It's week seven of the NFL season and the bye-weeks are finally beginning to get to the fantasy managers in the hunt for the playoffs. With this being the week that many league leading managers assumed a loss earlier in the season, many GMs are scrounging the wire for the next big thing. With the most teams off in any week, week 7 has Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, and San Diego on off. Let's see if we can make some sense of who to play of who's left. Nevertheless, this isn't "Fantasy Football for Dummies". If you have a top 5 player at a position you should probably play them every week, unless they're injured. Let's get into it.
Mark Sanchez QB (vs. NE): While Sanchez didn't break the 100-yard mark against the Colts in week 6 that was mainly due to not needing to as the running game dominated all game long. Even still, he was able to connect on a pair of touchdown passes to the Hill brothers. The Jets won't be able to lean on the run as heavily as NE has been pretty stout in that area but have averaged allowing over 21 points to opposing QBs over the past five weeks. Sanchez is a below average QB, but he's playing an extremely terrible defense and will likely be passing a significant amount. I expect 2-3 TDs with one turn over approx 19 points.
Darren McFadden RB (vs. JAX): McFadden totaled 98 yards against the Falcons, with 70 of those yards coming on the ground. He should have one of his best games of the season against the Jags' 30th-ranked rushing defense who is still missing Daryl Smith.
Alex Green RB (vs. STL): Green wasn't overly impressive last week at Houston, but he did get 22 carries (for 65 yards) and will remain the lead running back for the Packers going forward with James Starks fighting turf toe. Though the Rams have done well in run defense in yardage they have given up five touchdowns to opposing running backs. While last week they held Reggie Bush to five fantasy points and are the only team to keep Morris to single digits they are facing a Green Bay O that is finally hitting its stride. I don't expect them to be able to play their base cover 3 all game as they successfully did against those teams. Consider Green a flex option at worse.
Josh Gordon WR (vs. IND): Gordon has emerged as the best Browns receiver since the demotion of Greg Little. He has 3 TDs past two games on just five catches. Imagine what he could do with more receptions. Today, you may not have to. Weeden has had two 2-TD road games this season with almost 300 yards in each of 3 road. Facing an Indy D that has given up five touchdowns the past two weeks, Gordon's deep threat ability will deem useful in getting his 4th TD today.
Steve Johnson WR (vs. TEN): Being the top WR in the buffalo receiving core, Johnson should have no problem racking some points up against a Tennessee Titans defense that's just terrible. Since they're giving up 26 fantasy points to the WR position Fitzgerald will look for Johnson all day and will likely find him. The Titans have allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers this year and allowed six to reach double digits in fantasy points.
Jermaine Gresham TE (vs. PITT): He won't score every week, but he's a very solid tight end option that is available in a high percentage of leagues. Gresham is a top eight tight end who has 18 receptions, 234 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns the past five weeks. Still he's only owned in 30% of leagues oddly. Pittsburgh has allowed three touchdowns to the TE position this season and I like Gresham's odds here for a score or at least a productive day in terms of receptions and receiving yards with Polamalu still banged up in center field.
Cincinnati D (vs. PITT): Only the Packers have generated more sacks than Cincinnati's "no-name" front seven, led by Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson. While they gave up a boatload of points to Cleveland last week they have struggled against the run and that fell right into the hands of Cleveland's game plan. Fantasy owners can expect to see an aggressive game plan with the Steelers' top two rushing options injured. Also Pittsburg loves to give up sacks, their Pro Bowl Center Marcus Pouncey and their tackle are injured, and Cincy's secondary finally have two of the three injured corners back from injury. Things are looking up this week in Cincy.
Christian Ponder QB (vs. ARZ): Ponder has been pretty good this season this season with four of the past five games with at least 19 points, but he will likely struggle today against the Cardinals, who have only allowed one quarterback to score multiple touchdowns against them this season. Otherwise Arizona has been able to contain Brady, Vick and Fitzpatrick to 15 or less fantasy points each. I would still start Ponder if there's no better option available, but he should be benched in most standard formats. Arizona has been just beastmode on opposing QBs.
William Powell RB (vs. MIN): Powell had a good game last week against Buffalo with 13 carries for 70 yards, and will likely be Arizona's main featured back with Beanie Wells (toe) and Ryan Williams (shoulder) out. But the Bills aren't the Vikings. Even the stat sheet shows Minnesota struggled against Morris last week Morris struggled a good portion of that game before finally breaking one or two runs that made his fantasy day. The Viks have still shut down MJD, Donald Brown, Frank Gore, Mikel Leshoure, and CJNoK. They should be able to shut down Powell and that terrible o-line.
Nate Washington WR (vs. BUF): Washington has struggled of late with only 10 catches for 146 yards and no touchdowns in his past three games despite getting 22 targets over that span. The main issue isn't him though, it's the quality of the targets received. This is a great matchup for the Titans receivers, but Washington and Matt Hasselbeck are having trouble connecting. Both of Washington's touchdowns came when the injured Jake Locker (shoulder) were under center.
Steve Smith WR (vs. DAL): Been a tough season for Stevo. Not only does he have no touchdowns on the season, but he hasn't scored in his past six games at home. Fortunately they're going on the road today. Nevertheless, he's struggled this season with double digit points only twice this season and none over the past 4 weeks. Let's add that he's in a tough matchup against the Cowboys and Brandon Carr and it's not looking good. Dallas has only allowed three receivers to score this season, and Brandon Marshall is the lone receiver to reach double digits in fantasy points.
Fred Davis TE (at NYG): Davis goes as the running game goes. Initially it looked like he was getting going in Weeks 3 and 4 when he had 11 catches for 160 yards on 11 targets against Cincinnati and Tampa Bay, but then was mainly used in blocking the next few games. He still has not scored a TD this season yet he's still being started in over 30% of leagues. The Giants have done a great job against opposing tight ends holding Witten, Olsen, Celek, and Vernon Davis to a combined 18 points (approx. 4 points per player) and no tight end has scored against the Giants this year.
Giants D (vs. WAS): The Giants are one heck of a D and an extremely difficult one to bench but playing against RGIII something will have to give. The Giants D scored 19 fantasy points in Week 6 and it's tempting to start them again with six teams on a bye. Just keep in mind that defenses going up against Griffin have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points this season.
Heath Miller TE (vs. CIN): I have a theory that has held stong all season on Miller and I'm going to share it with you. When Medenhall plays the Pittsburg coaches lean heavily away from Miller in the game plan. This is why Miller has not scored one TD since Mendenhall came back. While he is still just as heavily involved in the passing game, it just seems the plays are no longer called with a focus on Miller in the red zone. Look for that to change today since Mendenhall is out and the coaching staff has had a full week to gameplan Rashad not playing. The Bengals have also allowed an average of over eight fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2012 so it's the perfect time for a re-coming out party for Miller.
Chris Johnson RB (vs. BUF): Buffalo has the league's worst run defense and they are giving up over 170 yards per game on the ground. They have also allowed a league high 9 rushing touchdowns this year. That being said I'm not sure if CJNoK can be trusted again as he can easily have 150 yards or 20. He played well against Pittsburg last week and against a Texans squad (that oddly has struggled this season against speedy backs-but no one's talking about that. Essentially, he's done well in every game no one expected him to and flopped in every projected monster game. Just putting it out there...
Shonn Greene RB (vs. NE): Hilariously I picked Greene up off the waiver in two leagues last week at the perfect time. He returned the favor of my confidence by scoring three TDs against the leagues 29th ranked rushing defense. Well, now he's up against the league's 4th ranked rushing D. (*Grabs his crystal ball and speaks in his Ms. Cleo-voice*) the world will be back to normal as Greene will have tough sledding against NE, but I also believe he scores on a short play today seeing as NE's passing D is just dreadful.
Teams/Players on bye:
Atlanta: M.Ryan, R.White, J.Jones,T.Gonzalez, M.Turner, M.Bryant
Denver: P.Manning, D.Thomas, E.Decker, J.Tamm, W.McGahee, M.Prater
San Diego: P.Rivers, M.Floyd, R.Meachem, E.Royal, A.Gates, R.Mathews, N.Novak
Philadelphia - M.Vick, D.Jackson, J.Maclin, J.Avant, B.Celek, L.McCoy, A.Henery
Kansas City: M.Cassel, D.Bowe, J.Baldwin, J.Charles, S.Draughn, P.Hillis, R.Succop
Miami: R.Tannehill, B.Hartline, D.Bess, A.Fasano, R.Bush, D.Carpenter
Don't forget to take a look at the injury report to make sure your guys are playing!
So until next week, who's in your lineup Big Cat Country?