This is not a plug and play week. There will be a huge amount
of firepower sitting on the sidelines in Week 7 due to byes (Green
Bay, Denver, Cincinnati, Chicago) so it’s imperative that
fantasy owners do their homework to come up with the best possible
Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized.
In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in
the third it is regarded as self-evident.
- Arthur Schopenhauer
1) Blake Bortles has been much improved
in 2015 and fantasy owners can use him as a starter.
After a poor opener against what we now know is a pretty good
Carolina squad, Blake Bortles has averaged 289 yards passing and
2.4 touchdown passes in his last five games. That’s a 4,600-yard,
38-TD pace. He’ll face a Buffalo Bills defense that is bottom-10
in both passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed. With Aaron
Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Andy Dalton watching the action from
the sofa like you and me, Bortles would be an excellent bye week
fill-in as he’s owned in less than half of all leagues.
Even with limited work as a receiver, Chris
Ivory has maintained his status as a top 5 fantasy RB.
2) Chris Ivory leads the NFL in rushing
yards per game (115).
Chris Ivory is averaging 19.1 fantasy points per game, better
than everyone except the other-worldly Devonta Freeman. Yes, that’s
better than Le’Veon Bell (16.9), Matt Forte (14.6) and Adrian
Peterson (14.0). The Jets will play undefeated New England this
Sunday and the most obvious way to slow down Tom Brady and his
offensive juggernaut is to not let the Patriots have the ball
… which means a heavy workload for Ivory.
3) DeMarco Murray is back.
No, not to the level of 2014 when the Dallas Cowboys rode DeMarco
Murray like a rented mule to the playoffs, but over the past
two games Chip Kelly has finally figured out a way to make him a
productive option. He’s averaged 18.2 fantasy points over that span.
Murray looked particularly good in the second half against the Giants
Monday night when due to injuries at wideout the Eagles frequently
lined up in a double tight end formation. You should see plenty
more of this formation against the undefeated Carolina Panthers
in Week 7. Make sure Murray is back in your starting lineup.
4) Jaguars wideout tandem of Allen Robinson
and Allen Hurns are for real.
Not only are they talented, but because their defense is ranked
30th in point allowed (29.3 ppg), the Jacksonville offense is more
often than not forced to play from behind. It means throwing the
ball and Bortles’ 242 passing attempts is top-three among quarterbacks
this season. Both Allen
Robinson (leg contusion) and Allen
Hurns (ankle) are a bit nicked up, but should be ready to go
against the Bills in London Sunday morning. Hurns has scored in
four straight games and Robinson in the last two. As long as they
are active, they are must starts against a Bills pass defense that
is ranked 26th against opposing wideouts.
5) In the “most disappointing receiver”
award category, non-injury division, the “winner” goes to Lions
wideout Golden Tate.
Coming off a 99-catch, 1,331-yard, four touchdown performance in
2014, much is expected of Golden
Tate and through six games he hasn’t delivered the production.
He’s still getting his opportunities (56 targets), but is averaging
just .675 fantasy points per target. That’s an almost 50 percent
drop from last season’s 1.19 points per target. Teammate Lance
Moore has been more productive over the past two games and could
continue to be valuable if tight end Eric
Ebron is still sidelined.
I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George
Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.
- Mark Twain
1) Matt Cassel, will perform well in the substitute role just as
he did for the Patriots in 2008 when he replaced an injured Tom
Sorry, this is 2015. Matt
Cassel is a 33-year-old journeyman quarterback who won’t have
All-Pros Randy Moss (69-1008-11) and Wes
Welker (111-1,165-3) at wide receiver or Bill Belichick and
Josh McDaniels to guide him. Instead he’ll be throwing to Terrance
Williams (14-223-2) and Cole
Beasley (22-214-0) in Dallas. He could be an emergency option
in Week 7 against an injured New York Giants secondary, but then
he would face Seattle, an improving Philadelphia defense and a surprisingly
tough Tampa Bay defense which is ranked fourth against the pass.
2) The return of Chargers’ tight end
Antonio Gates from suspension has ended Ladarius Green’s usefulness.
Gates has been elite in the two games since his return, averaging
15.4 fantasy points, Ladarius
Green’s value hasn’t been completely wiped out. He’s caught
eight of nine targets over the past two games for 85 yards and a
touchdown and with both Keenan
Allen (hip) and Stevie Johnson (hamstring) questionable for
Week 7, Green’s fantasy value could rise. He is a viable option
during a week where Tyler
Rodgers and Owen
Daniels are off.
3) Fantasy owners should be excited
following Jonathan Stewart’s two 1-yard touchdown runs last Sunday.
Unfortunately, this one game doesn’t mean that the Panthers have
changed their philosophy about Cam
Newton running the ball near the goal line. Newton already has
three red zone touchdown runs this season and 34 over his five-year
Stewart fantasy owners will have to wait until Newton starts
walking with a severe limp before they can expect another big game
from their running back. The running back is a “sell high” candidate
4) When the Vikings’ Charles Johnson
returns from his rib injury he should be fantasy worthy once again.
In his absence Minnesota has discovered rookie wideout Stefon
Diggs. Over the past two games, Diggs has posted 216 yards on
13 receptions. Teammate Mike
Wallace compared his skill set to a former teammate - Steelers’
Brown. While I won’t go that far, I do think he’s earned playing
time and that’s more likely to come from Charles
Johnson’s snap count than Wallace. For now, Diggs is worth a
play in the next two games against two below average pass defenses
– Detroit and Chicago.
5) Eddie Lacy is still the workhorse
back for the Packers down the stretch.
Experts point out his slow start in 2014 and his strong finish (929
combined yards and nine touchdowns. The difference for me is the
improved play of backup James
Starks (112 rushing yards and two touchdowns against San Diego
in Week 6). The bye week should give Eddie
Lacy a good chance to get healthy, but when the Packers return
from their break this looks more like a 55-45 workload split rather
than the 75-25 workload of a season ago. I do not expect a repeat
of last season’s second half from Lacy.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.