Six teams are on their bye this week, meaning you are likely looking for a fill-in running back or waiver wire flex play.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here are your must-starts and deep threats from every Week 7 game.
Thursday night game
After allowing a season-high 26 points last week, expect the 49ers to clamp down at home against an offense ranked 28th in total yards and 23rd in scoring. The Seahawks also are averaging just 15 points per game on the road.
Deep threat: Seahawks defense – How about a little tit-for-tat? Seattle’s defense had allowed 20 points or fewer before last week’s 24-23 win against New England. They rank ninth in the league and could keep this game in the teens.
The 1 p.m. games
Browns at Colts: Browns RB Trent Richardson
The rookie has been practicing this week with sore ribs and appears in line to play against a defense ranked 29th against the run (159 yards per game) and giving up the third most fantasy points (26.5) to running backs.
Deep threat: Colts RB Vick Ballard – The rookie running back only saw eight carries in a blowout loss to the Jets, but with Donald Brown still sidelined, Ballard could break through in his second start against the league’s 30th-ranked defense.
Cardinals at Vikings: Vikings defense
Minnesota has allowed 20 points combined in their last two home games while Arizona, which managed three points in its last visit to a dome, will have John Skelton as its new quarterback in place of injured Kevin Kolb.
Deep threat: Cardinals RB William Powell – Powell outshone Larod Stephens-Howling last week, and his 5.4 yards per carry average should earn him even more touches this week.
Cowboys at Panthers: Cowboys TE Jason Witten
After a slow start while nursing an ailing spleen, Witten has been rounding back to form over the last two games, catching 19 passes for 200 yards. He’s also averaged more than 10 targets in each of the last two games.
Deep threat: Panthers TE Greg Olsen – If Morris Claiborne can’t go for Dallas, Carolina’s passing game could be primed for a big afternoon. Olsen leads the team in catches (22) and is second in targets (34) and yards (293).
Packers at Rams: Packers RB Alex Green
The Rams’ first priority will be trying to slow quarterback Aaron Rodgers, so Green should have room to run against a defense that’s permitted six rushing touchdowns (10th most) this season.
Deep threat: Rams RB Daryl Richardson – Steven Jackson is clearly not himself, and last week, the rookie from Abilene Christian took full advantage of a boost in carries, posting 76 yards. His ability to break a big play make him a low-end flex option on a week full of byes.
Ravens at Texans: Texans WR Andre Johnson
With eight catches for 75 yards, Johnson had his best game last Sunday since Week 1. Johnson also is facing a defense ranked 22nd against the pass (260.2 ypg) and without starting cornerback Ladarius Webb.
Deep threat: Ravens QB Joe Flacco – Aaron Rodgers absolutely torched the Texans’ defense last week. Flacco is no Rodgers, but a 250-yard, 2-touchdown day is a reasonable expectation.
Redskins at Giants: Giants WR Hakeen Nicks
Nicks appears to be getting healthier after playing for the first time last weekend since a monster game in Week 2. The Redskins, meantime, are giving up the most fantasy points (33.8) to wide receivers.
Deep threat: Redskins WR Santana Moss – The old veteran had a season-high four receptions against the Vikings and while he’s by no means a safe start, you could do worse speculating for a fill-in receiver on the waiver wire.
Saints at Buccaneers: Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman
Freeman is a solid bye-week option against a defense ranked 30th against the pass and giving up the fifth most fantasy points (25.9) to quarterbacks. Freeman also has averaged 314 yards and two touchdowns in his last two home games.
Deep threat: Saints WR Lance Moore – Moore led the team in receptions and targets before a hamstring injury sidelined him two weeks ago. He should resume his role one of Drew Brees’ top targets and is always a threat to score a touchdown.
Titans at Bills: Bills RB C.J. Spiller
Even though Spiller is sharing carries with Fred Jackson, he’s been the more dynamic running back with an average per carry of 7.6 yards and draws a defense allowing the sixth most fantasy points (24.4) to running backs.
Deep threat: Titans WR Kendall Wright – The rookie has seen his yardage total increase in every week, and that could continue against a Bills’ defense that ranks 19th against the pass.
The 4:25 p.m. games
Jaguars at Raiders: Raiders defense
The Raiders are a viable bye-week replacement considering the long trip for Jacksonville, which ranks last in the league in total offense (241.2 ypg) and points per game (13).
Deep threat: Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis – You’re never going to feel comfortable starting anyone not named MJD on Jacksonville, but if you’re desperate….
Jets at Patriots: Patriots RB Stevan Ridley
Coming off his worst performance of the season, Ridley can get back on track against a defense that surrenders the seventh most fantasy points (23.2) to running backs and is ranked 28th against the run (150.5 ypg).
Deep threat: Jets WR Jeremy Kerley – New York experienced some rare success running the football last week, but they will have to throw to keep pace with the Patriots, and that should mean a handful of targets for Kerley.
Sunday night game
Steelers at Bengals: Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham
Gresham is second on the team in receptions and touchdown catches has been much more involved over the last two weeks with defenses concentrating heavily on slowing WR A.J. Green.
Deep threat: Steelers TE Heath Miller – He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3, but that streak could end against a Bengals defense that struggles to keep opposing tight ends out of the end zone.
Monday night game
Lions at Bears: Bears WR Brandon Marshall
Marshall is coming off his best two performances, including 12 catches for 144 yards and one touchdown last weekend against the Jaguars, and is averaging nearly 100 yards per game this season.
Deep threat: Lions RB Mikel LeShoure – Detroit’s bruising tailback averaged 4.7 yards per carry against the Eagles and remains a factor in the passing game as well.
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