If you'll excuse me, I'm going to start this week off by airing a little gripe I had about ESPN this week.
As you all know, the NFL decided not to fine Jim Harbaugh or Jim Schwartz this week for their little mishap over the weekend.
Which was the right call.
I love both coaches and think every team needs a fiery, emotional personality like that to oversee your football team. Hell, I had my fingers crossed when the Bills conducted their coaching search not so long ago that they'd go in that direction instead of hiring Chan Gailey, a move I hated at the time. But I digress.
Anyways, come Monday afternoon "Handshake-gate" was the talk of the media. Everyone was blowing the whole thing way out of proportion, as usual.
What people seemed to have forgotten, however, was that the death of Indycar driver Dan Wheldon had occurred on the same day.
The real flag should be thrown at ESPN for their coverage of the weekend's events.
On Monday, Sportscenter opened with the Wheldon story, dabbling into it for a bit. It was a nice way to open the show. But immediately following the five minutes was about a 15-minute segment in which Merrill Hodge and John Buccigross proceeded to use their beloved over-sized touch-screen to break down every aspect of the handshake between the coaches, whether or not Harbaugh shook Schwartz's hand too hand and if he was right in doing so.
You know we live in a messed-up world, folks, when a hard handshake receives more coverage than a 33-year-old father, husband and Indy 500 winner dying in a crash on live television due to other people's recklessness.
Seriously, it was one of the most absurd things I have ever seen. And to give something like THAT ample amount of airtime over an athlete dying is just downright shameful.
Overall, ESPN's coverage of the tragedy throughout this week has been incredibly poor and does Wheldon, his family and Indycar Racing a huge injustice. I'd be pretty embarrassed if I we're them.
Way to go, World Wide Leader.
But that's all I have to say about that. Let's get to some fantasy football, shall we?
A "stud" constitutes a player I feel is a must-start as he displays a very favorable match-up and is primed to put up a ton of points for that particular week.
A "dud" is a player who I feel is put into starting lineups far too often for that particular week or simply won't perform up to expectations. In all likelihood, there is a much better option for your starting lineup than a "dud" based upon match-ups for the week.
*All statistics and projections are based off of the standard Yahoo! Sports PPR league scoring system.
Before we get to the Studs of week seven, excuse me as I gloat (and bite my tongue) while we look over my predictions from last week.
Week 6 Told'ya So (Studs)
Colt McCoy QB CLE
Projected: 282 YDS 2 TD 1 INT, 17 PTS
Actual: 215 YDS 2 TD 0 INT, 16 PTS
Maurice Jones-Drew RB JAC
Projected: 132 TOTYDS, 3 REC, 1 TD, 16 PTS
Actual: 104 TOTYDS, 2 REC, 0 TD, 8 PTS
Anquan Boldin WR BAL
Projected: 8 REC 103 YDS, 1 TD, 16 PTS
Actual: 8 REC 132 YDS, 0 TD, 13 PTS
James Jones WR GB
Projected: 6 REC 97 YDS, 1 TD, 15 PTS
Actual: 1 REC 35 YDS, 1 TD, 8 PTS
Week 6 Eating Crow (Studs)
Felix Jones RB DAL
Projected: 165 TOTYDS, 5 REC, 19 PTS
Actual: 33 TOTYDS, 2 REC, 2 PTS
Jermaine Gresham TE CIN
Projected: 7 REC 89 YDS, 1 TD, 16 PTS
Actual: 4 REC 23 YDS, 0 TD, 4 PTS
Week 1 Success Rate: 4/6, 66%
Week 2 Success Rate: 5/6, 83%
Week 3 Success Rate: 2/6, 33%
Week 4 Success Rate: 3/6, 50%
Week 5 Success Rate: 2/6, 33%
Week 6 Success Rate: 4/6, 66%
Matt Moore QB MIA
Matchup vs Denver
Last week we went with upstart Colt McCoy in this spot and he payed dividends. This week, there are a good number of quarterbacks who would be a better play than Moore (Love Big Ben, but that's too conventional a pick for my blood), but after last week's gutsy call I happen to like it here on the wild side. Besides, he's immensely underrated this week given his matchup. So I said "What the hell? Let's put him in there." Denver's pass defense is the worst in the NFL. And even though the Jets/'Phins game on Monday night was a sleeper, Matt Moore actually played relatively well given the matchup. I love Brandon Marshall in this game, as well. If you need a QB for the bye week, you can do much worse than Moore.
Week 7 Forecast: 234 YDS 2 TD 1 INT, 15 PTS
Honorable mention: Tony Romo, Jay Cutler
Ryan Matthews RB SD
Matchup vs New York Jets
Did someone say Jets defense? Yeah, they're great at defending the pass, but man has their run defense disappointed so far this season. I guess they miss big 'ol Kris Jenkins more than they thought they would. Over the past five games, the Jets' D has allowed the third most points to running backs. Furthermore, remember what I said about the Jets pass defense? Well, I bet they limit Phillip Rivers & Co. a little more than they would like through the air, and that means run, run, run. It's how you beat the Jets this year, and I expect Matthews to benefit from it this time around.
Week 7 Forecast: 24 CAR 117 YDS, 1 TD, 2 REC 26 YDS, 16 PTS
Ryan Torain RB WAS
Matchup vs Carolina
I normally stay far, far away from Mike Shanahan-coached running backs in fantasy and in this column, but I suppose I'll make an exception this week even though my gut is telling me I'll regret it this time next week. Oh well. Much like Matt Moore at QB, Torain draws the league's worst run defense on Sunday in Carolina. He should get plenty of carries with John Beck making his first start anyways, so things look good. Making me feel a little better about tossing Torain into the lineup this week is the news that time-share Tim Hightower will likely be out for the game, making Torain the unquestioned No. 1. Presumably.
Week 7 Forecast: 21 CAR 107 YDS, 1 TD, 4 REC 34 YDS, 18 PTS
Honorable mention: DeMarco Murray, Darren Sproles
Greg Little WR CLE
Matchup vs Seattle
The Browns second-round draft choice this season is finally starting to come into his own. I love this guy. He's big, has great hands and if it weren't for that crazy UNC scandal last year would have easily been a first-round pick with the likes of Julio Jones and A.J. Green. Last week Little was targeted 12 times and put together his first nice fantasy performance on the year. Remember what I said about McCoy last week? He's the most consistent QB in fantasy football not named Aaron Rodgers and Little is now his No. 1 target. Factor in a Seattle pass defense who has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers this year and Little has me convinced. You should be, too.
Week 7 Forecast: 7 REC 101 YDS, 1 TD, 17 PTS
Marques Colston WR NO
Matchup vs Indianapolis
Colston had been pretty much irrelevant in the first few weeks of the season and then went down with an injury, killing his fantasy value. But he came back last week and put together a very nice performance while being targeted 11 times, reminding everyone why he's still the No. 1 guy in the Big Easy. Indy's pass defense isn't really anything to write home about, and the there's no reason the Saints won't role in this one. Expect a ncie turnout from Colston.
Week 7 Forecast: 6 REC 132 YDS, 1 TD, 17 PTS
Honorable mention: Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall
Kellen Winslow TE TB
Matchup vs Chicago
Winslow hasn't done much to speak of to follow up on last year's solid season. In fact, he hasn't done anything. He could be getting the break he needs though this week when the Bucs take on Chicago. The Bears have allowed the most points to opposing tight ends this season and have shown they are consistently terrible at defending against the pass. It should be a relatively offensive game between these two teams, so I think Winslow could put up some solid bye-week-fill-in numbers.
Week 7 Forecast: 6 REC 97 YDS, 1 TD, 15 PTS
Week 6 Told'ya So(Duds)
Brandon Marshall WR MIA
Projected: 3 REC 46 YDS, 4 PTS
Actual: 6 REC 109 YDS, 10 PTS
Reggie Wayne WR IND
Projected: 4 REC 53 YDS, 6 PTS
Actual: 5 REC 58 YDS, 0 TD, 7 PTS
Owen Daniels TE HOU
Projected: 4 REC 34 YDS, 5 PTS
Actual: 2 REC 13 YDS, 2 PTS
Week 6 Eating Crow(Duds)
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB BUF
Projected: 217 YDS 1 TD 2 INT, 8 PTS
Actual: 244 YDS 2 TD 2 INT, 14 PTS
Rashard Mendenhall RB PIT
Projected: 79 TOTYDS, 0 REC, 0 TD, 5 PTS
Actual: 146 TOTYDS, 0 REC, 1 TD, 15 PTS
Frank Gore RB SF
Projected: 93 TOTYDS, 1 REC, 0 TD, 6 PTS
Actual: 146 TOTYDS, 2 REC, 1 TD, 17 PTS
Week 1 Success Rate: 3/6, 50%
Week 2 Success Rate: 3/6, 50%
Week 3 Success Rate: 4/6, 66%
Week 4 Succes Rate: 3/6, 50%
Week 5 Success Rate: 2/6, 33%
Week 6 Success Rate: 3/6, 50%
Overall (Combined Studs & Duds): Week 7-5, Season 38-34.
Matt Schaub QB HOU
Matchup vs Tennessee
The Titans have quietly put together a very solid beginning to their season. Reason being: Their pass defense is ranked among the tops in the league. This season, the Titans have allowed just 185 yards per game to opposing passing attacks. This week, their latest victims are Matt Schaub and the Andre Johnson-less Texans. The addition of Derrick Mason helps, but I still don't see how the Texans passing attack doesn't struggle in this matchup. Don't feel good if you have Schaub as your starting QB this week.
Week 7 Forecast: 233 YDS 1 TD 3 INT, 7 PTS
Not-so-honorable mentions: Kevin Kolb, John Beck
Steven Jackson RB STL
Matchup vs Dallas
Jackson pieced together a pretty solid week last week to make a return to the fantasy radar. But this week S-Jax will run straight into a brick wall I like to call the Cowboys run defense. The 'Boys are ranked first in the league against the run right now, and the defense has looked all-around impressive the past few weeks. Toss in the fact that Sam Bradford is hurting may mean the Rams offense never gets off the ground on Sunday. And that's not what Jackson owners want to hear.
Week 7 Forecast: 21 CAR 82 YDS, 0 REC, 0 TD, 5 PTS
Earnest Graham RB TB
Matchup vs Chicago
He's one of the most added players in leagues everywhere, and I'm still trying to understand why. The Bucs haven't run the ball well all season, and the man hasn't done anything relevant since 2007. Not to mention Tampa doesn't exactly draw the best matchup with the Bears coming to town this week. Chicago put forth an incredible performance last week keeping Adrian Peterson in check. Earnest Graham is no Adrian Peterson. Need I say more?
Week 7 Forecast: 17 CAR 67 YDS, 1 REC 9 YDS, 0 TD, 5 PTS
Not-so-honorable mentions: Peyton Hillis, Maurice Jones-Drew
Brandon Lloyd WR STL
Matchup vs Dallas
The biggest trade to go down on the always-exciting NFL Trade Deadline reunites Brandon Lloyd with Josh McDaniels, re-creating a bond that helped win many a fantasy league last year when the two were in Denver. So that should mean a repeat of last season, right? People seem to think so. Only one problem: Sam Bradford isn't feeling all too well these days. While I'm confident Lloyd re-uniting with his former coach will pay dividends once Bradford returns and the two are able to form some chemistry, it won't happen this week. Not to mention, did you see the way that Dallas D shut down Tom Brady last week? Don't start Lloyd.
Week 7 Forecast: 3 REC 59 YDS, 0 TD, 5 PTS
Roddy White WR ATL
Matchup vs Detroit
He hasn't been the same Roddy White we all came to know and love last season. That's due partially to Julio Jones stealing a good chunk of his targets away but also because Matt Ryan hasn't had much time to get many passes off with the spotty O-line play. Detroit's defense is ok against the pass as a whole, but at home they're been downright dominant, giving up just 5 points to opposing quarterbacks on average, which obviously directly effects the wideout's output as well. I don't see White doing much in this game. All I see is Ryan on his backside.
Week 7 Forecast: 5 REC 76 YDS, 0 TD, 8 PTS
Not-so-honorable mentions: Vincent Jackson, Santonio Holmes
Antonio Gates TE SD
Matchup vs New York Jets
He's been banged up most of the year to the dismay of anyone who wasted a fourth-round pick the talented TE. There's no doubt he's the best TE in the game when healthy, but that's the problem, he's not. And he hasn't been since about this time last season. He's been practicing all week so at this point it looks as though he'll get the start, but against a Jets defense who have been fairly stingy against TEs this season I'd wait it out another week before you run with him, especially if you have other options.
Week 7 Forecast: 5 REC 52 YDS, 0 TD, 7 PTS
Not-so-honorable mentions: Jared Cook, Marcedes Lewis
Buffalo Bills Fantasy Meter: Bye week
Unless you think Stevie Johnson will get you fantasy points from Disney World, I wouldn't advise starting him or any other Bills this week.
Disagree with something I said? Well, let me hear it in the comment box! Better yet, follow me on Twitter if you seek answers to any additional fantasy questions you may have @THWGoldSchlager.