Start’Em Sit’Em Week 7

Spencer Ware

Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 7

Start’em Sit’em Week 7

It is borderline inconceivable that we have emerged upon the threshold of this season’s halfway point from a fantasy perspective. But owners in leagues that begin the postseason in Week 14, are now beginning preparation for their Week 7 lineups. That is incredible to comprehend, as the weeks have relentlessly progressed since our rosters were assembled on draft day.

Yet, here we are. With six weeks complete, a combination of triumphs and defeats now on record, and another round of roster evaluation officially underway. Bye weeks continue to impact some lineup decisions, as those of you who own any Panthers or Cowboys will not have those players available this week. If you are among the fortunate who are not dealing with any bye week issues in Week 7, you will soon be faced with your own absence of preferred starters. To help ease your transition through these remaining bye weeks, and avoid a sudden predicament from being unprepared, you can locate which teams are included in the most coming bye weeks directly below.

  • Week 7 Byes: Carolina, Dallas
  • Week 8 Byes: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
  • Week 9 Byes: Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington

With that in mind, here are my top Start‘Em Sit‘Em recommendations for Week 7. As always, no space will be devoted to elite players that you should already be planning to deploy. Instead, the focus will remain on the Start and Sit options that are more uncertain. Enjoy the games, and good luck this week.

startem

Start QB Matt Ryan vs. Chargers

matt-ryan-fantasy-footballHe has generated over 330 yards in four contests this season while tossing multiple touchdowns five times. Including his memorable Week 4 torment of the Panthers for astronomical 503 yards and four scores.  However, the 335 yards and three touchdowns that he accrued against Seattle’s stout pass defense in Week 6 arguably represented his best performance of the season. Ryan leads the NFL with 2,075 yards and is second among all signal callers with 15 touchdowns. Plus, he has accomplished this despite two daunting encounters in Denver and Seattle. Ryan now returns home for an incredibly favorable matchup. The Chargers are struggling in their post–Jason Verrett existence, as their pass defense has plummeted to a ranking of 24th while yielding 280 YPG, and permitting ten touchdowns. San Diego has also surrendered 24 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks while being burned for 300+ yards by Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Andrew Luck, and Alex Smith. Plus, they have given up multiple scores in four different matchups. Owners can be confident that Ryan will deliver excellent production once again this week.

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Sit QB Carson Wentz vs. Vikings

carson-wentzWentz continues to perform impressively overall as his rookie season unfurls. But he established new season lows in completions (11), and yardage (179) during his Week 6 matchup versus the Eagles’ longtime rival Washington. Wentz also failed to generate a touchdown for the first time this year, which left his highly favorable 7:1+ touchdown to interception ratio intact. He remains a potential QB1 during appealing matchups. But Minnesota’s defensive resume should compel owners to avoid using Wentz this week. The Vikings currently rank sixth against the pass, have permitted 210 YPG, and have yielded just four touchdowns through the air all season. Minnesota has not allowed any opposing signal callers to exceed 271 yards, and have only permitted multiple touchdowns in one contest. Wentz was sacked five times by the Redskins, and must now attempt to operate versus a Viking pass rush that has already collected 19 sacks. They should generate enough pressure to impact his comfort level, which should leave owners feeling equally uneasy.

startem

Start RB Spencer Ware vs. Saints

Jamaal Charles received his most sizable workload of the season in Week 6, although it consisted of only 11 touches on 15 snaps. Conversely, Ware received significantly more snaps (40), and touches (26), including 24 rushing attempts on a weather impacted field in Oakland. He responded by accumulating impressive 163 total yards while generating his second touchdown of the season. The heavy utilization of Ware within Andy Reid’s game plan underscored the fact that his viability as a fantasy starter remains intact. Until Reid is comfortable with the concept of lifting the current constraints upon Charles. Which makes Ware an excellent option this week when he lines up against New Orleans. The Saints currently rank 25th against the run and have surrendered a league-worst 11 touchdowns on the ground in just five games. They have also yielded the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, allowing a monstrous 29 PPG. During that process, New Orleans has permitted at least 65 total yards to seven different runners and has given up 80+ rushing yards to three backs. Ware owners should take full advantage of this enticing matchup.

startem

Start RB Jacquizz Rodgers at 49ers

jacquizz-rodgersThose of you who selected Doug Martin during your drafts have been supplied with a total of 85 rushing yards, which were generated on just 25 carries during the first two weeks of the season (3.4 YPC). A long-awaited reward for your investment was expected this week. Instead, Martin’s hamstring issue will keep him sidelined, and propel Rodgers into the feature role for what can genuinely be classified as a dream matchup in San Francisco. The 49ers rank dead last against the run and have yielded an enormous 174.5 YPG. They have also surrendered the third-most fantasy points to running backs and were just overwhelmed by LeSean McCoy in Week 6. The eighth-year back gashed San Francisco for 140 yards and three touchdowns, and joined Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson, Christine Michael, and Fozzy Whittaker on the list of rushers who have accumulated 100-plus yards on the ground against the Niners. McCoy also became the third back to produce multiple touchdowns against this beleaguered group. Rodgers garnered a massive 35 touches in Week 5, and should capture an extensive workload once again. Combine the desirable number of opportunities that he will receive with the extremely appealing matchup, and it is clear that anyone who has seized him for their rosters should absolutely start him.

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Sit RB Frank Gore at Titans

The 12-year veteran has averaged 83 YPG on the ground in his last four games, which includes the season high 106 that he generated in Houston on Sunday Night. This has enabled him to maintain a steady presence as a reliable RB2, even though he is not typically a candidate to generate a massive statistical explosion at this point of his career. This week’s difficult matchup will make it extremely difficult for Gore to preserve his recent level of production. Division rival Tennessee currently allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing backs, and has only permitted three touchdowns on the ground this season. The Titans also limited Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson to an anemic 34 rushing yards in Week 6, and have allowed only one back to surpass 57 all year. This unit will restrict Gore’s output to an undesirable level this week.

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Sit RB Matt Forte vs. Ravens

Forte owners have a legitimate reason for concern regarding his declining workload. As he averaged 29.5 touches in Weeks 1 and 2, but that number has dropped to just 14 in his last four contests. He has also failed to locate the end zone since Week 2, and the ongoing presence of Bilal Powell has become an unwelcome reality for Forte’s owners. However, the best deterrent toward starting him this week is his challenging matchup against the NFL’s second-ranked run defense. Baltimore has sustained a formidable presence when facing opposing rushers, while grudgingly allowing just 69.7 YPG. They have surrendered the second fewest fantasy points to the position while limiting backs to just 12.9 PPG. Only one runner has reached 100 yards against this unit, and no back has exceeded 31 yards since Week 2. Plus, the Ravens have only permitted one touchdown on the ground. Combine that with Powell’s continued intrusion into the allotment of backfield touches, and you have sufficient reason to avoid using Forte this week.

startem

Start WR DeSean Jackson at Lions

DeSean JacksonAny trepidation about trusting fifth-year- pro Kirk Cousins is understandable. But Jordan Reed’s latest absence has propelled Jackson into an enhanced role within Jay Gruden’s offense. Just in time for a matchup versus a Lion pass defense that ranks 23rd, and has surrendered a league-worst 17 touchdowns through the air. Detroit is also yielding 27.4 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers and just allowed Kenny Britt to become the third wideout to amass over 100 yards against them this year. The well-documented boom-or-bust nature of deploying Jackson as a starter has remained on display this season. As he has accumulated 96+ yards in two contests, yet failed to exceed 40 in three others. Unless Detroit alters their usual script and detaches their best corner Darius Slay from being anchored solely on the left side, Jackson should draw a more favorable matchup against Nevin Lawson for a healthy percentage of snaps. Which should result in a 100-yard performance with at least one score.

startem

Start WR Mike Wallace at Jets

He does not reside in the same lofty category as the unquestioned weekly starters at the wide receiver position. But Wallace can provide owners with a legitimate WR3 option when he is supplied with a favorable matchup. That will occur this week when he faces a highly burnable secondary that will be operating on a short week. The Jets’ 31st ranked pass defense was yielding 303 YPG heading into their Week 6 matchup with Arizona and has now been scorched for 13 touchdowns through the air. Plus, they have also surrendered the most fantasy points to wide receivers, allowing three wideouts to exceeded 110 yards, and six to accumulate 75+. Wallace has remained heavily involved in Baltimore’s offense, receiving a minimum of six targets in every contest, and collecting at least nine in each of his last three. He also amassed a season-high 97 yards in Week 6, which was bolstered by a 70-yard strike from Joe Flacco. The Ravens launched more vertical passes during Marty Mornhinweg’s initial game as Baltimore’s OC, and that should remain an element within the team’s offensive strategy. Which further increases the likelihood that Wallace will deliver an excellent outing.

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Sit WR DeAndre Hopkins at Broncos

DeAndre HopkinsHopkins owners are acutely aware that his numbers have been appreciably lower this season. In great part due to the alarming shortcomings that Brock Osweiler has placed on display.  Houston’s highly paid signal caller had only targeted the fourth-year receiver 42 times during Houston’s first five contests, which was a mammoth 32 fewer than he had garnered during that span in 2015. But Osweiler did make a concerted effort to locate Hopkins with greater frequency in Week 6, and his season high 15 targets enabled him to accumulate 71 yards. However, that still leaves him 30th among all receivers with 354 yards for the season. Plus, there is a significant obstacle that will inhibit Hopkins’  production this week. As his quarterback’s former team awaits, and will be primed to smother Osweiler, and diffuse Houston’s passing attack. The Broncos lead the NFL with 21 sacks and will be focused upon harassing Osweiler, who consistently reacts unfavorably to pressure. When he is successful in launching the ball, connecting with Hopkins still will not be an easy task. It appears likely that Hopkins will draw Aqib Talib in coverage, and his track record in neutralizing opposing receivers is well chronicled. That should create even further consternation among owners who are considering starting him.

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Sit WR Jordan Matthews vs. Vikings

Matthews garnered three catches for 75 yards in Week 6, and needed a 54-yard catch to salvage what would have been an anemic outing for his owners. He continues to lead the Eagles in every major receiving category (37 targets, 22 receptions, and 344 yards). However, he has only generated two touchdowns this season and has not scored since Week 3.  A statistical surge is unlikely this week against Minnesota’s forbidding pass defense. The daunting task of attempting to navigate through this sixth-ranked unit was mentioned previously. As only one team has yielded fewer fantasy points to wide receivers (15 PPG), and no wideout has exceeded 62 yards against the Vikings since Week 2. They have also limited the position to only two touchdowns through the air this season. While Matthews should avoid Xavier Rhodes in coverage, Captain Munnerlyn hardly presents a favorable matchup in the slot. Plus, Minnesota’s relentless pass rush will not allow Carson Wentz the luxury of time to locate Matthews with any frequency during this encounter.

startem

Start TE Hunter Henry at Falcons

hunter-henry-fantasy-footballThe rookie tight end’s soaring production has signaled his clear emergence as a consistent weapon within San Diego’s offense. That, in turn, has ignited his fantasy relevance. He has surpassed 60 receiving yards in four straight contests and has scored in each of his last three. That includes his impressive Week 6 outing, when he garnered six of his team-high eight targets to establish new season highs in receptions, and yardage (83). His proficiency against the Bronco defense is significant, as he generated the first touchdown that Denver has yielded to a tight end this season. Concerns about the role of Antonio Gates should be essentially dismissed, as Henry appears much more capable at this point in their collective careers. He should also deliver another productive outing this week. Amid the favorable aspects of Atlanta’s performances this season, the Falcons have been habitually generous to opposing tight ends. Not only has this unit surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to the position (12 PPG), but they have also yielded five touchdowns. That should provide sufficient incentive to use Henry.

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Sit TE Coby Fleener at Chiefs

Fleener failed to attain 30 yards in three of New Orleans’ initial four contests but has accumulated 183 and two touchdowns during the Saints’ other two matchups. That includes the 74 yards and a touchdown that he amassed in Week 6, along with the first rushing touchdown of his career. It provides a reminder that Fleener operates within an offense that is conducive for him to deliver productive outings when the matchup is favorable. But it is critical to remember that Drew Brees is adept at modifying which receiving weapons he will frequently locate, based upon the specifics of each game. That benefits the Saints, but can be a nightmarish experience for owners of the potential weapon whose production suddenly plummets to unusable depths. That scenario is likely to occur with Fleener this week. Kansas City has limited tight ends to just 4.4 fantasy points per game in part by not allowing an opponent to exceed 26 yards. The Chiefs have not yielded more than two receptions to anyone at the position since Week 1, and have surrendered only one touchdown. It would be wise to avoid utilizing Fleener this week.

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About the author

Phil Clark

Phil is a proud Hoosier, who relocated in Nebraska, and began playing fantasy football nearly 20 years ago. In his first ever draft, he had the third overall pick and selected Barry Sanders. That choice was instantly mocked by several other owners, but Sanders ultimately scored 14 touchdowns and generated 2,358 total yards during an exceptional season. That instantly taught Phil a very important lesson – even though none of us will forecast with 100% accuracy, you should follow your gut instincts whenever you truly believe in a player. Phil began his writing career with RotoWire, later joined Fanball, and has since returned home to the Gridiron Experts. He remains firmly convinced that the key to happiness can be found through a subscription to the Sunday Ticket.

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