Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 7 fantasy football moves to make now

Last week I highlighted new running backs bursting onto the scene of major fantasy football relevance last week and that they did. This week, we have our first real big season-ending injuries as Victor Cruz and Stevan Ridley both go down for the season. Below are some of the top pickup options if available in your leagues. 

Branden Oliver (San Diego) draws his final spotlight here if he is still somehow available (he was only 78 percent owned in Yahoo leagues coming into the week). Oliver ignited for another 124 yards this past week. Going forward, I don't see much rationale why the Chargers would bench Oliver when Ryan Mathews comes back. Oliver is a big-time hold. 

Ronnie Hillman (Denver) got the start and left no question as to who is the main back for the Broncos this week. Hillman had 24 attempts to just 8 for Juwan Anderson (and C.J. Anderson didn’t get a touch). Hillman gets a tough draw this week against the 49ers but he will be hard to bench. 

Another week, another long, sudden Antone Smith touchdown for the Falcons - it's unreal. Smith is a Top 7 or so running back on the season depending on your rules, and he's touched the ball just 23 times. I recommend Smith a few weeks back and I will keep playing him as a flex in leagues until he stops scoring 50-yard touchdowns every week. 

I recommended getting Storm Johnson (Jacksonville) on the radar last Tuesday and he drew the start. Pretty uneventful as it turned out, just 21 yards on ten attempts (although he scored). Still, Johnson will probably start again this week.  

Is it time to "Feed the Crow" in Cleveland? Rookie Isaiah Crowell continues to look like he could be an elite running back and would be a good trade target. Crowell averages 5.4 yards per carry with 4 touchdowns on the season. This week, at Jacksonville, maybe they see what he can do with 15-20 carries (Crowell collected 77 yards on 11 carries this past week). It sure would be fun to see what he can do with a full workload.  

With Steven Ridley out for the year in New England, opportunity comes a-knocking for some running back. Perhaps Shane Vereen gets more involved, but I doubt it as he’s really disappointed on the season. I would put fliers out on Brandon Bolden and James White. Bolden will be the more popular pickup but give me White to have a chance to surprise here. 

New York Giant rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. became a must add last week after breaking out in his first game of action, and Beckham becomes an even whiter hot prospect this week with Victor Cruz (knee) now out for the year. Beckham instantly slides into the Victor Cruz slot for the Giants. 

Last week, Davante Adams (Green Bay) was spotlighted as a rookie who has not really busted out yet, but could on any given week - that has happened. Adams posted a career-best six receptions and 77 yards this past week. Adams is a legit fantasy option on any given week as a weapon for the Packers in the passing game, who play mainly in three wide receiver sets. 

Andre Holmes (Oakland) should be a high-priority target this week. Since the Raiders fired Dennis Allen as head coach, Holmes has been spotlighted in the offense and collected 3 TDs on 9 receptions over the last two games. 

It's hard to ignore the stats that ex-Panther Brandon LaFell (New England) put up this week, and delivering a few really nice plays. That's two out of three weeks that LaFell has hit for big fantasy production. He is probably going to be really unpredictable, but LaFell has some WR3 appeal.

If Carson Palmer (Arizona) was dropped in your leagues, he becomes an instant waiver-wire target. Palmer has on-going risk with the nerve damage that sidelined him, but Palmer has low-end QB1 potential on any given week if he’s starting.

Jimmy Graham (New Orleans) will be sidelined for a few weeks with a shoulder injury. Both Ben Watson and Josh Hill have some short-term value while Graham is sidelined. The Saints will also get Mark Ingram back this week and perhaps they get Kenny Stills more involved to help pick up the slack with Graham is out. 

Other fantasy notes 
Is DeMarco Murray (Dallas) one of the greatest running backs in the history of the NFL? The statistics certainly would suggest it. Murray leaves Week 6 with 100-plus yards rushing in six straight games to the start season – only he and Jim Brown can say that. Murray goes for the NFL record Sunday. 

Julius Thomas (Denver) is on pace for a ridiculous 28.8 TDs this season, while Matt Forte (Chicago) is on pace for 123 receptions. 

Malcolm Floyd (San Diego) easily leads all receivers at 21.3 yards per completion (minimum 10 receptions). 

Steve Smith (Baltimore) continues his torrid pace (another touchdown, another 100-yard game) - Smith is on pace for a 93/1528/11 season. 

How about that Cam Newton (Carolina), who roared back onto the scene in a big way this week, finally dusting off his legs and putting together the highest single fantasy output of the week.  Cam remains a must start this week in an attractive and interesting match-up at Green Bay. Check back Thursday for Week 7 rankings!