This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst fantasy football matchups for Week 7 of the 2014 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Peyton Manning, Jimmy Graham, or LeSean McCoy. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em - Colin Kaepernick (SF, QB)
There's a strong chance that Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers will have to throw in order to keep up with the Broncos on Sunday night. Kaepernick proved last week that he could light it up when he has to and should post 20+ fantasy points this week. Kaepernick is ranked 10th among all QB's this week on FFN.
Start 'em - Tony Romo (DAL, QB)
A Giants/Cowboys game is always fun to watch, but this game will likely be slanted more towards the folks from Dallas. The Giants are giving up the 9th-most passing yards per game, and with Rodgers-Cromartie hurting, that trend should continue. Romo has been pretty efficient as of late and has a great history against the Giants averaging 300+ yards per game over the past 6 times he's faced them.
Start 'em - Russell Wilson (SEA, QB)
Don't let last week's disappointment fool you. Russell Wilson should rebound nicely against the Rams who could not stop Colin Kaepernick last week. Like Kaepernick, Wilson can beat you with his legs. He's patient and very methodical. After losing to the Cowboys, we're expecting Wilson and the Seahawks to be fired up this week.
Start 'em - Andre Ellington (ARI, RB)
After a rough start to the season, Andre Ellington has finally emerged as the back that many of us had hoped he would be. Last week he showed us that he could run and receive. Those talents will be on display this week when he faces the Raiders who are giving up the 3rd-most fantasy points to opposing RB's.
Start 'em - Lamar Miller (MIA, RB)
With Knowshon Moreno out for the season, Lamar Miller is the lead back in Miami and shouldn't be sharing much of those duties. With an increased workload and a middle-of-the-road rush defense like Chicago's (15th in fantasy points allowed), the expectations for Miller are definitely increasing.
Start 'em - Justin Forsett (BAL, RB)
Based upon the matchup, Justin Forsett should have a very nice statline when it's all said and finished. Nobody has allowed more scores and fantasy points to opposing rushers than Atlanta. He'll share some of the duties with Pierce and Taliaferro, but Forsett is clearly the back with the most talent and upside. Forsett is ranked 14th on FFN this week and could finish even better.
Start 'em - Golden Tate (DET, WR)
With Megatron likely out again this week, the #1 receiver in Detroit is Golden Tate who has made the most of his targets over the past few weeks. The Saints are giving up the 12th-most fantasy points (ppr) to opposing WR's and Stafford will continue to target Tate in the shootout.
Start 'em - T.Y. Hilton (IND, WR)
First things first - Hilton will not repeat last week's performance so scratch that thought, but the Colts are rolling right now. Even though the Bengals are tough defensively and this matchup will not be a cakewalk, Hilton and Luck are performing high enough that you can't really bench him at this point.
Start 'em - Michael Floyd (ARI, WR)
What a difference the QB makes! With Carson Palmer back under center, both Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald became fantasy-relevant again last week. 4 for 47 and a score is a much, much better statline than what we've been seeing out of Floyd with Palmer sidelined. Floyd is back to WR1 status this week.
Start 'em - Jordan Reed (WAS, TE)
Fantasy owners have waited several weeks to be able to plug Jordan Reed into their lineups and he didn't disappoint by hauling in 8 receptions for 92 yards. He's got a great rapport with Cousins who targeted him 11 times last week. The Titans give up the 10th-most fantasy points to TE's (ppr) making Reed a must start.
Start 'em - Jordan Cameron (CLE, TE)
The other tight end named Jordan finally had his breakout game last week grabbing 3 catches for 102 yards and a score. The Jaguars give up the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing TE's, and if Cameron can get some more targets this week, he should make fantasy owners happy once again.
Start 'em - Cleveland Browns (CLE, DEF)
The Cleveland Browns are available in 50% of all Fleaflicker leagues right now, so if you're in need of a DST this week, there's a good chance they're available. The Browns will face the Jaguars who have given up the 2nd-most fantasy points to defenses this year.
Start 'em - Justin Tucker (BAL, K)
The Falcons have surrendered the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing kickers this year. It hasn't been very difficult to get into either the endzone or field goal range against Atlanta. Tucker is averaging 10 fantasy points a game this year and should see at least that this week.
Sit 'em - Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Matt Stafford isn't a must-sit, but lower your expectations. We probably don't have to tell you that considering that he's underwhelmed the last few weeks. Stafford without Calvin Johnson just isn't the same guy. He hasn't thrown for more than 300 yards since Week 1. He plays better at home so he always has the ability to put up big numbers, but we don't expect him to put up the kinds of numbers that you drafted him for until after their bye week.
Sit 'em - Eli Manning (NYG, QB)
Eli Manning is a fantasy rollercoaster and it's one that we're hesitant to keep riding. The Eagles shut him down last week after he had several decent outings prior. The Cowboys aren't going to be much easier, and Manning will be without his #1 WR Victor Cruz. Cruz's departure could hurt Manning's fantasy value, but hopefully guys like Randle and Donnel will get a bump.
Sit 'em - Zac Stacy (STL, RB)
Zac Stacy may be listed as the starter for the Rams, but make no mistake, it is definitely a RBBC in St Louis. He'll face a Seattle defense that gives up the 3rd-fewest fantasy points to RB's. Stacy hasn't been running as productively as he did last season and now he's got both Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason eating into his carries. Couple that with a brutal matchup and Stacy should sit this one out.
Sit 'em - Mark Ingram (NO, RB)
Mark Ingram should be back this week from a broken hand, but that doesn't mean you should plug him into your lineup and expect him to repeat his early season success. The Lions are tough to run on and haven't let anyone reach the century mark all year. We don't know how the touches will be divided among Ingram, Robinson, and Thomas making Ingram too risky to play this week.
Sit 'em - Michael Crabtree (SF, WR)
Michael Crabtree is in a difficult spot. He's supposed to be the #1 WR for the 49ers, but he isn't targeted like a #1 nor is he productive like a #1. Anquan Boldin has emerged as Kaepernick's favorite target and Vernon Davis, Brandon Lloyd, and Stevie Johnson are just as capable. Crabtree is averaging 50 yards a game with half a score making him the 28th-best WR in fantasy this year - a high end WR3. Combine his production with a tough Denver D that gives up the 3rd-fewest fantasy points and it's not a pretty situation.
Sit 'em - Roddy White (ATL, WR)
Which Roddy White will show up this week? After a solid start to the year, White has declined to the point where he's become no better than a flex option or WR3. In fact, he's the 50th-best WR in fantasy this year. If we redrafted right now, White wouldn't even earn a draft spot. Baltimore is not the toughest pass defense (11th-most fantasy points surrendered in ppr), but White's track record on the road shows him in single digit fantasy points. Time to sit Roddy White.
Sit 'em - Owen Daniels (BAL, TE)
Inconsistent might be the word of the day for Owen Daniels. When Flacco put a beating on the Buccaneers last week, every Raven benefited with the exception of Daniels. One can't help but wonder what #'s Pitta would have put up if he were playing. This week the matchup will be much more difficult as the Falcons are actually quite tough on TE's giving up the 2nd-fewest fantasy points to them.
Sit 'em - Heath Miller (PIT, TE)
Another guy who remains inconsistent is Heath Miller. It's tough to expect much from Miller right now, especially coming off two easy matchups where he should have put up numbers. Instead he turned in disappointing performances pulling in 2 catches for 19 yards and 3 catches for 46 yards respectively. The Texans give up the 11th-fewest fantasy points to opposing TE's making this a difficult matchup.
Sit 'em - San Francisco 49ers (SF, DEF)
It's tough to sit the San Francisco 49ers defense, but this is not the week to play them. The Broncos are almost guaranteed to put up big numbers both through the air as well as on the scoreboard. The Niners have a chink in the armor with defensive injuries including now Patrick Willis.
Sit 'em - Shayne Graham (NO, K)
Normally a Saints kicker would be starting for some fantasy owner in every league; however, that hasn't been the case this year. Shayne Graham hasn't performed up to draft expectations and has a difficult matchup this week against the Lions who give up the 3rd-fewest fantasy points to kickers.
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