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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
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin: 'I would really love to be back here'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(4:06 pm ET) Buccaneers running back Doug Martin isn't ready for a change of scenery.

Martin, who is entering his fourth year in the league, doesn't want the Bucs' decision to not pick up his fifth-year option to mean he's done in Tampa, per The Tampa Tribune.

“I have my own house here now and I’m just now fixing up the backyard,’’ Martin said. “It’s almost finished, so I would really love to be back here. I love this place.’’

The move not to pick up the option was largely based off finances. Martin was slated to make $5.6 million during the fifth year, which was a hefty price-tag for a guy who has been injury riddled his last two seasons.

“It didn’t surprise me,’’ he said. “And I don’t want to say, you know, ‘Whatever,’ because it’s something that just comes along with the business end of things. It’s part of the game. Besides, if I do everything that’s under my control, everything will fall into place the way I want it to."

Martin has rushed for fewer than 500 yards in consecutive seasons after posting an astounding rookie season, when he rushed for 1,454 and 11 touchdowns.


Falcons cut rookie linebacker Derrick Malone
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:34 pm ET) The Falcons remained busy this week, waiving rookie linebacker Derrick Malone on Friday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Malone signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon earlier this month.


Broncos' Omar Bolden on kick return duties: 'That is my job'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:27 pm ET) Broncos strong safety Omar Bolden wants to be the team's kick returner and he just let the world know it.

"That is my job," Bolden said. "I want it."

Bolden returned 13 kicks for 429 yards and a 33-yard average last season.


Eagles LB Kiko Alonso is doing 'everything' at OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:12 pm ET) Eagles linebacker Kiko Alonso has surprised everyone, himself included, by participating in organized team activities, per nfl.com.

Alonso, who tore his ACL in July, was participating without limitations at Eagles practice this week.

"I honestly didn't think I'd be doing this much," Alonso said. "I've just been going on how I feel, and it's feeling really good."

To put his recovery in perspective, Alonso tore his ACL two months prior to teammate Sam Bradford, who is still recovering and has been seen walking with a limp.


Seahawks DE Michael Bennett not at OTA's due to contract dispute
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:09 pm ET) Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has been noticeably absent from organized team activites this week, and now it's clear his absence is because he wants a new contract, per The Seattle Times.

Bennett is staying away from team activities because he hopes he can get a new deal from the Seahawks.

"Trying to get the contract right,’’ Bennett said. “I’ll be there shortly. I don’t know when I’ll be there. Depends on the team and stuff. See how it works out."

Bennett, who is in the second year of a four-year, $28.5 million deal, wants a contract that will pay him what the top seven players at his position earn. His current deal averages out to be 14th in salary among defensive ends in a 4-3 defense.

“Somewhere near the top seven at my position, top eight at my position,’’ Bennett said. “Not a lot of guys play inside and out (meaning both tackle and end). Not a lot of guys do what I do. So I feel like I should be somewhere near there.

“I just want to be in the realm of the guys that play like me,’’ he said. “There are only so many guys that do what I do, and I would love to be like somewhere in there where they are at.’’

Bennett recorded 38 tackles and seven sacks in 16 games last season.


Browns roster moves: Sign DL Christian Tupou, WR Josh Lenz
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:56 am ET) The Browns continue to keep busy this offseason by adding defensive lineman Christian Tupou and wide receiver Josh Lenz , per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Tupou was previously a member of the Browns' practice squad, while Lenz was released by the Colts earlier this month.


Report: Jets rework WR Brandon Marshall's contract
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:24 am ET) Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall is set to make more money after the team reworked his contract, per ESPN.com.

Marshall's contract, which was worth $24.3 million over the next three seasons, now has a maximum value of $26 million, including an additional $1.3 million in full guarantees.

Marshall was scheduled to earn up to $7.7 million this season, which included his base salary and a workout bonus. He will now earn $9 million.

Overall, Marshall's restructured deal allows him to earn $2.7 million more in the next two years, but he can potentially earn $1 million less in 2017 than he was previously scheduled.

Marshall signed with the Jets this offseason after catching 61 passes for 721 yards and eight touchdowns for the Bears last season.


QB Shuffle: Bills cut Jeff Tuel, claim Matt Simms off waivers
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:09 am ET) Bills coach Rex Ryan didn't pass up the chance to reunite with one of his former quarterbacks, by cutting Jeff Tuel and claiming the former Jets passer Matt Simms off waivers on Friday, per nfl.com.

Tuel was a favorite of former Bills coach Doug Marrone, but with Ryan now the head man in charge his fate was doomed.

Simms, who played in just four games while with the Jets, will still be a long-shot to make the team because of the three-man competition at the quarterback spot already brewing between Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel.


Falcons sign OG Chris Chester to one-year deal
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:01 am ET) The Falcons signed veteran offensive guard Chris Chester to a one-year deal on Friday, per nfl.com.

The Falcons were able to sign Chester after they released linebacker Prince Shembo, who was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Chester was cut by the Redskins earlier this week after he played 64 consecutive games for the organization.


Dolphins DE Cameron Wake on playoffs: 'My fingers are crossed'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:54 am ET) Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has never played a single playoff minute. He's hoping this year is finally the year he does, per ESPN.com.

“My fingers are crossed,” Wake said. "It's the new year and it feels really good, obviously."

The Dolphins haven't made the playoffs since 2008, the year before Wake joined the team. In that span, Wake has been nothing but dominant -- 63 sacks and four Pro Bowl appearances.

Miami has posted consecutive 8-8 seasons, but with the addition of Ndamukong Suh this offseason the team -- and Wake -- is ready to take the next step.


 
 
 
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