NFL week 7 shapes up to be a big week with so many NFL teams bunched right around the .500 mark. The playoff contenders need to start to separate themselves this week. The same is true for your team in fantasy football. If you expect to be in the playoffs, where anything can happen, it’s time to start separating from the field.
With six teams on a bye, there’s sure to be make-shift lineups across the fantasy landscape. If you’re still looking for some sleepers, you’ve come to the right place. Every Sunday, I rundown a fantasy sleeper in every game and throw in my Pigskin Pick’Em picks. Here’s a quick breakdown of my results from last week:
Picks that made me look good
Brandon Gibson-Stl-WR: 7 catches, 91 yards
Brandon Myers-Oak-TE: 5 catches, 62 yards
Sydney Rice-Sea-WR: 3 catches, 81 yards, game-winning TD.
Mike Williams-TB-WR: 4 catches, 113 yards, TD.
Christian Ponder-Min-QB: 352 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Randall Cobb-GB-WR: 7 catches, 102 yards.
Picks that made me look bad
Andre Roberts-Ari-WR: 2 catches, 18 yards
Robert Meachem-SD-WR: three catches, 30 yards
Each week, I pick against the spread as listed as part of ESPN’s free pigskin Pick’Em game. This week even with six less teams there are some intriguing matchups and this is how I think Sunday plays out.
Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills (-3.5)
Pick: The Bills have been up-and-down all year but find themselves at 3-3 after a road win in the desert last week. I’ll take Buffalo to cover at home against Tennessee who has two quality wins (Pittsburgh, Detroit) but has gotten pounded away from Memphis losing 38-14, 30-7, and 38-10 in their three road games. The front 7 of the Titans will get run over by Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller as the Bills run their way to a big week.
Possible Sleeper: Tennessee wide receiver Kenny Britt appears poised for a breakout week as he continues to get healthy. Make sure he’s in your starting lineups this week… I also like Ryan Fitzpatrick to have a big game against a Tennessee secondary that give up more points to opposing quarterbacks than anyone except the Bills.
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5)
Pick: This game all depends on what Colts team shows up. Indy had been playing well, but last week looked horrible at MetLife Stadium as they got drubbed by the Jets. I’ll take Luck and the Colts to bounce back and cover at home, but don’t be surprised if this comes down to the last possession or two.
Possible Sleeper: The Browns receivers have been iffy all year but Josh Gordon has been changing that the last couple weeks. He still doesn’t have a high number of catches (just five total in two weeks) but he’s been making them count for three touchdowns and 179 yards. Of all the Browns to own, I’d be most confident in Gordon’s performance since Trent Richardson’s injury status is still a bit murky… On the other side, Vick Ballard didn’t do much to impress last week, but if you need an emergency running back start Ballard should get the majority of work against a suspect Browns run defense that has allowed double-digit fantasy points every week so far this year to their opponent.
Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams (+5.5)
Pick: The Rams have proven they’re no pushover at home. However, The Packers seem to have found their groove last week against the previously unbeaten Texans, so I’ll take Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers to have another big game and cover against a tough Rams team.
Possible Sleeper: The Packers have allowed some big receiving games so don’t be afraid to start the Rams new #1 receiver Brandon Gibson. Last week they allowed 8 catches for 75 yards to Andre Johnson. Two weeks ago they allowed 13 catches and 212 yards to Reggie Wayne, and three weeks ago they were lit up by Marques Colston for 153 yards on 9 catches and a touchdown. While Gibson may not have a huge game like that, Gibson should be able to get some solid numbers especially if the Rams have to play catch-up.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5)
Pick: The Vikings have been one of the biggest surprises of the year and host a fast-fading Cardinals team that surprised some people early. I think Minnesota covers here behind a big game from Christian Ponder and Percy Harvin as they attack the hole left by the injured Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes injury was the undoing of the Cards secondary last season and the Vikings catch the Cards at a good time. Arizona also will be without starting quarterback Kevin Kolb as they turn to John Skelton to lead them against a ferocious Vikings D.
Possible Sleeper: I like all the Vikings to do well, including the surprising Minnesota D/ST. Minnesota’s D ranks sixth overall in average standard scoring even with a rough week last week against RG3 in DC. Arizona has allowed the fourth-most D/ST points including 14+ the last three weeks. If you need to pick-up and play a D, check to see if their available-they are in almost 20% of ESPN leagues.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-6.5)
Pick: This is one of the toughest games to pick on the board. The Giants looked really good last week, but the Redskins picked up a nice win as well. Washington was able to knock off its division rival twice last year and this game seems to be one where the bad G-men might show up. They get up and play awesome when everybody is against them, but when everyone is singing their praises they seem to get lax. That won’t work this week against the Redskins. I think Washington will at least keep this close and I’ll take RG3 and the points.
Possible Sleeper: Pierre Garcon isn’t walking through that door, or at least not in uniform ready to play. The Redskins will look to the rest of their patchwork receiving corps to make the difference. They don’t have a true number one, but Santana Moss tied for the team lead with targets and has the experience to take advantage of the vulnerable Giants secondary. If you’re stuck at wide-out, Moss is a decent WR3 that is probably on most leagues waiver wires.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)
Pick: The Saints coming off a bye should have enough offensive firepower to overwhelm the Bucs, but don’t expect it to be easy. New Orleans defense has given up tons of fantasy points at just about every position, so don’t be afraid to start your Bucs.
Possible Sleeper: No defense has given up fantasy points to opposing running backs at a faster rate than the Saints. I expect Doug Martin to have a nice game and continue to get the majority of the workload in the Buc backfield.
Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers (+2.5)
Pick: Dallas hasn’t won on the road since the opening night game against the Giants, but the Panthers have dropped three in a row. Both quarterbacks have been a mess lately, but I’ll go with the Romo-coaster to be on the upswing this week and to get the job done as the Cowboys cover in Carolina.
Potential Sleeper: I think Kevin Ogletree re-emerges in this one. It’s just a hunch, but he could see more attention from Romo with Dez Bryant a little banged up. Even though he didn’t make a catch last week he was targeted four times.
Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (-6.5)
Pick: This is a huge game for both teams. The Ravens will be out to prove they can survive with a banged up defense, and the Texans will be out to prove that last week’s beatdown at the hands of the Packers was an aberration. I think this one will be a close, hard-fought game, so I’ll take the points and pick the Ravens.
Potential Sleeper: Besides all the big-name, obvious starts, it’s worth noting that Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones will be going against his former-teammates in Houston. He received 7 targets a couple weeks ago against the Browns and three last week against Dallas. He has the speed to take any touch to the house, and should be extra-motivated. He’s a long shot, but could pay off if your desperate and searching the waiver wire.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-4.5)
Pick: The Raiders should be able to cover in this one at home. They looked pretty good last week giving Falcons all they could handle in Atlanta. Their only win was against Pittsburgh at home, but the Jags shouldn’t provide much of an obstacle after losing 41-3 and 27-10 the last two weeks at home in Jacksonville.
Potential Sleeper: Carson Palmer goes up against a vulnerable Jags secondary and could have another nice week if you need a bye-week fill-in… Don’t give up on Darrius Heyward-Bey yet either as he led the Raiders wide receivers in snaps last week even though he was held catchless. He could be in for a big game if he gets WR1 type targets from Palmer.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-10.5)
Pick: Even giving 10.5, I’m not picking against Brady/Belichick at home after a loss where they’re going to be ticked off. Giving 10.5 is a lot but the Patriots will be looking to make a statement to the Jets and the rest of the AFC East and at home they’ll look to drub a Jets team that will struggle if they fall behind and are forced to rely on Mark Sanchez.
Potential Sleeper: I think this one’s a blowout and the Pats run the ball for a lot of the game. I love Stevan Ridley to have a big game. Since he’s not a sleeper, I’ll go with Danny Woodhead who should also see plenty of action since Brandon Bolden is not going to play. For an ultra-deep league hail mary, check out Shane Vereen as a super-deep sleeper.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5)
Pick: The home-dog is not the pick here, although I’m surprised at the lack of love for the Bengals. Pittsburgh needs to pull this one out to avoid falling to 2-4. The Steelers have had since last Thursday to stew and to get healthy so I think they’ll be able to cover this small spread on the road. The Bengals have lost the last two week to the Dolphins and the Browns, but against Pittsburgh they won’t be able to avoid going into their bye next week on three-game losing streak.
Potential Sleeper: In a week with six tight end’s on a bye and Jimmy Graham possibly not playing, I think Heath Miller should finish in the top ten tight ends this week. The Bengals are fifth-worst in the league at giving up fantasy points to opposing tight ends and have given up three receiving touchdowns to them in their first six games including last week and two of their last three. Miller is a constant Big Ben redzone target and has caught four touchdowns already this season. In the Steelers last three games, Miller’s been thrown to 24 times including nine times last week when he had six catches for 67 yards. The only worry is that he’s called on to block all game, but I think he’ll still provide a nice night especially if your regular tight end is on a bye this week.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-5.5)
Pick: The Bears have been on a roll and at home against the turnover-prone Lions I think they’ll move to 5-1 and also cover the 5.5 point spread. The Lions were given a gift last week against Philadelphia to snap their three-game losing streak. They’ve struggled all season and playing a red-hot Bears defense doesn’t bode well for the Motown team.
Potential Sleeper: It seems that on Monday Night Football Devin Hester always end up with a entry into the highlight reel. The fact that Alshon Jeffery is out and Mike Tice has promised to increase his package helps him to be a deep sleeper to insert only in desperate times. However, with all the byes and injuries that’s definitely the realm some owners are fishing in heading into week 7.
Hopefully, these picks have helped you with your last-minute pickups. I’ll be on twitter @FantasyCPR throughout the day and will do my best to pass along injury news and answer any questions you might have. Good luck in this decisive week!