There are two elite teams in the NFL (Buffalo and Kansas City), one really good team (the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles), and then everyone else. This state of parity continues to wreck survivor pools, as Week 7 saw more than 54% of remaining entries eliminated for the fourth time this season. Week 5 is the only instance this year where less than 39% of players were knocked out (22%).
How did we fare in Week 7? In one word: terribly. In two words: quite terribly. Like the great Kurt Vonnegut said, "so it goes."
Before we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps for Week 8, let's look at the slaughterhouse that was our Week 7:
Week 7 picks
Best Bets: 0-2 (YTD: 5-7)
Leans: 0-1 (YTD: 8-2)
Traps to avoid: 0 eliminations avoided (YTD: 11)
On to the Week 8 picks!
Buffalo Bills (-11.5) vs. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is a double-digit underdog for the first time in his professional career. His offense has been immunized against scoring, ranking 27th in points per drive after finishing third in 2021. It's not all Rodgers' fault — Green Bay's offensive line is leakier than Julian Assange and the Packers' receiving corps is a room full of Madden Ultimate Team starter pack players. That being said, Rodgers owns the seventh-worst QBR this year and hasn't looked that sharp. Buffalo's defense ranks first in DVOA and allows the second-fewest points per drive, so this isn't the ideal bounce-back spot.
The only thing that's been more disappointing than Green Bay's offense is their defense. On paper, it's one of the best in the league. On the field, though, it's been the 25th-best. Josh Allen and the Bills offense rank second in DVOA, points per drive, points per game, and dropback success rate. While the Packers were busy losing to Washington Commanders backup Taylor Heinicke, Buffalo was enjoying a bye and preparing for this primetime game. Tables and the hearts of Packers fans will break on Sunday night.
Only 13.39% of entries are on the Bills this week, making them the third-most popular play and a great option if you still have them left. Their best future value rests in road games against Detroit and Chicago.
Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) vs. Chicago Bears
Matt Eberflus and the Bears are finally utilizing QB Justin Fields in a manner that highlights his strengths. Will that be enough against Defensive Player of the Year favorite Micah Parsons and a Cowboys defense giving up the fewest points per drive? That's gonna be a no from me, dawg. Fields' internal clock works about as well as a Rolex you buy off the street, which is why he's the most-sacked quarterback this season (27). This sets up for a nightmare scenario against a Dallas defense that leads the NFL in Pass Rush Win Rate (54%), QB pressure percentage (32.3%), and sacks per game (4.1).
It's sounding like Ezekiel Elliott will miss this contest, which isn't awful news if you're in the "Tony Pollard is better" camp. Chicago gives up the third-most rushing yards per game (149.7) and their defense took a big hit on Wednesday when they traded Robert Quinn to the Eagles.
Dallas is the second-most popular pick this week, at 21.76%. Their future value lies mainly in a Week 14 home game versus the Texans.
Philadelphia Eagles (-10.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Eagles don't have many weaknesses. They've been gashed on the ground a couple weeks and have taken their foot off the gas in the second half of nearly every game, but the Steelers are the sixth-worst rushing team (87.9 yards per game) and are averaging 5.9 points in the second half this year. Philly's offense ranks first in EPA per play and should be able to bully a Pittsburgh defense allowing the second-most points per drive. Like Buffalo, the Eagles have had two weeks to prepare for their visiting opponent. Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is an aggressive thrower, but that won't fly against a Philadelphia secondary full of ballhawks.
The Eagles are the most popular pick this week, at 35.52%. I would only use Philadelphia if not many people in your pool have them left. They have a lot of future value on their schedule.
Miami Dolphins (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
More than half of the Lions' offensive starters are questionable to play. Their defense has been questionable all season. Motor City may have heart, but they're lacking the healthy talent you need to succeed in the NFL. Miami's run game has kicked into high gear ever since Raheem Mostert took over in the backfield. Pair that with a deadly air attack of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle versus the league's second-worst defense and it's looking like a long shift at Ford Field for Detroit. The Lions pride themselves on their ability to run the ball, but the Dolphins defense ranks third in rushing success rate.
Just under 10% of entries are saying bienvenidos a Miami, making them the fourth-most popular pick. Their future value is wrapped up in a Week 12 home game versus the Texans.
TRAPS TO AVOID
Tennessee Titans (-2) at Houston Texans
Should Derrick Henry and the Titans roll the league's worst run defense? Yes. Is the line on this game fishier than walleye fillets inside of a walleye? Also, yes.
Tennessee is the fifth-most popular play this week, at 6.47%.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Cleveland Browns
Kevin Stefanski has never lost to the Bengals since he's coached the Browns. Cincinnati is winless in their last four trips to Cleveland. Their defense is extremely vulnerable on the ground, where the Browns lead the NFL in rushing EPA per play.
The Bengals are this week's sixth-most popular pick, at a stripe under 4%.
Atlanta Falcons (-4.5) vs. Carolina Panthers
All the Falcons want to do on offense is run the ball. Carolina's defense, however, boasts an exceptional front seven and ranks fourth in rushing EPA per play. I don't expect much from Panthers QB P.J. Walker, but it helps that Atlanta has the NFL's worst defense and will likely be without their top two cornerbacks and one of their starting safeties.
Just over 2% are dancing with the Dirty Birds, who are the seventh-most popular pick this week.
Stats provided by Pro Football Reference, teamrankings.com, PFF, Football Outsiders, ESPN, and rbsdm.com (garbage time removed).