Week 7 – Start’em, Sit’em
Jay Cutler @ Buccaneers (In England) –
After a nice bounce back game against the Vikings, Jay Cutler should have some success against the Buccaneers secondary in England. If you’re in need of a starter because your normal quarterback is on a bye week or is injured, give Cutler a chance against a Tampa Bay defense that is giving up over 24 points a game and is ranked 26th in the league vs the pass.
Earnest Graham vs Bears (In England) –
While Graham may not be one of the younger running backs in the league, he doesn’t have much tread on his tires as he’s only been a starting tailback for about one full season, in his career. That said, when Graham is called upon to carry the football he always seems to do a good job and last week, he proved he still had what it took to be a fantasy relevant option.
The Bears have been gashed in the running game lately, and Graham should be good for over 100 total yards of offense once again. Look for Graham to be a factor in the passing game, if the Buccaneers should fall behind, as he traditionally has played as the third down back in passing situations this year.
DeMarco Murray vs Rams –
All those Felix Jones owners who selected him as a No.2 fantasy back have to be kicking themselves for ever believing in this guy. While Jones received the opportunity to be the feature back in Dallas, he’s done little on the field and now a high ankle sprain will keep him out of one of his better matchups this year.
Look for the Cowboys to turn to rookie DeMarco Murray as the top running back over Tashard Choice as it looks like the veteran won’t be traded this week. Murray will help in the passing game and should rackup a decent amount of work in the second half as the Cowboys roll up a big lead early.
Darrius Heyward-Bey vs Chiefs –
If you’re in need of a starter this week, go with Darrius Heyward-Bey against the Chiefs. I know Carson Palmer doesn’t have much time to work with his receivers, but he did play under Coach Hue Jackson from 2004-2006 back in Cincinnati. Jackson does a terrific job of keeping the playbook scripted to plays that put his players in successful situations.
This should be a great fit for Palmer as he was frustrated in recent years in Cincinnati but some of his best years as a pro were with Jackson. The Chiefs secondary and top corner Brandon Flowers were torched at times by Curtis Painter, two weeks ago, and with Heyward-Bey looking like a true No.1 receiver in the NFL, it’s time to recognize this receiver as a fantasy relevant option.
Nate Washington vs Texans –
If the Texans drop this game, one has to wonder if Houston will consider firing Coach Gary Kubiak after the game. In all likeliness, they will allow him to coach the team until they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but this team just can’t seem to win on the road. In recent weeks, Houston’s corners haven’t played well against the receivers like Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Darrius Heyward-Bey and I expect the Titans to take advantage of them as well.
While Nate Washington hasn’t had big games of late, he should be a productive fantasy option this week, and that’s why I have him as a top fifteen receiver for week seven. Damion Williams is a sneaky play as well, but look for the Titans to get Chris Johnson going as well. Coach Mike Muncheck made getting the running game fixed, his top priority during the bye week, and I expect this Hall of Fame lineman and long time offensive line coach to get it fixed.
Still, Washington will get his opportunities in the passing game and should have at least one long reception in this game. With their backs against the wall, the Texans had best be ready for this important inner-division game in Tennessee.
Sam Bradford @ Cowboys –
The Rams haven’t ruled out Sam Bradford from playing in Dallas, but you should rule him out if you’re looking for a bye week fill-in. While it was nice to see St. Louis trade for Brandon Lloyd (and scrap worthless Mike Sims-Walker), his presence won’t be a big help to Bradford as would be playing on a high ankle sprain, if he should give it a go.
Still without a win and playing one of the better defenses in football, the Rams are having a disappointing season after some annalists had them winning the NFC West this summer. Bradford will have better days, but he’ needs to get healthy and his receivers need to play much better.
James Starks / Ryan Grant @ Vikings –
Second year running back James Starks has been the better option of late, but the Packers just are running the football effect, just like last year. This is a pass heavy offense and while at least Starks will remain on many fantasy rosters, his 13 carries for 49 yards had to be a letdown against the Rams, especially after they jumped out to a big lead early. Don’t start either of these options until one of them falls to injury and even then they should be considered desperate starts at best.