Into the deep for Week 7
Need a fill-in starter this week with your studs on a bye? Our Jamey Eisenberg points out a few sleepers at each position who might be flying under the radar but still able to give you points.
Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.
(at NO): Painter isn't going to inspire much
confidence in Fantasy owners because, mainly, he's not
, which is understandable. But Painter has done a nice
job since replacing
three games as a starter, Painter has five touchdowns and one
interception and two outings with at least 21 Fantasy points. This week,
he's facing the Saints, who have allowed multiple touchdowns to four
quarterbacks, and Painter will likely be throwing most of the game with
the Colts chasing points.
a bye, Painter could end up as a quality replacement in deeper formats.
(Started in 8 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Matt Moore (vs. DEN): You don't want to use Moore in the majority of leagues. He has no touchdowns and three interceptions in the limited time he has played since Chad Henne (shoulder) went down in Week 4. But if you're stuck and need a quarterback this week, Moore does have a favorable matchup. Every quarterback to face the Broncos this year has had multiple touchdowns, and Moore hopefully could keep that streak alive. It's a Hail Mary call, but Moore might post quality stats against Denver. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Christian Ponder (vs. GB): Like Moore, you don't want to use Ponder in the majority of leagues. He's a rookie making his first NFL start, and it's against the Packers of all teams. Yes, Green Bay has struggled in pass defense, but the Packers have done well the past two games against Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford , holding them to one touchdown and three interceptions. But the reason we would give Ponder a chance in a Hail Mary move is he will make plays running the ball, and hopefully that could lead to a Tim Tebow-like performance. If you're stuck, Ponder could come through with a quality outing. (Not started yet this season)
Running backMaurice Morris (vs. ATL): Morris will start against the Falcons with Jahvid Best (concussion) out, and he showed in 2010 that he could be a good injury replacement for Best. When Best was dealing with a toe injury, Morris had five games with at least seven Fantasy points in the final seven games of the year, including five touchdowns over that span. The Falcons have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Morris should be considered a good flex option for this week. (Not started yet this season)
Montario Hardesty (vs. SEA): Hardesty is expected to start for the injured Peyton Hillis (hamstring), and he should be used as a flex option this week. Hardesty started for Hillis in Week 3 against Miami when Hillis had strep throat, and he finished with 14 carries for 67 yards and three catches for 19 yards. He should have a similar performance against the Seahawks, who have allowed four touchdowns to opposing running backs and three to reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Started in 6 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Earnest Graham (vs. CHI): Graham did well as an injury replacement for LeGarrette Blount (knee) last week against New Orleans with 12 Fantasy points, and he has the chance for another quality outing this week against the Bears with Blount out again. The Bears have allowed three touchdowns to opposing running backs and five to reach at least nine Fantasy points. Graham might struggle to run the ball, but he's averaging four catches a game and will do well in total yardage. (Started in 57 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Ryan Torain (at CAR): Torain was a tremendous disappointment for Fantasy owners in Week 6 when he had 10 carries for 22 yards against the Eagles. He should make up for that performance this week against the Panthers. Even if Tim Hightower (shoulder) does play in this matchup, Torain will get the majority of touches. And he should do well since the Panthers have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing running backs and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Give Torain another chance as a starting option in the majority of leagues. (Started in 67 percent of leagues in Week 6)
LaDainian Tomlinson (vs. SD): You're not going to start Tomlinson in the majority of leagues, but with Fred Jackson , LeSean McCoy , Frank Gore , Ahmad Bradshaw , BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Cedric Benson on a bye, you could be stuck. Tomlinson is getting a ceremonial start against the Chargers, his former team, and maybe the Jets give him some increased touches in this matchup. Shonn Greene remains the better Fantasy running back of this backfield, but Tomlinson could be a flex option in deeper formats. San Diego has allowed five running backs to reach at least nine Fantasy points this year. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 6)
(at MIA): Fantasy owners are concerned about
Decker now that Tebow is the starting quarterback for the Broncos. In
Denver's last game in Week 5 against San Diego, where Tebow played the
second half, Decker finished with two catches for minus-4 yards. But we
expect Decker to play well against the Dolphins, who have allowed seven
touchdowns to opposing receivers and five to reach double digits in
Fantasy points. With
gone after being traded to St. Louis, Decker assumes the No. 1 receiver
spot for the Broncos, which should lead to quality production. (Started
in 75 percent of leagues in Week 5)
Steve Breaston (at OAK): Breaston is coming off two solid games heading into a positive matchup. He had four catches for 91 yards against Minnesota in Week 4 and four catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns at Indianapolis in Week 5. The Raiders have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven have reached at least eight Fantasy points. Breaston should be useful as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver or flex option, and hopefully his recent production continues against the Raiders. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 5)
Percy Harvin (vs. GB): Harvin is coming off arguably his best game of the season in Week 6 at Chicago when he had seven catches for 78 yards on nine targets. We hope he can build off that game and start to develop a rapport with Ponder. The Packers have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and 11 to reach at least eight Fantasy points, and Harvin has two touchdowns in four career meetings with Green Bay. (Started in 42 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Nate Burleson (vs. ATL): The 49ers may have found a way to take Calvin Johnson away in the red zone by putting two defenders on him, but that opened the door for Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson to score. It was a solid game for Burleson against San Francisco in Week 6 with four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He has a favorable matchup this week against the Falcons, who have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven to reach at least eight Fantasy points. Let's hope he can build off last week's performance and play at a high level for the rest of the year. (Started in 15 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. KC): We're a little leery of starting Carson Palmer in Fantasy leagues this week since he just joined the Raiders on Tuesday. But Palmer should help Heyward-Bey remain a quality Fantasy option, and he's playing at a high level coming into this matchup. He's averaging double digits in Fantasy points in his past three outings, and the Chiefs have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers and six to reach at least eight Fantasy points. (Started in 47 percent of leagues in Week 5)
(at JAC): Dickson has struggled since his big
game in Week 1 against Pittsburgh when he had 11 Fantasy points. Since
then, he has 13 Fantasy points combined in his past four outings. But
this is a good week to use Dickson since the Jaguars have struggled with
have all scored against the Jaguars, and we expect
Dickson to find the end zone also. He is one of my favorite sleepers in
Week 7. (Started in 13 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Benjamin Watson (vs. SEA): The Seahawks have struggled the past two games to defend tight ends with Tony Gonzalez and Jake Ballard scoring touchdowns and reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Watson could find the end zone against Seattle as well since he has two touchdowns on the year, and he remains heavily involved in the passing game for the Browns with at least eight targets in his past three outings. We would consider Watson a quality bye-week replacement. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Lance Kendricks (at DAL): Kendricks had his best game of the season against the Packers in Week 6 with four catches for 71 yards, and we hope he can build on that performance moving forward. He had six targets in the game, and he could be reliable now for the Rams with Lloyd coming from Denver and likely drawing plenty of coverage from opposing defenses. Kendricks has a good matchup in Week 7 at Dallas since the Cowboys have allowed four tight ends to reach at least seven Fantasy points. We hope this is the start of something special for Kendricks. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 6)
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