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DFS Fantasy Football Recommendations – Week 7: Great Matchup for Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson Versus Panthers

WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

The Carolina Panthers defense is a far cry from a year ago, and this week QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson get to take advantage. DFS players should build their Week 7 lineups around these guys. Photo: Icon Sportswire

The injury monster struck again in Week 6. We lost a few more key players including Stevan Ridley, Knowshon Moreno and Victor Cruz. We also expect Darren Sproles to miss a few weeks and Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham are unlikely to play this week. Those are some big names off the board. On bye this week are the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The impact of the injuries creates a lot of uncertainty this week, but let’s pull up our boots and get to it.

Quarterbacks

Elite, Expensive: Aaron Rodgers, GB (Week 7 vs Carolina)
Any time Rodgers is at home, he is a solid start. Defensively, the Carolina Panthers are not nearly as fierce as they were last season. They allowed 323 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions to Andy Dalton last week, who, particularly without A.J. Green, didn’t have nearly as many weapons as Rodgers and the Packers. Carolina has the ability and play makers to force a close game offensively against the Packers defense. I expect Rodgers to take the game into his hands and put up big points.

Middle of the Road: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (Week 7 vs Houston)
Roethlisberger put up a major dud in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. However, that follows a trend that he has had this season: 1 great game, 2 bad games, 1 great game, 2 bad games. Following that trend, guess what he is due for…that’s right, a great game! For his price this week and all the negative pub on the Steelers and OC Todd Haley, Roethlisberger is definitely worth the risk. He’ll have a low percentage of ownership in GPP play.

Cheap, High Upside: Carson Palmer, ARI (Week 7 @ Oakland)
Palmer, in a bit of a surprise start, finally returned in Week 6 from his shoulder injury and he had a good “welcome back” game of 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even better, as of right now, he came away from the game with no setbacks. Week 7 the Cardinals face the Raiders in Oakland, who are improving their competitiveness in games recently, so this could be a close battle. If that’s the case, Palmer might be forced to throw the ball more than otherwise expected.

Running Backs

Elite, Expensive: Matt Forte, CHI (Week 7 vs Miami)
Forte is rolling right now, making his traditional fantasy football league owners extremely pleased they “settled” for him after Adrian Peterson or LeSean McCoy. In Week 6, Forte faced the worst run-defense statistically and finished with 80 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns and 10 receptions for 77 yards. Forte is second among running backs for fantasy points and first overall for receptions. Ride the hot hand with Forte in Week 7 facing the Miami Dolphins at home.

Middle of the Road: Andre Ellington, ARI (Week 7 @ Oakland)
Ellington is the primary back in Arizona and with Palmer back, it will open up the field more for Ellington. He also is a great threat in the passing game. Oakland just allowed over 100 yards rushing to Brandon Oliver and 23 yards receiving. Ellington is a better back than Oliver, so I expect similar, if not better stats from Ellington this week.

Cheap, High Upside: Justin Forsett, BAL (Week 7 vs Atlanta)
Atlanta Falcons have the worst run defense in the league and now they face a hot running back in Forsett. He just posted 111 yards rushing against another weak run defense, the Buccaneers. Look for Forsett to continue this pace against the Falcons.

Wide Receivers

Elite, Expensive: Jordy Nelson, GB (Week 7 vs Carolina)
Carolina allows the seventh most fantasy points per game against wide receivers. As I stated above, I love Rodgers this week, so why would I not love his number one option of Nelson? Nelson is narrowly the second best wide receiver in the league. All signs point to “GO” for Nelson this week.

Middle of the Road: T.Y. Hilton, IND (Week 7 vs Cincinnati)
Hilton is coming off a career game in Week 6, making 9 receptions for 223 yards and 1 touchdown. Hilton leads the Colts in targets and receptions. While not official, he may have stepped past Reggie Wayne as the number one receiver for Andrew Luck. Cincinnati’s defense has struggled the past two weeks allowing 576 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Hilton has a great opportunity this week.

Cheap, High Upside: Torrey Smith, BAL (Week 7 vs Atlanta)
Smith is coming off his best game of the year with 4 receptions, 51 yards and 2 touchdowns. Atlanta is having a hard time stopping teams on defense, so Smith has a good chance to find the end zone again this week.

Tight Ends

Elite, Expensive: Julius Thomas, DEN (Week 7 vs San Francisco)
Thomas is the best tight end so far this year by a landslide. San Francisco just allowed 96 receiving yards and 1 touchdown to the St. Louis Rams tight ends. Losing Patrick Willis midgame likely did not help matters for the 49ers, and Willis is expected to be inactive this week. In a primetime game between two Super Bowl contenders, I expect both teams to be pumped up, and for Peyton Manning to lean on his top red zone target.

Middle of the Road: Jordan Cameron, CLE (Week 7 @ Jacksonville)
Cameron had a great game Week 6, earning 102 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. He is the best receiving option Brian Hoyer and the Browns have right now. Cameron has another great matchup Week 7 against Jacksonville, who rank fourth worst in fantasy points allowed to tight ends.

Cheap, High Upside: Clay Harbor, JAC (Week 7 vs Cleveland)
Since Blake Bortles has taken over at quarterback, Harbor has 14 receptions, 183 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. It is obvious Harbor is Bortles’ safety valve. For his price, he has great value. I expect Bortles to lean on Harbor again this week as Cleveland has a good defense.

Defense

Buffalo Bills (Week 7 vs Minnesota)
Buffalo is home and playing the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota struggled last week with Teddy Bridgewater under center, trying to figure out what kind of football they want to play. Buffalo has a good defense that should take advantage of the Vikings woes.

Cleveland Browns (Week 7 @ Jacksonville)
Cleveland is playing some of its best football right now, on both sides of the ball. Factor in the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are just not very good, and Cleveland should be able to get the win while creating some chaos (sacks, turnovers) for the Jaguars offense along the way.

Moving Up, Moving Down: Week 7 – More Injuries Bump Up Miller, Randle, Beckham

WR Rueben Randle, Giants

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle moves into the top spot on the depth chart with the season ending injury to Victor Cruz. He’s a moving up, but maybe a sell high right now, too. Photo: Icon Sportswire

QUARTERBACKS

MOVING UP

Derek Carr, Raiders
Simply noting that he was able to take advantage of a banged up Chargers secondary this week, throwing for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Carr has some dynasty appeal. At least, as much appeal as any Raider can have.

MOVING DOWN

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Big Ben has topped 20 fantasy points just twice this year and it appears the team’s lack of depth at wide receiver is hurting his production. Not helping matters is that Heath Miller is either playing injured or has hit the wall hard at 31 years of age. With just two truly above average skill position players helping him out in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger is suffering from a lack of weaponry.

RUNNING BACKS

MOVING UP

Tre Mason, Rams
With the Rams playing a nationally televised game (a rarity to be sure) and Mason making his season debut, let’s just say that his fantasy stock will be on the uptick this week. The 2nd round pick provided an explosive element to a backfield clearing lacking that key ingredient, rushing five times for 40 yards and taking his lone reception for 12 yards. If not for one of his own players getting in his way, Mason would have had a long touchdown run as well. He will be starting in the very near future.

Lamar Miller, Dolphins
With Knowshon Moreno out for the year and the Dolphins devoid of talent behind Miller on the depth chart, he figures to receive a workhorse role over the balance of the season. Provided he can withstand the load, Miller has a chance to emerge as an upper to mid-tier RB2 from here on out.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings
McKinnon drew the start this week against the Lions and totalled 17 touches to just three for former starter Matt Asiata. The diminutive rookie gained 82 yards on those touches and figures to continue to start over the balance of the season as the Vikings attempt to figure out their plans at running back for the 2015 season.

Antone Smith, Falcons
Smith has touchdowns in each of his last four games. He has 266 yards on just 18 touches. That’s 14.8 yards per touch. Steven Jackson is a plodder at this point, Jacquizz Rodgers will be looking for a new team next season and rookie 4th round pick Devonta Freeman has looked okay, nothing more. So, why isn’t Smith getting more touches? Riddle me that one.

Brandon Bolden, Patriots
While it is conceivable that rookie 4th round pick James White will take over Stevan Ridley’s role as the Patriots power back with Ridley out for the season due to a torn ACL, the smart money should be on Bolden. The 220 pound Bolden rushed for 545 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry in limited action over the past two years. With an inconsistent passing attack, New England figures to run the ball more in 2014 than in prior years.

MOVING DOWN

Zac Stacy, Rams
It’s officially official. Everything that Stacy accomplished as a rookie when he ran for nearly 1,000 yards despite not barely playing until Week 5 was based on volume. With Sam Bradford out of the lineup, the team’s wide receivers amongst the worst in the league and the cupboard bare behind Stacy at running back, the Rams had little choice but to run their offense through Stacy last season. On MNF, it was clear that he is a full on plodder and with Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham backing him up, Stacy isn’t going to get enough touches to emerge as a RB2 over the balance of the season. Sell now.

C.J. Spiller, Bills
Spiller owners need to face the facts. Fred Jackson is the team’s top running back with Spiller the backup, change of pace option. Not helping matters is that Jackson is an effective short yardage runner. With 340 total yards and one touchdown in six games, Spiller is an RB3 at best.

Eddie Lacy, Packers
Let’s be honest. Lacy has one solid outing in six games this year. Is it just me or does James Starks look like the Eddie Lacy from 2013 and Lacy looks like the James Starks from 2010 to 2012? Just sayin’.

Terrance West, Browns
Healthy scratch. After posting a 100-yard performance in Week 1 and racking up 190 total yards and a score in his first two games, West has rapidly fallen out of favour in Cleveland.

Matt Asiata, Vikings
No longer starting and never that good to begin with.

WIDE RECEIVERS

MOVING UP

Mohamed Sanu, Bengals
With A.J.Green out of the lineup, Sanu posted career highs in targets with 14, receptions with 10 and yards with 120 while scoring once. That gives him touchdowns in three of the last four games. While I am not a big believer, Sanu is definitely worth starting until Green returns to the lineup especially considering Marvin Jones is heading to see a specialist regarding why the ankle injury he suffered in the preseason isn’t progressing.

DeSean Jackson, Redskins
With three 100-yard receiving performances in his last four games and coming off a three reception, 115 yard, one touchdown performance this week against the Cardinals, it’s time to anoint Jackson as the Redskins top receiving threat (sorry, Pierre Garcon owners).

Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
With Victor Cruz out for the year, Randle takes over the role as the Giants top wide receiver but it is Beckham who will see his target count explode. Unfortunately, he missed most of training camp and is unlikely to be a consistent producer until he has a better grasp of the team’s offense. As for Randle, he has just 36.7 fantasy points despite being targeted a healthy 49 times in six games. Let’s keep our expectations in check on these two. When it comes to Randle, this might be a case where moving into the number one role actually hurts a player’s fantasy value.

Andre Holmes, Raiders
Nine receptions on 20 targets for 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his last two games. I’m totally comfortable starting Holmes.

MOVING DOWN

Percy Harvin, Seahawks
Well, it was pretty clear that Harvin would be a boom or bust option given how the Seahawks have used their wide receivers over the past few years. Five games into the season, it’s been almost all bust for Harvin in 2014. He has yet to top 100 total yards in a game or double digit fantasy points. Despite his explosiveness, Harvin is averaging 6.6 touches per game and has hauled in just 11 of his 26 targets.

Keenan Allen, Chargers
Just 296 yards and no touchdowns in six games, Allen is struggling with a sophomore slump. While there are better days ahead, it’s officially time to starting putting Allen on your bench if you have better options.

TIGHT ENDS

MOVING UP

Jace Amaro, Jets
The Jets offense is a mess and their wide receivers don’t offer much hope of turning things around. Amaro, the team’s 2nd round pick in this year’s draft, caught 10 of his 12 targets this week for 68 yards and a score. Let’s assume they do the smart thing and keep getting him involved.

Clay Harbor, Jaguars
With Mercedes Lewis out of the lineup, Harbor has 14 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown in his last three games. Even with Cecil Shorts back, the Jaguars are lacking at wide receiver, meaning Harbor should continue to be useful over the next few weeks.

MOVING DOWN

Heath Miller, Steelers
Sure, Miller’s going to put together the odd solid performance as evidenced by his 10 reception, 85 yard, one touchdown effort in Week 4. More often than not, however, he’s going to disappoint. The problem is that he just isn’t a big part of the offense even with the Steelers having little depth at receiver. Removing his Week 4 game, Miller is averaging 4.8 targets per game.

In the NOT CONVINCED JUST YET category, we present:

Cam Newton, Panthers
As in Not Convinced Just Yet that he is back to elite fantasy starter status. Sure, he actually ran the ball this week but we need a little more evidence that it wasn’t just a one game mirage.

Jarvis Landry, Dolphins
He appears to have pushed Brian Hartline aside but we need another solid performance.

DFS Fantasy Football Recommendations: Week 6 – Stack Elite Options Matt Ryan and Julio Jones

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) drops back to pass in the Carolina Panthers 21-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia. December 29, 2013; Photographer: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

Tony is expecting a high scoring game in Atlanta between the Falcons and Chicago Bears. Stack QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones from the dirty birds, plus try to fit in Bears RB Matt Forte. Photo: Icon Sportswire

Week 5 proved to us that injuries, while they don’t have a lasting effect since our lineups change weekly, can still play a big part in Daily Fantasy Sports. Running backs were hard hit last week, resulting in Andre Williams, Brandon Oliver and Ronnie Hillman turning into the hottest waiver wire claims this week.

Calvin Johnson appears likely to sit out this week, and the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints are on a bye, so there is a lot sort through to put together a solid team for Week 6. Here we go:

Quarterbacks

Elite, Expensive: Matt Ryan, ATL (Week 6 vs Chicago)
It is obvious most teams play better at home than on the road. Ryan and the Falcons are exactly that. They are 2-3, winning two at home and losing three on the road. This is the Falcons’ only home game between Week 3 to Week 12 as the Week 8 “home” matchup against Detroit is in London and Week 9 is their bye week. Expect the Falcons to fly high this week in front of their home crowd and Ryan should notch over 300 passing yards and 3 touchdowns.

Middle of the Road: Eli Manning, NYG (Week 6 @ Philadelphia)
The Giants have won three straight games and, over that span, Manning has thrown 8 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Philadelphia Eagles are allowing the most points to opposing quarterbacks. Expect a close, high-scoring game as these two division rivals compete. With running back Rashad Jennings out, Manning might have to throw a few more times, which is opportunity for more fantasy points.

Cheap, High Upside: Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Week 6 vs Detroit)
In Week 5, Bridgewater did not play due to injury. So, he’s had two full weeks to recover and get prepared for the home division showdown against Detroit. There isn’t a lot of tape on Bridgewater for Detroit to study, and the Vikings may have trouble running the ball or end up playing from behind, helping his odds for a solid fantasy score. This is a great opportunity for Bridgewater to prove his worth.

Running Backs

Elite, Expensive: Matt Forte, CHI (Week 6 @ Atlanta)
Atlanta has the worst run defense in the league allowing the most points to opposing running backs. Forte just finished Week 5 leading both rushing and receiving for the Bears. He should have plenty of room to run all over this weak Atlanta defense. I expect the Bears to run the ball, control the clock, and try to keep the high-flying Atlanta offense off the field. Forte should easily top 100 rushing yards with a great chance of scoring a touchdown too.

Middle of the Road: Lamar Miller, MIA (Week 6 vs Green Bay)
Week 5 was a bye week for Miami, so it allowed their players to rest. Miller will lead the Dolphins in rushing as Moreno is not yet confirmed to be back from injury. Green Bay is generous to opposing running backs. With a week to plan for this defense, the Dolphins and Miller will want to control the clock, keep Rodgers off the field, and that means fantasy points for the running back.

Cheap, High Upside: Andre Williams, NYG (Week 6 @ Philadelphia)
Stepping in for the injured Rashad Jennings will be Williams. In Week 4 (with Jennings healthy) and Week 5 (after Jennings left the game), Williams has been the main back with the most rushing yards and touchdowns each game. Week 6 is against the Eagles, who allow the eighth most fantasy points to running backs. It is a great matchup for Williams to keep on rolling. I expect over 80 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Wide Receivers

Elite, Expensive: Julio Jones, ATL (Week 6 vs Chicago)
As I said for Matt Ryan above, I expect the Falcons to soar high this week. Jones is the third best wide receiver in the league this year and I expect him to continue that trend this week. Chicago allows the fifth most fantasy points to wide receivers. This should be a great fantasy game for all weapons on both offenses as the combined score could top 70.

Middle of the Road: Keenan Allen, SD (Week 6 @ Oakland)
We saw Allen show up finally in Week 4, so we were all excited that he finally was living up to our preseason expectations. Well, Week 5 was a dud for Allen with only three receptions for 25 yards. Allen should get right this week against a poor Oakland team. With Malcom Floyd out, expect Phillip Rivers to lean on his best asset in Allen.

Cheap, High Upside: Allen Robinson, JAC (Week 6 @ Tennessee)
Over the past three games, Robinson has been targeted 28 times. He is getting the chances from quarterback Blake Bortles. In Week 6, I expect Robinson to finally find the end zone. I think he has a great game as Tennessee is shuffling players to cover for their loss of Bernard Pollard. Robinson will convert the targets into catches, yards, and a touchdown this week, I have no doubts.

Tight Ends

Elite, Expensive: Rob Gronkowski, NE (Week 6 @ Buffalo)
Week 6 showed the Gronkowski (Gronk) we have all been waiting for. He finished six catches, 100 yards and one touchdown. With New England getting back to their two-tight end sets and running the ball, it forces defenses to not focus so much on Gronk. Gronk seems to be near-full health finally, which is what New England has been waiting for. I expect him to torch the Buffalo Bills as New England continues to roll.

Middle of the Road: Ladarius Green, SD (Week 6 @ Oakland)
With Malcom Floyd possibly not playing, San Diego may need another option to fill in for him and that is where Green steps up. He hasn’t lived up to his pre-season hype as Antonio Gates continues to show he hasn’t lost it. Green is a sneaky play this week as we know two-tight end sets do succeed when utilized properly. Oakland will focus on trying to stop Keenan Allen and Gates, so Green has potential to perform this week.

Cheap, High Upside: Eric Ebron, DET (Week 6 @ Minnesota)
Ebron missed a touchdown by one yard in Week 5. It actually was ruled a touchdown, but after review, was ruled he didn’t cross the plane. He is becoming another great weapon for Matthew Stafford. With Calvin Johnson likely to rest his injury, Ebron may see more targets. He has great upside this week with another chance to score.

Defenses

San Diego (Week 6 @ Oakland)
San Diego continues to prove they are a team to beat this year. Their defense just shut out the lowly New York Jets and should continue to thrive this week against a weak Oakland offense.

Denver (Week 6 @ New York Jets)
The Jets offense is a mess, they just got shut out in San Diego, and Denver has a good defense. This should be an easy matchup for Denver.