Fantasy football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Analyzing the wide receiver position

Brandon Marshall caught nine passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants in Week 6.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport

No position has changed as much since the start of the season as the wide receivers position.

The top-15 quarterbacks are all relatively the same group of guys, just slotted up or down a few spots. Knowshon Moreno is really the only surprise among the upper echelon of running backs. And among the top tight ends, Charles Clay is the only new face from the start of the season.

Things are different with the wideouts, however, whether due to injury or performance. Players like Larry Fitzgerald, Randall Cobb (knee), Julio Jones (foot), Danny Amendola (head), Roddy White (hamstring) and Dwayne Bowe are missing from the top 20, replaced with new names like Josh Gordon, Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffery, T.Y. Hilton and Keenan Allen, who are ascending the ranks quickly.

Stash that away in your brain for next year's draft, when you consider taking a wide receiver before you have two good running backs on your roster.

These Week 7 Start 'em, Sit 'em recommendations are based on standard scoring, non-PPR, 12-team leagues that start 1-QB, 2-RB, 2-WR, 1-TE, 1-FLEX, 1-K and 1-DST. I've tried to list most of the possible players at each position, but if you find one missing -- please comment below, and I'll share my recommendation.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Start 'em:

Seahawks: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Steven Hauschka, Seahawks DST

The Seahawks finally get to face a below-average pass defense, and that bodes well for Wilson, who has just two touchdown passes in his past three games. Make a bid to trade for him, or possibly watch your waiver wire, as he's about to face several mediocre pass defenses (Arizona, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Minnesota) in the coming weeks. Lynch has over 15 fantasy points in four of his six games this season. Hauschka got blasted trying to make a tackle in Week 6, but he should be fine for this game.

Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald

If we learned anything in Week 6, it's that Fitzgerald has the talent and ability to put up fantasy points, regardless of the matchup or any injury. He does, however, need a quarterback to throw it to him, which we learned over the past couple years. CB Richard Sherman and Co. will do their best to damper No. 11's stats, but he remains a WR2 you should start. He's dealing with two bad hamstrings and a top-notch defense, facing them in a short week -- but he's coming off one of his best games of the season.

Sit 'em:

Seahawks: Robert Turbin, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice, Zach Miller

The offensive line in Seattle has been playing very well, and Lynch continues to be a top-10 running back nearly every week. But if he ever does get injured, Robert Turbin has shown enough talent that he'll likely become a top-15 running back in his stead. The Seahawks' wide receivers just don't stand out enough from each other to warrant starting as WR2s.

Cardinals: Carson Palmer, Rashard Mendenhall, Andre Ellington, Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd, Rob Housler, Cardinals DST

The 'Hawks have given up just three rushing touchdowns this season, and Mendenhall is still trying to keep Ellington at bay. They'll split touches once again, but if the rookie outperforms the veteran again, like he did in Week 6, then we might see a lot more of Ellington in Week 8. Floyd caught one touchdown pass and had another called back after he pushed the defender away, and he still shows great promise -- just not this week. The Cardinals DST lost DE Calais Campbell to injury in Week 6, and they aren't a good option against Lynch, Wilson and the Seahawks offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Start 'em:

Buccaneers: Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson

Rather than lean on their best player, the Buccaneers spread it around against the Eagles in Week 6. They let the rookie quarterback throw more than he should have in what ended up being a close game, and that didn't help Martin's owners out much. Meanwhile, Jackson had a big game, with two touchdowns against a porous Philly defense. The Falcons aren't that bad, but both of these guys are still worth starting against Atlanta.

Falcons: Matt Ryan, Jacquizz Rodgers, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant, Falcons DST

The Falcons are in rough shape from a health perspective, as they've lost Julio Jones for the year, and Roddy White's hamstring could keep him out of more games. Ryan is still a good quarterback, and he has other very good passing weapons at his disposal, specifically veteran TE Tony Gonzalez. Steven Jackson's hamstring, meanwhile, is expected to sideline him again in Week 7, even after the bye week. While the Buccaneers have a strong rushing defense (just one rushing touchdown allowed), the Falcons will utilize Rodgers in the passing game a lot. The Falcons DST is worth starting, since rookie quarterback Mike Glennon looks shell-shocked out there.

Sit 'em:

Buccaneers: Mike Glennon, Mike Williams, Tim Wright, Rian Lindell, Buccaneers DST

Mike Williams missed Week 6 with a hamstring injury, and he becomes a borderline WR3 if he's able to return, while also taking away most of the looks Wright got. The Buccaneers DST might be a decent cheap play in weekly leagues, considering all of the Falcons injuries, but there should be better options for you in seasonal formats.

Falcons: Steven Jackson, Jason Snelling, Roddy White, Harry Douglas

Snelling will be facing a tough rush defense, led by DT Gerald McCoy. While Douglas should receive most of Ryan's attention, he'll also likely have most of Bucs CB Darrelle Revis' attention.

Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins

Start 'em:

Bears: Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Bears DST

Over the past three games, Cutler has averaged 300 passing yards, two touchdown passes and one interception. That's 18 points in most leagues, good enough to be a recommended starter against a Redskins team that struggles against the pass. While Marshall was a star in Week 6, and Jeffery in Week 5, we expect both to rack up some points in this game. The Redskins are below average against tight ends, so get Bennett into your starting lineup. The Bears should be able to move the ball easily, even though the Redskins did hold the more familiar Cowboys to just 213 net yards.

Redskins: Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon

Despite having two weeks to prepare for a Cowboys team that was allowing over 300 passing yards per game, RGIII was still unable to throw for a touchdown in Week 6. He'll face a much tougher Bears defense, but at least his knee was healthy enough for him to run for over 70 yards. Morris continues to keep pace with fantasy running backs that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Despite having just three catches on the season, he ranks among the top 15 in fantasy points -- even in PPR formats.

Sit 'em:

Bears: Michael Bush, Robbie Gould

The Bears aren't running it in at the goal line these days, not with skyscraper receivers like Marshall, Bennett and Jeffery. Chicago has just four rushing touchdowns, and Bush isn't getting many chances anyway. Gould actually has a chance to put up some good points in this game, but he has had fewer than two field goal attempts in half of his games so far.

Redskins: Roy Helu, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Jordan Reed, Kai Forbath, Redskins DST

Reed has become one of Griffin's favorite targets, and the Bears aren't great against tight ends -- but they've only allowed one touchdown to players at the position. Forbath finally returned from a Week 1 groin injury, and made three of four field goals against the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Start 'em:

Cowboys: Tony Romo, Joseph Randle, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Dan Bailey

It seems like Romo has great passing matchups around every turn. He has faced the Giants, Chargers, Broncos and Redskins this season, all of which rank among the bottom half of pass defenses. Now, the Eagles are up, allowing an average of over 310 passing yards and a total of 13 touchdowns. Murray injured his knee in Week 6, which opens up playing time for rookie Joseph Randle. The Cowboys have some great rushing matchups ahead (Eagles, Lions, Vikings, Saints and Giants), making whoever starts over that period a likely top-15 fantasy running back. Bryant is coming off his worst game of the season, but rest easy, as he scored three touchdowns in two games against the Eagles last season.

Eagles: Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Alex Henery

Whichever Eagles quarterback gets the starting nod in the NFL is worth starting on your fantasy roster. Vick was active in Week 6, but sat out with a hamstring injury. In his place, Foles won for the second time in his career (beating the Bucs for the second time in his career). He was responsible for four touchdowns, including one on a quarterback draw. Chip Kelly's offense is working -- they join the 1983 Chargers and 2007 Patriots as the only NFL offenses to gain at least 400 yards in each of their first six games of the season.

Sit 'em:

Cowboys: Miles Austin, Terrance Williams, Cowboys DST

Austin returned from a hamstring injury -- and frustrated fantasy owners by not making a single catch against the Redskins. His return likely forced owners to pull Williams from their lineups, which means they missed out on his 15-yard touchdown catch. Even so, his play was limited to just two targets with Austin back. If Austin pulls up lame this week, get Williams in your lineup. Otherwise, Austin's owners should wait another week or two until he proves he's healthy. The Cowboys DST played well in Week 6, scoring on a punt return, but they should have their hands full with Shady McCoy and friends.

Eagles: Michael Vick, Bryce Brown, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, Eagles DST

Even though the Eagles don't throw to their tight ends much, Celek or Ertz could be a sneaky weekly league play, considering the Cowboys are one of the worst defenses against tight ends. Celek started in Week 6, but Ertz saw more targets. Foles spreads the wealth, targeting four different receivers with at least six targets.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

Start 'em:

Patriots: Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Patriots DST

Brady shook off his touchdown-less Week 5 by throwing a pair of touchdown passes in Week 6. His receivers drop an awful lot of passes, and it looks like he'll be missing the team's best wide receiver for an extended period, now that Danny Amendola suffered another concussion. Brady will have to rely more on Julian Edelman, two rookie receivers and Austin Collie, their most recent signee. With all that gloom and doom, and a tough matchup against the Jets, he's still someone you can't count out in fantasy play. Ridley played well and he'll be facing the second-best rushing defense in the league. But he's a physical back and the Jets will have to worry more about Brady's arm than Ridley's legs.

Jets: Bilal Powell

Powell hurt his shoulder against the Steelers, but it doesn't appear to be anything that would hinder him against the Patriots. New England has allowed only three rushing touchdowns this season, but that's OK since Powell only has one touchdown anyway. But -- the Patriots are giving up over 115 rushing yards per game. Consider Powell a low-end RB2 or a flex player.

Sit 'em:

Patriots: Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount, Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson

Thompkins does have four touchdown catches in his past four games, but he also has several dropped passes and Jets CB Antonio Cromartie likely covering him. Dobson has more drops than Visine, but he's still someone to remember as the season develops. Actually, both rookies (six) rank one dropped pass behind Tavon Austin (seven) for the league lead.

Jets: Geno Smith, Chris Ivory, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Jeff Cumberland, Jets DST

The rookie quarterback put up a stinker in Week 6, after a three-touchdown game at Atlanta. This is how things usually work with first-year signal callers. The Patriots defense should do a nice job of keeping him off balance, as well. With Kellen Winslow suspended for three more games, the Jets will target Jeff Cumberland more -- but not enough to warrant fantasy consideration.


EDHOLM, MIGLIO: Don't let injuries, bye weeks take a toll on your roster
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Nick Foles emerges as a fantasy starter
BELLER: Early Advice -- Martin, Jackson owners can breathe easier

Fred Jackson split carries with C.J. Spiller last week, but Jackson saw more passes thrown his way.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images Sport

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Start 'em:

Bills: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson

Jackson and Spiller split carries against the Bengals, although Jackson was more active in the passing game and at the goal line. The Dolphins defense is pretty bad at keeping running backs from tallying fantasy points. Through five games, the Miami defense has allowed 430 rushing yards and 321 receiving yards, with six rushing touchdowns.

Dolphins: Lamar Miller, Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Dolphins DST

The Bills are actually very good against running backs, so starting Miller takes some faith on your part that he'll shake off early season doldrums. The Dolphins are splitting carries, for the most part, but they need Miller to develop as much as you do. Wallace had been one of the bigger free-agent disappointments this season until he came through with a 105-yard day against Baltimore. The Bills are one of the worst defenses against fantasy wide receivers in the NFL, so we like both Wallace and Hartline.

Sit 'em:

Bills: E.J. Manuel, Thaddeus Lewis, Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, T.J. Graham, Scott Chandler, Dan Carpenter, Bills DST

Manuel could miss another four to six games with his sprained knee, which means Lewis gets his third NFL start this week. Lewis threw for two touchdowns and ran for another against the Bengals, but he's still not someone to rely on in fantasy. Stevie Johnson is dealing with a back injury and some personal issues, but even if he plays, he's not a good start this week. He has three catches for 18 yards in his past two games. Chandler is a good, cheap option for weekly leagues, as Lewis will continue to target him.

Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Thomas, Charles Clay, Caleb Sturgis

While Clay has emerged into a top-10 fantasy tight end, he faces a difficult matchup here, as the Bills have allowed just one touchdown pass to tight ends, and about 35 receiving yards per game.

St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers

Start 'em:

Rams: Zac Stacy, Greg Zuerlein

Stacy got 75-percent of the carries in Week 6, and he looked good, totaling 90 yards rushing and receiving against Houston. The rookie will face a tougher matchup this week, but the Rams are learning to mix the rush and pass much better. Carolina has allowed just two rushing touchdowns this season. While Zuerlein ranks in the middle of all fantasy kickers, his big leg makes him someone that can score from just a little farther out than most kickers. And that means he could have more opportunities -- especially for leagues with bonus points for distance.

Panthers: Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Panthers DST

Newton continues to show why he was a top-five pick at his position, as he's coming off his second three-touchdown game in the past three weeks. There are five quarterbacks with more than his 153 rushing yards, however, as we watch the NFL continue its acceptance of the zone-read. The Rams aren't too tough on quarterbacks, so keep him active. The Panthers used Williams more in the passing game last week, with five receptions for 53 yards. He totaled 117 yards on the day, and he should eclipse that mark this week, going up against a Rams rushing defense that only the Jaguars look up to. Olsen is coming off a weak performance after we all expected him to blow up against a Vikings defense that has had a ton of problems with tight ends. The Panthers defense, however, continues to rock, with only the Chiefs DST allowing fewer points per game.

Sit 'em:

Rams: Sam Bradford, Daryl Richardson, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Rams DST

Bradford completed just 12 passes in Week 6, but three of them went for touchdowns. It's doubtful we'll see any other quarterback, much less Bradford, do that again this season. The Rams receivers caught just five passes as a unit last week, making none of them an intriguing pickup against the Panthers' tough pass defense.

Panthers: Mike Tolbert, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr., Graham Gano

Tolbert has been vulturing touchdowns away from Williams, and that could happen once again. It's just difficult to use a lineup spot for a guy that gets about seven touches a game. LaFell is also an interesting player, in that he doesn't get the bulk of attention from his quarterback, but he continues to put up points. With just two teams on bye, however, you can't rank him in the top 30 WRs.

Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions

Start 'em:

Bengals: Giovani Bernard, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, A.J. Green

Bernard is averaging 4.0 yards per carry, but he had six catches in Week 6 for the second time this season, and totaled 100 yards on the day. He's someone with a bigger second half of the fantasy season ahead of him, which means you should try to get him in trade while his price is still relatively low. Speaking of players with better futures ahead of them, Green has just two 100-yard games and four touchdowns in six games. At this stage last season, he had three 100-yard games and six touchdown catches. The Lions are allowing close to 125 rushing yards per game, which gives both Bernard's and BJGE's owners a green light.

Lions: Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson

The Bengals have given up just three rushing touchdowns this season, which bodes poorly for Joique Bell. Bush should still do well through the air, however, like he did in Week 6 against the Browns. Megatron played through a knee injury, but he was held to just 25 yards on three catches.

Sit 'em:

Bengals: Andy Dalton, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert, Jermaine Gresham, Mike Nugent, Bengals DST

There just aren't enough passes for Jones and Sanu to be regular fantasy contributors. And despite having two excellent pass-catching tight ends, Dalton just doesn't target either one of them enough for fantasy owners. The Bengals defense is usually a good fantasy start, however, the Bills scored 24 points on them and now the Lions face them with their high-powered offense.

Lions: Joique Bell, Ryan Broyles, Kris Durham, Joseph Fauria Brandon Pettigrew, David Akers, Lions DST

Broyles continues to work back from a knee injury, and until the Lions trust him with more targets, you shouldn't either. It's feast or famine with Fauria. He's seeing some of the end-zone targets that might otherwise have gone to Johnson. (Johnson actually let a TD pass bounce off his arms in Week 6.) In every NFL game that Fauria has a catch (three) -- he has a touchdown (five). But if Johnson's getting healthier, it would seem to diminish Fauria's value. Akers has just two field goals in his past two games, as the Lions have been able to score when they get into the red zone.

San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Start 'em:

Chargers: Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Nick Novak, Chargers DST

The Chargers are coming off a win against the Colts on Monday night, when Mathews and Allen both went over 100 yards. They will have a great chance to do that again, traveling to Jacksonville. The Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL at stopping the run, as they've allowed over 150 rushing yards per game. Rivers and Gates should also hook up again, since the Jaguars don't have the talent to keep the All-Pro tight end down like the Colts. Allen, a rookie WR out of Cal, has emerged as Rivers' No. 1 target. Over the past two weeks, he has 15 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns.

• Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Blackmon

It's time to recognize Blackmon as a very good wide receiver going forward. He had a huge Week 6 at Denver, and the Jaguars were in the game, so it wasn't all garbage yardage. He has 19 catches for 326 yards in two games this season. The Chargers aren't great against the pass, and once again, Henne and Co. will have to go to the air in the second half a lot. The Chargers have allowed just two rushing touchdowns, but the Jaguars will go to MJD often as one of their few playmakers.

Sit 'em:

Chargers: Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal

With Allen taking over as the team's No. 1 WR, ostensibly, both Brown and Royal are left picking up the scraps. The days of all three wide receivers taking turns as fantasy studs should be over. Granted, Allen is a rookie and will put up a stinker once in a while, but you won't be able to plan for that.

Jaguars: Chad Henne, Blaine Gabbert, Cecil Shorts, Clay Harbor, Jaguars DST

While the Jaguars might be playing from behind once again, you can't start a Jaguars quarterback outside of two-quarterback leagues. Shorts left Sunday's game at Denver with a clavicle injury after just three offensive plays. He is questionable to play in Week 7. The Jaguars defense will also have some problems with this recharged San Diego offense.

San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans

Start 'em:

49ers: Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Phil Dawson, 49ers DST

One of the more interesting stats I came across this week was that Gore has just five catches this season. That number is the lowest among the top 25 fantasy running backs, from a player that has three seasons under his belt with at least 50 receptions. He hasn't caught a pass in the past three weeks, but he tallied his second 100-yard rushing game of the season Sunday against Arizona. With four touchdown catches in the past three weeks, and injuries affecting Gronk and Graham, Davis looks like the No. 1 tight end in fantasy play these days. Boldin's fantasy production has fallen off considerably, with just five catches for 49 yards over the past two games. The Titans defense has allowed just six passing touchdowns this season, so consider Boldin more for a flex position.

Titans: Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson has yet to put up a 100-yard game this season, and things don't look much better against the 49ers defense. But he's still the featured back for an NFL team -- and those are tough to come by. Keep him active in 12-team leagues and hope he snaps off a 150-yard game, as we know he's capable.

Sit 'em:

49ers: Colin Kaepernick, Kendall Hunter

After being "fantasy absent" in the second and third weeks of the season, Kaepernick has shown some life again. Unfortunately, he's about to go AWOL again, as the Titans defense is as tough on quarterbacks as the Niners defense. Hunter has three touchdowns in his past four games, but he has just 25 touches in that span, making it difficult for fantasy owners to rely on him weekly.

Titans: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker, Rob Bironas, Titans DST

Kendall Wright seems to have a decent connection with Fitzpatrick, as Wright led the team in receiving with five catches for 69 yards. The Titans DST deserve some consideration for this week, as the Niners aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard, and the Titans have three DST touchdowns and have sacked the quarterback nine times in the past three games.


GONOS: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em -- New faces in upper tier of WRs
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- Top running backs will explode
SI STAFF: Player Rankings -- Quarterbacks may surprise owners

After a slow start to the season, Arian Foster has picked up his pace in the last two games.
David J. Phillip/AP

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs

Start 'em:

Texans: Arian Foster, Andre Johnson

Foster had his second big fantasy game in three weeks, and he has over 340 rushing yards in that span. The Chiefs are a very tough defense, however, but that shouldn't cause anyone to look at Foster differently. The Texans will need to rely more on their running game with Matt Schaub (leg) injured. We'll see what kind of chemistry Johnson can make with a different quarterback.

Chiefs: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs DST

Jamaal Charles is the first NFL player to tally 100 total yards and at least one touchdown in each of his first six games, since Orenthal James Simpson did it in 1975. And the Chiefs defense ranks just behind the Seahawks in fantasy reliability these days.

Sit 'em:

Texans: Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum, Ben Tate, DeAndre Hopkins, Garrett Graham, Randy Bullock, Texans DST

Week 6 was not a great week for tight ends named Graham, as Garrett was expected to play well in Owen Daniels' absence, but didn't. He should come around, but playing him against the Chiefs isn't a great idea. Tate's first touchdown of the season came Sunday, but it came after the game was in hand and Foster was sitting. The Texans DST has allowed 72 points over the past two games, and it's not one to rely on going up against Andy Reid's offense.

Chiefs: Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Anthony Fasano, Ryan Succop

While Bowe hasn't done much for his fantasy owners this season, he's still the team's No. 1 receiver, and has proven to have the talent to string together big games. Unfortunately, he's facing a tough pass defense in Houston, although, they are expected to be without safety Danieal Manning (knee). Avery's usefulness in fantasy was limited to just a couple weeks, and Smith just doesn't throw downfield enough to be considered a regular fantasy starter. Succop is consistently inconsistent this season, with either four field goals or one field goal in each of his past five games.

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Start 'em:

Ravens: Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Justin Tucker, Ravens DST

Rice was expected to have a big day against the Packers, but he had just 34 rushing yards on the day. Even so, he had two touchdowns the week before and he's a must-start player every week he's healthy. Only DeSean Jackson and Julio Jones have more receiving yards this season than Smith, but sitting his counterpart, Marlon Brown, is probably wise against a Steelers team that has given up an NFL-low four touchdown passes. Tucker averaged two field goals in two games against the Steelers last season. While the Ravens defense has forced just seven interceptions on the year, they do have nine sacks in the past two games -- and the Steelers offensive line is still banged up.

Steelers: Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Shaun Suisham

Coming off a bye week, we figured Bell would put up some solid fantasy points against the Packers. But he matched Rice, with 34 rushing yards, and now he's facing a Ravens defense that has allowed an NFL-low one rushing touchdown. Miller caught six passes Sunday for the second game in a row, and now he'll face a Ravens team that has had a tough time with tight ends, allowing 417 yards to them so far this season. Suisham still hasn't missed a kick this season, and he's coming off his best week so far (four field goals).

Sit 'em:

Ravens: Joe Flacco, Bernard Pierce, Marlon Brown, Dallas Clark

Flacco had his best game of 2013 in Week 6, but in eight career games against the Steelers, he's averaging 216 passing yards and 1.5 passing touchdowns. You should be able to do better than that in a two-team bye week.

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers DST

Big Ben hasn't had great success against the Ravens in his career (15 interceptions in 11 games), although, this is a different Ravens squad. Sanders just caught his first touchdown pass of the season, but he's the third option on the Steelers right now. The Steelers defense finally had a big game against the Jets, but the Super Bowl champs are a different story.

Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers

Start 'em:

Browns: Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron

The Packers can definitely be had through the air, so both Gordon and Cameron are expected to have top-10 games at their respective positions. Gordon ranks as the 13th-most productive fantasy wide receiver through six weeks -- and he missed the first two games. Only Dez Bryant and Wes Welker have more fantasy points over the past four weeks. Cameron has been inconsistent recently, but expect a touchdown out of him this week, as the Packers have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends in five games this season.

Packers: Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Mason Crosby, Packers DST

Recently, I took part in a one-round rookie mock draft, and Lacy was the first overall pick -- and rightly so, as he leads all rookies in rushing. You're not sitting Rodgers, Lacy, Nelson, Finley or Crosby, so let's talk about that other wide receiver spot. James Jones (leg) is expected to play in Week 7, but Randall Cobb (broken leg) will be out until Week 15 at the earliest. That means second-year receiver Jarrett Boykin will be asked to step up. After Jones went out of Sunday's game, Rodgers targeted Boykins a few times, only to see the ball drop to the ground. Rodgers will come back to him though, knowing he needs his receiver to gain some confidence. He's a nice pickup in larger leagues, but he's not someone to start until the six-team bye weeks hit. Of the top 15 scorers at the kicker position, Crosby ranks fourth -- and he's the only one that has already had his bye week. The Packers DST has just six forced turnovers in their five games this season. They do have 10 sacks in the past two weeks, though.

Sit 'em:

Browns: Brandon Weeden, Willis McGahee, Chris Ogbonnaya, Greg Little, Davone Bess, Billy Cundiff, Browns DST

The Packers are allowing fewer than 80 rushing yards per game, which should talk you into sitting McGahee -- and Ogbonnaya, who is getting more looks in the passing game these days.

Packers: Johnathan Franklin

Franklin has five touches in the two games since the Packers' Week 4 bye, and he has just five yards to show for it.

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

Start 'em:

Broncos: Peyton Manning, Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Matt Prater

Manning faces his former team for the first time, and you have to figure he'll have a pretty big fantasy day, with the idea of outshining the young buck (Andrew Luck) that eventually replaced him. Moreno has five rushing touchdowns in his past three games, and only Jamaal Charles has been better than him in fantasy play in that span. Thomas has had back-to-back disappointing games, averaging just 5.5 targets from Manning in each game, compared to the 9.5 targets he had in his first four games. He'll come around -- hopefully, this week.

Colts: Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Reggie Wayne, T.Y.Hilton, Adam Vinatieri

We know Manning is excited to go up against his former team, but you think the prince doesn't want to dominate the king? Luck will get his first shot at beating his predecessor's team, and he'll get to do it against a pass defense that's allowing an NFL-high 337 passing yards per game. Some of that can be attributed to teams passing to play catch-up with Manning -- and in all honesty, that could happen again this week. In four games with the Colts, Richardson is averaging just 48 rushing yards per game. The Broncos are the toughest against the run, but again, that's because teams don't have time to run it when the Broncos are up 21 points in the second quarter.

Sit 'em:

Broncos: Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball, Broncos DST

The backup running backs likely won't see many goal-line carries since this game is expected to be pretty competitive. The Broncos defense is in for a tough game with Luck and Co.

Colts: Donald Brown, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Coby Fleener, Colts DST

Fleener just hasn't broken out the way we had hoped once Dwayne Allen got injured. He's a borderline option this week, since Luck will be slinging it a lot.

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants

Start 'em:

Vikings: Adrian Peterson, Blair Walsh

Peterson somehow played through a personal tragedy, and should be ready to go against a Giants defense that ranks among the bottom 10 against the rush. Walsh hasn't had the huge fantasy games so far this season, but it's not because of his ability. They're just not getting as many opportunities.

Giants: Brandon Jacobs, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks

With David Wilson's season in jeopardy with a neck injury, and Da'Rel Scott's hamstring keeping him from action, Jacobs could duplicate his Week 6 production: 106 rushing yards, two touchdowns. Running backs have played very well against the Vikings, both on the ground and through the air. Cam Newton and the Panthers picked the Vikings pass defense apart, and Cruz should bounce back from a pair of relatively quiet games. Speaking of quiet, after four quiet weeks to start the season, Nicks now has 13 catches for 212 yards in his past two games.

Sit 'em:

Vikings: Josh Freeman, Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Kyle Rudolph

Freeman apparently knows enough of the offense to earn the start, and while he's not fantasy-worthy, watch which wide receivers get favored with more targets. He could even end up targeting the tight end more as an outlet. Either way, this offense lives and dies on the feet of A.P. Even with two defensive/special teams touchdowns, the Vikings unit ranks as one of the worst fantasy DSTs.

Giants: Eli Manning, David Wilson, Da'Rel Scott, Rueben Randle, Brandon Myers, Josh Brown, Giants DST

Even though the Vikings are one of the worst pass defenses in the league, it's tough to recommend the younger Manning brother, as he just seems lost out there at times. He has six interceptions in his past two games. He'll be playing against a Vikings team that is friendly to quarterbacks, but against other pass-friendly defenses (Denver and Philadelphia), he threw three touchdowns and seven interceptions.

David Gonos is a fantasy sports veteran of over 20 years and over 100 fantasy football leagues. You can also follow him @davidgonos on Twitter. If you have some good Week 7 start 'em, sit 'em opinions, drop them in the comments below.


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