Week 7 might not be the luckiest week for certain fantasy football owners.
Six teams are on bye, and some of fantasy football’s superstars such as Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Reggie Bush and Eddie Royal (sarcasm alert) will not be able to help out owners.
But, there will still be plenty of points and yards put up without those top players being on the field. Here are the top four projected point producers at every position for Week 7:
1. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Peyton’s little bro is facing a Washington Redskins defense that has been an 11-man sieve all season long and has generated a pathetic pass rush because of its injury-riddled front seven. Washington has given up 328 passing yards per game. Manning should throw for 350-400.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
While Brees will not be inside the friendly passing confines of the Superdome, he is passing against a defensive backfield that allowed 510 passing yards to Eli Manning this season and is without its top cover corner, Aqib Talib. This is not brain surgery.
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Brady has not thrown against a Darrelle Revis-less Jets secondary since 2007. The guy must be licking his chops like Jared does when he sees a Subway. Three-hundred yards and three touchdowns is probably a conservative estimate.
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers may have been in a Robinson Cano-like slump during the first three weeks, but over the past three, all he has done is thrown 13 touchdown passes. I did not rank him No. 1 because St. Louis’ pass rush on their fast home turf will slow Rodgers and his pass-happy people down but not enough to keep him out of the fantasy four.
1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster would be a top-4 choice if he was running against Pittsburgh’s “Steel Curtain” from the 1970s or a defense with 15 guys on the field. Instead, he is running against a Baltimore Ravens defense that is routinely allowing teams to rush for well over 100 yards and is now without top tackler Ray Lewis.
2. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan must be suffering from many sleepless nights since he has not devised a way to help his defense to stop the run (28th in the NFL). Ridley is going to have the same field day Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller and Houston’s Foster had earlier against the Jets. Only Brady’s passing will cut down Ridley’s numbers.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Different season, same sputtering Jacksonville offense. MJD has to carry the entire outfit once again, thanks to his inaccurate quarterback and his below-average receiving corps. He should be fed early and often against Oakland and do well against that weak unit.
4. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants
David Wilson and Andre Brown are no longer threats to Bradshaw’s starting spot and fantasy value. Bradshaw has rumbled for 316 rushing yards and two TD over the last two weeks and should keep rolling against Washington’s defenseless crew.
1. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green has been heads and shoulders above all other receivers fantasy-wise thanks to his league-leading 628 receiving yards and his six scores. You think Pittsburgh’s Ike “I Love Holding” Taylor can shut him down? Me neither.
2. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Fun fantasy fact—Cruz has never scored a touchdown against Washington. Recall what I said a few paragraphs back about the Redskins allowing 328 passing yards per game? I think that bodes well for Cruz ending his drought.
3. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
The Detroit Lions have a knack for allowing 70-yard touchdowns this season in almost every way humanly possible. Marshall is overdue for a big play since his longest catch this year has been for a paltry 34 yards, so he should break a play in a big way against Detroit’s mistake-prone cornerbacks.
4. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackson and quarterback Josh Freeman are meshing well together, especially at home where Jackson has piled up 10 catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns. He is home against this Sunday against a New Orleans pass defense that makes most receivers look like Jerry Rice.
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Gronk has not been the same dominating player he was during his record-breaking season last year. He will be running routes against a New York Jets team that has been notorious in the past for its failure to cover tight ends, though, and allowed him to roll up 113 yards and two touchdowns the last time he faced them.
2. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Judging by the 19 receptions for 200 yards and a touchdown Witten has racked up the past two games, I think his spleen is 100 percent. The Carolina Panthers are not known as tight end stuffers, so Witten should have another superb week.
3. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Daniels has had 45 receiving yards and/or a touchdown in each of his half-dozen games this season, and a Baltimore Ravens defense decimated by season-ending injuries will not be the defense to break that streak.
4. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
With Jimmy Graham banged up, Vernon Davis facing Seattle and Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates on bye weeks, Rudolph sneaks in at the fourth spot because he finds the end zone (five TD, most among tight ends) and because should have some scoring chances at home against Arizona.
1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Just like you can always count on brawls between rappers at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, you can always count on Gostkowski scoring. His Pats are facing a Jets defense that bends a lot more than it used to, thanks to Darrelle Revis’ torn ACL, so plenty of points should be coming from Gostkowski’s right foot.
2. David Akers, San Francisco 49ers
Akers has not been the fantasy god he was last season, but he remains better than most kickers. Thursday’s Seattle-San Francisco game should be a field-goal fest with those two average offenses facing those two dominant defenses. Pencil Akers in for three field goals and an extra point in San Fran’s 16-12 victory.
3. Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears
I see Chicago invading Detroit Lions territory several times this Monday night. I also see the Bears’ drives stalling as often as a 1992 Chevy Chevette. That means Gould, who loves kicking in Chicago no matter how windy it gets, should be very busy.
4. Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants
Tynes has gone from a mediocre-at-best (I’m being kind) fantasy kicker to being a field-goal machine. Tynes leads the league with 17 FG and should kick a couple more this weekend against Washington thanks to Manning, Bradshaw and Cruz.
1. Minnesota Vikings
To say the Arizona Cardinals offense has problems is like saying Judge Judy does not like liars. Kevin Kolb is injured, as are the Cards’ top two tailbacks, plus their offensive line is arguably the leakiest in the league. Minnesota’s front seven should have a field day.
2. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are going to be none too happy about being pushed around at home by the Super Bowl champ Giants, and they will take it out on Seattle. I am having a hard time figuring out how Sidney Rice will get open, and Russell Wilson will not get squashed. Five sacks, two turnovers and allowing under 14 points sounds about right.
3. New England Patriots
I am going out on a limb and say Shonn Greene does not have back-to-back 161-yard weeks in that non-elusive body of his and that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will befuddle Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez into a couple interceptions. New York does not have the receivers to exploit New England’s shoddy secondary.
4. Chicago Bears
Chicago is playing division rival Detroit, a team whose offense has been seemingly figured out by the rest of the NFL. Coming off a bye Julius Peppers and company should be well-rested and raring to turn turnovers into touchdowns, something they have done more often than any other team so far this year.