The Shadow Knows Week 7 2017

By Gary Davenport
Gary Davenport

You know a secondary is getting good when they earn a nickname.

In Denver, there’s the “No Fly Zone.” The Seattle Seahawks have “The Legion of Boom.”

And now the Jacksonville Jaguars have “Pick-Fil-A.”

Or “The Teal Curtain.”

Or, as ESPN’s Michael DiRocco reported, if free safety Tashaun Gipson has his way “The Jackson 5.”

“We’ve seen some good ones,” Gipson said. “I do really, really, really, really like that name, though. It’s super cool. It’s a catchy name. You know, you’ve got to be original [but] at the same time it’s got to be catchy [like] No Fly Zone, the Legion of Boom. That name is just fitting and formal for us, so we like it. But again, we’re narrowing it down and hopefully by the end of this we sink it in stone, and then we’re going to let it roll.”

The nom de guerre may be debatable (“Pick-Fil-A” is my personal favorite), but what isn’t is how effective the Jaguars have been against the pass in 2017. Both of the team’s starting corners rank inside the top 15 at Pro Football Focus, and Jacksonville ranks third in the NFL in pass defense, allowing just 165 yards per game.

Combine that with his wildly uneven target numbers this season, and it’s hard to get too excited about T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts this week. Yes, not too long ago Hilton had more receiving yards in a game than the Jaguars average allowing as a team, but that wasn’t against an elite secondary.

Neither was last week’s loss to the Tennessee Titans – a game in which Hilton had all of one catch.

Hilton’s a hard guy to bench – especially in the midst of the bye weeks. But if ever there was a week to do it, this is it.

With that cheery thought in mind, here’s a look at an admittedly light slate of big-time wideout/corner matchups in Week 7.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. DEN – Chris Harris)
The fine folks at CBS Sports have a computer model (much like everyone else) that they claim has substantially out-performed their human rankers. And that model says that Allen’s in for a rough week at home against the Broncos.

“A player to avoid this week: Chargers WR Keenan Allen against the Denver Broncos,” they said. “Currently the seventh-ranked fantasy WR, Allen should be on your bench this weekend. Allen only caught five passes for 45 yards in Sunday's 17-16 win over the Raiders and has not scored a touchdown since Week 1. Avoid him this week against a fearsome defense, and don't get burned again.”

THE SHADOW SAYS: Allen’s been solid for the most part this year, but you don’t need a talking toaster to tell you that this could be a rough week. That score in Week 1 salvaged what would otherwise have been a so-so game, the Broncos are 27th in PPR fantasy points allowed to wide receivers, and Allen’s nicked up.

Once again, a hard guy to sit – but the situation is, as they say, ungood.

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (at NYG – Janoris Jenkins)
Jenkins had arguably the biggest play of the Giants’ first win of 2017, and as Paul Schwartx of the New York Post reported if there’s one thing “Jackrabbit” likes to talk about it’s when he makes big plays.

“Basically, he just threw it to the flat and I broke on the ball,’’ Jenkins said of his sixth career pick-six. “We were talking about it on the sideline, that he likes to lock and just stare down his receiver. I told my coach how they were attacking us and he just told one time just sit on it and just take it. I think it was big. I think it gave us some momentum and kept everybody playing hard.’’

THE SHADOW SAYS: Jenkins’ ego has been earned – he’s one of the best big-play cornerbacks in the NFL. There’s a downside to that though – much like with Marcus Peters Jankins’ aggressiveness can be used against him. Prior to that interception the Broncos were targeting Jenkins. I won’t sit here and say that Russell Wilson will do that Sunday at Met Life Stadium. But I will say that it’s more likely Jenkins scores again than that he puts the clamps on Baldwin. The latter will get his.

Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots (vs. ATL – Desmond Trufant)
Matthew Tabeek of the team’s website came to Desmond Trufant’s defense recently when fans complained about his level of play in 2017. “Let’s remember a few things, beginning with the fact that he’s coming off a season-ending injury from last year when he tore his left pectoral muscle in Week 9 against the Buccaneers,” Tabeek said. “And in Week 2, he reminded everybody why he received that five-year contract extension worth a reported $69 million when he made a diving interception that led to a first-half touchdown and then later returning a fumble in the third quarter in a big win over the Packers. And don’t forget that he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015, Dre. So, yes, he’s an excellent cornerback and the Falcons are thrilled to have him back.”

THE SHADOW SAYS: Trufant has admittedly been hit-and-miss at times this season. But he could be playing at the absolute highest level of his career and I’d still roll out Cooks this week. And Chris Hogan. And Danny Amendola maybe. You don’t sit on your hands with prime-time shootouts. A lot of fantasy matchups are going to swing late in Week 7.

Which end of that do you want to be on?

Sammy Watkins, Los Angeles Rams (vs. ARZ – Patrick Peterson)
Patrick Peterson has never missed a game in his seven-year NFL career, and he told Kyle Odegard of the team’s website he doesn’t plan to start now. “That’s very important to me,” Peterson said. “Especially with me being a captain, being a leader on this team. Guys look for me to be out there with them. And I want to be out there with my troops. I’ll definitely be ready to go for Sunday. For the flight, it actually didn’t get as stiff as I thought it would.”

THE SHADOW SAYS: The flight Peterson referred to was across the Atlantic, as the Cardinals face the Rams Sunday in the latest London abomination. And Peterson’s availability would be bad news for Watkins, were he the Rams’ No. 1 receiver. But he isn’t. Robert Woods is their most targeted wideout, but I don’t think he’ll get the shadow treatment from Peterson (the only true such CB in the NFL this year) either.

If the Cardinals decide to try to take away a target, it’s going to be Cooper Kupp. That’s Goff’s go-to.

Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Writer at Rotoworld and a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Gary was the winner of the 2015 FSWA award for Print Article of the Year.