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Starting Points for Week 7

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Week 7 is upon us and with six teams off and injuries continuing to pile up, your talent pool is thinner than usual. I will help you try to find some "Bye Week Broskis" to keep your starting lineups strong.

Quarterbacks

Get 'em active ...

Tim Tebow (at Miami) -- "Tebowmania" is upon us and all the stars are aligned for a massive game from the southpaw gunslinger. Not only does he return to the state of Florida for his first start of 2011, but it just so happens to be University of Florida day put on by the Miami Dolphins. So, it will be a wildly pro-Tebow crowd and he gets to take on one of the league's most generous pass defenses. So far this year, the 'Fins are allowing 23.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, second in the league. Tebow himself has never produced fewer than 24 Fantasy points in a game that he has started thanks to his ability to run and hit big plays. Running quarterbacks score points and Tebow averaged 66 yards rushing per and one touchdown per game last year. Right there that is 12 points, or the direct equivalent of 300 yards passing. Think about that for a second. He does not have to complete over 50 percent of his passes or look like a traditional quarterback for our purposes, he needs to score Fantasy points and he does that with his legs, week in and week out. His legs also help him make big plays with his arm because Tebow averages 16 yards per completion and is at eight yards per attempt, despite being a 50 percent passer. Not too many quarterbacks can make that claim. It is an ideal matchup for Tebow and I would feel very comfortable giving him the start this week against a weak Miami defense. Look for another start of 24 plus points and for "Tebowmania" to run wild all over South Florida. (Projection Snapshot: 236 yards passing and two TDs with 52 yards rushing and TD)

For more from Nathan check out his website at thefantasyconsultant.com

Quarterback Bye Week Broski: Curtis Painter (vs. New Orleans), Matt Cassel (vs. Oakland), Colt McCoy (vs. Seattle)

Ride the pine ...

Matt Ryan (at Detroit) -- Ryan has failed to reach 170 yards passing in back to back games and has been very disappointing for his Fantasy owners in 2011. I do think that will change once he returns from his Week 8 bye, but I am expecting Matty to stay cold as ice in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions. The Lions enter the game as the sixth-ranked pass defense, allowing just 217 yards and 1.17 touchdowns per game (also sixth fewest). In terms of Fantasy production, the Lions are giving up just 11.67 points per game, fourth fewest. Only Tony Romo has thrown for multiple touchdowns or produced 17-plus points against the Lions in 2011. The Lions can get to the quarterback and generate a ton of pressure, something Ryan has struggled with this season as his Falcons have allowed 15 sacks, 10th most in the NFL. Ryan has only one game with multiple passing touchdowns all year long and there are just too many better options this week, like Tim Tebow or even Curtis "Picasso" Painter to go with Ryan on the road against a very stingy Detroit pass defense. (Projection Snapshot: 231 yards passing and one TD with one INT)

Running Backs

Get 'em active ...

Earnest Graham (vs. Chicago) -- Graham made his first start of 2011 and promptly ran for 109 yards on 17 carries against the New Orleans Saints en route to a 131 total-yard day. He should be able to produce double-digit points again for you this week against the Bears, which makes him start-worthy given all of the talent on the sidelines for Week 7. The Bears are giving up 121.8 yards rushing per game (11th) on a league high 5.4 yards per carry. I know Graham is not a big-play type of runner, but he looked very good last week and when you add in his receiving totals (averaging over four catches per game), Graham should be a very solid total-yardage play. Opposing rushers have scored in back to back games and the opposing starter has reached 80 plus yards or scored in four straight games and five of six on the year against the Bears. With LeGarrette Blount out this week, feel free to have a Graham cracker with your tea in London this week. (Projection Snapshot: 72 yards rushing, one TD, 20 yards receiving)

DeMarco Murray (vs. St. Louis) -- Felix Jones is out with a high ankle sprain and in steps the rookie from Oklahoma. Murray can be effective as both a runner and a pass catcher and he should be very busy this week against lowly St. Louis, which may have to start A.J. Feeley at quarterback. The Rams enter Week 7 as the league's worst run defense, giving up 163 yards per game on 4.9 yards per carry. Murray is extremely explosive and should break off a couple of long runs on the fast track of Dallas Cowboys stadium this week. The Rams have given up at least 23 points to running backs in four of their five games this year and they are allowing nearly 26 points per game to running backs in domes. Look for Murray to be a great pickup and play this week for you at running back and roll with him in Week 7. (Projection Snapshot: 73 yards rushing, one TD; 22 yards receiving)

Running Back Bye Week Broski: Ryan Torain/Tim Hightower (at Carolina), Jackie Battle (at Oakland), Michael Bush (vs. Kansas City)

Ride the pine ...

Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. Baltimore) -- MJD has to get all the credit in the world for being third in the NFL with 572 yards rushing on an incredible 4.8 yards per carry despite getting absolutely nothing in the way of support from the Jaguars passing game, which ranks dead last in the NFL. He has played a very tough schedule so far and has delivered at least eight Fantasy points in every game, but that streak could come to an end in Week 7. The Ravens have only allowed one rusher to get to eight points against them and that was Javon Ringer, who scored on them in Week 2. No starting running back has gotten to 80 yards against the Ravens, who have allowed a league low six rushing touchdowns in their last 21 games. For the year, the Ravens are giving up only 9.4 points per game to opposing running backs, second fewest in the league, and they are the third-ranked run defense at 73.3 yards per game (3.3 yards per carry) and .2 touchdowns per game. MJD is averaging just about 12 receiving yards per game, so his points will have to come with his legs. I would recommend staying away from him this week against a Ravens team that just held Arian Foster to 49 yards on 15 carries in Week 6. (Projection Snapshot: 63 yards rushing)

James Starks (at Minnesota) -- In an ideal world, Starks would be the full-time back for the Packers, but unfortunately that is not the case and Starks' production, or lack thereof, has been very frustrating. Expect the frustration to continue in Week 7 against a much improved Vikings run defense. The Vikings are currently the league's fourth-ranked run defense at 83.5 yards per game (3.5 yards per carry) and have become tough to run on after a very slow start. In the last four weeks, the Vikings have not allowed a single 100-yard rusher and have given up just 12 points per game to the position. In fact, during that span opposing running backs are averaging just 66 yards per game rushing. That would be tough enough if Starks were the lone runner, but of course he has to share with Ryan Grant. Starks himself has not reached 65 yards rushing in four straight games and does not have a touchdown since Week 1. After all it is hard to score when you have only one goal line rushing attempt in six games. With the Vikings playing well and Starks being mired in a running back by committee on a decidedly pass first team, I would stay away from him this week unless it was as a flex option in a point-per-reception format. If you do not have any other options due to byes, the one thing Starks has going for him is that Christian Ponder is making his NFL debut and should struggle. Still, I'd rather play DeMarco Murray and Jackie Battle -- to name two -- over Starks this week. (Projection Snapshot: 43 yards rushing and 22 yards receiving)

Wide Receivers

Get 'em active ...

Nate Washington (vs. Houston) -- Washington is the top receiving option for surprisingly successful quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans and that means he should be in line for a big game against the Texans. The Texans have already allowed four touchdowns to opposing top receivers on the year, tied for third most. They have also given up an 83 percent consistency rate to the top receivers as four have scored and Anquan Boldin just put up 132 yards. In fact, no opposing No. 1 receiver has been below seven Fantasy points or five catches against the Texans and after six weeks, they are averaging 13.1 points per game. Washington himself is playing the best football of his career, as he is receiving 7.8 targets per game (22nd) and is catching a career best 71.8 percent of them. Washington is also averaging an elite 10 yards per target on the season, so look for him to be well utilized in a very favorable matchup with the Texans when the Titans return from their Week 6 bye. (Projection Snapshot; 89 yards receiving, six catches and one TD)

Anquan Boldin (vs. Jacksonville) -- All you need to know is that in their last 38 games, the Jaguars have surrendered a league high 28 touchdowns to opposing No. 1 receivers. They have already given up a league high five scores to top receivers in 2011 and Boldin should make it six in Week 7. Boldin is coming off of his best day of the season, as he caught eight passes for 132 yards against the Texans in Week 6 and while I don't see another 130 yards, I do think he will top 70 yards with a touchdown on Monday. Joe Flacco clearly made a point to get Boldin the ball in a favorable matchup last week as he saw a team high nine targets and I expect the same to happen this week, making Boldin a top play at the position against the Jags. (Projection Snapshot; 83 yards receiving, one TD)

Wide Receiver Bye Week Broski: Steve Breaston (at Oakland), Reggie Wayne (at New Orleans)

Ride the pine ...

Mike Williams (vs. Chicago) -- Maybe it will take a trip across the pond to London to jumpstart Williams in 2011, but I am not holding my breath. Williams has been a huge disappointment this season (but of course you already knew that), and I don't think that changes anytime soon. Consider this stat for a second: Williams has been held under 60 yards receiving in 14 of his 22 career starts. In other words, his red zone domination last year led to 11 touchdowns, which really covered up how unreliable he was as a yardage producer. Touchdowns are hard to come by and I'd much rather have a guy who gets me 70-80 yards week in and week out than Williams and his 40 yards per game average. Even if he scores a touchdown at that yardage level we are looking at the Mark Ingram of the receiver position (4-10 Fantasy pts). The Bears were roasted by Calvin Johnson (but who has not been), but other than that they have been tough on receivers. No other top receiver has scored on the Bears and for the year, they have only allowed three receiver touchdowns, tied for second fewest behind only the Redskins. Considering that Williams has converted only one of his seven (tied for 10th most) red zone chances into scores, I would rather take a more high-upside gamble than Williams this week for your teams. (Projection Snapshot: 51 yards receiving)

Tight Ends

Get 'em active ...

Dallas Clark (at New Orleans) -- Clark finally was a big part of the Indianapolis passing game in Week 6 and delivered his best totals of the year. He saw seven targets and caught six of them for 53 yards and his second touchdown of the season. Clearly, Curtis Painter is staring to discover what a valuable weapon his tight end can be because his targets have increased in each of the last three weeks. For the year, the Saints have allowed 10 points per game to opposing tight ends, seventh most in the league. Furthermore, the Saints have given up four touchdowns to tight ends in the last four weeks alone and I expect Clark will be very busy after Drew Brees carves up a very suspect Indianapolis secondary in Week 7. Look for another game of seven-plus targets for Clark who could easily put up his second straight game of double-digit Fantasy points for his owners. (Projection Snapshot: 56 yards receiving, one TD)

Tight End Bye Week Broski: Kellen Winslow (vs. Chicago)

Good luck this week!

Glossary
Target Conversion Rate or Catch Rate (TCR): The percentage of a player's targets (passes thrown to them) that are converted into receptions. Over 60 percent is excellent, 66 percent is elite and under 52.5 percent is worrisome.
Yards per Target (YPT): A player's receiving yards divided by his targets. In other words, the numbers of yards a team gains on average every time they attempt a pass to a certain player. Over 10 is exceptional, over 8 is solid and 6 or lower is horrendous.
Red Zone Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 20 yard line
Red Zone TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Red Zone opportunities that result in a TD
Goal Line Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 5 yard line
Goal Line TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Goal Line opportunities that result in a TD
Consistency Rate: The percentage of quality starts a player gives you out of 16 games. For QBs that is a game with 300+ yards passing OR multiple TDs. For RBs/WRs: A game with 100+ yards rush/rec or a game with a TD. For TEs: A game with 60+ yards receiving or a TD. For a Kicker: A game with multiple FGs.
Big Game Rate: The percentage of dominant starts a player gives you out of 16 games (games missed with injury count as a bad game since they do not help your Fantasy teams). For a QB that is a game with 300+ yards and 2+ TDs or 200+ yards and 3+ TDs. For a RB/WR that is a game with 100+ combined rush/rec yards and a TD or a game with multiple TDs. For a TE that is a game of 60+ yards and a TD, 100+ yards or a game with multiple TDs.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @NathanZeguraTFC .

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Player News
Derek Carr fires three touchdown passes in preseason finale
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:23 am ET) Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr made a pretty strong case for himself to win the starting job during Thursday's preseason finale against the Seahawks.

Carr led the team to four touchdown drives, most of which came against Seattle's first unit. He hooked up with Denarius Moore for scores of 36 and 11 yards. He also fired a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera.

Carr completed 11 of 14 passes for 143 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, finishing with a 152.1 passer rating. This preseason, the rookie signal-caller compiled 326 yards through the air while completing 30 of 45 passes. He added four touchdowns and one interception.

Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin to start Week 1
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(12:07 am ET) As expected, Browns head coach Mike Pettine told reporters after the final preseason game that wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin will start Week 1 at Pittsburgh, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Both wideouts moved up a spot on the depth chart after the league suspended Josh Gordon for the entire 2014 season.

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(12:04 am ET) 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters that quarterback Blaine Gabbert had X-rays on his right shoulder, which came back negative.

Gabbert worked five drives in the first half before leaving the game. He is competing with Josh Johnson for the No. 2 job behind Colin Kaepernick. Harbaugh indicated that he would like three quarterbacks on the 53-man active roster.


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(12:00 am ET) Browns cornerback Buster Skrine is no longer wearing a hard cast on his right arm and hand, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Skrine is just 10 days removed from thumb surgery and is wearing a soft cast. He is listed as week to week, leaving his status up in the air for Week 1 against Pittsburgh.

Kelvin Benjamin suffers jammed finger in preseason finale
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(8/28/2014) Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin jammed his middle finger during Thursday's preseason finale against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the Charlotte Observer reports. Benjamin told the paper that the injury is not considered to be serious.

He was targeted seven times and had four catches for 56 yards. He finished the preseason with 12 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown. Benjamin should be ready for the season opener at Tampa Bay on Sept. 7.

Jay Gruden: Akeem Jordan may have a sprained ACL or MCL
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(8/28/2014) Redskins head coach Jay Gruden told reporters that linebacker Akeem Jordan may have a sprained ACL or MCL, according to the Washington Post. Jordan suffered the injury in the first half and was unable to return. His status remains uncertain for Week 1 against the Texans.

Zach Line suffers ankle injury Thursday
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(8/28/2014) Vikings fullback Zach Line suffered an ankle injury during Thursday's preseason finale against the Titans. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game, per the team's official website.

Bills still awaiting results of X-rays for Sammy Watkins
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(8/28/2014) According to a Bills spokesman, the team is not aware of the results of the X-rays on rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins' injured ribs, according to ESPN. Head coach Doug Marrone declined to comment after Thursday's preseason finale against Detroit.

Watkins got drilled in the chest by Ashlee Palmer after an incompletion in the opening quarter. He tried to remain on the field for the next play, but was forced back to the bench and eventually taken to the locker room and ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Starting quarterback EJ Manuel did not seem worried over Watkins' injury when he spoke to the media after the game.

"He probably just got a little banged up. He'll be fine," Manuel said, via ESPN.

The Bills will play the Bears in Chicago on Sept. 7 to open the season.

Aaron Dobson makes preseason debut Thursday
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(8/28/2014) Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson made his preseason debut Thursday night against the Giants. Dobson worked with backup Jimmy Garoppolo and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. He was targeted nine times and finished with three receptions for a team-high 57 yards and a touchdown.


Tyrann Mathieu won't play final exhibition game
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(8/28/2014) Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu will not play Thursday night against San Diego, the team's final preseason game, per the team's official website. Mathieu is working his way back from two torn knee ligaments which he suffered in December. His status remains uncertain for Week 1 against the Chargers.

 
 
 
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