Start These 10 Players In Week 7
Rather than a catchy intro detailing the finer points of roster management this week, I’ve decided to use this space for a couple of predictions. Feel free to use the comments section below to let me know which games you’re checking out in Week 7.
DENVER BRONCOS (+2) at Miami Dolphins: The Broncos are coming off the bye, Tim Tebow and his 2008 National Championship team are being honored and the Dolphins rank 30th in the NFL in red zone scoring efficiency. Denver gets up for this one while Miami falls flat once again.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-1.5) at New York Jets: The Bolts are healthy and rested (Antonio Gates is back!) while the Jets can’t seem to figure out a way to move the sticks. This is not the same New York football team we remember from the last two years. These guys have problems.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Arizona): Big Ben currently ranks outside of the top-ten in fantasy scoring at the quarterback position, but Sunday’s showdown against an Arizona Cardinals team that ranks 21st in the NFL in total defense (377.0 total yds/gm) offers up a sweet opportunity to get him in the starting lineup. The Cardinals are surrendering an average of 21.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (11th-most in NFL) and have only forced a total of seven turnovers this season (20th in NFL). Big Ben should have a big game.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (at New York Jets): Mathews has been putting together quite an impressive follow-up to his lackluster rookie season, as the former Fresno State standout is averaging 21.8 touches per game and currently ranks 9th in fantasy scoring at the running back position, despite having already served his bye. Look for the good times to keep rolling Sunday in New York against the NFL’s 28th-ranked run defense (132.0 yds/gm). As if that wasn’t enough, keep in mind that the Jets are giving up an average of 22.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (5th-most in NFL).
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos (at Miami): With former No. 1 wideout Brandon Lloyd now in St. Louis, Decker gets the opportunity to step up and become quarterback Tim Tebow’s top guy. Sunday at Miami should be a good opening act for these two, as the Fish are giving up an average of 25.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (10th-most in NFL). With a pro-Tebow crowd in the house, don’t be surprised if the Broncos pull off the upset in this one.
Kellen Winslow, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Chicago in London): The loudmouth from The U is coming off a season-high 10 targets in last Sunday’s win over division-rival New Orleans, but Winslow has yet to find the end zone in 2011 and hasn’t racked up 60 or more receiving yards since Week 1. We don’t love him in Week 7, but with so many teams on the bye, Winslow makes for a solid situational start against a Chicago defense that is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team in the league (12.5 fantasy pts/gm). If Winslow can’t produce this week, he isn’t worthy of a roster spot moving forward.
Dallas Cowboys, D/ST (vs. St. Louis): New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s unit currently ranks outside of the top-15 in fantasy scoring among D/STs, but we consider this defense to be one of our top plays in Week 7. Quarterback Sam Bradford is battling a high ankle sprain and his offense is averaging a league-worst 9.8 points per game. In addition, no team in the league is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing D/STs at the moment than the Rams (15.2 fantasy pts/gm). Expect the Cowboys to bounce back big after their Week 6 loss at New England.
Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (at Oakland): For as bad as Cassel and the Chiefs opened the 2011 season, you have to give the guy credit for hanging tough and finding a way to produce. Over his last two games, the former Patriot is completing 67.2% of his passes for 517 yards and 5 touchdowns with a QB Rating of 124.0. We expect another solid stat line Sunday in the Bay Area as Cassel is coming off the bye rested and ready for an Oakland Raiders defense that is currently giving up an average of 23.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (4th-most in NFL).
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints (vs. Indianapolis): This one sells itself. The Colts currently rank 30th in the NFL in run defense (136.7 yds/gm) and are giving up an average of 21.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (8th-most in NFL). In addition, Ingram has found the end zone in three of his last four games which, in our opinion, makes him a solid RB2/flex option for Week 7.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins (vs. Denver): Marshall hasn’t found the end zone since Week 2, but we have a feeling he’s in store for a big game Sunday against a Denver Broncos team that ranks 22nd in the NFL in pass defense (262.4 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 29.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (3rd-most in NFL). Now that quarterback Matt Moore has a start under his belt for 2011, we expect him to be more composed and efficient in Week 7.
Maurice Morris, RB, Detroit Lions (vs. Atlanta): With starter Jahvid Best out of action due to a concussion suffered in Week 6 and Ronnie Brown headed back to Philadelphia due to a voided trade, Morris becomes “the guy” in Motown for Sunday’s game against the Falcons. He may not be a household name, but keep in mind that Atlanta is giving up a healthy 17.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season. Consider Morris a situational flex option for Week 7 who has a nice bit of upside.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Indianapolis Colts (at New Orleans): In the three full games that quarterback Curtis Painter has started this season, Garcon has scored four touchdowns, amassed 323 receiving yards and been targeted a healthy 27 times. Expect the Colts to throw the ball early and often Sunday night in the Big Easy against a Saints defense that is currently surrendering an average of 25.5 fantasy points per week to opposing wide receivers. Consider Garcon a solid WR2 for Week 7.
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