Another NFL week has come and gone. More big-name injuries have occurred which makes each sit and start decision more crucial for fantasy football success. Many teams have suffered huge losses to top-tier players, such as David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr., and most recently, Aaron Rodgers.
Fantasy Focus Week Seven Thursday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs-Oakland Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
Alex Smith – Quarterback
Alex Smith has been a fantasy football owner’s dream quarterback this year. He represents a pick that has significantly outperformed his draft position. He didn’t shine in last week’s head-scratching loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, yet his numbers were not awful. In fact, his stats from that game look very much like the stat-line most people were expecting when they drafted him. Mr. Smith returned to earth for a Sunday.
Smith has 12 touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception for the year. Oakland is giving up the 16th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. In a get-right game, Smith is a solid start in all formats, but better in superflex or two-quarterback leagues.
Kareem Hunt – Running Back
Kareem Hunt is in the running for rookie-of-the-year for the season up to this point. Even in a rough loss last week where the ground game wasn’t going anywhere, Hunt salvaged his fantasy day with 89 yards receiving on five receptions.
Oakland is giving up the ninth most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Hunt is locked-in RB1 in this matchup and should be started in all formats.
Tyreek Hill – Wide Receiver
Tyreek Hill exploded in week one for 133 yards and one touchdown. Since then, he’s been relatively quiet, allowing Hunt and Travis Kelce to garner to bigger stat-lines. He’s been practicing after suffering a neck injury that kept him out of the closing moments of last week’s game. Hill is a big play waiting to happen and Kansas City is lean on healthy and capable receivers.
Hill is in the WR3 conversation as he’s consistently getting between six and eight targets per game. Oakland is fairly stingy to receivers, but Hill has the big-play-ability that makes him a constant threat to take one to the house. Hill is a decent start this week, preferred in PPR formats.
Travis Kelce -Tight End
Kelce has been one of the more consistent TE1s this season. The position in general has been difficult to trust. Rob Gronkowski has missed a game, Jordan Reed has missed a few, and for weeks Kyle Rudolph was offensively missing in action. Kelce did have the one dud game, where he caught exactly one pass for one yard. Thanks Mr. Kelce, much appreciated.
Kelce is going to be involved for seven to 11 targets with touchdown upside. He’s a TE1 and should be started in all formats.
Oakland Raiders (2-4)
Derek Carr – Quarterback
Derek Carr got a big pay-day in the preseason, and shot up draft rankings before the season started. Six games into the season he has only thrown for more than 250 yards on one occasion. In that same span he’s thrown for under 200 yards three times and thrown four interceptions to three touchdowns.
The Chiefs have allowed the 11th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. It could prove to be a tough matchup for Carr, who hasn’t seemed like the same confident quarterback from last season. This is a game where Carr and the Raiders will look to get back on track. Carr is worth a start in two-quarterback/superflex leagues. In standard leagues, he may serve as a bye-week streaming option, but otherwise not recommended.
Marshawn Lynch – Running Back
Marshawn Lynch has seemed slower off the line since returning from retirement. He still shows the Beast Mode, tough-to-tackle, power back that can muscle his way through the tackles instead of trying to avoid them. He has yet to have a 100-yard rushing game and is seeing Jalen Richard eat into his touches.
Kansas City is giving up the tenth fewest fantasy points to the running back position. Beast Mode is an fringe RB2 for this matchup with touchdown upside. He should be started in standard formats over PPR.
Jalen Richard – Running Back
Richard and DeAndre Washington have split time fighting over Lynch’s scraps, and Richard has been the more effective back of the two. Richard doesn’t offer much standalone value, outside of deep PPR leagues and should not be rostered, much less started outside of those deep leagues.
Amari Cooper – Wide Receiver
Amari Cooper has been a bust so far this season when considering where he was drafted in most leagues. Through the first six-games he’s caught 18 of 39 targets for 146 yards and one touchdown. Cooper doesn’t lack for talent as he can seemingly get open at will. He’s struggled with drops throughout his short career. After two 1,000 yard seasons, he’s off to a poor start and still drawing top coverage in most situations.
Cooper will be shadowed by Marcus Peters and may have another rough outing. It’s difficult to trust Cooper as anything more than a bye-week fill in or flex play with the “start-your-studs” mentality. Averaging 6.5 targets per game makes him appealing for PPR formats, but he remains a risky start.
Michael Crabtree – Wide Receiver
Michael Crabtree has been a solid weapon for the Raiders thus far. He has 34 targets, five less than Cooper, but has hauled in 25 of them for 304 yards and five touchdowns.
Crabtree is a safe start as a WR2 in both standard and PPR formats. His red-zone target-share makes him all the more appealing.
Jared Cook – Tight End
Jared Cook has been a steady target for Carr. With at least five targets in five of the six games this season, he offers PPR appeal for the position.
The Chiefs have been tough to tight ends throughout the season. While Cook has targets, he’s been under 50 yards in all but one game so far, and only has one touchdown. Cook may have some streaming appeal in dire situations, but otherwise is best left on the bench or the waiver wire for this week’s matchup.