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Fantasy Fast Forward: NFL Week 7

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Maybe I missed the memo, but it seems like it’s a requirement this week that every article written that has to do with the NFL, has to make mention of the “devastating” hits to the head from Week 6. So I’ll oblige… after all, who am I to buck authority?

And maybe I’m just being insensitive… I’ve had ladies accuse me of that a few times, believe it or not… and I’m not saying that hits to the head aren’t brutal and shouldn’t be a punishable offense… but men, football is a physical game, and you knew that going in. When you signed that lucrative contract to play in the NFL, you knew that every week, you’d be going up against the best football players in the world, in the most physically demanding game in the world. Injuries are going to happen… it’s just one of the “cons” of the job.

Bottom line: players, tackle the body, not the head. That should be it, end of story.

From a fantasy perspective though, odds are this recent concussion epidemic probably has hit your lineup, and coupling that with four top teams on their bye week this weekend, Week 7 is shaping up as the week that will test your fantasy team’s depth the most.

Before we take the plunge into Week 7 though, let’s quickly take a fond look back at a pretty solid Week 6 for yours truly, save for an awful week of wide receiver picks. Heck, I could’ve gotten all of my player picks totally wrong last week and still consider it a “pretty solid week,” because against all odds, I came within one stinkin’ rushing yard of nailing all three of my Week 6 Wackies picks! That doesn’t happen every week, I’ll just say that. Ok, on to the Week 6 review…

My Week 6 QB Aces (V. Young, Cassel, Brady)

Vince Young’s knee injury may have cost me from going a perfect three-for-three here, as VY through completed just three passes for 61 yards and a single TD before going down on Monday night. Cassel had a big day with a trio of TD passes, and Brady was Brady, spreading the ball around to rack up nearly 300 passing yards in the Pats’ OT win over Baltimore.

My Week 6 QB Jokers (Hill, McNabb, Orton)

All three of these chuckers had just one TD pass last week, with McNabb throwing for the most yards at just 246. Like Young, Shaun Hill fell victim to the injury bug with a forearm injury that knocked him out of action early. As for Kyle Orton, Denver almost pulled off the upset of the Jets… they may have done it too, if Orton could’ve done better than the 14-for-34 passing day he had.

My Week 6 RB Aces (Torain, D. Brown, McCoy)

Ryan Torain keeps making me look like a genius. I picked him up in nearly every fantasy league I’m in, and he’s definitely paying dividends. Two TDs and a 100-yard rushing day in Week 6 for Torain, his owners have to be tickled pink with that stat line. LeSean McCoy had a sub-par game in comparison to the high marks he’s been putting up all season (64 yards rushing, 21 yards receiving, no TDs), and Indy’s Donald Brown ended up being scratched from Sunday’s lineup for the Colts, as he battled a nagging hamstring injury. Hey, don’t blame me there… when you write a fantasy article three days before game time, these things are going to happen.

My Week 6 RB Jokers (Forsett, Hillis, F. Jones)

Peyton Hillis was a downer in Week 6, with just 41 yards on a dozen carries against Pittsburgh, Felix Jones wasn’t all that great either, unless you had him starting in a points-per-reception league (he had 32 yards rushing, but 10 catches for 61 yards), but it was Justin Forsett that made me look bad here. Forsett got more action than the newly acquired Marshawn Lynch, rushing for 67 yards and a score in Seattle’s upset win on the road, over the Bears. I think I’m staying away from predicting anything to do with the Seahawks from here on out… they are such a mystery team, no one has a clue what to expect from them from week to week.

My Week 6 WR Aces (Amendola, Harvin, Ward)

Ouch! It was an awful week for this trio of wideouts, with maybe the exception of Hines Ward, who was the only one of these three to find the end zone (five catches for 54 yards). Danny Amendola and Percy Harvin each had just three catches last week, with 19 and 21 yard totals respectively.

My Week 6 WR Jokers (Jennings, Burleson, Tate)

Well I certainly got Tate’s “joker” status correct… the Pats receiver didn’t catch any of the four passes that were through his way. The only time he touched the ball was on a 22-yard end-around rush attempt… not good if you started him in your lineup. Greg Jennings finally woke up from his fantasy slumber in Week 6, hauling in six balls for 133 yards and a score, making everyone who gave up on him feel foolish. Nate Burleson also caught six passes last week, including a TD of his own for the Lions.

My Week 6 TE Ace (Z. Miller)

Rough day for Miller and the entire Oakland offense, scoring just nine points against a previous winless 49ers team. Miller contributed little to the cause, catching just two passes for a mediocre 48 yards.

My Week 6 TE Joker (Shockey)

The Saints offense finally awoke in Week 6, but no one told Jeremy Shockey. The veteran tight end caught just a pair of balls in the Saints win over Tampa, for 21 yards.

My Week 6 Wackies

“There are eight teams in action this week with just one loss. At least half of them will lose their second game in Week 6.”

Bingo! Baltimore, Kansas City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay all fell for the second time in Week 6, leaving just the Jets, Pats, and Steelers as the league’s only teams with just one loss.

“The league leaders in interceptions thrown are Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, and Eli Manning. This week, the three of them will combine to throw one, at most.”

Cha-ching! How about these guys throwing ZERO interceptions in Week 6!?! Way to go boys… that’s how you make Papa shine in the spotlight!

“So far this season, we’ve seen just three running backs rush for over 150 yards in a game, Arian Foster (231 in Week 1), Adrian Peterson (160 in Week 3), and Matt Forte (166 in Week 5). There will be not just one, but at least two more 150+ yard rushing games in Week 6.”

SO CLOSE! The Saints’ Chris Ivory delivered for me, racking up 158 yards on the ground on just 15 carries, but San Fran’s Frank Gore came up just one flippin’ yard short of the 150-yard plateau, rumbling for 149 yards in the team’s first win of the year, over Oakland. Thanks for the effort Frank, it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Ok, enough jibber-jabber about last week, Week 6 is giving me a headache, even I feel concussed from it. Sorry, too soon for concussion jokes? Never!

Time for drop some knowledge for Week 7…

Week 7 QB Aces

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (@MIA)

He’s got a week of action under his belt now and should have a very solid week against a not-so-solid Dolphins secondary. I just hope he doesn’t hit the clubs in Miami after the game and get himself in trouble again. Behave down there, Big Ben.

Phillip Rivers, SD (vs. NE)

I’m reading a lot of fantasy talking heads that are down on Rivers this week. Sure, some of his favorite targets might be out of action (Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, and Legedu Naanee all questionable), but he’s still the second-best QB in all of fantasy land so far this season behind Peyton, and he gets to face a Patriots secondary that has given up at least two touchdown passes in all five of their games this year. I might be in the minority, but I like Rivers this week against the Pats.

Jay Cutler, CHI (vs. WAS)

I don’t know that I’ve made Cutler an “ace” all year, for good reason usually, but I’m going on a hunch and putting him here this week. Washington is giving up the fifth-most average fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, and only the Texans have given up more passing yards so far this year. Cutler is finally healthy again heading into this matchup, after a Week 4 concussion has had his fantasy owners scrambling for better options. Cutler’s very starter-worthy this week.

Week 7 QB Jokers

Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. CIN)

Hopefully your bye week replacement for Peyton Manning or Matt Schaub this week isn’t Matt Ryan. Ryan has been very inconsistent this season, and still hasn’t put up a 300+ yard passing day. Cincy’s defense will get after Ryan, so he’ll have to unload the ball quickly. This will be a fun game to watch, but I don’t see big things coming from the former BC Eagle in this one.

Kevin Kolb, PHI (@TEN)

Kolb will start another week for the Eagles, with Michael Vick likely to retake the starting job after the team’s bye week next week. Kolb put up a huge game last week, throwing for 326 yards and three scores, while completing all but six of his passes. You can’t expect him to match that stat line this week, and frankly, I don’t think he even comes close. I see this game coming down to the two running backs, Tennessee’s Chris Johnson vs. Philly’s LeSean McCoy. With no DeSean Jackson as a deep threat for Philly, look for Kolb to struggle in this one.

Tony Romo, DAL (vs. NYG)

Let me first start by saying I hate everything there is about Tony Romo. I’ve never met the fellow, and I don’t want to either, but in my mind, he’s just the ultimate jerk-off. All that said, I do actually have legitimate reasons not to like him this week as a fantasy starter beyond my intense hatred for the loser. Only the Titans (24) have more sacks than the Giants (21) and no team has forced more fumbles (13) this year than the G-Men. Dallas is in desperation mode, this game is as close as they come to an early must-win for the ‘Boys in Big D. It won’t be Romo who gets them there though, look for him to pee his pants and lose… again.

Week 7 RB Aces

Knowshon Moreno, DEN (vs. OAK)

I’ve never been a huge fan of Moreno, but this week I think he bounces back from his hamstring injury for a big game against a less-than-stellar Oakland front seven. He hasn’t had more than 60 yards in any of the three games he’s played in, but he does have a touchdown in two of those three. Time for the man to have a breakout game this week, just you wait and see.

Chris Ivory, NO (vs. CLE)

This seems like an easy pick this week, and it is. He’s facing Cleveland who, this just in, is a terrible football team. He’s coming off a career day that saw him rush for over 150 yards against a decent Tampa Bay defense. And, his only competition for carries out of the backfield is the always lackluster Ladell Betts. I’m a big fan of this kid this week, look for the Saints to milk the clock and maintain ball possession by running Ivory all day long.

Danny Woodhead, NE (@SD)

I’m doing it… I’m really doing it! I’m actually jumping on the Danny Woodhead bandwagon. This week, Woodhead and the Pats face the Chargers on the west coast, a team that was just gashed by Stephen Jackson last week in an upset win for the Rams. I’m not saying Danny Woodhead is comparable to Stephen Jackson, so get that out of your head this instant. But Woodhead has siphoned a lot of the work away from BenJarvus Green-Ellis the past few weeks, and I see this as the kind of game that a little tike like Woodhead can shine. So grow a pair and start him in your lineup with confidence! Viva la Woodhead!

Week 7 RB Jokers

Ronnie Brown, MIA (vs. PIT)

He’s facing the Steelers, one of the league’s top defenses. ‘Nuff said. He’s in a time share backfield with Ricky Williams. ‘Nuff said. He’s a grown man that still goes by the nickname “Ronnie”… who is he, a Jersey Shore guido with a drama queen girlfriend? Again, ‘nuff said.

Beanie Wells, ARI (@SEA)

Arizona’s coming off their bye week, but I still don’t see Wells being useful in the fantasy world. He’s been gaining touches over Tim Hightower lately, but I’m not considering either guy a start-able fantasy back this week, or any week, until one of them emerges as a definitely favorite over the other. Seattle’s front seven is very underrated also.

Ryan Mathews, SD (vs. NE)

I really liked the rookie heading into the year, but his high-ankle sprain has really soured me on the guy these past few weeks. He missed the team’s Wednesday practice, but I’d expect him to play for the banged-up Chargers this weekend against the Pats… the same Pats team that held Baltimore’s Ray Rice to under three yards a carry last week.

Week 8 WR Aces

Dwayne Bowe, KC (vs. JAC)

Bowe finally woke up in Week 6, catching six passes for 108 yards and two scores in Kansas City’s loss to the Texans. He’ll have a great chance at following up that effort with another potentially big game this week, when the Chiefs square off against a very weak Jacksonville Jaguar pass defense, a unit that has given up the third-most passing yards in the NFL.

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (@SEA)

Seattle’s rush defense might be pretty good, but their pass defense, well not so much. Only the Jags give up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, so it won’t matter who is throwing the football for the Cardinals on Sunday… any QB will have success throwing to a tall, talented receiver like Fitzy when you’re going up against the Seahawks.

Mike Williams, TB (vs. STL)

Williams is one of the front runners for Offensive Rookie of the Year so far this season, leading all receivers with 23 catches and 283 yards, to go along with three TDs. He faces off with the St. Louis Rams this week, a team that just allowed the likes of Patrick Crayton to put up a 117-yard day on them last week. The Rams have allowed four receivers go for at least 90 yards through just six games, which should bode well for the speedy young Buccaneer receiver.

Week 7 WR Jokers

Michael Crabtree, SF (@CAR)

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked what I’ve seen lately out of Crabtree… he’s finally making plays like we all knew he could. But this week, I’m down on the man. Believe it or not, the winless Carolina Panthers do have one strength… their secondary. They’ve kept opposing receivers from having big days all season long… no wideout has put up triple-digit yardage on them this season and no receiver has had more than 59 yards against the Panthers since two Giants did it in Week 1. Crabtree isn’t your answer this week.

Kenny Britt, TEN (vs. PHI)

The Titans’ starting QB for Sunday is still to be determined, with Vince Young nursing a knee injury, leaving the team’s passing game up in the air. Britt has had a good string of games lately, with touchdowns in four straight games, despite only 209 total yards. Philly’s defense can be good, and will be good this week. I see Britt’s touchdown streak ending, and him racking up no more than 50 yards on the day.

Davone Bess, MIA (vs. PIT)

Bess has been a hot commodity on the waiver wire the past few weeks, having emerged as a great slot option for QB Chad Henne in the Miami offense. He was rewarded with a new three-year contract extension this week, proving the ‘Fins value his contributions. He’ll have a tough task at earning that new money this week, with the Dolphins hosting the very talented Pittsburgh Steelers. If James Harrison doesn’t follow through on his threat to retire (which he won’t) and returns to the middle of that defense, you “Bess” be finding another option at receiver this week.

Week 7 TE Ace

Benjamin Watson, CLE (@NO)

Raise your hand if your starting tight end came out of Week 6 totally healthy? If you’ve got your hand raised, start running, because you have a lot of jealous enemies that want to hurt you, and your tight end for that matter. It seemed like every tight end in the league was banged up last week, from Antonio Gates and his toe, to Dallas Clark and his wrist, to Todd Heap’s neck and Chris Cooley’s head. So who do you turn to, to fill that TE void? I’m turning to former Patriot, Ben Watson in Cleveland. Watson was the top fantasy scorer at the position last week, hauling in six balls for 88 yards and a touchdown. He’s Cleveland’s leading receiver, and with Josh Cribbs and Mohammed Massaquoi are nursing injuries of their own that will limit their ability to perform, if they even get on the field Sunday.

Week 7 TE Joker

Marcedes Lewis, JAC (@KC)

Lewis has been a favorite target of David Garrard, especially in the red zone. He’s already got five TDs through six games, which fantasy owners have to like. But Jacksonville’s QB situation is a pile of crap, just a total mess. David Garrard probably won’t be playing, backup Trent Edwards hurt his thumb and is questionable also, so it could be Patrick Ramsey or Todd Bouman. Yup, good luck to the Jags this week.

Week 7 Wackies

(These are admittedly low-odds predictions that only I have the stones to profess…)

  • Only six running backs have five or more rushing touchdowns so far this season, Chris Johnson (7), Arian Foster (6), LeSean McCoy (5), Rashard Mendenhall (5), Mike Tolbert (5), and LaDainian Tomlinson (5). Foster and LT are on byes this week. My prediction: the other four will not find the end zone in Week 7.
  • Through six weeks, only two wide receivers have had 13 or more receptions in a game, Roddy White (13 in Week 1) and Reggie Wayne (15 in Week 4). In Week 7, we’ll have two more receivers added to this list.
  • In the three AFC vs. NFC matchups this week (Bengals-Falcons, Eagles-Titans, and Browns-Saints), the NFC will not only win all three, but each winner will win by a double-digit margin.

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