The bye weeks are upon us with the Colts, Texans, Jets and Lions off in Week 7. With Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub on their bench, fantasy owners will be looking to their backups or the waiver wire for production at the quarterback position this week.
Luckily, most of the weakest passing defenses in the league are available to be exploited in Week 7.
Matt Cassel, Chiefs vs. Jaguars
Despite being the 28th ranked fantasy quarterback entering last week, I told you to start him against the Texans and he put up the eighth most fantasy points amongst quarterbacks last week. Cassel threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns against a soft as a baby’s bum Texans secondary.
This week, he gets another prime matchup against Jacksonville. The Jaguars have the 28th ranked passing defense and have given up the second most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (that’s right, just ahead of the Texans).
Cassel has proven he can beat up on the softies so he’s a solid start in Week 7.
Jay Cutler, Bears vs. Redskins
Cutler has stumbled a bit since having two solid performances as well as a respectable performance in Week 3. At that point, he was a top ten fantasy quarterback but the Bears Week 4 debacle against the Giants where he was forced from the game with a concussion at halftime caused him to drop in the rankings.
Removing that performance, Cutler would be ranked seventh amongst quarterbacks. Sure, that’s playing with numbers but do we really expect him to be sacked seven times by halftime against this season?
Cutler put up 290 yards last week against Seattle but failed to throw for a touchdown, which hurt his fantasy production.
This week, the Redskins come to Chicago and they bring their 31st ranked passing defense with them. That makes Cutler worthy of a start this week.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks vs. Cardinals
Hasselbeck has been decidedly mediocre in 2010 and that comes as no surprise. While the Seahawks have an impressive record, new head coach Pete Carroll has turned over much of the roster.
On offense, Hasselbeck has been hindered by a poor offensive line, a lack of a consistent rushing attack and uneven play at wide receiver due to relative inexperience of most of the players on the depth chart. End result: two sub-200 yard passing games and a season-high of just 242 yards.
Look for that to change this week.
The Cardinals come to Seattle with the 26th ranked passing defense. They are getting beat up due to a lack of a pass rush and have just eight sacks on the season.
Mike Williams and Deon Butler stepped up last week after Deion Branch was traded and, while they are among the league’s worst pair of starting wide receivers, they should be good enough to help Hasselbeck have a solid fantasy points this week.
Joe Flacco, Ravens at Bills
Flacco has been the epitome of mediocrity so far in 2010 with two solid performances, two respectable ones and a pair of duds. After six weeks, it’s fair to say that Flacco’s oft-predicted breakout performance this season is looking like it won’t happen.
He is a matchup play and this week the matchup is favourable.
While the Bills have featured solid pass defenses in previous years, the unit is suffering in 2010 as they are failing under the weight of a front seven that generates pretty much no pass rush. They have six sacks in five games, tied for 29th in the league.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills vs. Ravens
Sure, I hear you saying in your head, “What kind of obvious Sit ‘Em call is this?”
Let’s take another look.
Fitzpatrick is averaging 22.5 fantasy points per game which ranks him seventh amongst quarterbacks. A number of quarterbacks have been injured this year so there’s a decent chance some fantasy owners have him as a backup and a few may even be using him as a starter in larger leagues.
Unfortunately, he’s about to plummet in the rankings once the Ravens are finished with him. They are surrendering just 175 yards per game through the air and have given up just four touchdowns in six games.
Don’t expect Fitzpatrick to buck the trend.
Josh Freeman, Bucs vs. Rams
I’ll let you in on a little known fact: the Rams defense is actually pretty good this year.
Okay, pick yourself up of the ground now. Quit slapping your knee. Finish your text to your buddy about this wing nut who thinks the Rams have a solid defense.
Here we go.
The Rams have held their opponents to 17 points or less in five of six games in 2010. Last week, they held the Chargers to 17 points. Their defense has given up only 11 touchdowns in 2010 and most of those came in a 44-6 blowout loss to the Lions. They are averaging the seventh most sacks on a per game basis.
Maybe I’m not a wing nut after all.
Chad Henne, Dolphins vs. Steelers
Henne shapes up as a matchup play in 2010 and it’s safe to say that this isn’t a great matchup for him. While the Steelers have given up an average of 233 yards per game through the air, they have surrendered just three touchdown passes in five games.
They have faced a number of mediocre or lower tier passing offenses but that is a bit offset by the fact they played soft last week with a big lead against Cleveland.
Either way, I don’t like Henne this week.
Alex Smith, 49ers at Panthers
It’s not that I’m overly down on Smith or that I’m sold on the Panthers secondary. Frankly speaking, I don’t think they are that great.
The issue is that the Panthers can’t stop the run, their offense can’t stay on the field and opposing teams are beating them by playing conservatively. Sometimes a team is so bad that the other team’s game plan is to basically not cost themselves the game.
And I haven’t even mentioned that Frank Gore had his best game of the season last week with 149 yards on the ground.
For more detailed projections, go to FFToday's 2010 Week 7 quarterback projections and rankings.