NFL FANTASY FOOTBALL: WEEK 7 TIPS

SpartanNation

I was all set to talk about Donovan McNabb's benching this week, but I actually had to rewrite this intro after Carson Palmer was traded to the Oakland Raiders. I’m sure there are plenty of owners right now who are wondering whether or not they should pick up the former Bengal now that he’s found his way to the Bay Area. It’s really kind of a tough call, because Carson Palmer was in such a horrendous situation mentally during his years in Cincinnati, it’s hard to know what a change of scenery will do for him. He’s shown that he has the talent to be a great NFL quarterback, but I think his head has gotten in the way at various points in his career. Despite this talent I’d take a cautious approach to Palmer in fantasy leagues. He doesn’t have very good wide receiver options in Oakland, and they are a run-first type of offense. He may be good for this team in the real work, but with a team that runs as often as the Raiders do, he probably won’t be a fantasy stud. Sure, he probably has some bye week fill-in potential, but unless you have a guy you’re itching to drop, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend adding Palmer. Now, on to week 7.

Quarterback

BEST Â Â  Aaron Rodgers, GB

-Rodgers is leading all quarterbacks in fantasy production this season, and this week faces the Vikings and their 24th ranked pass defense. So far this year the Vikings are giving up 269.5 yards per game through the air, and have also allowed 8 passing touchdowns this season. I have a feeling Rodgers is going to make those numbers look even worse after this week. It’s maybe a little cheap for me to pick Rodgers here, as everybody knows he’s a week-in week-out play, but this week he should be a monster. Look for Rodgers to easily eclipse 300 yards passing, and throw for at least 3 touchdowns. The only way the Vikings can stop him is if Jared Allen is in the backfield all day. I don’t see that happening enough to slow the Pack down this week.

WORST:Â Philip Rivers, SD

-Rivers has been disappointing this season, ranking 22nd amongst quarterbacks in total fantasy points behind quarterbacks like Matt Hasselbeck, Colt McCoy, Jason Campbell, Andy Dalton, and even my mortal fantasy football enemy, Mark Sanchez. It doesn’t get any easier for him this week as he faces the nasty Jets’ pass defense. They’ve made plenty of quarterbacks look bad this season, and I think the same should happen to Rivers this week. Look for him to only be around 200 yards passing, with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Those aren’t the type of numbers you want from a guy that you likely drafted in the top 3 or 4 rounds of your fantasy draft.

Running Back

BEST Â Â Matt Forte, CHI

-The guy is clearly the entire offense for the Bears. His real draw is that he produces in every facet of the offense. He gets the vast majority of Chicago’s carries in both the red-zone and between the 20s, and he also hasn’t caught fewer than 4 passes in any game this season. This week he faces off against a Tampa Bay defense that ranks in the middle of the pack against the run, and toward the bottom of the league against the pass. I think the Bears will use Forte to gash the Bucs up the middle, and on the outside using their particularly effective screen game. I think Forte will go for 115 yards on the ground, 50 through the air, and at least 1 touchdown if not more. As always, keep Forte in your lineup at all costs.

WORST:Â Michael Turner, ATL

-The Lions are mad after getting gashed by Frank Gore. That won’t happen two weeks in a row. The Lions haven’t been as good against the run as many had anticipated this season, and even though the numbers don’t back me up here, I think that the defensive line really wants to rectify that. I’ve been burned before going on hunches instead of my diligent statistical research, but I have to do it this week. My gut is making me.

Wide Receiver

BEST Â Â Greg Jennings, GB

-This is a rough bye week for wide receivers, as Wes Welker, Hakeem Nicks, A.J. Green, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, and Stevie Johnson are all off this week. With this in mind, I’ll have to tell you that this is perhaps the least sure I’ve been about a “best” pick all season. Jennings has been outstanding this season, and as I said in the Rodgers write-up, the Vikings have been less-than-stellar against the pass this year. What’s more, the last season against the Vikings Jennings went off for 7 catches, 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. That’s good for an insane 33.2 points in standard fantasy scoring systems.  Jennings has a legitimate shot to replicate those numbers this week, assuming he can break 1 or two big plays. I think he’ll go for 6 catches, 110 yards, and a touchdown. The one problem? He’s surrounded by the most talented group of pass-catchers in the NFL. It’s possible any of those guys could be the one to get a big week, hence my trepidation at putting him in the “best” column.

WORST:Â Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

-I love Fitz, I really do. It’s just a shame that Arizona can’t give him a true quarterback to get him the ball now that Kurt Warner spends his Sundays in the NFL Network studio instead of at University of Phoenix Stadium. His numbers this season are certainly strong, but would be significantly better if Kevin Kolb would find a real rhythm. Unfortunately for both they’re facing the nasty Steelers this week and their average of 157.7 yards given up through the air per game. If you think of it this way, on an extremely good day Fitzgerald will probably get 60% of Kolb’s passing yardage. Also, let’s assume that Kolb get’s to the Steelers’ average of yardage given up. So even if Fitz has an exceptional day, he’s probably only going to top out at 94 yards, and I expect less than that. I think he’ll be around 75 yards with no touchdowns this week. You don’t want to sit him, because he always has the potential to have a huge game, but temper your expectations.

Tight End

BEST Â Â Jason Witten, DAL

-He’s been great this season, and I think it will get even better against the Rams this week. Last week St. Louis looked lost against against Green Bay. Combine that with the pressure being applied to Dallas head coach, Jason Garrett, for his taking the ball out of Tony Romo’s hands late in the game against the Patriots and handing the ball off instead. I think this week the Cowboys will throw more than usual, and Witten should be a big part of that as usual. Expect over 100 yards and at least 1 score. And for those of you in PPR leagues I think there is a legitimate shot that Witten gets anywhere from 7 to 10 catches this week. Start him with the utmost confidence.

WORSTGreg Olsen, CAR

-He has a turf toe, even though it’s the weakest sounding injury in the world, it’s actually extremely painful and more serious than fans give it credit. This injury has derailed seasons of many an NFL player, as they try to play on it week after week, and just can’t get the speed or quickness they’d like off of that painful foot. We don’t have much indication as to how serious this turf toe is on Olsen, but I’m putting him here so you can keep an eye on it. Watch his production over the next two weeks, and if it starts to tail off you may want to think about trading Olsen while his stock is still high. If he plays the same, just hope that he doesn’t reinjure the toe.

Defense

BEST Â Â  Baltimore Ravens

-They play the Jags who average only 260 yards per game TOTAL. If you need me to say more, you aren’t doing so well in your league this year.

WORST:  Indianapolis Colts

-With byes this week it’s entirely possible people are considering starting the Colts. Don’t. Maybe I wasn’t forceful enough….DON’T! The Colts have been bad this season, in large part due to their inept quarterback situation forcing the defense to constantly be on the field. In fact, the Colts’ defense has been on the field for an average of 35:10 per game this year. They aren’t an untalented defense, just one that is constantly put in awful positions. They play the Saints this week, and I think Drew Brees will have a field day in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIV. The Colts will give up more than 21 points this week, and could get torched for upwards of 35. They probably won’t get any turnovers either. All-in-all, a horrendous day.

SLEEPER OF THE WEEK

-Colt McCoy, QB, CLE

Colt hasn’t been amazing this year, but he hasn’t been bad either. He’s facing the Seahawks, who have been near the bottom of the league in pass defense this season. So long as McCoy takes care of the ball, which he has done so far this year, I expect him to have a big day. Somewhere along the lines of 275 yards, 2 or 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. With so many byes this week, McCoy could be a very nice option in a lot of leagues this week, especially if you’re a Tom Brady, Michael Vick, or Eli Manning owner. But be warned, the Seahawks do have a solid 5 interceptions on the year, so it’s possible that they could sneak 1 or 2 away from McCoy and make his day less impressive. I don’t see it happening, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

*For more fantasy tidbits, insights, and info make sure to follow me, @lehmanna36, on Twitter!

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