Week 7 of the 2013 NFL regular season is already upon us, and it’s time to break down which fantasy stars fall on the wrong side of the start ‘em, sit ‘em discussion.
Each of the following players is a bona fide fantasy juggernaut, but owners should keep their expectations low this week or even find a possible backup plan if possible.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions limited how much wide receiver Calvin Johnson played against Cleveland last weekend, but his presence at practice all week has fantasy owners encouraged that he will return to elite form.
While most don’t have a better option than Johnson, fantasy owners must temper their expectations and plan for a similar output to what the receiver gave the team last week (three receptions for 25 yards and zero touchdowns).
Detroit squares off against a Cincinnati Bengals team that is ninth against the pass this season (allowing just 216.3 yards per game). If Johnson is less than 100 percent healthy with his knee injury, expect him to be kept quiet by the tough Bengals secondary.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions for 50 yards and zero touchdowns.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
The fantasy owners that drafted New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski despite his injuries have waited patiently for his 2013 debut. According to Pro Football Talk, his first game of the season will come against the New York Jets.
The rush to get Gronkowski back into fantasy lineups has begun, but owners that have made it this far without him should consider at least one more week of playing the backup TE on the roster.
With players like Green Bay's Jermichael Finley and Pittsburgh's Heath Miller holding down the fort for the first six weeks, allowing Gronk to work himself back into a rhythm with his teammates from your bench while you gain the reward of starting another player is the smartest plan.
Beginning in Week 8, though, start Gronkowski as he builds a rapport with Brady once again.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions for 40 yards and zero touchdowns.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin was picked in most fantasy drafts during the first round, but a crumbling franchise around him has made it tough for fantasy owners to start Martin with any confidence.
With rookie Mike Glennon starting at quarterback, the Atlanta Falcons and the seventh-ranked run defense (allowing just 97.4 yards per game) will stack the box and limit Martin’s effectiveness despite his heavy workload each week.
Fantasy owners should expect at least 20 touches during the game (a mix of carries and receptions), but with Atlanta coming off a bye week, Martin will have 80 all-purpose yards or less and zero touchdowns.
Predicted Stat Line: 19 carries for 55 yards and zero touchdowns; four receptions for 25 yards and zero touchdowns.