Expecting another explosive week from Shonn Greene and Christian Ponder? Think again. Playboy.com's got your week 7 guide to the fantasy football field.
Always active and interested in the lives of you, our fine and flawless readers, this week Playboy.com premieres the newest addition to our sporting family, our “Start ’Em, Sit ’Em” Fantasy Football guide. Each week, we’ll sort through the rubble of waiver wires and underappreciated players to find sneaky good players to start (or in some cases sit) to help you win your fantasy week. Please keep in mind that we’re not going after the big fish here; you should start Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Arian Foster all the times. These are the guys you might be on the fence about or find rotting on the wire. You can thank us later.
Eli Manning: Brother Eli has torched some shoddy defenses this season and the Redskins are among the worst; they’ve allowed 15 TDs through the air and are giving up 328 passing yards per game. Look for Manning to make a move into the elite fantasy play-caller conversation with a massive game in the Meadowlands.
Doug Martin: Owners concerned that Martin might be falling off after a few lackluster weeks and some lost touches to veteran LeGarrette Blount can take comfort in the fact that he matches up this week against a Saints team that ranks dead last against the run, giving up big gains and big scores almost at will.
Hakeem Nicks: Part of the reason the Redskins’ defensive numbers are so awful is their penchant for giving up big gains after the catch: they’ve surrendered a league-high six 40-plus yard receptions and only one team has given up more 20-plus yarders. The ’Skins are also on the losing end in terms of completions, giving up a league-worst 163 through six games. All that to say that Hakeem Nicks is poised for a big day.
Jason Witten: Witten has wandered back into the fantasy football conversation after a rough start to the 2012 season; in his past two games he has put up 26 fantasy points and is sitting idle on waiver wires in a lot of leagues or available dirt cheap via trade from less savvy owners. Consider him a solid flex option against the Panthers defense that’s giving up close to nine points to the position.
Carolina Panthers: How can we recommend Witten and in our next breath recommend the defense he’s facing? Well, Witten’s yardage might be accumulated via the check down, a lot of short gains, which Romo will need behind an O-Line that has struggled to protect him. All told, defenses facing the ’Boys have been treated to the second-most fantasy points through six weeks.
Check out who we’ve got riding the pine this week on Page 2…
Christian Ponder: Christian Ponder’s fantasy relevance has eclipsed the likes of Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo through the first six weeks, so you might like him as a viable spot starter to get you through the byes. But not this one: even with six teams on the shelf, Ponder doesn’t match up well against a Cardinals team that has held opposing QBs to just 10 points a game.
Shonn Greene: Greene’s 34-point day last week accounts for over half of his total fantasy points in 2012, so let’s not get too excited about the Jets back running in a system that still seems unsure of itself. Adding to that is the New England run defense that we tend to think of as sub-par but is actually ranked in the top 10 in 2012, holding opposing backs to just 82.7 yards per game with only two scores.
Steve Smith: Still waiting on Steve Smith, the 2011 edition, to show up? You might as well be waiting on the world to end. I think it’s safe to say Smith’s breakout 2011 was an aberration, but even if it wasn’t, his numbers won’t be coming around against a Cowboys team that hasn’t allowed an opposing number one, outside Brandon Marshall, any more than nine fantasy points.
Jermichael Finley: It’s week seven now and I think we can officially pronounce Jermichael Finley a bust. You would think a pass-catching tight end in a pass-happy offense would be, well, catching passes and happy, but Finley hasn’t been anywhere near up to par; you can count his fantasy points from the last three games on one hand.
Baltimore Ravens: Woe to be a Ravens fan. A once feared and ferocious D has collapsed under injury and age: Lewis is gone, Webb is gone, Suggs might be back but is probably still hopelessly banged up, and the Ravens, once the cream of the NFL defensive crop, are ranked 26th in total defense. Against a Houston team which is figuring to finish with 13, 14 wins, this is going to be a problem.