By Stephen Dolan
Week 7 features a number of big divisional games. The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys play in a battle for the NFC East, the New England Patriots and New York Jets face off in an AFC East showdown and the San Diego Chargers are battling the Oakland Raiders in an AFC West tilt. With another round of great games ahead, here’s the full rundown of who to play and who to pass on in Week 7.
Play: Drew Brees (vs. IND)
Brees is coming off a strong game against Atlanta last Thursday night throwing for 312 yards and a touchdown on 30-for-39 passing. It marked the third consecutive game and the fourth overall game this season in which Brees threw for over 300 yards. He is facing an Indianapolis defense that is allowing 289 passing yards per game, good for 28th in the NFL. Play Brees.
Play: Carson Palmer (vs. BAL)
Palmer is coming off a monster performance in Arizona’s 25-13 loss to the Steelers on Sunday. He threw for 421 yards and a touchdown, but threw two picks in the process. He has thrown for 300 or more yards in four of his six games this season and the only two non-300 yard games came in blowout wins for the Cardinals. His 14 touchdowns to just five interceptions make him a fantasy machine in the high-powered Arizona offense. He is facing a Ravens defense that ranks 27th against the pass allowing an average of 286 yards per game.
Other Good Plays: Blake Bortles (vs. BUF) for $7,500, Philip Rivers (vs. OAK) for $8,000, Cam Newton (vs. PHI) for $8,100
Pass: Kirk Cousins (vs. TB)
Washington has relied heavily on Cousins’ arm in recent weeks as he has attempted 43 or more passes in three of the last four games. On Sunday, Cousins completed just 58.1 percent of his passes for 196 yards and two interceptions. He has been intercepted multiple times in all four Redskin losses this season. Cousins’ shaky play will again be tested on Sunday as they face the Buccaneers, who are allowing just 202 passing yards per game on the year.
Other Passes: Sam Bradford (vs. CAR) for $7,700, Matthew Stafford (vs. MIN) for $7,400
Play: Todd Gurley (vs. CLE)
Gurley entered last week’s bye week coming off of two huge games. He rushed 19 times for 146 yards on October 4 against the Cardinals, following that up with 159 yards on 30 carries against the Green Bay Packers on October 11. Gurley certainly looks worthy of the No. 10 overall selection the Rams used on him in last spring’s draft. He gets a favorable match-up against the league’s worst rushing defense as the Browns have allowed an average of 149.8 yards per game on the ground. Play Gurley.
Play: Adrian Peterson (vs. DET)
Peterson was kept in check on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, rushing for 60 yards on 26 carries. It marked the first time since September 20 that he was held out of the end zone. The former-NFL MVP figures to get a lot of looks on Sunday against the Detroit Lions who are giving up 120.7 rushing yards per game, coming in at 26th in the NFL.
Other Good Plays: Latavius Murray (vs. SD) for $7,000, Arian Foster (vs. MIA) for $8,600, Doug Martin (vs. WAS) for $7,200
Pass: Melvin Gordon (vs. OAK)
Gordon has struggled in recent weeks having been held to 42 yards or fewer in each of his last three games. Sunday was the toughest game of the rookie’s young career, rushing seven times for 29 yards (25 of those coming on one play). In that game, Gordon fumbled twice and was nursing an ankle injury adding to the issues. He faces a Raiders rush defense that has been stellar this season allowing only 83.2 yards per game.
Other Passes: Charcandrick West (vs. PIT) for $5,900, Andre Ellington (vs. BAL) for $5,200
Play: Larry Fitzgerald (vs. BAL)
Fitzgerald’s resurgence this year has been fun to watch as the 32-year-old has been able to turn back time and return to the threat he was during his early years in the desert. He has 43 catches for 583 yards and six touchdowns so far this season and has been held below 87 yards receiving just once. He posted eight catches for 93 yards on Sunday against Pittsburgh. Fitzgerald gets a favorable match-up on Monday night taking on the Baltimore Ravens who rank 29th in the NFL in receiving yards per game allowing an average of 305 per contest. Play Fitzgerald.
Play: Jeremy Maclin (vs. PIT)
Maclin has proven to be a force with the Chiefs after being reunited with head coach Andy Reid, who drafted Maclin when with the Eagles. He has 39 receptions for 531 yards and a touchdown, seemingly picking up right where he left off last season when he set career highs in receptions (85) and yards (1,318) while tying a career-high of 10 touchdowns. Maclin caught three passes for 43 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings and suffered a concussion in the process. If Maclin is healthy enough to play on Sunday, he will be facing a porous Steelers secondary that ranks 28th in the NFL allowing 298.7 receiving yards per game. Play Maclin if Reid does.
Play: Kendall Wright (vs. ATL)
Wright is a hit-and-miss fantasy selection and on Sunday he just missed. He caught four passes for 34 yards against the Dolphins and ran a great out route in the red zone to get himself wide open in the corner of the end zone; but quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is known for his accuracy, overthrew Wright. The Mariota-to-Wright connection should be back up and going on Sunday as the Titans take on the Atlanta Falcons cornerbacks who were thrashed by Brees and the Saints on Thursday.
Other Good Plays: Brandin Cooks (vs. IND) for $6,700, Antonio Brown (vs. KC) for $8,300, Martavis Bryant (vs. KC) for $6,900
Pass: Julian Edelman (vs. NYJ)
Edelman continues to be Tom Brady’s favorite wide receiver, catching six passes for 50 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night against the Colts. He also has four touchdowns in his last four games, but Sunday marked the first time he was held under 85 yards receiving and he also appeared to injure his right pinky finger. New England faces the New York Jets which means Edelman will likely be dealing with All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. Pass on Edelman this week.
Other Passes: Pierre Garcon (vs. TB) for $6,100, Jordan Matthews (vs. CAR) for $6,600
Play: Antonio Gates (vs. OAK)
Gates has been a beast since returning from his four-game suspension. He has caught nine passes in each of his first two games going for 92 and 95 yards respectively. Gates and quarterback Philip Rivers, who leads the NFL with 2,116 passing yards, have regained the chemistry that made them one of the most lethal quarterback-to-tight end combinations in the league. Gates gets a favorable match-up on Sunday as the Raiders have allowed 308.2 receiving yards per game this season.
Other Good Plays: Jason Witten (vs. NYG) for $5,600, Travis Kelce (vs. PIT) for $6,000
Pass: Jacob Tamme (vs. TEN)
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is third in the NFL with 1,751 passing yards on 150 completions but only 19 of those completions and 230 of those yards have gone to Tamme. The eight-year veteran tight end has not been an integral part of the Falcons offense as he has posted just one game with more than four receptions and is still looking for his first touchdown of the season. Facing a Titans pass defense that has allowed an average of just 204.2 yards receiving this season, pass on Tamme.
Other Passes: Jordan Reed (vs. TB) for $5,400, Crockett Gillmore (vs. ARI) for $5,000
Play: Dan Bailey (vs. NYG) for $5,000
Play: Steven Hauschka (vs. SF) for $5,000
Play: Justin Tucker (vs. ARI) for $5,000
Pass: Adam Vinatieri (vs. NO) for $5,000
Pass: Matt Bryant (vs. TEN) for $4,900
Pass: Dustin Hopkins (vs. TB) for $4,800
Play: Patriots (vs. NYJ) for $4,700
Play: Panthers (vs. PHI) for $4,800
Play: Rams (vs. CLE) for $4,500
Pass: Texans (vs. MIA) for $4,800
Pass: Jets (vs. NE) for $4,400
Pass: Raiders (vs. SD) for $4,400
QB: Carson Palmer (vs. BAL)
RB: Todd Gurley (vs. CLE)
RB: Adrian Peterson (vs. MIN)
WR: Larry Fitzgerald (vs. BAL)
WR: Martavis Bryant (vs. KC)
WR: Kendall Wright (vs. ATL)
TE: Antonio Gates (vs. OAK)
K: Justin Tucker (vs. ARI)
D/ST: Rams (vs. WAS)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.