By ZACH MORETTI
QB- Matt Ryan (Falcons): I was a doubter of the Falcons coming into the season because I thought their dream season last year was more a result of an easy schedule then anything else. But the young Atlanta QB has shut me up with his great play and he has lead the Falcons to a 4-1 start despite a tough schedule. Ryan gets to face a Cowboys defense that has allowed over 250 passing yards per game and 8 TDs to opposing QB’s in 5 games this year, so look for him to continue to his hot start.
RB- Joseph Addai (Colts): Addai has rushed for only 210 yards with a 3.4 avg. this year. However, he also has 153 yards receiving and 4 total TD’s. In a PPR format he has been even better with 26 catches, already surpassing his total catches from a year ago. With a dreadful Rams team on the schedule this week, look for Addai to get his share of what should be a fruitful fantasy day for most of Indianapolis’ offensive weapons.
RB- Jonathon Stewart (Panthers): Stewart tore up a very bad Tampa Bay run defense a week ago as he went for 110 yards and a TD and the Panthers as a whole rushed for 267 yards. In Week 7 he will face a Bills defense that is coming off a game in which they surrendered 318 rushing yards to the Jets. 318. Much like last week, there will be plenty of yards and TD’s for both Stewart and running mate DeAngelo Williams.
WR- Steve Smith (Giants): The emerging Giants wideout has been silenced in recent weeks, but look for that to end in Week 7 with a matchup against a terrible Arizona pass defense that still ranks 31st in the NFL despite shutting down the Seahawks last week. Eli Manning and the Giants will rebound from a bad game in New Orleans and should put up plenty of points on the Cardinals D in the Meadowlands.
WR- Hines Ward (Steelers): The veteran Pittsburgh WR leads the NFL in receiving yards through six weeks and his worst performance of the year wasn’t terrible (6 catches for 57 yards). Three of his biggest outings have come against some of the worst pass defenses in the league, but that’s no worry this week as the Steelers take on the Vikings and their 24th ranked pass defense.
TE- Jason Witten (Cowboys): Witten was widely considered to be the top option for tight end in fantasy football entering the season, yet he hasn’t produced as even a top 15 tight end. However, coming off a bye week, look for the Cowboys to make a concerted effort to get their talented tight end more involved.
K- Nate Kaeding (Chargers): Kaeding has been remarkably accurate in his career, connecting on 86 percent of his field goal opportunities. Don’t let the Chiefs win against a Redskins team in disarray fool you, they are still a really bad team so there should be no shortage of opportunities for Kaeding this week.
DEF- New England Patriots: You were advised to grab the Patriots defense up last week and if you did you should feel comfortable to start them again this week against a ghastly Buccaneers offense that ranks 28th in the NFL in total offense.
QB- Donovan McNabb (Eagles): The Raiders? That’s who McNabb and the Eagles lost to in Week 6? That seems almost unfathomable. What seems crazier is that against the NFL’s 28th ranked run defense, Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid only ran the ball only 14 times and only 6 of those were to his star RB Brian Westbrook. McNabb was erratic completing just 22 of 46 pass attempts for 268 yards and no TDs. 46 passes to 14 runs in a close 13-9 loss? That is simply terrible balance on offense and just bad coaching. With the Washington Redskins and their 3rd ranked pass defense on tap this week, look for Reid to reestablish the running game and for McNabb to have a quiet game.
RB- Marshawn Lynch (Bills): The matchup seems favorable for Lynch as the Bills face a Panthers team that ranks 29th in the league against the run. However, Lynch is still conceding carries to RB Fred Jackson and with starting QB Trent Edwards doubtful for Sunday’s game, look for Carolina to stack the box to stuff the run and make Buffalo’s backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick beat them through the air.
RB- Brandon Jacobs (Giants): Jacobs was a beast last year and a touchdown machine as he crossed the goal line 15 times. But this year Jacobs hasn’t been able to get it done as he has just 1 TD on the season and he has squandered many goal line opportunities for scores. His failures have even given way to backup RB Ahmad Bradshaw stealing some goal-line and red-zone carries from him. This week he faces a Cardinals defense that has yet to allow a 70-yard rusher this season and has shut down the likes of Maurice Jones-Drew and Frank Gore. Jacobs may break out of his funk this year, but it seems unlikely that this will be the week he turns it around.
WR- Braylon Edwards (Jets): Edwards was impressive in his debut with the Jets two weeks ago. But last week against the Bills, Edwards had as many tackles as catches after regulation (2) and while he got one more catch in overtime, three catches is nothing to write home about. This week New York will travel to Oakland, which means Edwards will have to face the Raiders shut down corner Nnamdi Asomugha. Meanwhile, the Jets offense will most likely try to take some pressure off their struggling rookie QB Mark Sanchez, which means fewer pass attempts this week. So look for a steady diet of Thomas Jones in this game as he is coming off a 200 yard rushing day and the Raiders have one of the worst run defenses in the league.
WR- Santana Moss (Redskins): Almost half of Moss’s receiving yards this year came in one game against Detroit. He is currently coming off a 1 catch performance despite facing one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses and the Redskins are in the midst of changing play-callers. QB Jason Campbell is back at the helm after being benched at halftime last week and it’s unclear how he’ll respond. What has been clear is Campbell’s inconsistency in connecting on the deep ball and Washington faces a tough Eagles pass D this week. There are too many questions in Washington and Moss is just an unreliable play right now.
WR- Steve Smith (Panthers): While the Giants Steve Smith has prospered in the early going this season, the Panthers Steve Smith has struggled. He himself declared that he’s “no longer an asset” to the Panthers. That’s a little much as his numbers aren’t so much a reflection of his talent as they are a reflection of who is throwing him the ball. Carolina faces Buffalo this week, and the Bills happen to have the NFL’s 4th best pass defense, which means that things still aren’t looking up for the Panthers top WR.
TE- Zach Miller (Raiders): Don’t be fooled by Miller’s huge game against the Eagles. Miller is very talented, but he is still incredibly unreliable for fantasy purposes because his QB is still Jamarcus Russell. Don’t expect anywhere near the 139 yards and a TD this week against the Jets.
K- Robbie Gould (Bears): The Chicago kicker is still one of the best in the league, but he isn’t getting enough chances. He has only made six field goals this year, but then again he has only had seven tries. With the Bears facing a stout Bengals defense that is looking to rebound from a bad showing against Houston this past week, Gould may find himself short of chances to make an impact once again.
DEF- New York Giants: The Giants defense was pasted by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in Week 6 and they face yet another high powered offense this week when Arizona comes to town. Find a better option out on the waiver wire, because the Giants D will underwhelm this week.
QB- Shaun Hill (49ers): Hill hasn’t been stellar this year, but he has had three solid fantasy outings. San Francisco RB Frank Gore will be playing in his first game back from injury so his effectiveness may be limited and the Texans do rank 19th in the NFL in pass defense. If your regular QB is off this week and you don’t have a reliable backup, take a look at Hill to fill in for a week.
RB- Laurence Maroney (Patriots): New England’s backfield has been riddled with injuries and now the former first round pick is back in command of the majority of the carries. Maroney broke out for 123 yards and a TD last week and in Week 7 he faces a Tampa Bay defense that allowed 267 rushing yards and 3 TDs in their Week 6 matchup.
RB- Leon Washington (Jets): The New York speedster has been getting dropped by many lately and if someone in your league made that mistake, then go gobble Washington up. He is coming off his best performance of the season in which he totaled 99 yards rushing and another 46 yards receiving. Not only that, but this week he faces the 28th run defense of the Oakland Raiders and with the Jets looking to protect their struggling young QB, more screens and dump offs to Washington in open space could be on tap.
WR- Sidney Rice (Vikings): Rice has quickly become one of QB Brett Favre’s favorite targets. In his last four games, Rice has 18 catches for 363 yards and 2 TDs. He isn’t a great add for this week against a strong Pittsburgh defense, but for the long term Rice has a chance to really produce.
WR- Hakim Nicks (Giants): Nicks has produced when he’s been healthy and out on the field. The Giants are going to be hungry to redeem themselves following a tough loss and will look to take advantage of a bad Arizona pass defense that was masked last week by a banged up Seahawks offensive line.
TE- Visanthe Shiancoe (Vikings): Shiancoe has been a big time target for veteran QB Brett Favre and while he hasn’t posted tons of yards, he has put up 5 TDs on the season. This makes adding the Viking TE a bit of a risk because if he doesn’t get a TD he won’t make up for it in yards, but Favre has now shown that he likes to look for Shiancoe’s 6’4 target in the red zone.
K- Matt Stover (Colts): The veteran kicker was signed after the regular Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinateri had to have surgery and is out 6 weeks. Stover gets a nice first matchup against the winless Rams and the Colts offense should put up big point totals and give Stover numerous scoring chances.
DEF- Indianapolis Colts: The Colts defense has been gone mostly unnoticed early on. Their 5-0 start has been credited to the great play of Peyton Manning and the offense, and while that side of the ball has been terrific, the defense for Indianapolis has been surprisingly effective as well. The team ranks ninth in the NFL in pass defense and 14th against the run and this week they face a St. Louis offense that is averaging a league worst 9 points per game. (Funny Note: The New England Patriots scored 59 points in Week 6 against the Tennessee Titans; meanwhile the Rams have scored 54 points combined in their six games this year)
Last Week’s Results: 10-10
Overall Record: 45-40
NFL Games of the Week:
Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m. on FOX)
Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys (4:15 p.m. on FOX)
Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Giants (8:20 p.m. on NBC)