Trying to figure out who to start and who to sit for Week 7 of the 2014 NFL fantasy football season? Check out our tip sheet to find out which players will lead you to victory this week and which players should be avoided.
Who to Start for Week 7
QB: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Oakland Raiders) – After missing several games due to nerve damage in his shoulder, Palmer bounced back in Week 6 with a 250-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Washington Redskins. In Week 7, Palmer will come up against a Raiders’ secondary that just allowed San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers to pass for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Given Palmer’s superior supporting cast, he could easily replicate those numbers. Start him.
RB: Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Atlanta Falcons) – Once a little-used scatback, Forsett has transformed himself into a viable RB1 for the Ravens. He required just 14 carries to rush for 111 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he will face an Atlanta Falcons defense in Week 7 that has allowed more fantasy points to running backs than any other team in the last five weeks, according to Yahoo. Start him.
RB: Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars) – The Browns’ commitment to the running game under new head coach Mike Pettine has played a large part in the team’s early-season resurgence, and Tate is their go-to guy. He rushed for just 78 yards in Week 6, but added a pair of touchdowns on the ground. In Week 7, the Browns will continue their ball-control efforts in a road matchup with a Jaguars defense has surrendered an average of more than 20 fantasy points to opposing running backs this season in standard formats. Start him.
WR: Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (vs. Minnesota Vikings) – Watkins has escaped the clutches of Revis Island and will face a much more forgiving Vikings secondary in Week 7. He displayed a strong rapport with new Bills quarterback Kyle Orton in Week 5, and will be covered at least some of the time by Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who has struggled mightily this season. Start him.
WR: James Jones, Oakland Raiders (vs. Arizona Cardinals) – The former Packers wide receiver was flown under the fantasy radar this season, but has emerged as one of rookie Raiders QB Derek Carr’s preferred targets. Moreover, the normally stalwart Cardinals defense has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team this year, according to Yahoo. Look for Jones to benefit from his role in the Raiders’ pass-happy offense in Week 7. Start him.
WR: Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Cleveland Browns) – Shorts has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, but the Jaguars offense may not have a more valuable weapon when he’s on the field. He racked up an incredible 16 targets in Week 6, resulting in a 10-catch, 103-yard performance against the Tennessee Titans. Shorts has been targeted at least 10 times in two of the three games he’s played this year, and will face a beatable Browns secondary in Week 7. Start him.
TE: Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. Dallas Cowboys) – Donnell’s presence in this section may seem surprising, considering the fact that he’s caught just one pass for six yards in his last two games. But he started the season off on a torrid pace, and a season-ending injury to top wide receiver Victor Cruz will force Giants quarterback Eli Manning to look elsewhere to advance the ball down the field. Furthermore, the Cowboys have given up the 2nd-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year. Start him.
Defense/Special Teams: Arizona Cardinals (vs. Oakland Raiders) – The Cardinals defense has underperformed this season and probably will surrender a good amount of yards against the Raiders in Week 7. But Oakland QB Derek Carr has proven himself willing to force the ball into tight spots this season, which could result in an interception or two. Arizona intercepted similarly erratic Redskins quarterback Kurt Cousins three times in Week 6, and could have similar success on Sunday. Start them.
Who to Sit for Week 7
QB: Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. Dallas Cowboys) – Just when it looked as though the Giants offense was finally back on track, Manning and company suffered through a disastrous 27-0 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6. Now Manning will enter a Week 7 matchup against a rapidly improving Cowboys defense without his top wide receiver or a successful running game. This could get ugly. Sit him.
RB: Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. San Francisco 49ers) – Hillman looked good while filling in for injured starter Montee Ball in Week 6, amassing 100 yards rushing against a strong Jets defense. But the 49ers defense is dominant against the run, and Hillman’s sub-200 pound frame isn’t exactly built to withstand punishment from one of the league’s most physical units. Sit him.
RB: C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (vs. Minnesota Vikings) – Once considered a rising star in the NFL, Spiller has fallen off this year, failing to rush for more than 70 yards in any game this season. In fact, his performances seem to be getting worse – he rushed for a combined 27 yards on 16 carries over the last two weeks and touched the ball just six times in Week 6 against the Patriots. Spiller doesn’t make for a strong play in Week 7 against the Vikings. Sit him.
WR: Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams (vs. Seattle Seahawks) – Quick’s red-hot start came to a screeching halt against the 49ers in Week 6, when he caught just one pass for 10 yards. His fortunes are unlikely to improve in Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks, where he’ll face star cornerback Richard Sherman and a defense that’s still smarting over its stunning upset loss to the Cowboys. Quick will bounce back, but not this week. Sit him.
WR: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Denver Broncos) – Under head coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers offense is all about sharing the ball – something that has hurt Crabtree owners in 2014. The sure-handed wide receiver has just four total catches over his last two games, and will likely be covered by shutdown Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib in Week 7. Sit him.
WR: Wes Welker, Denver Broncos (vs. San Francisco 49ers) – Welker’s one-catch performance against the Jets in Week 6 was likely an aberration, but the veteran wide receiver wasn’t exactly dominating opposing defenses before that game, either. He has yet to surpass 60 yards receiving in a game this season and has to compete with talented teammates Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for targets in Denver’s high-powered offense. Moreover, a Week 7 matchup against the 49ers defense will make it difficult for Welker to get back on track this week. Sit him.
TE: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans) – Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite check-down option has been a nonfactor for each of the last two weeks and has recorded double-digit fantasy points just once through six games this season. The Texans’ strong pass rush may force “Big Ben” to get rid of the ball quickly in Week 7, which would benefit Miller owners in PPR leagues. But Miller’s value in standard formats is touchdown-dependent, and he’s reached the end zone just once this year. Sit him.
Defense/Special Teams: Carolina Panthers (vs. Green Bay Packers) – Carolina’s defense was a huge factor in its deep playoff run last season, but it has been a risky proposition for fantasy owners in 2014. In fact, the Panthers D/ST has many games with one or less fantasy points – three – as it does double-digit performances. A Week 7 matchup with red-hot Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won’t be the best time to roll the dice. Sit them.