Week 7 Fantasy Tips from the Playbook War Room: Part 2

Fantasy Tips, Inside the Game, Playbook War Room

Here’s Part II of our Week 7 Fantasy Tips. . .

WAS @ CAR

  • With John Beck under center the Redskins are going to run the ball. This could not be a more perfect matchup for Beck to make his first start. The Panther’s run Defense is poor, plain and simple. They do not set the edge well and their linebackers really do not do a good job laterally filling running lanes. The Redskins zone rushing attack should be able to get back on track and help ease Beck into a starting role. The only issue is who gets the carries, but it looks like a banged up Tim Hightower could mean the majority of the carries go to the bruising Ryan Torain.
  • The Redskins possess two very talented edge rushers in Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. Carolina does a good job protecting Cam Newton by keeping in their RBs and TEs and we think that should be enough to keep Cam off of his back this week. Washington likes to send extra pressure and play man to man behind it, which will make reads easier for Newton when pressure is coming.  Keeping these guys in to protect limits the amount of WRs who go out, but Steve Smith has the quickness and route running ability to run double moves and get open. Expect both of these guys to put up good numbers.
  • DeAngelo Williams has been a huge fantasy disappointment this year and we really do not expect much to change this week. Jonathan Stewart has looked better to us on film with his ability to run the ball, catch passes, but most importantly protect Cam Newton. Williams and Stewart have been pretty much splitting carries and we do not anticipate that changing anytime soon making them very difficult to start on a weekly basis.

Roddy White (AP)

ATL @ DET

  • Detroit’s run defense has been very porous this season. They have a defensive line that loves to attack the QB and teams have started to use that against them. They line their DEs very far outside which creates a natural lane off tackle. The Falcons pride themselves in running the football and are at their best when they do it off tackle. We see no reason why Michael Turner can’t have another big game this week.
  • Roddy White has not looked as bad on film as his production has shown. He has been getting open all over the field, so that can’t be the problem. What we think has been the issue is that earlier this season Matt Ryan’s offensive line was getting him pummeled and his eyes weren’t staying down the field. He has been getting the ball out of his hands quicker than usual, but the Falcons continue to run Roddy on a lot of longer developing routes. Facing a team that generates a lot of pressure, the Falcons need to run a lot of quicker routes with Roddy to get the ball in his hands; if they do that he should start to get back on track.
  • If the Lions throw the ball near Calvin Johnson, he makes plays. Yet last week San Francisco made a point to jam and re-route him at the line of scrimmage with clear over the top help- and it worked. Detroit was forced to make someone else beat the 49ers and no one did.  Expect him to get the ball more this week against a poor Falcons secondary. Brandon Pettigrew has been a frequent target up the seams and in the screen game, and Atlanta’s soft 2-high shell shouldn’t stop him from continuing his most consistent season yet.

CHI @ TB

Kellen Winslow (AP)

  • The Buccaneers were able to really disrupt Drew Brees last week with their four man pass rush. They do not blitz much, but caused a lot of problems for the Saints on the edge and up the middle. The Bears do not protect very well so Jay Cutler will once again have to battle against guys in his face. He is going to be under duress and we think that it is going to hinder his ability as well as his WRs to be relied upon this week.
  • Earnest Graham was efficient filling in for LeGarrette Blount last week. Tampa Bay seemed too committed to the run throughout the game, which bodes well for Graham owners. In the Saints game, the Bucs 13 of their 25 runs went for 3 yards or less, with 5 of those going for no gain or less.  But their commitment allowed them to generate some big plays. Graham has soft hands out of the backfield which makes him even more appealing this week. The Bears run a lot of zone coverage which should allow Graham to get a few passes his way out of the backfield.
  • Chicago has been one of the worst teams in the NFL this year against opposing TEs. On film we notice that the Bears run a lot of zone and do not typically blitz the QB very much. With no threat emerging opposite Julius Peppers, they have not been able to generate enough of a pass rush to compensate for their soft zone scheme. When dropping into their Cover 2 zone assignments, the Bears LBs drop very wide which opens up a lot of holes underneath and up the seams. QBs have been able to sit in the pocket and locate their TEs underneath as the Bears try to limit big WR plays over the top of their defense. Kellen Winslow has been getting a lot of targets the past few weeks and he should be open a lot this week.

Mike Wallace (AP)

PIT @ ARI

  • Mike Wallace and Ben Roethlisberger have been in sync more than ever this season. Wallace seems to be in line for designed deep passes each game which combines well with his development in the short and intermediate passing game. The Cardinals secondary play a lot of off coverage and should continue to do so to honor Wallace’s speed. Mike should have a field day running curl and comeback routes. If the Cardinal CBs start to creep up you can be sure the Steelers will capitalize deep.
  • Andre Johnson was on his way to a big day in week 4 before he hurt his hamstring. Besides that week, the Steelers have yet to face a team with a bonafide #1 WR like Larry Fitzgerald. Looking strictly at the secondary, the Steelers do not have a player that can matchup with Fitzgerald one on one. The Steelers ability to generate pressure could cause Kevin Kolb some issues, but he has shown the ability to stand in and take a hit. The Cardinals get creative with how they line up Fitzgerald and throw him enough footballs. Though Fitzgerald is a guaranteed starter be aware that he’s not a big time catch and run receiver; and Pittsburgh’s pressure won’t provide many down the field opportunities.
  • Beanie Wells displays a unique combination of physicality and agility. He runs well between the tackles and can get consistent yards on each carry, but also has the agility to utilize cutback lanes or bounce a run to the outside. Against the Jaguars, the Steelers were not able to completely shut down the Jaguars rushing attack from getting consistent positive yardage. We anticipate that Beanie will be able to put up fairly good numbers especially if the Cardinals want to keep their defense off the field.  The Cardinal defense is near the bottom of the league in rushing yards so Rashard Mendenhall seems to be a no-brainer to start.

STL @ DAL

Tony Romo (AP)

  • Stay away from any St. Louis Rams player this week. Sam Bradford is banged up and might not play, which is going to make their offense less of a threat. The Cowboys possess one of the top defenses against the run and you can bet they will be focused on shutting down Steven Jackson early in the game. Once they get a lead they have the pass rushers to cause havoc on the Rams’ QB.
  • This is a perfect week for Tony Romo and the Cowboys WRs to get back on track. He has not had many games with both Miles Austin and Dez Bryant opposite each other and it showed last week. The passing attack seemed out of sync at times. The Rams have a ton of injuries in the secondary and no real pass rush that should worry the Cowboys. With some injuries at RB, expect the Cowboys to throw early and often.

Christian Ponder (AP)

GB @ MIN

  • Green Bay Offense’s has been on fire this season. No team has really shown they can stop the Packers and we do not think the Vikings have a plan either. Last week Minnesota let the Bears Offense put up 39 points.  We suggest starting any of the Packers weapons you have, they are simply too high powered not to do so. You run the risk of the ball getting distributed to too many guys, but the reward is so high and any weekly slump is simply too hard to predict.
  • Chicago made it a priority to shut down Adrian Peterson. There were times that we saw on film where they had up to 9 defenders in the box. You had better believe that the Packers watched that same tape and will do a lot of the same.  AP is gifted, but even he can’t get yards without help. To make matters worse, the Packers are going to put up points early, so the Vikings will have to throw to keep up. AP might get some passes out of the backfield, but he will also have to stay in to protect his debuting rookie QB.
  • Poor Christian Ponder. In his first start he is going up against the defending Super Bowl champs, is commanding one of the worst offenses in the league, teams are daring the Vikings to throw, and his OL has been porous all year. Ponder is walking into a shootout situation and they are going to have to rely on him to throw the ball to keep things within reach. I’d stay away from any Vikings pass catcher this week.

IND @ NO

Reggie Wayne (AP)

  • We think this could be the week Reggie Wayne gets back on track. The first reason is that the Colts are going to have to throw the ball to keep up with the Saints offense. The Saints are not great at stopping the run, but generate enough stops that a team like Indy will not hesitate to start to throw the ball more. The Saints run a lot of soft Cover 2 which means Wayne should have room to work underneath and in the middle of the field. Lastly, Curtis Painter is going to be pressured at times and since Pierre Garcon runs a lot of routes down the field, Wayne and/or Dallas Clark could emerge as his hot WR. On film you can clearly see that Painter loves to throw the ball to the outside, not the middle of the field, and these are all things that point in Wayne’s favor.  Against a Cover 2 defense there will still be holes and opportunities for Pierre Garcon to make big plays.
  • New Orleans is going to be able to get their passing attack back on track against a poor Indianapolis secondary. Against the Bucs last week the Saints were forced to rely on their passing attack too much. The Bucs DL was able to commit to rushing the passer and caused some disruption to Drew Brees. The Saints will commit to running the football again against one of the league’s worst defending the run. This will take pressure off of Brees and will slow down the Colts pass rushers. Look for Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas to get more carries this weekend.

Click Here to read Part 1 of NFL Playbook’s Week 8 Fantasy Tips.

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Send your questions and comments to the Playbook War Room Team at playbook@nfl.com and on Twitter @NFLN_Playbook.

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