Fantasy Football – Week 7
Not only does Stampede Blue's Christopher Price know all there is to know about sports betting and how to make the City of Las Vegas, NV pay his bills, he also can give you the valuable inside scoop on fantasy football!
QB’s – Start ‘Em!
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo Bills) – It finally looks as if the back-up that I’ve drafted in half of my leagues may pay off… if only for a week. Buffalo Bills (3-2) starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (81.5 QB Rating – 1,210 YDS, 8 INT’s, 12 TD’s) is a walking conundrum – the man can put up insane points one week and throw 1,604 interceptions with -43 yards passing in the next. Ok, ok… that’s a little much, but you get the point. This week, Fitzpatrick is facing a 29th-ranked Tennessee Titans (2-4) team who is giving up 292.3 passing yards per game throughout the air. Don’t question me, just start ‘em!
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) – Hopefully both the Indianapolis Colts (2-3) and QB Andrew Luck (72.0 QB Rating – 1,488 YDS, 7 INT’s, 7 TD’s) can fix absolutely everything from last week’s demoralizing loss to the New York Jets (3-3) when the lowly Cleveland Browns (1-5) visit Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday. Cleveland is fighting for last place in almost every category imaginable, giving up 294.2 passing yards per game (30th) while allowing an average of 27 PPG in the process. When the Colts put up 23+ points in a game, they don’t lose, especially at home. Sorry, that was the sports bettor in me coming out again. (Hint, hint!)
Carson Palmer (Oakland Raiders) – The Oakland Raiders (1-4) have gotten off to a terrible start, while not always playing terrible football. In all but two games, Oakland finds a way to move the ball and keep it close, especially in the Georgia Dome last week where they took the undefeated Atlanta Falcons (6-0) down to the wire, losing on a 55-yarder at the end of regulation. Much of this is due to QB Carson Palmer (88.7 QB Rating – 1,434 YDS, 3 INT’s, 6 TD’s) having success through the air, which will likely continue this week against the 1-4 (which should be 0-5, but we won’t discuss "that play" against the Colts) Jacksonville Jaguars. Palmer and the Raiders have a solid team with a good game plan, they simply just cannot convert when it counts – thus, why I am quick to jump on kicker Sebastian Janikowski (7/7 PAT, 10/10 FG, 37 PTS) in the early-late rounds of my fantasy football drafts year after year. I’d swear, if you gave Janikowski some hair and a shot of Jameson, he’d be the spitting image of a bartender Gareth McDaid at The Gaslight Pub in Sunnyside Queens – just a man out there, doing his job, not giving a damn about a thing in the world!
RB’s - Start ‘Em!
Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) – DO NOT ADJUST YOUR MONITOR – YOU ARE READING THIS PROPERLY!!! That’s right, people… for anyone else who thought they were duping others by pawning Tennessee Titans (2-4) RB Chris Johnson (92 ATT, 301 YDS, 0 TD’s) off, it’s time that the self-anointed "CJ2K" gets back to doing what he does best in the next two weeks. The Titans are traveling to Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday to face a terrible Buffalo Bills (3-2) defensive line that could give up a touchdown scamper to Betty White if she were willing to suit up. The Bills, currently ranked 32nd in the league, giving up 173.5 rushing yards-per-game need to seriously reconsider changing things up on the defensive line – it’s simply not working and costing them field position that Fitzpatrick and company just hasn’t seemed to be able to get back of late. Just like most of you, I’m sure, my cousin Vinny (not the movie, shut up) thought he was slick by releasing Johnson as soon as he could. But, for those of you who held strong and/or just received your gift for this week, it’s time to hear him and all of the others bitch the Bills defensive line up and down all Sunday long!
Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Just behind the last-ranked rushing defense of Buffalo is the New Orleans Saints (1-4) who give up an average of 172.8 yards-per-game over their last five. But, not even a bye week should be able to stop a decent rushing attack that Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ (2-3) RB Doug Martin (84 ATT, 323 YDS, 1 TD) looks to improve upon. The Bucs typically fare well at home and Martin should be a solid point on the ground, opening the air-attack up for the offense.
Stevan Ridley (New England Patriots) – Everyone knows that in order to have a solid chance at beating the New England Patriots (3-3), they must stop the quick slants and overall passing offense that QB Tom Brady (97.2 QB Rating – 1,845 YDS, 3 INT’s, 10 TD’s) has all but perfected over the years. For some reason, RB Stevan Ridley (118 ATT, 524 YDS, 4 TD’s) doesn’t get brought up near as much as he should. The second year back from LSU has been a shining star on the Patriots offense, leading them to an average of 152.3 rushing yards-per-game (4th) – a number that only looks to grow larger against a suspect New York Jets (3-3) rush defense, currently ranked 28th in the league, allowing 150.5 yards-per-game on the ground throughout their first six games.
WR’s – Start ‘Em!
Hakeem Nicks (New York Giants) – The top starter of the week overall is New York Giants (4-2) and their lethal quarterback, Eli Manning (QB Rating - 94.9, 1,772 YDS, 5 INT’s, 11 TD’s). On the opposing end of Manning is up against the absolute worst passing secondary in the league, Washington Redskins (3-3), who gives up 328.3 passing yards-per-game on average, with newly healthy and dominant WR Hakeem Nicks (17 REC, 281 YDS, 1 TD) to put a smile on Manning’s face with at least 10 targets this week, leading to what I can only assume to be massive fantasy points!
Denarius Moore (Oakland Raiders) – Oakland Raiders (1-5) WR Denarius Moore (17 REC, 287 YDS, 2 TD’s) impressed me last week in Atlanta where he totaled 104 yards receiving and a touchdown against an extremely solid secondary. This week could be a breakout week for Moore, facing a weak Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) defense that will most certainly get destroyed in Oakland… I promise.
Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts) – For whatever reason, the Indianapolis Colts (2-3) decided WR Reggie Wayne (41 REC, 593 YDS, 2 TD’s) should be thrown into the game plan mid-way through the 4th quarter of last week’s massacre. I see this week’s game against the 30th-ranked passing defense of the Cleveland Browns (1-5), who give up close to 300 yards-per-game in the air to be the polar opposite. Look for Wayne to be targeted much throughout this one, maybe for 150+ yards and a few TD’s!
QB’s – Sit ‘Em!
Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) – Someway, somehow the Baltimore Ravens (5-1) find a way to squeak out games. I don’t quite see it happening this week when they travel to Reliant Stadium to take on the Houston Texans (5-1), who are coming off of their first loss of the season. Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco (92.0 QB Rating – 1,690 YDS, 4 INT’s, 8 TD’s) has done a decent job at finding open receivers and avoiding too much pressure, but when facing dominant defenses, which they have yet to all season, it’s looking like a different outcome is to be expected. The Texans are ranked 7th in both rushing and passing defense, allowing just over 300 total yards of offense per game to opponents. Expect Houston to be a little pissed… and to show it!
Alex Smith (San Francisco 49’ers) – Although QB Alex Smith (96.6 QB Rating – 1,287 YDS, 4 INT’s, 8 TD’s) gets the job done, there is truly nothing too impressive about his season thus far. Besides the fact that the San Francisco 49’ers (4-2) have come out extremely strong on defense, it’s their ground-attack that most teams focus upon. Smith has only surpassed the 300-yard mark in passing once this season, against Buffalo’s sketchy secondary, and barely (303 YDS). When dropping back against decent coverage, Smith records very low numbers and looks to get timid in the pocket. Last week, Smith had dismal numbers against a solid Giants defense (QB Rating - 24.8, 19/30, 200 YDS, 3 INT’s, 0 TD’s), showing just how much the Niners rely on the ground-and-pound game, whether via the I-Formation or Wildcat. I hate to burst your bubble, but that’s precisely the Seattle Seahawks’ (4-2) forte, coming hard with the leagues number two rushing defense. Smith is currently ranked 22nd overall amongst quarterbacks… behind Romo… even behind Bradford. Trust me, it’s going to get dirty in Cali tonight!
Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings) – Although Minnesota Vikings (4-2) QB Christian Ponder (QB Rating – 92.4, 1,434 YDS, 4 INT’s, 8 TD’s) was on my starter’s list last week, I’m going to have to sit him this week when the defensive-minded Arizona Cardinals (4-2) come to Mall of America Field. Wait… seriously? Mall of America Field? Christ, is all of Minnesota a joke now? Ughhh! Anyway, the one thing Arizona has going for them is their defense, because without that, I feel they’re a terrible team who makes terrible decisions and has an ever more terrible-er (yep, that just happened) quarterback. Regardless, Arizona is 9th overall in passing yards-per-game (216.0 YPG) for a reason. Their ability to shut down wide receivers and allow coverage sacks makes for Ponder riding the pine in my league.
RB’s – Sit ‘Em!
Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) – It seems as if week after week I’m preaching to sit St. Louis Rams (3-2) RB Steven Jackson (89 ATT, 323 YDS, 0 TD’s)… and week after week it looks like it holds up to be a good call. Frankly, the Rams are looking to the future and Jackson’s 76-yard game against Arizona a few weeks back was the star back’s shining point on the season. I don’t see anything changing in the near future. Hell, sell both Jackson and his jersey before the Rams release him from his contract and his apparel goes 70% off on the Dick’s clearance rack.
Mikel Leshoure (Detroit Lions) – Detroit Lions’ (2-3) back-up RB Mikel Leshoure (54 ATT, 196 YDS, 1 TD) has an enormous task heading into Monday night’s game against the top-ranked Chicago Bears (4-1) rushing defense who allows a mere 65.8 rushing yards-per-game. A cold Monday night on primetime television at Soldier Field isn’t the most optimum of circumstances for any running back, let alone a non-starter, to a defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs in the league. Oh, and he spells his name like a 2nd grader eating paste and writing with crayons. I’m surprised the "k" isn’t all backwards and cute like.
Frank Gore (San Francisco 49’ers) – I understand to many that sitting San Francisco 49’ers (4-2) RB Frank Gore (87 ATT, 470 YDS, 4 TD’s) may be a little hard to believe, but let me run the numbers by you just for one second – there have only been two times this season that San Francisco has faced good rushing defenses, Vikings (24-13) and Giants (26-3), leading to the team’s only losses of the season. In both games, Gore rushed for a combined 20 ATT, 99 YDS, O TD’s with a turnover. Now add the visiting Seattle Seahawks (4-2) rushing defense that allows only 70 yards-per-game on the ground (2nd) on a short week for Gore and the San Francisco offense that more than struggled last week and it looks like a recipe for disaster. Truth is, the Seahawks have only allowed two touchdowns and the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs in the league. Yeah, now that I’ve made a valid point, you’re not talking so much smack, are ya’?
WR’s – Sit ‘Em!
Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) – When it comes to fantasy points, the Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) are ranked 6th in points allowed to opposing receivers. Combine that with the fact that Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3) have had a lackluster offense at best, WR Antonio Brown (29 REC, 346 YDS, 1 TD) being their top producing wideout. The Steelers’ passing numbers aren’t terrible, but when acknowledging the fact that QB Ben Roethlisberger (QB Rating - 99.9, 1,487 YDS, 2 INT’s, 10 TD’s) has yet to throw for more than one score against the Bengals since 2008, it’s a safe call. Oh, and the Steelers lost to the Tennessee Titans (2-4) last week… let’s not forget about that gem. Nice work, Tin Curtain.
Brandon Lloyd (New England Patriots) – I typically think New York Jets (3-3) CB Antonio Cromartie (17 TACK, 3 INT’s) is a liability more than he is helpful in the secondary. That being said, I’ve been beyond impressed with his coverage of late and feel it’s only going to continue when the Jets head to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots (3-3). Patriots’ WR Brandon Lloyd (34 REC, 401 YDS, 1 TD) has shown skills, but facing a New York team in a must-win scenario, who has also surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, don’t expect Lloyd to do much Sunday. It’s going to be dump-off passes and screens all game long.
Michael Crabtree (San Francisco 49’ers) – I am not making an exception for San Francisco 49’ers (4-2) WR Michael Crabtree (30 REC, 337 YDS, 1 TD) when it comes to just how good the Seattle Seahawks (4-2) can be – they are a shut-down defense… period. Crabtree usually gets targeted 5-7 times per game, putting up below average numbers for the team’s supposed "top receiver" – topping the 100-yard mark just once this season. Look for Crabtree to be blanketed by Seahawks’ defenders, who have only given up three touchdown passes this season. Crabtree will be attempting to get a breath in, let alone a reception tonight.