yards in Week 7.

New Orleans WR: A second straight slow week (three catches, 25 yards) has Willie Snead owners likely thinking panic mode, but he did still finish second on the team in targets Sunday, and no one exactly blew up for the Saints passing game in this one. Brandin Cooks turned 13 targets into a team-leading six-catch, 81-yard day. Brandon Coleman and Marques Colston remain useless.

New York Giants RB: So, you’ve got your three-headed Giants backfield – your Rashad Jennings, your Andre Williams, your Shane Vereen. You don’t know which of them will be valuable from week to week, but you feel pretty comfortable saying that you’ll usually get something out of one of them. Or, wait, no, maybe former Dolphin no-name Orleans Darkwa, he of nine career carries, will lead the team in rushing attempts (a meager eight, efficiently turned into 48 yards) and fantasy production (thanks to a touchdown) from the RB position in Week 7. Vereen actually led the Giants in rush yardage (56) despite getting handed the ball only four times, and he had only three passes sent in his direction, which he turned into one six-yard catch.

New York Giants WR: Odell Beckham is clearly not “a hundred,” as the kids say, for he managed just four catches for 35 yards on a (team-high!) six targets Sunday against the Cowboys. Rueben Randle (who’s also nursing a hamstring ailment) caught only two passes, but because one of them was for 44 yards, he led the Giants in receiving with 68 three-foot increments in all. Dwayne Harris was targeted just twice, but he made the most of ‘em, reeling in both for 43 yards.

New York Jets RB: Chris Ivory spent a lot of Sunday’s game getting his hamstring worked on by trainers, but still ended up leading the Jets’ RB mix, with a late touchdown catch making owners feel better about his poor day yardage-wise. Ivory’s health was probably the difference between the Jets winning and losing Sunday. Zac Stacy didn’t do anything off the bench, while Stevan Ridley wasn’t active against the Patriots, his former employers.

Philadelphia RB: We’re seeing a version of Ryan Mathews in Philly that we’ve never seen before – one who’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry. That's thanks in no small part to Sunday's six rushes for 97 yards, including a 63-yarder for a touchdown. But considering he turned his other five carries into 36 yards and managed to catch all three balls thrown his way for another 24, this is no one-trick pony. Nonetheless, DeMarco Murray continues to get far more touches, as he rushed 18 times for 65 yards Sunday. It’s worth monitoring whether the Eagles see fit to make a change in how they use these backs.

Philadelphia WR: Riley Cooper (knee) was active Sunday night, but went unused while Miles Austin stepped up into a bigger role, finishing second in wideout targets with six to Jordan Matthews’ seven. Josh Huff managed to turn his own five targets into two catches for five yards. Impressive.

Pittsburgh QB: Landry Jones’ first shot as a starter didn’t quite go fabulously, as he threw a couple picks and led the Steelers to all of 13 points in Kansas City. After some initial indications that he had a shot to play Sunday, it seems like there’s a reasonable chance Ben Roethlisberger (knee) will reassemble himself into playing form in time for Week 8.

San Diego RB: Highly questionable with an ankle injury, Melvin Gordon ended up giving it a go Sunday, but his seven rushes for 29 yards left him a fantasy dud yet again. Branden Oliver carried nine times (35 yards) and Danny Woodhead five times (26 yards), but as usual, you have to look to the receiving category for their real contributions. Woodhead made his PPR owners supremely happy with 11 catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns, while Oliver contributed six catches for 39 yards.

San Diego WR: Steve Johnson got back to it Sunday, but despite a solid eight targets, he ended up with a pretty quiet four catches for 50 yards. Keenan Allen continues to dominate the attention of Philip Rivers, as he ought to, and he now owns an NFL record with 62 catches through seven weeks.

San Diego TE: After two big games coming off his suspension, Antonio Gates (knee) went back to his normal, never-ending-parade-of-injuries self, as he had to sit Sunday’s game out. That left lots of work for Ladarius Green, who reeled in only four of his nine targets for 45 yards, but managed to score a touchdown.

San Francisco RB: Carlos Hyde is playing through a stress fracture in his foot, so the fact that he gained any yards at all Thursday is absolutely incredible. Still, Reggie Bush saw a lot more of the field with the Niners playing from behind, and you have to think the team isn’t too far from shutting Hyde down for a while to let him get right. That’d leave more work for Bush, but the main beneficiary would probably be Mike Davis or my man Jarryd Hayne.

Seattle WR: Tyler Lockett tied for the team lead in targets Thursday, catching all five balls sent his way for a sharp 79 yards and a score. Doug Baldwin was quiet (19 yards), with Jermaine Kearse catching three passes for 64, but this shouldn’t be seen as a changing of the guard; it’s just the randomness of the small sample sizes that Russell Wilson gives us from week to week. Baldwin and Kearse both out-snapped Lockett, if fairly narrowly.

Tampa Bay WR: Vincent Jackson suffered a knee injury that ended his day early in Week 7, leaving tons of volume for Mike Evans, who had his first huge game of the season. Also appearing on your score sheet was undrafted rook Donteea Dye, a guy you’d almost certainly never heard of who played at a school (Heidelberg University) that you’ve almost certainly never heard of. He caught a seven-yard touchdown pass! Unfortunately, it was his only target of the day, and in fact no Tampa wideout but Evans and Jackson saw more than one target in this game.

Tennessee QB: Zach Mettenberger was not too impressive en route to a seven-point day for the Titans offense in Week 7; fortunately, Marcus Mariota (knee) sounds like he’ll be back in Week 8.

Tennessee RB: Antonio Andrews led the way here Sunday, rushing 10 times for a respectable 57 yards, while Dexter McCluster contributed 68 total yards of his own (48 of them via his six receptions). Bishop Sankey didn’t touch the ball, but he did have a pass thrown his way – of course, he didn’t catch it. If he’s still on any fantasy rosters, it’s time to correct the error.

Tennessee WR: After Kendall Wright, there are really no Titans wideouts worth owning. Justin Hunter was useless for fantasy purposes Sunday, gaining just 17 yards on two catches, but at least he saw four targets to the fruitless one “enjoyed” by Dorial Green-Beckham.

Washington RB: Matt Jones got himself back on the field Sunday, but dominating the backfield touches – including passing-down work in the absence of Chris Thompson (neck) – didn’t lead to much of a fantasy day, as the rookie managed just 29 yards on nine carries, plus three catches for an additional 22. It’s not much, but at least he did more than Alfred Morris, who turned six carries and a reception into seven total yards. Remember that time Morris gained more than 1,600 yards in his rookie year and Robert Griffin was good? Seems like a dream, doesn’t it.

Washington WR: DeSean Jackson (hamstring) had been back to practicing, but after tweaking his hamstring (again) prior to the Skins’ Week 6 game, he’s remained inactive. The Redskins have a bye coming up, and that could give Jackson enough time to get back on the field against the Pats in Week 9. Meanwhile, the 'Skins pieced things together Sunday with Pierre Garcon (six targets, good for five catches and 55 yards), Ryan Grant (three on three for 54), Andre Roberts (six targets of his own, half of which he caught for 49 – all season highs) and Jamison Crowder (5-for-5, 48 yards). I still really like Crowder as a long-term PPR-type play; the rookie’s only failed to catch 10 of the 42 passes sent his way thus far.

Washington TE: Jordan Reed returned from his concussion Sunday in grand fashion, marginalizing the productivity of the Skins’ receivers by drawing 13 targets and catching 11 of them for 72 yards and a pair of scores. He’s once again the only Washington tight end of interest.