Jordy Nelson's success has been tied to Aaron Rodgers, bumping him from WR1 status in Week 7
With only two teams on a bye this week (Detroit and Houston), fantasy owners should have most of their team available to start. However, the injuries are adding up and while they often pave the way for other players to excel, it makes it tough each week for fantasy owners. By Week 7, fantasy owners have an idea of how players will perform and which defenses and matchups to exploit. This is where the 5 Up/5 Down fits in.
At the end of the column is the full disclosure, listing how well last week's picks performed. Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Teams on bye: Detroit, Houston
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
After injuring his hamstring in Week 4, Mariota sat out Week 5 and was able to play in Week 6. His mobility was limited, but he still managed 306 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception. The running was eliminated, but he still got his fantasy owners points. In Week 7, he faces the Cleveland Browns, who allow the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks. It's a great matchup and he did make it through Week 6 without a setback. He is ranked No. 8 but could exceed that.
James White, RB, New England Patriots
While it's hard to trust any Patriots running back, the matchup against the Falcons is one to exploit. Atlanta has a tough time defending against pass-catching running backs (see Tarik Cohen, Ty Montgomery). White is the best for that role for the Patriots and it will be his chance to show what he can do. The game between the Patriots and the Falcons looks to be a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair, and the Patriots should use White to help move the ball down the field. He's ranked No. 32 and should exceed that.
Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers
Averaging 4.5 receptions per game, Funchess isn't exactly a solid WR2 each week. However, in Week 7, he should exceed his No. 22 ranking. His Week 6 outing wasn't great, with only three receptions for 36 yards. In the previous two games, he had seven receptions in each with a total of three touchdowns. The touchdowns are fluky, but with Kelvin Benjamin injured (and his status in doubt), Greg Olsen out, and Cam Newton needing someone to throw the ball to, Funchess should step up this week.
Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints
Snead is giving a low ranking (No. 40) because in Week 6, he had one reception for 11 yards. However, it was his first game back and he was dealing with a hamstring injury. This week, the Saints will likely give him more opportunities. The matchup is a good one for him as well. The Packers gave up 96 yards to Adam Thielen last week. While the Saints do have plenty of pass catchers, this may be the week Snead steps up.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Over the past two games, Hooper had five and seven receptions for 50 and 48 yards, respectively. Matt Ryan is starting to trust him, and he's been given more opportunities. Mohamed Sanu will likely be questionable heading into the game, and if Sanu is out, that opens up more targets for Hooper. The other key is that the Patriots cannot cover tight ends. In five of the six games played this season, they have allowed a tight end to score a touchdown. Hooper is ranked No. 12, but may sneak into the top 10.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ranking Roethlisberger at No. 17 seems low and to say he'll finish lower than that is a gamble. However, on the season, he isn't even in the top 20 in terms of fantasy points (and he hasn't had a bye week yet!). The Steelers play the Ravens in Week 7, and aside from Aaron Rodgers' three touchdowns in Week 3, the Ravens have only allowed two TD passes. Roethlisberger has struggled all year, and even though this game is at home for him, it's hard to trust him in fantasy.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans
Fantasy owners saw DeMarco Murray getting his hamstring stretched out during Monday night's game. However, he did keep going in and out of the game. He's missed practice this week and he'll likely earn a questionable tag for Week 7. Even if he's active, Murray will likely not get his normal workload. Derrick Henry has performed well when Murray has been on the sideline, and Henry should be the Titans' running back to start in Week 7. Murray is ranked No. 14 but should finish outside RB2 territory.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
After a huge Week 6 in his debut as a Cardinal, Peterson is now ranked No. 15. However, it's a big question mark as to if he can repeat that success in London in Week 7. The Rams have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so it is certainly possible. It's just hard to see. How did Adrian Peterson, the New Orleans Saint, not have this kind of performance? How did Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Viking, not do this in 2016? Which is the real Peterson? Week 7 will help determine that.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
While Nelson's success isn't directly tied to Aaron Rodgers... he does seem to do much better historically with Rodgers. For Week 7, Nelson is ranked No. 13, which is low for a No. 1 receiver, but he may not even hit that number. He did see 10 targets last week, tied with Davante Adams for second on the team. However, Brett Hundley may not look for him down the field like Rodgers used to. Hundley may look for shorter passes to move the ball, which will affect Nelson's value.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Trying to trust Witten each week is an exercise in frustration. He started the season hot, scoring touchdowns in each of the first two games. Then he had two games with a single reception for less than 10 yards. In Week 5, he had eight receptions for 61 yards, and the Cowboys had a bye last week. The Cowboys play the 49ers, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Based on his inconsistency and the matchup, Witten should fall below his No. 13 ranking.
Full Disclosure, Week 6:
Josh McCown, QB, New York Jets (Ranked: 16, Actual: 7)
Samaje Perine, RB, Washington Redskins (Ranked: not in top 50, Actual: 20)
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings (Ranked: 11, Actual: 24)
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (Ranked: 15, Actual: 42)
A.J. Derby, TE, Denver Broncos (Ranked: 19, Actual: 39)
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans (Ranked: 4, Actual: 2)
Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants (Ranked: 36, Actual: 44)
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins (Ranked: 9, Actual: 14)
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers, (Ranked: 9, Actual: 36)
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (Ranked: 9, Actual: 18)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.