Fantasy Football Week 7 Sneaky Starts

Photo: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL season is flying by at a rapid pace. Speaking of byes, those pesky off weeks are once again at the forefront of our minds, with the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, and Pittsburgh Steelers not participating in Week 7 action. Building a starting lineup is now a little bit trickier, so we’ll dive into some deeper options for those of you looking to fill out your roster.

Let’s take a look at some players flying under the radar who are sneaky starts in Week 7 (please note, all players below are currently rostered in fewer than 25% of leagues):

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston (QB - NO)

It’s rough out there in QB land this week. Winston has epitomized the phrase “boom or bust” so far this season, with a pair of boom games in Weeks 1 and 5 and three busts in between. However, he has a solid matchup against a putrid Seahawks secondary on Monday night with extra time to prepare coming off the bye week. It doesn’t look like wide receiver Michael Thomas will make his return in Week 7, but Winston only needs a couple big plays to be a QB1 this week with so many passers sitting out. Bet on the matchup.

OwnersBox Price: $6200

Deep Sleeper: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB - SF)

Running Backs

Mark Ingram II (RB - HOU)

My condolences if you need running back help this week. Even the top-24 is looking suspect, so finding sneaky starts is almost impossible. Ingram is past his prime and has a bad matchup… so why is he included here? Well, the one thing you can bank on is volume. He has 36 combined touches over the last two weeks and at least 15 touches in four of his six games this season. He hasn’t done a whole lot with that work, quite frankly, but if I have to take a flier on someone getting a touchdown or big play, Ingram will have far more at-bats than any other scarcely-rostered running back. 

OwnersBox Price: $4600

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB - NE)

Playing any non-Damien Harris Patriots running back is a dart throw, but there’s a lot to like about Stevenson’s situation. The Jets are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season, the Patriots should be playing with a lead and leaning on the running game, and the rookie has 19 touches over his last two games. He had a career-high three catches and three targets last week, so maybe that’s a positive sign of things to come as well. Again, it’s a dart throw, but one with some positives behind it.

OwnersBox Price: $4400

Rashaad Penny (RB - SEA)

The status of Alex Collins will play heavily into Penny’s value in his return from IR, but it’s hard to imagine Collins shoulders a full workload even if he’s active. Given the draft capital invested in him, I imagine Pete Carroll will give Penny plenty of opportunities to shine while Chris Carson is out. He’s not Carson and the Saints are one of the 10-worst matchups for fantasy running backs this season, but we’ve seen Penny flash at times between injuries, so this may be your best chance of getting him in your lineup this season.

OwnersBox Price: TBD

Deep Sleeper: Kyle ​​Juszczyk (RB - SF)

Wide Receivers

Rashod Bateman (WR - BAL)

Bateman saw six targets in his NFL debut and should continue to be a big part of the Ravens’ intermediate passing game going forward. While he’s more of a stash than a player you really want to rely on right now, he’s not a terrible option this week. Hanging around the back end of the top-50 wide receivers, Bateman has a chance to be a high-floor receiver for Lamar Jackson in his duel with Joe Burrow and the Bengals. 

OwnersBox Price: $4700

Russell Gage (WR - ATL)

More of a speculative addition for this list, Gage looks like he’ll return to the field for the first time since Week 2. The Falcons feel a lot more cohesive as an offense now than they were then, so there’s a chance Gage assumes a significant workload as the WR2. How he’ll fit in with the emerging Kyle Pitts and Corderrelle Patterson is still to be determined, but Gage did have seven targets from Matt Ryan in his last game and faces a Dolphins defense allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. I’d take a flier.

OwnersBox Price: $3900

Deonte Harris (WR - NO)

Assuming all checks out on the injury front, Harris is a solid high-upside option for Week 7. He has 55-yard and 72-yard touchdowns on his resume already this season and gets to face a porous Seahawks secondary allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers in 2021. In addition to Harris’ big-play ability, he does have an eight-target game on his stat sheet as well (Week 4). If you’re down double-digits heading into Monday night, why not put Harris in your lineup over a higher-floor, lower-ceiling option?

OwnersBox Price: $4400

Deep Sleeper: Bryan Edwards (WR - LV)

Tight Ends

C.J. Uzomah (TE - CIN)

There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Cincinnati passing game and Uzomah is pretty far down the pecking order. But, he has three touchdowns over the last three weeks and the Ravens are a fairly favorable matchup for fantasy tight ends. He’s not a top-10 tight end by any means, but he’s in the top-15 conversation.

OwnersBox Price: $4100

Mo Alie-Cox (TE - IND)

Yeah, I know the 49ers are giving up less than two fantasy points per game to tight ends this year, but I can’t ignore Alie-Cox’s 12 targets and three touchdowns over the last three weeks. Even with T.Y. Hilton's return, Alie-Cox remained on Wentz’s radar. Since we’re touchdown-hunting anyway, why not take a chance on the big Colts tight end?

OwnersBox Price: $4000

Deep Sleeper: Ian Thomas (TE - CAR)


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Written By:

Jaime Eisner

Managing Editor

Managing Editor of The Draft Network. He’s a former editor for Sports Illustrated, FanRag Sports and Arizona Sports. He’s the co-host of the TDN Fantasy Podcast and has an extensive background covering fantasy sports and sports betting.

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