Fantasy Football Week 7: Struggling Stars Who Will Redeem Themselves
With the first six weeks of the fantasy football season nearly in the books, plenty of owners are probably panicking if their highly touted players aren't yet producing. That is certainly understandable since more than one-third of the year has already passed, but it's important to treat each week as a fresh start.
It may be difficult to forget awful production from past weeks, but all it takes is one dominant performance to turn things around. Not every owner has the luxury of waiting around as a win in Week 7 could very well be necessary in order to remain in the thick of the playoff race; however, it's still too early to bail on most high draft picks.
Here are three players who have been fantasy disappointments for the most part this season, but will turn things around with productive outings in Week 7.
Saying that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been brutal this season would be a massive understatement. He has certainly had his moments with three games of 300 or more passing yards, but he has made far too many mistakes. The G-Men are 0-6 for several reasons, and Manning's play may be chief among them. Manning was taken as a borderline starter in most fantasy leagues this season, but it's likely that many of his owners have moved on to another option. If you're still without a surefire starter at quarterback, though, Eli is worth a look in Week 7.
Manning threw three interceptions in a 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 6, but there were some offensive positives to take away from that game. Brandon Jacobs rushed for more than 100 yards, so Eli suddenly has a running game to take some of the pressure off him. Of course, that won't mean much unless Manning starts to make some smarter decisions. Eli already has 15 interceptions this season, which makes him the first player to "accomplish" that feat since 1986, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Eli Manning is the first player to throw 15 interceptions in the first 6 games of a season since Dan Fouts in 1986.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 11, 2013
As difficult as it may be to look past that fact, it's now or never for Eli and the Giants. Manning will have to contend with the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, and they are allowing 308 passing yards per game. Eli has a great receiving corps with Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle to throw to. Add in the resurgence of Jacobs, and Manning is poised for a breakout game.
Week 7 Projection: 327 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception
There is nothing more frustrating from a fantasy owner's standpoint than owning an explosive player whose real-life coaches refuse to utilize him properly. There are plenty of examples of that in the NFL this year, but Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller may take the cake. Not only was the Dolphins coaching staff reluctant to name him the starter over the plodding Daniel Thomas early in the season, but it has even abandoned the run in several games for no apparent reason.
Miller hasn't exactly been dominant with the opportunities he has been given, but he is averaging 4.2 yards per carry on the season, which is more than respectable. Despite that, he has only been given 50 carries through five games. Miller has not had more than 14 carries in a game, and he has had single-digit carries in a game twice. With that in mind, Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel posed a simple yet pertinent question regarding Miller's usage.
Are the coaches committed to Lamar Miller getting established? What offensive linemen can pull? Anyone competent in max protection?— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) October 8, 2013
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been very good this year, but the Dolphins are leaning too heavily on him. They need to establish a running game in order to be a playoff team, and Miller can provide one. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry or better in Weeks 2, 3 and 4, and there is no reason why he can't continue to do that if given a chance. Week 7 the Dolphins are facing a Buffalo Bills defense that allows 124 rushing yards per game, and Miami has to take advantage of that by getting Miller at least 20 touches. The Dolphins haven't done that yet, but there's reason to believe that they will in Week 7.
Week 7 Projection: 116 rushing yards, two receptions for 15 yards and one touchdown
After somewhat falling out of favor with the Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings seemed like an ideal fit in Minnesota. Quarterback Christian Ponder desperately needed a reliable outside receiver, and Jennings was one of the NFL's best from 2008 through 2011. Ponder has struggled and since been supplanted by Matt Cassel, though, and Jennings production has been extremely inconsistent thus far.
Which struggling star is most likely to break out in Week 7?
Jennings seemed to turn the corner against the Pittsburgh Steelers a few weeks ago as he caught three passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, but he followed that up with just 34 yards in Week 6. Jennings has accounted for 43 or fewer receiving yards in three of his five games this season, and he has gone without a touchdown in four contests. That isn't entirely his fault as his quarterback play has been spotty at best, but it's easy to see why fantasy owners may be losing confidence in him.
With that said, Jennings has a chance to redeem himself in Week 7. He is set to go up against the struggling Giants defense on Monday night, so there is plenty of big-play potential. Not only are the Giants allowing 268 passing yards per game, but it's likely that they will be focused on stopping running back Adrian Peterson. Week 7's Monday night game has all the makings of a shootout, and that bodes well for Jennings' fantasy value.
Week 7 Projection: Six receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown
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