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Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 7

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 7
Todd Gurley's matchup against the Browns makes him an easy start this week

Todd Gurley’s matchup against the Browns makes him an easy start this week

If we learned anything from Week 6, it is that as Peyton Manning continues to trend down the Broncos’ defense continues to trend up and has led this team to a 6-0 start. It is sad to see the future Hall of Famer crumble before our eyes, but this is fantasy football. There is no room for emotions. Drop Peyton Manning.

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Let’s take a look at a quick recap from Week 6.

I Knew It

Philip Rivers – QB – San Diego Chargers – 503 yds, 2 TD
I had a feeling he’d notch his fourth game with at least 20 fantasy points and this turned out to be his best scoring week.

Gary Barnidge – TE – Cleveland Browns – 3 rec, 39 yds, 2 TD
McCown looked his way in the red zone, and it only took three receptions for Barnidge to finish as the TE6.

Mike Wallace* – WR – Minnesota Vikings – 2 rec, 23 yds
I have an asterisk because I did mention that I’d “start rookie Stefon Diggs with the same level of confidence” if Wallace sat, but he did not. If you started Diggs, I knew it but if you started Wallace I blew it.

Jamison Crowder – WR – Washington Redskins – 4 rec, 40 yds
He did take a tick down this week and had his first single-digit performance since Week 2.

I Blew It

Matt Ryan – QB – Atlanta Falcons – 295 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Ryan was a solid start and finished with 18 points, but his output was well outside the top five as the QB14.

Marshawn Lynch – RB – Seattle Seahawks  – 17 att, 54 yds, 1 TD
He had his first score of the season, but just 54 yards on the ground kept him outside of the top tier.

Duke Johnson Jr. – RB – Cleveland Browns – 9 att, 38 rush yds, 3 rec, 18 rec yds
Sure, he was the highest scoring Cleveland back, but seven fantasy points? Ugh.

Kendall Wright – WR – Tennessee Titans – 4 rec, 34 yds
This was a bad call, and things could look worse for Wright with news that Marcus Mariotta may miss time.

Cam Newton – QB – Carolina Panthers – 269 yds, 1 TD, 1 rush TD, 2 INT
I thought the early MVP candidate was so cold I benched him in two of my leagues. Boy, did I blow it!

Alex Smith – QB – Kansas City Chiefs -282 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT
I thought for sure he would have a season-high sack total, but he finished the game with just two sacks and 16 fantasy points.

LeSean McCoy – RB – Buffalo Bills – 17 att, 90 yds, 1 TD
Of course, because I recommended benching him, Shady McCoy had his first score and best fantasy day of the season.

Lamar Miller – RB – Miami Dolphins – 19 att, 113 yds, 1 TD
See above. Different player, same story.

Jarvis Landry – WR – Miami Dolphins – 3 rec, 42 yds, 1 rush TD
Miami turned it around during the bye and tricked us all with a Landry rushing touchdown.

Julius Thomas – TE – Jacksonville Jaguars – 7 rec, 78 yds, 1 TD
Blake Bortles‘ shoulder is fine and apparently so is Julius Thomas’ overall health.


Who’s Hot – Start

Fire Starter: Carson Palmer – QB – Arizona Cardinals vs. Baltimore Ravens
It is pretty much at the point where I shouldn’t have to tell you to start Palmer, but this matchup is too good. There is no team in the NFL more generous to quarterbacks than the Ravens. They have allowed 1,830 yards, 11 touchdowns and an average of 21.5 fantasy points to quarterbacks per game. Palmer has not had a game with at least 20 fantasy points since Week 2, and I think we will see it this week.

Chris Ivory – RB – New York Jets @ New England Patriots
This will be a brutal division matchup, and the Patriots are stout against the run, allowing just two rushing scores this season. “Low-Budget Beast Mode” will see volume in a game where I expect the Jets to go run-heavy to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands. Do not be surprised if Ivory gives the Patriots their worst game against the rush this season.

Todd Gurley  – RB – St. Louis Rams vs. Cleveland Browns
I am probably not alone in suggesting Gurley this week and there is good reason for it. The Browns are allowing opposing running backs an average of over 20 points per game. Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham don’t hold a candle to Gurley’s talent. His last two games prior to the bye saw his workload increase with 49 total carries that amassed 305 yards. If he scored a touchdown in either of those games, his numbers would have been off the charts. You can expect at least 20 carries, 100 yards and his first professional touchdown.

Robert Woods – WR – Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
It looks like Tyrod Taylor will be back in action this week, but he will be without both Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin, who did not make the trip to London due to “a personal thing” according to Rex Ryan, which is something worth monitoring. Woods has a chance to step up here and make the most of the opportunity he will be given. It will be a toss-up between Woods and Chris Hogan, but my money is on Woods, who has five more targets than Hogan on the season.

Eric Decker – WR – New York Jets @ New England Patriots
I must be nuts to recommend two Jets against the best team in the NFL, but Decker has scored in each game he has played. Ryan Fitzpatrick will heavily target both Decker and Brandon Marshall, but I figure the Patriots’ bigger concern will be Marshall, leaving some room open for Decker. Marshall is a weekly must-start but make sure Decker is in your lineup this week.

Jason Witten – TE – Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Coming off the bye, newly anointed quarterback Matt Cassel will need security and may take Tony Romo’s lead in looking to Witten in critical situations. Witten has caught 26 balls and scored seven touchdowns in his past five meetings against the Giants. He will be the receiving leader of this game for Dallas.

Who’s Not – Sit

Ice Cold: Jordan Matthews – WR – Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers
Matthews continues to trend down and has not had a double-digit fantasy day since Week 3. He has just one touchdown on the season. Sam Bradford is spreading the ball all over and seems to find everyone but Matthews for touchdowns. He is not playing as the WR2 you drafted him to be, and if he gets the Josh Norman treatment, you will want him on your bench.

Joe Flacco – QB – Baltimore Ravens @ Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals’ defense is awesome, to put it lightly. Flacco does not have targets around him to throw to outside of Steven Smith and Crockett Gilmore. This defensive unit has nine touchdowns on the season and is highly likely to take a Flacco pass back for a touchdown. The matchup is not good, and you should look elsewhere for a quarterback this week.

Duke Johnson Jr. – RB – Cleveland Browns @ St. Louis Rams
Josh McCown is apparently a gunslinger now, and when he is throwing it, Johnson is the targeted running back. The St. Louis Rams are in the middle of the pack regarding receptions allowed to running backs, but with the juggling of backs in Cleveland, I don’t like Johnson this week. He is in line for another disappointing performance.

Melvin Gordon – RB – San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders
I know the game script could favor him, but fumblitis is contributing to his underwhelming rookie campaign. Danny Woodhead is the back to own here, especially with his goal-line usage. If you start Melvin Gordon, you will not be pleased when Woodhead has a better day than him.

Anquan Boldin – WR – San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
This division rivalry is a toilet bowl game with both teams being at 2-4. I expect the 49ers to play conservative. Carlos Hyde will be playing at less than 100%, and the Seattle defense could focus a lot of attention on Boldin. He is coming off back to back 100-yard games, but I do not see it happening for him this week.

Crockett Gillmore – TE – Baltimore Ravens @ Arizona Cardinals
This season, the Cardinals have allowed 24 receptions, 182 yards and zero touchdowns to tight ends. I told you to bench Joe Flacco, and, therefore, I am telling you to bench his second best receiving threat outside of Smith. Owners are chomping at the bit for Gilmore to return to his early season form, but this week is not the week.

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I do not have a crystal ball and can only rely on research and good old intuition. I may hit or miss on a few, but these are my honest predictions for this week. I’ll keep myself honest with a full disclosure section next week when I give you your “Who’s Hot” and “Who’s Not” for Week 8. Consider my recommendations here, but ultimately trust in yourself. Good luck!

Jen Ryan is a correspondent at FantasyPros, featured writer at Gridiron Experts and contributor at Football Diehards. Click here for her archive and feel free to reach her and talk all things fantasy @FFdeJENerate.

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