Fantasy Football

Week 7 lineup calls: Quarterbacks

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Michael Harmon

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Lineup calls: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | D/ST

Every year, fantasy owners try to create new paths to a title. This year, one of the new avenues included the decision to roll with a single quarterback.

To execute this plan, the owner must:

1. Forget about the possibility of an injury.
2. Forget about the bye week until it arrived.
3. Trust that their No. 1 option will do their job and that they will not waver and contemplate another alternative.

This week, that draft-day strategy will be tested, as owners of Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub scour the wire for a plug-in play (Mark Sanchez of the Jets and Shaun Hill, now injured, will also sit).

Let’s dig deep in this week’s "Lineup Calls" to mine some fantasy gold.

Top 10 Quarterbacks

(other than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Kyle Orton, Tony Romo, Tom Brady or Philip Rivers)

Matt Cassel vs. Jacksonville

Cassel rolled up a huge effort in the Week 6 shootout with Houston. He passed for 201 yards and three touchdowns, including two strikes to embattled wideout Dwayne Bowe (he’d famously dropped a would-be touchdown in Week 5). He’s now entering a very favorable stretch on the schedule. Cassel faces the 28th-ranked Jacksonville pass defense this season, which has surrendered 273.4 yards per game and 14 touchdowns. The Jaguars have generated only 11 sacks this season.

Joe Flacco vs. Buffalo

Flacco posted a strong game, as expected, against the youthful New England secondary in Week 6 (285 passing yards and two touchdowns). He’s a strong play this week at home against a Buffalo defense that struggles to get a push up front (six sacks) and has produced just one interception against 11 touchdown throws. I’m still moderately concerned about what we’ll see from Flacco in upcoming contests against better units. Strike while you can.

Eli Manning at Dallas

With five touchdown passes in his past two starts, Manning is primed and ready for a big divisional showdown with the Cowboys. He performed well against Dallas in 2009, averaging 285.5 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in two games. His entire receiving corps is back for another, and I don’t suspect that Hakeem Nicks repeats his Week 6 disappearing act (three catches for eight yards).

Dallas does rank fourth in pass defense. The Cowboys average 2.4 sacks and a meager total of 180.6 yards per game (seven touchdowns). The balanced New York offense gives Dallas fits this week.

Brett Favre at Green Bay

Favre’s return to Green Bay would normally be met with great anticipation. Add the ongoing NFL investigation, Aaron Rodgers’ struggles in close games and Minnesota’s uneven start to the season, and you’ve got a ratings bonanza.

We didn’t see the aerial assault that we anticipated against Dallas last week, but I suspect that we see more shots downfield against the banged-up Green Bay secondary. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 306.3 yards per game with five touchdowns in the past three weeks.


  • Who will score the most fantasy points for Week 7 of this group?
    • Matt Cassel vs. Jacksonville
    • Jay Cutler vs. Washington
    • Brett Favre at Green Bay
    • Joe Flacco vs. Buffalo
    • Ben Roethlisberger at Miami

Jay Cutler vs. Washington

Cutler continues to absorb hit after hit, and we can reasonably expect the Redskins to bring the heat again this Sunday (13 sacks to date). However, this is also a defensive unit that has been hit repeatedly by big plays this season, surrendering 298.2 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game.

Ben Roethlisberger at Miami

Roethlisberger returned to the field in Week 6 and posted a tremendous effort in front of the home crowd (257 yards and three touchdowns with one interception). He faces a more difficult task this week against Miami, a unit that ranks 12th against the pass at 201.8 yards per game with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. If the offensive line is up to the task (Miami averages nearly three sacks per game), Roethlisberger does have ample weapons at his disposal and can make plays downfield.

Matt Ryan vs. Cincinnati

Ryan produced his third multi-touchdown game in his past five starts during Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia. He passed for 250 yards with two touchdowns (both to Tony Gonzalez) and turned the ball over twice. Fantasy owners seek a similar effort (even with the turnovers) against the Bengals. Cornerback Leon Hall will do his best to track Roddy White, but the return of steady veteran Michael Jenkins does help to open things up downfield for the aforementioned Gonzalez and speedster Harry Douglas. Ryan won’t have to contend with Antwan Odom, who is serving his suspension.

Donovan McNabb at Chicago

McNabb piles up yardage fairly consistently despite the lack of depth in the Washington receiving corps. He’s passed for 236 or more yards in four of six games this season, including two games over 350 yards. McNabb continues to find success downfield with Santana Moss, and tight end Fred Davis has served as a capable backup to Chris Cooley. I don’t anticipate that we get a huge scoring barrage from McNabb here (the Bears have allowed three passing touchdowns this season), but he’ll move the ball with support from Ryan Torain.

Carson Palmer at Atlanta

Palmer posted passable fantasy numbers in two games ahead of the Week 6 bye (580 passing yards and four touchdowns). However, he’s been fairly loose with the ball, having turned it over seven times in the past three weeks. As such, I expect somewhat of a mixed bag against the Atlanta defense this week. They’re opportunistic, having generated 11 interceptions already, but also rank 25th in terms of yardage. Did the bye week allow Cincinnati to find more spots for Chad Ochocinco?


  • Who will score the fewest fantasy points for Week 7 of this group?
    • Chad Henne vs. Pittsburgh
    • Kevin Kolb at Tennessee

Sam Bradford at Tampa Bay

Bradford engineered another win last week at home against San Diego (198 yards and a touchdown). He also finished the upset win without a turnover, his first such game of the season. It wasn’t a huge game, but it’s one to build on this week against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers surrender 210 passing yards and two passing touchdowns per game. Additionally, Tampa Bay has averaged two interceptions per game despite generating inconsistent pressure (four sacks). Look for Bradford’s timing with his young receiving corps to take another step forward in Week 7.

Quarterback Sleepers

Matt Hasselbeck vs. Arizona

Hasselbeck returned from the Week 5 bye to post a strong effort against the Bears. He passed for 242 yards and a touchdown, effectively integrating Mike Williams and Deon Butler into the mix. I’m intrigued to watch Seattle this weekend at home against Arizona. The Cardinals’ pass defense ranks 26th, having surrendered 241.2 yards and 1.8 touchdowns per game. Hasselbeck’s worth a look-see this weekend.

Alex Smith at Carolina

Smith has tossed multiple touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks. Granted, he’s needed a verbal challenge from his coach and the fans to get inspired. Smith faces an interesting road test this week against the fifth-ranked Carolina pass defense (182.4 yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game). However, this is a unit that ranks 26th against the run. As such, the passing yardage total is somewhat misleading. The Panthers are returning from their bye week, so there is some element of risk. However, owners looking for a bye week play may benefit from the short fields afforded Smith by the San Francisco defense.

Max Hall at Seattle

Hall won his debut for the Cardinals. It wasn’t an overwhelming effort (168 yards and an interception), but a win is a win. Given the extra week of work with Larry Fitzgerald and the return of Steve Breaston to the lineup, I expect to see a more efficient Arizona offense this week on the road. Seattle allows 290.8 yards per game. The key to this contest is Arizona’s pass protection. Seattle has generated 17 sacks (six of them last week against Jay Cutler), while the Arizona quarterbacks have absorbed 19.

Quarterback Flops

Kevin Kolb at Tennessee

I know. Kolb is playing lights-out football right now and has started to open things up with more frequent downfield tosses. However, Kolb will play this week without big-play threat DeSean Jackson and will face supreme pressure from the sack-happy Tennessee front (24 sacks).

Chad Henne vs. Pittsburgh

Henne qualifies for inclusion here, as fantasy owners are starting to get excited about his three-game streak of multi-touchdown games. That streak comes to an end this week in front of the home crowd. Pittsburgh surrenders 233 yards per game, but has ceded only three touchdown passes to date while averaging 3.2 sacks per game.

Tagged: Michael Vick, Jay Feely, Sammy Morris, Neil Rackers, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Sellers, Phil Dawson, Joey Galloway, Charlie Batch, Jason Hanson, Donald Driver, Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell, Joe Nedney, Derrick Mason, Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Sebastian Janikowski, Marc Bulger, Olindo Mare, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk, Adam Vinatieri, Jake Delhomme, Ricky Williams, Kerry Collins, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, David Akers, Correll Buckhalter, Thomas Jones, Kris Brown, Hines Ward, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Terrell Owens, Rian Lindell, Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Smith Sr., John Kasay, Fred Taylor, Todd Heap, Brandon Stokley, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Maurice Morris, Jeremy Shockey, Josh Reed, Clinton Portis, Antonio Bryant, David Garrard, Daniel Graham, Chester Taylor, Ladell Betts, Shayne Graham, Matt Bryant, Shaun Hill, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Westbrook, Jeff Reed, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Justin Fargas, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Bryant Johnson, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Kevin Walter, Josh Brown, Justin Gage, Seneca Wallace, Antonio Gates, Tony Romo, Clifton Smith, Matt Schaub, Julius Jones, Devery Henderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, Kellen Winslow, Roy Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Lee Evans, Steven Jackson, Michael Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Nate Kaeding, Bernard Berrian, Chris Cooley, Eli Manning, Derrick Ward, Patrick Crayton, Jerricho Cotchery, Mewelde Moore, Michael Turner, Lawrence Tynes, Wes Welker, Willie Parker, Earnest Graham, Malcom Floyd, Jason Wright, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, Brandon Jones, Alex Smith, Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Troy Williamson, Dave Rayner, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Alvin Pearman, Darren Sproles, Roydell Williams, Bo Scaife, Rob Bironas, Josh Cribbs, Leonard Weaver, Nate Washington, Robbie Gould, Lance Moore, Ryan Grant, Greg Camarillo, Tarvaris Jackson, Jerious Norwood, Maurice Stovall, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Vernon Davis, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Laurence Maroney, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Joseph Addai, Kellen Clemens, Greg Jennings, Anthony Fasano, Devin Hester, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Scheffler, Marques Colston, Jeff King, Bruce Gradkowski, Devin Aromashodu, Michael Robinson, Brad Smith, Jason Avant, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Jerome Harrison, Hank Baskett, Miles Austin, Fred Jackson, Chansi Stuckey, Kenneth Darby, Ahmad Bradshaw, Le'Ron McClain, Steve Breaston, Kevin Boss, Dante Rosario, Brent Celek, Legedu Naanee, Troy Smith, Nick Folk, Mason Crosby, Steve Smith, Brian Leonard, Jacoby Jones, Laurent Robinson, James Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, Trent Edwards, Michael Bush, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn Jr., Marshawn Lynch, Brady Quinn, Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, Greg Olsen, Anthony Gonzalez, Kevin Kolb, Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, Dwayne Jarrett, D.J. Ware, Matt Prater, Matt Moore, Pierre Thomas, Eldra Buckley, Jackie Battle, Jonathan Stewart, Joe Flacco, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Dustin Keller, Donnie Avery, Devin Thomas, Jordy Nelson, John Carlson, James Hardy, Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, Fred Davis, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, Ray Rice, Chad Henne, Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Lex Hilliard, Pierre Garcon, Chaz Schilens, Justin Forsett, Adrian Arrington, Tashard Choice, Ryan Torain, Keenan Burton, Tim Hightower, Jalen Parmele, Jacob Hester, Earl Bennett, Jamaal Charles, Early Doucet, Harry Douglas, Steve Slaton, Jermichael Finley, Mario Manningham, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Albert Young, Garrett Hartley, Rashad Jennings, David Buehler, Javon Ringer, Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Julian Edelman, Sammie Stroughter, Shonn Greene, Brandon Tate, Mike Wallace, Jared Cook, Deon Butler, Mike Thomas, Brian Hartline, Louis Murphy Jr., Austin Collie, Johnny Knox, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Knowshon Moreno, Josh Freeman, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Pettigrew, Percy Harvin, Donald Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Beanie Wells, Mohamed Massaquoi, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Michael Bennett, Kareem Huggins, Kahlil Bell, Jimmy Clausen, Rob Gronkowski, Arrelious Benn, Dez Bryant, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, Ryan Mathews, Aaron Hernandez, Jahvid Best, Tony Moeaki, Jimmy Graham, Ed Dickson, Garrett Graham, Montario Hardesty, Dennis Pitta, Brandon LaFell, Colt McCoy, Ben Tate, Boobie Dixon, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Dexter McCluster, Max Hall, Lance Ball

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