If there’s anything Week 7 in the NFL taught us, it’s that most of us don’t know much about football. The Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Bucs dropped to 3-4, alongside the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers. On the other side of the coin? Brian Daboll’s Giants are 6-1, Robert Saleh’s Jets are 5-2 and Geno Smith’s Seahawks are now over .500 at 4-3. Let’s just throw those preseason predictions in the trash, right?
Amidst all the drama, some pass-catchers were extremely busy on the day. Let’s take a look.
Get busy livin’, or get busy droppin’
Veteran Pro Bowler Mike Evans led the league in targets this week with 15, and he turned those looks into nine receptions for 96 yards. A decent day at the office, right? Well, not really. Evans had the Drop of the Year in more ways than one – yes, he dropped an easy touchdown which would have ballooned his stats in a major way, but he also set the tone for the Bucs’ worst team performance of the Brady era. If you really think about it, P.J. Walker is the Panthers’ fourth-stringer behind Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Matt Corral (injuries got in the way). On top of that, they literally just traded their best player in Christian McCaffrey. So, the Bucs get mopped by a fourth-string quarterback on a bad team without its best player? Just… yikes. Yes, Tampa’s whole team played poorly, but Evans set the tone with an embarrassing drop on a top-tier target day.
The weekly “Usual Suspects”
As you know, we always shout out the “name” players who were as busy as we expected them to be. Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Olave stayed hot with 14 targets, followed by these big names: DeAndre Hopkins (14), Tyreek Hill (13), Chris Godwin (13), Austin Ekeler (12) and Ja’Marr Chase (11). The latter, Chase, busted out in a major way with eight receptions for 130 yards and two electric touchdowns. It was good to see Hopkins come back strong, as well.
A lovely trip to “Parris”
Parris Campbell is seemingly always a “late-round sleeper” in our little Fantasysphere. Does he ever actually deliver? Well no, not really. But Week 7 – eerie, odd and spooky for Halloween – was different, as Parris turned 12 Matt Ryan targets into 10 receptions for 70 yards and a score. Campbell outpaced his well-known teammates – Nine targets for Michael Pittman and eight for Jonathan Taylor – in addition to the supporting guys, Nyheim Hines (5) and Alec Pierce (4). Indy is simply too crowded to count on Campbell going forward, but he could be a potential bye-week play in a pinch.
My New York Jets have had one of the better defenses in the NFL in recent weeks, but you couldn’t tell when it came to Jerry Jeudy this week. Jeudy was often wide open, on his way to seven receptions for 96 impressive yards on 11 targets. It was a double-edged sword with Brett Rypien under center for Denver – did he actually help Jeudy break out? Or did he hold him back with inaccuracy and a lack of field vision? I can tell you this – watching the entire game end to end – Rypien is near-impossible to watch. He’s pretty terrible. But he did focus on Jeudy more than Russell Wilson does. Sometimes it feels like Russ doesn’t want other individual players to shine.
Quick notables in single digits
Unfortunately, Mike Williams sprained his ankle, but prior to that, it was encouraging to see nine targets from Justin Herbert. Tight end teammate Gerald Everett also picked up nine looks. Speaking of tight ends, George Kittle, Pat Freiermuth and Greg Dulcich were targeted nine times, as well.
I’ll see ya right back here next week.
John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 18 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things football throughout another action-packed season.