Week 7 fantasy football flex plays
The toughest bye week of the year is upon us. The only week with six teams out of action - no Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles or Falcons - means A LOT of talent is unavailable. At least eight weekly starting wideouts are out of lineups this week, a whopping six high-end running backs and two Hall-of-Fame tight ends also take a seat. It is without a doubt time to dig deep into the bench and perhaps the waiver wire to scour for favorable matchups or high-upside plays.
In the end, you may still need to get lucky with a player or two who would have been an inconceivable option just a few short weeks ago. That's why it's so important to pay attention to injuries, depth chart movement and trends. And with that said, I'll leave you with a bonus flex option for only the most desperate of owners: Cedric Peerman. The Bengals running back replaced Bernard Scott when the latter went on IR last week and was impressive working in the passing game with eight grabs for 76 yards in his first significant action as the top backup to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The shifty back with breakaway speed may even warrant more touches this week if The Law Firm struggles against a usually stiff Steelers run D.
1. Mike Williams vs. New Orleans - Williams seems to keep getting overlooked as a weekly starter, but one more game like his last two (both more than 100 yards) and that will all change. Facing the Saints miserable pass defense at home should land him - at least temporarily - on the must-start list.
2. Alex Green at St. Louis - Although the Rams have been surprisingly good against the run, particularly lately, it became obvious last week that the Packers trust Green to handle the load out of the backfield. He saw 22 carries and turned in a solid performance against a stout Houston defense with more than 70 total yards. If the Packers open up a lead or move the ball well against St. Louis - two distinct possibilities - Green should have plenty of chances for yards and perhaps his first career score.
3. Josh Gordon at Indianapolis - With Gordon the hope each week is to catch lightning in a bottle because this young receiver is simply a superior athlete who is capable of breaking a big play at any moment. He's proved that each of the last two weeks with a score of more than 60 yards, and logic dictates that he should start seeing more targets from Brandon Weeden, who averages nearly 40 pass attempts per game. More targets equals more chances. With six teams on bye, Gordon looks awfully promising thanks to that upside.
4. Kendall Wright at Buffalo - Wright has at least 65 yards or a score in each of the last three games and hasn't seen less than eight targets since Week 1. Whether it's Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker at quarterback, he's clearly a big part of the Titans' gameplan. With his explosive ability after the catch and the Bills inability to slow the pass, Wright could become the 10th wideout to catch a touchdown or the sixth player to register 100 yards receiving on Buffalo. Or both.
5. Stephen Hill at New England - Don't kid yourself. Shonn Greene won't be running all over the Patriots' sixth-ranked run defense like he tore through a soft Colts D last week. And when the Patriots jump out to a two-score or bigger lead, the Jets will be forced to throw and throw often. New England's last three games looked like deja vu of 2011's miserable pass defense as they allowed just shy of a 1,000 combined yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. And that includes a shocking effort from a previously grounded Russell Wilson. Although Mark Sanchez has struggled and Hill is just back from a sore hamstring, the long-limbed speedster figures to get a lot of looks as the Jets play from behind, so the friendly matchup may result in some big yardage for the youngster.
6. LeGarrette Blount vs. New Orleans - Although this figures to become a pass-heavy game given both team's inability to slow the throw, the Saints are still a sorry mess against the run. It's likely the Bucs will try to grind out some long drives early to keep Drew Brees off the field and Blount, who has scored in each of the last two games and looked impressive in the process, could make it a third straight if Tampa gets inside the 10. After all, the Saints have allowed six rushing scores to running backs in just five games.
7. Danny Woodhead vs. New York Jets - Desperate times call for desperate measures. With six teams on bye and a lot of RB talent out of action, Woodhead could be a nice solution. He started his career versus the Jets and has played well against them. More important, he's totaled at least 70 yards or scored a touchdown in four straight games. Against the weak Jets run defense and with Brandon Bolden dealing with a knee injury, Woodhead might be a sneaky good play.
WEEK 7 FLEX-PLAY RANKINGS
* Check injury status.
1. Arian Foster HOU vs. Bal
2. Ray Rice BAL at Hou
3. Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at Oak
4. A.J. Green CIN vs. Pit - At one point I remarked that I should have discounted Green because of the matchup against Joe Haden. Almost immediately after that, Green went off. Lesson learned, part 2.
5. Victor Cruz NYG vs. Was
6. Adrian Peterson MIN vs. Ari
7. Matt Forte CHI vs. Det
8. Doug Martin TB vs. NO
9. Mike Wallace PIT at Cin
10. Calvin Johnson DET at Chi
11. Reggie Wayne IND vs. Cle
12. Percy Harvin MIN vs. Ari
13. Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. Was - Surprisingly effective against the Niners - 116 yards on 27 carries last week.
14. Darren McFadden OAK vs. Jac - He's close to blowing up - more of a feeling, less out of evidence, so ignore if you see fit.
15. Chris Johnson TEN at Buf
16. C.J. Spiller BUF vs. Ten - Alternating two series on, two series off with Fred Jackson.
17. *Felix Jones DAL at Car - Opportunity knocks, with DeMarco Murray out this week. Cramped up a little against the Ravens, due to dehydration.
18. Wes Welker NE vs. NYJ
19. Marques Colston NO at TB
20. Larry Fitzgerald ARZ at Min
21. Vincent Jackson TB vs. NO
22. Frank Gore SF vs. Sea
23. Marshawn Lynch SEA at SF
24. Darren Sproles NO at TB
25. Alfred Morris WAS at NYG
26. Stevan Ridley NE vs. NYJ
27. Steve Smith CAR vs. Dal
28. *Andre Johnson HOU vs. Bal - After being limited in previous weeks by a groin injury, Johnson had 12 targets Sunday night.
29. Dez Bryant DAL at Car
30. Brandon Marshall CHI vs. Det
31. *Rob Gronkowski NE vs. NYJ - (Hip) Targeted eight times in the loss to the Seahawks.
32. Mikel Leshoure DET at Chi - Jahvid Best out for the remainder of the season, meaning more job security for Leshoure.
33. Fred Jackson BUF vs. Ten
34. *Trent Richardson CLE at Ind - Suffered a flank injury against the Bengals that has been reclassified (maybe dumbed down so that laymen like myself can understand it?) as a right rib cartilage injury. He's considered day-to-day. Watch his practice reports carefully - he's a top-10 back this week if it looks like he'll get a full load.
35. Miles Austin DAL at Car
36. Steve Johnson BUF vs. Ten
37. Torrey Smith BAL at Hou
38. Jordy Nelson GB at StL - Huge game after so many duds before. It'll be interesting to see - does he draw Cortland Finnegan this week?
39. Antonio Brown PIT at Cin
40. Randall Cobb GB at StL - Targeted 10 times in the win over the Texans and drew high praise from Aaron Rodgers after the game.
41. *Alex Green GB at StL - Clearly the lead back for the Packers, on the field for 50 snaps last week, most while the game was still somewhat in doubt.
42. BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. Pit
43. Shonn Greene NYJ at NE
44. *Rashard Mendenhall PIT at Cin - Suffered an Achilles' tendon injury last week against the Titans, listed initially as questionable, though considered to have a 'good shot' at playing.
45. Vick Ballard IND vs. Cle
46. Owen Daniels HOU vs. Bal
47. Vernon Davis SF vs. Sea
48. Jason Witten DAL at Car
49. *Aaron Hernandez NE vs. NYJ - (Hamstring) Saw 38 snaps in his first game back, emerged without any reported setbacks.
50. *Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. Was - (Knee) Targeted five times in the win over the Niners. Don't be surprised if he misses practice time this week.
51. *Brandon Lloyd NE vs. NYJ - Injured his shoulder on the Patriots' offensive series against the Seahawks.
52. Michael Crabtree SF vs. Sea
53. Nate Washington TEN at Buf
54. Mike Williams TB vs. NO - Monster game against the Chiefs, now has another good matchup against the Saints.
55. Denarius Moore OAK vs. Jac - DHB is back, but Moore has surpassed him as the Raiders' top option.
56. James Jones GB at StL - Now up to seven touchdowns on the season - he's filling the void left from the expected production of Jermichael Finley.
57. Brandon Gibson STL vs. GB
58. DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. Dal
59. Steven Jackson STL vs. GB
60. LeGarrette Blount TB vs. NO
61. *Montario Hardesty CLE at Ind - Ran well when getting late playing time in place of an injured Trent Richardson.
62. Heath Miller PIT at Cin
63. Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. Ari
64. Fred Davis WAS at NYG - When is it disappointing when a player leads his team in receptions and receiving yards? When he doesn't get into the end zone, as is the case with Davis. Some of that is arbitrary, some of it is what the Redskins tend to do in red zone sets.
65. Scott Chandler BUF vs. Ten
66. *Jimmy Graham NO at TB - (Ankle) Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer refused to disclose anything on Graham's status on Monday.
67. Jeremy Kerley NYJ at NE
68. Andre Roberts ARZ at Min
69. Anquan Boldin BAL at Hou
70. Kenny Britt TEN at Buf
71. Golden Tate SEA at SF
72. Josh Gordon CLE at Ind - Nice for the Browns to find a big-play receiver; now they just have to get him more targets.
73. Sidney Rice SEA at SF
74. *Devery Henderson NO at TB - Had a big game with Moore out and Jimmy Graham hurt prior to the bye.
75. *Santana Moss WAS at NYG - Seems to be benefiting the most from Pierre Garcon's injury.
76. Donnie Avery IND vs. Cle
77. Michael Bush CHI vs. Det
78. Ben Tate HOU vs. Bal
79. Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. Dal
80. William Powell ARZ at Min - Powell was far more effective than Stephens-Howling, though he had just 13 carries to LSH's 11.
81. Mike Goodson OAK vs. Jac - Seems to find a lot more space than McFadden to run. Clearly ahead of Taiwan Jones.
82. *Isaac Redman PIT at Cin - (Ankle) Hopeful he can play against the Bengals this week.
83. Kendall Hunter SF vs. Sea
84. *Phillip Tanner DAL at Car - Tanner appears to be the primary backup to Jones, with Murray out, with Lance Dunbar also in the mix.
85. Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. Pit
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