Maybe things are starting to get back to normal. Top picks like Andrew Luck, Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffery and Lamar Miller finally put up some good games in Week 6 and showed why they were drafted so high in the first place. Awesome, right?! Even more awesome if you were able to pull off a steal of trade involving one of these guys.
Sadly, there are still so many guys that fantasy players expected to be solid fixtures for their teams that have been disappointments and seem to be staying that way. The Eddie Lacys and C.J. Andersons of the world have probably destroyed the teams they were drafted on and I don't see any relief in sight for their owners. The time has likely come and gone for owners to get even decent value for guys like this, so what do you do? Well, if you can manage to get what you believe is a good offer for one of those guys, then of course you can do it. Other than that, you're pretty much just riding it out. Lacy has a good chance to come back from this and perform well at some point. Anderson just looks like he's lost whatever magic he had at the end of last season and I don't think he's getting it back. It's never fun when your first-round pick is a bust, as it really puts you behind the 8-ball. Hopefully some of you were able to pick up guys like Devonta Freeman or make some trades to improve your situation, but don't just give up on the season! It's only Week 7! Let's go ahead and take a look at the best fantasy games of the week.
New York Jets at New England Patriots - Oct. 25 1:00 p.m. ET, Over/Under: 48
Jets: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has actually played pretty well so far this season, especially from a fantasy perspective. He's had 2 passing TDs in every game except one, which has allowed him to get at least 18 fantasy points in every game except that same game (16 points against Miami in Week 4) and at least 20 points in three of his five games. By this time, we all know the narrative so far when teams play the Patriots this year, New England puts up points early and often and the opposing team has to play catch-up. That bodes well for Fitzpatrick, especially considering the Pats give up the 6th most fantasy points per game (fppg) to opposing QBs. Fantasy starters Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton are both on bye this week, as well as replacement level guys Jay Cutler and Peyton Manning (strange to think that this is what Manning is now, right?). Owners may also still be without Ben Roethlisberger and Tyrod Taylor for this week, which leaves Fitzpatrick as a nice fill-in.
The main guys that will be catching for Fitzy are Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, who have both been great when they're both on the field. That's mostly referring to Decker, who has missed some time, as Marshall has been fantastic all season long for his owners. He's the #9 WR in fantasy with 37 catches for 511 yards and 4 TDs and that's with him already having his bye week. Marshall is back as a Top-10 WR and is an every week starter until further notice. Decker has put up at least 9 fantasy points in all four games he's played this year (he was out in Week 3) and has scored a touchdown in each of them. He's a great NFL WR2 and while he won't usually get as many targets as Marshall, he should still put up solid numbers for you each and every week when he's on the field. Decker is a really good WR3 and can be used as a WR2 if needed for bye weeks or injuries. He's also a great guy to start in cash game lineups for DFS since he's both fairly cheap and effective. It works out well for both of these guys that New England has also given up the 6th most fppg to WRs, making them really attractive in all formats.
Chris Ivory has looked like he's taken over the Beast Mode moniker from Marshawn Lynch, as he's just been a fantasy monster so far this season. He's 4th in total fantasy points among RBs and not only has he had his bye, but he sat out another entire game! Ivory has put up at least 20 fantasy points in three of his four games and has the 3rd most rushing yards in the league on 5.5 yards per carry (ypc). You're starting Ivory no matter what at this point, even though it's possible the game script goes against him in this game. If you're a Jets fan or need Ivory to do well, you have to think it makes sense for New York to run Ivory as much as possible early on in an attempt to keep the Patriots' offense off the field. Even if they fall behind, it will be hard for the Jets to get away from Ivory since he's been so good thus far. Also, the Patriots have actually given up the 11th most rushing yards per game on 4.8 ypc this season, despite having the second fewest rushing attempts against them. Don't be scared to start Ivory here.
Patriots: Tom Brady has given his fantasy owners even more than what they expected when he was taken with a mid- to late-round pick in drafts this summer. He's the #3 QB in fantasy to this point and he's already had his bye. He's tied for the second most passing TDs in the league at 14 and he just threw his first INT of the season last week. He's scored AT LEAST 26 fantasy points in each game this season and has 29 or more in all of the others. Sure, the Jets have the #2 pass defense in the league and have only given up 186.6 passing yards per game and 9.6 fppg to opposing QBs, but this is Tom Brady and the Patriots. If you own Brady, you're starting him. That being said, you should probably avoid him in DFS. The Jets' defense is legit and there's a non-zero percent chance they at least make things difficult for Brady.
Rob Gronkowski has actually been human in his past three games, scoring 10, 6 and 11 fantasy points, respectively. Those are still great numbers for a TE in fantasy, but not the usual Gronk-like numbers. He's still the #1 TE so far -- even with the bye -- and you're starting him no matter what, but this could be another tough game, as the Jets have allowed the 5th least fppg to TEs. Either way, Gronk is match-up proof and could have just as good of a game here as any other. The other main receiving option, Julian Edelman, had a bit of an off game last week due to an apparent finger injury that occurred during the game against Indianapolis. Edelman had a few uncharateristic drops and bobbles due to the injury, but let's hope that it doesn't affect him long term. He's been a Top-12 WR so far this season and there's no reason to think he won't be at least a WR2 for the rest of the season. What I'm interested to see in this game is how the Jets will defend these two guys and who Darrelle Revis will be covering here. Revis and the Jets allow the 6th least fppg to WRs, so if you're a Gronk or Edelman owner, just keep an eye on it for their match-up later in the season.
The other guy who should be a factor in the passing game, as well as running, is RB Dion Lewis. Last week was predicted to be a "LeGarrette Blount game" and it certainly didn't disappoint, as Blount turned in 96 rushing yards and 1 TD on 16 attempts, as well as a receiving TD. This week seems more like a Lewis game, as New England is going up against that tough Jets' defensive front that has allowed the least fppg to opposing RBs and the second least total rushing yards per game at 82.6. If the Pats are going to use a RB to attack this defense, it should be Lewis in the short passing and draw game. Lewis wasn't really involved last week and had only 3 fantasy points -- his first game of the season with less than 11 fantasy points -- but was coming off an injury that occurred in practice last week, so they may have been trying to spare him any uneccesary wear and tear. Either way, I'd trust Lewis this week over Blount in basically all formats, and he's always an especially strong option in PPR.
New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts - Oct. 25 1:00 p.m. ET, Over/Under: 52
Saints: The perception that Drew Brees has lost some of the skill that made him such a great real-life and fantasy quarterback is somewhat of a myth. So far this year, Brees has played in five games and has thrown for over 300 yards in four of them. He has completed 68% of his passes so far, only has 3 INTs and a 96.5 passer rating. The problem for Brees is that he's only thrown for multiple touchdowns in two games this year, which has a lot to do with Mark Ingram and the running game in general getting so many looks near the end-zone. With Jimmy Graham traded to Seattle, Brees doesn't have that huge target to look for in the red-zone, so New Orleans has been opting to just run it in when they get close. The Colts haven't given up a ton of fantasy points to QBs and are about middle of the pack, but they've allowed the 5th most passing yards per game and have the 3rd worst sack percentage in the league, meaning Brees should have time to find a decent target. All things considered, this should be a high scoring game and Brees should put up QB1 numbers.
Speaking of Mark Ingram, here are his fantasy points in each game this year: 11, 11, 15, 12, 6 and 17. He's scored the 5th most fantasy points among RBs and has been very solid, although unspectacular. Surprisingly, a good chunk of his points have actually come in the passing game, where he's tied for 3rd in receptions among RBs at 27. He's only averaged 3.5 ypc, which is concerning, but the Saints seem willing to ride him, as he also has the 9th most carries in the league. I can understand wanting to sell high on Ingram if you fear a regression of points based on his ypc, but he's also played some tough run defenses in Arizona, Carolina, Philadelphia and Atlanta. But if you have Ingram on your team, you're likely starting him because he'll get in the range of 17-20 touches and has put up points no matter what this season. The Colts have given up the 9th most fppg to RBs so far, so you should feel especially good about Ingram this week. I'll briefly mention C.J. Spiller only to say that he's been a major disappointment this season. He was expected to catch a lot of passes in this offense, but he's only made one big play -- his game winning TD reception in OT in Week 4 -- and has been basically invisible otherwise. He's droppable if you've been holding on.
The Saints' passing game has been a let-down, especially the expected top-option, Brandin Cooks. Cooks has 100 yards receiving in only one game so far and also only has 1 TD, both of which were in the same game (Week 5). Cooks had 16 fantasy points in that game and has only 23 in the other five games combined. He just hasn't dominated the targets like a lot of us expected and doesn't even have double digit targets in any game this season. You can't drop Cooks if you own him and the Colts have been terrible against WRs -- they've allowed the 3rd most fppg to that position -- so it's a good week to start him if you have him, but you just can't trust him. He's definitely a good option in DFS tournaments though, as a lot of people will have given up on him at this point. Rookie Willie Snead has seen his role in the offense increase as the season has gone on and has looked good. It looks like he's gained the trust of Drew Brees and can be used as a solid WR3 at this point. TE Benjamin Watson exploded last week for 10 caches on 12 targets for 127 yards and 1 TD as he torched the Falcons' defense. He also had a TD the week prior, but basically did nothing for the entire season up to that point. You can't be sure if this is a trend that will continue or if it's just a blip on the radar, but the one thing we do know is that the Saints' offense looked much better when they had a TE who was a big part of it. The Colts are in the top-half of the league in defending the TE, so it's not like this is a great match-up anyway, but you can start Watson if you need to just pick a guy and hope for the best.
Colts: Finally! Andrew Luck showed us why he was either the first or second QB off the board in drafts this year, as he put up a 300 yard and 3 TD performance against the Patriots in Week 6 (it was his first of either type so far this year). This is what we were expecting from Luck in basically every game and the Saints' defense should help things even more, as they've given up the 9th most passing yards per game and the 2nd most fppg to QBs. Luck may not have looked like he was quite back to 100% from his shoulder injury against the Patriots, but hopefully that also gets better as time goes on. He is a Top 3-5 QB this week.
There are two options in the passing game that you care about here, T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Hilton has been the yardage guy, with 33 catches for 456 yards and only 1 TD, while Moncrief has come up with more TDs -- 30 catches, 347 yards and 4 TDs -- and the two are only separated by 7 fantasy points (in Moncrief's favor). If you took Hilton with a late-second or early-third round pick you were expecting more from him and maybe you'll still get it if Luck continues to get back on track, but I don't see him getting a lot of TDs because he's a big play guy. Unless he scores from long range, he just isn't a likely target in the red-zone. On the other hand, Moncrief has a bigger frame and has gotten 3 of his 4 TDs from inside the opponents' 20 yard line. Both guys should be viewed in the low-end WR1/high-end WR2 range this week in this match-up. This is talked about all the time, but it's really unfortunate that the Colts continue to split the time at TE between Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. While I prefer Allen overall, if there were to give either of these players the full-time role they could be a TE1 in fantasy, especially in this game, as the Saints allow the 4th most fppg to TEs. But as it is now, you can't use either one.
You can't keep the old man down forever! Frank Gore's fantasy numbers haven't looked great if you take them at face value, but if you've actually watched him play, you've seen that he has actually looked really good. He could've had a huge day last week against New England, but he only ended up getting 13 carries for 78 yards because the Colts fell behind and went into comeback mode. Gore has averaged 4.5 ypc and the 8th most rushing attempts in the league, he just needs the opportunity to run the ball throughout the game instead of just the first half. If Andrew Luck really is back to his old self, then Gore should see an increase in his value. New Orleans has given up the 6th most fppg to opposing RBs and the 3rd most total rushing yards per game at a 4.8 ypc clip. Gore is a RB1 this week and he's a nicely priced option in DFS.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers - Oct. 25 4:05 p.m. ET, Over/Under: 47
Raiders: QB Derek Carr has shown improvement in his second season, completing 64% of his passes and throwing 8 TDs to only 3 INTs. Carr had a terrible Week 1 against Cincinnati (2 fantasy points), played well against three bad defenses (33 points against Baltimore, 24 at Cleveland, and 18 at Chicago) and actually had a decent game against Denver's staunch defense (14 fantasy points). This week, he goes up against another stingy pass defense in the Chargers. San Diego has the 7th ranked pass defense in the NFL and has given up the 10th least fppg to opposing QBs. I don't love Carr here because of the match-up, but I think he'll do enough to get his weapons some stats and he'll likely have to throw a good bit in a situation where the Chargers should put up some points.
Rookie first-round pick Amari Cooper has played well up to this point and put up a three game stretch of 16, 13 and 10 fantasy points in Weeks 2-4, which were book-ended by 4 point performances. He's gotten at least 9 targets in every game but one, so you have to expect more of the same in this game. Unfortunately, the Chargers defense is even better against WRs than they are QBs, as they've allowed the 3rd least fppg to that position. CB Jason Verrett might spend most of the night lined up against Cooper, as he looks to be there shut-down corner. If that's the case, it could open up things for Michael Crabtree, who has actually been decent this season. I'm not saying you should start him in standard leagues, but he could show up as a solid WR3 this week. Cooper is a WR2 regardless and hopefully both guys can put something together on pure volume if nothing else. In an attempt to cover all the bases, there has been talk that the Raiders really like rookie TE Clive Walford and want to get him more involved in the offense, but don't trust it until you see it.
Latavius Murray should be the real star of the offense in this game, as the Chargers rush defense has been pretty porous, giving up the 4th most rushing yards per game and the most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. Murray looked to be a steal as a third or fourth round pick through Week 3, but he's had two straight games of 5 or less fantasy points and has had some issues with fumbling. He's still averaging 4.4 ypc and is a big part of the receiving game out of the backfield as well, so I still like Murray as a strong RB option going forward, especially in this match-up. I'd use Murray as a Top-10 option in this one.
Chargers: Did you see Philip Rivers throw for 500 yards and 0 INTs last week and still lose? What is that?! Rivers has been on fire and you're likely starting him no matter what at this point, but it doesn't hurt that he's going up against the Raiders' pass defense in this one. Oakland is giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game and although they're middle of the pack in allowing fppg to QBs, you have to like your odds with Rivers. He's a Top 3-5 option this week, especially with Rodgers and Dalton on bye.
Antonio Gates has come back with a bang and everyone on the planet should know how bad the Raiders have been against TEs this year. They've allowed the 3rd most total fantasy points to the position...and they've played in one less game than every other team in the Top-15 except Tennessee! If Gates isn't the #1 TE this week then he's #2 behind only Gronk and he's almost an automatic start in DFS due to their price difference. The Chargers' other TE, Ladarius Green, is actually a very interesting tournament play in DFS because of the Raiders' vulnerability to the position. Green played well in Gates' absence and has still seen playing time and targets since Gates has returned. Oakland has been much better against WRs, allowing the 12th least fppg to that position. It's not like you're actually scared of their CBs though and you're basically starting Keenan Allen in all situations anyway. Allen was a target monster again last week against Green Bay (unsurprising with Rivers attempting 65 passes) and came down with 14 catches for 157 yards on his 15 targets and that was with him leaving the game early with an injury...Allen is the #6 WR in fantasy so far this season and he's had at least 10 targets in four of his six games. Like I said, you're starting him.
The running game has been the big issue in San Diego, as first-round pick Melvin Gordon has been a bust and could be on the verge of a long-term benching due to his fumbling issues. I think (well, hope) that the Chargers' coaches realize that benching Gordon permanently could destroy whatever confidence he has left at this point and try to get him into a groove in the near future. The unfortunate thing is that Oakland has actually defended the run very well, as they're 3rd in rushing yards allowed and are Top-10 in fppg allowed. You can't play Gordon here and shouldn't be doing so until you see something from him. His backfield running mate Danny Woodhead hasn't been any more effective on the ground recently, but he gives you the floor of about 5 catches in each game and is especially safe in PPR leagues as a RB2.