Fantasy Football Week 7 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Eric MackFantasy Football Lead WriterOctober 19, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 7 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

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    Few might expect Andrew Luck to outgun Peyton Manning on Sunday night, but expect him to hold his own.
    Few might expect Andrew Luck to outgun Peyton Manning on Sunday night, but expect him to hold his own.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    I don't know what it is about NFL Week 7 that has me so fired up in fantasy. Perhaps it is the high before the lows of the impending fantasy roster drama of the heavy byes in Week 8 and 9.

    It could be the shootouts we are expecting in Indy, Philly and Washington and perhaps even New York (because neither the Vikings nor the Giants will play defense Monday night). Or maybe it is the long-awaited return—we hope—of Rob Gronkowski (arm/back).

    Whatever the reason, this stands to be a bountiful week of fantasy production. We help you make the tough start and sit decisions for your lineups in this six-part, position-by-position slideshow—with the caveat being: This week might be so good, you cannot go wrong.

Quarterbacks: Nick Foles Gets a Huge Chance at Making a Fantasy Statement

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    Start 'Em

    Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

    We have to admit, you shouldn't sit any of the quarterbacks among the preseason top 12 at the position you drafted to be your starter, but if you want to take a shot on a fantasy up-and-comer because of a matchup, it is the Eagles' Foles this week. Dallas is third worst against the pass, and the Cowboys are dead last in fantasy against quarterbacks.

    Throw in the fact DeMarcus Ware (thigh) is doubtful on the NFL Injury Report and the Eagles are equally susceptible to the pass, and you have justifiable reasons to start this fantasy—and NFL—backup. Heck, you might want to consider Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and Brent Celek as fantasy options here too.

     

    Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

    As much as we just gushed about Foles, Cutler is the even better play. He has superior weapons in Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett, and the Redskins are in the bottom 10 against the pass and fantasy quarterbacks. You should also figure Robert Griffin III a candidate to play a lot more spry at home, making this another game to expect a shootout. Cutler should be good for 275 yards and a few touchdowns here at least.

     

    Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

    He won't be the first name you consider, but we would still trust him over the error-prone Eli Manning even in a more favorable matchup right now. Dalton is developing secondary targets outside of A.J. Green, and it should serve him well as the season unfolds.

    Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu are becoming viable outside threats, and the tandem tight ends, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, can split the seam. This game at Detroit is going to be a sneaky good one, and we expect it to get a little loose against a contender like the Bengals.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

    Despite playing catch with spare parts, Flacco has had his moments this season, throwing for 300-plus yards three times in six games. Don't count on that happening here, no matter what you think of the aging Steelers defense. Pittsburgh is still No. 4 against the pass right now in a down year and No. 1 in fantasy against quarterbacks.

     

    Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

    After a slow start on opening night—Peyton Manning will get you—the Ravens haven't given up more than one touchdown pass in any ensuing game. They even held Aaron Rodgers to just one last week. Big Ben figures to run a more methodical offense in a brute game against the Ravens here, especially with Le'Veon Bell back to give the running game some legs.

     

    Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

    He has had some big performances for fantasy owners, but playing on the road and against an emerging Panthers defense is a time to avoid this fantasy upstart. Bradford still needs to find someone consistent to trust in the passing game, and the Panthers are the second-best team in fantasy against quarterbacks.

     

    Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

    The Chiefs look like a million bucks, and the Texans look lost. Expect the tables to come back around here. Smith is going to struggle against a Houston secondary that is No. 1 against the pass and almost 60 yards better than the next best team. The Texans are also third against quarterbacks. The Chiefs with Smith under center are going to look a lot less capable against J.J. Watt and Co. here.

     

     

    Week 7 Quarterbacks Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankQuarterbacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Peyton ManningDenat Ind10
    2Aaron RodgersGBvs. Cle 3+1
    3Cam NewtonCarvs. StL 4+1
    4Tony RomoDalat Phi2-2
    5Andrew LuckIndvs. Den6+1
    6Philip RiversSDat Jac 5-1
    7Matthew StaffordDetvs. Cin 9+2
    8Colin KaepernickSFat Ten15+7
    9Matt RyanAtlvs. TB12+3
    10Tom BradyNEat NYJ 11+1
    11Russell WilsonSeaat Ari14+3
    12Robert GriffinWasvs. Chi10-2
    13Jay CutlerChiat Was7-6
    14Nick Foles Phivs. Dal8-6
    15Andy DaltonCinat Det 17+2
    16Alex SmithKCvs. Hou 20+4
    17Sam BradfordStLat Car23+6
    18Ryan Tannehill Miavs. Buf 16-2
    19Eli ManningNYGvs. Min13-6
    20Joe Flacco Balat Pit24+4
    21Ben RoethlisbergerPitvs. Bal 18-3
    22Brandon Weeden Cleat GB19-3
    23Josh FreemanMinat NYG 22-1
    24Carson PalmerArivs. Sea28+4
    25Chad Henne Jacvs. SD21-4
    26Geno SmithNYJvs. NE260
    27Thaddeus LewisBufat Mia270
    28Mike Glennon TBat Atl 25-3
    29Ryan FitzpatrickTenvs. SF290
    30Case Keenum Houat KC300
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Running Backs: Matchups, Injuries Have Created Some Opportunities for Us

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    Start 'Em

    Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

    Woodhead wasn't great against the Colts, but this matchup at Jacksonville is too good to sit either of the Chargers' timeshare backs. The Jags have allowed the fifth-most points to running backs in fantasy and have the league's worst run defense, allowing 152.5 rushing yards per game. Woodhead is going to do his damage through the air, while Mathews will break 100 yards on the ground and find the end zone as well. Both backs are breaking double digits here.

     

    Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins

    He limped into the bye week with just 15 yards rushing against the Ravens, but Miller is getting the bulk of the snaps at running back for the Dolphins. Touchdown vulture Daniel Thomas has seen his touches dwindle each of the past four games. Also, Buffalo has a bottom-five rush defense, so this could wind up as the best game of Miller's young career.

     

    DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers

    Williams hasn't reached the end zone yet, but you have to like his chances against a Rams defense that has been the second worst in fantasy. 

    The Rams have given up the most rushing yards to running backs thus far this season, and we would expect Williams to be good for 100 yards and a touchdown here. Williams needs to get his big games in now because Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is nearing a return from the PUP list, according to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer.

     

    Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys

    With DeMarco Murray (knee) listed doubtful—owner Jerry Jones said he was unlikely to play earlier this week—and Lance Dunbar (knee) out on the official NFL Injury Report, the Cowboys turn to the rookie, Randle, in what should be a shootout against the Eagles.

    This game is more likely to be in Tony Romo's hands than Randle's, but the volume of plays and opportunities in the red zone should create an opportunity for Randle to score for fantasy owners. Phillip Tanner is currently the only other back on the roster, so this should be a busy week for the Oklahoma State product.

     

    Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants

    Scoff all you want at Jacobs' plodding style, the Giants' laughable offensive line play and the Giants' propensity to pass way more than they should, but Jacobs is coming off a 106-yard, two-touchdown performance, and the Vikings have been the worst team in fantasy against running backs.

    It should be enough for Jacobs to find the end zone Monday night, even if he totals 15 carries for a mere 25 yards. All you need in this year of the sketchy back is a touchdown. Jacobs gets those.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Willis McGahee, Cleveland Browns

    McGahee is not only facing a Packers team that has been very good against the run—third best in the NFL—but he is also failing to put away Chris Ogbonnaya as a fantasy option. The latter had the better fantasy day against the Lions a week ago, and McGahee has missed some practice time to a knee issue. ESPN's Pat McManamon goes so far to suggest McGahee will "probably be on the injury report for the rest of the season."

    Offensive coordinator Norv Turner hinted the Browns will need to turn to Ogbonnaya and even Bobby Rainey and Fozzy Whittaker more and more.

    "We have an unusual situation, and we're making the best out of it. McGahee is giving us plays. Ogbonnaya is giving us plays. Bobby's giving us some plays. Now we're going to use Fozzy a little bit and see how he does. No question, it's a group effort."

    Read: McGahee might not have been the answer after the Trent Richardson trade. Watch all of the Browns' backs usage. Someone might emerge as a fantasy option over McGahee going forward.

     

    Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling, Atlanta Falcons

    The continued absence of Steven Jackson (hamstring) keeps Rodgers and Snelling in the Falcons' game plan, but the Bucs defense is one of only two in the NFL to have yet to allow a touchdown to a running back to date. The Bucs still should be one of the most feared defenses against the run despite their lost season. Rodgers and Snelling are low-end flex plays at best.

     

    Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens

    When Ray Rice returned from his hip injury, Pierce sunk back into fantasy obscurity. We should expect him to stay there against a Steelers defense that has been uncharacteristically susceptible to the run in the early part of the season.

    Pittsburgh played the run-heavy Jets really well last week, though, so expect the Steelers to continue to improve against fantasy backs. Pierce is a mere Rice handcuff right now and frankly can be someone you drop during the heavy bye weeks to come.

     

     

    Week 7 Running Backs Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankRunning BacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Adrian PetersonMinat NYG 10
    2Jamaal CharlesKCvs. Hou 20
    3 LeSean McCoyPhivs. Dal30
    4Arian FosterHouat KC5+1
    5Marshawn LynchSeaat Ari6+1
    6Matt ForteChiat Was4-2
    7Ray RiceBalat Pit12+5
    8Doug MartinTBat Atl 9+1
    9Alfred MorrisWasvs. Chi11+2
    10Frank GoreSFat Ten100
    11Reggie BushDetvs. Cin 8-3
    12 Knowshon MorenoDenat Ind7-5
    13C.J. SpillerBufat Mia23+10
    14Danny Woodhead SDat Jac 21+7
    15Lamar MillerMiavs. Buf 17+2
    16DeAngelo WilliamsCarvs. StL 14-2
    17Trent RichardsonIndvs. Den16-1
    18Eddie LacyGBvs. Cle 13-5
    19Joseph RandleDalat Phi26+7
    20Ryan MathewsSDat Jac 19-1
    21Chris JohnsonTenvs. SF28+7
    22Stevan RidleyNEat NYJ 25+3
    23 Giovani BernardCinat Det 15-8
    24Brandon JacobsNYGvs. Min18-6
    25 Le'Veon BellPitvs. Bal 24-1
    26 BenJarvus Green-EllisCinat Det 31+5
    27Fred JacksonBufat Mia20-7
    28Maurice Jones-DrewJacvs. SD22-6
    29 Bilal PowellNYJvs. NE27-2
    30 Zac StacyStLat Car29-1
    31Willis McGaheeCleat GB33+2
    32Rashard MendenhallArivs. Sea36+4
    33 Joique BellDetvs. Cin 35+2
    34Ronnie Hillman Denat Ind41+7
    35Ben TateHouat KC38+3
    36Andre EllingtonArivs. Sea32-4
    37Daniel ThomasMiavs. Buf 47+10
    38Mike Tolbert Carvs. StL 39+1
    39Bryce BrownPhivs. Dal51+12
    40Chris Ogbonnaya Cleat GB37-3
    41Bernard PierceBalat Pit43+2
    42 Jacquizz RodgersAtlvs. TB30-12
    43Jason Snelling Atlvs. TB34-9
    44 LeGarrette Blount NEat NYJ 49+5
    45Robert Turbin Seaat Ari58+13
    46Kendall HunterSFat Ten48+2
    47Montee BallDenat Ind61+14
    48Daryl RichardsonStLat Car50+2
    49Brandon Bolden NEat NYJ 42-7
    50Anthony DixonSFat Ten71+21
    51Donald BrownIndvs. Den44-7
    52Chris IvoryNYJvs. NE40-12
    53Ronnie BrownSDat Jac 54+1
    54 Shonn GreeneTenvs. SF60+6
    55Michael BushChiat Was57+2
    56Roy Helu Wasvs. Chi46-10
    57Bobby Rainey Cleat GB 79+22
    58Toby Gerhart Minat NYG 65+7
    59Jordan Todman Jacvs. SD81+22
    60Felix JonesPitvs. Bal 67+7
    61Alfonso SmithArivs. Sea87+26
    62 Knile DavisKCvs. Hou 69+7
    63Jackie BattleTenvs. SF56-7
    64 LaMichael JamesSFat Ten75+11
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Wide Receivers: There Are Some Huge Shootouts to Take Advantage of This Week

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    Start 'Em

    Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

    If there is one game on the schedule to load up on this week, it clearly is the impending shootout between Peyton Manning and the man the Colts chose to replace him: Andrew Luck. Manning still gets the edge in the battle, but the Broncos have the defense that has been exploited to date.

    They have the worst pass defense in the NFL right now, allowing 337.7 yards per game, albeit all in garbage time. Fantasy owners don't care how the points rack up. Heck, you might even consider Darrius Heyward-Bey or even LaVon Brazill if you are desperate this week.

     

    Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys

    Miles Austin's return from a hamstring injury scared us off Williams a bit, but now that he is scoring consistently, you have to consider him a viable start against an Eagles defense that has been the worst in fantasy against wide receivers to date.

    Philly is also second worst to Denver against the pass. Potent offenses have the tendency to do that. Expect the Cowboys to break 300 yards with ease here, with Williams scoring near the top-30 fantasy receivers.

     

    Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins

    The early returns on Wallace in Miami have been a bit uneven, but this rates as a game you have to start Wallace if you own him. If you cannot start him against the Bills—second worst in fantasy against wide receivers—why bother owning him? Wallace is a must-start in this matchup.

     

    Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

    Jeffery is coming off that stinker against the Giants, but the matchup against the Redskins should get him back in your good graces. Washington has been among the worst team in fantasy against wide receivers for most of the season, and it is currently sixth worst. Jeffery goes for 60-plus yards and a score in this probable shootout in Washington.

     

    Rueben Randle, New York Giants

    We have been stubborn with the third option in the Giants' passing game, but you have to figure Eli Manning is going to start clicking with that set of healthy receivers he has eventually.

    Manning has been targeting Randle consistently amid his own struggles, racking up three touchdowns with him in the past two games. We rate Randle as a borderline must-start against a Vikings defense that has given up the fourth-most passing yards in the NFL and the eighth-most points to fantasy wideouts.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

    Even this great Bowe apologist cannot stomach starting this struggling wide receiver this week. Alex Smith has notoriously failed to get the ball downfield, and Bowe is facing a Texans defense that is No. 1 in the NFL against the pass (just 131.3 yards per game) and No. 1 in fantasy against wide receivers. You can buy low on Bowe to eventually get things figured out with Smith and Andy Reid, but chain this wideout to your bench in all leagues.

     

    Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams

    After opening with six catches in each of the first three games, Austin has dropped a lot—in passes and fantasy value. The Panthers have a top-10 defense against the pass and fantasy wideouts, and you cannot guarantee where Sam Bradford's targets and fantasy points are going to go week to week. You can make a pretty good guess they won't be going to the struggling Austin right now, though. Sit him. No, just cut him.

     

    Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers

    Ordinarily this name wouldn't bear a mention, but fantasy owners have jumped on him amid the loss of Randall Cobb (leg) and potential absence of James Jones (knee) this week. Jordy Nelson is the Packers' lone receiver, and he figures to be blanketed by shutdown corner Joe Haden.

    That seemingly opens up Boykin or Myles White. Meh. Ignore all but Nelson or tight end Jermichael Finley against a Browns defense that's eighth against the pass and No. 2 against receivers in fantasy.

     

    Week 7 Wide Receivers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankWide ReceiversTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Calvin JohnsonDetvs. Cin 6+5
    2A.J. GreenCinat Det 20
    3Dez BryantDalat Phi1-2
    4Brandon MarshallChiat Was3-1
    5Demaryius ThomasDenat Ind7+2
    6Wes WelkerDenat Ind8+2
    7DeSean JacksonPhivs. Dal5-2
    8Victor CruzNYGvs. Min4-4
    9Pierre GarconWasvs. Chi13+4
    10Josh GordonCleat GB100
    11Reggie WayneIndvs. Den14+3
    12Justin Blackmon Jacvs. SD9-3
    13 Jordy NelsonGBvs. Cle 11-2
    14Hakeem NicksNYGvs. Min17+3
    15Antonio BrownPitvs. Bal 150
    16Andre JohnsonHouat KC19+3
    17Larry FitzgeraldArivs. Sea25+8
    18Vincent JacksonTBat Atl 12-6
    19 Alshon JefferyChiat Was18-1
    20Eric DeckerDenat Ind16-4
    21T.Y. HiltonIndvs. Den22+1
    22Torrey SmithBalat Pit21-1
    23Mike WallaceMiavs. Buf 230
    24Steve SmithCarvs. StL 240
    25Anquan BoldinSFat Ten26+1
    26 Rueben RandleNYGvs. Min28+2
    27Keenan AllenSDat Jac 20-7
    28Steve JohnsonBufat Mia38+10
    29Golden TateSeaat Ari43+14
    30Greg JenningsMinat NYG 29-1
    31Terrance WilliamsDalat Phi37+6
    32Miles AustinDalat Phi51+19
    33Harry DouglasAtlvs. TB330
    34Julian Edelman NEat NYJ 27-7
    35Brandon LaFell Carvs. StL 47+12
    36 Kenbrell Thompkins NEat NYJ 31-5
    37James JonesGBvs. Cle 34-3
    38Vincent BrownSDat Jac 36-2
    39 Darrius Heyward-BeyIndvs. Den66+27
    40Cecil ShortsJacvs. SD42+2
    41Dwayne BoweKCvs. Hou 46+5
    42Aaron Dobson NEat NYJ 41-1
    43Stephen HillNYJvs. NE44+1
    44Emmanuel SandersPitvs. Bal 39-5
    45Robert WoodsBufat Mia49+4
    46Jeremy Kerley NYJvs. NE55+9
    47Michael FloydArivs. Sea35-12
    48 Tavon AustinStLat Car68+20
    49Mike WilliamsTBat Atl 30-19
    50Jason Avant Phivs. Dal65+15
    51Doug BaldwinSeaat Ari64+13
    52Sidney RiceSeaat Ari63+11
    53Austin Pettis StLat Car57+4
    54Donnie AveryKCvs. Hou 61+7
    55 DeAndre HopkinsHouat KC53-2
    56Mohamed Sanu Cinat Det 71+15
    57Riley CooperPhivs. Dal59+2
    58Brian HartlineMiavs. Buf 32-26
    59Andre CaldwellDenat Ind94+35
    60Jerricho CotcheryPitvs. Bal 75+15
    61Chris GivensStLat Car56-5
    62Leonard Hankerson Wasvs. Chi69+7
    63 Davone BessCleat GB78+15
    64Kendall WrightTenvs. SF45-19
    65Nate WashingtonTenvs. SF54-11
    66Jerome SimpsonMinat NYG 50-16
    67Kenny BrittTenvs. SF95+28
    68Jacoby JonesBalat Pit73+5
    69Kris DurhamDetvs. Cin 52-17
    70Andre RobertsArivs. Sea84+14
    71Ryan Broyles Detvs. Cin 90+19
    72Jon BaldwinSFat Ten102+30
    73Marvin JonesCinat Det 70-3
    74Marlon BrownBalat Pit58-16
    75Dexter McCluster KCvs. Hou 107+32
    76Brian QuickStLat Car103+27
    77Brandon GibsonMiavs. Buf 60-17
    78Earl BennettChiat Was98+20
    79Greg LittleCleat GB82+3
    80Ted GinnCarvs. StL 67-13
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Tight Ends: Rob Gronkowski Finally Cleared...So You Start Him

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    Start 'Em

    Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

    Your eye rolls are justified. We are rolling our eyes too at the news Gronk's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has stated the doctors have cleared the tight end to play, according to numerous media outlets, including ESPN, citing information from Field Yates, Mike Reiss and NFL insider Adam Schefter.

    We have also listed Gronk as a start for weeks, assuming he would be active. There is less reason for the Pats to keep him questionable on the NFL Injury Report than ever, but don't count on a Bill Belchick team to tip its hand. Gronk has to start in fantasy if he is active for the Pats—know that at least.

     

    Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers

    The Browns have a good secondary and are not bad against tight ends, but circumstances should combine to make Finley the No. 1 target for Aaron Rodgers this week. With Randall Cobb (knee) out and James Jones (knee) questionable, the Packers will need Finley more than ever.

    Browns shutdown corner Joe Haden figures to cover Jordy Nelson, and Jarrett Boykin or Myles White don't figure to be trustworthy options. Add Finley to a small group of must-start tight ends this week for these reasons.

     

    Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

    He is coming off his best week of the season, and the Vikings turn the offense over to Josh Freeman against a Giants defense that is among the worst in the NFL against everything. It is eighth worst against tight ends. You should be confident in starting Rudolph—someone picked among the top-10 tight ends this year—in all leagues again.

     

    Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears

    The Redskins are in the bottom 10 of fantasy against tight ends, so you should feel confident in starting Bennett (knee) despite his questionable status. He has started every game to date and should be productive against that suspect secondary.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins

    He has had his moments, but he still doesn't rate among the top-12 fantasy options at the position. Also, the Bills are third best in fantasy against tight ends to date. Look elsewhere for your Jimmy Graham bye-week replacement.

     

    Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens

    He has enjoyed some surprising games when Joe Flacco has had his moments, but against the Steelers doesn't figure to be a time to trust him. They are fourth best in fantasy against tight ends and No. 4 against the pass.

     

    Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams

    Not only has Cook disappeared at times this season, but the Panthers also have a solid pass defense, and Lance Kendricks has been vulturing some touchdowns in the red zone. Cook will have his moments down the stretch this season, but a road game against the Panthers is not the time to hope for them.

     

     

    Week 7 Tight Ends Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankTight EndsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Rob Gronkowski NEat NYJ 8+7
    2Vernon DavisSFat Ten20
    3Jason WittenDalat Phi30
    4Julius ThomasDenat Ind40
    5Tony GonzalezAtlvs. TB1-4
    6Antonio GatesSDat Jac 5-1
    7Jordan CameronCleat GB6-1
    8 Jermichael FinleyGBvs. Cle 7-1
    9Kyle RudolphMinat NYG 12+3
    10 Martellus BennettChiat Was9-1
    11Greg OlsenCarvs. StL 110
    12Heath MillerPitvs. Bal 10-2
    13 Coby Fleener Indvs. Den14+1
    14Garrett GrahamHouat KC16+2
    15Jared CookStLat Car17+2
    16Charles ClayMiavs. Buf 13-3
    17Brandon MyersNYGvs. Min22+5
    18Tyler Eifert Cinat Det 30+12
    19Brandon Pettigrew Detvs. Cin 26+7
    20Brent Celek Phivs. Dal18-2
    21Rob Housler Arivs. Sea37+16
    22Jermaine GreshamCinat Det 25+3
    23Jordan ReedWasvs. Chi15-8
    24Jeff CumberlandNYJvs. NE20-4
    25Zach MillerSeaat Ari23-2
    26Scott ChandlerBufat Mia21-5
    27Lance KendricksStLat Car29+2
    28Dallas ClarkBalat Pit280
    29Clay HarborJacvs. SD27-2
    30Fred DavisWasvs. Chi38+8
    31 Delanie WalkerTenvs. SF310
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Defense/Special Teams: It Isn't About Talent as Much as Matchups Here

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    Start 'Em

    Baltimore Ravens

    They have their slow start out of their system, so we should move them back up among the defenses to trust on a regular basis in fantasy. The matchup against the Steelers is particularly start-worthy. Pittsburgh has been the fourth-worst team in fantasy against defense/special teams.

     

    San Diego Chargers

    They were a more productive fantasy unit last year with their touchdown returns, but they have gotten better of late, and they face the lowly Jaguars this week. It makes the Chargers one of the streaming options off waivers, particularly since the Jags have been the third-most generous team to opposing defenses.

     

    Carolina Panthers

    This remains one of the more unheralded units in all of fantasy, and the Panthers have been particularly tough at home, slowing the Seattle Seahawks and shutting out the New York Giants. The Rams come to town, so we should expect a performance similar to at least what the Panthers had against Seattle, if not the bonanza Eli Manning provided them.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Denver Broncos

    This was one of the top units in fantasy coming into the season, but you don't need a web browser to know the Broncos have been suspect defensively, mostly in garbage time.

    The Broncos do get Von Miller back from a six-game suspension, but the Colts matchup figures to be a tough one. Not only will it be another shootout, but the Colts are also (somewhat surprisingly) the No. 1 team in fantasy against opposing defenses. You might even be justified cutting the Broncos defense at this point.

     

    Dallas Cowboys

    Speaking of teams stuck in shootouts every week, Tony Romo's pace has made it tough on his defense regularly. Also, the expected absence of DeMarcus Ware (thigh) should make slowing that fast-paced Eagles offense difficult. The Eagles are seventh worst against opposing fantasy defenses, but we wouldn't trust the Cowboys in this shootout.

     

    Houston Texans

    Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips lost his father Friday, so if he is calling the shots at Kansas City this week, he would be doing it with a heavy heart. That isn't the reason you should be avoiding the Texans defense, though. Kansas City is the fourth-stingiest team against opposing defenses in fantasy, and the Texans have been suspect against the run.

     

     

    Week 7 Defenses and Special Teams Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankDefenses and Special TeamsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Kansas City ChiefsKCvs. Hou 10
    2San Francisco 49ersSFat Ten3+1
    3Seattle SeahawksSeaat Ari2-1
    4New England PatriotsNEat NYJ 40
    5Baltimore RavensBalat Pit6+1
    6Chicago BearsChiat Was8+2
    7San Diego ChargersSDat Jac 70
    8Carolina PanthersCarvs. StL 5-3
    9Miami DolphinsMiavs. Buf 10+1
    10Cincinnati BengalsCinat Det 18+8
    11Green Bay PackersGBvs. Cle 9-2
    12Atlanta FalconsAtlvs. TB120
    13Minnesota VikingsMinat NYG 11-2
    14St. Louis RamsStLat Car17+3
    15Denver BroncosDenat Ind150
    16Buffalo BillsBufat Mia14-2
    17Dallas CowboysDalat Phi20+3
    18Arizona CardinalsArivs. Sea13-5
    19Tennessee TitansTenvs. SF16-3
    20Houston TexansHouat KC22+2
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Kickers: Caleb Sturgis Can Settle This Spot for You Here on Out

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    The Dolphins have found their kicker for the next decade in Caleb Sturgis, and you have found one in fantasy.
    The Dolphins have found their kicker for the next decade in Caleb Sturgis, and you have found one in fantasy.Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

    Start 'Em

    Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins

    If you are looking for a strong leg and a set-it-forget-it option at this position heading into the heavy bye weeks, Sturgis is your man. He has been through his bye, and he will finish among the top-12 kickers in fantasy in his rookie year. The Dolphins have been improving offensively by the week, and the Bills have allowed the second-most points to kickers thus far.

     

    Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings

    He played through his hamstring issue in Week 6, so you should expect him to be fine for the Monday night game at the N.Y. Giants. He is too good to sit or cut for that one. The Giants have been the worst team in fantasy against kickers this year.

     

    Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs

    The Texans are better than they have played, particularly defensively, but more fantasy owners should be on this part of the Chiefs bandwagon. Succop is a top-eight kicker in scoring to date, and even if the Texans play better defense, it should merely mean more stops in the red zone and field-goal attempts.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Randy Bullock, Houston Texans

    Not only should you be wary of Bullock's league-high five missed field goals, but the Texans are also starting Case Keenum for the first time against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fewest points to kickers in fantasy. Bullock shouldn't even be owned at this point, much less started.

     

    Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams

    If you get points against the Panthers, it tends to be by way of the field goal this season. The Panthers have allowed a league-low four extra points this year. Zuerlein and the Rams could be shut out like the Giants were in Carolina, though. Consider this a bad week for one of the best legs in football.

     

    Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears

    An improved offense should have helped Gould re-emerge as a must-have fantasy kicker. Instead, he is out of the top 12 in fantasy, and he is facing a Redskins team that has allowed a league-low six field-goal attempts (tied with the Minnesota Vikings). Only the Packers have allowed fewer made field goals (five) than the Redskins.

     

    Week 7 Kickers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankKickersTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Stephen GostkowskiNEat NYJ 10
    2Matt PraterDenat Ind3+1
    3Alex Henery Phivs. Dal4+1
    4Mason CrosbyGBvs. Cle 6+2
    5Matt BryantAtlvs. TB7+2
    6Blair WalshMinat NYG 8+2
    7Dan BaileyDalat Phi2-5
    8Ryan Succop KCvs. Hou 13+5
    9Caleb Sturgis Miavs. Buf 14+5
    10Justin TuckerBalat Pit9-1
    11Phil DawsonSFat Ten17+6
    12Adam VinatieriIndvs. Den10-2
    13Nick Novak SDat Jac 5-8
    14Greg Zuerlein StLat Car20+6
    15Steven Hauschka Seaat Ari12-3
    16Robbie GouldChiat Was11-5
    17Graham Gano Carvs. StL 24+7
    18Kai Forbath Wasvs. Chi16-2
    19Mike NugentCinat Det 25+6
    20David AkersDetvs. Cin 18-2
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

     

     

    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.