Fantasy: Much work to do after Thursday night

Posted Oct 18, 2012

Fantasy writer Scott Engel, the managing director of, has a look at Week 7 in the NFL.

This year, Fantasy lineup planning has started much earlier every week, as the league now consistently has opened the schedule on Thursday nights. For Seahawks fans, that means an early opportunity to see their team on national television this week. For Fantasy owners, it signals that it’s time to activate Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks defense earlier than usual. Those are the two must-start players on the Seattle roster.

Lynch was the first RB to score a TD against the 49ers defense last year, and San Francisco’s vaunted unit certainly presents a strong challenge again, especially after the Niners were blown out at home by the Giants. Because of the short week, though, Fantasy players will have to quickly look beyond the Thursday game and not overreact to its results. In many leagues, Lynch and the Seattle defense will be the only surefire starts. With the way Seattle’s defense has been playing, only Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and the 49ers defense can be considered very strong starting options.

So while Lynch will certainly provide Fantasy owners with at least respectable totals, and the defense has played well vs. all comers this year, you cannot  get too high or too low based on the performances of two to three players from yourself or your opponent. Some Fantasy players overreact after the results of a singular game, and cannot with still a dozen matchups on the schedule once the Seahawks Week 7 game concludes.

There is so much work to be done after Thursday night to earn a Week 7 Fantasy victory. There are six teams on a bye this week, and setting a solid lineup seems more challenging than ever. Yet you have to remember that many other Fantasy owners are dealing with similar circumstances. Bye weeks like the current one certainly make you earn your Fantasy victories. You are reminded that a winning Fantasy player doesn’t simply lean on a sound overall roster, he also must manage his team well. It’s not just about who is on your team, it’s also about how you cope with adversity.

Andy Dalton has arrived as a solid Fantasy starter, and whether you need him as a replacement for a struggling alternative or to sub in for a bye week QB, he will get the job done for you. Dalton has not been intimidated by any level of opposition he has faced yet, and Pittsburgh’s defense is not as sound as it used to be. If you cannot use Dalton, Christian Ponder has been very steady and should at least deliver an adequate statistical performance against the Vikings.

Josh FreemanIf you are scrambling for another backup QB option, there is no shortage of decent options this week. Josh Freeman faces a Saints defense that is having trouble containing all levels of opposition. Ryan Fitzpatrick should get back on track against a struggling Titans defense. In the same game, a familiar name to Seahawks fans, Matt Hasselbeck, can provide adequate totals. The most successful QB in ‘Hawks history faces a vulnerable Buffalo secondary.

C.J. Spiller is one of the top starts of the week against those Titans, who have been very easy to exploit this year. Also at running back, Felix Jones fills in for the injured DeMarco Murray and is a Top 10 start against the Panthers. Stevan Ridley struggled against the Seahawks last week, but should rebound to score against the Jets. Shonn Greene had a career game against the Colts last week, but may not perform well enough at New England to help you win. LeGarrette Blount has been getting some goal-line work and will get a few chances to score against New Orleans.

Victor Cruz and A.J. Green have temporarily vaulted past Calvin Johnson as the top WRs in Fantasy, and fortunately for their owners, none of those three are off this week. Hakeem Nicks seems to be getting back into form slowly and should be locked in against the weak Washington secondary. Dez Bryant was very impressive in Week 6 and should perform well at Carolina. Kenny Britt also seems to be getting healthy again as well and should be started as a WR3. Donnie Avery is a terrific bye week fill-in against Cleveland. Denarius Moore has some upside and may make some big plays downfield against the Jaguars.

At tight end, look for the Panthers to get the ball to Greg Olsen after retooling and coming out pretty smoothly in the passing game after a bye. Martellus Bennett should re-emerge against the Redskins, and Dwayne Allen will be a scoring threat against the Browns. On defense, look for an impressive performance by New England against the Jets, and the Packers should be able to keep the score down and register some sacks at St. Louis.

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