The NFL’s 2020-21 regular season is rapidly approaching its halfway point with Week 7’s slate next up on the docket. In turn, your fantasy football season is likely hitting some critical moments.
As teams begin to truly find their respective identities following an unconventional offseason and zero preseason, it is becoming clearer and clearer for fantasy football owners as to which players need to be in the lineup every single week. On the other hand, though, it is becoming equally clear as to which players should only see the field when no other options are available.
With the running back position serving as arguably the most important for fantasy owners at this point in the season, there are definitely a few must-plays in Week 7 while there just as many players to stay away from. Outside of the obvious, no-brainer choices — both good and bad — for Week 7, there are still more than a few formidable running backs that deserve to be very much in or out of fantasy football lineups.
After all, this could be a crucial week for those two, three and four-win teams out there.
Running Backs to Start in Week 7
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
Despite jumping out to an early double digit lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6, the Green Bay Packers ultimately suffered the team’s first loss of the 2020-21 regular season. However, there is just simply no chance that future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, running back Aaron Jones and Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams are held down for consecutive weeks.
With the reeling Houston Texans, who are fresh off of a demoralizing defeat at the hands of the rival Tennessee Titans, next up for Green Bay, it is safe to say that the Packers are going to bring their “A game” in Week 7. The 2020-21 version of the Packers are too good of a team to succumb to a team like the Texans, especially with Green Bay in need of a bounce back effort and Houston already standing on its last leg with Week 7 approaching. If the Packers are able to grab a quick lead while turning to the running game more often than not, fantasy football owners can expect a lot of the aforementioned Jones against the Texans.
Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons
The Detroit Lions are just not an impressive football team, even after coming off of a bye week. However, the Atlanta Falcons aren’t too great either, which should make for a high-scoring and chaotic Week 7 matchup between these two NFC franchises. With both the Lions and Falcons offenses able to put up some points while neither defense is particularly spectacular, one can expect Atlanta running back Todd Gurley to have a big game in Week 7.
With Falcons wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley continuing to serve as the main focuses of opposing defenses, perhaps Gurley can carry the load this week as Atlanta is notably entering the looming bout following its first win of the 2020-21 regular season.
Although Gurley hasn’t been too stellar thus far into the 2020-21 campaign, the seasoned running back is more than due for a massive performance one of these days. Currently in the midst of his first season in Atlanta, Gurley is still settling in as each week will more than likely give both him and the offense more and more confidence.
With there presently being absolutely no expectations in Atlanta with the team recently firing head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the 1-5 Falcons have nothing to lose and will probably play like it against the Lions — which is definitely a good thing for Gurley’s fantasy football owners.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be coming off of one of his worst single-game performances as a NFL player in Week 7. After struggling mightily in Week 6 against Arizona Cardinals, on primetime no less, there is almost no better franchise to rebound against than the lowly Washington Football Team, who is thankfully next up for Dallas.
With a divisional rival scheduled for Week 7 after Elliott repeatedly fumbled against the aforementioned Cardinals, there is a pretty good chance that the veteran rusher bounces back in a big way this time around. Not only that, but it has become quite clear that the Cowboys are not going to win on the back of back-up turned starting quarterback Andy Dalton, who did not produce in the limelight against Arizona.
If the Cowboys are going to snag these must-win games ,as the NFC East crown is still very much within reach due to the lackluster group that inhabits such a division, it is going to be Elliott that must lead the way for the once heralded franchise. This can help your fantasy football team.
Running Backs to Sit in Week 7
David Johnson, Houston Texans
Even though the Houston Texans tallied an impressive 36 points against the undefeated Tennessee Titans in Week 6, a group that actually possesses a rather tough defensive unit despite some recent down performances, running back David Johnson had some serious trouble gaining yards via the ground game as a result of the AFC South clash.
Although Johnson continues to be a staple of the team’s passing attack in addition to his red zone usage, the former Arizona Cardinals running back just hasn’t been able to get anything substantial going as a member of the Texans. Even after registering a short rushing touchdown against the Titans, Johnson was stopped along the goal line on more than one occasion in Week 6 as the Texans figure to look more to the passing game when inside the 20-yard line going forward.
With the Texans’ Week 7 opponent in the Green Bay Packers looming large after an unexpectedly lopsided loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon, there is not much of a chance that Johnson explodes for a bounce back effort. If anything, it will be the Packers that will be doing the rebounding in Week 7.
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Although former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette remains a threat any time that he takes the field, it is abundantly clear that Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II has become the clear-cut, No. 1 option in the backfield for the surging NFC South franchise.
With the Las Vegas Raiders next up on the slate for the Buccaneers, who are fresh off of a momentous victory over the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers, there could once again be a whole lot of Jones in the mix in Week 7. Not only that, but Fournette was inactive in Week 6 against the Packers due to some lingering injury trouble, which just adds yet another reason to stay away from the Buccaneers newcomer against the Raiders.
Whether he is healthy or not, Fournette is simply not the top option in Tampa Bay at the moment as head coach Bruce Arians will surely continue to play the hot hand with Jones as the team’s starting running back.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears will be taking on the Los Angeles Rams in primetime in Week 7, which means that superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald will be on full display for the world to see. With the Rams looking to rebound from a divisonal loss to the rival San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, all signs point to head coaching Sean McVay pulling out all the stops in order to emerge victorious against the Bears.
While Donald is always dominant no matter the opponent, his presence will be especially unfortunate for Bears starting running back David Montgomery, who tallied a mere 58 yards on 19 carries last week against the Carolina Panthers. Although Montgomery is no doubt the featured running back in the “Windy City,” his less than stellar output coupled with a stout Rams defense led by Donald is more than enough reason to keep the Bears rusher on the bench this time around.