Seattle 6, San Francisco 13
The Seahawks are easier to evaluate than buttering a piece of toast. Every week in this space you'll find the same sentiments; "start the Seattle DST, start Marshawn Lynch, handcuff Robert Turbin and leave everyone else alone." Week seven was no different as two NFC West foes went to battle in a classic defensive slugfest. With a rookie quarterback under center, coupled with very conservative play calling, no member of the Seattle passing game has proven worthy of a roster spot.
San Francisco's fantasy production nearly mirrors that of Seattle; start Frank Gore, start the 49ers DST and handcuff Kendall Hunter. The lone difference is Vernon Davis. Coming into this game as the second highest scoring fantasy tight end, Davis was completely shutdown, not seeing a single target. Although highly unnerving, this is more of a testament to the Seattle defense than Davis himself. Also, as the 49ers took to the ground through much of the second half, Davis was used more in the blocking scheme than the passing game. As the most athletic tight end in the game, Davis remains a lineup lock.
It's worth noting that in the absence of Mario Manningham, stepped Randy Moss into the starting lineup. Even though he was given an expanded number of reps, the 49ers only targeted Moss four times, with zero deep passes. Those holding out hope can safely drop the future Hall-of-Famer.
A side story exiting this wrestling match was the amount of money swayed by the decision of Jim Harbaugh to decline a last minute safety. My only question is, "Why bet the game, when the over/under was 38 points?" Money in the bank.
Tennessee 35, Buffalo 34
Hello, hello. Welcome to the party Chris Johnson. With 18 carries totaling 195 yards and two touchdowns, Johnson ripped through the porous Buffalo defense finally displaying his breakaway speed including a scoring run of 83 yards in classic 2K style. Up next are the 29th ranked Colts rush defense. Yee hah!
On the downside for Johnson owners, it is Jamie Harper's emergence as the Titans goal line back stealing two short yardage touchdowns. With Javon Ringer done for the foreseeable future, Harper is the now the primary handcuff to Johnson.
With four touchdowns turned in the by the ground game, Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans passing attack were limited in what should have been a very favorable matchup. Nate Washington led the way for Tennessee receiving core with 43 yards highlighted by a last minute touchdown. The confusion moving forward is which Titans WR to trust. I believe Kenny Britt is nearly impossible to sit whenever he suits up. Washington on the other hand smells like a low end WR3. Kendall Wright may have fallen below the Mason Dixon line, now a mid WR4.
CJ Spiller may be the most electric player on the Bills roster, but Fred Jackson is the lead pony with 17 touches, 110 total yards and a receiving touchdown. Getting the load in the Bills backfield, Jackson looks to be the more secure play as a high end RB2 whereas Spiller is the complimentary back in the mid lower RB2 range.
As a bye week spot start, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick delivered a home run for fantasy owners, tossing for 225 yards and three touchdowns. As a small bonus Fitz added 23 yards rushing (I'll take it). The Bills are on bye in Week 8, while facing the might Texans Week 9. If you're in need of roster space, Fitzpatrick could be expendable.
Cleveland 13, Indianapolis 17
Josh Gordon continues to deliver for those of us who took a flyer. He had 59 yards receiving including a 33 yard touchdown grab. However, Gordon dropped a long touchdown that would have been the go-ahead score after quarterback Brandon Weeden threw an absolute dime. Given his role as the deep threat on a team constantly playing from behind, Gordon is worthy of starter consideration with the 24th ranked Chargers' pass defense up next.
Trent Richardson owners were playing the Crying Game while watching their rookie phenom playing the role of a spectator. After the game, head coach Pat Shurmur claimed it was "a performance based benching." We're learning that this poor performance was the result of T-Rich being plagued by the rib injury that had him limited in practice all week long. Hopefully Richardson owners handcuffed Montario Hardesty who is clearly the primary backup. The Browns face a tough matchup with the third ranked Chargers coming to town in Week 8.
RG III may be the most athletic rookie quarterback, but Andrew Luck does not get enough credit for his mobility. In this game, Luck constantly evaded the Browns pass rush while scoring the Colts only two touchdowns with his legs. Still a low end QB2, Luck has solid spot starter potential.
A top waiver pickup two weeks ago, Vick Ballard finally had a chance to display is skills delivering 20 carries for 84 yards against a subpar Cleveland rush defense. Ballard was relieved throughout the game by Delone Carter who took 11 carries for 41 yards. With Donald Brown's return still in question, Ballard has a very favorable matchup forthcoming against the paper thin Titans' rush defense. Owners looking for help could use Ballard as a low end RB2.
Green Bay 30, St. Louis 20
The speculation entering the season was what role will Randall Cobb play in the Packers high flying offense? With Greg Jennings still hobbled by a hamstring injury, it was Cobb's turn, torching the Rams secondary for 89 yards and two touchdowns. So long as Jennings is absent, Cobb remains a solid mid WR3.
James Jones' owners should be pulling their hair out as the Packers WR had two near miss touchdowns; one the result of good defense the other Jones was unable to get his second foot inbounds. Like Cobb, so long as Jennings remains inactive, Jones has solid starter value as a mid/high WR3.
As Jones and Cobb have become integral members of the Green Bay passing attack, Jermichael Finley has become a lost soul. Only able to manage six targets over the past two games (two targets this week) Finley should be firmly planted on our bench until further notice.
The Rams continue to utilize an RBBC with a steady mix of Daryl Richardson and Steven Jackson. Furthering our confusion, both players averaged over 4.0 yards per carry, however it was S-Jax punching in a six yard touchdown run. Jackson is the superior talent, meaning he is the player to start, but he is barely clinging to an RB2 status.
As the Rams deep downfield threat, Chris Givens caught a 56-yard pass, while totaling 84 yards on four touches in this game. Givens has become a player of interest surpassing eight fantasy points in four straight games. Still a mid WR4, he is worthy of consideration depending on your options.
Sam Bradford may be amongst the best young quarterbacks in the game, but his lack of wide receiver talent and poor offensive line play continues to inhibit his fantasy production. Bradford is nothing more than a mid QB2, barely worth a roster spot.
Arizona 14, Minnesota 21
Just as we start gaining faith that William Powell as the Cardinals' lead back, he puts the ball on the turf, quickly entering the coach's doghouse. That opened the door for La'Rod Stephens-Howling's 24 touches for 149 total yards. Possessing a similar skill set to Darren Sproles, Stephens-Howling is a dual-threat with capabilities as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Stephens-Howling will most certainly be hyped in the coming week as a must-add in every league. I agree he should be picked up, just be aware that his week eight matchup is agasint the stiff 49ers rush defense.
Andre Roberts is a level 10 conundrum. He started the season on fire with four touchdowns in the first four games, then cooled off considerably whle being dropped in many leagues. Roberts came back in a big way this week leading his team with nine targets totaling 103 yards including a late game touchdown. Please be aware that much of the damage came late in the game as the Vikings were playing prevent defense. With sporadic production it's hard to trust Roberts as a weekly starter, but he's earned the right to be rostered as a mid / low WR4
In a game primed for the Adrian Peterson Variety Hour, he did not disappoint, delivering fantasy owners 153 yards and his third touchdown of the season.
Kyle Rudolph owners shouldn't be overly concerned about his zero reception day. The Cards came into this game with the 6th ranked defense against tight ends. Also limiting Rudolph's production was a comfortable lead built by the Vikings as they simply rode their franchise player to victory. Rudolph should return to form with the weak Bucs passing defense next on the schedule.
Looks like the Jerome Simpson project should be put on hold for another week as the offseason free agent has yet to produce in the run based Minnesota offense. Simpson has become hard to roster now creeping into the lower WR5 category.
Washington 23, New York Giants 27
Answering the bell this week for the Redskins was veteran wide receiver Santana Moss. Totaling 67 yards on three receptions, Moss was able to find pay dirt twice in this game. Investigating Moss further we find he's averaging a very meager four targets per game, while no single game has surpassed five targets. Moss' value is also predicated upon the foot ailment of Pierre Garcon, with new reports surfacing that Garcon has a torn ligament which will hold him out until week 11. So long as the "French Waiter" remains absent, Moss has higher WR4 type value.
Fred Davis exited this game in serious pain with an apparent left ankle injury. He was later seen on the sidelines in a boot as the unofficial postgame reports are indicating a torn Achilles tendon. This would be devastating as Davis will certainly be lost for the season. As a result of Davis' injury, Logan Paulsen would rise to the head of the receiving class with four receptions...