Welcome to the Week 7 edition of The Inside Look for the 2022 NFL season. This will be a data driven article and will go under the hood to see if the box scores tell the whole story about what transpired during the weekend. My goal here will be to either calm your nerves about a player that may have underperformed or cause you to rethink some of the spots you may have taken.
We are now more than third of the way through the 2022 NFL season and what a weird season it’s been so far. The Buccaneers are a mess while the Giants are up to 6-1. Matt Ryan has officially been benched while PJ Walker is thriving.
There were some big injuries this past weekend, none more impactful than Breece Hall going down with an ACL tear. That led the Jets to trading for James Robinson last night. Will we finally see the capabilities of the running back on a more consistent basis? Maybe, maybe not!
Let’s dig in to the data!
Before we dig in to individual player performances I wanted to take a moment to talk about why we focus so heavily on Targets. Targets equal opportunities and in fantasy opportunity more often than creates production. The more targets that a player gets the better chance there is that the player will return on value.
The base line stats for Mike Evans were pretty impressive this weekend. He led the league in targets with 15 and caught 9 of them for 96 yards. It was the one pass that he didn’t catch that all Buccaneers fan will remember though. He dropped a perfect pass from Brady in the first quarter that would have went for a TD.
That play could have drastically changed the outcome of this one. Evans’ 15 targets and 9 catches were season-highs. The Bucs will have a short turnaround as they face an equally disappointing Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
After sitting out in Week 6 with an injury, the Chris Olave show continued in Week 7 with an impressive game. Olave had just his second 100 yard receiving game of his career thanks to a career-high 14 targets. The Saints rookie is putting together an impressive first season. He also ran a career high 49 routes, 10 more than he had run in any game this season. Up next for the Saints will be a matchup with the Raiders, a team that has been about league average vs. Wide Receivers.
There was no rust involved with DeAndre Hopkins. After sitting out the first 6 weeks with a suspension, Hopkins returned this week to 14 targets. He was able to turn those 14 targets into 10 catches and 103 receiving yards. The only thing he did wrong in this game was that he failed to find the End Zone. The Hopkins show will continue in Week 8 with a favorable matchup vs. the Minnesota Vikings.
The Austin Ekeler cheat code has been released. For the third time in the last 4 weeks, Ekeler had a multiple touchdown game. This week he had one on the ground and one through the air. His 12 targets led all running backs this week, as did his 12 receptions. Yes, he caught every ball thrown his way. He’ll be tutoring Mike Evans on the proper way to catch a ball. Ekeler is on an epic run right now. The only thing that will be able to slow him down will be the bye that his team has in week 8.
Running back Aaron Jones did the majority of his damage this weekend in the air and not on the ground. Jones had the second most targets of any running back this week with 10. He was able to coral 9 of those passes into 53 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. The 10 targets and 9 catches were by far the most he’s had all season. He’ll have to do more though if the Packers ever expect to win another game. He’ll get that chance in Week 8 vs. Buffalo, an extremely tough matchup.
This was a weird week for tight ends as not a single tight end was targeted more than 9 times. We typically have a few in double digits, not this week though. The star of the show this week for tight ends was George Kittle of the 49ers. He had 9 targets and was able to catch 6 of them for 98 yards and 1 TD. This was by Kittles’ best performance of the year. He’ll look to keep up the momentum in Week 8 vs. the Rams, a team coming off a bye in Week 7.
Of Davis Mills 40 passes this weekend, more than 40% of them went to his running backs. Dare Ogunbowale and Rex Burkhead combined for 13 of the passes that Mills threw.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Tom Brady. Brady threw the ball 48 times this weekend, with 75% of them going to his receivers. 28 of those passes went to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. While Evans finished with 96 yards, he’ll probably be losing some sleep over that one that he dropped in the first quarter.
The workload for Derrick Henry continues to increase week after week. After bottoming out in Week 2 with just 13 carries, Derrick Henry reached 30 for the first time this season. He turned those 30 carries into a season high 128 yards. We are seeing the return of the work horse we’ve grown accustomed to watching over the last few years. Week 8 will be a matchup vs. a Texans team that has given up the fourth most rushing yards in the league.
Can anyone, and I mean anyone stop the New York Giants? After being a joke for the last few years, the Giants are now 6-1. That has mostly been due to the performance of their former first round pick Saquon Barkley. For the second consecutive week, Barkley rushed more than 20 times. His 24 carries in Week 7 were the second most he’s had this season and he reached 100 yards rushing for the third time this year. A healthy Barkley is good for the NFL and the Giants.
The ‘Playbook’ as I like to call it shows a breakdown of the play splits that teams used this past weekend.
What a weird offensive scheme the Ravens went out with this week. Gus Edwards made his return after tearing his ACL prior to the 2021 season. That led the Ravens to go with a run dominant offense. They ran the ball more on more than 70% of their plays this weekend. Normal target monster Mark Andrews saw just 2 targets and Lamar Jackson threw the ball just 16 times.
Conversely, we have the Los Angeles Chargers. The ran a pass heavy offense this weekend, with nearly 80% of their plays being through the air. Just Herbert ended up with 51 passes to their 15 runs. That’s what the game calls for though when you’re down most of the game but quite a bit.
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I've been playing fantasy sports since I was 12, which means I've been playing for over half of my life. I love DFS and season-long formats and have been writing for nearly a decade. I started my writing career at RotoWire and currently write for FantasyPros, Rotoballer, Razzball and DFSR. I cover NBA, MLB and NFL and follow all major sports. I generally cover primarily DFS but I also do game previews, recaps, player write-ups, injury updates etc.
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