In Week 7’s early waiver wire report, there was a breakdown of the huge voids that are about to hit fantasy rosters with stars like Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and Chicago’s Matt Forte resting up on their bye weeks. But one dilemma weekly fantasy players won’t face in Week 7 is whether or not to purchase complete fantasy bust and Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy.
A couple of months before the season began the third-year rusher was No. 1 on ESPN’s preseason fantasy rankings, No. 2 on Yahoo’s, and No. 5 on NumberFire’s. And what’s he produced so far? A mere 260 yards and one touchdown off 67 rushes in six games, and nine receptions for 87 yards. According to FantasyData.com, going by standard scoring that’s afforded Lacy and his owners 40.3 fantasy points in six weeks. Or rather No. 35 in the entire NFL.
Clearly Lacy is still hampered by a right ankle injury, even though there was a glimmer of hope when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported he wasn’t taping the gimpy hoof nearly as much before Week 6. But Lacy had four touches for three yards and was out for pretty much all of Green Bay’s 27-20 win over San Diego, with veteran James Starks taking over and rocking out to the tune of 112 yards and a touchdown on a minuscule 10 carries. For 7.8 percent of FanDuel players, Lacy wound up a huge disappointment once again.
Yahoo wouldn’t go so far as to suggest cutting or trading Lacy outright in traditional fantasy leagues, but for now we’re recommending to keep Lacy on your radar in weekly leagues after the bye but not to make him a priority when you select your team for Week 8 and beyond.
And just like we discussed in last week’s rankings, weekly league players don’t really have to fret too much when it comes to their star running back because another can be added next week without any long-term ramifications.
Based off our Week 7 rankings, there’s actually a glut of running backs owners can select that can make up for the loss of a Forte, Cincinnati’s dominate one-two combo of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, or even Denver’s slowly emerging Ronnie Hillman.
Here’s our full breakdown of players to target in Week 7, broken down by position and their favorable matchups.
Week 7 byes: Chicago, Denver, Green Bay, Cincinnati
Key players on byes: Matt Forte, RB, Bears; Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Bears; Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears; Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals, Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, RBs, Bengals; A.J. Green, WR, Bengals; Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals; Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers; James Jones, Randall Cobb, WRs, Packers; Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, WRs, Broncos; Denver D/ST
1.Carson Palmer, Cardinals
2.Philip Rivers, Chargers
3.Matt Ryan, Falcons
4.Andrew Luck, Colts
5.Tom Brady, Patriots
Bonus: Matthew Stafford, Lions
Brady’s bumped down four spots because the last time he faced a Todd Bowles coached defense he tossed for more than 300 yards but only one touchdown and didn’t complete 60 percent of his passes. That was back in 2011 against the Dolphins, but Bowles and the Jets have that Darrelle Revis guy. Rivers’ incredible numbers can’t seem to win San Diego any real games, but he’s a monster for weekly leagues, even against a Raiders D allowing only 16.2 points per game to quarterbacks. Luck could also be back to form, while Stafford’s our bonus pick versus a Vikings D he’s historically lit up.
1.Devonta Freeman, Falcons
2.Adrian Peterson, Vikings
3.Frank Gore, Colts
4.Chris Ivory, Jets
5.Lamar Miller, Dolphins
Freeman surges past AD this week but they're still both the safest bets at running back for weekly owners who just want consistency at running back. Gore has a very favorable matchup against a Saints D that’s second-to-last in the league in rushing defense, not to mention how focused New Orleans will be on stopping Luck. Also interim Dolphins head coach Dan Campbell clearly knows how to fully utilize Miller.
1.Antonio Brown, Steelers
2.Julio Jones, Falcons
3.DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
4.Calvin Johnson, Lions
5.Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Whether its Landry Jones or Michael Vick, Brown should once again go off against a Chiefs D letting up 35 points per game to wide receivers. Hopkins moves up from our FLEX rankings to the big-boy group because he might be the best receiver in the league right now, and because he’ll meet a Dolphins secondary allowing 23.3 points per game to opposing receivers.
1.Antonio Gates, Chargers
2.Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
3.Greg Olsen, Panthers
4.Travis Kelce, Chiefs
5.Coby Fleener, Colts
Gates bumps down Gronk but only because the Raiders are dreadful against tight ends this season, while Kelce gets more looks with Jamaal Charles obviously gone and due to the Steelers sitting right behind Oakland with 14 points per game allowed to TEs.
1.Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
2.Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints
3.Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens
4.Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers
5.Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
Gurley’s back from a bye and gets to wreak havoc on a Cleveland defense that made it look like Denver could actually run the ball. Cooks should blow up against the Colts weak secondary, and Bryant has 10 career touchdowns off only 32 receptions, think about that one for a while. And thanks to a lack of certifiable weapons, Forsett's getting more and more targets in the Ravens passing game.
Typically you should stay away from D/STs playing on Thursday night, but Seattle’s ripped up Colin Kaepernick for seven interceptions and 53.7 passer rating in six career games. The Rams host a Cleveland squad that can’t realistically rely on Josh McCown to win them games every week, while the Giants were No. 3 against the run heading into Week 6 and next face a Dallas offense that has no other weapons but at running back.