Fantasy Football Week 7: Last-Second Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em

1 of 6

Sit'em or Start'em

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Kim Klement-USATODAY Sports

Every week poses its own set of unique decisions that you’ll be forced to make, decisions that often determine the outcome of your matchup. Sometimes the decision is straight forward and you simply go with the player you feel is more talented. But more often than not, you will be faced with at least one decision that will keep you up at night; one that you can justify going either way on. Where do you draw the line between talent and opponent? This is an inexact science, but I'm here to help you out and serve as a tie breaker should you be caught in such a situation for this week's games. Here are a few suggestions when it comes to what players should ride your pine and players that should be started.

It should be noted that these recommendations are made for a standard scoring 12-team league. Keep in mind that these decisions are greatly impacted by your specific roster. For example, I'm not benching my starting QB if my only backup is Case Keenum. There is some common sense involved, but should you have a decision that mirrors my examples, the next five slides will detail the position I would take.

Looking for specific team advice? I’m on Twitter @unSOPable23

2 of 6

Quarterbacks

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Rob Grabowski-USATODAY Sports

Quarterback

Sit – Aaron Rodgers (vs Cleveland Browns): I’m generally not in love with quarterbacks who oppose this stingy Browns defense, and a QB who has a couple of injuries to his primary targets is a real risk. Cleveland gets after the quarterback quite a bit, something they can afford to do with Joe Haden roaming in their secondary. Rodgers is an elite talent, but this is matchup I want no part of.

Start – Jay Cutler (@ Washington Redskins): The Redskins rank as one of the ten worst pass defenses in terms of fantasy points against and Cutler comes into this game on fire. The Bears' gunslinger has looked more than comfortable in Marc Trestman’s wide open offense of late, completing 72 percent of his passes for six touchdowns (and no interceptions) over his last two-plus games. His confidence in Brandon Marshall is unquestioned, but it is Cutler’s willingness to look to Alshon Jeffery or Martellus Bennett with regularity that has me excited about his Week 7 upside.

3 of 6

Running Backs

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Andrew Weber-USATODAY Sports

Running Back

Sit – Steven Ridley (@ New York Jets): I realize that he scored twice and totaled 110 total yards last week, but one strong performance isn’t enough to give me weekly confidence. No running back has rushed for more than 72 yards against the loaded Jets front line, and no running back has eclipsed 43 yards in the last three weeks. Ridley was averaging 52 total yards per game (with no touchdowns) prior to last week, and while he may exceed that number, he’s not a good bet to total double-digit fantasy points this weekend.

Start – Fred Jackson (@ Miami Dolphins): The Dolphins have given up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, and with C.J. Spiller (ankle) less than 100 percent, I like Jackson to receive an extended workload. He has scored four times in the last five weeks and has managed at least four receptions in all but one game this season, giving him nice value in PPR formats.

4 of 6

Wide Receivers

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Stew Milne-USATODAY Sports

Wide Receiver

Sit – James Jones (vs Browns): His status is very much in question for this game, but even if he suits up for the Packers, I’m leaving him on my fantasy bench this week against the Browns. He hasn’t practiced all week (knee) and will be facing the sixth-stingiest defense when it comes to fantasy points allowed to WR. Jones has always been a bit of a hit or miss player, and while I expect him to step up in the absence of Cobb when healthy, this is a tough week to count on the touchdown machine.

Sit – Cecil Shorts III (vs San Diego Chargers): The speedster is nursing a clavicle injury and while he is officially listed as questionable, he told reporters that he “plans to play” this weekend. As with Jones, I’m not putting him in my roster regardless. The Chargers succeeded last week with time consuming drives, something I expect them to do once again. Even when their offense is on the field, Chad Henne has been more than happy to throw the ball to Justin Blackmon on every single play (20 targets last week). The amount in which he targets Blackmon feels much like the Cutler to Marshall connection (on a lesser level) last season, and that offense rarely offered up a second receiver worthy of a spot in your fantasy lineup.

Start – T.Y. Hilton (vs Denver Broncos): This matchup is all about the quarterbacks, as well it should, but that doesn’t mean other players can’t have great value. The efficiency of Peyton Manning has resulted in the Broncos defense giving up a ton of passing yards (big deficits are typically directly correlated with big passing numbers), and Andrew Luck is more than capable of having a big day. In six games this season, Denver has allowed five 100-yard receivers … Hilton is tied for the sixth-most fantasy points (PPR scoring) per snap among receivers this season, and in a game that figures to offer more than the average number of offensive snaps, I love Hilton this week.

Start – Kenbrell Thompkins (@ Jets): He is incredibly talented and should be in single coverage for most of this game. The inactive status of Danny Amendola ensures that Thompkins will be on the field plenty, while both the probable return of Rob Gronkowski and the dominating Week 2 effort from Julian Edelman (13 catches on 18 targets) should give Thompkins room to work on the outside. Tom Brady is pretty good at football and he clearly trusts the undrafted rookie.

5 of 6

Tight Ends

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Tim Fuller-USATODAY Sports

Tight End

Sit – Brandon Pettigrew (vs Cincinnati Bengals): He’s not good. I said it. He’s just not who we thought he was. The Bengals rank in the top half of the league when it comes to stopping opposing tight ends from having big fantasy days, and even if a tight end does produce for Detroit this week, how can we be sure it’d be Pettigrew (Joseph Fauria hauled in three scores last week)? Calvin Johnson is expected to be more of a weapon this week and Kris Durham has earned extended playing time, which only subtracts from the potential looks that the disappointing tight end could see.

Start – Kyle Rudolph (@ New York Giants): After a strong rookie campaign, Rudolph hasn’t done much this season (21-200-2), but the quarterback play hasn’t exactly helped. Josh Freeman is taking over the starting reigns this week, a change that can’t do anything but help Rudolph. The Vikings don’t have a ton of options in the passing game, and when you consider the Giants struggles against opposing tight ends (fifth most fantasy points allowed), Rudolph is a good bet to get back on track. Another plus for the pride of Notre Dame is the fact that Freeman has had almost no time to digest the playbook, which means we could see a lot of dump offs and short passes on Monday night.

6 of 6

Defense/Special Teams

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Jeremy Brevard-USATODAY Sports

Defense/Special Teams

Sit – Houston Texans (@ Kansas City Chiefs): The Chiefs' offense may not be explosive, but they don’t make mistakes. Fantasy points add up rapidly if you can force turnovers, but Alex Smith and this conservative offense simply don’t force things. A new quarterback for the Texans doesn’t help their defense’s fantasy upside; as it is possible the Chiefs get great starting field position routinely. The Texans rank in the bottom half of the league in sacks and have only two interceptions on the season, stats that resemble a waiver wire unit more so than one you should own, let alone consider starting.

Start – Carolina Panthers (vs St. Louis Rams): We all know about Cam Newton, but this defense in Carolina is better than the offense. They have twice as many interceptions (eight) as touchdown passes allowed (four) and have given up 32 points in their last three games combined. The Rams offense put up nice numbers over the past two weeks, but traveling to Carolina is a different animal. With Tavon Austin struggling to produce and the Rams lacking a true ground game, look for the Panthers to pin their ears back and attack the unproven/disappointing Sam Bradford.

Related:

Take the guessing out of weekly fantasy football sleepers

Succeeding in Weekly Fantasy Football

How you can become the “Most Intelligent Fan” for Week 7

1 of 6

Sit'em or Start'em

alt
Kim Klement-USATODAY Sports

Every week poses its own set of unique decisions that you’ll be forced to make, decisions that often determine the outcome of your matchup. Sometimes the decision is straight forward and you simply go with the player you feel is more talented. But more often than not, you will be faced with at least one decision that will keep you up at night; one that you can justify going either way on. Where do you draw the line between talent and opponent? This is an inexact science, but I'm here to help you out and serve as a tie breaker should you be caught in such a situation for this week's games. Here are a few suggestions when it comes to what players should ride your pine and players that should be started.

It should be noted that these recommendations are made for a standard scoring 12-team league. Keep in mind that these decisions are greatly impacted by your specific roster. For example, I'm not benching my starting QB if my only backup is Case Keenum. There is some common sense involved, but should you have a decision that mirrors my examples, the next five slides will detail the position I would take.

Looking for specific team advice? I’m on Twitter @unSOPable23

2 of 6

Quarterbacks

alt
Rob Grabowski-USATODAY Sports

Quarterback

Sit – Aaron Rodgers (vs Cleveland Browns): I’m generally not in love with quarterbacks who oppose this stingy Browns defense, and a QB who has a couple of injuries to his primary targets is a real risk. Cleveland gets after the quarterback quite a bit, something they can afford to do with Joe Haden roaming in their secondary. Rodgers is an elite talent, but this is matchup I want no part of.

Start – Jay Cutler (@ Washington Redskins): The Redskins rank as one of the ten worst pass defenses in terms of fantasy points against and Cutler comes into this game on fire. The Bears' gunslinger has looked more than comfortable in Marc Trestman’s wide open offense of late, completing 72 percent of his passes for six touchdowns (and no interceptions) over his last two-plus games. His confidence in Brandon Marshall is unquestioned, but it is Cutler’s willingness to look to Alshon Jeffery or Martellus Bennett with regularity that has me excited about his Week 7 upside.

3 of 6

Running Backs

alt
Andrew Weber-USATODAY Sports

Running Back

Sit – Steven Ridley (@ New York Jets): I realize that he scored twice and totaled 110 total yards last week, but one strong performance isn’t enough to give me weekly confidence. No running back has rushed for more than 72 yards against the loaded Jets front line, and no running back has eclipsed 43 yards in the last three weeks. Ridley was averaging 52 total yards per game (with no touchdowns) prior to last week, and while he may exceed that number, he’s not a good bet to total double-digit fantasy points this weekend.

Start – Fred Jackson (@ Miami Dolphins): The Dolphins have given up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, and with C.J. Spiller (ankle) less than 100 percent, I like Jackson to receive an extended workload. He has scored four times in the last five weeks and has managed at least four receptions in all but one game this season, giving him nice value in PPR formats.

4 of 6

Wide Receivers

alt
Stew Milne-USATODAY Sports

Wide Receiver

Sit – James Jones (vs Browns): His status is very much in question for this game, but even if he suits up for the Packers, I’m leaving him on my fantasy bench this week against the Browns. He hasn’t practiced all week (knee) and will be facing the sixth-stingiest defense when it comes to fantasy points allowed to WR. Jones has always been a bit of a hit or miss player, and while I expect him to step up in the absence of Cobb when healthy, this is a tough week to count on the touchdown machine.

Sit – Cecil Shorts III (vs San Diego Chargers): The speedster is nursing a clavicle injury and while he is officially listed as questionable, he told reporters that he “plans to play” this weekend. As with Jones, I’m not putting him in my roster regardless. The Chargers succeeded last week with time consuming drives, something I expect them to do once again. Even when their offense is on the field, Chad Henne has been more than happy to throw the ball to Justin Blackmon on every single play (20 targets last week). The amount in which he targets Blackmon feels much like the Cutler to Marshall connection (on a lesser level) last season, and that offense rarely offered up a second receiver worthy of a spot in your fantasy lineup.

Start – T.Y. Hilton (vs Denver Broncos): This matchup is all about the quarterbacks, as well it should, but that doesn’t mean other players can’t have great value. The efficiency of Peyton Manning has resulted in the Broncos defense giving up a ton of passing yards (big deficits are typically directly correlated with big passing numbers), and Andrew Luck is more than capable of having a big day. In six games this season, Denver has allowed five 100-yard receivers … Hilton is tied for the sixth-most fantasy points (PPR scoring) per snap among receivers this season, and in a game that figures to offer more than the average number of offensive snaps, I love Hilton this week.

Start – Kenbrell Thompkins (@ Jets): He is incredibly talented and should be in single coverage for most of this game. The inactive status of Danny Amendola ensures that Thompkins will be on the field plenty, while both the probable return of Rob Gronkowski and the dominating Week 2 effort from Julian Edelman (13 catches on 18 targets) should give Thompkins room to work on the outside. Tom Brady is pretty good at football and he clearly trusts the undrafted rookie.

5 of 6

Tight Ends

alt
Tim Fuller-USATODAY Sports

Tight End

Sit – Brandon Pettigrew (vs Cincinnati Bengals): He’s not good. I said it. He’s just not who we thought he was. The Bengals rank in the top half of the league when it comes to stopping opposing tight ends from having big fantasy days, and even if a tight end does produce for Detroit this week, how can we be sure it’d be Pettigrew (Joseph Fauria hauled in three scores last week)? Calvin Johnson is expected to be more of a weapon this week and Kris Durham has earned extended playing time, which only subtracts from the potential looks that the disappointing tight end could see.

Start – Kyle Rudolph (@ New York Giants): After a strong rookie campaign, Rudolph hasn’t done much this season (21-200-2), but the quarterback play hasn’t exactly helped. Josh Freeman is taking over the starting reigns this week, a change that can’t do anything but help Rudolph. The Vikings don’t have a ton of options in the passing game, and when you consider the Giants struggles against opposing tight ends (fifth most fantasy points allowed), Rudolph is a good bet to get back on track. Another plus for the pride of Notre Dame is the fact that Freeman has had almost no time to digest the playbook, which means we could see a lot of dump offs and short passes on Monday night.

6 of 6

Defense/Special Teams

alt
Jeremy Brevard-USATODAY Sports

Defense/Special Teams

Sit – Houston Texans (@ Kansas City Chiefs): The Chiefs' offense may not be explosive, but they don’t make mistakes. Fantasy points add up rapidly if you can force turnovers, but Alex Smith and this conservative offense simply don’t force things. A new quarterback for the Texans doesn’t help their defense’s fantasy upside; as it is possible the Chiefs get great starting field position routinely. The Texans rank in the bottom half of the league in sacks and have only two interceptions on the season, stats that resemble a waiver wire unit more so than one you should own, let alone consider starting.

Start – Carolina Panthers (vs St. Louis Rams): We all know about Cam Newton, but this defense in Carolina is better than the offense. They have twice as many interceptions (eight) as touchdown passes allowed (four) and have given up 32 points in their last three games combined. The Rams offense put up nice numbers over the past two weeks, but traveling to Carolina is a different animal. With Tavon Austin struggling to produce and the Rams lacking a true ground game, look for the Panthers to pin their ears back and attack the unproven/disappointing Sam Bradford.

Related:

Take the guessing out of weekly fantasy football sleepers

Succeeding in Weekly Fantasy Football

How you can become the “Most Intelligent Fan” for Week 7


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