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Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 7 (Updated with Podcast)

This article was written in 2017, Read the latest Start Sit Article HERE




NFL Start Sit Week 7

Start SitMany of you are approaching the halfway mark in your quest to qualify for the fantasy postseason, while those of you who begin your playoffs in Week 13 have essentially progressed to that point. The Week 6 game action that we witnessed included noteworthy performances that helped owners win their fantasy matchups, along with anemic production from other players that destined their owners to absorb massive disappointment. We were also subjected to another distressing installment in what has become a dubious sequence of catastrophic injuries.

As Aaron Rodgers became just the latest elite performer to have his season concluded prematurely, while Golden Tate and Emmanuel Sanders will also be sidelined due to their health issues. Now, their owners join those who had previously been forced to move forward without performers that had been integral components within their lineups. As we proceed into this week’s breakdown of the Start‘Em and Sit‘Em options for Week 7 of the 2017 NFL Season, here is the ongoing reminder that some of your rosters will be impacted by those eternally unwanted bye weeks. If you own any Lions or Texans, you should plan accordingly, as they won’t be capable of contributing to your point totals. Many of you will not be affected by this development in Week 7, but will soon be faced with Start‘Em and Sit‘Em decisions that include the absence of preferred starters. As there will be a total of 12 teams affected in Weeks 8 and 9. To help circumvent the potential of a sudden predicament from being unprepared, you can locate which teams are included in the most imminent bye weeks directly below.

  • Week 7 Byes: Lions, Texans
  • Week 8 Byes: Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants, Titans 
  • Week 9 Byes: Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots, Steelers

Regardless of the specific challenges that you are encountering this week, this Gridiron Experts Start’Em Week 7 Sit’Em column will assist with the critical decision-making process that is involved with finalizing your lineups. As it is designed to provide a strategic approach toward recommending your best starts, along with the players that should be excluded this week.

Since you are already depending upon the performers that you selected at the onset of your drafts, along with the consistent leaders in fantasy points, this column will not confiscate your precious time by discussing them here. Unless the recommendation is that you need to sit any off those players. Kickoffs are approaching, so let’s examine the players that are featured in this Gridiron Experts Week 7 Start’em Sit’em column. Enjoy the games, and good luck in Week 7.

microphone iconStart’em Sit’em Podcast

Check out Phil Clark and Andrew Erickson in this week’s FINAL CALL podcast dedicated to Start’em Sit’em


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Carson Wentz vs. Redskins

QB Start

Carson WentzOne of the more compelling developments at the quarterback position has been the distinct ascension of Wentz. Whose steady improvement in multiple facets of his game has enabled him to generate numbers that place him among the leaders in multiple categories. He currently resides fifth overall with 1,584 yards, is tied for second with 13 touchdowns, and has sustained his presence inside the top 10 with 7.65 YPA and 264 YPG averages. He has also minimized his interceptions (3) and has even manufactured 133 yards on the ground. While there has been resistance from some owners to consider Wentz as a matchup-proof weekly starter, there should be no hesitation in using him this week. He already shredded the Redskins for 307 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1,  which remains the only 300-yard performance that the Redskins have allowed to an opposing quarterback this season, and the lone game in which they yielded multiple touchdowns through the air. 93 of those yards were generated on six connections with Zach Ertz. Who should replicate that success against a unit that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to tight ends, after being torched by Ertz, Gerald Everett (95 yards), Jared Cook (43 yards/1 touchdown),  and Travis Kelce (111 yards/1 touchdown). When Alshon Jeffery has been neutralized by formidable cornerbacks, Wentz has adeptly utilized Torrey Smith and the revitalized Nelson Agholor, which has boosted what appeared to be an uninspiring tandem into viable secondary weapons. It should also enable him to accumulate 300+ yards and multiple scores against a Washington defense that just surrendered 245 yards to C.J. Beathard, and is easier to dissect without Josh Norman in the lineup.

Also Start: Matt Ryan at Patriots, Cam Newton at Bears


Philip Rivers vs. Broncos

QB Sit

Philip Rivers FantasyDenver has traditionally provided problems for Rivers, as the 35-year old’s career record of 11-13 against the Broncos will attest. His recent struggles versus the longtime AFC West rival include both contests in 2016, when he averaged 222 YPG and 5.91 YPA, while producing the same number of interceptions as touchdowns (3). He was also limited to 192 yards during their Week 1 matchup. Even though he did accumulate three second-half touchdowns. He merits inclusion among this weeks recommended sits as a byproduct of his upcoming confrontation with the NFL’s sixth-ranked pass defense. As Denver’s imposing secondary once again is spearheading the team’s smothering coverage. Which has held four quarterbacks to less than 200 yards, while not allowing any signal callers to exceed 238. It will be especially difficult for Rivers to boost his output through connections with primary receiving weapon Keenan Allen. Who was limited to a season-low 35 yards while being forced to contend with Chris Harris Jr. in Week 1, although he did generate a rare touchdown against Harris. Rivers does have sufficient secondary options to avoid manufacturing an infinitesimal yardage total. But he will not deliver the favorable numbers that owners envisioned when they selected him. He can be employed as a QB1 with confidence in upcoming matchups, but this is not the week to place your trust in him.

Also Sit: Jameis Winston at Bills, Andy Dalton at Steelers  


Adrian Peterson at Rams

RB Start

AP in CardinalsMaybe the three-time NFL rushing champion isn’t entirely done after all. Peterson certainly had been underwhelming during his forgettable tenure with New Orleans, averaging 3.0 YPC, while functioning as more of a deterrent to the success of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, than any type of positive resource for the Saints. But he reawakened during last Sunday’s debut with the Cardinals, delivering an unanticipated explosion (134 yards/2 touchdowns/5.2 YPC), while restoring his fantasy relevance with a vengeance. Peterson gashed the Buccaneers for 54 yards and his initial score on Arizona’s first drive and assembled more yards in the first half then he had manufactured during his four games as a Saint. Plus, he accomplished it versus a Tampa Bay defense that entered the matchup ranked sixth, while allowing 87 YPG.

This week, he has an opportunity to continue his resurgence, when he faces a Ram run defense that ranks a lowly 29th, permits 4.8 YPC, and is yielding a league-worst eight touchdowns. They have also surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and have been shredded on the ground by Chris Thompson (77), Rob Kelley (87), Carlos Hyde (84), Ezekiel Elliott (85), Alfred Morris (76), and Leonard Fournette (130).  Owners should not anticipate this week’s game script to perfectly replicate what occurred last Sunday. When Peterson was allotted 26 attempts last Sunday, while Andre Ellington was targeted just once. But he should still garner a significant workload, and should approach 100 yards during this enticing matchup.


Dion Lewis vs. Falcons

RB Start

After beginning the season with a mere two touches during the Patriots’ season opener, and receiving just 17 touches during New England’s first four contests, Lewis has garnered 20 in the past two games. That includes the team high 11 carries that he was allotted in Week 6, which helped him pace the team in rushing yards for the second consecutive week (53/52). He also scored his second touchdown of the season, while further catapulted his value above that of Mike Gillislee. Whose fumble against the Jets only served to accelerate the rapid decline of his stock. As he is now averaging just 3.7  YPC, still does not have a reception all season, and has failed to score since Week 2. James White also remains a factor within the offense, and actually leads the team with 42 targets. But White should join Lewis in delivering favorable numbers this week, when they face an Atlanta run defense that is allowing 4.3 YPC, and has been burned for sizable yardage by Tarik Cohen (116 total yards/1 touchdown), Ty Montgomery (110 total yards/2 touchdowns) Ameer Abdullah (86 total yards), LeSean McCoy (108 total yards), and Jay Ajayi (130 rushing yards). While the fortunes of each New England back could shift at any time, Lewis is currently a viable Week 7 starter. Which provides a solution for anyone who is exploring their RB3 and flex options.

Also Start: C.J. Anderson at Chargers, Mark Ingram at Packers 

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Ty Montgomery / Aaron Jones vs. Saints

RB Sit

Ty MontgomeryIf you own Jones or Montgomery, you suddenly have multiple reasons for concern when you consider utilizing either of them in your lineups. The timeshare that this tandem now resides in was already lowering the ceiling on the production that you could receive from either back. Now, the absence of Rodgers will negatively impact their potential for supplying high-quality production even further. As opposing defenses have no reason to fear Green Bay’s passing attack at anything resembling the magnitude that they did previously. Which will enable them to deploy more resources toward stopping the run. These factors were evident in Week 6, when Jones’ average plummeted to 3.2 YPC (13 carries/41 yards). Montgomery’s average was actually lower (10 attempts/28 yards/ 2.8 YPC), as he also managed just one reception for three yards. Worse, this week’s matchup is less favorable than it might initially appear. Savvy owners should already be aware that the Saint defense has improved from what had perennially been a sieve for opposing offenses.

New Orleans currently ranks 11th against the run and has permitted just two touchdowns on the ground. They have not allowed a runner to exceed 57 yards since Week 2, and have limited the output of Christian McCaffrey (16), Jonathan Stewart (57), Jay Ajayi, (46), and Ameer Abdullah (54). While McCaffrey and James White did register sizable yardage as receivers, no other back has exceeded 45 yards. While this is not an elite unit, generating significant yardage against them will be difficult for Jones and Montgomery. Although their biggest hurdle is functioning within an offense that has lost an irreplaceable signal-caller.


Alex Collins / Javorius Allen at Vikings

RB Sit

Alex Collins RavensThroughout the six weeks that have transpired in this regular season, dissecting the best running back to depend on within the various committees that have manifested around the league, has been a sizable challenge. The Baltimore backfield easily dwells among the most challenging to decipher. Entering Week 6, Allen had emerged as the most utilized and most targeted member of the Raven backfield. After garnering 25 touches, assembling 85 total yards, and generating a touchdown in Week 5. While that appeared to facilitate the decision-making process for his owners, those who started him were subjected to unfavorable results when Baltimore faced Chicago. As he was only allotted 10 carries and 13 touches, while Alex Collins carried a season-high 15 times, and burst for 74 yards. Allen owners will now be more hesitant to utilize him this week, while an overreaction by anyone who owns Collins could be imminent. However, the high level of unpredictability that persists regarding the usage of both backs, should compel owners to avoid starting either rusher this week. Particularly considering their daunting matchup. As they must contend with the second-ranked run defense of Minnesota. The Vikings are permitting just 3.2 YPC, and have surrendered just one touchdown on the ground. This unit has also allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, and has yielded the fourth-fewest receiving yards to the position. All of which should induce owners to search for better options this week.

Also Sit:  Jordan Howard vs. Panthers, Matt Forte / Elijah McGuire at Dolphins  


Cooper Kupp vs. Cardinals

WR Start 

[the_ad id=”72490″]Even though I remain a big proponent of Kupp, who is second on the Rams with 33 targets, and with 265 receiving yards, he was included among last week’s sits. Although that was the result of his difficult matchup against Jacksonville slot corner Aaron Colvin. However, this is obviously a different week, and the rookie will be operating in a more favorable situation. As he will function as an enticing option for Jared Goff, as the Ram signal caller will be forced to eschew the concept of targeting Sammy Watkins, who will be thoroughly defused by Patrick Peterson. Arizona’s imposing cornerback has consistently flourished in shadow coverage, which has often compelled opposing quarterbacks to avoid launching the ball in his direction. That has expanded the level of opportunity for secondary receivers, who also become the beneficiaries of favorable matchups against the Cardinals’ often deficient Tyrann Mathieu, and Justin Bethel. Kupp should run most of his routes against Mathieu, whose struggles have been dwarfed by the more prominent shortcomings of Bethel, but still constitutes an extremely winnable matchup.

While Robert Woods also possesses ascending value for this contest, Kupp should receive at least seven targets for the third time this season, can surpass his season-high yardage total (76), and is a strong candidate to discover the end zone during this appealing matchup.   


Ted Ginn Jr. at Packers

WR Start

Ted Ginn FantasyEven though he was about to begin his 11th professional season, Ginn was one of the more intriguing best ball options during drafts throughout the summer. But selecting him in season-long leagues certainly presented risk. As it would be logical to expect his production to fluctuate between many weeks with insufficient results, and a select few contests during which his output would soar as the result of his big play capabilities. That widely anticipated scenario has occurred in his first five games as a Saint. As he generated 53 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, averaged 31 YPG from Weeks 2-5, then caught all four of his targets for 66 yards and a touchdown in Week 6. Ginn will have an opportunity to exceed that production this week, when he lines up against a Green Bay pass defense that had already been hospitable to secondary receivers, before absorbing a cluster of injuries to cornerbacks Kevin King (concussion), Davon House (quadricep), Quintin Rollins (ankle), along with safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring).

This unit will also be spending more time on the field, as Green Bay’s offense will not generate its usual number of sustained drives with Brett Hundley under center. To be clear, you are not starting Ginn because you expect him to be heavily targeted. As Drew Brees will continue to utilize his collection of receiving options. The enticement for utilizing him is that can locate space against when running routes against this secondary. If you are searching for a WR3 of flex, he can deliver several big plays to justify your decision.

Also Start: Kelvin Benjamin at Bears, Cole Beasley at 49ers


T.Y. Hilton vs Jaguars

WR Sit

TY HiltonThe notion of sitting last season’s leader in receiving yardage would have seemed ludicrous at the onset of the season. As he has proven to be fully capable of delivering excellent production, even while functioning without Andrew Luck.  But his numbers have been sporadic this season. As he has exceeded 150 yards in two contests, while averaging a paltry 39 YPG in the other four. That includes the disturbingly low 19 that he registered against Tennessee in Week 6. Now, he will face a massive obstacle, when he contends with a Jacksonville pass defense that has yielded the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.

The undeniable proficiency of Jaguar cornerbacks has been an ongoing topic in this column. Beginning with Jalen Ramsey’s ascension into an elite corner, A.J. Bouye’s  elevation to a level that is adjacent to Ramsey’s, and the fact that deploying both imposing defenders on the perimeter, enables the Jaguars to place an extremely low ceiling on the production of wide receivers. Yet, the option for opponents to simply attack the middle is not feasible either. Because Aaron Colvin’s efforts in defending the slot have also been consistently effective. While Colvin will be tested this week when Hilton runs routes in his direction, this will also be a massive challenge for the Colts’ top receiving weapon. Because after six contests, no wide receiver has attained 60 yards while operating in the slot. As Eric Decker (32), Jeremy Maclin (8), Jeremy Kerley (37), Cooper Kupp (35), have all been held to extremely modest output, while only JuJu Smith-Schuster has surpassed 37 yards (58).  All of which creates a dilemma for Hilton owners who are inclined to start him regardless of the matchup. While it may be difficult to sit him, you should expect another unproductive outing if you do.


Terrelle Pryor at Eagles

WR Sit

[the_ad id=”72513″]Do you have a player on your roster right now, who has been a disappointment this season, yet you continue to find ways in which to convince yourself that he could still reward you for your patience?  Some of you who are nodding emphatically as you read this might be Pryor owners. Because his size, and athleticism have certainly been enticing, and have compelled many owners to believe that his largely frustrating season was on the verge of a rebound on multiple occasions. When he faced the Eagles in Week 1, he caught six of his 11 targets for 66 yards. But he also dropped multiple passes, and suffered several lapses while running routes. Still, there was reason to believe that his inefficient performance with lead to consistent high-quality production. Instead, that was actually his best outing of the year. With the exception of  Week 5, when he escaped being penalized for offensive interference, while generating a 44-yard touchdown. Otherwise, he has failed to surpass 31 yards in any other game this season, which includes his meager 23-yard effort last Sunday, against an extremely burnable San Francisco secondary. This week’s matchup is certainly appealing, as Philadelphia’s 29th ranked pass defense has surrendered nine touchdowns through the air. However, his Week 6 opportunity against the 49ers was equally appealing, yet owners have understandably dissatisfied once again. You may feel compelled to start him again this week. But there are less prominent wideouts who are more likely to take advantage of their favorable matchups.

Also Sit: Sammy Watkins vs. Cardinals, Tyrell Williams vs. Broncos 

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Austin Hooper at Patriots

TE Start

Austin Hooper FalconsAustin Hooper was a top recommended pickup in our Week 7 Waiver Wire article.

This week’s trek through the tumultuous waters of the tight end position is designed to ultimately locate a streaming option, for the vast majority of you who do not own the trio of performers that have achieved matchup proof status (Rob Gronkowski/Zach Ertz/Travis Kelce). Hooper’s involvement and output have expanded during Atlanta’s last two contests. As he garnered seven targets when he faced the Bills in Week 5, then collected a season eight last Sunday against Miami. This enabled the second-year tight end to assemble 12 catches for 98 yards, including the season-best seven receptions that he garnered against the Dolphins.

Even though Matt Ryan possesses a cluster of other potential weapons to target at both the running back and wide receiver positions, Hooper’s outstanding matchup against the Patriots, should keep him highly involved in the Falcon attack once again. New England has yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to the position, as only two teams have exceeded the five touchdowns that they have surrendered. That process began in Week 1 when their focused containment of Travis Kelce (40 yards) helped lead to a Demetrius Harris touchdown. Which was followed by respectable production from Coby Fleener (33 yards/1 touchdown), Ryan Griffin (61 yards/1 touchdown), Ed Dickson (62 yards), Cameron Brate (68 yards/1 touchdown), and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (46 yards/1 touchdown). If you are a distressed owner, Hooper is available in roughly 50% of all leagues and can supply a solution to your Week 7 dilemma.

Also Start: Delanie Walker at Browns, Kyle Rudolph vs. Ravens


Jason Witten at 49ers

TE Sit

Jason WittenConsidering the degree of difficulty in locating a tight end that is worthy of entrusting with a starting slot on nearly all rosters, the concept of sitting someone who has delivered several productive outings might not be palatable. However, it will advantageous to make sure that you do not ignore a difficult matchup in the process. As there are already enough hurdles that can prohibit tight ends from supplying adequate fantasy point totals for their owners. Without knowingly entering the week with another massive obstacle toward accomplishing what you need to win your fantasy matchup. This scenario applies to Witten, who has registered two games in which he managed just one reception, and failed to reach double digits in receiving yards, but has interspersed them with three contests with which he collected at least seven receptions, and amassed 59+ yards. This week, he will line up against a San Francisco defense that has yielded the fewest fantasy points to the position. The 49ers had not allowed a tight end to catch more than three passes, or to exceed 25 yards, prior to facing the Redskins in Week 6. While Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis did combine for seven receptions, San Francisco still has not surrendered a touchdown to the position. This unit has already limited Greg Olsen (18 yards), Ed Dickson (0 yards), Jimmy Graham (1 yard). Plus, there more effective ways for  Dallas to attack this defense. Making it wise for owners to avoid starting Witten until he encounters a better matchup.

Also Sit:  Cameron Brate at Bills, Ben Watson at Vikings  

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