Fantasy Football: Start'em, Sit'em for Week 7

Kevin HansonAnalyst IIIOctober 22, 2011

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 09:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers runs in for a 2 yard touchdown against Quinton Carter #28 of the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 29-24.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

With most fantasy leagues beginning their postseason in Week 14, we are at the midpoint of the regular season in most fantasy leagues.

In addition, we are at that point in the season where trends that developed early in the season have either corrected themselves (e.g., Frank Gore's slow start turned hot streak) or have become the new normal (e.g., Chris Johnson's continued slow start).

Going into the season, I expected San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers to have a huge season.

After leading the NFL in passing yards (4,710) in 2010, Rivers is averaging a career-high 307.2 passing yards per game. However, he has thrown more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six). Last year, he had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 30:13.

While I still expect Rivers to turn things around, this week's matchup is one of the toughest he'll face all season.

The Jets have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and they have allowed only one passing touchdown—thrown by Tom Brady (who trails only Aaron Rodgers in passing touchdowns)—in their past five games.

Rivers is still a start (our eighth-ranked fantasy quarterback for Week 7), but he's ranked one spot lower than the guy Tim Tebow (who is listed below).

Here are some players to consider starting in Week 7:

QB - Tim Tebow, Broncos (at MIA): Tebow, who was the quarterback of the 2009 Florida Gators, will be honored along with other members of that national championship team when Tebow and the Broncos face the Dolphins. Regardless of his deficiencies as a pocket-passer, Tebow, who completed only four passes in relief of Kyle Orton last week, still finished with 16 fantasy points.

Think about it this way: Tebow will finish with 20 fantasy points if he throws for 150 yards and one touchdown while running for 40 yards and a touchdown. Considering the Dolphins have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, that seems realistic to me.

RB - Mark Ingram, Saints (vs. IND): Although Ingram has single-digit carries in three of his past four games, he has scored in each of those games. Going against one of the league's worst run defenses and worst teams in general, Ingram should get a goal-line opportunity or two (or more) in this Sunday Night Football matchup. Only the Panthers and Rams (Ingram's Week 8 matchup) have allowed more rushing yards per game than the Colts this season.

RB - Jackie Battle, Chiefs (at OAK): Before the Chiefs bye, Battle had a breakout game against the Colts. In that game, Battle had 19 carries for 119 yards and two receptions for 21 yards. Battle, who will get the majority of work out of the Chiefs' backfield again, gets another solid matchup after his bye as the Raiders have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

WR - Greg Little, Browns (vs. SEA): In each of his past two games, Little has six receptions and at least 57 receiving yards. Last week, Colt McCoy targeted Little 12 times. With Peyton Hillis likely to miss this week's games and with the Seahawks having a solid run defense, I expect the Browns to throw it quite a bit and Little will be the biggest beneficiary. The Seahawks have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (vs. KC): In the past three weeks, Heyward-Bey has 17 receptions for 296 yards and a touchdown. Only seven players (six receivers) have had more receiving yards during that three-game span. Even with Kyle Boller under center this week, DHB has been consistent with 80-plus receiving yards in each of his past three games.

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (at CLE): While I have Sidney Rice ranked higher than Baldwin in my Week 7 wide receiver rankings, both wideouts are worth starting in leagues that start three receivers. With Joe Haden, the Browns top cornerback, out for this game, that is good news for both receivers. Baldwin leads the team in receptions (20), receiving yards (330) and receiving touchdowns (two) and has 80-plus yards in three of five games this season.

TE - Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers (vs. CHI): In each of his past three games, Winslow has five receptions. Through six games, Winslow has 27 receptions for 257 yards but no touchdowns. Before last week, the Bears, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, had allowed tight ends to score in three consecutive games.

Here are some players to consider sitting in Week 7:

QB - Matt Ryan, Falcons (at DET): Although Julio Jones has not officially been ruled out for Week 7 yet, it is highly unlikely that he will play. In each of his past four games, Ryan has thrown only one touchdown and he has thrown for less than 200 yards per game in each of the past two weeks. The Lions, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, have allowed only one 300-yard passing game and one quarterback to throw for more than one touchdown: Tony Romo. In their five other games, they have held opposing quarterbacks to less than 300 yards and one touchdown or less.

RB - Tim Hightower, Redskins (at CAR): Collectively, the Redskins running backs have an ideal fantasy matchup as the Panthers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Which one of them will get the opportunity to exploit it? Of course, it's anyone's guess with coach Mike Shanahan dividing the workload, but my guess is it will be Ryan Torain that gets the most opportunities even though Hightower's shoulder appears to be healthy.

RB - DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (vs. WAS): In the past three weeks, Williams has had two solid games. In Weeks 4 and 5 combined, Williams rushed for 197 yards and a touchdown. But through six weeks, Williams has never had more than 12 carries in any one game. To make matters worse (for the fantasy value of Williams and teammate Jonathan Stewart), quarterback Cam Newton has six rushing touchdowns to one apiece for Williams and Stewart.

WR - Plaxico Burress, Jets (vs. SD): It's hard to have much confidence in the Jets passing offense, especially if they continue to run the ball more frequently as they have in the past two games. What makes the prospects even more challenging for the Jets' receivers this week is they face the Chargers, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. In his past three games combined, Burress has only seven receptions for 91 yards and no touchdowns.

WR - Brandon Lloyd, Rams (at DAL): Based on talent alone, Lloyd should be in your starting lineup, but there are a few things going against him in Week 7. Granted, he's familiar with the offensive system run by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was his coach in Denver, but he has only been with the team for six days and it will be A.J. Feeley throwing him the ball as Sam Bradford has been ruled out for Week 7. If possible, I would wait a week to use Lloyd.

WR - Jacoby Jones, Texans (at TEN): Jones had a nice game in Week 6 with four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Jones is inconsistent, however, as his Week 5 performance showed. Even with a lot of targets, it does not mean that Jones will capitalize. In Week 5, Jones had one reception (on 11 targets) for only 11 yards.

TE - Dustin Keller, Jets (vs. SD): With the exception of Week 2 against the Patriots, the Chargers have allowed tight ends to catch a total of nine passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in their other four games combined. In his past three games, Keller has a total of five receptions for 70 yards and no touchdowns. To look at it another way, Keller had more fantasy points in each of his first three games individually than he has had in his past three games combined.

For all of our weekly rankings, check out our fantasy section. If you have specific start-sit questions, feel free to post them in our fantasy football forum.

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Good luck in Week 7!