Week 7: PPR Watch
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Sure Thing - Johnson is an elite wide receiver, and usually I avoid mentioning elite players in this column. He had a solid game in week 6 against Patrick Peterson and an excellent Cardinals secondary, snagging 6 passes for 82 yards. Still, Johnson has struggled overall, and owners in 10 team leagues might be considering sitting him. This is the part where I try to talk you out of it. Johnson is still the 6th most targeted receiver over the past 3 weeks, averaging over 10 targets a game. Fantasy is all about opportunity, and Johnson is still getting it. He only caught 14 of his 31 targets over that span, but he also wasn't playing against a Titans secondary that has surrendered the 7th most receptions to WRs. Should be a shootout, and Johnson will deliver for his owners.
Confident - On the other side of the field from Stevie Johnson, Nate Washington might have even more upside. Washington continues to get targeted frequently by Matt Hasselbeck -- 27th most among WR's the last 3 weeks with 22 -- yet, he only managed 9 catches for 129 yards (but these were tough matchups against good defenses in Minnesota and Houston). This week should be a high scoring game and Washington has a good chance to find the endzone. Buffalo has surrendered 11 TDs to WRs this year and the 4th most points per game. There is plenty of opportunity to go around in Tennessee; even with Britt pretty healthy in week 6, Wright and Washington got 8 and 10 targets respectively. I think Nate Washington is a solid WR3 this week (even in PPR formats).
Confident - If you need a RB in week 7, look no further than Felix Jones. It may only be a 1 week deal, (Demarco Murray says he'll be back in week 8) nevertheless, Jones looked terrific against the Ravens. The Cowboys' 2008 first rounder averaged 5.1 yards a carry, and busted off a 22 yard TD run in the process on his way to 105 total yards. The matchup this week is terrific against a Carolina defense that has allowed the 4th most fantasy points per game to running backs. Expect a few a extra receptions this week as well; the Panthers have allowed more to RBs than any team in the NFL, and that's in just 5 games. Play Jones with confidence.
Caution - Bennett started off well, but now he's all but disappeared. In the last 3 weeks, he's had only 5 catches for 41 yards, a stark contrast to the numbers that made him a waiver wire darling. I think the most surprising part is that his numbers have fallen off after Hakeem Nicks went down with injury. Will Nicks' impending return result in more love for Martellus Bennett? I doubt it. Historically, Eli looks for his TEs in the red zone, and that's about it. I do like his chances to score (and I understand the sentiments of those who are recommending him), but this is a PPR article and I can't go all in on a TE that hasn't at least been getting 5 targets a week. Things can change, and early on it seemed like Bennett might be more of a weapon than they've had at the position in some time, but 3 weeks of "no shows" and I'm ready to move on. The matchup against Washington is tempting, but I I'd pass in this format.
Caution - Rice has been serviceable so far this year, but no one should lament leaving Rice on the bench last week. Sure, he had 81 yards and a score, but he also had just 3 catches on 6 targets, and is barely in the top 50 for receptions over the past 5 weeks (47th). San Francisco was lit up by the Giants on Sunday, but Seattle doesn't have the kind of offense that can repeat that feat; even including that performance, the Niners have still allowed the second fewest fantasy points per game to WRs. This is a Thursday night game, and Rice can't be trusted. Leave him on the bench.