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I like to think that our readers have a certain degree of fantasy acuity before they arrive, so my hope is that this start and sit week 7 list – which avoids the obvious – will be useful for all of you. I’ve made my opinions on start/sit implicitly known via my weekly rankings, so, you won’t see a lot of QBs inside my Top 6, etc. listed here. The idea of this post is to give you some deep names that will yield start worthy value and some entrenched starters that should be riding the virtual pine.
Week 7 QB Starts
Nick Foles vs. Dallas – 31; 22; 13; 27; 36; 14. BINGO. Those are the fantasy points allowed by Dallas over the first six weeks of the season to opposing QBs. Sure, they held Sam Bradford and Robert Griffin III in check but they’ve otherwise been very exploitable and are giving up the most fantasy points per game to QBs on the season. Foles, on the road, put up great numbers against a much stiffer defense in Tampa Bay last week and I’m willing to wager that he’ll keep it up in Week 7.
Andrew Luck vs. Denver – Luck and the Chargers underwhelmed on Monday night against the Chargers, and while there is some concern that the enormity of the moment may get to the sophomore QB when Peyton Manning comes to town he’s been cool under pressure his whole career and this should be no different. Peyton is going to come out guns blazing in this one and, like all of Denver’s opponents Indy will have to throw the ball to keep up. The Broncos haven’t given up fewer than 281 passing yards in a game this season, and the Colts have the fire power to hang around in a shootout.
Eli Manning vs. Minnesota – I’ve made my opinions known via a piece on Manning published yesterday. The gist: he’s facing a very generous defense and there too much talent at WR for Minnesota’s secondary to handle.
Bonus: Chad Henne vs. San Diego – I was a little too high on the Henne-man last week, but, he and the Jaguars offense did move the ball well against Denver, they just failed to find the endzone. This week, in a similarly generous matchup on home turf I think he’ll be good for a couple of strikes into the endzone and work out as a solid QB2/fringe QB1 for owners needing an injury/bye week replacement. Henne ranks as my #15 QB this week against a San Diego D that has just two interceptions against 10 touchdowns allowed this year.
Bonus, bonus: Jay Cutler vs. Washington – Quietly the 6th best QB in fantasy through six weeks Cutler draws a top 10 QB matchup.
Week 7 QB Sits
Colin Kaepernick vs. Tennessee – The Titans give up the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs in standard leagues. Last week, with 61 yards rushing Russell Wilson still posted just 16 fantasy points against them (the 13th best mark on the week). I’m viewing that number as Kap’s ceiling this week. Tennessee has given up just one 300 yard passer on the year and hasn’t allowed multiple TD passes since Week 2 (including shutting out opposing QBs in each of the last two weeks).
Matt Ryan vs. Tampa Bay – Where are the weapons? In addition to the loss of Julio Jones for the season, Roddy White hasn’t practice this week. Ryan will be relying on Harry Douglas and, likely, Drew Davis who has just one target on the season. You’ll see below that I’m projecting a big day from Tony Gonzalez but against a secondary that is allowing just 16.78 FPPG to opposing QBs and a middle-of-the-pack 247.8 yards passing per game it is hard to envision a path to fantasy success for the Mattural.
Week 7 RB Starts
Eddie Lacy vs. Cleveland – Lacy is coming off of consecutive 23 carry, 99+ yard rushing outings and should be in line for another 20 or so against the Browns. With James Jones missing practice all week and Randall Cobb sielined for the foreseeable future te Packers could rely even more heavily on the run this week. Cleveland’s run defense gives up the 8th fewest YPG in the league, however, they’ve also yielded 8 touchdowns on the ground this season. 3 RBs have scored more than 15 fantasy points against the Browns this season and Lacy should join them this weekend if he can cross the chalk.
Stevan Ridley vs. New York Jets – Perhaps we’re all just a little too exuberant after one productive game from Ridley but he returned from injury to take control of the Patriots backfield and his portion of the carries should continue to grow. Brandon Bolden is still a threat to take work on passing downs, but, Ridley should continue to see more snaps than him (38-34 last week, the gap should grow moving forward). With two scores against the Saints in Week 6 and with Rob Gronkowski back on the field to open things up against the Jets expect an RB2/high FLEX worthy effort out of Ridley this week. The Jets have given up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to RBs this season, however, they did let Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling score three times on them in Week 5.
Week 7 RB Sits
Lamar Miller vs. Buffalo – This is a reaction to volume and nothing else. Miller has flashed talent all season, however, with just 7 carries in 45 snaps against the Ravens and no more than 14 totes in any game on the season it is hard to start Miller over other RB2 range options (i.e. Ridley). The Bills give up a more than 120 YPG on the ground, but, they’ve surrendered just two rushing touchdowns this year. Facing their depleted secondary, this game rests more with Ryan Tannehill than with Miller.
Joseph Randle vs. Philadelphia – I’m not saying to sit Randle, necessarily. I have him ranked as a nice FLEX play and I’d accept him as RB2 over certain options, but, I am saying to temper expectations. We all see the matchup against the Eagles, who allow plenty of points and a TD to an RB in four of six games this season and expect a productive outing, but, let’s pump the brakes on Randle a bit. I was high on him early in the summer but after an underwhelming preseason and a rough outing – if not for the touchdown – against Washington, I’m not sold on Randle. Last week in his first extended regular season action Randle carried 11 times for 17 yards against Redskins D giving up 4.4 yards a pop on the season.
Week 7 WR Starts
T.Y. Hilton vs. Denver – Per my dicsussion of Luck, I just think this game shapes up well for the Colts offense. They are going to have to throw it, plenty. After seeing limited use early in the season Hilton has 23 targets to Darrius Heyward-Bey‘s 12 over the last three weeks and should see at least 8-10 targets this week. Reggie Wayne remains one of the more consistent fantasy producers on the season and is my top ranked Colt this week, but, I’m expecting very serviceable lines from both he and Hilton against the Broncos.
Rueben Randle vs. Minnesota – In the Manning piece linked above, I picked on Josh Robinson a bit. He’s really struggled in coverage this year as part of a Vikings secondary that has disappointed on the whole. Robinson hasn’t seen a lot of the opponents top receiver this season, which means that he could wind up covering Randle a fair bit. Quickly developing into one of Eli’s most trusted targets, Randle has strong WR2 appeal. He can do a lot with 5 or 6 looks against a Vikings D giving up 7.5 YPA this season.
Deep Sleeper: Jarrett Boykin vs. Cleveland – There wasn’t much pretty about Jarrett Boykin’s performance in Week 6 as a receiver, until his 43 yard catch and run late in the game. Otherwise, the contest featured 5 targets, just the one catch, and a couple of drops. With that said, he’s shaping up to be the second option at receiver for Aaron Rodgers in a game where Joe Haden will likely look to neutralize Jordy Nelson. If that is the case, expect a lot of balls to go Boykin’s way. Torrey Smith and AJ Green are the only WR1s to lead their team in targets against the Browns this year, suggesting that between Jermichael Finley and Jarrett Boykin there should be plenty of opportunity this week if James Jones misses the contest.
Week 7 WR Sits
Steve Johnson vs. Miami – On track to return after taking a week off against the Bengals Johnson hits the road with the Bills to tackle the Dolphins. Miami has defended the pass well this year, allowing the 5th fewest FPPG to opposing WRs. Thad Lewis played a servicable, if not strong, game in his first start and shouldn’t be viewed as a negative for the fantasy outlook of any Bills starters, but, it shouldn’t really shock us that Marquise Goodwin and TJ Graham were more productive than Robert Woods last week – Lewis is throwing to guys he’s comfortable with, and with Johnson missing practice time I’m not expecting a strong rapport between the two this week. Of the 8 TDs Miami has allowed through the air this season none have been caught by receivers (6TE, 2RB).
Dwayne Bowe vs. Houston – It’s just time. I am heavily invested in Bowe, owning him in a number of league’s, but, the change in scheme hasn’t brough the attention I anticipated and the fact that the Chiefs are winning games without needing to take chances in the pass game doesn’t look set to change. Bowe is the league’s 52nd most targeted WR through six games and I’m not expecting that to change this week – even if it did, the Texans haven’t given up a 100 yard receiver all year and have yielded the fewest fantasy points in the league to the position.
Week 7 TE Starts
Rob Gronkowski vs. New York Jets – I’m not projecting a full workload for Gronkowski this week but I am reacting to his reinsertion into a lineup that desperately needs his big play ability. The Patriots have struggled in the redzone all year, so, expect to see Gronkowski on the field and involved inside the 20. He can make hay on even 50% of New England’s snaps this week if that is the case. Temper expectations about playing time but you’ve had Gronk on your bench all season waiting for this, don’t hesitate to get him in your lineups. The Jets have given up a TD to the position in three of their last four games and while they held Miller out of the endzone in Week 6 they allowed him to pile up 84 yards receiving.
Tony Gonzalez vs. Tampa Bay – Matt Ryan is going to have to lean heavily on Gonzalez for the rest of the year, particularly until Roddy White gets right. That starts this week against the Bucs. The matchup against a strong secondary that has been particularly tough on TEs in recent weeks is less than ideal, but, Ryan-Gonzo is going to be one of the most frequently called pass plays in the league this week, so, you’ve got to be behind him.
Bonus: Scott Chandler vs. Miami – Thad Lewis displayed great touch on his TD throw to Scott Chandler over the middle last week and looked comfortable targeting him.
Week 7 TE Sits
Charles Clay vs. Buffalo – Greg Olsen posted 84 yards and a score against the Bills in Week 2. Otherwise, the highest point total they’ve yielded to the position is 3.6 to Jordan Cameron. Buffalo represents the 2nd worst TE matchup in the league, they are giving up plenty of yards through the air but the damage is being done by wideouts.
Week 7 DSTs to Stream
San Diego Chargers vs. Jacksonville – 53% owned – It’s a matchup thing. San Diego has just two interceptions and a middling 14 sacks on the season, but, no opponent has posted less than 9 points against the Jags so the Chargers are as low-floor a team as any at DST this week.
Carolina Panthers vs. St. Louis – 40% owned – Even with a week off the Panthers have the 14th most total points in the league for a fantasy defense. Their 66 points allowed ranks just behind St. Louis and their eight interceptions are three off the league lead. I’m not expecting a big game from Sam Bradford (13 sacks, 4 turnovers this year) on the road this week.
Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Giants – 36% owned – I’m calling from a big game from Eli but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a clean one. Eli is in the top 10 most sacked QBs and he has had a small problem with interceptions.