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Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 7: Marcus Mariota a stud vs. Browns, Buck Allen a dud in Minnesota

October 20, 2017 Updated: October 21, 2017 at 12:32 am
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Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) passes against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Week 7 is upon us, fantasy faithful. Here is my list of players you should play and those to avoid this Sunday: 

Start

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans

At the beginning of the season, fantasy analysts pegged Mariota as a candidate to have a breakout year. So far, things haven’t gone as planned. The Titans quarterback has thrown multiple touchdowns in just one game this season. This week however, Mariota has a date with the woeful Cleveland Browns who have allowed 1,358 passing yards and 14 passing touchdowns on the year.

Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams

I don’t normally like to have two quarterbacks to start or sit in my columns, but given the injury to Aaron Rodgers and that two big names in Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford are on bye, it’s time to make an exception. Goff has an appealing matchup against the Cardinals who just allowed 290 passing yards and three touchdowns to Ryan Fitzpatrick of all people (though the Cardinals had the game well in hand by the time he got in). The Cardinals could also be without cornerback Patrick Peterson who is recovering from quad injury. The only concern here is that the game is in London and sometimes teams don’t adjust well to the time zone change and the long flight (see Dolphins and Ravens), but I believe Goff will be a great play come Sunday morning.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks

It’s been a slow start to the year for Graham, who didn’t record double-digit receiving yards until Week 3 and didn’t score until Week 5. I expect he’ll have a breakout game against the Giants who are allowing the most points to opposing tight ends in fantasy football. Through six games the Giants have given up 390 yards and six scores to opposing tight ends, per Pro Football Reference. Sunday should be a big day for Graham and his fantasy owners.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

I’m calling for a big game for Bryant who faces one of the most fantasy friendly teams to receivers this Sunday in the 49ers. According to  Pro Football Reference, the Niners have given up six touchdowns and 1,078 receiving yards to opposing wideouts. I expect that Dallas, in need of a win, will be looking to have a big day offensively against a team that’s weak against the pass and the run. Look for Bryant to have his best day of the season in a soft matchup.   

Sit

Javorius “Buck” Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Allen has carved out a nice role for himself as the Ravens' primary pass-catching back that averages around 12 rushing attempts per game. Allen makes for a good flex start in most weeks but this week isn’t most. The Ravens fly to Minnesota to take on the Vikings who have allowed just one rushing and one receiving touchdown to opposing backs this season. They are allowing an average of 79 total rushing yards per game. With teammate Alex Collins taking some work away from Allen, the Ravens back is a risky play this week.

Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brate has been a boon for fantasy owners, scoring in his last four contests. I believe the streak ends at Buffalo this Sunday however. The Bills have been tough on tight ends, allowing just 243 yards and no scores to opposing tight ends through five games, according to Pro Football Reference.  

Steelers Chiefs Football
Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters (22) tackles Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) 

 

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Not only have the Bengals allowed league bests 798 passing yards and 5.6 yards per pass through five games, Bryant may be on shaky ground in Pittsburgh. While he has denied reports that he requested a trade, there are mounting signs of his role being reduced, including comments from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster would play a bigger role in the offense against the Chiefs in Week 6, which did in fact happen. Bryant has only eclipsed 50 scrimmage yards in one game, Week 2 against the Vikings. That also happens to be when Bryant scored his lone touchdown on the season. It’s been tough sledding for the tall wideout. That will continue Sunday.

Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears

Howard staved off a first-week explosion from Tarik Cohen to remain the top back in Chicago through six weeks. He’s coming off four weeks of excellent production and a monster game in Baltimore so it’s going to hard to bench him, but his upcoming matchup against the Panthers is no joke. Carolina limited Ameer Abdullah to 31 yards on 10 rushes in Week 5, Carlos Hyde to 45 yards on nine carries in Week 1 and the great LeSean McCoy to just 9 yards on 12 carries. Yikes! Howard doesn’t get used much in the Bears’ passing game so there’ll be limited opportunity for him to shine and the Panthers have kept running backs quiet so far this year.

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