In fantasy drafts and auctions, it’s become common to not invest a high pick or a large number of auction dollars in a starting quarterback due to the large number of attractive options in 10-team and 12-team leagues. This season, several of those high-quality options have failed to produce, and those disappointments haven’t been limited to young upside plays like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, but also well-established QBs like Tom Brady and Eli Manning. Without Julio Jones in the fold, Matt Ryan is also expected to experience a drop-off.
Replacing those players underneath the elite trio of Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees has been an interesting mix of good QBs who have outperformed expectations such as Tony Romo and Andrew Luck, as well as players thought to be low-upside QBs who have racked up plenty of fantasy points over the first six weeks, like Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler.
It reinforces the point that you don’t want to spend a fairly large amount of resources on a QB if you can’t get one of the absolute elites. It’s better to pick a few lower-round guys with upside and be prepared to cut bait if someone unexpectedly surges out in front of the pack. My only remaining fantasy team has been rotating Cutler and Russell Wilson at QB, and I’ve plucked Rivers off the wire in a few others.
One quarterback who I’ve added in multiple leagues this week checks in as my “Start” option after an excellent start in Week 6. Looking at his upcoming schedule, he could be the next QB to rise from the rubble and bypass the presumed QB1 class of 2013.
Start/Sit Week 7
Start: Nick Foles vs. DAL
The Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better Week 6 start from Foles, who went 22-of-31 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions through the air while adding a rushing touchdown on a quarterback draw against the Buccaneers. Adding that to his limited work from the first five weeks of the season, Foles has completed 67 percent of his passes for 542 yards while averaging 8.9 yards per attempt and throwing six touchdowns and no interceptions. He’ll get the opportunity to turn the page on the Michael Vick era with continued good play, and he should come through this week against a bad Dallas pass defense that will be without its best pass rusher.
Sit: Colin Kaepernick at TEN
Kaepernick has been far from the young QB who took the NFL by storm in the second half of the 2012 season and in last year’s playoffs. After passing for more than 400 yards in Week 1 against the Packers, Kaepernick couldn’t top 167 passing yards for four straight weeks before totaling 252 passing yards in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals. Aside from a nine-carry, 87-yard performance in Week 2 against the Seahawks, the rushing attack just hasn’t been there for the dual threat, as he’s rushed for less than 25 yards in each of his five games aside from that Week 2 performance. His Week 7 opponent is the Titans, a team that has been rough on quarterbacks in past weeks, giving up just two TDs over the last month and not allowing any 300-yard passing performances this season.
Start: Joseph Randle at PHI
If you own Joseph Randle in a fantasy league, you likely spent big bucks to pick him up from waivers this week. If that’s the case, you may as well use him in Week 7, as he should wind up dominating the carries for the Cowboys. I think he’ll reach the end zone at least once and get to 90 rushing yards, which is the average rushing output the Eagles have allowed this season. He’s still more RB2 than RB1 thanks to his lack of track record, but he seems likely to produce solid numbers due to his team’s injuries at running back.
Sit: Rashard Mendenhall & Andre Ellington vs. SEA
Mendenhall has been pedestrian, while Ellington has been very good in limited work. However, Ellington doesn’t profile as a feature back, so it’s highly unlikely either one of these guys will dominate touches on offense in a single game. Add to that system limitation the fact that they have to play the big bad Seahawks defense and it’s clear neither should be used in fantasy leagues. I’d even try to avoid them at my flex position, though Ellington does offer less downside in PPR leagues.
Start: Keenan Allen at JAC
The Jaguars showed this past week that they can’t be counted out in any game, at least while Chad Henne is the quarterback. That mitigates the concern that an offense like the Chargers may not have to pass a whole lot in this matchup. The Jaguars have given up double-digit fantasy performances to at least one opposing WR in each of the last four weeks. In Week 7, that honor should go to Keenan Allen, a third-round rookie who has topped 100 yards and scored a TD in each of his last two games. He should continue to be heavily targeted (21 targets in his last two games), making him a locked-in starter for fantasy teams.
Sit: Dwayne Bowe vs. HOU
While the Texans’ passing game has completed imploded in recent weeks, the team’s passing defense has been outstanding, particularly against wide receivers. Over the last three weeks, the top WR performance has come from Doug Baldwin, who managed just 39 yards on three receptions in Week 4. Aside from that, the Texans have held Anquan Boldin to 21 yards, Chris Givens to 20 yards, Golden Tate to 17 yards, Austin Pettis to 12 yards, Sidney Rice to 11 yards and Tavon Austin to three yards. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row of top wideouts, but you couldn’t classify Bowe as a top wideout either, not when he’s failed to top four catches or 60 yards this season. I saw him on the waiver wire in one league and didn’t have the heart to put in a claim, so I certainly wouldn’t consider starting him until he shows a huge leap forward.
Bye Week Plug-and-Plays
TE: Coby Fleener vs. DEN; Jordan Reed vs. CHI; Zach Ertz vs. DAL
PK: Alex Henery vs. DAL; Nick Novak at JAC; Ryan Succop vs. HOU
DF: Miami Dolphins vs. BUF; San Diego Chargers at JAC; Minnesota Vikings at NYG
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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