Maurice Morris has become a hot commodity in the fantasy world since it appears that starting Detroit running back Jahvid Best is going to miss at least this week because of a concussion. This is now Best’s third concussion in the last three years, and the team is taking it very seriously. Remember that he also suffered one back in college and missed more than a month of playing time.
It’s unknown how much time Best will miss now, but it’s a safe bet that Morris will be starting on Sunday. With Jerome Harrison done for the season, it looks like Morris is going to get a healthy share of the load in the Detroit backfield. That said, snatch Morris up off the waiver wire if he’s still available. He should provide a great boost in the flex spot or be a nice bye-week filler at the very least. Morris has been around the league and is a good runner with solid pass catching skills. And if the Lions get the passing game going early it will open things up for him to operate against a spotty Atlanta defense. Morris is a great spot start this week.
Even with the loss of starting running back Jamaal Charles, Kansas City’s backfield still has some depth to it. Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster have both been average at best filling the void, but Jackie Battle has been very impressive. Battle didn’t get many reps the first three weeks after Charles got hurt, but he sure made his presence felt in Week 5 with 119 yards rushing on 19 carries. The Chiefs are coming off a bye week, and I’d be shocked if Battle isn’t a main part of the game plan against a weak Oakland run defense.
Jones’ average yards per carry has been terrible and McCluster has been used more as a receiver, so Battle could see the majority of work out of the backfield on Sunday. He’s a very risky play, but it might be very rewarding for fantasy owners, seeing that the Raiders have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs so far this season.
The running back situation in Cleveland is starting to get interesting as well now that Peyton Hillis is battling a hamstring injury and a bad attitude. The fantasy darling of 2010 is very questionable to play in Week 7, so this would open the door for Montario Hardesty to get a nice workload. The Browns are getting sick of Hillis’ contract complaints and are very high on Hardesty. It would be a good idea to grab him if you don’t already have him as a handcuff to Hillis. He hasn’t really gotten much going so far this season, but has had a few games where he has seen double-digit carries. Hardesty can definitely be a workhorse if needed and also has 10 receptions on the season. Hillis still might play on Sunday, but if he’s out then Hardesty could have a solid day against Seattle.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas
Felix Jones is out at least two weeks with a high ankle sprain, so look for Murray to get the bulk of the carries over that time. It’s being reported that Dallas will likely start Tashard Choice, but Murray will get the most work and even possibly return punts as well. After an unimpressive performance last week in the second half, look for Murray to have much more success in Week 7 against the St. Louis defense. Choice will still be in the mix, but Murray is the back to own in fantasy while Jones is out. He should have a nice day and be close to 100 yards if he gets the carries. Although Murray is still just in his first year, he does run hard and is durable. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys use him on Sunday. Either way, the matchup is very nice, so take a chance on him if you need to fill a spot in your lineup.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Oakland
Even though Heyward-Bey only has one touchdown on the season, he has finally shown some promise in the last three games. He’s averaging more than five catches and close to 100 yards receiving a game over that span and has found the end zone once. He was just starting to build some good chemistry with quarterback Jason Campbell, but now Campbell is out for the season. The good news is that Oakland has upgraded the quarterback position with Carson Palmer.
Now it’s unclear how Heyward-Bey and Palmer are going to gel right off the bat, but you have to believe that Palmer is going to do everything he can to get the ball in Heyward-Bey’s hands. It might take a few weeks to get on the same page, but I think Heyward-Bey is a solid WR3 option now and even a good WR2 if you are short at that position this week. There’s no doubt that Palmer is going to be rusty, but I’d take a rusty Palmer under center over a healthy Campbell any day of the week. Heyward-Bey should continue to see plenty of targets.
Tim Tebow, QB, Denver
I couldn’t resist at least making Tebow a sleeper for Week 7. Most people are very skeptical about Tebow making it as an NFL starting quarterback let alone a good fantasy player, but I think he might surprise some people in his 2011 starting debut. He can’t make some of the throws that the elite fantasy options make, but he makes up for that with his superior running skills. Cam Newton has thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes so far this season and is still the No. 2 ranked player in fantasy football because he has run for more than 200 yards and six scores. Tebow could have a similar season to Newton the rest of the way, and I’m sure owners would not mind that at all. At the very least I’d pick him up just to stash on the bench to see if he pans out, but I think he will do enough through the air and ground to make him a viable starter. Tebow is a great leader and wins wherever he goes, so don’t be afraid to take a chance on him this week if you are in great need of a quarterback.
Lock of the Week
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans
After missing just two weeks with a broken collarbone, Colston has worked his way back to fantasy relevance rather quickly. He had a good showing in Week 5 with five catches for 69 yards, and he had a great game last week, grabbing seven passes for 118 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. It’s clear that Drew Brees has regained full trust in Colston as his No. 1 receiver and this should be evident on Sunday against Indianapolis. Look for the Saints to throw early and often against a weak Indianapolis defense, and even though Brees does spread the ball around a lot, he looks to Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham much more than the rest. He should have another nice day for fantasy owners. A repeat performance of last week is what you should expect out of Colston in Week 7. Enjoy.