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Traps & Trends – Week 7

With the dust settling after most of the Week 6 NFL fantasy action, our Traps & Trends guy Matt Wilson says there’s a promising rookie wideout that quite a few owners have overlooked. He also gives us his take on nine other players that stood out for good reasons or bad ones.

 

1. EDDIE LACY…PAGING EDDIE LACY…PLEASE PICK UP THE WHITE COURTESY PHONE…YOUR FANTASY OWNERS WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU

The Damage: Despite drawing a very favorable home matchup versus a San Diego Chargers defense that had surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, Lacy turned in a stink bomb fantasy outing. He drew the start, but Lacy rushed four times for three yards and caught two passes for 17 yards. To rub salt in the wounds of frustrated Lacy owners, his backup, James Starks, piled up 112 yards rushing and one touchdown on 10 carries, and caught one pass for five yards and one score. By the way, Starks also handled most of the red-zone work.

The Diagnosis: TOSSUP

I hope Lacy’s very disappointing start to the season will put an end to all that ridiculous Lacy-is-a-safe-first-round-pick talk. Is the ankle injury that he suffered back in Week 2 still a problem? Heading into the Chargers game, Lacy wasn’t listed on the injury report. Perhaps the ankle is still an issue or perhaps he suffered another injury that Green Bay is keeping secret. Lacy has a Week 7 bye to rest up. Maybe he’ll rebound and resume his workhorse ways during the second half of the season. I can’t promise you that he will, so that’s why this one is a tossup. Starks has played very well and has earned more playing time in what unfortunately is starting to look like a hot-hand committee backfield.

 

2. WELCOME BACK MATTHEW STAFFORD?

The Damage: Matthew Stafford and the entire Detroit Lions offense played very poorly during an ugly Week 5 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Stafford threw for 188 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions before he was deservedly benched. As the saying goes, “what a difference a week makes.” Stafford racked up a surprisingly huge rebound performance in Week 6 versus the leaky Chicago Bears defense, compiling 405 passing yards and four touchdown passes against just one pick.

The Diagnosis: TREND

Pass the ketchup and mustard; I’m going to eat a big serving of crow. Last week, I had said Stafford and the Lions offense had looked hopeless, and “…there was no way you should trust the Lions triggerman as a weekly starter” right now. I was wr…wr…wr…wrong. Honestly, it had looked like the wheels had come off the wagon for the Detroit offense with Stafford standing on the sideline and pouting, but a fantasy-friendly matchup against a struggling defense was just the medicine that the Lions offense needed. While I still have some doubts about Stafford and the Lions offense as a whole, he’s clearly safe to start in two upcoming plus matchups against the Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs before a Week 9 bye.

 

3. WELCOME BACK, LAMAR MILLER?

The Damage: After averaging 11.8 touches and 54.5 total yards with no touchdowns scored as a complete non-factor in the Miami Dolphins offense during the first month of the season, Miller toted the rock 19 times for 113 yards, which were both season highs, and visited the end zone for the first time in 2015 during the Dolphins Week 6 triumph over the suddenly struggling Tennessee Titans. He also tacked on two catches for five yards.

The Diagnosis: TREND

Miller is back in the fantasy RB2 team picture. If Miller has been sitting on the end of your bench, dust him off and insert the fifth-year pro back in to your starting lineup for Week 7. Miami interim head coach Dan Campbell had vowed to pound the football more with Miller, and Campbell kept his word. Miller’s Week 7 home matchup against a struggling Houston Texans defense is a plus one. However…you probably figured a “however” was coming…his other upcoming matchups…Week 8, Week 9 and Week 10 road matchups against the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, are toughies on paper. Bottom line: Miller should continue to receive a consistent workload.

 

4. A.J. GREEN…PAGING A.J GREEN…PLEASE PICK UP THE WHITE COURTESY PHONE…YOUR FANTASY OWNERS WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU

The Damage: Despite drawing a plus road matchup against a Buffalo Bills defense that had surrendered the 10th-most fantasy points to enemy wideouts heading into Week 6, stud A.J. Green compiled a disappointing four catches for 36 yards on seven targets. Green has gone three straight games without hitting pay dirt.

The Diagnosis: TRAP

Green owners, relax. This wasn’t a sign of more bad things to come. Following the Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 7 bye, Green should rebound nicely from his season-worst showing against a leaky Pittsburgh Steelers secondary. What happened to Green in the Buffalo game? He drew surprisingly impressive shadow coverage from rookie cornerback Ronald Darby most of the afternoon. In addition, the new-and-improved Andy Dalton is more open to looking for his capable secondary targets (Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard, among others) instead of trying to force the rock into Green.

 

5. BLAKE IS NO LONGER A FAKE

The Damage: Bortles isn’t winning many games, but he has been racking up the fantasy stats lately. In Week 5, Bortles racked up 303 passing yards and four touchdown tosses against just one pick during the Jacksonville Jaguars’ home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He followed that up with 331 passing yards and three scoring strikes against three interceptions Sunday during his team’s loss to the Houston Texans. On the season, Bortles has averaged 271.7 passing yards and 2.1 touchdown passes per game. He has tossed multiple scoring strikes in four contests.

The Diagnosis: TREND

Thanks to an improved supporting cast that features the on-the-rise wideout duo of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and often-injured-but-capable tight end Julius Thomas, Bortles has turned the corner in his development. The second-year pro doesn’t deserve fantasy QB1 status, but he looks like a very safe streaming option in plus matchups. Bortles draws a favorable Week 7 home matchup versus a suspect Buffalo Bills pass defense before a Week 8 bye. As of late Sunday evening, the Week 7 playing status of Allen Robinson (leg contusion) was a question mark. If Robinson is a no-go, Bortles production would take a hit.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson has played NFL fantasy football since 1994 and has been a featured columnist at FantasySharks.com since 2008. His 18 combined years of professional writing experience includes a five-year stint as a contributing writer/editor at KFFL.com. He has been a featured contributor to The Fantasy Football Guide since 2008 and has been published regularly in the award-winning USA Today Sports Fantasy Football preview. Matt is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and holds a degree in journalism from Northern Illinois.