Well, Tom Brady certainly found himself in the Terrordome last week. Let’s hope that the Week seven slate of games is more visually pleasing than the Thursday night slugfest between the 49ers and Seahawks.
Let’s take a look at who to start and sit this week. Also, there are a couple of small changes to Survivor
Remember, I usually like to use Rotoworld’s rankings as a quick guide and then see where I can take advantage of lower or higher rankings. Follow along, as I read aloud. If you have questions, just leave a comment or send me a note on Twitter.
Bye week: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers
Up: Andrew Luck is back at home this week and has nice matchup against a Cleveland Browns defense which has given up the third most points to QBs this season. I’d move Andrew Luck into the top five this week.
Mark Sanchez goes on the road against a Patriots team that is wounded from their loss to Seattle last week. However, the Patriots have given up three or more TDs to QBs the last four weeks. I expect the Patriots to win, but I think Sanchez will have to throw a lot. I see Sanchez in the top 12 this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Hasselbeck – I covered both of them in my waiver wire piece, but they bear mentioning again. I see both of them as viable substitutes for Matt Ryan or Peyton Manning owner. I believe both will be in the top 12 for production this week.
Brandon Weeden faces an Indianapolis defense that is fraught with injuries. I like Weeden to put up 250 yards and two TDs and sneak into the top 15 of QBs this week.
Down: Joe Flacco is 31-5 as a starter at home. He’s 18-16 as a starter on the road. The Ravens are on the road against the Houston Texans. My only hedge is that Jonathan Joseph may be out or limited for the Texans which could make this matchup more attractive. Even if Joseph is less than 100%, I see Flacco struggling and ending up outside of the top 12 this week.
Cam Newton will also end up outside of the top 12 this week as he faces a Dallas defense eager to get back on track. The Cowboys have the speed on the edges to contain Newton’s running game and boast cornerbacks good enough to shut down Steve Smith.
Matthew Stafford is struggling with his mechanics. I’d sit the Detroit Lions’ QB until he gets things straightened out. I don’t see this week being the week he does that against a relentless Chicago Bears defense on the road. He ends up outside of the top 15 this week.
Up: Doug Martin faces the New Orleans Saints this week. Do you think the Saints have figured out their defensive problems over the bye week? Yea, me neither. Martin should put up to five numbers against the Saints in what is shaping up to be a high scoring affair. I might even look to LeGarrette Blount in extremely deep leagues.
Felix Jones should sneak into the top eight this week in PPR leagues. The Panthers run defense is not good, but they also struggle with RBs catching passes out of the backfield so I can see Jones adding three to five receptions to his rushing totals this week.
The Bengals have been pretty friendly to RBs this year and it looks like Jonathan Dwyer should get the start for the Steelers with Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman out. It’s not clear if Dwyer will get a full set of snaps, but his only competition is Baron Batch and Chris Rainey. I can see a top 20 day from Dwyer making him a viable flex option. Batch will hold value in the deeper leagues.
Down: Matt Forte is not a top 12 back this week. The Lions don’t do a lot of things right on defense, but they do know how to slow the run. I think the Bears will ultimately rely on the arm of Jay Cutler to win this game thus pushing Forte towards the 20 position for RBs.
I don’t see any of the Arizona Cardinals being viable this weekend as they take on the Minnesota Vikings. William Powell had a nice game last week, but I can see him getting held to under 50 yards this week as John Skelton takes the reins.
Deeper down the list, I’d push Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams both into the top 20. I believe each has a chance to score this week against Dallas’ run defense as the Panthers won’t be able to run Newton as much as they’d like.
Ahmad Bradshaw has been hot, but is nursing and injury. Furthermore, it looks like the Giants want to get Andre Brown and perhaps even David Wilson involved a bit more sapping some of Bradsahw’s value.
Up: Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery should have a field day against a weak Cleveland Browns secondary. Wayne should finish in the top eight and Avery in the top 20 (top 15 in PPR leagues). Yes, the Browns have Joe Haden back, but it certainly didn’t seem to matter much last week. Moreover, the Colts don’t look to have much of a running game with Vick Ballard as the lead back. I can see Andrew Luck throwing a great deal this week.
Anquan Boldin is a favorite target of mine this week. He’s facing a Texans defense which has looked solid against WRs. However, looking deeper, the Texans have struggled against WR2s and Boldin is that for the Ravens. Boldin should be a top 15 performer this week and could be a PPR monster as the Ravens look to win on the road – certainly a rarity for them.
Kenny Britt is ranked #12 this week by Rotoworld. It might be a bit low for my tastes. He could be the top WR this week. His matchup is great and he’s coming off a poor performance last week (even though the numbers suggest otherwise).
I like Brandon Gibson a lot this week as a top 30 play (top 25 in PPR leagues). The Rams are at home. Sam Bradford has been up and down at home this year, but he’s coming off a very good performance. The Packers have struggled this year against WR1s giving up some big performance (even bigger in PPR leagues).
Lance Moore is a potential beneficiary from the Jimmy Graham injury as well. Look for him to be thrown right back into the offense after returning from this injury.
Down: Jordy Nelson is set to struggle this week as he faces off against Cortland Finnegan. The Rams defense is rounding into shape and I think they can create enough pressure to rattle Aaron Rodgers at times. Finnegan has been death to fantasy WRs this year. I see him around top 15 performance this week.
Dez Bryant is hurting (when isn’t he) and he faces a Panthers defense that can control the passing game in part because of a solid pass rush. I’d drop him out of the top 20.
Antonio Brown has been a disappointment all season and I think it will continue this week against a healthier Cincinnati Bengals defense. The Steelers will need to throw a lot because I’m not sure they will be able to run, but I don’t see Brown’s performance being worthy of more than a flex play in most leagues.
Up: Our weekly “Who are Tennessee Titans facing?” update is Scott Chandler. A great bye week start or could also replace the injured and potentially ineffective Jimmy Graham.
I know Martellus Bennett has been stuck blocking a bit more for the Giants. But, I think this matchup with Washington is too good to pass up. I see Bennett as a top 8 play this and certainly a great by week option or replacement for the injured Jimmy Graham.
David Thomas is the beneficiary with Jimmy Graham out. His matchup is OK against the Bucs so I’d expect a top 15 finish.
Marcedes Lewis makes a sneaky play against the Oakland Raiders who do give up TDs to TEs (if not much else). I’d expect Lewis to score this week.
Down: Heath Miller looks like he’ll have some extra responsibilities this week as a blocking TE. Todd Haley’s quote with regards to the banged up Steelers’ offense line “You have to make sure you’re trying to help as many guys out as you can.” It makes me think that Miller won’t be catching a lot of balls (even though the matchup is good) this weekend if the Steelers want to keep Big Ben upright.
Sorry to pick on Jermichael Finley again this week. Wait, did I write that last week too? And the week before too. I don’t even know he’s playing, but please cut him.
Greg Olsen will likely struggle against the Cowboys as they have the LBs to cover him and he’ll probably be called to block a bit more this week due to the Cowboys pass rush.
Up: Dan Bailey has a great mathcup this week against a Carolina Panthers team which has been one of the most giving when it comes to fantasy kickers. Bailey should be in the top 10 this week.
Down: Justin Tucker has had a great rookie season so far. However, he heads to Houston to face the Texans. The Texans do not give up FG attempts so I’d look elsewhere this week if you can.
Up: The Oakland Raiders were on my radar for this week as they face the inept Jacksonville Jaguars. I believe they are a viable option this week. Then, I stumbled upon this column from Nicholas Minnix at KFFL.com. It’s an in-depth analysis of the Raiders defense. They may be viable all year long. They could be a top 5 defense this week.
If you really want to take a chance, the St. Louis Rams have been pretty solid at home. The Packers do turn the ball over a bit and I can see the Rams being a top 10 defense it what will be a tougher matchup for the Packers than anticipated.
Down: The Baltimore Ravens shouldn’t be on your team after the injuries to Ladarius Webb and Ray Lewis. They are not to be rostered in most leagues.
The Buffalo Bills are ranked relatively high on the Rotoworld list, but I see the Titans vs. Bills game to be a shootout out so I wouldn’t want either team unless you aren’t penalized for points allowed.
Updates from my early column are in bold. Week six saw many teams in our top 10 fall in the Steelers, Eagles, Cardinals and 49ers. I was certainly wrong about the Steelers (and I had my reservations). In my biggest pool, 33% of remaining entries went out and we are finally below 100 total entries remaining. We’ve got six teams on bye this week so the pickings are slim again.
Bye week: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers
Survivor Pool – Week 7 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and ESPN as of early Sunday morning.
Office Football Pool
ESPN Eliminator Challenge
|New England Patriots||36.90%||1||Green Bay Packers||
|Green Bay Packers||13.50%||2||San Francisco 49ers (W)||
|San Francisco 49ers (W)||12.30%||3||Oakland Raiders||
|Minnesota Vikings||12.20%||4||New England Patriots||
|Oakland Raiders||8.80%||5||New Orleans Saints||
|Chicago Bears||4.60%||6||Indianapolis Colts||
|New York Giants||3.60%||7||New York Giants||
|Houston Texans||2.30%||8||Dallas Cowboys||
|Indianapolis Colts||1.90%||9||Minnesota Vikings||
|Buffalo Bills||1.90%||10||Buffalo Bills||
The New England Patriots are back as a double digit favorite this week. Do we trust them in a divisional game? Most of the entries left will likely have the Patriots left as they missed the week two landmine so perhaps we should look elsewhere. My final top 3 picks for the week are listed below (my final column will be up Sunday):
- Minnesota Vikings – The key to the Vikings being the number one pick this week lies in the health of Jerome Simpson. If Simpson is healthy, they will be able to stretch the field and take advantage of soft spots in the Cardinals defense. The Cardinals are a wounded team with John Skelton back at the helm. Yes, I know that Skelton was somehow 5-2 as a starter last year (and the Cardinals won the other game that Skelton played in last year). Moreover, I think a number of entries will be on the Patriots this week and the Vikings make a good “pool odds” play. I give the Vikings a 73% chance of winning.
- New England Patriots – I’ve bumped the Pats up to number two (ahead of the Bears) as I just can’t see them losing to the Jets at home. The Patriots are currently ten point favorites and are coming off of a debilitating defeat the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The New York Jets coming in riding high after decimating the Indianapolis Colts. I cannot see the Patriots coasting again if they have a lead late. And Shonn Greene won’t score three TDs again. I give the Patriots a 73% chance of winning.
- Chicago Bears – The Bears are coming off a bye and face a Detroit Lions team that consistently struggles on the road. The Lions won’t be able to solve the Bears defense and I don’t see the Bears being stopped by a Lions defense that is improved. I give Chicago a 70% chance of winning.
- Oakland Raiders – After some research on their defense, I like the Raiders as a solid alternative as well. It seems as though their defense is rounding into shape and Blaine Gabbert is surely a cure for what ails any defense. I give the Raiders a 69% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: Buffalo
As for the avoid list, I’d lean away from the Green Bay Packers. Yes, I know, Aaron Rodgers is back. Yes, I know it’s the Rams. But, the Rams are a good team at home and I’m not convinced that the Packers have everything figured out on offense. Plus, the Rams have Cortland Finnegan who can take away a WR all by himself.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d take Tampa Bay at home. Josh Freeman has been great in home games against poor passing defenses. The Saints represent a poor passing defense.
Just a reminder, if you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.
Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi