Fantasy Football: Week 7 Preview

Posted Oct 19, 2012

New Orleans WR Lance Moore could be a sneaky good play this week against Tampa Bay. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Remember back in Week 4, when only the Steelers and Colts were on bye? Well, fantasy owners are now paying the consequences, as six teams are off this week.

Four teams, the Falcons, Broncos, Eagles and Chargers, feature potential fantasy starters at each offensive position, while the other two teams, Kansas City and Miami, feature legit RB1s and at least one fantasy-relevant receiver apiece.

Fantasy owners will have to dig deep this week, which could mean simply taking a shot on guys who could break off one big play (Devery Henderson?) or steal a short-yardage touchdown (John Kuhn?). This is also a good week to try to make up points with your kicker and defense. Going for home runs is worth it if you're down several of your normal starters.

Here are some key numbers to know about every contest, plus a sleeper, stumbler or injury concern to watch out for with a brief explanation why.

Byes: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego.

Packers at Rams

Stat to know: Both D/STs are in play in this one, even with the Packers' high-scoring offense. Green Bay leads the league in sacks (21), but they've also allowed the second-most QB takedowns (23). St. Louis is tied for seventh in sacks (17) and is tied for the third-most allowed (18).

Stumbler: TE Jermichael Finley (Rams tied for seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to TEs).

Titans at Bills

Stat to know: Fred Jackson had 21 touches last week; C.J. Spiller had 16. They're both starting options this week against a Titans' defense allowing the fifth-most FPPG to RBs (24.4).

Sleeper: QB Matt Hasselbeck (Bills allowing a league-high 26.4 FPPG to QBs).

Browns at Colts

Stat to know: In three home games, Luck is averaging just under 300 passing yards, 32 rushing yards, 2.3 TDs and fewer than one turnover per contest. Look for him to continue having success at Lucas Oil Stadium against Cleveland's 30th-ranked pass defense.

Injury: RB Trent Richardson, ribs (Montario Hardesty would be a strong sleeper against Indianapolis' 29th-ranked run defense if Richardson is out).

Ravens at Texans

Stat to know: The Ravens rank just 26th in total defense (396.7 yards per game), and now they're without CB Lardarius Webb (knee) and Ray Lewis (triceps). The Texans should be able to move the ball fairly easily, so don't be afraid to start Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels or Andre Johnson.

Stumbler: K Justin Tucker (Texans have allowed just five field-goal attempts, second fewest).

Saints at Bucs

Stat to know: Five of LeGarrette Blount's seven carries, 53 of his 58 rushing yards and his lone TD last week came in garbage time, according to Sporting News' garbage-time tracker. Even against New Orleans' 31st-ranked run defense, Blount is a risky play unless it's a TD-heavy format.

Sleeper: WR Lance Moore (Practicing in full; Tampa allowing eighth-most FPPG to WRs).                                                                                                               

Cowboys at Panthers

Stat to know: The Panthers are allowing the fourth-most FPPG to RBs (24.5), including the most receiving yards per game to RBs (74.4). Felix Jones is a great RB2 this week with DeMarco Murray (foot) expected to be out.

Sleeper: K Dan Bailey (Carolina allowing league-high 12.2 FPPG to Ks).

Cardinals at Vikings

Stat to know: The Vikings rank 29th in FPPG to RBs (10.7) and are tied for 30th in in FPPG to WRs (17.4). Larry Fitzgerald is the only Arizona offensive player worth using in this one. Also, don't worry about Fitzgerald because John Skelton is starting. In eight games with Skelton last year, Fitzgerald had 42 catches, 753 yards and six TDs.

Injury: WR Jerome Simpson, back/leg (Expected to play, but Arizona has the ninth-ranked pass defense).

Redskins at Giants

Stat to know: Even with Hakeem Nicks active last week, Domenik Hixon had six targets to Nicks' five. Hicks is expected to healthier this week, but Hixon is still a sleeper play against a Washington defense allowing the most FPPG to WRs (34.6).

Stumbler: TE Fred Davis (Giants allowing 4.9 FPPG to TEs, tied for third fewest).

Jaguars at Raiders

Stat to know: Denarius Moore caught five of nine targets last week, and over the past three games he has 13 more targets than any other Oakland player. He's clearly Carson Palmer's go-to guy, and he should have success against a Jaguars' defense allowing 261 passing yards per game.

Sleeper: TE Marcedes Lewis (Raiders allowing 9.6 FPPG to TEs, tied for fourth most).

Jets at Patriots

Stat to know: The Patriots have allowed a league-high 19 pass plays of 25 yards or more. The Jets don't have a dynamic passing attack, but big-play rookie Stephen Hill still looks like a nice sleeper.

Stumbler: RB Shonn Greene (Patriots allowing 12.6 FPPG to RBs, fifth fewest).

Steelers at Bengals

Stat to know: With Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles') and Isaac Redman (ankle) both questionable, Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch could be in line for more touches against a Bengals' defense that's allowed eight rushing TDs, tied for second most.

Sleeper: Steelers D/ST (Cincinnati allowing second-most FPPG to D/STs)

Lions at Bears

Stat to know: Matt Forte had 18 more carries than Michael Bush in Chicago's last game. Detroit actually has a stout run defense this year (96.4 yards per game, only one TD allowed), so Bush is a risky flex-play in standard leagues.

Sleeper: Lions D/ST (Louis Delmas back; Bears allowing 10th-most FPPG to D/STs)

Matt Lutovsky is a fantasy football writer for Sporting News' Fantasy Source. You can read more of his work on the Fantasy Source football homepage at