Boy, we have reached that point in the NFL season where that one team needs a bye week more than any other team in the league. Every season, there is one team that is performing so terribly that they barely scratch and claw their way into the bye week. This year, that team is the Buccaneers. Despite a dramatic comeback win against the Steelers a few weeks back, the Bucs have allowed 48 or more points in two of their last four games. They let JOE FLACCO throw for five touchdowns in the FIRST QUARTER on their home turf. As you can see, they’re even letting 35-year-old receivers get behind their defense. What is the lesson we’ve learned here? Start all your players against the Buccaneers. The Eagles join them with a Week 7 bye, so all in all, owners have a hefty number of players to replace. As usual, take these suggestions into account when battling injuries as well, not just the bye weeks. My knowledge is here for your benefit, obviously!
Nothing like a good ol’ fashioned revenge game, eh? Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, was more excited to see the return of Carson Palmer last week than the owners of Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. Both guys were able to notch their first touchdowns of the season and Fitz had his best game by far. It appears as though Palmer is finally healthy enough to play (knock on wood), and hopefully that trend continues. In the two games he’s played this year, he’s aired the ball out at least 37 times with 250 yards and two touchdowns in each. DA RAIDERS have held their own against the quarterback position for Fantasy Football purposes this year, but Palmer might have a little extra motivation. Last year, he was traded away by Oakland for just a sixth round pick, and although it’s just business, that is insulting. While the Raiders have been solid against the pass, they are allowing the second highest completion percentage this season at 70.2-percent. Look for Palmer to turn those 30-plus pass attempts into high-percentage completions and touchdowns this week.
Start Palmer over: Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan
Looking Deeper: The Jaguars are desperate and coming home to play the Browns in Week 7. Rookie Blake Bortles has been anything but perfect this season but the team is letting him air it out. Bortles has thrown the ball at least 36 times in each of his three starts. The Jags trail in a lot of their games because . . . well . . . their defense stinks. He is going to turn the ball over at times but this gunslinger has some weapons around him and is going to likely pick up at least 30 rushing yards during the game. The Browns have looked vulnerable at times, and if Bortles falls behind early he will have to throw to get back in it.
Frank, are you really going to suggest a running back that played just 17 offensive snaps (29-percent) last week as a sleeper in Week 7? Well, if that guy is Isaiah Crowell, then why not? To be honest, Crowell is a guy that can make a Fantasy Football living off just 17 offensive snaps. Of course, owners would like to see more opportunity and we encourage it, but on most plays where he is in the game, he is going to get the ball. And when Crowell gets the ball, Crowell does as he pleases with that ball. At least, that’s what it looked like to me. Although Ben Tate has been effective for Fantasy Football, he ran to the tune of just 3.1 yards-per-carry last week while Crowell averaged 7.0 yards-per-carry. The Browns head to Jacksonville this week to take on an 0-6 team that is allowing just over 23 fantasy points-per game this year. That’s bad enough for fourth-most in the NFL right now. Should the Browns get up big in this game, they will use that as a reason to rest the oft-injured Tate and showcase Crowell, who already has four rushing touchdowns this season.
Start Crowell over: Bishop Sankey, Darren McFadden, Storm Johnson, C.J. Spiller, Jerick McKinnon
Looking Deeper: It’s no secret Eddie Lacy hasn’t performed up to par this season and the Packers have realized it as well. That’s why they’ve consciously turned this running game into more of an even split with James Starks, who appears to have more burst of the two thus far. Starks is currently averaging 4.3 yards-per carry to Lacy’s 3.8 this season. This week, Green Bay takes on the Panthers, who have absolutely been gashed by the run this season, allowing a league-worst 5.5 yards-per carry. If the Packers make it their mission to keep Cam Newton off the field in this game, they could lean on the run game here.
Yes, I am copping out and choosing two wide receivers here . . . from the same team! Andre Holmes and James Jones have been Fantasy Football diamonds in the rough this season and should continue to do so this week. For a team that was given such high expectations defensively, the Cardinals have looked less than impressive against the pass. The Raiders will host the Red Birds this week, much to the delight of Holmes and Jones owners. The Cards are allowing the most yards through the air on a per-game basis with 309, and are giving up nearly 30 Fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Only the (ugh) Buccaneers are worse in that category. Holmes has 20 targets over the past two games with three receiving touchdowns in that span. On the contrary, Jones is the consistent veteran that has had at least 83 yards receiving or a touchdown in four of the five games he’s played. With Arizona giving up these big plays to wide receivers, I think both have a legitimate chance to get in the end zone this week.
Start Holmes/Jones over: Eric Decker, Brandin Cooks, Keenan Allen, Wes Welker
Looking Deeper: The Giants need to find a way to replace the dancing antics of Victor Cruz and what better way to do so then with Odell Beckham Jr. The rookie has already proven that he has some dance moves of his own, as we saw after he scored his first career touchdown. The bottom line is Eli Manning has to find players to replace Cruz’s targets and Beckham Jr. is a prime candidate. Yes, Reuben Randle will get his, but Beckham Jr. fits more of that Cruz mold in that he is speedy, runs great routes, and has the ability to make opponents miss after the catch. The Cowboys defense has been respectable but isn’t impenetrable. I think the Giants come out firing in this divisional game.
After last season, I thought I vowed to myself never to suggest using this player again in Fantasy Football. He goes by the name of Jared Cook. The kid is very talented and was put in a situation to succeed after being reunited with former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher in St. Louis, but it just didn’t pan out. This season is a different story. Cook has at least four receptions in every game this year, while drawing at least eight targets in four of those five contests. The only knock has been that he has no touchdowns and I think that changes this week. The Rams get the pissed off Seahawks who have been burned by tight ends this season. No team has given up more touchdowns (seven) to opposing tight ends than Seattle. Rookie quarterback Austin Davis will be leaning on Cook this week as he’s done all season.
Start Cook over: Travis Kelce, Timothy Wright, Owen Daniels, Both Saints Tight Ends
One of the surprises on the defensive side of the ball this season has been the Buffalo Bills (aside from last week). They’ve turned one of the worst rushing defenses in the past, into the best through the first six weeks of the season. They are plugging up the holes up front and that does not bode well for Jerick McKinnnon or Matt Asiata this week. Unfortunately, after losing Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have become the league punching bag for opposing Fantasy defenses. Teddy Bridgewater is young and has potential, but will be turnover-prone at times. I never thought I would say this but . . . all you have to do is BILLieve.
Start Bills D/ST over: Browns, Texans, Cowboys, Broncos