Last week, we saw Adrian Peterson become the hottest commodity since soybeans and Braylon Edwards turn a corner, becoming a red zone beast. While the studs are beginning to separate after six weeks of actions, the busts (see Alexander, Shaun and Johnson, Rudi) and sleepers are also starting to crystallize. Week 7 provides plenty to chew over with lineup decisions, so we at Rumors and Rants offer up our advice.
MICHAEL PHELPS: Tony Romo vs. Minnesota. If Brian Griese can toss for 381 yards and three scores that bodes well for Romo. Coming off a loss to New England, the Cowboys get to return to the junior varsity, I meant NFC, where they reign supreme. Romo will go 300+ and toss at least two scores.
MARK SPITZ: Matt Hasselbeck vs. St. Louis. Shaun Alexander isn’t running. That means more Hasselbeck. Despite their winless record, the Rams aren’t terrible on defense, but Hasselbeck seems to enjoy playing the Rams with a career 86.3 passer rating against them.
JANET EVANS: Drew Brees vs. Atlanta. Are the Saints back after winning last week at Seattle. A date against the Falcons will help. With Reggie Bush getting almost all the snaps, expect the Saints to spread it out and spread it around. Marques Colston got off the schneid and Brees is building a rapport with Eric Johnson and Lance Moore. Now if anyone can find Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson…
TITANIC: Marc Bulger at Seattle. Bulger should send flowers to Gus Frerotte’s wife after last week. On the sidelines with broken ribs, Bulger watched as his backup turned into Baltimore’s punching bag throwing five interceptions and repeatedly lifting himself off the turf. After a game like that, I’m sure a wife has a list of things to do to make her husband feel better. Things she hasn’t done since college.
LUSITANIA: Cleo Lemon vs. New England. Lemon had a nice game last week with his arms and his legs, legs being two minimal gains that went for scores (which stole touchdowns from my Ronnie Brown). But despite being run by a former Patriots defensive coordinator, Cleveland is far from a Patriots defense. Lemon will understandably struggle.
BISMARCK: Jon Kitna vs. Tampa Bay. Detroit has the weapons offensively to allow Kitna to have a solid outing, but the Bucs have made it tough on offenses this season. Tampa allows just 6.07 yards a pass attempt (4th best in the league) and its athletic and fast front seven will harass Kitna into mistakes. And quick, name the NFL tackles leader. If you said Bucs LB Barrett Ruud, you’re a Nebraska fan. But you’re also right.
MICHAEL PHELPS: Willie Parker at Denver. The Broncos rank last against the run this season and with corners like Dre’ Bly and Champ Bailey don’t expect Big Ben to toss it around too much. Parker should run wild and Najeh Davenport might even be a decent flex option in deep leagues.
MARK SPITZ: Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Indianapolis. After an abysmal start to the season, Mighty Mouse has re-emerged for the Jags rushing attack. MJD has run for 207 yards on just 21 carries with 89 receiving yards and three scores the last two weeks and he gets a Colts D that rolled out the welcome mat for him a year ago.
JANET EVANS: Kenny Watson vs. New York Jets. With Rudi Johnson still nursing a hamstring injury, Watson will get his third straight start. The Bengals are reeling, but it’s not because of Watson Over the past three weeks, the former Penn State man has averaged 5.2 yards a carry and the Jets aren’t overly solid against the run (23rd in the league).
TITANIC: Ahman Green vs. Tennessee. Quick, name the NFL’s top run defense. If you said Tennessee you’re lying, but the Titans behind the inspired play of Albert “Facestomp” Haynesworth allow just 63.7 yards on the ground a game. Green plodded along last week against Jacksonville’s formidable front and didn’t practice on Wednesday. Expect a rough go.
LUSITANIA: Edgerrin James at Washington. Tim Rattay at quarterback doesn’t scare too many people and it’s unclear whether Anquan Boldin will return this week. Expect the ‘Skins D, which ranks seventh against the run, to load up the box and slow down James, who has had a good year to date.
BISMARCK: Marshawn Lynch vs. Baltimore. Rookie, meet the Ravens. Sure, they’re not the defense they’ve been in years past, but Baltimore still ranks third in the league against the run and with another rookie Trent Edwards taking the snaps for the Bills, expect very little from Lynch.
MICHAEL PHELPS: Terrell Owens vs. Minnesota. The Vikings are dead last against the pass and with Patrick Crayton and Jason Witten becoming more involved in the offense, teams can’t cheat as much against Owens. T.O. wasn’t too happy with his role in last week’s loss to New England. After a two-TD performance this week, he’ll quit pouting, if only for a brief moment.
MARK SPITZ: Jerricho Cotchery at Cinncinati. Pennington or Clemens it doesn’t matter who’s throwing it, the Bengals pass defense is putrid. Laveranues Coles was limited in practice this week, but is still expected to play. Cotchery has nearly 500 receiving yards this season, but no touchdowns. That should change this week.
JANET EVANS: Joey Galloway at Detroit. Galloway is a big play receiver. Detroit’s defense is a big play allowing defense. The Lions rank 30th against the pass and Galloway will run by for at least one score from 40+ yards.
TITANIC: Lee Evans vs. Baltimore. Evans will be a permanent fixture on the sink list until he does anything of note. I drafted Evans with a hope he would be a high end No. 2 receiver. Instead, he’s been downright invisible. Through six weeks, Evans has 5.65 fantasy points. New England’s fullback Heath Evans has 7.0. That’s all you need to know.
LUSITANIA: Hines Ward at Denver. Ward and Santonio Holmes are both dealing with knocks and aren’t at 100 percent. That’s never a good sign when you go up against the duo of Champ Bailey and ‘Dre Bly, who lead the league’s No. 1 pass defense. Ward has been out since leaving early in Week 3 against San Francisco with a knee sprain, but he is slated to start this week.
BISMARCK: Larry Fitzgerlad at Washington. Arizona is on QB No. 3 and that’s after Vinny Testaverde turned them down last week. Washington has allowed just two passing touchdowns all season, and don’t expect Tim Rattay to be the one to unlock this secondary.
BYE WEEKS: Cleveland, Green Bay, San Diego, Carolina.
BYE WEEK FILL-INS:
QB: Brian Griese at Philadelphia. Griese has thrown at least two TDs in each of his three starts and the Eagles are still missing Brian Dawkins in the secondary.
RB: Kevin Faulk at Miami. Sammy Morris is out for a month possibly and Laurence Maroney is still working his way back from injury. Heath Evans will get a carry or two, but expect Faulk to have an increased role this week.
WR: Ben Obomanu vs. St. Louis. The Auburn product saw extended playing time against New Orleans with Deion Branch out. Bobby Engram is a slot/possesion type receiver and Nate Burleson is still too up and down to count on. Obomanu can find a niche in this Seattle passing attack much like he did last week where he caught four passes for 72 yards and a score and was targeted 10 times.