Wondering whether or not to start Devonta Freeman and Calvin Johnson, or to bench Teddy Bridgewater and Bishop Sankey? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 7 of the 2015 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals vs. Ravens. Palmer has either put up big yards or multiple TDs, but not both, over the last three weeks as the Cardinals have actually started running more effectively. On Monday night, Palmer and his play-making receivers face a Ravens secondary that has made Colin Kaepernick and Josh McCown look like Hall of Famers over the past two games.
Frank Gore, RB, Colts vs. Saints. It will be interesting to see if Ahmad Bradshaw poaches more of the workload this weekend; but for now, this is still Gore’s backfield. He should get plenty of work, and find plenty of holes, against the Saints’ awful run defense.
Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders at Chargers. Murray was held mostly in check by Denver’s superior run defense before the Week 6 bye, but the going gets smoother in San Diego. The Chargers have been doormats for opposing rushers, and Murray has little competition for carries. He should be good for 100 combined yards and at least one score.
Willie Snead, WR, Saints at Colts. Indy’s depleted secondary offers a tasty matchup for the visitors, who have seen Drew Brees return to his pass-happy ways over the last two weeks. Snead has amassed more yards on fewer targets than Brandin Cooks over the first six weeks, and should continue to profit from his easy rapport with Brees. You have to love Ben Watson, too.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars vs. Bills. Allen Robinson will be toughing out a bruised knee in London, making Hurns the more likely recipient of Blake Bortles’ frequent passes. Hurns has found the end zone in each of the last four games, and against the Bills’ suspect secondary, that streak is likely to continue.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Blake Bortles; RBs Todd Gurley, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, DeMarco Murray, Justin Forsett, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, Lamar Miller; WRs Pierre Garcon, John Brown, Michael Floyd, Donte Moncrief, Jarvis Landry, Mike Wallace, Martavis Bryant, Steve Smith, Golden Tate, Eric Decker, Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Travis Benjamin, Keenan Allen.
Roll ‘em back
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Titans. With Julio Jones at his disposal, Ryan is a threat to soar in any matchup. But the Titans average a league-low 184 net passing yards per game. Ryan has surpassed 300 yards just once, and has one or zero TDs in half his games to date.
Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys at Giants. There’s too much uncertainty coming out of Dallas’ bye around its projected backfield workload. Christine Michael is expected to become a full-fledged member of a three-headed committee, and the dreaded “hot hand” approach will be employed. Randle will get the start, but a boneheaded play or failure to launch could see him ride the pine in the second half.
Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals vs. Ravens. Baltimore is much more generous to opposing receivers than rushers. CJ.6K is still playing the lead role in Arizona’s backfield, but both David Johnson and Andre Ellington are cannibalizing his touches. You should have better options this weekend.
Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots vs. Jets. Lewis can hurt opposing defenses as a runner and receiver, but New York is stout in both phases. You can’t sit guys like Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski in any matchup, but Lewis – who was held in check by the Colts last week, possibly due to his tender abdomen – has a low ceiling this weekend.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles at Panthers. Thanks mostly to his quarterback’s struggles, Matthews hasn’t accumulated as many as 60 receiving yards in a game since Week 2. Against the Panthers’ solid defenders, Sam Bradford is likely to look lost again, which is bad news for Matthews and his fellow wideouts.
More thumbs down: QBs Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, E.J. Manuel, Jameis Winston, Alex Smith, Derek Carr, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins; RBs Melvin Gordon, Joique Bell, Duke Johnson, Ameer Abdullah, Andre Ellington, Antonio Andrews, T. J. Yeldon, Darren McFadden, Charcandrick West, Jonathan Stewart; WRs Kendall Wright, Reuben Randle, Michael Crabtree, Tavon Austin, Leonard Hankerson.
TAKING A FLIER
Eric Ebron, TE, Lions vs. Vikings. Ebron appears to be on track to return from his knee injury this week. Not only should you grab him off free agency if his owner released him a couple weeks ago, but consider plugging the emerging tight end into your lineup against the average-at-best Minnesota defense.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…waits until late Sunday morning to check your lineup if you’re counting on any Bills or Jaguars. Though Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins have already been ruled out, players like T.J. Yeldon and Allen Robinson are somewhat iffy, and the game kicks off in London at 9:30 a.m. ET.