I think we have all been there. You know, that feeling; that terrible, sick nerve-racking feeling. That moment when the sweat is rolling off of your body like you just got done with a 5K that your wife made you run. Every time you swallow it feels like your choking down a box of nails. Your eyes, darting around knowing that any second things are about to change. No, I am not talking about waiting at the altar on your wedding day, or being in the delivery room for the birth of your first child. My friends, I am talking about [11:30] on a Sunday afternoon.
Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but having a stud player whose playing status is in doubt can lead to some pressure packed moments. My hope is that this weekly article will alleviate some of the stress that goes along with having a player whose status is in question.
Week 7 – – “IN QUESTION”
Week 7 might have fantasy owners sporting the Big Ern McCracken hairdo with the amount of hair pulling that will go on this morning. Two top 10 draft day selections as well as the front-runner for offensive rookie of the year headline the group of names that fantasy owners will be paying extra attention too.
Jake Locker (Questionable)
Jake Locker spent some time on the practice field this week. The bad news is that it was in a limited capacity and Charlie Whitehurst took the majority of the snaps.
Plan B: Am I really about to recommend a rookie quarterback for the Oakland Raiders? Let me think through this a little longer… After all, this is my maiden article and I don’t want people to think that I am a fool. Yep, I am doing it. Derek Carr is fresh off of a 282 / 4 / 1 performance against the #4 rated pass defense of the Chargers. This week Carr has a dream match up facing the Cardinals at home. The Cardinals rank dead last in the league in pass defense yielding 309 yards per game. Their last two games have been disastrous. In week 5 they went to Denver and were shredded by Peyton Manning who threw for a career high 479 yards. Last week, at home Kirk Cousins carved them up for 354. Expecting 280+ yards passing and a few touchdowns from Carr is not out of line. This picture was almost enough to make me change my pick. The match up is just too good though. Hopefully this type of questionable decision-making does not translate to the football field today.
Deangelo Williams (Doubtful), Shonn Greene (Doubtful)
While both Deangelo Williams and Shonn Greene are listed as doubtful they are almost locks to be out joining the list of serviceable running backs who will be sidelined for week 7.
Plan B: When you are the only show in town, and facing the leagues worst rush defense you have to be considered a solid play. That is the exact scenario for Jonathan Stewart vs the Packers. Sure, his body of work to this point of the season has been pedestrian averaging just 3.0 yards per carry on 29 rushes. Sure, his 28-year-old body and 48-year-old knees / ankles might give out during this contest, but I am riding with Stewart today. It likely won’t be a thing of beauty but the shear volume and the opponent make him a very solid start.
Now time for someone with a little more flash. Jerick McKinnon finally overtook the plodding Matt Asiata last week. Asiata reminds me exactly of an old Vikings running back who also wore #44 — Leroy Hoard. I also believe that Asiata lives by the same creed that Hoard preached.
Last week McKinnon out touched Asiata 17 to 3. This week head coach Mike Zimmer expressed that he would like to see the split be more 50/50. That sounds good on paper, but in the end talent always wins out. McKinnon is more talented and is the running back to have in your line up today.
Bernard Pierce’s face was on a milk carton two weeks ago, but last week he resurfaced in Tampa Bay and of all places – – the end zone. Like many, I was ready to write Pierce off as the odd man out in the Baltimore backfield. However, after racking up 15 touches last week he is very much in the picture. If he gets 15 touches today vs that soft Atlanta run defense I would say there is a very good chance that he makes an appearance in the end zone.
A.J. Green (Doubtful), Calvin Johnson (Questionable), Kelvin Benjamin (Questionable)
A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson’s name appearing on the injury report listed as anything other than “out” seems like a formality at this point. There really has been no positive news that would lead me to believe that either of these stud receivers will be back on the field week 7. Kelvin Benjamin, on the other hand, has made the trip to Green Bay and looks to have a good chance at playing. Fantasy owners can never be over-prepared, so with that said.
Plan B: I covered earlier how bad the Cardinal secondary is. Someone is going to be on the other end of the 280+ pass yards that Carr is going to throw for. The hot name for the Oakland receiving corp is Andre Holmes who is coming off a 121 yard / 2 touchdown performance last week. I think Holmes will do fine today, but the guy I want in my line up is James Jones. Over the last four he has averaged 8 targets a game. Fantasy owners aren’t the only ones who took notice to Holmes’s big game last week. The Cardinals will be paying extra attention to him which should free Jones up more than usual.
Davante Adams is someone who needs to be on your roster and in deep leagues in your line up. His targets have increased each of the last three weeks. He received a season high 8 looks from Aaron Rodgers last week which he turned into 6 catches for 77 yards. It’s hard to be too excited over starting a teams third pass catching option, but with Rodgers distributing the targets there are enough balls to go around in that offense for him to produce today.
The big news of the weekend was Percy Harvin being traded from Seattle to the Jets. Everyone I spoke with gave Doug Baldwin the bump, but for me I think the biggest beneficiary from this move will be Jermaine Kearse. This week Kearse will be thrust into the starting line up and I expect him to make the most of this opportunity. Last week vs Dallas he received a season high 7 targets and parlayed that into a season high 62 yards. He is currently averaging 1.2 fantasy points per target and with his new role his targets are bound to increase.
Eric Ebron (Doubful), Jimmy Graham (Questionable)
This is going to be the toughest call of the day for fantasy owners. Personally, if I owned Jimmy Graham I would be hoping for news to break at [11:30] that he is inactive. It could turn into a real headache if he does lace them up today. My gut feeling is that if he does play he will only be used in red zone situations. Worst case scenario, he gets the Calvin Johnson week 4 treatment and is sent out as a decoy on passing down situations. If you have a decent option as your back up I would roll with them even if Graham is active.
Plan B: Travis Kelce has found the end zone in each of his last three games. The Chargers have yet to face a fantasy relevant tight end this season, but that changes today. Opponents have had a hard time with Kelce’s 6-5 260lb frame in the red zone. I could see him extending his touchdown streak to four after this game.
Hopefully you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Anytime you can get a Big Ern McCracken reference and a picture of the Carr boys in wife-b’s on a golf course you know you have had a good day.
Major League Fantasy Sports Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday October 19th from 11am-12pm EST for this weeks installment of Major League Fantasy Football Radio sponsored by theSports Palooza Radio Network. We will be taking live callers at 646.915.8596Our guests this week will be Bryan Robinson who is a writer for majorleaguefantasysports.com. Bryan’s article publishes every Thursday and he focuses on the running back/wide receiver position. He also does a weekly Q&A for us onreddit’s fantasy football section every Saturday. Jeff Nelson will also be joining us again. Jeff is the DB coach for White Hall H.S. in PA and is a two time Major League Fantasy Football Champion. Come join us for a very spirited conversation.