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THE DIVE: Week 7 “Stranger Things”

Week 6 was chock full of injuries and upsets!   It was heart-wrenching to watch Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers carted off the field with a broken collarbone and is currently out indefinitely. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston and Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette both suffered injuries as well, but appear to be much less serious and may start Week 7. Several major upsets occurred as the Miami Dolphins climbed back from a seventeen-point deficit to knock off the Atlanta Falcons. After Ben Roethlisberger’s worst career performance in Week 5, the Pittsburgh Steelers scrapped out a difficult road win against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Finally, the biggest upset of the week arguably took place on Sunday Night Football when the winless and debilitated New York Giants’ dominated the Denver Broncos to earn their first win of the season.

If the injuries and upsets from Week 6 were not enough, then don’t forget about new Arizona Cardinals’ running back Adrian Peterson’s monster debut. After losing David Johnson in Week 1, Arizona’s ground game has been in disarray as the team was barely hanging on in the NFC West standings. After Week 5, the Arizona Cardinals’ sent a conditional draft pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for veteran running back Adrian Peterson. The “AP experiment” was more of a nightmare than dream come true in New Orleans, as both parties grew frustrated. When Peterson arrived in Arizona, he was immediately named starter on the depth chart but no one could have predicted his Week 6 performance. Peterson rushed 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns as Arizona defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. AP had not topped 100 rushing yards since December 27th, 2015. Critics were silenced and Arizona has a gleam of hope again in their ground attack.

Hopefully, your team also has a gleam of hope still.  With the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans on a bye week as well as a slew of injuries, take a dive with me into Week 7 as we review several players and a defense primed for a superb performance. Other than some drizzle in Chicago, weather shouldn’t be a factor this weekend.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee

Although Tennessee Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota appeared less mobile in his Week 6 return after sustaining a hamstring injury during Week 4, he threw for over 306 passing yards and a touchdown during his Monday Night Football win over the Indianapolis Colts. With an attractive matchup again the Cleveland Browns in Week 7 who have allowed the 2nd most points and most touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, don’t hesitate on locking Mariota into your starting lineup. He has dominated Cleveland in two previous matchups and will be a top play for this weekend.

Week 7 projection: 250 passing yards; 2 TDs

Adrian Peterson, RB, Arizona

When the Arizona Cardinals sent a conditional draft pick to the New Orleans Saints’ for Adrian Peterson, a few curious fantasy owners jumped on the waiver wide while some didn’t even blink. When Coach Bruce Arians listed Peterson atop the running back depth chart, then even more attention was placed on the acquisition.   After AP ran for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Peterson has potentially returned to RB1 status and likely owned in all leagues.   With his second trip to London (rostered by New Orleans during first trip) already this season for a matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Peterson should be considered a low-end RB1 this weekend. The Rams have given up the most points including most rushing yards and touchdowns to opposing running backs. Expect another solid start from the rejuvenated running back!

Week 7 projection: 100 total yards; 1 TD

Bennie Fowler, WR, Denver

After scoring a pair of touchdowns in the Denver Broncos’ season opener, wide receiver Bennie Fowler has been relatively quiet with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders serving as Trevor Siemian’s primary receiving targets. With Sanders sidelined with an injured ankle for Week 7, Fowler may be an excellent spot start as WR3 or Flex against the Los Angeles Chargers who have surrendered the 9th most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. Don’t forget that his monster Week 1 performance was also against the Chargers. With Demaryius Thomas likely to play but not 100%, expect Fowler to be targeted heavily this weekend.

Week 7 projection: 75 receiving yards; 1 TD

Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle

Veteran tight end Jimmy Graham’s fantasy value will never reach the consistent first round pick status that he held during his tenure with the New Orleans Saints. With injuries and lack of consistent production, Graham has been difficult to prognosticate from week-to-week. However, he will be a must start for Week 7 versus the New York Giants who have allowed the most points, yards, and touchdowns to opposing tight ends. In fact, tight ends have scored at least one touchdown each game against the Giants this season! Consider Graham a low TE1/high TE2 this weekend.

Week 7 projection: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD

New Orleans Defense

From worst to “short term” best, the New Orleans Saints’ defense has set the fantasy football world on fire. After another rough start during the first two weeks of the season, it appeared that New Orleans’ defense finish at the bottom of the defensive rankings was inevitable. However, they caught fire beginning in Week 3 and were white hot in Week 6 with 32 points. During this three game span, the Saints have forced nine turnovers, earned 13 sacks, and scored three touchdowns. With a road matchup against the “Aaron Rodgers-less” Green Bay Packers, look for New Orleans to have another solid game.

Week 7 projection: 11 points

About Marc Griffis

Marc Griffis has competed in fantasy football, baseball, and basketball leagues since 2005. Marc has written "The Dive" for Fantasy Sharks since 2010. Additionally, his expertise is featured in David Gonos' E-books "101 Fantasy Baseball Tips" and "101 Fantasy Football Tips". Lastly, Marc competed in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball experts' league from 2012-2014.