Fantasy Football: Week 7 starts, sits

October 17, 2014 - 9:35 am

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr All right, Patriots fans, after Thursday night's big win, your heads should be clear and ready to focus on your fantasy fortunes. I've got the Week 7 recommendations ready for you and there's more to come. As always, I will be available this Sunday at 11 a.m. to take all your last-minute lineup questions. Get them in early! If you have questions about any players not listed in this space, head over to my free site, Rotobahn, and dig into my full Week 7 lineup rankings. And don't forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my buddy Jim Hackett, who will be in a good mood after the Patriots' third straight victory. If you want to keep track of all my fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh content. QUARTERBACKS Start Carson Palmer, Cardinals at Raiders He's back and we expect his arm strength to improve week to week. Palmer has a healthy offense around him and he has a nice matchup with Oakland. Start him if you need him in all formats. Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Falcons He lit up Tampa last week and he could do the same thing to the Falcons when the Ravens visit Baltimore this weekend. The Ravens receivers are in a groove and so is Flacco. He's a viable play in all leagues this week. Matt Ryan, Falcons at Ravens He's not screaming "Start me" this week after light output in Week 6, but Ryan has enough weapons in addition to Julio Jones, who is a monster. He should have to throw the ball for most of the day to keep pace with the Ravens. Ryan is playable in all formats. Blake Bortles, Jaguars vs. Browns Need an option in a deep league? Bortles can help because he grinds out points with his arm and with his feet. The Browns should get a lead and force the Jaguars to throw and open up the offense. Bortles might throw a pick or two, but the numbers should be there in the end. A good play in big formats if you are in need. Sit Andy Dalton, Bengals at Colts Whenever I recommend Dalton I say the same thing: He has the weapons. Well, he doesn't this week. A.J. Green is hurting with turf toe and Marvin Jones is on injured reserve. There also is no Tyler Eifert, so this is far from a normal week for the Bengals. Dalton will have better days, but I'd avoid him here, especially in smaller formats. RUNNING BACKS Start Branden Oliver, Chargers vs. Chiefs Donald Brown looks shaky again, so roll with Oliver, who has been very productive the last two weeks. The Chiefs are solid in the front seven, but Oliver will get enough touches where the numbers should follow. He's a good play in any league. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos vs. 49ers Hillman ran tough against the Jets in Week 6 and he can do the same against the 49ers this week. He may not be a great option, but he's worthy of a start in all leagues if you need him. Jerick McKinnon, Vikings at Bills He probably will yield more snaps and touches to the bigger Matt Asiata than he did last week because Asiata matches up better with Buffalo than he did against the Lions. Having said that, McKinnon is the far more explosive player and that's what the Vikings desperately need in the wake of the Adrian Peterson debacle. The rookie should have the bigger share of playing time and is playable as an RB2 in all formats. Isaiah Crowell, Browns at Jaguars He won't start with Ben Tate back and running well, and he may give some carries away to Terrance West this week. Still, I like Crowell to get enough carries to be viable in 12-team leagues. The Browns will have this game in hand down the stretch and that should mean Crowell playing the role of closer. He has a very good chance at scoring. Sit Zac Stacy, Rams vs. Seahawks The Rams backfield now is a three-headed beast with no clear leader. The most impressive ball carrier of the group is not Stacy but rookie Tre Mason. You also have to factor in touches for Benny Cunningham. The matchup is also problematic as Seattle is in town coming off of a loss. Stacy is a flex option in bigger formats and a very poor risk as an RB2 in smaller formats. WIDE RECEIVERS Start Golden Tate, Lions vs. Saints With Calvin Johnson very likely to miss this week's game, Tate is a must-start unless you are absolutely loaded at receiver. He's going to see the ball a ton and he has enhanced value in PPR formats. Get him active in all leagues. Torrey Smith, Ravens vs. Falcons Smith has burned me a few times this year, but I think he's finally turned the corner in OC Gary Kubiak's offense. Smith has three scores over the last three weeks and is a fine WR3 option in all leagues for Week 7. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants at Cowboys No, I will not stop talking about Beckham -- not until you all have him rostered! The rookie is ready to explode and he's still on a lot of waiver wires. Heck, he's still unowned in 52 percent of Yahoo! leagues. That's a joke and you should go get him right now if you can. You should also start him as a WR3 this weekend against the Cowboys. I think you'll be pleased with the results. If this kid stays healthy, he's going to help your fantasy team. Trust me. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans at Steelers He was awful last week, but I suggest you forgive him, especially in big leagues, because he has a very nice matchup this weekend with a Steelers team that has injuries in its secondary. Hopkins is a good bet to post WR3 numbers in all leagues. Sit Brian Quick, Rams vs. Seahawks I am a big fan of Quick's game, as most of you know. However, this is not a week to count on him for WR3 production. Start him if you must, but he needs a big play to be viable this week and I don't see Seattle giving up any big or broken plays in a must-win game. You most likely can do better. TIGHT ENDS Start Jordan Reed, Washington vs. Titans Just in case you missed him last week, Reed is back and looking very good. There's no need for caution here. Reed is a No. 1 option in all leagues and scoring types. Get him active in this good home matchup. Travis Kelce, Chiefs at Chargers For my money, Kelce is a must-play option in 12-team leagues until proven otherwise. He is healthy and one of the better playmakers in Kansas City. He's a quality option in all leagues this week at San Diego. Dwayne Allen, Colts vs. Bengals Allen is developing into one of Andrew Luck's most trusted options and that trust will keep him on the weekly radar in all league sizes and scoring formats. Allen is a solid play this week against a reeling Bengals team that still hasn't recovered from the drubbing it received in Foxboro a few weeks back. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals at Colts He appears to be coming alive now and the timing could not be better as far as fantasy is concerned. Gresham is needed this week with so many receivers banged up and with Tyler Eifert still a ways away. He's a solid option in 12-team leagues if you are hurting. Sit Jared Cook, Rams vs. Seahawks Cook played a good game last week, but he may be used more as a blocker this week against a very aggressive Seattle defense. I'd look for other options in small leagues if you can. Cook thrived on yards after the catch last week, but that's not happening against the Seahawks.