Week 7 Fantasy Football: Boom or Bust

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder #80 of the Washington Redskins scores a first quarter touchdown past strong safety Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on October 16, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Week Seven of the fantasy football season brings us to almost the halfway point of the year. Each division has a true standings leader except for the AFC West which has Oakland and Denver tied at 4-2. We have the Dallas Cowboys and the Carolina Panthers on bye this week, with back to back six team bye weeks on tap for Weeks Eight and Nine. This is a good chance to solidify fantasy positions before the big waiver wire adds.

Week Seven Fantasy Football: Boom or Bust

This is not just a “garden variety” fantasy football column. Recommending to start Tom Brady, or sit a backup running back is a waste of time. The “Booms” will be those players that have under-performed this season, but project to do well this week. The “Busts” will be players who have been quality fantasy producers, but will disappoint in this week’s matchup. Each week, this column will give 20 Boom/Busts for fantasy lineups, including a full disclosure breakdown of the prior week. Please enjoy the balance of contrarian predictions with full accountability.

Booms:  Tyrod Taylor (W), Brian Hoyer (L), James White (W), Lamar Miller (W), John Brown (L), Alshon Jeffery (L), Richard Rodgers (L), Charles Clay (L), Bilal Powell (L), Detroit Defense (L)

Busts:  Matt Ryan (L), Jeremy Hill (W), Dwayne Allen (W), Dak Prescott (L), Matt Forte (W), Tyrell Williams (W), Martellus Bennett (W), Terrelle Pryor (L), A.J. Green (W), Baltimore Defense (L)

Last Week’s Record:  9-11
Season Record:  45-35  (56.3 percent)

BOOMS

Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins, WR

Matchup: Away vs. Detroit Lions
Year To Date Positional Rank: 37th
Projection: WR24 or better

Situational play here. No Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson is questionable, which points to a big game from Crowder. The Lions are 26th against opposing fantasy wide receivers, and Crowder will avoid cornerback Darius Clay by lining up in the slot. The script here is a high scoring game, which lends itself to a high point result for Crowder. Start as a WR2 with confidence.

Mohammed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons, WR

Matchup: Home vs. San Diego Chargers
Year To Date Positional Rank: 50th
Projection: WR24 or better

The Chargers travel to Atlanta with an extra three days of preparation. A win against the Falcons could vault them back into the playoff picture. Game script plays a big role here as the concerns need to be stopping Julio Jones and the running back tandem of Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman. The Falcons have only been home twice this year, and Sanu went for 80 yards and a touchdown in one of those games. Always a part of the offense in multiple ways, look for Sanu to have a WR2 floor in Week Seven.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, QB

Matchup: Away vs. Arizona Cardinals
Year To Date Positional Rank: 23rd
Projection: Top 12 QB

Fantasy analysts need to “go deeper.” On the surface, Seattle at Arizona seems like a defensive struggle. However, the last two games between these teams have produced scores of 39-32 and 36-6. In those games, Wilson has averaged 23 fantasy points. This year both defenses have failed to live up to expectations, and on Sunday Night Football this will be a high scoring affair. It is about time for Wilson to start his annual come from behind assent up the fantasy quarterback rankings. That will begin with 25+ fantasy points at Arizona.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, QB

Matchup: Home vs. Tampa Bay
Year To Date Positional Rank: 39th
Projection: Top 12 QB

Kaepernick scored 19 fantasy points in his first start since Week Eight of last season. Throw in a tough Bills defense, and that’s a fairly impressive performance. He’s 28 years old and will be under center in his first game in Chip Kelly’s offense, the same system that made Nick Foles a Pro Bowler. Kaepernick faces a Tampa Bay defense that is 19th against opposing fantasy quarterbacks. Chip Kelly + Kaepernick’s running ability = a huge fantasy performance.

Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos, RB

Matchup: Home vs. Houston Texans
Year To Date Positional Rank: 54th
Projection: RB24 or better

Booker has increased his role in the offense each of the last three games. Coach Gary Kubiak has even stated that Booker deserves more work. Houston only ranks 16th against opposing fantasy running backs, and the clear waiver move is to grab Booker now. The next three defenses he faces after this week rank 26th, 28th, and 32nd against opposing running backs. The Broncos will roll on Monday Night Football making Booker is an RB2 lock.

Additional Booms

Golden Tate, Detroit Lions, WR

Matchup: Home vs. Washington Redskins
Year To Date Positional Rank: 48th
Projection: WR24 or better
Rationale:  Marvin Jones Jr. draws Josh Norman.  Lions feed Tate with no Ebron/Riddick.

Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins, TE

Matchup: Away vs. Detroit Lions
Year To Date Positional Rank: 29th
Projection: TE12 or better
Rationale:  Gimpy DeSean Jackson, no Jordan Reed, 29th most forgiving defense to fantasy tight ends. Pretty easy, no?

Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay, RB

Matchup: Away at San Francisco 49ers
Year To Date Positional Rank: 53rd
Projection: RB24 or better
Rationale: “Quiz Show” gets fed against 49ers defense without Navarro Bowman. Volume is huge.

Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars, RB

Matchup: Home vs. Oakland
Year To Date Positional Rank: 63rd
Projection: RB24 or better
Rationale:  Finally healthy and clear goal line running back. Oakland fourth friendliest to opposing fantasy running backs. Jaguars will try to control clock at home against explosive Oakland offense.

Cincinnati Bengals Defense

Matchup: Home vs. Cleveland Browns
Year To Date Positional Rank: 23rd
Projection: Top 12 Defense
Rationale: Only third home game of season, Browns injury train arrives just in time to get right.

 

BUSTS

Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks, RB

Matchup: Away vs. Arizona Cardinals
Year To Date Positional Rank: 11th
Projection: RB20 or worse

Coming off their bye week at home, most fantasy owners expected a big day for Michael against Atlanta (31st ranked defense). While Michael did score, the Seahawks failed to get the running game going consistently. As a team they averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. This week they travel to Arizona for Sunday Night Football. The Cardinals have the sixth ranked defense in the league in points per game (17.3 ppg). Do not rely on Michael to produce RB1 points this week, and watch rookie Alex Collins get more touches as well. Michael could serve as an RB2 if you have bye week issues, but should be on the bench in most situations.

Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints, WR

Matchup: Away vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Year To Date Positional Rank: 13th
Projection: WR24 or worse

Cooks was incredible last week with the third best fantasy wide receiver line: seven catches for 173 yards and a touchdown. The issue remains his extreme weekly volatility. In standard scoring leagues Cooks’ weekly output has been: 27, 6, 1, 3, and 23 points respectively. This week he faces a Kansas City team that outside of the Sunday Night Football game at Pittsburgh, has done fairly well against opposing wide receivers. The Chiefs boast the sixth best overall defense in total yards allowed, and cornerback Marcus Peters is leading the league in interceptions with five. In two outdoor games this year Cooks is averaging five catches for 49 yards.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers, WR

Matchup: Home vs. New England Patriots
Year To Date Positional Rank: 2nd
Projection: WR24 or worse

Back to life, back to reality. The oft-injured Ben Roethisberger is out again, which means bad news for Antonio Brown fantasy owners. There should be no faith in quarterback Landry Jones, especially facing Bill Belichick and star cornerback Malcolm Butler. Fantasy football is about the matchups, and owners would be wise to put Brown on the bench this weekend.

Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns, WR

Matchup: Away vs. Cincinnati
Year To Date Positional Rank: 8th
Projection: WR24 or worse

Injury plays a big part here, as does Cincinnati’s need for a win.  With no real other passing threat, look for the Bengals to take Pryor away and get pressure on quarterback Cody Kessler all game. The Browns other wide receivers will need to make plays, which will be difficult in this big rivalry game. In short, the Browns offense is not talented enough to guarantee a solid fantasy floor for an injured wide receiver.

Coby Fleener, New Orleans, TE

Matchup: Away vs. Kansas City
Year To Date Positional Rank: 6th
Projection: TE13 or worse

The creative offense mind of Sean Payton actually got Fleener a receiving and rushing touchdown last week. After a slow start, Fleener is actually the sixth best fantasy tight end at this point. The Saints travel to Kansas City, where the red hot Chiefs will be a massive pass rush. In those situations, the tight end is often asked to stay in and block more often. This will be the game script on Sunday. Even without that narrative, the Chiefs are seventh best against opposing fantasy tight ends.

 

Additional Busts

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, QB

Matchup: Away vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Year To Date Positional Rank: 4th
Projection: QB10 or worse
Rationale:  KC hitting their stride. Defense just held Derek Carr to 11 fantasy points on road.

Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills, QB

Matchup: Away vs. Miami Dolphins
Year To Date Positional Rank: 12th
Projection: QB 13 or worse
Rationale:  No Sammy Watkins, no LeSean McCoy, no Robert Woods, on road? No bueno.

Lamar Miller, Houston, RB

Matchup: Away at Denver Broncos
Year To Date Positional Rank: 9th
Projection: RB20 or worse
Rationale: Miller supporters feel he’s “back” after last week. Only problem? He’s not good.

Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts, RB

Matchup: Away at Tennessee
Year To Date Positional Rank: 15th
Projection: RB24 or worse
Rationale:  Tennessee defense seventh best vs. run. Colts banged up all over offense. Pass on Gore this week.

Washington Redskins Defense

Matchup: Away vs. Detroit
Year To Date Positional Rank: 9th
Projection: DEF13 or worse
Rationale: Washington giving up 124.1 rushing yards per game. Detroit’s no-huddle offense at home difficult to stop.

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