Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Week 7
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With the Colts, Texans, Jets and Lions all on bye weeks this week, there's an awful lot of fantasy firepower out of the mix for the week.
Be sure to check out the Bye Week Saviors piece for some big-time bye-week aid.
In the meantime, it's time for our weekly helping of fantasy football's risers and fallers.
Whose stock is on the rise?
Whose stock is turning into a crumpled piece of paper flying towards the garbage?
Read on, faithful observers.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
No quarterback has seen more ups and downs in such a short span this season as Kevin Kolb.
He's gone from starter to hurt to benched and back to starter—and we're only just now entering Week 7.
It finally looked as though he was able to develop a rapport with his deep threats in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin against the Falcons. Even if Jackson is sidelined, look for Kolb to put up some big numbers yet again.
He went 23-29 with 326 yards and three touchdowns against Atlanta.
Once Michael Vick is at 100 percent once again, this will be a very interesting situation to watch.
There's no questioning Kolb's talent, though. If he's able to keep putting up numbers like these, it's tough to imagine Vick usurping his starting spot once again.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Considering his likely first- or second-round draft position, it would've been fair to label Jackson as a bit of a bust through the first four weeks, when he failed to rush for anything more than 81 yards.
However, he's gone over the century mark in each of the last two games. As he's essentially the only Rams' back that gets looks, he's finally starting to play up to par.
The Rams' surprisingly solid passing attack effectively opens up more running lanes for Jackson, and that shouldn't be changing anytime soon.
With a very favorable schedule upcoming, look for him to continue to improve.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants
Jacobs suddenly has scored four touchdowns in the last three games.
While his touches remain limited, his value around the goal line can't be ignored.
While his yardage totals aren't spectacular, remember that he's typically touching the ball under 10 times a game.
Ahmad Bradshaw is still going to get the large majority of the carries, but the recent touchdown surge gives Jacobs some serious flex value.
The Giants have had no problems putting up points of late, so Jacobs should still be getting opportunities in the red zone with regularity.
Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
As expected, Wallace returned to fantasy relevance upon the return of Big Ben Roethlisberger last week, when he caught three passes for 90 yards with a touchdown.
He's undeniably the Steelers' big-play guy with Santonio Holmes out of town. As we saw last year, Roethlisberger has no problem getting him the ball.
The Dolphins gave up some big plays to the Packers last week, so don't be shocked to see a big day out of Wallace.
Also on the rise is the value of Hines Ward and Heath Miller.
Deion Branch, WR, New England Patriots
Branch returned to Foxborough in a big way Sunday, hauling in nine passes for 98 yards with a touchdown.
While I doubt we can expect this kind of performance on a weekly basis, there's no doubting the chemistry that still exists between Branch and Tom Brady.
Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez should still get plenty of looks, but the former Super Bowl MVP showed that he still has some gas left in the tank.
Benjamin Watson, TE, Cleveland Browns
Watson has quietly put up top-10 fantasy tight end numbers this season, and his looks should only increase as long as Colt McCoy is in there for the Browns.
It also doesn't hurt that receivers Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi could miss some time following James Harrison's infamous head-hunting trip last week.
He was the recipient of the first career TD pass from McCoy, so his value is clearly on the upswing.
Honorable Mention: Chris Ivory (RB, Saints), Ryan Torain (RB, Redskins), Jeremy Maclin (WR, Eagles), Mike Williams (WR, Seahawks), Michael Crabtree (WR, 49ers), Owen Daniels (TE, Texans)
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
Cutler got off to a very encouraging start this season.
But, if he doesn't have time to throw the ball, how's he supposed to put up numbers?
Bears QBs have been sacked a league-leading 27 times on the season already. With Cutler's history of interceptions, we don't like it when he's rushed into making quick throws.
There are also some fumble possibilities here, as he had three of them in the first half of the awful game against the Giants a few weeks back.
He's shown that he's capable of putting up numbers, but no quarterback can play to his fullest potential when he's forced to run for his life on a consistent basis.
Until Chicago can protect him, his value takes a hit.
Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Like Steven Jackson, Turner was likely a guy that you spent a late first- or second-round pick to acquire.
Unlike Steven Jackson, Turner doesn't appear to be turning it around.
The 2008 NFL rushing champion has scored just once in the first six games, and has gone over 100 yards just twice.
Backup Jason Snelling's monster Week 2 effort in Turner's place makes us wonder if Turner is even capable of putting up better numbers than the guy behind him on the depth chart at this point.
Come to think of it, 2008 was chock-full of running backs that appear to have completely randomly lost their ability to effectively run the ball.
We're looking at you, Michael Turner, Matt Forte and Steve Slaton.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD was a guy that you absolutely saw drafted in the first round, likely somewhere in the top four.
He's another back that has absolutely failed to live up to massive expectations so far in 2010.
He's scored exactly one touchdown in six games, and has gone over 100 yards once.
The fact that he wasn't an enormous factor in the Jags' win over the weak Buffalo defense in Week 5 is certainly a cause for concern.
While I do still believe that he will turn it around, Jones-Drew has been anything but impressive to this point.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
Colston has been the favorite target of Drew Brees ever since he came to the Big Easy a couple of years ago, but there hasn't been much going his way so far this season.
We're still waiting for him to top 100 yards and score his first touchdown of the year...heading into Week 7.
We know the Saints love to spread the wealth, but come on! Get this guy involved!
Like MJD, I still think Colston is due to turn things around. But it is alarming that it's taken him this long.
Louis Murphy, WR, Oakland Raiders
Since promising efforts in Week 2 and Week 3, Murphy has been a fantasy non-factor.
He does tend to fare better with Bruce Gradkowski taking the snaps for the Raiders, but Tom Cable has yet to announce who will be starting this week.
Until we see Murphy catch balls with regularity once again, he's a faller.
Greg Olsen, TE, Chicago Bears
Olsen hasn't caught a pass in either of the last two games.
We'll give him a pass on that Todd Collins 32-yard debacle of a game two weeks ago, but Olsen wasn't able to haul in a pass with Cutler back last week.
We mentioned the Bears' issues with protecting the quarterback above, so take a conservative approach with Olsen in the coming weeks.
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