Week 7 in the NFL season had plenty of fantasy goodness to go around. There were several players who had monster games and carried their teams to wins, and many of those huge performances came from players who were off the radar.
One of the keys to success in weekly fantasy football is figuring out which breakthrough performers are legitimate every-week threats and which stars are just one-week wonders. Each Sunday night, I look at some of the unexpected high scorers and tell you whether I think you should ride or fade them in the coming weeks. Here are Week 7’s surprise standouts
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET vs. MIN, $5,000 — 43.3 DKFPThe Lions came up short in a high-scoring contest with the Vikings, but Jones had a massive game, catching four touchdowns from Matthew Stafford ($5,200). Jones caught 10 of his 13 targets and finished with 93 yards. It was Jones’ second career game with four touchdowns, the other coming when he was with the Bengals in 2013 against the Jets. In NFL history, only Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe had multiple games with at least four scores before Sunday.
Jones had been off to a quiet start to the season, with only 20 catches for 294 yards and one touchdown total through his first five games. He had been clearly behind Kenny Golladay ($5,800), who was limited to just one catch for 21 yards against Minnesota. Jones can still be a high-upside play if he gets this much attention in the red zone, but the Lions want to run the ball more and rely more on their defense. They’ve dropped three straight and head into matchups against the Giants and Raiders before visiting the Bears. However, even in those matchups, Jones is too touchdown-dependent and doesn’t typically see this kind of volume. He’s too boom-or-bust and touchdown-reliant to be a safe play with the other options around him in Detroit.
RB Chase Edmonds, ARI at NYG, $4,700 — 38.0 DKFPEdmonds had three touchdowns of his own while taking 27 carries for 126 yards and adding 24 more yards on two catches. He had multiple long runs against the Giants and helped the Cardinals open a lead early in their 24-21 win at MetLife Stadium.
Over the past few weeks, Edmonds has been growing into a larger role in the Arizona offense for Kyler Murray ($6,700) and coach Kliff Kingsbury. Edmonds has gotten into the end zone three straight weeks and has shown he can make plays all over the field. However, he’ll have a hard time getting this much work when Christian Kirk (ankle) and David Johnson (ankle) are healthy. Johnson was active and started but was only available in case of an emergency on Sunday. In the next two weeks, Edmonds and the Cardinals take on two tough defenses as they go up against the Saints and the 49ers. Despite his upside, those tough matchups and a shrinking workload make Edmonds an option I’ll stay away from until his salary comes back down later in the season.
QB Kirk Cousins, MIN at DET, $5,800 — 32.18 DKFPThe Vikings and their fans definitely like that! Cousins has been on fire the past three weeks leading Minnesota to at least 28 points in wins over the Giants, Eagles and Lions. This week, he connected for four touchdown passes to four different receivers and threw for 337 yards.
He has over 300 yards in three straight games and has thrown for 10 scores with just one interception over that span. He seems to have found a nice rhythm with Stefon Diggs ($6,300) and Adam Thielen ($6,900) while also getting others involved. Even after Thielen left with an injury, Cousins had no trouble against the Lions. Next week, the Vikings are on a short week as they prepare for Thursday Night Football. Cousins should be extra motivated as he faces his former team, the Redskins, who are a great matchup for him. The following two games are both important as the Vikings chase the playoffs as they visit the Chiefs and Cowboys. To win those games, the Vikings will need Cousins to keep playing like he has been the past three weeks. While I’m still not sure I trust him as a franchise centerpiece, he’s definitely hot enough to ride for now with good matchups coming up.
WR Zach Pascal, IND vs. HOU, $4,000 — 31.6 DKFPPascal racked up 106 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in 6-of-7 targets Sunday against the Texans, as the Colts got a huge win against their division rivals. The big 6-foot-2 WR scored on a short crossing route from 11 yards out in the first quarter and later on a shovel pass from three yards out at the end of the third quarter to ice the game.
While Parris Campbell (abdomen) is out, Pascal has a clear path to plenty of opportunities as Indianapolis’ No. 2 WR behind T.Y. Hilton ($5,900). Pascal seems to have formed a nice connection with Jacoby Brissett ($5,600) and should be involved moving forward as the Colts continue to try and seize the AFC South. Coming up, Pascal has favorable matchups against the Broncos, Steelers, Dolphins and Jaguars before a rematch with the same Houston secondary he just lit up. While he will be risky since the Colts spread the ball around to their TE and RB, he has a very good ceiling and should be an affordable play for as long as Campbell is sidelined.
WR Alex Erickson, CIN vs. JAX, $3,200 — 24.5 DKFPErickson was extremely affordable and had a monster game as the Bengals tried to hang with the Jaguars before falling, 27-17. Erickson tied for the team lead with 14 targets and hauled in a team-high eight catches for 137 yards. With John Ross (clavicle) and A.J. Green (ankle) sidelined, Erickson stepped up and had the best game of his career. Ross is on the IR and can’t return for several weeks while Green is also expected to miss the rest of this month.
Even with those injuries, though, Erickson had been mostly a non-factor until this week. He did have four catches for 47 yards last week but had only a single catch in each of the three previous contests. Auden Tate ($4,500) and Tyler Boyd ($5,600) are usually ahead of him on the depth chart, leaving him the No. 3 WR in a struggling offense. The Bengals host tough defenses in the Rams and Ravens the next two weeks, so I’d stay away from Erickson until he proves this wasn’t just a one-game matchup-based fluke.
RB Josh Jacobs, OAK at GB, $5,000 — 19.4 DKFPThe Raiders came back from their bye week and dropped a tough game on the road in Green Bay, but Jacobs continued his strong rookie season with another 100-yard performance. He only needed 21 carries to pile up 124 yards and caught all three passes thrown his way for another 10 yards.
He didn’t get into the end zone or quite break 20 DKFP, but Jacobs continues to look strong for a surprising Oakland offense. The No. 24 overall pick has at least 79 yards in five of his six games in the NFL and now has over 120 yards in each of his past two contests. He has gotten over 20 carries in each of those games as well and should remain a workhorse in the Raiders’ attack. A trip to Houston awaits the Raiders next week, but then they have three straight good matchups at home against the Lions, Chargers and Bengals. As long as the Raiders do enough to keep the contests close, Jacobs should be a solid play based on his workload and significant upside.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.