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Week 7: Things are Never the Same from Week-to-Week

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Welcome to Week 7 of the Brew Crew Corner. This week marks the midway point of the fantasy season for most of us. If you got to three or four wins, you are in good shape. I find that seven or eight wins can often get you into the playoffs. I often shoot for seven wins at a minimum. If you have five or six wins, you are in great shape to make the postseason.
What I find is that things are never the same from week-to-week, especially when it comes to fantasy football. Players move up and down rankings and are seen as a stud one week and a dud the next. Last week, Vick Ballard was the hot waiver pickup and now this week it’s Felix Jones. There might be some owners that even drop Ballard for Jones. It is just the way it goes week-to-week in fantasy. Look at this past week, Philip Rivers did his best Jay Cutler impression from Week 2, and Shonn Greene looked like an All-Pro. Heading into the game, though, you were sure to start Rivers and bench Greene.

During the next few weeks you will see trades happen left and right that will be outrageous. I was offered Michael Vick and DeMarco Murray for Darren McFadden and Jordy Nelson. The reasoning I got was “Phillip Rivers is on a bye and you need a quarterback. Also,  Murray will return to be a stud.” I declined that trade faster than you could read that sentence. I’ve seen other trades go down that made me shake my head. In one league someone that was 1-4 traded Adrian Peterson and Demaryius Thomas for Steven Jackson and Kendall Wright.

Teams off on a bye in Week 7: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia and San Diego.

The Golden Mug Award

Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.

Shonn Greene - 32 carries, 161 yards, 3 TD. That is not a typo. Greene shocked the world when he put up nearly as many yards as he’s had all season. He hasn’t had a three-touchdown game since Week 13 last year against the Washington Redskins. With that said, he scored just one touchdown for the remainder of the year after that game. Don’t think you will see that again from Greene this year.

Jordy Nelson - 9 receptions, 121 yards, 3 TD. Aaron Rodgers and Nelson picked apart the Houston Texans and scored pretty much at will. Nelson has been pretty disappointing for most weeks this season. Let’s hope that he will continue on this hot streak.

Robert Griffin III - 17/22, 182 yards, TD, INT; 13 carries, 138 yards, 2 TD. The only thing Griffin III didn’t do in this game was throw a touchdown to himself. Those who sat Griffin III because of the concussion issue were pretty shocked to see 38 fantasy points sitting on the bench.
 
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well, you know.

Philip Rivers - 25/41, 242 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT, 2 fumbles lost. Rivers cost me a win in the Sharks league, leaving me with a tie, but I’m sure that I was not the only one that had been burned by Rivers’ ugly second half performance. Rivers had all his turnovers on the last six drives. Rivers is on pace to throw for 24 interceptions, which is two more than he had last year. Guess he’s the new Brett Favre.

Alex Smith - 19/30, 300 yards, 3 INT. After putting up 300-plus yards and three scores in Week 5, Smith looked to have another big day against a weak New York Giants secondary and playing at home. Plenty of owners either picked Smith up off waivers for a bye week fill in or played the matchup and came up short.

Marshawn Lynch - 15 carries, 45 yards. Not much from Lynch this week as he was stuffed by the New England defense. Lynch has a tougher matchup this week against San Francisco.

MATCHUPS

Good quarterback matchups this week:

Eli Manning against Washington. Manning had an average game last week as he was able to drive his team down the field but came away with field goal attempts on five drives. This week Manning will face a Redskins team that has given up 300-plus passing yards every game except Week 4 when Josh Freeman passed for 299 yards. The Redskins are tied for the most touchdowns allowed (15) and are allowing an average of 25.3 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season.

Andrew Luck against Cleveland. Luck struggled last week, and you’re going to get games where he will do so as a rookie, but this week he should correct some of the mistakes he had last week with overthrowing receivers. The Browns are allowing 294.2 yards per game (30th in the NFL) with 15 passing touchdowns allowed, also tied for most in the NFL this season. The Browns defense is giving up an average of 25.6 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season.

Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Carson Palmer against Jacksonville. Palmer will be a popular bye week fill-in as his matchup is excellent. The Jaguars defense is allowing 261 yards per game (23rd in the NFL) with just six touchdowns allowed this season. The Jaguars are allowing 20 fantasy points per week to quarterbacks, but over the past three weeks they are giving up 25.7 fantasy points per game with all six touchdowns coming in those games.

Good running back matchups this week:

Stevan Ridley against New York Jets.
Ridley has a chance to put up Top 5 numbers this week. Brandon Bolden is banged up, but Ridley was getting production even with him in the lineup. He’ll face a Jets defense that is weak against the run. The Jets have been gashed by C.J. Spiller and Arian Foster, who ran for 150-plus yards each. They are allowing 150.5 yards rushing per game (28th in the NFL) and have given up seven rushing touchdowns to running backs this season. They are surrendering 22.2 fantasy points per game to starting running backs this season.

Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller against Tennessee. Jackson and Spiller are splitting time in a committee situation right now, but both guys can have value as a flex option. This week they both will get enough yards and maybe a score each against a Titans defense that can be run on. The Titans have allowed 129.5 rushing yards per game (24th in the NFL) with seven rushing touchdowns allowed this season. They are giving up 26.6 fantasy points per game to running backs and have allowed double-digit fantasy points to two guys in a running back by committee in both Weeks 2 and 3.

Sleeper Pick of the Week: Felix Jones against Carolina. Just when you think Jones is done, an injury makes him relevant again. While DeMarco Murray is out, Jones will get plenty of work and this week he has a great matchup that should allow him to keep his job for another week. Although the Panthers have only given up three rushing touchdowns to running backs this season, they have allowed a 100-plus yard rusher in three of five games this year. The team is allowing 127.4 rushing yards per game (23rd in the NFL) and is giving up a whopping 29.1 fantasy points to running backs this season. Even if Jones gets half that, 15 points is great for a waiver pickup.

Bad quarterback matchups this week:

John Skelton against Minnesota. Most of us draft two quarterbacks to cover our bye weeks or in case of injury. For those that had Kevin Kolb, they will likely pick up Skelton off waivers to replace him if there isn’t a better option available, especially in deeper leagues where there are few starting quarterbacks left out there. The Vikings were torched by Robert Griffin III last week but they were a Top 10 unit before that game. They are still holding quarterbacks to 217.7 yards per game and have given up just three passing touchdowns since Week 2. I worry about Skelton’s durability also, and his decision making during the game.

Joe Flacco against Houston. The Texans were completely manhandled by Aaron Rodgers, who threw six touchdowns on them when they had just six touchdowns given up all season. This group will pull it together and play much better. The defense has allowed 213.2 yards per game with seven interceptions this season. Fantasy wise, they are allowing 18.6 fantasy points per game, which was as low as 13.8 before last week’s game.

Matthew Stafford against Chicago. Even though Stafford has thrown for 310-plus yards in three games this year, he has yet to throw for multiple touchdowns and has not thrown any to Calvin Johnson (although he did have a touchdown pass to Johnson that was negated by a penalty). He’s ranked 15th among fantasy quarterbacks with a 19.2 fantasy points per game average. The Bears defense leads the league in interceptions with 13, which averages to 2.6 takeaways per game. They have not allowed a multi-touchdown game to any quarterback they have faced and are holding starters to just 11.5 fantasy points per game this season.

Bad running back matchups this week:

Shonn Greene against New England. Greene had a career game. Probably the one he’ll tell his grandkids about one day. Reality will settle in this week as the he faces a tough Patriots run defense that is allowing just 82.7 rushing yards per game with only two rushing touchdowns allowed this season. Only Ray Rice in has rushed for more than 100 yards against the Pats. The other starting running backs they have faced have have rushed for an average of 40 yards. The Patriots are giving up just 10 fantasy points per game to starting running backs this season

Darren Sproles against Tampa Bay. The Saints are off to a bad start this season. Since 1978, only seven teams have made the playoffs when starting the season 1-4. One of the reasons the Saints have struggled is the lack of a rushing attack. This is partly due to the defense giving up 30.8 points a game, and the other part is the 75.2 rushing yards per game as a team. The Saints will face a Buccaneers defense that is fourth in the league in yards per game with only 75 a game. Only Alfred Morris has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game. The defense is holding starting running backs to just 9.8 fantasy points per game with only three rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs this season.

Week 7: The fantasy landscape changes from week to week. One game a player is a hero and the next he’s being cut to the waivers. It’s a roller coaster ride all season.

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Cheers!