Before we dive into Week 7’s start/sit fantasy advice for wide receiver and tight ends, let’s see how Week 6’s tips turned out.
Start Brandon Marshall (15.1 fantasy points) – He’s now got four straight 100-yard games.
Start Donte Moncrief (12.9 FP) – Thank goodness Andrew Luck played. Moncrief and Luck have great chemistry.
Start Antonio Gates (9.5 FP) – The Philip Rivers-to-Gates combo is basically unstoppable.
Start Gary Barnidge ( 15.9 FP) – Is there a hotter player right now?
Start A.J. Green (3.6 FP) – The Bengals had a great passing day against the Bills. Too bad it was Marvin Jones not Green that
Sit Travis Benjamin (11.7 FP) – Had a stellar day against a really good Broncos secondary.
I warned you against playing Jimmy Graham. When Russell Wilson scrambled he found Graham wide open. Maybe there’s more of this to come.
Teams on bye: Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay
START THESE WRs...
Martavis Bryant, PIT (at KC)
This is the only week that I can put Bryant in this column since after this week he’s going to be an absolute must-start. Bryant is a beast regardless of whether it’s Ben Roethlisberger or Landry Jones throwing him the ball, Bryant is going to have a huge game against the Kansas City Chiefs. No defense has surrendered more fantasy points per game (34.37), yards and touchdowns to WRs this season. Watch for Bryant to have even better numbers this week than he did last week.
Brandon Marshall, NYJ (at NE)
The bad news for Marshall was that last week he saw a season low in targets – only nine. The good news is that he caught seven of those for 111 yards and a touchdown. That’s four straight games that Marshall has gone over 100 yards and he’s scored a touchdown in four out of his five games. How about that for consistency? Now the Jets actually have a great running game with Chris Ivory, which lessens the attention that Marshall will get on the outside. New England will try to scheme Marshall out of the game script, but all the Patriots will be able to do is limit his opportunities. Look for another 100-yard receiving game and another touchdown from Marshall.
John Brown, ARI (vs. BAL, Mon.)
Brown has emerged as Arizona’s No. 2 wide receiver and has shown he’s one of Carson Palmer’s favorite targets. Brown has seen his role in the Cardinals’ offense increase every week and now Brown will look to build on last week’s breakout performance where he caught 10 passes for 196 yards. That shouldn’t be a problem going up against Baltimore and the Ravens’ secondary, which has given up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Brown might only catch four balls, but they could all be for 20-plus yards and result in a couple of touchdowns.
Willie Snead, NO (at IND)
Heading into the season we all thought that the “must-own” Saints wide receiver was going to be Brandin Cooks, and for good reason. Cooks played extremely well last year as a rookie until he got hurt. Then we thought the “must-own” Saints wide receiver was going to be Brandon Coleman, but that’s not the case. As it turns out Snead is the Saints wide receiver that you want. He has at least four catches in five consecutive games and is emerging as Drew Brees' favorite deep threat. This week the Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in a game that is sure to be a shootout. The good news for Snead is that the Colts’ defense has allowed nine touchdowns to wideouts and well into double digits in fantasy points for each team’s receiver corps each time out. Snead won’t have any problem scoring double-digit fantasy points this week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Allen Hurns, JAC (vs. BUF, London)
After gaining over 100 yards in Weeks 4 and 5, Hurns came crashing back down to earth last week catching two of seven targets for only 30 yards, but it wasn’t a total waste as he did catch a touchdown. Now this week Allen Robinson is questionable with a leg contusion, which will increase Hurns’ opportunities whether Robinson suits up or not. Jacksonville travels all the way to London this week to host the Buffalo Bills and their defense which really can’t defend the pass. The Bills are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season and Hurns should be able to burn the Bills for close to 100 yards this week.
SIT THESE WRs...
Amari Cooper, OAK (at SD)
Cooper is coming off his bye week but is also coming back down to earth after he started the season on fire. In his last two games he has 49 and 47 receiving yards, respectively, as Derek Carr and the entire Raiders’ offense has struggled in those games. That’s a trend that is going to continue this week as the Raiders travel to San Diego to play a Chargers defense that is ranked 13th in passing defense and has already shut down superstars like Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Antonio Brown and Randall Cobb. Plus the Chargers also have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs. The point here is leave Cooper on your bench this week.
Jordan Matthews, PHI (at CAR)
What has happened to Matthews this season? He was supposed to have huge breakout season and be a WR1 fantasy stud. Instead he has seen his production steadily decline after a decent start to the season and he has a huge problem with drops. On the plus side, Matthews does still lead the Eagles in total targets, he’s just not doing anything with his chances. This week is a really tough matchup for Matthews and the Eagles, as the travel to pay a visit to the Carolina Panthers. Matthews will probably be lined up against elite shutdown corner Josh Norman, which means Matthews is going to have his worst game of the season so far.
Brandin Cooks, NO (at IND)
If you read what I said above about why you should start Willie Snead than you’ll know why it’s a good idea to sit Cooks this week. Cook’s has scored more than eight fantasy points just once in his first six games, and that lone stat line was padded thanks to a touchdown in garbage time. Until Cooks and Drew Brees connect on a consistent basis, it’s best to keep Cooks on your bench for now.
START THESE TEs...
Antonio Gates, SD (vs. OAK)
Gates is going to be the No. 1 fantasy tight end this week and hopefully you were smart enough to pick him up off the waiver wire just before he got back from suspension. In his two games so far this season Gates has caught 18 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He is by far Philip Rivers’ favorite target and just so happens to play in an offense that likes to throw the ball 40-plus times per game. Things get even better for Gates this week as he plays the Oakland Raiders, a team that cannot cover tight ends. The Raiders have easily given up the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Gates could finish the day with 10 or more catches for 150 yards and another two touchdowns.
Charles Clay, BUF (vs. JAC, London)
Clay finds himself once again in the must-start area and for good reason, he continues to lead the Bills in targets and it doesn’t matter if it’s Tyrod Taylor or EJ Manuel throwing him the ball. Last week with Manuel under center Clay was targeted a whopping 13 times, catching nine passes for 62 yards. With Sammy Watkins already declared out and Percy Harvin also unlikely to play, you can bet that Clay is going to see at least 13 targets again and should be a prime option in the red zone as well. It also helps that the Bills are playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends so far this season.
Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. ATL)
Walker had his best game of the season last week when he caught 8-of-10 targets for 97 yards. He leads the Titans in receptions heading into a favorable Week 7 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are giving up 291 passing yards per game and are giving up almost 10 fantasy points per game to tight ends. Last week Ben Watson of the New Orleans Saints burned the Falcons for 18.7 fantasy points. Whether it’s Marcus Mariota or Zack Mettenberger throwing Walker the ball, the Titans’ tight end should have a pretty good day in Week 7.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Jason Witten, DAL (at NYG)
Anyone hoping that Witten would be used as a security blanket with Tony Romo out has been sadly mistaken. Witten’s value has really taken a hit over the last few weeks and he’s barely a fringe TE1 without Romo. This week however there might be hope. Witten has scored three touchdowns in his last two visits to New York and the Giants struggle against tight ends, allowing an average of 11.55 fantasy points per game to the position. The question is with Matt Cassel now starting at quarterback for the Cowboys, will Witten see enough targets to produce?
SIT THESE TEs...
Ben Watson, NO (vs. IND)
A lot of you might be looking at Watson as a bye week fill-in because of his huge game last week when he scored 18.7 fantasy points thanks to 127 receiving yards and one touchdown. But those 18.7 fantasy points are more points than he had in all of 2014! So temper your expectations this week. The Saints are in Indianapolis and the Colts’ defense just held Rob Gronkowski in check and will easily do the same thing to Watson.
Crockett Gillmore, BAL (at ARI, Mon.)
Gillmore was a waiver wire darling and a huge sleeper at the beginning on the season. Remember his 88-yard, two-touchdown Week 2 performance? Since then he’s been hurt and has put up a total of just seven fantasy points. While the Ravens are likely to be trailing and passing the ball for most of the second half, don’t look for Gillmore to do much. The Cardinals have been solid defending tight ends. Their defense has yet to surrender a touchdown to a TE and it also has given up the fewest fantasy points to the position.
Jordan Cameron, MIA (vs. HOU)
Cameron scored his first touchdown of the season last week, which was great, good for him. Too bad Cameron hasn’t done much else all season and now with the Dolphins finally committing to being a run-first team to limit Ryan Tannehill’s mistakes, there are going to be less and less opportunities for Cameron. It’s true that the Texans aren’t a vaunted defense, but Cameron hasn’t scored double-digit fantasy points this season and he’s not going to this week either.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED
Rob Gronkowski, NE (vs. NYJ)
No, you’re not crazy. I’m actually warning you about Gronkowski this week. Of course you’re going to start him. Gronk has the potential to score 20-plus fantasy points every time he steps on the field, but something might be up with him. There are rumors floating around that Gronk is playing hurt and if you watch the tape, there might be something to it, as he isn’t blowing past linebackers like he usually does. Look at his stat lines over the last couple weeks – four receptions for 67 yards and three for 50 last week – those aren’t Gronk-like numbers. This week he goes up against one the best defenses in the NFL, which will undoubtedly look to take Gronk away as an option for Tom Brady. The Jets also have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, so Gronk could be in for a rough game.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.