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Dan's Sack (Fantasy Football Mailbag): Week 7

Dan Ciarrocchi of Hogs Haven and Pro Football Focus answers your fantasy questions for Week 7.

Rob Carr

I hate bye weeks, but they really make for some hilarious scenarios. Case in point, a guy in my league started Joique Bell and Shaun Draughn as his running backs and still won his matchup. Because it wasn’t against me, I can actually appreciate the humor in this. It should count for two losses toward the guy who fell at the merciless hands of Shaun Draughn and Joique Bell. Maybe I’ll lobby for that drop in the standings. In the meantime, I guess I can get to some of your questions. Universal advice, though: Don’t lose to the person who starts Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce. You’ll be the laughingstock of me.

Shep 872 from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Stafford is killing me this season.

Take a number.

I was thinking about benching him this week in favor of Carson Palmer. What do you think?

I’ll answer that question with an admittedly stupid question. If you were stressed over your cholesterol level, would you ease your stress about it by eating bacon-wrapped donut burgers? Because Carson Palmer is as much of a heart-attack-inducing donut burger as Matthew Stafford is. He will either torch opposing defenses for 350 yards and a pair of scores, or the fantasy equivalent of football-punching Marcia Brady in the face. There just isn’t any middle ground with the guy.

If there’s anything I can conclude about Matthew Stafford, it’s that he’s underperforming. Granted, his numbers were expected to take a hit after throwing for 5,000 yards last season, but we’re still accustomed to better things from the former number-one pick. If anything, I’m encouraged by his totals versus the Eagles’ great pass defense last week despite playing three awful quarters that Kyle Boller would be hard-pressed to out-suck. If anything, it proved the offense’s sheer reliance on Stafford’s arm can be enough to make him a decent option every week. As for this week though, I’d be keener to rely on Stafford’s talent versus a challenging matchup than Palmer’s versus an easy one.

Also, donut burgers. I must have one, someday. Someday...

Jorge Villadiego from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Where did [Martellus] Bennett go?

Not the sidelines, if that’s what you’re implying. Martellus Bennett isn’t missing from the field, but cerainly from the stat sheet. He played in all but five of the Giants’ snaps last week, but he was targeted just twice. Expect that kind of inconsistency from him. He’s not exactly a polished route runner, and he’s being asked to block quite a bit this season. And as far as last week went, the Giants needed a ton of help to counter the great 49ers pass rush.

Is there a wide receiver & defense sleeper out there that one has looked at?

The Raiders defense should be a good play this week versus the Jaguars, a team that has turned it over versus every opponent they’ve played this season except in the game where they played the Colts. I have them going in two of my leagues right now, and I think that choice could pay dividends if the Jaguars decide to continue being the Jaguars.

As for wide receivers, I think Domenik Hixon is worth a start in deeper leagues. His targets have diminished considerably since the return of Hakeem Nicks, but the Giants are a team that will throw constantly versus a Redskins defense that hasn’t stopped anyone through the air. The 'Skins will need to pull out all the stops to contain Nicks and Victor Cruz, and Hixon could roam free as a result. Ditto with Bennett for that matter.

@Westernsnubs writes via Twitter:

I have Aaron Hernandez and Kyle Rudolph. What should I start in week 7 & ROS. May try trade one w/ M. Stafford for another QB.

Since the humble beginnings of this column, which took place way back yonder about seven weeks ago, I’ve never been shy about my love for Kyle Rudolph this season. He’s accounted for 63 percent of all the Vikings receiving touchdowns his season, and though that pace isn’t really sustainable, he should continue to be a monster this year.

That said, he’s the one you should be selling right now if you can’t use him as a flex option in your league. The reason I say that is because Rudolph looks to be at peak value, and his points have been very touchdown-dependent so far. For me, I’d prefer to own a player who can get the job done even if he doesn’t find pay dirt, and Rudolph isn’t going to score every game. Aaron Hernandez, on the other hand, will be heavily involved in the offense as long as he’s healthy and has proven he can put fantasy points on the board even if he doesn’t score. And there’s still a good chance he will in any given week.

@Groomoo writes via Twitter:

Is Josh Gordon worth a roster spot?

Any player with back-to-back touchdown weeks with 80-plus yards is worth taking a chance on. Aside from Trent Richardson, he is the most explosive player on the Browns’ offense. If they are smart, they’ll get the ball in his hands as the weeks go on. Stash him, if nothing else.

Skinz4Life6 from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Should I have DROPPED Shonn Greene completely or just benched him after his amazing performance last week? He alone gave me a win! I know he has tough match ups these next few weeks but should there be any point in the season where he might find more magic? Or is he a “super fluke”?

Coming from someone who despises Shonn Greene and the ground he plods on, I couldn’t think of anything more satisfying than hitting he big fat “drop” button next to his name. But as satisfying as that would be for me, or anyone else who holds an irrational fantasy grudge against him, I just couldn’t do it.

Running backs that carry as much of the load as Greene does are rare in the NFL, and sometimes opportunity alone can translate into consistent fantasy points. But still, screw that. I want upside! And to really succeed, I need that kind of talent to couple with the kind of touches Greene inexplicably gets. See if you can sell Greene’s opportunities and get a good haul for him. Unfortunately, your only willing trade partner might be Fireman Ed, but it’s worth a shot regardless.

@Marshallgolfen writes via Twitter:

Need some help this week. Cam or Romo?

Cam Newton has been a disappointment this season, and his job will not get any easier with the secondary Dallas is trotting out. The Cowboys are much improved in the back end of their defense and could give a guy like Newton fits, as he already struggles with his progressions. The Panthers don’t pose nearly the same threat as the Cowboys’ secondary and pass-rush does, and if the Cowboys are smart, they’ll exploit that with DeMarco Murray having to miss this week with a foot injury.

And I need 2; Felix, CJ, Alf or Lynch?

Alfred Morris and Chris Johnson. I’ll give CJ401K a shot versus a struggling defense this week and deal with the potential migraine. I’ll get to Morris later. Or right now.

Eyevee4 from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Alfred Morris or Trent Richardson?

This one’s tough. Trent Richardson has quietly put up the third-most points in PPR leagues among running backs, but a rib injury for a style of runner who welcomes contact is concerning. It’s a bit of an unknown because we’ve never seen Richardson respond to this kind of injury before, but I would feel safe in assuming he has the toughness to perform in spite of it.

The biggest enemy for Alfred Morris this week will be the scoreboard. If the Giants don’t run rampant on a vulnerable Redskins secondary and jump out to a huge lead, then the Redskins’ offense can continue to be itself and run the ball. If that’s the case, Morris could absolutely have another big game.

I would be a little cautious on this one and start Morris over T-Rich, T-Pain, Tee Martin or Teez Nutz or whatever his nickname is this week. His health could limit him, but remember that having to choose between two awesome options is a good problem to have. Like I stated in an earlier post, my running backs this week are Vick Ballard and James Casey in the 16-team Hogs Haven league, so you could be worse off. In fact, because you reminded me of this predicament, I hate you. Go away. Everyone.

I’m kidding. I can’t quit you, Hogs Haven. Can you forgive me? If you have any more questions, reach me on Twitter @PFF_Dan or post them in the comments section. I’ll answer as many as I can.