Jason and Justin Sablich are here to help you with your fantasy football team. The Sablich brothers will provide fantasy football advice throughout the season on this blog and on Twitter (@5thDownFantasy).
”On the seventh week of the third Sabbath in October, Tebow Time finally arrived, and the quarterback was blessed with a favorable matchup, and his owners rejoiced. (Sablich 3:16).”
Tom Brady’s mammoth 42-point day in Week 1 props up the Miami Dolphins’ seventh-best matchup rating, but quarterbacks have hit double-digit touchdowns in three of their last four games against them, including a rushing score to Mark Sanchez last Monday, something Tim Tebow (DEN, vs. MIA) knows a thing or two about. Demaryius Thomas, the first receiver taken in the 2010 draft, will be making his return as well. Tebow is among our favorable matchup picks for Week 7.
Favorable/Unfavorable Quarterback Matchups
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. Arizona — Roethlisberger blamed the wind for his ugly second-half performance against Jacksonville, where he went just 1-for-5 for 19 yards and was sacked three times. He won’t be dealing with any adverse weather in Arizona (dome), and he could be getting two of his starting offensive linemen back as well (Kemoeatu and Gilbert). The Cardinals rank in as the 11th best quarterback matchup, allowing 22 fantasy points a game to the position.
Matt Cassel (KC) vs. Oakland – Oddly enough, Brady has been the only quarterback this season who has failed to reach at least 20 standard fantasy points against this unit. Fantasy football has a way of driving you insane sometimes. Anyway, Cassel finally got into a groove before entering his bye week, totaling 5 touchdowns and 517 passing yards in two games prior. Don’t sleep on Cassel this week if you’re looking for some help.
Philip Rivers (SD) vs. Jets – Rivers wins the worst quarterback matchup award this week, and his opportunities could be limited because the logical plan would be to attack the Jets flimsy run defense. His value would see a decent bump however if his Hall of Fame-worthy tight end Antonia Gates shows up to play this week.
Kevin Kolb (ARZ) vs. Pittsburgh – He was terrible against the Vikings before the bye and things will likely stay that way against a Steelers team allowing just 13 fantasy points a game to guys like him.
Josh Freeman (TB) vs. Chicago – Travel time to London and a date with a Bears team who matched their season-high with five sacks last week should keep Freeman from posting QB1 numbers in Week 7.
Favorable/Unfavorable Running Back Matchups
Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) vs. Arizona – Mendenhall silenced his critics last Sunday with a 146-yard breakout game against a tough Jacksonville run defense. Did the return of offensive lineman Max Starks help spark the turnaround, or was it merely coincidence? Despite the fact that his offensive line is dealing with yet another injury (Legursky), chances are good that Mendenhall stays in the red against a Cardinals defense yielding 19 fantasy points a game to the position.
DeMarco Murray (DAL) vs. St. Louis – Murray will split carries with Tashard Choice to some extent now that Felix Jones is expected to miss the next 2-4 weeks, but he figures to see the bulk of the load as he is the better back. Don’t be fooled by the Rams holding Green Bay’s running backs to just 74 yards on the ground in Week 6 because the Packers haven’t run the ball well all season (23rd-ranked rushing offense). This plus-matchup (5th best RB, 22 FPPG) makes Murray a viable flex option this week.
Ryan Mathews (SD) vs. Jets – The Jets allowed the normally anemic Reggie Bush to run for a season high 71 yards on 10 carries Monday night and are considered the fourth best matchup a running back can have through the first six weeks of the season. A heavy dose of Mathews is in order.
Mark Ingram (NO) vs. Indianapolis – Could this be the week you actually get some yardage to go along with those touchdowns? The Colts have surrendered the third most fantasy points to running backs this season, but keep in mind that Chris Ivory could return from the injured list for this game, which would only make the N.F.L.’s most crowded backfield that much cozier. Still, Ingram needs to be in your lineup considering the lopsided matchup.
Earnest Graham (TB) vs. Chicago – Adrian Peterson entered his meeting with Chicago two weeks ago on a major high-note (122 yards, 3 touchdowns), only to be limited to 39 yards on 12 carries for a 3.3-yard average. Graham is coming off his first 100-yard game since 2008 but he clearly isn’t in the same tier as Peterson and has to make the long journey to London for this one. He’s certainly start-able as an RB2, just don’t get too carried away based on last week’s numbers.
Jackie Battle (KC) vs. Oakland – Over the past two games, the Raiders have given up just 135 rushing yards on 46 attempts to the likes of Arian Foster and the Cleveland Browns’ committee. Battle should see the bulk of the load, making him a decent low-end RB2 start, but we wouldn’t expect a huge day against Oakland.
Montario Hardesty (CLE) vs. Seattle – Assuming that Peyton Hillis is inactive, Hardesty will get the bulk of the work. But those of you who grabbed him from your wire may want to explore other options this week. Hardesty did nothing in relief of Hillis against Oakland, rushing 11 times for 35 yards, and is averaging under four yards a carry this season. Seattle’s seventh-ranked run defense, led by Red Bryant, is allowing just 3.1 yards a carry, making Hardesty a safer flex option if possible.
Steven Jackson (STL) vs. Dallas – A healthy Jackson gets the league’s No. 1 ranked running defense this week and could be without quarterback Sam Bradford, who is nursing a high ankle sprain. The Cowboys have held Jahvid Best and BenJarvus Green-Ellis to seven points or fewer over the last two weeks.
Favorable/Unfavorable Wide Receiver Matchups
Marques Colston (NO) vs. Indianapolis — Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson was the latest pass-catcher in the last three games to post at least 100 yards on this secondary. Colston put together his best outing against the Buccaneers in Week 6, earning him fantasy’s No. 1 receiver title in standard scoring leagues for the week. He should be ready for more of the same with the Saints looking to avenge their upset loss to Tampa Bay.
Eric Decker (DEN) vs. Miami – Decker becomes Tebow’s main man thanks to the Brandon Lloyd trade, and he has an outstanding matchup this week as the Dolphins have allowed an opposing team’s No. 1 receiver to score at least 10 fantasy points in each of their five games this season.
Sidney Rice (SEA) vs. Cleveland – The Browns’ shutdown corner Joe Haden is expected to miss another 1-2 weeks, leaving backup Dimitri Patterson to fill the void. Paterson struggled to cover Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey last week, and isn’t in the same league talent-wise as Haden, which makes Rice an attractive option as a WR2.
Greg Little (CLE) vs. Seattle – Little performed well in his first game as a starting receiver, notching six catches for 72 yards despite stumbling his way out of a sure touchdown in the second quarter. Keep him active against a reeling Seattle secondary (24 FPPG) who just lost their best cover man to season-ending injured reserve (Marcus Trufant).
Santonio Holmes (NYJ) vs. San Diego – Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Lloyd have managed a measly six-point fantasy average over the last three weeks against this secondary. Holmes may not be able to blame his offensive line after this one.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) vs. Pittsburgh – The Steelers haven’t surrendered a touchdown to a No. 1 wideout since Anquan Boldin in Week 1 and have yet to allow a receiver more than 82 yards in a single game.
Santana Moss (WAS) vs. Carolina – Moss will have to adjust to a new quarterback, which might not totally be a bad thing considering how badly Rex Grossman played in recent games. But teams usually spend most of their Sundays attacking the Panthers’ poor run defense with the ground game and some No. 1 wideouts named Colston, White and Knox averaged just four standard fantasy points over the last three games against them.
Steve Smith (CAR) vs. Washington – Washington has allowed just one receiver to reach paydirt this season (Fitzgerald) and should be wise to how the Atlanta Falcons held Smith to just five catches for 66 yards, thanks to a little something called game film. “It looked like they were rolling coverage to wherever he was,” Panthers Coach Ron Rivera said. “They seemed to have some sort of a bracket where they had one guy inside, one guy outside and one guy over the top and one guy underneath.”
Favorable/Unfavorable Tight End Matchups
Lance Kendricks vs. Dallas – Hendricks is coming off his best game of the season (4 receptions, 71 yards) and the matchup is a good one (second best TE, 12 FPPG). But Kendricks could be missing his starting quarterback this week and has been too inconsistent to be more than just a desperation start.
Jared Cook (TEN) vs. Houston – The Saints’ Jimmy Graham has been the only tight end to have a good fantasy outing against the Texans so far, but he has a way of doing that to everyone, it seems. Houston is the third worst matchup (four FPPG allowed).
Favorable/Unfavorable Defense/Special Teams Matchups
Dallas vs. Rams, Baltimore vs. Jaguars, New Orleans vs. Colts, Chicago vs. Bucs
Atlanta vs. Detroit, Jacksonville vs. Baltimore, Kansas City vs. Oakland, Tennessee vs. Houston, Minnesota vs. Green Bay