Big-time running backs Michael Turner and Jamaal Charles are on byes this week, so there's plenty of fantasy points to be had with other big names as we approach Week 7.
In particular, games that feature the NFL's elite teams will be a breeding ground for feast-or-famine matchups.
Houston and Baltimore both feature elite backs in Ray Rice and Arian Foster, but they both wind up on different sides of the spectrum this week. One will be a fantasy nightmare for opponents, but one will struggle to gain footing from a fantasy perspective.
Buffalo also finds its way on the list, as we look at the best and worst matchups this week has to offer in the NFL slate of games.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans vs. Baltimore's Defense
If Terrell Suggs is reading this, there's no doubt he'd have something to say about it. But he probably isn't, and he probably isn't even going to be on the field this weekend.
Even if Suggs makes a miraculous comeback and managed to be the emotional leader for this defense, we're talking about a group that's missing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, arguably the two most important pieces behind Haloti Ngata.
Baltimore had shown signs of wearing down in the first couple of weeks of the season; it gave up 118 yards and a touchdown to Cincinnati's backs before the last two weeks of 200-yard explosions.
Foster is the best back in fantasy football for a reason, and he and the Texans' O-Line get to take out some frustration after the Green Bay loss on this Baltimore defense. More bad news, Ravens fans—unless you succumbed to the pressure and took Foster No. 1 overall in your league this year.
Projected Stats: 30 carries, 149 yards, 2 TDs
Fred Jackson AND C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee's Defense
The numbers on the Titans just aren't good, folks. The lowest amount of yardage they've allowed to opposing backs on the ground is 42. Wait, that's not much, right? Well, they proceeded to allow Isaac Redman to catch 105 yards out of the backfield, allowing 21 fantasy points to backs on the night.
Since Jackson and Spiller are in a virtual time-share right now at the position, I'd say both are fantasy No. 1s this week. Jackson can pound the middle of a very suspect Titan linebacking corp, while Spiller's value in the passing game should double what Redman was able to produce on just four touches.
Both find the end zone this week and reward you for sticking with them amidst a very murky situation in the Buffalo backfield. Just for this week, the duo is a blessing for your fantasy team.
Projected Stats (combined): 32 touches, 182 yards, 2 TDs
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston's Defense
Not only is his defense up against Foster, but Rice has the unfortunate task of facing this Texans defense with J.J. Watt extremely sour following his team's loss to the Packers.
Houston is one of the best fantasy bets on defense against stopping the run; the most points it has allowed is to the Tennessee Titans, when Chris Johnson was in garbage-time mode, and Reggie Bush's exploits out of the Miami backfield in Week 1.
Although this looks like a clash of the titans from the outside, I think Rice will struggle to find running room on Sunday. Aside from his 43-yard scamper against the Dallas Cowboys, he was mostly bottled up. More of the same from Rice this weekend.
Projected Stats: 17 carries, 75 yards, 2 catches, 20 yards, 0 TD
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh's D
For all the talk of Pittsburgh slowing down on defense (which it has), it has still yet to allow but one 100-yard rusher.
The points have been consistent, yet underwhelming so far for backs that have tried to run the ball against the Steelers. That list includes Shonn Greene, LeSean McCoy and Chris Johnson, who had a one-yard run stripped away by Jamie Harper last Thursday night.
Simply put, BJGE hasn't been as great as many thought he was going to be after coming over from the Patriots. Clearly, running backs are formed, not born, in the New England offense, as three guys are having a field day right now in the Pats' backfield (Ridley, Bolden, Woodhead).
He's only scored two touchdowns and put the ball on the ground twice, which was originally one of his strong points—no fumbles. Just as Bernard Scott looked poised to seize the job, he sustained an injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
The law firm just isn't a viable fantasy option right now, until he proves he's going to put in more than single-digit scoring weeks against solid opponents, much less a Steeler defense known for putting a hat on the ball.
Projected Stats: 20 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch, -5 yards, 1 Fumble
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