Week 7: Sleepers of the Week
If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match-up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week. Most of the players that will be listed are on fantasy rosters, but not normally starters.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills return home to take on the Tennessee Titans in week seven. After getting off to a good fantasy start to the the season -- throwing 12 touchdowns in the first four games -- Fitzpatrick has cooled off, throwing for just 279 yards and zero touchdowns in the past two games. Fitzpatrick should be able to bounce back this week against a Tennessee Titans pass defense that is ranked 29th in the league, allowing more than 290 yards per game through the air. The Titans allowed more than 350 passing yards to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers last week, and will continue to struggle in the near future. Fantasy owners with tough decisions to make at the quarterback position this week can count on Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns in a bounce back effort.
Vick Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts return home to take on the Cleveland Browns in week seven. Ballard got his first start of his career in week six and totaled just 42 yards on ten total touches. The Colts fell behind early last week against the Jets and were forced to abandon the run game almost completely. Indianapolis should have more opportunity and success running the ball this week against a Browns defense that is currently ranked 25th against the run, allowing more than 130 rushing yards per game. With six NFL teams having this week off, and with running backs banged up around the league, Ballard will be a good pickup off waiver wires as a Flex play this week. Fantasy owners can start the rookie running back this week and can expect 75 total yards and a touchdown.
Alex Green and the Green Bay Packers travel to St. Louis to face the Rams in week seven. Green got the first start of his career in week six and rushed 22 times for 65 yards, while also adding one reception for eight yards in a win over the Houston Texans. Following the game, Packers coach Mike McCarthy made it clear that Green will be the Packers' main running back going forward, meaning that he should be owned in all fantasy leagues. The rookie running back will face another tough test this week against a Rams defense that allowed less than 25 rushing yards to the Miami Dolphins in week six, and is ranked 13th in the league against the run. Even with the difficult match-up, Green should receive enough touches to make him a good bye week fill-in as a RB 2 or Flex play in fantasy leagues. Fantasy owners can start Alex Green this week and can expect at least 75 total yards and one touchdown from the rookie.
Felix Jones and the Dallas Cowboys travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers in week seven. Jones will get the start for the Cowboys after Demarco Murray suffered a foot injury in a week six loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Jones took over in week six and carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown, while also adding one reception for 13 yards. He will have a better match-up this week against a Carolina defense that is ranked 23rd against the rush, giving up 127 yards per game. The Cowboys will have to lean on Jones, and he should touch the ball at least 15 times while he remains the team's starting running back, making him a good start in fantasy leagues. Jones should be atop waiver wire claim lists this week, and if you are lucky enough to get him, you can plug him right into your lineup and can expect at least 85 total yards and a touchdown.
William Powell and the Arizona Cardinals travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in week seven. The Cardinals running back situation was a mess heading into week six, with both Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells on the shelf with long term injuries. The Cardinals decided to give the week six start to La'Rod Stephens-Howling, but he was ineffective -- rushing for just 22 yards on 11 carries, while backup William Powell got into the game and was much more effective, totalling 78 yards on 14 touches. Powell proved that he is the best option for the Cardinals in the near future, meaning that his touches should only increase going forward. Powell is still available in many leagues, but he could make a sneaky Flex play this week, even against a tough Vikings defense. Powell should touch the ball at least 15 times this week, making him a good bet for 75 total yards and one touchdown.