Fantasy Football Week 7: Underrated Playmakers You Must Start

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2012

TAMPA, FL -  MAY 4: Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes upfield during a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Playmakers can make even the most casual fantasy football player look like a genius. Everyone wants to find those do-it-all types who can almost single-handedly carry your team on his back, but there are only so many out there. 

Since not everyone can own a player like Percy Harvin, you have to get creative with a lot of things. From time to time, the easiest way to figure out how to exploit a point-scoring opportunity is just to look at a matchup. 

If there is a player on your bench who never starts but has a matchup with the Bills' defense this week, they are certainly worth a look. 

Here are the most underrated playmakers you need to find a spot for in Week 7. 


Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Martin has had a season that is typical of most rookies. There have been some good games—like his 95-yard output against Carolina in Week 1—and duds along the way. But when he has a good matchup, he can exploit it. 

In Week 7, Martin has the luxury of going up against one of the softest defenses in the NFL: The New Orleans Saints. They rank 31st in the NFL in rush yards allowed (172.8 per game) and have given up at least one rushing touchdown in four of their first five games. 

The Buccaneers don't have a lot going for them right now, but Martin is certainly a bright spot. He will make your fantasy team a little brighter if you start him in Week 7. 


Domenik Hixon, WR, New York Giants

If I were to tell you that Victor Cruz was the Giants' leading receiver, you would not be surprised. But if I asked you who was first on the team in yards per reception and second in receiving yards, you might be surprised to hear Hixon's name. 

Granted, a lot of that has to do with the fact that Hakeem Nicks missed three games due to knee and foot problems, but Hixon did step up when the opportunity presented itself. 

Nicks is back, which will limit the opportunities for Hixon, yet there are still reasons to believe in him in Week 7 against Washington. 

For starters, Hixon was still targeted six times last week against San Francisco and caught four passes for 78 yards. 

Plus, the Redskins boast one of the worst secondaries in the league. Eli Manning is going to have a field day against this defense, giving plenty of chances for all his receivers to have big fantasy weeks. 

Hixon may not be option No. 1 or 2, but he will still be very much on Manning's radar, at least for one more week. 


Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts

We are going all-out on the Vick Ballard bandwagon in Week 7, and why not? The Colts running back has a great matchup against a porous Cleveland Browns defense, and he should get chances to catch passes out of the backfield, too. 

Last week's game against the Jets was a disaster in all phases for the Colts. Ballard, in his first game as a starter, struggled to do anything, accumulating just 25 yards on eight carries. 

Owners who picked Ballard up on the waiver wire hoping he could exploit what had been a disastrous Jets defensive line were angry. But a new week brings with it new found optimism. 

The Browns have given up at least 91 yards on the ground to starting running backs three times this season. They are 0-3 on the road and have given up 98 points away from the Dog Pound. 

Ballard isn't a lock to go for 100 yards, but there is no reason to think he won't break a few big plays, rack up 80 yards on the ground and add a touchdown along the way.