NFL Fantasy Start and Sit: Week 7

The Jets secondary should be able to slow the injuried Chargers passsing attack this weekend.

The Jets secondary should be able to slow the injuried Chargers passsing attack this weekend.

-by Braden Gall ( @AthlonBraden on twitter)

Athlon Sports NFL Fantasy Week 7 Rankings

NFL Bye Weeks: Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, NY Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco

Start These Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (at Arizona)
Eli Manning threw for 321 yards and two scores against
Arizona. Rex Grossman posted 299 and two scores (two INTs). And the Cardinals allowed 422 yards and two scores to Cam Newton in Week 1. Big Ben should have plenty of chances against the Redbirds.

Jay Cutler, Chicago (at Tampa Bay)
The Bucs are 26th in the NFL in passing defense (276 ypg) and has allowed 10 touchdowns (6th worst in the NFL). Despite forcing three interceptions and winning the game, Drew Brees still posted a 383-1 line against the Bucs. Cutler is coming off his best game (115.9) game of the season and should have some success this weekend.

Tim Tebow, Denver (at Miami)
The Dolphins are 29th against the pass and has intercepted only two passes – against 10 touchdown passes allowed – all season long. The Fish are also allowing 25.6 points allowed per game. This could be a make or break game for the polarizing quarterback, so expect his ground contributions to turn his middling passing numbers into a very viable fantasy performance.

Curtis Painter, Indianapolis (at New Orleans)
Josh Freeman lit-up the Saints defense a week ago to the tune of 303 yards and two scores while Painter was underwhelming last week (188-1-0). Yet, he has been serviceable in every one of his starts and no one has allowed more touchdown passes in the NFL than the Saints (12).

Bench These Quarterbacks

Matt Schaub, Houston (at Tennessee)
The Texans passer has failed to top 220 yards in two of his last three and has a total of four touchdown passes in three games (two INTs). The Titans have been great (other than against
Pittsburgh) against the pass (221 yards per game, six interceptions) and have had a week to get healthy and prepare for what has become a huge AFC South contest. Limited upside here with Andre The Giant still unlikely to play.

Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee (Houston)
The Texans are allowing only 221.7 yards per game and have allowed only seven passing touchdowns all season. They also have been pressuring the quarterback well with 17.0 sacks thus far and are holding opposing quarterbacks to a fourth-best 54.2% completion rate.

Kevin Kolb, Arizona (Pittsburgh)
Kolb has been underwhelming but has topped 232 yards in every game and has five touchdowns in the last three games. But this should be a no-brain bench against the NFL’s No. 1 passing defense (157.7 yards per game).

Sam Bradford, St. Louis (at Dallas)
Facing the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense on the road in a must-win situation is never good for a fully healthy passer, much less one that is battling injuries. A.J. Feeley could see some time as DeMarcus Ware will be breathing down his neck all game long.

Philip Rivers, San Diego (at NY Jets)
I cannot tell you to bench someone who is averaging over 300 yards per game, but Rivers will be facing the toughest cornerback duo in football and all of his best targerts – Gates, Jackson, Floyd and Mathews – are all battling slight injuries. His upside is limited here.

Start These Running Backs

Willis McGahee, Denver (at Miami)
Knowshon Moreno is turning quickly into an after thought. McGahee is now the workhorse, has back-to-back 100-yard efforts, is coming off a bye week and will be needed to take the load off a first-time starter.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas (St. Louis)
Felix Jones won’t be on the field for a couple of weeks with a high ankle sprain, and with Tashard Choice’s inability to hold onto the ball,
Murray looks to be the beneficiary. Murray got the most carries last week and can be a versatile player against the NFL’s worst rush defense as the Rams allow over 160 yards per game.

Jackie Battle, Kansas City (Oakland)
got his first big taste of action two weeks ago when he ran 19 times for 119 yards against the Colts. After two full weeks to get acclimated with the offense, Battle should be another sneaky play against the fifth worst overall defense in the NFL (396 ypg).

Daniel Thomas (Reggie Bush), Miami (Denver)
Both Thomas (16 touches) and Bush (12 touches) got plenty of looks last week against a defense that has struggled against the pass. The Broncos are 31st in the NFL in scoring defense at 28.0 points per game and are allowing 123.4 yards per game on the ground.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle (at Cleveland)
At 129.8 yards per game allowed rushing, the Browns are in no position to slow a team that will always be built around a power rushing attack. Lynch has scored in two straight games, posted a season-high 98 yards his last game out and has had two weeks to rest for this one.

Mark Ingram (Darren Sproles), New Orleans
Sproles, especially in a PPR league, has turned into a weekly starter no matter the match-up. But against a defense that has allowed 136.7 yards per game rushing (30th in the NFL), both Ingram, who has scored twice in a row, and Sproles should both be quality plays.

Bench These Running Backs

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville (Baltimore)
MJD is a one-man offense and has been facing eight and nine-man boxes all season and it isn’t going to change this weekend.
Baltimore boasts the league’s No. 3 rush defense at 76.6 yards per game allowed and has surrendered only one rushing touchdown all season. Seeing as how Blaine Gabbert isn’t using MJD in the passing game as he should, it might be time to turn elsewhere this week.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis (at Dallas)
The Cowboys are the best run defense in the NFL and Sam Bradford might not be able to play all game. While he should get plenty of touches, it is hard to imagine anything more than a modest performance from S-Jax this weekend.

Peyton Hillis, Cleveland (Seattle)
There was strep throat. Then there was a new contract. Now there is the hamstring and a
Seattle defense that isn’t bad at all against the run. They rank 8th in the league at 97.8 yards per game and are holding opponents to 3.1 yards per carry.

Jahvid Best, Detroit (Atlanta)
There is a reason
Detroit traded for Ronnie Brown (or at least has tried to). One of the most brittle backs in the league, Best cannot be counted on for true workload numbers. And Atlanta has been solid against the run, ranked 7th in the league at 97.5 yards per game and a nasty 3.8 yards per carry average.

Start These Wide Receivers

Greg Little, Cleveland (Seattle)
Only New Orleans attempts more passes per game than Cleveland and Little was targeted an NFL-high 12 times last week.
Seattle should slow the run, so the passing game has a chance in this one.

Doug Baldwin, Seattle (at Cleveland)
The heady, hard-worker had a breakout performance the last time out (8-136-1) and is likely more comfortable with back-up Charlie Whitehurst (who will start) than Tavaris Jackson. Without Joe Haden, the Browns are beatable in the air.

Davone Bess, Miami (Denver)
The Broncos are the worst team in the NFL agianst fantasy passing attacks, and while Matt Moore shouldn't be in your line-up, Brandon Marshall and even Bess should make a rare appearance in the starting grid.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (at Arizona)
Brown has not been used as much over the last two weeks as he was in the first four games, but he could be in for one or two big plays this weekend. The Cards have been terrible against the pass and are allowing more big plays than most everyone in the league (third most 20-plus yard pass plays allowed).

Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Chicago (at Tampa Bay)
With Cutler in for a solid outing, some deep sleepers this week could be Hester and Knox. Hester could always add a special teams score and Knox could provide a serviceable number.

Bench These Wide Receivers

Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis (at Dallas)
The Rams won’t be able to control the line of scrimmage. His quarterback is not healthy and this will be his first game as a Ram. All signs point to next week as the breakout for Lloyd in a Rams uniform.

Julio Jones, Atlanta (Detroit)
Jones still hasn’t practiced and will be, as an incredibly important playoff commodity, eased back into action. Look for Harry Douglas to pick-up the slack once again.

Tampa Bay Bucs (Chicago)
Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and
Preston Parker. Have fun picking which one will get the points on any given week. And you can bet the Bears will be chasing Josh Freeman around all day.

Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, San Diego (at NY Jets)
might need to be started (monitor his status) but against one of the top secondaries in the NFL, it is hard to imagine either of these producing anything other than mediocre fantasy numbers.

Mike Thomas, Jacksonville (Baltimore)
Blaine Gabbert might be the future but he is still on a steep present-day learning curve. Stay away from Thomas.

Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Green Bay (at Minnesota)
Nelson has saved many owners by making one big play, but he is not getting the number of receptions needed to be an every week start yet. The Tampa-2 is predicated on stopping the big play, so look for Greg Jennings, JerMichael Finley and even Donald Driver to be more heavily utilized.

Start This Tight End

Ben Watson, Cleveland (Seattle)
The Browns will struggle to run and the Colts are No. 2 in pass attempts per game.

Bench This Tight End

Dustin Keller, NY Jets (San Diego)
Five total catches for 70 total yards in the last three games says no thanks.

Start Defense/Special Teams

Dallas Cowboys (St. Louis)
The No. 1 rushing defense in the NFL is going to be chasing Sam Bradford - or A.J. Feeley for that matter - all over the field Sunday. It's going to be a long day for all Rams.

Washington Redskins (at Carolina)
Cam Newton threw three interceptions and the Panthers fumled twice last week. The Skins are in the top ten against the run, 11th against the pass and are third in points allowed (16.6).

Bench Defense/Special Teams

Detroit Lions (Atlanta)
The Lions have allowed some success on the ground and the Falcons are pounding the football right now. Detroit also empty the emotional fuel tanks last week as well.

Minnesota Vikings (Green Bay)
This one is pretty obvious, but the Vikings have been solid - just not this week.

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