Week 7 had two major headlines, the first of which was that the dynamic duo of AC/DC (Amari Cooper and Derek Carr) is back. The second was that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott got his suspension put on hold yet again. All three players were some of the highest-scoring in their positions this week. Let’s take a look at how they and other position leaders performed.
Quarterback Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: 29 points standard, 30.2 points PPR
Carr was coming off four weeks in a row in which he scored under 10 fantasy points, partially due to injury, but also just to poor performance. With a Week 7 matchup looming against the Kansas City Chiefs, who went into the game tied for the league’s best record, it was looking like it was going to be another bad week for Carr. He was only started in one-third of ESPN leagues, and I personally benched him in two leagues. However, Carr gave a great performance, lighting up the Chiefs defense for 417 yards and three touchdowns.
Even though Carr seems to be back to his usual self, he faces a tough test next week against the Buffalo Bills who have been good against the passing game this season. I would still be hesitant about starting Carr until he shows he can continue to produce like this on a consistent basis. However, he is a solid starter, especially in deeper leagues.
Honorable Mentions: Carson Wentz, Alex Smith
Running back Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys: 39 points standard, 40.9 points PPR
The legal battle between Elliott and the NFL continued, as the league suspended him again in the week leading up to Sunday’s game. Once again, Elliott got the courts to put his suspension on hold and allow him to play. He truly made the most of the opportunity, putting up an amazing game, rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. He only caught one pass, a screen from Prescott, but brought it 72 yards to the house for another score.
Week 7 was Elliott’s best game this season by far. He had been doing well, but he wasn’t performing up to the level he was at last year. He turned it up a notch this week, almost as if to tell commissioner Roger Goodell that he was here to stay. Elliott is a lock to play Week 8 as well, as his trial is set for the following Monday. Elliott will go up against a beatable Redskins defense, so he is a must-start across all league formats.
Honorable Mentions: LeSean McCoy, Todd Gurley
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders: 33 points standard, 44 points PPR
Through the first six weeks of the season, Amari Cooper looked nothing short of awful. He had not caught a touchdown since Week 1, and had only received 146 yards and in three separate weeks he failed to even reach 10 yards. However, in Week 7, Cooper stepped up against the Raiders’ division rivals in a big way. Cooper caught 11 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns to help beat the Chiefs.
While it is extremely unlikely that Cooper will have a game of this magnitude again next week, especially against a good Buffalo Bills defense, he could settle between his two extremes. Cooper could easily catch five-to-nine passes and a touchdown, especially if Carr stays hot. I would feel safe starting Cooper as a flex play or even a WR2 and hope that he will deliver even half of the production he posted against the Chiefs.
Honorable Mentions: Kenny Stills, Tyreek Hill
Tight end O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 21 points standard, 27.8 points PPR
Howard was the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and he just had his first real breakout week. Howard caught six passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills. Howard tripled his previous game-high of two receptions and recorded 35 more yards than his previous game-high. Howard also proved his ability to be a deep threat, as one of his touchdowns went for 33 yards.
In a Tampa Bay offense that usually favors the other tight end, Cameron Brate, Week 7 was Howard’s time to shine. Brate did have the same number of receptions as Howard and has over twice as many on the season, so Howard still remains second on the depth chart. While it is possible that the Buccaneers will continue to utilize Howard more and shift away from Brate, it is unlikely. Howard is only worth ownership consideration in deeper leagues and maybe not even then.
Honorable Mentions: Jordan Reed, Zach Ertz
Defense/Special Teams, Chicago Bears: 29 points standard, 29 points PPR
The game between the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers was just plain ugly. Both teams only mustered up three points while on offense throughout the entire game. It was the Bears’ two defensive touchdowns that propelled Chicago to victory. The Bears forced three turnovers—two interceptions and one fumble recovery—and they brought one of each back for a touchdown.
The first touchdown for the Bears defense came off a muffed pitch play that safety Eddie Jackson scooped up and took yards to the house. The second score came off another unlucky play for the Panthers, as a Cam Newton pass that was intended for Kelvin Benjamin was tipped up in the air and caught by none other than Jackson, who took it 76 yards back for his second touchdown of the game. The Bears defense faces a high-powered Saints offense next week, and despite their strong outing against the Panthers, they should not be started. But hey, you never know.
Honorable Mentions: Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bonus: Safety Jeff Heath, Dallas Cowboys
Due to kicker Dan Bailey’s injury, Heath had to step in as the emergency kicker. Heath would have earned two fantasy points as a kicker if he were able to be started, converting on two of his three extra point attempts. That would have been better than five starting kickers, including future Hall of Famer Adam Vinatieri. At least Heath added one more skill to his pro-football résumé.
Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.