Fantasy football: Week 7 starters, benchwarmers
Wondering whether or not to start Le’Veon Bell and A.J. Green, or to bench DeShone Kizer and Eli Rogers? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 7 of the 2017 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Patriots: Ryan has been a major disappointment this season, and Julio Jones has yet to find the end zone. But the Patriots are exactly what the doctor ordered. Every QB that has faced New England’s defense has posted his season high in yardage – including Josh McCown. Prepare for a feast.
C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos at Chargers: Anderson’s owners still have the bitter taste of last week’s dud in their mouths. But don’t let that scare you away from this delicious matchup. Nobody has given up more rushing yards than the Chargers. Though Jamaal Charles will continue to eat into his carries, Anderson should be fed enough to torch this sorry unit.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers vs. Cowboys: Hyde salvaged an otherwise mediocre performance last week with two rushing scores. Just as important, he distanced himself from up-and-coming Matt Breida in the backfield pecking order. Hyde will have a chance to build on his rushing stats against the porous Dallas run defense, while continuing to produce as a receiver.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans at Browns: Marcus Mariota’s return jumpstarted the Titans’ passing attack last week, and now he’ll face one of the league’s true doormats. As Mariota’s favorite target, Matthews should be the biggest beneficiary of the matchup. He might even get loose for the long ball, which has been surprisingly absent from his repertoire thus far in 2017.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles vs. Redskins: The former first-round pick is finally paying dividends now that he has developed a strong rapport with Carson Wentz. Against the Redskins’ depleted secondary, he should continue to use his blazing speed to make plays and find the end zone.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota, Kirk Cousins; RBs LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard, Joe Mixon, Jerick McKinnon, Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey; WRs Chris Hogan, Adam Thielen, Kelvin Benjamin, Larry Fitzgerald, Pierre Garcon, Brandin Cooks.
Roll ‘em back
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks at Giants: Wilson has had an up-and-down season, and this shapes up to be another off game. The Giants’ secondary, while showing occasional cracks, has mostly been very stingy. Given how porous Seattle’s offensive line has been, Wilson could be laying on his back for much of this game.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Eagles vs. Redskins: Though he ran strong against the Panthers last week, Blount’s final stats did little to help his fantasy owners. With Wendell Smallwood expected to return, and a solid Redskins run defense coming to town, Blount’s bottom line will likely be difficult to swallow again.
Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers vs. Saints: To his credit, Aaron Jones flashed his talents against Dallas two weeks ago, earning a prominent role in the Packers’ backfield. But Montgomery’s return, and the continuing injuries to Green Bay’s offensive line, are conspiring to render both backs fantasy-irrelevant. With Aaron Rodgers gone, the Saints can afford to stack the box to thwart the running game. It could get ugly.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts vs. Jaguars: It will be hard to take my own advice and sit him, but Hilton could have his second consecutive poor outing. Jacoby Brissett is coming off a rough week against the lowly Titans, and now he’ll be facing arguably the most stifling pass defense in the league. Hilton will be shadowed by elite defensive backs on every route, while Brissett will be running for his life from the NFL’s leading sack unit.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers at Bills: It’s not clear whether Jameis Winston at 75% or Ryan Fitzpatrick at 100% is worse, but regardless which quarterback is under center, D-Jax could be in for a rough day against the stout Bills secondary. Jackson has been a low-volume receiving option for his new team, and without enough targets, he is destined to swoon in upstate New York.
More thumbs down: QBs Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Brett Hundley, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett; RBs Tarik Cohen, Thomas Rawls, Javorius Allen, Bilal Powell, Chris Thompson, Aaron Jones; WRs Jeremy Maclin, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, Tyrell Williams, Randall Cobb, Mike Wallace, Giants WRs.
TAKING A FLIER
Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons at Patriots: Coleman has been his usual productive self when given the ball, and in a game that figures to be high scoring, he should be deployed more than usual. Devonta Freeman will ground out the tough yards, but Coleman will be there to exploit New England’s paltry pass defense out of the backfield.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…fails to look ahead and make a couple of preemptive adjustments to weather the six-team byes scheduled for Weeks 8 and 9. You don’t want to wake up Tuesday morning and realize half your team is out, then be forced to scramble. Swapping defenses, kickers or bench depth now, while players are free, will give you more flexibility when it’s time to hit the waiver wire.
Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and five-time finalist of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).