NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 7: The Sam Darnold experiment is over

Looking for start/sit help during the Week 7 #Byepocalypse? We've got you covered. Who should you trust, and who should you not?

Looking at options to plug into your fantasy football roster this week can be a pretty depressing exercise. Don’t fear, most people are struggling with the same gross decisions that you are. After all, it’s #Byepocalypse. Yes, I’ve used that hashtag in every article this week. No, I won’t stop. When parsing through your options, there’s some gold in these metaphorical fantasy football hills. Let’s help you find it by identifying who to start and who to sit in Week 7.

Week 7 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 7: Quarterbacks

The quarterback position has been decimated by NFL bye weeks, so you’re likely looking for a fill-in. Who should you trust, and who shouldn’t you?

Start ‘Em: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa has been the center of a new firestorm of trade speculation surrounding Miami’s supposed interest in Deshaun Watson. So far, none of it has been substantiated, but the rumors persist.

How do you think the former No. 5 overall pick feels? After missing three games with an injury, Tua returned to action with 329 passing yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. A motivated Tua will look to keep the positive momentum going against the Atlanta Falcons, and he’ll make for a fine streaming option this week.

Sit ‘Em: Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers

I’m starting to wonder if Sam Darnold is seeing ghosts again. Darnold has thrown 4 TDs and 6 INTs over the last three weeks. Darnold threw for 305, 304, and 301 yards in Weeks 2-4. He then averaged 192 passing yards over the two subsequent games. His completion percentage over the first four weeks was 67.8%. It was 48.7% over the last two games.

Not good.

Darnold has looked shaky, and head coach Matt Rhule has noticed. Rhule essentially said in the postgame press conference last weekend — and I’m paraphrasing — that Darnold needs to be better and that leaning on the running game is the only way the Panthers will win. That doesn’t bode well for the quarterback. Darnold isn’t a quarterback that I’m going to rely on for the foreseeable future.

Running Backs

The running back position is probably the most maligned position in fantasy football right now. Between injuries and byes, it’s been horrible. There’s hope to be found, so let’s find it.

Start ‘Em: Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs

Darrel Williams looked serviceable in relief of the injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire last weekend. He only racked up 62 yards on 21 carries, but he found the end zone twice and was leaned on for scoring opportunities. He also caught 3 of 4 targets for an additional 27 yards.

Edwards-Helaire is on IR for at least two more weeks, giving Williams a starting running back role for the time being in a high-powered offense. He might not be a weekly RB1, but with the number of injuries around the league, Williams slots in as an easy RB2 start this week against a Tennessee Titans defense that saw James Robinson go off for 149 yards and a TD against them two weeks ago.

Sit ‘Em: Baltimore Ravens’ RB committee (Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray)

The entire Ravens’ backfield is one to avoid. Honestly, I’m still bitter that Ty’Son Williams isn’t being given more of a chance. Still, Baltimore is intent on giving veterans Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, and Latavius Murray looks in the backfield behind Lamar Jackson.

Yes, all three of those running backs got touchdowns last week in a bizarre blowout of the Los Angeles Chargers, but you tell me how to predict which of these backs will be viable on a weekly basis. Freeman and Murray both had 9 carries; Bell had 8. They all got looks in the red zone. It was a rotation in every sense of the word.

It’s possible that all three of them are good this week — it’s also possible that one running back takes over. It’s also also possible that two of them are okay and one gets left out. I have no idea, and neither do you. Avoid it like COVID-19.

Wide Receivers

If you’re looking for help rounding out your fantasy roster in Week 7, here are a few pieces of advice to aid in making those decisions.

Start ‘Em: Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens

Speaking of the Ravens, do you know who I do like? The rookie wide receiver with more targets in his first career start than Marquise Brown had. Rashod Bateman is a polished and physical route runner capable of winning on multiple levels of the field, and I believe he will continue to separate himself as the WR1 on Baltimore’s roster.

Bateman is a flex play for me this weekend with several teams on their bye week. In his second career start, I think a breakout game is coming. He’s worth a start.

Sit ‘Em: Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders

Bryan Edwards got off to a promising start with 4 receptions for 81 yards. He got the attention of fantasy managers everywhere. Since then, he’s yet to find the end zone, hasn’t logged more than 3 receptions in any game, and has topped 67 yards just once. Not great, Bob.

It’s really quite simple when it comes to Edwards — he’s nowhere close to consistent, hasn’t shown high upside, and has a low floor as evidenced by his 1 reception for 4 yards in Week 4. It’s a thin week, so you might be forced to play him. However, if you don’t have to, please leave him on your bench.

Jon Helmkamp is a fantasy football and NFL contributor for Pro Football Network. You can find him on Twitter: @JonHelmkamp and find more of his work here. Don’t forget to listen to the PFN Fantasy Football podcast and check out our free fantasy newsletter.

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