Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em
While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports Network Sunday morning between 10:00am-12:00pm eastern.
WEEK 7 SURVIVOR PICKS
Plan A: Buffalo Bills over Minnesota Vikings
Plan B: Washington Redskins over Tennessee Titans
FADE OF THE WEEK
Last week: Chicago/Atlanta OVER 54 (loss)
This week: Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5) over San Diego Chargers
Analysis: I’ve changed the name of this section from “Pick of the week” to “Fade of the week” because, quite honestly, I’m performing so terribly here that you can’t possibly be expected to back these suggestions. This marks the seventh consecutive game for the 5-1 Chargers, who just squeaked by the Oakland Raiders in a grueling affair last Sunday afternoon. In addition, the Bolts will travel to Denver four days after this game for their third divisional matchup in as many weeks. Take note that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is 13-2 lifetime coming off a bye.
Last week: 2-3
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-7) vs. Carolina Panthers
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-6.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
BUFFALO BILLS (-5.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+4.5) at San Diego Chargers
START ‘EM UP
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Atlanta): The six-year veteran is currently on pace to post career-high marks in passing yards and touchdowns, just demolished the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 306 yards and five scores and faces a lousy Atlanta defense this Sunday that is currently 0-3 on the road in 2014 while surrendering an average of 31.6 points and 372.3 total yards per game. With free agent pickup Steve Smith (35-573-4 on 55 targets) emerging as Flacco’s go-to guy, look for another big performance this weekend as the Ravens attempt to reclaim the AFC North.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers (vs. Carolina): Through six weeks, Lacy owners no doubt feel duped after having spent at top-5 selection on a running back who is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry with only three scores through six contests this season. But Week 7 offers up a tasty matchup in the form of a Carolina Panthers defense that currently ranks 27th in the league against the run (140.2 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 24.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (second-most in NFL). Ride Lacy in this favorable spot and then look to flip him next week if the Green Bay ball-carrier comes through as we’re predicting.
ICONFlacco is currently on pace to post career-highs in passing yards and touchdowns.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Cleveland): Returned from a hamstring injury last Sunday to catch ten passes for 103 yards on a team-high 16 targets, demonstrating that he, not rookies Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson or Marqise Lee, is the reliable go-to receiver for first-year signal-caller Blake Bortles. Expect another high-target affair in Week 7 against a Cleveland defense that currently ranks 23rd in the NFL against the pass (259.6 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 24.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (tenth-most in NFL).
Ben Tate & Isaiah Crowell, RBs, Cleveland Browns (at Jacksonville): Tate has carried the ball 47 times over the last two weeks since returning from an early season knee injury and Crowell is a beast in the red zone who has already scored four touchdowns in five games while averaging a rock solid 5.4 yards per carry on the year. That means both Cleveland backs are worthy of a spot in the starting lineup this Sunday when the Browns travel to Jacksonville to challenge a soft Jaguars defense that is currently permitting an average of 23.5 fantasy points per contest to opposing running backs this season (fifth-most in NFL).
Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions (vs. New Orleans): Underwhelmed (7-44-0) in Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings with Calvin Johnson out of action due to an ankle injury, but still saw a healthy 12 targets and enters a much more favorable matchup Sunday against a porous New Orleans Saints defense that currently ranks 25th in the league against the pass (267.6 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 27.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (fourth-most in NFL). Start Tate with confidence.
Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Cincinnati): The third-year veteran out of Clemson has found the end zone in four of six starts this season and faces a reeling Cincinnati defense on Sunday that is giving up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team in the league (13.1 pts/gm). It’s unlikely that Allen will provide owners with high reception or receiving yards totals, but he should be good for at least one score in Week 7.
Buffalo Bills, D/ST (vs. Minnesota): Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater posted a solid effort in his Week 4 debut against the Atlanta Falcons, but the Louisville product has yet to throw a touchdown pass this season and faces a stiff challenge Sunday at Buffalo against a non-conference opponent that has been playing much better defense than expected in 2014. Note that the over/under for this game is lined at a conservative 42.5 for a reason. Bridgewater is walking into a hostile environment with a mediocre arsenal to take on an aggressive front four.
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions (vs. New Orleans): Yes, facing the shoddy New Orleans secondary makes for one of the tastiest matchups on the board. But the Saints are coming off a bye and Stafford has thrown for just 416 yards with two touchdowns over the past two games, which featured an injured Calvin Johnson vs. Buffalo and no Calvin Johnson at all last week at Minnesota. Without Megatron in the lineup, Stafford’s value sinks faster than a bankroll at the Caribbean Stud table.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee Titans (at Washington): With Shonn Green banged up and facing a highly suspect Jacksonville defense, Sankey took the mother of all opportunities and racked up just 61 rushing yards with zero touchdowns on 18 attempts (3.4 YPC) last Sunday. But while we’re not ready to assign the rookie from Washington to the land of the waiver wire just yet, we do feel it’s best to keep him on the bench in Week 7 against a Washington Redskins defense that is permitting an average of just 12.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (third-fewest in NFL).
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans (at Pittsburgh): Johnson snapped his 12-game touchdown drought in Week 6 with a 7-99-1 performance in a 33-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. That should give owners a reason to smile, but that bit of euphoria will be short-lived as the Texans head outdoors for a Monday night road date with a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that is permitting an average of just 18.9 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (seventh-fewest in NFL). The reality here is that it’s not so much Johnson we don’t trust as it is quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has thrown just three touchdown passes in three road games this year.
ICONJohnson has found the end zone just once over his last 13 games.
Matt Asiata & Jerick McKinnon, RBs, Minnesota Vikings (at Buffalo): One minute the word out of Minnesota is that McKinnon has assumed the starting job for the Vikings, the next minute head coach Mike Zimmer is telling the media that he wants to get Asiata more involved. This has been a tricky situation to handicap, to say the least, but either way, owners are advised to stay away from this tandem in Week 7 when Minnesota travels to Buffalo to face a Bills defense that is currently surrendering fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (10.5 pts/gm).
Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers (at Denver): Through six starts this season, Crabtree is averaging just 4.6 receptions, 49.1 receiving yards and .5 touchdowns per game, which isn’t exactly what many of us had in mind back in August. Taper your expectations for San Fran’s most athletic receiver this Sunday when he matches up with a Denver Broncos defense that is surrendering an average of just 16.1 fantasy points per game to opposing pass-catchers this season (third-fewest in NFL).
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (at San Diego): One of the hottest names at the position and for good reason, Kelce has grabbed 13 passes for 144 yards and three scores over his last three outings. But owners need to be advised that the San Diego defense has done a solid job defending opposing tight ends this year. Through six contests, the Bolts are giving up an average of just 4.9 fantasy points per game to the tight end position (third-fewest in NFL). With Kelce and the Chiefs coming off a bye week, this isn’t a terrible start, but the upside here is limited.
San Francisco 49ers, D/ST (at Denver): They’re working on a short week following a road Monday night game at St. Louis and now have to travel to Denver for yet another primetime road showdown, this time with Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Owners who need a backup plan should look at the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.
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