Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 7: Matthew Stafford and Top Players to Avoid

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2012

Matthew Stafford hasn't produced like fantasy owners had hoped.
Matthew Stafford hasn't produced like fantasy owners had hoped.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Matthew Stafford vaulted himself into elite fantasy quarterback status in 2011, but the Detroit Lions quarterback hasn't rewarded fantasy owners for taking him early in 2012. 

Unfortunately for those who invested a first or second-round pick in the rocket-armed righty, Stafford is in for a long night Monday against the Chicago Bears' top-ranked defense. 

Lovie Smith has his boys playing better than anyone in the entire league, as the Bears are allowing a league-low 14.2 points per game. 

Led by Lance Briggs, Chicago's run defense has held opponents to a league-best 65.8 rushing yards per game. 

Quarterbacks who are thinking about trying to test the Bears' pass defense better think again. The unit has already picked off a ridiculous 13 passes and recorded 18 sacks. 

Stafford—who threw for over 5,000 yards last season—has been ordinary in 2012. He's yet to throw for more than one touchdown in a game, and although Detroit has allowed just nine sacks, they've faced three teams ranked in the bottom-12 in sacks. 

It's hard to bench Stafford if you've invested a lot in him, but this week could be a real struggle for the former top overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. 


Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets

The New England Patriots can't stop the pass if they asked Madden, but they do know how to stuff the run. 

That doesn't bode well for New York Jets running back Shonn Greene. 

Fantasy owners who've stuck with the plodding fourth-year back were unexpectedly rewarded with a 34-point breakout performance against Indianapolis last week, but that was an anomaly. 

New England's front seven, which is anchored by premier run defenders Vince Wilfork, Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo, will gear up against the run and force Mark Sanchez to beat them with his arm. 

Don't let last week's outburst fool you.

Greene will struggle to get anything going in Week 7. 


Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

What's happened to last year's lethal duo of Cam Newton and Steve Smith? Both players are struggling to get anything going in 2012 and fantasy owners are hurting because of it. 

Smith has been targeted frequently by Newton, but the two just haven't been able to replicate the magic of '11. 

Always a big-play threat, Smith has averaged just 59.3 receiving yards per game since posting two 100-yard performances to start the season. 

This week, Smith draws a tough matchup against Dallas' top-ranked pass defense. 

Between corners Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, Smith will have a tough time getting open, especially if DeMarcus Ware puts pressure on Newton. 

Until Newton starts playing like he did as a rookie, Smith and his fantasy owners will continue to suffer.