Fantasy football, like the National Football League, is a fickle lover.
Logic suggested that starting New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning ahead of Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton in Week 6 made sense. Manning had a great match-up against a Philadelphia Eagles pass defense that was giving up a good amount of fantasy football points, while Newton was set to face off with what had been a solid Cincinnati Bengals defense that had been humiliated by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Add in that the Bengals were playing at home, where they haven’t lost since 2012, and the signs pointed to Manning being a safer option.
That, of course, was not the case. While Newton went for his best performance of the season in a game that ended in a tie, Manning was betrayed by his offensive line and by good fortune when wide receiver Victor Cruz was lost for at least the rest of the 2014 NFL season after he suffered a horrific knee injury.
Here are our picks for who to start and who to sit for week 7 of the NFL fantasy football season.
10. Start ‘Em: QB Brian Hoyer – Cleveland Browns
Fantasy football owners who have Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles on their rosters need a spot-starter for Week 7. You see the pickings on the waiver wire are slim, but you then notice the Cleveland quarterback and hometown hero is available.
Hoyer is not a strong QB1 in any league, but he will be playing against a Jacksonville Jaguars side responsible for the third-worst pass defense in all of the NFL. The 29-year-old has been good for one touchdown and over 200 passing yards every game this regular season. Cleveland will certainly look to establish a strong rushing attack, but that should open things up for a few deep-balls from Hoyer.
Truth be told, Hoyer may have already been snatched up off the waiver wire by a fantasy football owner in need of a QB2 before Thursday rolls around.
9. Sit ‘Em: QB Geno Smith – New York Jets
I was admittedly surprised to go to my two 2-QB fantasy football leagues and find that Smith was owned in both of them. The fact of the matter is that the player’s stats don’t justify his being worthy of a fantasy roster spot.
Smith hasn’t rushed for over 4 yards in each of his past two games. He is averaging 5.96 yards per pass attempt. He has a 69.7 rating, and Smith has combined 6 touchdowns with 9 turnovers.
The bad news gets worse. Smith and the Jets will have had a short week to prepare before they take the field to face off with the New England Patriots on Thursday night. Play every lottery game you can get your hands on if you start Smith and it works out well for you.
8. Start ‘Em: RB Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins
Volume, volume, and more volume. It’s what fantasy football owners want out of their running backs, and Miller should be able to provide that moving forward. Knowshon Moreno has been lost for the season due to a torn ACL, making Miller the top man in the Miami backfield.
Miller has gone for 3 touchdowns in his team’s past two games.
Miller and the Dolphins will be going up against the roller coaster Chicago Bears in Week 7. The Bears have been good for a nightmare-half per game throughout 2014, and the team’s run defense at home has consistently been a liability.
7. Sit ‘Em: RB Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams
Stacy is becoming a weekly sit ’em fantasy football running back. His rushing attempts and receptions have gone down every game in the past three weeks. Even more worrisome is that Benny Cunningham is taking red zone carries away from Stacy.
Cunningham has found the end zone once in each of the past two weeks.
Stacy has failed to meet fantasy football expectations in 2014. He earned 17 yards on 8 carries at home versus the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. You’re taking an unnecessary risk if you expect him to light it up against the Seattle Seahawks.
6. Start ‘Em: WR Golden Tate – Detroit Lions
Tate has been somewhat of a wait-and-see with Calvin Johnson (ankle) out of the lineup. Would he be able to produce solid numbers when facing tougher match-ups from secondaries? He has not failed to reward fantasy football owners who kept the faith and kept Tate in their teams on Sundays.
Tate reeled in 8 of 11 targets for 116 yards against the New York Jets on September 28. He caught 7 of 9 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills October 5, and Tate had seven receptions against the Minnesota Vikings last weekend.
Tate should make for a good WR2 against a New Orleans Saints defense that has been a disappointment.
5. Sit ‘Em: WR Cordarrelle Patterson – Minnesota Vikings
How bad has Patterson been since posting 102 rushing yards and a touchdown in the regular season opener? There are fantasy football analysts suggesting that you no longer waste even a bench spot on him.
Patterson has averaged two catches in each of Minnesota’s last three games. He had a single carry during that same stretch of time. Patterson recently admitted that he is dealing with a hip injury.
Bench him or cut him. Those are your only options regarding Patterson for the foreseeable future.
4. Start ‘Em: TE Jordan Cameron – Cleveland Browns
HE’S BACK! HE’S BACK!
Cameron hit the Pittsburgh Steelers for 102 receiving yards and a touchdown in what was the breakout game of the campaign for the Cleveland tight end. Just as promising was that Cameron appeared to (finally) be recovered from ankle and shoulder knocks that slowed him down from the summer months up through the first three games of the season.
It is slightly concerning that Brian Hoyer targeted Cameron only five times. Nevertheless, the Jacksonville defense is plain awful. Cameron should get you points so long as his quarterback looks for him.
3. Sit ‘Em: TE Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers
In any “Cameron vs. Miller” fantasy football debates, the choice for Week 7 is easy. Miller’s combined numbers against Jacksonville and Cleveland were lackluster at best:
5 catches, 7 targets, 65 yards, 0 touchdowns.
The defense of the Houston Texans has made life rough for tight ends in 2014. Only two TEs have done anything of note versus Houston. A good tight end is hard to come by in fantasy football these days, but check your waiver wires for better options if you’re stuck with Miller.
2. Start ‘Em: Start Buffalo Bills defense
Did you see how bad the Minnesota offense looked against the Detroit Lions last week? Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and company playing well against the Atlanta Falcons has lost its luster with Atlanta being maybe the biggest letdown team in all of the NFL.
Buffalo is sixth – yes, sixth – in most fantasy football points among defensive units. They have a good match-up ahead of them. Riding with the Bills could be worth dropping your current defense.
1. Sit ‘Em: San Francisco 49ers defense
Nobody is claiming that you should dump the San Francisco defense. The problem with going with the 49ers this week is that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his offense have carved up defenses as it pertains to fantasy football. Add in that Manning will be chasing Bret Favre’s NFL record for career touchdown passes while playing at home and in front of a national television audience, and this becomes an even worse match-up for the Niners.
Maybe Manning gets overwhelmed by the moment, and that leads to the veteran having a terrible night. The safe play here is to stash the San Fran defense on your bench. There are better options for Week 7.