Welcome to Week 7 of the National Football League fantasy division. Stay tuned to the Rotoworld News Page for all the pertinent actives and inactives and also check out our live blog which I’ll be live blogging starting an hour before kickoff.
We also have rankings from Mr. Pat Daugherty, Nick Mensio’s sleeper picks, my AFC and NFC Targets and Touches and Evan Silva's detailed look at every game in his Matchup Column. So click on all of those and read them word for word and I'll quiz you when you get back.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $30,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 7. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $4,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
Buccaneers at Falcons
* Carl Nicks (MRSA foot) is out. That isn’t the best news for Doug Martin.
* Mike Williams (hamstring) was a full participant in practice again and is listed as probable. He will play.
* Roddy White (Hamstring) is out for the first time ever. Harry Douglas will be the #1 wide receiver for Atlanta.
* Jason Snelling (concussion) was a full participant in practice and is listed as probable. Jacquizz Rodgers will still be the lead back.
* Steven Jackson (hamstring) has yet to practice and is out once again.
Bears at Redskins
* Martellus Bennett (knee) is listed as questionable, but played last Thursday night while listed as questionable and will be 10 days removed from that game when he faces Washington.
Cowboys at Eagles
* DeMarco Murray (knee) is listed as doubtful and will not play. Joseph Randle will get the start and be the main back because Lance Dunbar (hamstring) is also out this week.
* DeMarcus Ware (thigh) didn’t practice this week and is considered doubtful. Upgrade the Eagles’ offense.
* Miles Austin (hamstring) didn’t practice Thursday or Friday to help rest his hamstring, but he is considered probable and will play. Expect Terrance Williams to still be the #2 wide receiver.
* Michael Vick (hamstring) said he isn’t playing this week. He did practice and is listed as questionable, but I think we can take Vick at his word here.
Patriots at Jets
* Rob Gronkowski (back, arm) is listed as questionable, but that is the Patriot way. He has been cleared to play and should.
* Danny Amendola (concussion) is out. Julian Edelman (thigh) will play with the questionable tag and should continue to see plenty of targets.
* Aqib Talib (hip) is listed as doubtful, so should not play. This is helpful to Stephen Hill’s prospects.
* Brandon Bolden (knee) is expected to play as he has been doing with the questionable tag.
* Santonio Holmes (hamstring) did not practice this week and is out.
Bills at Dolphins
* E.J. Manuel (knee) remains out, but Thad Lewis (foot) was a full participant in practice Friday and will play.
* C.J. Spiller (ankle) practiced in full on Friday and is listed as probable. He will play, but until we know he is 100% his workload is still somewhat in question.
* Stevie Johnson (back) practiced in full and will play.
* Brandon Gibson (hip) was limited in practice and is listed as questionable, but is tentatively expected to play barring a setback.
* Cameron Wake (knee) practiced in full and is probable. This isn’t the best news Thad Lewis has heard.
Chargers at Jaguars
* Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is questionable, but says he plans on playing. He had trouble sleeping earlier in the week and seems to still be in a lot of pain.
* Justin Blackmon (hamstring) did not practice on Friday, but says there is “no question” he’ll play.
* Ace Sanders (concussion) and Stephen Burton (concussion) are out. Mike Brown will be the main beneficiary.
* Marcedes Lewis (calf) was limited in practice, but is listed as probable and should be able to go.
* Eddie Royal (toe) did not practice and is listed as questionable, but most likely will not play. This would give Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown a small bump.
Rams at Panthers
* Benny Cunningham (ankle) didn’t practice and is out against the Panthers. He had lost most of his playing time to Zac Stacy anyway.
* Cortland Finnegan (thigh) was limited in practice and is considered doubtful to play. He has been horrible this season so it isn’t a big loss.
* Greg Olsen (foot) is probable and will play.
Bengals at Lions
* Calvin Johnson (knee) practiced all week and is listed as probable. He is an elite start again.
* Joique Bell (ribs) was limited in practice and is listed as questionable. He will probably play, but Theo Riddick could see a few more snaps this week.
* Theo Riddick (concussion) returned to practice and is listed as questionable. He is two weeks removed from his concussion and practicing. It looks like he will go.
* Tony Scheffler (concussion) didn’t practice this week and is out. Joseph Fauria will continue to see more snaps with him out, but his 26 last week still isn’t enough to play him safely, even with his amazing touchdown percentage.
49ers at Titans
* Jake Locker (hip) practiced and is listed as questionable, but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Titans expect Locker to start against the 49ers.
* Shonn Greene (knee) practiced all week and is listed as questionable, but looks ready to take back the short yardage/goal line work from Jackie Battle.
* Vernon Davis (hamstring) practiced all week and is coming off a 180 yard, two-touchdown game. I think he’s okay.
Texans at Chiefs
* Matt Schaub (ankle) is out and Case Keenum will get the start.
* Andre Johnson (shin) was a full participant in practice on Friday and is probable. He’s still a must start even with Keenum at the helm.
* Brandon Flowers (knee) was limited in practice Friday, but is listed as probable and will play.
* Anthony Fasano (knee) had a limited practice Friday and is listed as probable. He will return as the team’s #1 tight end.
Ravens at Steelers
There are no fantasy-relevant injuries to report.
Browns at Packers
* Willis McGahee (knee) practiced in full and is probable to start.
* James Jones (knee) did not practice all week, but is still listed as questionable. It seems unlikely he will play.
* Clay Matthews (thumb) is out and should remain out until Week 11 or 12.
* Linebacker Nick Perry has a broken foot and is also out and Linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) is out as well. Three Packers LBs are out for this game. Brandon Weeden should have time to throw.
* Casey Hayward (hamstring) was limited in practice Friday and is listed as questionable.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Broncos at Colts
* Eric Decker (shoulder) and Wes Welker (ankle) practiced in full and are a go as usual.
* LaRon Landry (ankle) will return this week. His tackling ability is his forte so Knowshon Moreno will feel the biggest brunt of his return.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Vikings at Giants
* Adrian Peterson (hamstring) didn't practice Friday, but there's no reason to believe he won't be able to play on Monday night.
* Blair Walsh (hamstring) was limited in practice Friday, but played through the same injury last week. As long as the Vikings don’t sign another kicker he will play.
* Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) was limited, but practiced Thursday and Friday and looks set to be the lead back on Monday night.
Matchup To Stack
Dallas at Philadelphia
The over/under for this game is 55 points and the way these two defenses have been playing, I see no reason they can’t top that number. And even though the Eagles run the ball by default, they do it at such a pace as to not kill the other team’s time of possession. They are actually 30th in time of possession with 26.22 minutes a game, while fourth in points scored per game with 27.7. Dallas is second in the league with 30.5 points scored per game and should have around 33 minutes to put those points up against a very poor passing defense.
The Eagles, partly due to the time of possession gap and a lot to do with the talent gap, are struggling mightily against opposing quarterbacks and receivers. Just last week they faced rookie Mike Glennon sans Mike Williams and he threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns on 43 pass attempts. One thing you will notice when looking at the Eagles’ opposing quarterbacks is the amount of passes they throw. If you play the Eagles, they will score on you and they will give you plenty of chances to throw on their weak pass defense. Opposing teams are averaging 44 pass attempts against them, the highest in the league. In Week 5, Eli Manning threw 52 times. He was awful, but he still threw for 334 yards and two touchdowns. On the season they are allowing 327.5 passing yards and 2.33 touchdowns per game. Amazingly, each receiving touchdown they’ve allowed is to a wide receiver, the most in the league against wide receivers.
The Eagles run defense, as you would expect, is a little better than their pass defense. Teams have to keep up with Philadelphia in scoring and their secondary and pass rush (26th in sacks) are lacking. So offenses are usually compelled to throw the ball, which keeps the run defense from being blitzkrieged over and over again. There will be plenty of passing and with DeMarco Murray out, it will give Tony Romo even more reason to throw the ball. That leaves Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams as prime candidates for huge games, while Miles Austin most likely will take a back seat after missing two practices this week and not looking anywhere near 100% in his return to the field. Jason Witten is of course a must start, but the Eagles are one of five teams to not allow a touchdown to a tight end this season.
On the other side of the ball the Cowboys’ defense hasn’t been that much better. Whereas the Eagles are giving up a league high 420.2 yards a game, the Cowboys give up the third most at 413.2 yards per game. Most of that yardage has come through the air. They have actually given up more passing yards per game than the Eagles with 329 and one more receiving touchdowns with 14. But unlike Philadelphia, Dallas has been a little more liberal with who they allow to score touchdowns. They have given up seven to opposing wide receivers, four to tight ends and three to running backs. That’s a nice equal opportunity porous defense.
And the Cowboys, who started off pretty stingy against the run, have sprung some leaks lately against Knowshon Moreno and Alfred Morris. And they also haven’t been too adept at stopping running backs from catching the ball, having given up 49 receptions, 407 yards and those aforementioned three touchdowns, all ranking them the worst in the league in each category. And now the Cowboys are without DeMarcus Ware who ranked seventh against the run in Pro Football Focus grading. The Eagles should have no trouble running and passing with LeSean McCoy, which will set up DeSean Jackson for some easy gainers. And now that Zach Ertz is getting more playing time and targets, there’s no reason to think he can’t do something against a team giving up 7.5 receptions per game to tight ends, the most in the league.
I don’t know who wins this game, but both teams should have plenty of fantasy points to pick and choose from. I’d start Dez Bryant, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Tony Romo, Nick Foles, Terrance Williams, Jason Witten, Zach Ertz, Joseph Randle, Cuba Gooding Jr., Krusty The Clown, anyone you can think of in this one.