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Play Em’ or Bench Em’: Week 7

Hello again fantasy owners,
Week 7 is among us and at this point you’re really happy with your season or regretting your draft choices. Either way you should keep your head up and hope for the best. You never know, maybe you’ll pull off an upset and turn your season around. Until you’re mathematically eliminated there is still a chance. Keep your head high and keep chugging along. For those who are positive on their season, kudos to you and continue the success. With that said, let’s jump into this week’s list of players.
***Obvious players like Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Travis Kelce and other players of that caliber will not be featured in these columns***

Play Em’

Quarterback

-Dak Prescott at San Francisco 49ers

  • Dak Prescott has been relied on more in the passing game. This week the Cowboys face a 49ers secondary that’s allowed a lot of points to opposing quarterbacks. Everyone is going to have their thoughts on Zeke Elliott, Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris in the coming weeks, but fact is this Dak Prescott’s team and he’ll have to be the one to lead them to victory. Weather you believe he can or not is beside the point, but as far as fantasy football goes he is a must start this week against a struggling 49ers defense. Factor in that Prescott can serve as a dual threat quarterback running the ball as well. Heck even Kirk Cousins had a rushing touchdown last week against the 49ers. The absence of Elliott can come and bite Prescott owners eventually, but it won’t be this week.

-Matt Ryan at New England Patriots (Sunday Night)

  • Oh the rematch between last year’s Super Bowl teams. If the off-season trolling of the 28-3 score weren’t enough to fire up this Falcons team come Sunday night, the match up against one of the worst defense in the league should get their mouthwatering. Matt Ryan hasn’t quite looked like his MVP form a season ago, but he has enough talent on offense to take advantage of this match up. Matt Ryan has a high ceiling this week and could be the weeks #1 quarterback. The Patriots made Josh McCown look like a pro-bowler for a while last week after all.

-Marcus Mariota at Cleveland Browns

  • Forget Monday’s game against the Colts where Mariota was limited to pure pocket passer. He’ll have another week rest for that hamstring and the offensive line did an excellent job of protecting their franchise quarterback. This week Mariota and the Titans have a date with the win-less Cleveland Browns who have gotten torched by quarterbacks all season. Even if Marcus Mariota isn’t quite at 100% yet he’ll still put on a show and produce for his team and fantasy owners. Expect a 20+ performance from your QB1 once again this week.

-Kirk Cousins at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night)

  • Kirk Cousins has traditionally had some of his better games against the Eagles defense. With some questions still looming in the Eagles secondary there should be no reason why Cousins can’t continue his success on Monday night. The Redskins are starting to find a respectable running game and Terrelle Pryor is starting to click with his quarterback which will only make this offense better. Cousins is an underrated quarterback both in real life and in fantasy, but don’t worry this week as he’ll get you the required points needed to win your match up.

*STREAMERS*

-Tyrod Taylor v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers own the worst defense in the league. Even with some of their star defenders returning from injury they didn’t look improved. Tyrod Taylor has looked like one of the better quarterbacks despite having limited options to throw to. He’s careful with the football and can make plays with his legs as well. He is worth a start if you need immediate quarterback help, Aaron Rodgers owners for example. Go grab Tyrod Taylor off the waivers while you can.

-Blake Bortles v. Indianapolis Colts

  • The Jaguars offense has been inconsistent this season. One week they’ll look like a juggernaut, the next week people wonder how they’re leading their division. Well, last week against the Rams they showed the bad offensive side so this week is the rebound week where Bortles and the offense gets back on track. Need more of a confidence boosting reason? Okay, fine. The Colts defense have given up the most amount of points to opposing quarterbacks. If Brian Hoyer can toss multiple touchdowns against the Colts squad, so can Blake Bortles. Something to keep in mind is Leonard Fournette has a banged up ankle and the Jaguars might not want to abuse him as much as they usually do. Borltes should have a big day ahead of him.

Running Back

-LeSean McCoy v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Tampa Bay defense has struggled stopping anyone this year. Just last week they couldn’t contain a “washed up” Adrian Peterson that has only been in Arizona since Tuesday. LeSean McCoy has yet to get into the end-zone this year, but I expect this to be his best game this season and finally getting a score for his owners this week. Also with Charles Clay being out for some time McCoy should be used in the passing game more. Have high expectations for the Bills runner this week.

-Mark Ingram at Green Bay Packers

  • With Adrian Peterson leaving town it gave Mark Ingram more opportunities running the ball and boy did he deliver against the Lions. The Saints are playing good football right now and next up on the schedule is a Packers team that continues to lose valuable players to injury. Ingram is slated to have another big game both on the ground and through the air again, especially if the Saints get up big and they need to run the ball to waste the clock. Watch out world, Mark Ingram is back to being a top running back threat in fantasy!

-Carlos Hyde v. Dallas Cowboys

  • The 49ers backfield has been a roller coaster in recent weeks, but this week it should be clear that Carlos Hyde will get multiple touches. The 49ers are starting a rookie quarterback and the team is facing a defense that’s been very generous to running backs. Hyde is and should be the focal point of this offense. He’s struggled the past two games, but this is a great week to get back on track as he’ll be looked upon to take pressure off a young quarterback and keep the Cowboys offense off the field. The 49ers have been close in almost every contest they’ve played in and they’re so close to get getting their first win. If they want to play spoiler in week 7 against the Cowboys it’ll be time of possession with their best offensive play-maker.

-CJ Anderson at Los Angeles Chargers

  • The Chargers have struggled to contain running backs this year and that should continue this week. The Broncos got out to an early deficit against the Giants and got away from their offensive identity. When the Broncos make Anderson the highlight of their offense and run it through him they look like a Super Bowl contender, but when they get away from what works they look lost. After last week’s showing I fully anticipate the Denver Broncos getting back to what truly works for them as an offense and that means good things for CJ Anderson. Start him this week.

*STREAMERS*

-Jalen Richard v. Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday Night)

  • Marshawn Lynch is slowly losing steam in the offense and is coming out on obvious passing downs. Richard has shown some flashes of a play-making change-of-pace back for the Raiders. If the Raiders get down early in this one and need a spark on offense or need to do some quick screens to slow down the pass-rush Richard could be a benefactor. Richard is more of a PPR play and is a risky choice, but if you’re desperate he could be a good play once he explodes.

-Chris Ivory/TJ Yeldon at Indianapolis Colts

  • Leonard Fournette came out of last week’s game with a sore ankle. The Jaguars are confident he’s fine and will be active next week against the Colts, but ankle injuries can linger and with Fournette’s style of play it could mean a limited role or re-injury. Monitor the situation to see how he’s feeling on game day. If he’s out Chris Ivory is the favorite to gain the majority of carries, if Fournette plays TJ Yeldon is the better PPR option as he could get more work in as a pass-catching back and give Fournette more rest in between plays.

-Mike Tolbert v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Truly digging the bottom of the waiver wire here. Last year the Bills had the best rushing attack in the NFL. This year hasn’t been quite has successful, nonetheless it’s still a respectable backfield and will only get better as the year goes on. We mentioned earlier that the Buccaneers defense is not good. If the Bills get into a goal-line situation Mike Tolbert could once again vulture a rushing touchdown from LeSean McCoy and we all like touchdowns right? Higher risk, high reward.

Wide Receiver

-Terrelle Pryor at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night)

  • The Pryor-Cousins connection hasn’t been Earth-shattering like many thought, but this week’s match up bodes well for the duo. In week one Pryor had 6 receptions for 66 yards in the first contest. The Eagles are giving up a lot of points to opposing #1 receivers and with Ronald Darby still out Pryor should have an even better stat line than the last time these two teams met. Terrelle Pryor has one touchdown for the year and that oddly enough was on a Monday night game against the Chiefs. I think he gets at least another Monday night touchdown in this game. Pryor’s been disappointing thus far, but don’t bench him quite yet. This game should give you some glimmer of hope this week.

-Demaryius Thomas at Los Angeles Chargers

  • With co-starting receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie already ruled out for this game the Broncos lack depth at the receiver position. Not only are they lacking depth, they are without play-makers. Demaryius Thomas is going to have a heavy workload against the Chargers. Last week in the Giants game he showed he can handle it as he caught 10 receptions for 133 yards. This week he faces a secondary that doesn’t have a shutdown corner and has been struggling after some injuries. If you like players that get a good volume of targets this is one of the players to have this week.

-Pierre Garcon v. Dallas Cowboys

  • Quarterback switch, no problem. Garcon still looked like the best receiver on the field for the 49ers and with a rookie under center now I expect Garcon’s targets to go up. As if a target boost wasn’t exciting enough a match up with the Cowboys is just down right party time. The Cowboys have struggled to contain receivers in general, but especially #1 receivers. Brian Hoyer was a safe quarterback that didn’t take many chances down field, whereas CJ Beathard has drawn comparisons to Kirk Cousins and has a higher ceiling to make this offense better. Garcon is going to have a field day versus this young Dallas defense and see a lot of balls thrown his way in a big game.

-Alshon Jeffery v. Washington Redskins (Monday Night)

  • No Josh Norman, potentially no Bashaud Breeland among other injuries for the Redskins defense. Owners are still waiting for that big blow-up break-out game for Alshon Jeffery like he was able to do in Chicago. This could be the week it happens. Prime-time football against a division rival with a banged up secondary. The targets, offensive snaps and potential are there, it just needs to translate to YAC (yards after catch) and touchdowns. Both in which I see happening this week for Jeffery in a shootout.

*STREAMERS*

-Bennie Fowler at Los Angeles Chargers

  • Mentioned earlier with Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos receiving core is banged up and someone has to step up. Bennie Fowler has had himself a sneaky decent season with a 13 catch, 140 yard and 2 touchdown stat line for the year. If anyone is going to see an uptick in production this week for the Broncos it’ll be this man right here. If you need a strong flex play this week take a change on Bennie Fowler.

-Jeremy Kerley at Miami Dolphins

  • All you need to know when it comes to Jeremy Kerley is 97%. What is this number you ask? It’s the percentage of his receptions to targets. Kerley has 19 receptions to his 20 targets for the year since rejoining the Jets. In PPR leagues he has at least 8.5 points in 4-straight games. This Jets team has been a surprisingly good offensive team and have a respectable passing attack. If you want a solid 8.5 points with the potential of more Jeremy Kerley is your guy this week!

Tight End

-Jason Witten at San Francisco 49ers

  • Old reliable hasn’t been as effective since the first 2 weeks of the season. After the bye week he’ll face a stingy 49ers defense that hasn’t been to kind to tight ends. However, Witten can’t be contained for long and the Cowboys might need an offensive play-maker to step up for the team. If the running game can’t step up again the passing game will have to improve and be more reliant on Witten, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley. Witten is Dak Prescott’s favorite red-zone target and I can see them connecting on a score this week.

-Delanie Walker at Cleveland Browns

  • Monday night against the Colts it seemed like the Titans were trying to get their tight end more involved in the running game than in the passing game, which didn’t work out to well. It is encouraging to see the team try to get their best pass catch the ball in more than one way. This week against the Browns, who give up the 2nd most points to tight ends, he should have his best game of the season and finally get into the end-zone for a passing touchdown. Owners keep your head up high for this one as he’ll go into the bye week on a high note for you. Stay motivated.

-Zach Ertz v. Washington Redskins (Monday Night)

  • Zach Ertz continues to show why he’s one of the best tight ends in the league. Carson Wentz’ favorite target will have a nice match up against the Redskins who allow the 5th most points to tight ends. Ertz is having his best season as a professional and he’ll look to continue his stat line on Monday night. Ertz has been getting the yards or the touchdowns for his owners and it’ll continue this week.

-Jimmy Graham at New York Giants

  • The New York Giants came to life last week against the Denver Broncos, but that doesn’t negate the fact they’re still one of the best defense against tight ends. The Broncos don’t have a true dominate nor consistent threat at the tight end position to take advantage. The Seahawks on the other hand have one of the best red-zone tight end threats in the game. The Seahawks offense haven been struggling, but Graham should have a good game for his owners.

*STREAMERS*

-Nick O’Leary v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Buffalo Bills best receiver seemed like tight end Charles Clay at times. Well, he’s out some time with an injury and its next man up in Nick O’Leary. If O’Leary can do a fraction of the type of production Clay was getting he’ll be okay filling in. Luckily for him his first game as the replacement starter is against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.

Defense

-Minnesota Vikings v. Baltimore Ravens

  • The Ravens offense has been the downfall of this team all season and now they’ll face a very tough defense in Minnesota. Joe Flacco can’t get the ball to his play-makers and he’ll have even more trouble versus the Vikings defensive front. This is going to be an ugly game from the Ravens offense and the Vikings are going to make it a long day for the Ravens.

-New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

  • The New Orleans Saints defense may have allowed 38 points last week, but they were in Matthew Stafford’s face all game and even scored a couple of times. This defense have looked stout in their last 3 games against the Dolphins, Panthers and Lions. Now they’ll face a quarterback who will make his first NFL start. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is going to have his crew dial up some crazy schemes and looks to confuse the young kid and make his day frustrating.

-Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants

  • Two weeks in a row where the Giants will face a team coming off their bye. I think the Giants caught the Broncos sleeping and took advantage by punching them straight in the mouth. The Seahawks won’t make the same mistake and will show the world how the new look Giants really are as a team right now.

-New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

  • The Dolphins offense is still struggling despite their back-to-back wins. The team can’t score more than 20 points and if you remember a few weeks ago the New York Jets actually “upset” the Dolphins in their home stadium. Well, from the eye test the Jets have look more impressive than the Dolphins. The Jets even held the Patriots scoreless for a few quarters before they took off. Expect more Matt Moore chants on Sunday in Miami as the Jets could sweep the Dolphins.

Bench Em’

Quarterback

-Eli Manning v. Seattle Seahawks

  • Eli Manning showed up big last week in a surprising win in Denver. Although it was just that; surprising. The Broncos coming off their bye came into that game already with the mind set they’ve won. The Seahawks won’t do the same thing and will be prepared to make life miserable for Manning and the offense once again. This is around the time the Seahawks start to peak and they’re first victim after the bye week could very well be Eli Manning and the Giants.

-Jacoby Brissett v. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • The Colts have found a good option behind Andrew Luck, but he still lacks some quality skills that pushes him over the edge. The Jaguars have a stout defense and after last week’s poor showing at home versus the Rams I look for them to rebound. The Colts struggle to find the end-zone and if the Titans were able to contain them, it should be no issue for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

-Russell Wilson at New York Giants

  • The Giants are 1-5 as a team and aren’t that great of an overall team. Although, their defense is still one of the better units in the league. Russell Wilson has questionable offensive line play with no respectable running game. If the Giants make the offensive one-dimensional it could force Wilson to throw more than he should which could result in a bad day for Wilson.

-Derek Carr v. Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday Night)

  • Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders offense haven’t quite clicked so far this season. The offensive line isn’t living up to standards and the running game is failing as well. Now they’ll face the Chiefs who are coming off their first loss on a short week. The Chiefs defense haven’t shown any signs of aging and have disguised the absence of Eric Berry quite impressively. Carr is still dealing with that back injury and one good hit could force him out of the game like it did for Tony Romo near the end of his career.

Running Back

-Jordan Howard v. Carolina Panthers

  • This Bears team looks better offensively with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm, but this week they’ll face a tough Panthers team with extra rest and angry to get back into the win column. Howard is the catalyst of the Bears offense and the Panthers have the tools to shut him down to make the team one dimensional through the air. Howard has been good over the last few weeks, but this week I wouldn’t expect high results.

-Orleans Darkwa v. Seattle Seahawks

  • The Giants backfield has been a mess this season and it seems like one player emerges weekly. Orleans Darkwa has been the one to get the most points the past two weeks, but I would advise you not to start him this week. Even with the increased role and touches he’ll face a tough Seahawks run defense that’s fresh off a bye. I don’t see him repeating last week’s production and neither should you. Start someone else here.

-Melvin Gordon v. Denver Broncos

  • The Broncos were embarrassed on national TV against a win-less team. They’ll get back to Bronco football and that starts with stopping the run and forcing the opposing team to beat them through the air. Running back have had a tough time finding running lanes on this defense and it’ll be hard for Melvin Gordon as well.

-Doug Martin at Buffalo Bills

  • Doug Martin has come on strong his first two games of the 2017 season, but take away his two touchdowns and his fantasy outings aren’t anything spectacular. He’ll face a tough Buffalo Bills team away from home with a quarterback with an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder. The formula for a Bills win is easy this week. Stop the run, which they’ve been really good at, and make Jameis Winston throw the ball with his injured shoulder. Unless Martin can bust out a huge run or extra work in the passing game it doesn’t bode well. Hopefully you have another running back on your team this week.

Wide Receiver

-Amari Cooper v. Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday Night)

  • The Derek Carr-Amari Cooper connection just has not been there this year yet. I believe it’ll come eventually, but against Marcus Peters and the Chiefs probably isn’t the week it happens. Be patient his time will come, just hope it’s not too late for your playoff hopes. Trade him or find someone off the waiver wire this week.

-Sammy Watkins v. Arizona Cardinals

  • The Cardinals give up a lot of points to receivers, however not their top choice. Sammy Watkins has disappointed so far as a Los Angeles Ram and it’ll continue this week with a date with Patrick Peterson. Watkins isn’t on a team where he’s the featured player in the offense anymore and it’s clearly affecting his fantasy value. Watkins has become a touchdown reliant option. Hopefully you didn’t draft him as your WR1 or WR2 and you can bench him this week.

-TY Hilton v. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • I gave Jacboy Brissett credit earlier as a good back up behind Andrew Luck, but he’s struggled pushing the ball downfield and getting the ball into the Colts best play-maker. Hilton clearly is missing Andrew Luck as his quarterback without the deep ball and doesn’t get enough looks to be a weekly starter. This week against one of the better secondary’s in the league doesn’t add up to many points once again. Come back Andrew Luck, we need you!

-Stefon Diggs v. Baltimore Ravens

  • The Ravens allow the least amount of point to opposing #1 receivers. Add in that Stefon Diggs was inactive last week with an injury and may not be at 100%. Case Keenum is still the quarterback and that’s proven to be a double edge sword depending on the match up. Diggs has enjoyed a good season so far, but this could be one of his worse games of the 2017 season.

Tight Ends

-Ed Dickson at Chicago Bears

  • It was too good to be true to believe in Ed Dickson after his performance against the Detroit Lions a couple weeks back. Dickson just isn’t featured enough in the passing game to start him comfortably. This week is a tough Bears defense with underrated safety play. Keep him on the bench or drop him for a streamer.

-Cameron Brate at Buffalo Bills

  • The Buccaneers tight end has proved that even with the addition of OJ Howard he can still be a part of the offense and score touchdowns. This week he’ll be facing a stingy Bills team that isn’t too kind to tight ends. Again, Jameis Winston is banged up and might not try too many fast balls into the end-zone to Brate this week. Take a chance elsewhere this week.

-Jared Cook v. Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday Night)

  • The Raiders are struggling and it’s clearly sending a shock-wave throughout the team. If Carr struggles the rest of the team follows suit. Jared Cook has been a nice addition to the squad so far, but he could have trouble in this outing. Until Carr and the Raiders offense start clicking again it’s best to keep some of their skilled positions on the bench.

Defense

-Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers

  • The Cowboys defense has improved, but they’re still not where they should be. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows the Cowboys defense and know how to exploit it. With his Kirk Cousins-esk rookie quarterback he’ll look to get his first win of the season give put some points on the board.

-New England Patriots v. Atlanta Falcons (Sunday Night)

  • The Falcons offense has struggled recently, but what better to get them fired up and on track than a rematch against the team they lost to in the Super Bowl. This could be a shootout and the Patriots haven’t been able to stop a snail this year. They’ll have to get a million turnovers just to go positive this week. Look elsewhere for a starting defense.

-Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night)

  • With all the injuries on the Redskins defense and the Eagles offense rolling this is a no brainer. This game could be a shootout and many points scored on a defense doesn’t give many points last I checked in fantasy. Most of the play-makers that could impact the game flow of this game for the Redskins defense are injured and that’ll hurt them in this game. Keep the Redskins DST on the bench this week.

-Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots (Sunday Night)

  • Along with the Patriots defense, the Falcons defense is on the list. The Patriots have one of the better offenses in the league and they will score on this struggling Falcons team. This game could be high scoring as both teams and quarterbacks will want to give it their all. The young defensive unit is among the league’s best younger talented groups, but they’re hitting a bit of a wall as of late.
That concludes this week’s edition of Play Em’ or Bench Em’. As always, good luck in your match up(s) and I hope you win. If you ever need more help with your lineup(s) don’t hesitate, me or anyone from the SFT crew. We’ll always respond to you on all of our social media pages. So, don’t forget to like and share us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, as well as connecting with us on LinkedIn. Until next time, have a great day!
Austin Thomas

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