In most fantasy leagues where the playoffs begin in Week 14, we are exactly at the midpoint of the regular season.
For the first and only time this season, there are six teams on a bye: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Considering the number of teams on bye, many fantasy owners will find themselves starting some players they normally wouldn't.
As a basis for determining who should qualify for a particular side of the start'em, sit'em fence, the assumption used in this post is that there are 12 teams starting one quarterback and tight end each as well as two running backs and wide receivers each.
In other words, all "start'ems" appear in my fantasy football rankings within the top 12 quarterbacks, top 24 running backs, top 24 wide receivers and top 12 tight ends. All "sit'ems" appear outside those ranges.
Here are some players to consider starting in Week 7:
QB - Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (vs NO)
Only five teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season than the Saints. The Saints have allowed 300-yard passers in back-to-back games.
In his past two games against two other bad defenses, Freeman has thrown for a total of 627 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The good times should continue to roll for Freeman against the Saints.
RB - Felix Jones, Cowboys (at CAR)
Picking up where DeMarco Murray left off, Jones rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries last week. Before Week 6, Jones had only three carries in four games combined. With Murray expected to miss Week 7 with a foot injury, Jones should see another healthy workload.
Carolina is allowing 127.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks them as the 10th-worst team in the league against the run. In each of their first five games this season, they have allowed a running back to rush for at least 85 yards.
RB - C.J. Spiller, Bills (vs TEN)
For a second week in a row, Fred Jackson got more work than Spiller. While Spiller had only 12 carries against the Cardinals last week, he was more productive than Jackson. He finished with 110 yards from scrimmage (88 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards on four receptions) and a touchdown. Only four teams have allowed more rushing touchdowns than the Titans (seven) this season.
WR - James Jones, Packers (at STL)
Over the past three weeks, Jones has a total of only 12 receptions, but he has made the most of those receptions. During that span, Jones has scored exactly two touchdowns in each game.
The Rams have allowed only two touchdowns to receivers all season. With Cortland Finnegan, the Rams best defensive back, likely to cover Jordy Nelson, Jones is a receiver that fantasy owners should continue to start.
WR - Mike Williams, Buccaneers (vs NO)
In back-to-back weeks, Williams has finished with four receptions and 110-plus yards. While it's unlikely that he extends the streak to three games, Williams has another favorable matchup against the porous Saints defense. The Saints have allowed six touchdowns to wide receivers over the past two weeks alone.
WR - Denarius Moore, Raiders (vs JAX)
Before the team's bye, the Jaguars allowed three consecutive 100-yard receivers: T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall. On the other hand, Moore is coming off his first 100-yard performance of the season. In the four games he has played this season, Moore has 17 receptions for 287 yards and two touchdowns.
TE - Scott Chandler, Bills (vs TEN)
The Titans are the worst team in the league at defending the tight end based on fantasy points allowed per game. Kyle Rudolph (five) is the only tight end that has more touchdowns than Chandler (four), who is tied with Vernon Davis, Tony Gonzalez and Heath Miller for second at the position.
Here are some players to consider sitting in Week 7:
QB - Jay Cutler, Bears (vs DET)
Cutler has had solid performances in back-to-back games before the team's bye and sub-par performances in the two games before that. While he has never been a model of consistency, the Bears are also without Alshon Jeffery, their second-best receiver, and the offensive line struggles to protect Cutler. Cutler is my 13th-ranked quarterback for the week.
RB - Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (vs DAL)
With the exception of Marshawn Lynch in Week 2, the Cowboys have not allowed a running back to rush for more than 100 yards this season. In their past three games, they have held Doug Martin, Matt Forte and Ray Rice to 53, 52 and 63 rushing yards, respectively.
Neither Williams nor Stewart lead the team in rushing as Cam Newton has rushed for 209 yards in five games this season. In addition, both running backs average less than 10 carries per game: Williams (9.6) and Stewart (8.3).
RB - Alex Green, Packers (at STL)
Like the Cowboys, the Rams have allowed only one 100-yard rusher all season: Marshawn Lynch in Week 4. In their past two games, they held starting running backs to 33 yards (Ryan Williams on 14 carries) and 17 yards (Reggie Bush on 12 carries).
If he gets another 22 carries like he had last week against the Texans, however, Green has the potential to at least be a flex play this week.
WR - Michael Crabtree, 49ers (vs SEA)
With the exception of Week 5 against the Bills, Crabtree has scored four fantasy points or less in three of his past four games. The Seahawks have one of the best secondaries in the NFL and it's unlikely that Crabtree has a bigger game than usual on Thursday night.
WR - Josh Gordon, Browns (at IND)
Gordon is a player that appeared on my list of suggested waiver-wire pickups this week and I believe he should be added in most leagues due to his upside. As the preferred Browns receiver to own, Gordon leads the team in receiving (274) and touchdowns (three).
With enormous big-play potential, Gordon has scored all three of his touchdowns in the past two weeks and he has a touchdown of more than 60 yards in both games. The only concern is his lack of targets as he has a total of only five receptions in those two games.
WR - Lance Moore, Saints (at TB)
After his hamstring injury held him out of the lineup in Week 5 before the team's bye, Moore returned to practice as a full participant on Wednesday. In most cases, though, I worry about receivers coming back from hamstring injuries and would otherwise prefer to see him play one game without a setback before starting him.
Although the Bucs have allowed the second-most passing yards (312.2 per game) this season, they are tied for the league low in passing touchdowns allowed (four). In fact, they haven't allowed a receiver to score since Week 2 when their defense collapsed in the fourth quarter against the Giants.
Moore is just outside my top 24 fantasy receivers for the week.
TE - Jermichael Finley, Packers (at STL)
In one of the most prolific passing offenses in the league, Finley has only one receiving touchdown all season. In addition, he has back-to-back games with only one fantasy point in standard-scoring league formats. Considering the Rams allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Finley is unlikely to break out in this matchup.
Note: All injury designations and practice participation referenced above are via NFL.com's injury page.
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