Predicting studs and duds for NFL Week 7

As the NFL Week 7 games approach, there is only one undefeated team remaining. Will anyone suiting up against the Los Angeles Rams finally be able to stop running back Todd Gurley in his tracks?

Speaking of running backs, Week 7 might present the perfect opportunity for David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals to finally show off his wheels. He faces an opponent whose run defense has been spineless of late.

On the other side of the field, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be trying to avenge their last humiliating loss while they unleash their defense on the young Deshaun Watson.

With much-needed wins a must to save jobs in some cases, here are our stud and dud predictions for NFL Week 7.

Stud: Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots

Believe it or not, Gronk has not topped 100 yards or scored since Week 1. But that might change when the Patriots head to Chicago. The Bears have given up four tight end touchdowns with the last score going to Miami Dolphins rookie tight end Nick O’Leary. O’Leary also caught all four of his targets in that game. The combination of Gronk and Tom Brady are far superior to that of O’Leary and Brock Osweiler, who helped carve up the Bears last Sunday. Gronk and Brady look to make out as bandits.

Dud: Alex Smith, quarterback, Washington Redskins

Next on the schedule, Smith and the Redskins play host to the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys last showed that their defense was not one to be messed with when it nearly shut out the Jacksonville Jaguars. In particular, the Cowboys ran quarterback Blake Bortles through the rinse cycle after allowing him to pass for only 149 yards, one touchdown and one interception. And on the season, the Cowboys have ceded only seven passing scores. Thus, Smith might be on pace to deliver another one of his boring scoreless performances.

Stud: Derwin James, safety, Los Angeles Chargers

James proudly leads the Chargers with 3.5 sacks. And, this 22-year-old rookie stands to increase this stat line in London against a very worn-out looking Titans offense. Tennessee just allowed quarterback Marcus Mariota to get sacked 11 times in Week 6. If it’s not sacks, James might record his second interception of the year. After all, Mariota has four of those on the books versus only two touchdowns. Either way, James should come out on the winning end.

Dud: Alvin Kamara, running back, New Orleans Saints

The return of fellow back Mark Ingram in Week 5 did nothing to promote Kamara’s stock in his last game. While we hardly expect Kamara to match the 39 total yards we last saw, putting up monster numbers still might be a stretch. Kamara next faces a Baltimore Ravens defense that has given up the least fantasy points to opposing running backs. Only one running back has scored a single touchdown against Baltimore in six games. Toss in Ingram, and Kamara might receive the scraps again.

Stud: Zach Ertz, tight end, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz’s performances thus far have been largely unpredictable. He scored in his last game, but also recorded his lowest receiving yards to date (43). Though, we predict in Week 7 that Ertz rebounds in grand fashion playing at home against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers last allowed both Washington tight ends to record a total of 84 yards and one touchdown. Ertz is a force on his own and he remains a favorite red zone target of quarterback Carson Wentz.

Dud: Andrew Luck, quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

Luck has been throwing a ton over his past three games just to stay afloat while the Colts have played from behind. But, this might not be the case when the Colts welcome the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Luck’s arm may catch a bit of a break if Buffalo’s offense turns the ball over and gives the Colts some short fields. If Indy can establish a lead, Luck won’t have to throw for 300 or 400-plus yards to keep up. Less passing attempts might dictate one or two fewer touchdowns as well.

Stud: Taylor Gabriel, wide receiver, Chicago Bears

Gabriel is starting to become a staple on the Bears offense, having caught 12-of-12 targets in his past two games. These catches resulted in Gabriel recording 214 yards and two touchdowns in that stretch. He has demonstrated incredible speed, which might be a challenge for the Patriots to control on Sunday. We last watched Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill completely burn New England for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Gabriel is not exactly Hill, but he stands to do some major damage if he can get open.

Dud: Isaiah Crowell, running back, New York Jets

We are never sure what to expect from Crowell these days. A 219 rushing yard performance in Week 5 was followed by 40 yards in Week 6. This is a prime example why Crowell cannot be trusted. Coming up in Week 7, Crowell and the Jets will play the Minnesota Vikings. They sport a rushing defense giving up only 3.9 yards per carry. This defense has also allowed just one rushing touchdown to an opposing back. Crowell will be hard-pressed to hit pay dirt this time around.

Stud: David Johnson, running back, Arizona Cardinals

Do we dare predict D.J. finally has a breakout game? Well, Week 7 provides about the most ideal opportunity that might come knocking this season. The Cardinals host the Denver Broncos, and that defense has just been pitiful defending the run. Over the Broncos’ past two games, their run defense has surrendered 427 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. While Johnson likely won’t rush for 200-plus yards, he should find some holes to make some big plays. Fingers crossed.

Dud: Fred Warner, linebacker, San Francisco 49ers

It is always a fun time when the 49ers play their divisional rival Los Angeles Rams. But, when the Rams come to town, Warner is going to have his work cut out. The young rookie currently leads the 49ers with 50 combined tackles, but will next be tasked with attempting to defend running back Todd Gurley. Gurley has been a bulldozer all season and is averaging a league-high 103.8 rushing yards per contest. Good luck to Warner and the crew in slowing this speed demon down.

Stud: Frank Gore, running back, Miami Dolphins

Gore is the man! This ageless wonder just dropped a hefty 101 rushing yards on what has been a stout Bears defense. And, next up for Gore is a running back-friendly matchup against the Detroit Lions. The Lions have allowed a silly 5.3 yards per carry and 145.8 rushing yards on average per game. Under these conditions, Gore should thrive once again. Also pencil in fellow back Kenyan Drake to have a productive day.

Dud: Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Houston Texans

Watson and the Texans are now enjoying a nice three-game winning streak. But, the waters might be choppy for Watson in Week 7 on the road in Jacksonville. The Jags last looked absolutely horrible in an embarrassing loss to the Dallas Cowboys. But, that loss should only serve as more fuel to their fire. We can expect the Jaguars defense to come back fighting mad. The Jags defense has yielded just 187.8 passing yards per tilt and a mere five passing touchdowns on the season.

Stud: David Njoku, tight end, Cleveland Browns

Njoku has seen an uptick in his targets lately, having drawn 23 over his last two games. In Week 7, the Browns would be wise to keep Njoku heavily involved in their passing game. Njoku has a dream matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that simply cannot defend tight ends. The Bucs defense has given up the most fantasy points to the tight end position. This comes to the tune of 97.2 yards on average per game and an 80 percent catch rate. Let’s see if Njoku can keep up with this tempo.

Dud: Paul Richardson, wide receiver, Washington Redskins

Washington’s cast of wide receivers is nothing to write home about. But, Richardson has emerged as the No. 1 wideout with two scores this season. So, he should be the guy the Cowboys secondary attempts to limit when Dallas heads to D.C. Richardson is quick and he has been known to make some really long plays. But, after last watching the Cowboys allow no more than 41 yards and one touchdown to any Jaguars receiver, Richardson might be in for a brutal day.

Stud: Austin Ekeler, running back, Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers offense is running like a fine-tuned machine, having produced the fifth-most total yards on the season. In Week 7 in London, Ekler and the Chargers face the Titans, who are giving up more yards and points than they are gaining per game. A blowout and early lead by the Chargers could easily occur, which would lead to garbage time points for Ekeler as he gives fellow running back Melvin Gordon some down time.

Dud: Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

Once the dust settles, either the Broncos or the Cardinals will achieve a much-needed win in Week 7. But, that is not before Sanders will face a Cardinals defense that has been extremely stingy against wide receivers. It has yielded only two scores to opposing wideouts all season. And sadly, Sanders’ quarterback has thrown for only seven touchdowns in 2018. The simple math here hints that Sanders, as well as Demaryius Thomas, might have a difficult time finding the end zone.

Stud: Takk McKinley, pass rusher, Atlanta Falcons

Boy does McKinley has an appetizing matchup this weekend. The Falcons will look to notch another win against a very beatable Giants squad. Outside of running back Saquon Barkley trying to hold up his team, the Giants offense is complete disaster. It should be easy for McKinley to apply pressure and fluster Eli Manning all game long. McKinley has been a gem so far this season and leads the Falcons with five sacks. He also has managed six quarterback hits and eight combined tackles. Watch out Eli.

Dud: Albert Wilson, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

Everybody’s jaw dropped when Wilson unloaded 155 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the Bears in Week 6. But, another performance such as this is highly unlikely. This is especially so playing against the Detroit Lions in Week 7. The Lions are rested and will surely be prepared to not let Wilson run wild and get away with the loot again. In five games, the Lions defense has yielded only 222 passing yards per game, and only five wide receiving touchdowns.

Stud: Joe Mixon, running back, Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon has yet to crack 100 rushing yards, but a chance to move the chains in a big way awaits him next. The Bengals will head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs and their ultra-generous defense. This is a defense that gets mowed down by running backs nearly every game and is yielding 5.4 yards per carry. Keep in mind, New England Patriots running back Sony Michel just gashed the Chiefs for 106 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Mixon can clearly take advantage next.

Dud: Devin Funchess, wide receiver, Carolina Panthers

Funchess had a sweet 74-yard, one-touchdown performance in his last game against Washington. But, he awaits a tougher opponent in a road game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7. This is an Eagles defense that last held Giants super star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a mere six catches for 44 yards. The Eagles defense will next look to neutralize who should be Cam Newton’s top receiving threat, which is Funchess.