Top o the mournin, jolly old chaps! Happy week! Bears win, though not without some hand-wringing at the end. Matt Forte is looking all-world, and is getting more expensive by the week. Lots of fun stuff happened elsewhere in the NFL world, so let's get down to it!
Before we do all that fun, though, a minor disclaimer. I'm not a Fantasy expert. I've run the gauntlet from 0-for the season to undefeated champion, and everything in between. I've played in almost every type of Fantasy Football league except for Auction drafts and Franchise leagues. My favorite leagues right now are the two 2QB starter leagues, one of which I'm the defending champion. I'm also a big fan of scoring odd things, like return yardage for offensive players, and TFLs and 3-and-outs for Defenses. So some of my rankings might be skewed slightly (or majorly) by some of my experiences. Take them with a grain of salt.
Also, I'm going to try not to talk about one player more than once. If he was listed last week, there's a good chance he's still a decent pickup right now. Here are my Week 7 pickups, for reference.
Tennessee Titans - 62-7. That's about everything you need to know this week. The putrid Indianapolis Colts travel to Nashville to take on the Titans. Add and start nearly every Titan that you can get your grubby mitts on. The Colts are almost legendarily bad. In fact, I'd find some way to stream against their defense the rest of the year. For the record, those teams are the Falcons and the Jaguars before the Bye week. 62-7. Unreal.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cin - Flying under the radar behind his far more popular 2011 draft breatheren, the Tiger's about to sink his claws into a poultry dinner fit for a king. The Bengals get to travel to hostile Qwest Field to take on the Seahawks. Yes, those Seahawks. And while I normally can't recommend any player going into Qwest, the combination of raw talent that Dalton's already displayed plus Seattle's generally awful defense should be enough to make him a good Bye week filler.
Alex Smith, QB, SF - No traveling for this road-weary team this week. They welcome the Dawg Pound into sunny San Fransisco. Yes, those sorry Browns. I still have no idea how he's still getting it done, honestly. You'd think that half a decade of sucking up the NFL would be enough for a team to go in a different direction, but he seems to be getting it together somewhat this season. I recommended him as a Bye week filler a couple weeks ago. He could be a decent Bye week flyer again if you need it.
Michael Bush, RB, Oak - In a repeat of 90s history, Run DMC has been shot down in their prime. Darren McFadden took another injury shot this week, and Bush once again stepped in admirably for the oft-injured superstar. Unfortunately for waiver-wire scavengers, the Raiders are on a Bye this week, and DMC might be healthy when they come back. But he's got an injury history, so Bush should be rostered somewhere and stashed for the inevitable second injury.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Den - I take full responsibility for this one. I was high on Moreno going into the season. He carried me through two playoffs to a couple of championships, and I was feeling a bit loyal to the guy. He hasn't produced this year. But injuries will force him back into service. Willis McGahee went down this week, and Knowshon kinda sorta did something interesting while he was out. Understand that you're not picking up Fantasy gold here. More like used aluminum. And Tebow's going to get most of the rushing touches around the goal line. But he could be in line for a solid workload, and the Detroit matchup isn't particularly scary for running backs. Quarterbacks, maybe. But not our friends the runners.
Montario Hardesty, RB, Cle -- I had him here a couple of weeks ago, and I think he can still make an impact. Obviously, check the status of Peyton Hillis before you go all-in on Hardesty. And keep in mind the terrible 49ers matchup. But workload is tough to duplicate. And if Hillis is out, he'll be in line for 20-25 touches, which you can't really say about many RBs this year.
Phillip Tanner, RB, Dal - Yeah, DeMarco Murray put together a clinic this past weekend not likely to be matched by his backfield mate. But Tanner had 7 touches and turned one of them into a score. Plus, he gets the unusually soft front of the Eagles this week. Remember that he's likely the unquestioned backup and change-of-pace back. But he made the most of his scant opportunities against an equally soft front last week, so there's the possibility he'll do it again.
Kregg Lumpkin, RB, TB - The Bucs are seriously hurting right now. LeGarette Blount hasn't had a healthy game yet. Earnest Graham did something funky to his Achilles tendon in London this week, so Lumpkin becomes the default back to own here. Be careful, though, as Tampa gets a bye this week. But Lumpkin will get the workload even if Blount comes back, so he could do something fun with it.
Alfonso Smith, RB, Az - Wow, lots of unheralded guys down here. Lots of injuries thus far. He's got a terrible matchup at Baltimore this week. But his schedule softens significantly after this. He gets the Rams twice, Philly once, the Cowboys once, and the Browns in Championship Week. And he's the only healthy RB left on that roster. Keep in mind that this is a Pass To Set Up The Pass offense, but he'll be the unquestioned workhorse here, and that means touches, and that means at least a modicum of production.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pit - He got a heck of a workload against the soft Cardinals secondary, and he gets an equally soft secondary this weekend when the Patriots come to town. With both defenses not exactly lighting up their opponents, this could turn into a shootout. And shootouts tend to favor wideouts. Start him with confidence this week.
Early Doucet, WR, Az - Like Alfonso above, this is not the week to be starting Doucet. Baltimore is a team on a mission this year. Their defense has been fantastic with only a couple of stumbles thus far. But, like Alfonso, his schedule eases up significantly. Philly will probably be a bigger nuisance against the pass than it is against the run, but he still gets the Rams twice, the Cowboys, and the Browns in Championship week. He's been getting workload as second fiddle to Larry Fitzgerald, and workload is generally a decent indicator of who's going to keep producing. I'd buy and stash, at least until next week.
Jabar Gaffney, WR, Was - The productive, but under the radar, player is about to receive an uptick in targets due to Santana Moss's broken hand. Temper expectations, for the most part. He's been a name in the game for a while, but has never really breached the second tier of players. But he gets Buffalo this week in a game that's likely to be a shootout, which means that points are there to be had. Enjoy starting him this week.
Steve Breaston, WR, KC - He's quietly put together a pretty decent season. Plus, Dwayne Bowe's out. He's their #1 wide receiver, and he'll get the targets for this suddenly surging team. He gets the overrated, but still very good, San Diego secondary at home this week. He's a good WR3/Flex option this week, and as long as Bowe's riding the pine.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Den - Temper expectations here. Tebow's not a particularly good passer. And he's likely to grab any scoring opportunity of 5 yards or less. But Thomas seems to be his favorite target thus far. And he gets the soft Detroit secondary to roam around in. I'd stash this guy for a couple of weeks to see how he does.
Evan Moore, TE, Cle - Yesh. This is a bad offense with a bad QB playing on the road against a good defense. Moore is their best receiver almost by default. Bye week filler only here. You're not going to get elite levels of production. But you might get 20-30 and possibly a score. That's the ceiling, folks.