Week 7 Predictions - Beyond the Obvious

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If this isn't your favorite weekly blog series by now, I don't know what would be. I continue to drop knowledge to help strong teams win their your matchups, and teams that are fighting for playoff spots have a solid chance to compete. I mean, come on. On Thursdays/Fridays, I go through all the games and tell you what to expect. Then, unlike other writers, on Mondays, I tell you where I came through huge for you, and where I steered you wrong. You can't get more accountable than that as a fantasy prognosticator.

As expected, plenty of things unfolded in Week 6 that will make the rest of this season much more interesting. Injuries to DeSean Jackson, Dallas Clark, Vince Young and Malcom Floyd have some owners scrambling, and others licking their chops. Add to that the plethora of players hitting their bye weeks, and roster management can get in the way of setting a lineup, let alone long term dynasty strategy. However, it's important to both stay in the moment, and look to the future, regardless of what kind of format you compete in. Week 7 will be interesting folks. Perhaps the most telling week of what's to come the rest of the way. Let's take a look.

- Steelers vs. Dolphins - After James Harrison's skull crushing hits on Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi, expect him to lay low a bit in Week 7, meaning that Brandon Marshall could surprise some people and actually have a monster game at home against the Steelers. Don't bench Marshall on account of the matchup. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, however, should be left on benches if possible. Davone Bess isn't a horrible flex play in PPR leagues. The Dolphins defense has been very tough at times this season, and it could be a rough day for Ben Roethlisberger and company. Look for Rashard Mendenhall to be the star of the Steelers attack in a quiet passing day.

- Eagles vs. Titans - I will be at this game, as my wife is taking me as a late anniversary gift...and this is not just wishful thinking, but I really think this game will be a shootout. Kevin Kolb has an awful lot of confidence right now, ditto for Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant can fill the shoes of DeSean Jackson from a production standpoint (not a big play standpoint, but he can help move the chains). Consider Avant a nice PPR fill in for Jackson this week. Maclin is a must-start, as well as Shady McCoy (assuming he plays). Brent Celek may need to be in lineups just because of the sheer volume of TEs on bye and injured this week. I expect Vince Young to start, and continue to find his boy Kenny Britt for a fifth straight game with a score. Titans IDPs should all be played here - you know the names - Michael Griffin, Cortland Finnegan, Stephen Tulloch, Dave Ball, Jason Babin, and maybe even Jason Jones for those in leagues that require starters at DL.

- Jaguars vs. Chiefs - It's a little tough to predict what's happening with KC's offense, but coming off a two score performance and facing a shaky Jags secondary, Dwayne Bowe sure looks like a must-start. Matt Cassel will have a second respectable week in a row, and Tony Moeaki is a nice bye week fill in at TE. Jamaal Charles should be in lineups, and Thomas Jones is an okay play as well. KC's defensive backs should be in lineups, especially if Trent Edwards plays, and Tamba Hali is a borderline must-start in big play IDP leagues. On the Jags side of things, I'd almost avoid their whole offense, honestly. MJD is the only exception, but he continues to disappoint, and this isn't your 2007-2009 Chiefs run defense anymore.

- Redskins vs. Bears - It's the matchup of QBs who miss their old teams - from a statistical perspective, anyway. Ryan Torain and Matt Forte are great plays, in a game that I see as pretty low scoring. Many fantasy experts are touting Johnny Knox as a great play this week, I don't see it. The Redskins can lock down a passing offense, and I see Jay Cutler and the air game struggling big time. Bench Chicago receivers, and consider other options if you have Cutler. On the other side of things, if Brian Orakpo is available in your big-play IDP league, you may want to go grab him as a spot start.

- Rams vs. Buccaneers - In what would have been a putrid blowfest last year, the St. Louis/Tampa Bay game this year will be very solid. Sam Bradford is now officially a fantasy option, especially with Danario (Third Up To Bat As A Number One WR In St. Louis) Alexander now the star of the passing game. Honestly, if you need an upside play at WR3, he could be it, after hauling in four balls for 73 yards and a score in his NFL debut. Yes, the knee could be an issue, but I really like this kid. James Hall and Chris Long are great DL plays, while a little known CB in St. Louis named Bradley Fletcher is racking up some points - keep an eye on him. The fact that Mike Williams is still available in a lot of seasonal leagues tells me that seasonal leagues are becoming very, very low level, boring and outdated. Play dynasty. Oh, and start Williams.

- Bengals vs. Falcons - The battle of the underachieving running games means a couple things - Jermaine Gresham, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens should be in lineups, and Matt Ryan will have a rough day - but throw for a lot of yardage. I like Kroy Biermann to get to Carson Palmer, and for Stephen Nicholas to continue to play well in place of Sean Weatherspoon. DBs Chris Crocker and Leon Hall could each have a field day in big play IDP leagues, and Michael Johnson is an interesting DL play in place of the suspended Antwan Odom.

- 49ers vs. Panthers - Runfest 2010 will feature Frank Gore and DeAngelo Williams, period. There's a very good chance that no other offensive player in this game will be fantasy worthy. But still, Vernon Davis is a must-start, and Michael Crabtree owners may not have better options. Justin Smith, Manny Lawson, Taylor Mays and Nate Clements - along with Pat Willis - will have big days for IDP owners, and the Niners' unit is a top seven play this week against Matt Moore and the sinking Panthers.

- Browns vs. Saints - Colt McCoy looked okay last week in the stat column - he will not this week. Gregg Williams' unit will eat the Browns alive. The Saints unit is a great play, and so is Chris Ivory on the offensive side of the ball. With Pierre Thomas out, Ivory is the man after rushing for 158 yards on 15 carries last week.

- Bills vs. Ravens - Oh, boy. Time to bench all Bills, seriously. And guys like Joe Flacco, Derrick Mason should be in line-ups. Anquan Boldin is our number one fantasy receiver this week in just about all scoring formats.

- Cardinals vs. Seahawks - I like Matt Hasselbeck as a top bye week fill-in against the Cards, as he seems very comfortable with Mike Williams and Deon Butler as his top two WRs. Look for Marshawn Lynch to have a big game, after gaining 44 yards and a score on 13 carries at Chicago in his Seahawks debut. In fact, I consider Lynch a top RB play this week.

- Raiders vs. Broncos - The Raiders are a mess, and Zach Miller remains the only guy worth starting. Sorry Mike Bush owners, but Darren McFadden may play this week, which could give fantasy owners a serious Percy Harvin. It's interesting to note that Eddie Royal has missed practice time this week, meaning I really like Jabar Gaffney in Week 7 - especially in PPR leagues.

- Patriots vs. Chargers - While this is expected to be a shootout, I'm honestly more excited about the IDPs in his match-up. Kevin Burnett has reached must-start status, and rookie Brandon Spikes broke out last week with 10 solo tackles and should be exciting the rest of the way. Ryan Mathews should see a full dose of carries, but I still want to see him "do it" before I recommend him as a must-start. Danny Woodhead has proved that he can put up 10-15 points for PPR owners, and I like him better than the law firm - BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Patrick Crayton and Buster Davis are decent flex plays with Floyd and Gates potentially out.

- Vikings vs. Packers - Two solid defenses, but this will be a high-scoring affair. Percy Harvin is a must-start against a Green Bay defense who will struggle to contain him. Look for Randy Moss to draw several penalties on Charles Woodson that will help the Vikes move the rock and set up a couple Adrian Peterson scores. The Packers offense may struggle, but I'm intrigued to see how Jordy Nelson continues to play with Jermichael Finley out.

- Cowboys vs. Giants - In what is sure to be an exciting Monday night game, look for Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck to borderline dominate Dallas' offensive line. Antrel Rolle is a great IDP play, and Roy Williams could get shut out, for real - he's not a reliable option. Hakeem Nicks needs to be in line-ups despite his disappointing Week 6 performance, and Ahmad Bradshaw may not be as great a play as people think - Eli Manning will need to throw the ball a lot in this game.
 

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