The mayhem started around 1:05 p.m. on Sunday and the Fantasy Football nightmare lasted all day.
The first kick in the teeth was to the 70 percent of Fantasy owners that started Marshawn Lynch. It wasn't until right before kickoff the Seahawks announced their starting running back was pulled from the lineup after suffering a back injury during pregame warmups. Little did we know that was going to be the first of many major injuries to happen in Week 7.
Shortly after the Lynch announcement, Bucs running back Earnest Graham left the game in London against the Bears with an ankle injury. It was later reported that Graham could be done for the season with a torn Achilles'.
Other early-game injuries included Willis McGahee leaving with a hand injury, LaDainian Tomlinson hitting the showers early due to an illness, Tim Hightower writhing in pain on the ground with a knee injury, Mohamed Massaquoi and Benjamin Watson both being knocked out with concussions, Santana Moss suffering a broken hand and Damian Williams sustaining a head injury.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Ryan Mathews of the Chargers gave us scares as they both left their respective games on Sunday for a short period, but later returned without setbacks. We unfortunately have to await the status of oft-injured Matthew Stafford, who was injured on the final play of his game against Atlanta. He is getting his right knee and ankle checked out after he was rolled up on by an Atlanta defender.
Regrettably, the injury bug kept biting long after the early games were over. The late-afternoon starts brought plenty of agony as well.
Fantasy superstar Darren McFadden lasted just three touches before bowing out with a sprained right foot. Beanie Wells sustained a sprained knee, Percy Harvin re-aggravated a lingering rib injury, Greg Jennings had a big day before injuring his hand, Kevin Boss sustained a concussion and Hines Ward bowed out with an ankle injury.
These injuries were added to the list of regular Fantasy contributors that were already inactive for Week 7, which included Sam Bradford (ankle), Jahvid Best (concussion), LeGarrette Blount (knee), Peyton Hillis (hamstring), Felix Jones (ankle), Andre Johnson (hamstring), Julio Jones (hamstring), Chris Cooley (hand) and Todd Heap (hamstring).
First Quarter -- Surprises of the Week
Drew Brees had more touchdown passes (five) than incomplete passes (four) in a rout of the Colts ... Mark Sanchez fired three touchdowns against the Chargers. The only other quarterback to throw three touchdowns against San Diego this season was Tom Brady ... Christian Ponder recorded 19 Fantasy points in his first career start ... LaRod Stephens-Howling was a top 10 Fantasy scoring running back because of a 76-yard touchdown reception ... Shonn Greene recorded his first 100-yard performance of the season facing a team yielding just 14.4 Fantasy points per contest to running backs, which was sixth-best in the NFL ... The Browns showed Peyton Hillis that Montario Hardesty can be a featured back in the NFL as he carried the rock a career-high 33 times against the Seahawks ... Michael Bush stepped in admirably for the injured Darren McFadden, rushing for 99 yards on 17 carries ... Arian Foster and Ben Tate both gashed the Titans defense for 100-yard performances. Foster added a 100-yard receiving game as well ... Plaxico Burress totaled just 25 yards in Week 7, but he racked up the Fantasy points thanks to three touchdowns ... Michael Jenkins needed just three catches for his first 100-yard game of the season. He also almost had a multi-touchdown game as well, but Jenkins was pulled down at the 1-yard line on a 72-yard catch to open the game against Green Bay ... Dezmon Briscoe had a career performance in Week 7 and had to go across the pond to get it ... Demaryius Thomas does quite well in debuts. He scored in his NFL debut last year and scored again in his 2011 debut Sunday ... Tight ends accounted for 13 touchdowns in Week 7, which included scores from Visanthe Shiancoe, Joel Dreessen, Daniel Fells, Anthony Fasano and Jared Cook.
Second Quarter -- Duds of the Week
The Raiders quarterback tandem of Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller each totaled minus-2 Fantasy points ... Charlie Whitehurst was also in the negative with minus-1 Fantasy point as he replaced the injured Tarvaris Jackson ... Matt Cassel, coming off a four-touchdown performance, finished with 2 Fantasy points against a defense allowing quarterbacks to average 22.7 Fantasy points per week, which was third-highest in the NFL ... Tashard Choice was the only Cowboys' running back that couldn't take advantage of the worst run defense in the NFL. He was even benched after fumbling in the third quarter ... Rashard Mendenhall followed his best performance of the season with a stinker against Arizona, which was yielding 17.6 Fantasy points per week to running backs ... What else is there to say about Chris Johnson? He is becoming a regular in this space and heads the list of the most disappointing Fantasy option of the season ... It's about time for Fantasy owners to bail on Denarius Moore, who had his third straight horrific performance ... It's not like we didn't expect Vincent Jackson to have a poor performance going up against Darrelle Revis, but he still makes this list because of his one-point Fantasy performance ... Miles Austin also had just a one-point performance as he was facing the team allowing the most Fantasy points to receivers, but that was more of Dallas taking to the ground to beat St. Louis ... Doug Baldwin was activated in 40 percent of Fantasy leagues following a string of solid performances. He delivered a no-catch week ... Greg Olsen has been held out of the end zone in two straight games and had his season-worst performance Week 7.
Third Quarter -- Injury Report
Is it really worth rehashing all the misery Fantasy owners endured Week 7? If you a glutton for punishment, then just re-read the lead to this column.
Fourth Quarter -- Early Look Ahead
Fantasy owners are going to have to find more bye-week replacements in Week 8 as six more teams -- Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, N.Y. Jets, Oakland and Tampa Bay -- are off ... New England at Pittsburgh could be another playoff preview. The Steelers own the league's best pass defense, but are you really going to sit your Patriots superstars? ... Dallas at Philadelphia should be a great NFC East showdown ... The Monday night game in Week 8 is San Diego at Kansas City. A few weeks ago this game looked like a laugher. But Kansas City is at .500 thanks to a three-game winning streak and back in the AFC West hunt.
Overtime -- Q & A
I've got Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow. An owner wants Tebow and Frank Gore for Aaron Rodgers. That leaves me with Ray Rice, LeGarrette Blount and DeMarco Murray. Should I make this trade? --SyrNYBones (Twitter)
MH: I would. I think you can get by with Stafford and Tebow, but Rodgers has been lights out every week and it doesn't appear he will be slowing down. Blount is likely back after his team's bye week, and Murray could very well remain his team's top running back, so you have decent depth at running back. You are taking a gamble by dealing Gore, but Rodgers is clearly worth it.
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MH: As much as I like Murray, the answer is no. Murray faced the league's worst run defense and took advantage. I still think we need to see how he does against a good run defense. Also, the league now has footage on Murray, so we aren't expecting many more 200-yard performances. Let's not forget either that the Cowboys also love Jones. He might not be performing up to expectations this year (mostly due to shoulder and ankle injuries), but there is no reason to cut him in Fantasy.
MH: No. I don't care if he is going to be the Cardinals' feature back with Beanie Wells potentially sidelined. The Ravens have been stout against the run this season, yielding 9.4 Fantasy points per week to running backs. They have also given up one rushing score to running backs in their first five games.
Is the Texans DST worth a pick up? Houston's second half schedule looks easy --LadyFantasy82 (Twitter)
MH: The Texans defense has been a laughing stock for years, but not anymore. Perhaps the team's biggest offseason acquisition was hiring defensive guru Wade Phillips, who brought his 3-4 scheme to Houston. Thus far, the results have been impressive. The Texans are a top 10 defense and are applying constant pressure on the quarterback. The second half of the schedule does look favorable as the toughest offenses it will face are Atlanta and Carolina. The Texans DST was a top 10 Fantasy scoring outfit before Week 7, so you should scoop them off waivers before it's too late.
MH: The short answer is yes. Thomas returning to full health was part of the reason Denver parted ways with Brandon Lloyd as it targeted Thomas as the guy who could be the team's new downfield threat. Also, Thomas was targeted 10 times in Tebow's first start. The Broncos have high hopes for this former first-round pick, so he could end up being a decent Fantasy play down the stretch.
MH: I can't say yes. Logic tells me it would be OK to tell you to dump Harvin, but just knowing the type of player he can be when at 100 percent prevents me from doing so. There has to be somebody else on your roster you can cut for wide receiver help. I know his lingering rib injury doesn't strengthen my argument, but I do feel Christian Ponder might be a suitable enough quarterback to get Harvin involved on offense once he is healthy.
MH: It's hard to pick on a guy with two 100-yard performances and three receiving touchdowns, but I understand the frustration. He has posted two straight subpar outings, but that's because he has been injured and had a tough matchup against the Jets. Also, he has been missing Antonio Gates, who can draw safety coverage when on the field, which frees up favorable one-on-one matchups for V-Jax. If Gates can stay on the field and Jackson can shake his injury issues, then he should be a good Fantasy option down the stretch.