Outside of a strong draft and an ability to identify sleepers, the most critical skill in fantasy football is often overlooked: the ability to properly predict trends.
Trends are a fickle thing in fake football. A star player who many think has a chance to keep momentum rolling through the weeks can bring down a fantasy team in a hurry courtesy of an off week.
Conversely, properly identifying players who will bleed big performances into the following week in a favorable matchup can allow the best owners to rise to the top of their leagues.
Here are a few studs who were great in Week 6 and will post big numbers in Week 7 as well.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions
Last week, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton went off against Buffalo for 337 yards and three touchdowns and was a top-five fantasy scorer as a result.
Dalton will be able to easily keep this trend alive against Detroit. Buffalo gives up 270.8 passing yards per game on average—Detroit gives up 268.3.
Schematically, the coaching staff is the major reason for Dalton's success, as the majority of his passes came behind the line of scrimmage or in the intermediate passing game as he hit nine different receivers.
The conservative approach to suit Dalton's needs clearly works, and there is no chance the coaching staff goes away from it against a suspect Detroit secondary. Dalton's impressive fantasy production is here to stay.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings
It was impossible to see Brandon Jacobs' return to fantasy relevancy coming.
Alas, here we are.
Last week against Chicago, Jacobs saw his highest amount of carries to date at 22, and the result was 106 yards and two touchdowns against a Chicago defense that ranks in the top 15 against the run with 102 yards surrendered per contest.
Brandon Jacobs 21 carries, 105 yards, 2 TDs. Party like it's 2007. #NYG— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) October 11, 2013
Jacobs' flashback to five years ago will continue in Week 7 against a Minnesota defense that allows 110 yards on the ground per game.
As bad as it sounds, the Giants will want to keep the ball out of Eli Manning's hands as much as possible thanks to his nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Pounding away with a healthy Jacobs is the best way to do that against a weak team.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Diego Chargers
Yes, a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars is going to continue something positive in Week 7.
Since his return from suspension, second-year wide receiver Justin Blackmon has been on a tear. In Week 5 against St. Louis, Blackmon went off for 136 yards and a touchdown on five receptions.
Blackmon was far from done, and last week, he erupted for a ridiculous 14 receptions for 190 yards against Denver.
As Chris Brown points out, Blackmon's had a stellar two-game stretch:
In two games, Justin Blackmon has 19 catches for 326 yards and a TD.— Smart Football (@smartfootball) October 14, 2013
What's ridiculous from a fantasy standpoint is Blackmon is doing this in spite of his questionable quarterback situation. Blackmon is far from done with this streak thanks to a matchup with a woeful San Diego defense that allows 288.8 passing yards per game.
Blackmon is in for another huge week.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears vs. Washington Redskins
While Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett is far from the No. 1 option on offense thanks to Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte, he remains one of the best at his position from a fantasy perspective thanks to Marc Trestman's efficient strategy.
NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano summed up perfectly how effective Bennett has been in Trestman's offense:
Martellus Bennett has 31 receptions. All the Bears tight ends combined for 29 last season.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) October 11, 2013
Last week against the New York Giants, Bennett caught six balls for 68 yards despite Marshall going for 87 yards and two touchdowns on three more receptions.
The performance was good enough to give Bennett No. 1 tight end numbers in 12-team leagues, and that won't stop against Washington this week, as the Redskins allow an average of 11 points to opposing tight ends per game.
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