Fantasy Football Week 7: Early Look at Sleeper Matchups to Exploit

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2013

Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Six weeks of fake football is in the books, and thus far the majority of studs and duds have made themselves fully known to fantasy owners.

But not all.

Despite the fact we're over a month into the season, sleepers remain littered throughout the NFL poised to explode.

Exact sleepers can be difficult to project on a weekly basis, but the process is made easier with detailed analysis of individual matchups.

With that in mind, here are a few sleepers to keep an eye on with favorable matchups on the horizon.


Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears vs. Washington Redskins

By definition thanks to his play this year, Jay Cutler is a quarterback who should only get a starting nod if he is in a favorable matchup. 

Week 7 against Washington is the perfect example.

Cutler has been above average this year with 1,630 yards and 12 touchdowns to six interceptions in five games, but he has done most of his damage against mediocre secondaries. He's topped 300 yards twice against questionable Detroit and New Orleans defenses.

It doesn't get much worse than Washington, a team that touts a defense allowing 271.6 passing yards per game.

Courtesy of Marc Trestman's efficient offense and weapons such as Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte, Cutler will have little issue racking up No. 1 quarterback numbers.

He's registered two touchdowns or more in four of five games this season. Expect Cutler to once again throw for a minimum of two scores as one of the NFL's best fantasy performers in Week 7.


Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets vs. New England Patriots

Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY S
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bilal Powell was the effective leader of a three-back committee in New York so far this season along with Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory, but the former is now out for the season per ESPN's Adam Schefter:

With Goodson out of the picture, Powell will see even more work. He has already carried the ball 87 times this year compared to just 34 attempts for Ivory and seven for Goodson. In those 87 carries, Powell has managed a respectable 360 yards and one touchdown.

Against a New England defense that surrenders 118.8 rushing yards per game, expect New York to keep the ball on the ground in an effort to keep it out of Tom Brady's hands.

These two teams met in Week 2, and Powell managed 48 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Powell also caught two passes out of the backfield for 22 yards. Ivory was given 12 rushes and gained 52 yards.

Since that game, Ivory has only seen 12 total carries in four games, proving that the backfield belongs to Powell. Take advantage of this in Week 7.


Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Giants

Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings (15) before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Greg Jennings of old returned two weeks ago against Pittsburgh as he reeled in three receptions for 92 yards and his only two touchdowns of the season.

Jennings reverted back to his ineffective 2013 form last week against Carolina with just six receptions for 34 yards.

Owners should not fret, as Jennings is about to be saved from his ineffective quarterback situation led by the duo of Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder. As NFL Network's Ian Rapoport details, newly-signed Josh Freeman will be in the thick of things this week:

Freeman is a huge upgrade over either of the other two signal-callers on the roster. Even if Freeman does not play for some reason, Jennings is a great bet to be productive against a New York secondary that allows 268 passing yards per game.


Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals


Exactly. Grab Joseph Fauria while he's still a relative unknown, because it won't last long now that the Detroit Lions are beginning to figure out what they truly have in their undrafted rookie from UCLA.

As Field Yates of ESPN Boston elaborates. Fauria had quite the impressive outing in Week 6:

That's the highest number of snaps Fauria has seen this year. He's now caught seven receptions—for five touchdowns.

At first glance, Fauria has an iffy matchup against a stout Cincinnati defense, but the Achilles' heel for the Bengals in recent years has been properly defending opposing tight ends. Last week the unit allowed Buffalo's Scott Chandler to go off for 47 yards and a score with Thad Lewis, making his second career start under center.

Matthew Stafford is no Lewis and will find Fauria consistently, especially in the red zone as Cincinnati focuses on Calvin Johnson.



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