Friday, October 23, 2009
Week 7 Starters & Benchwarmers
You don’t need me advising you to start Drew Brees and Larry Fitzgerald, or to bench Derek Anderson and Josh Reed. So I’ll leave the obvious recommendations to the network bozos and focus instead on players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 7.
Watch ‘em roll
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Cowboys. Now clearly in sync with his top receiver, Roddy White, Ryan has thrown at least two scoring passes in all but one game this season. He will have little trouble carving up the Cowboys’ struggling secondary in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers at Browns. He hasn’t scored since Week 2 or topped 100 rushing yards all season. Both trends should change this week against the league’s 30th-ranked run defense, which has already surrendered nine TDs on the ground and just lost their best player (D'Qwell Jackson) to injury.
Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs vs. Chargers. I’ve been down on him all season – as have been his owners – but San Diego’s soft run defense offers hope. LJ should visit the end zone for the first time this season, and 100 combined yards is well within reason.
Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals at Giants. New York’s secondary was lit up by Drew Brees last week, and it now faces the challenge of slowing down the pass-happy Kurt Warner. With Anquan Boldin probably out with a high ankle sprain, Breaston will step in capably in this Sunday night showdown.
Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys vs. Falcons. The star of Week 5 has been elevated to the starting lineup, and he makes a solid WR3 start against the vulnerable Falcons secondary, especially with Roy Williams still hampered by sore ribs.
More thumbs up: QBs Matt Schaub, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger; RBs Frank Gore, Thomas Jones, Joseph Addai, Tashard Choice, Brian Westbrook; WRs Dwayne Bowe, Austin Collie, Lance Moore.
Roll ‘em back
Brett Favre, QB, Vikings at Steelers. Call it a hunch, or perhaps an educated guess, but the red-hot Favre is overdue for one of his patented multi-turnover games. On the road against a hostile Steelers defense with Troy Polamalu and his hair lurking deep, I wouldn’t take any chances on the 40-year-old gunslinger.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants vs. Cardinals. His disappointing season should continue against the league’s top run defense on Sunday night. Ahmad Bradshaw has the hotter hand of the Giants’ backs and is better suited to excel against Arizona’s defenders.
Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers vs. Patriots. The Bucs could be trailing by 21 points by the end of the first quarter, taking their running game out of the game early. The Pats have allowed only one rushing TD all season, and Cadillac is unlikely to post the second.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins vs. Eagles. With a new play caller, uncertainty at quarterback and one of the toughest secondaries in the league gunning for him, the odds are stacked against Moss on Monday night. Look for a third consecutive subpar outing.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers vs. Bills. It’s official: Jake Delhomme has stripped Smith of his elite fantasy status. After his single four-yard reception against the Bucs’ putrid secondary, Smith is hanging onto fantasy rosters strictly on reputation. You can’t waive him (yet), but you sure don’t have to start him.
More thumbs down: QBs Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez; RBs Felix Jones, Willie Parker, Reggie Bush, Justin Fargas; WRs Donnie Avery, Mohamed Massaquoi, Ted Ginn, Lee Evans, Patrick Crayton.
TAKING A FLIER
Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots at Bucs. With both Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor out, Maroney gets the start and should receive the lion’s share of the carries in London against the league’s second-worst run defense. Of course, we’re talking about New England here, so you never know if they’ll turn the tables and pour on Kevin Faulk or BenJarvis Green-Ellis. But after last week’s blowout performance in the snow, Maroney has a leg up.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…waives Matt Hasselbeck to buy roster space over the bye weekend. Though he was awful last week against the Cardinals, his post-bye schedule is extremely favorable, and he should have many more solid outings than bad ones going forward.