Jacquizz Rodgers a must-start in fantasy for Week 7


Welcome to FedEx Air and Ground fantasy analysis. Each week, we'll highlight some favorable quarterback plays and a few running backs that could prove valuable for fantasy owners based on matchups, projected game flow, and most essentially, talent. With Week 6 in the books and another sample of fantasy points against data to work with, here are a few options to keep your eye on Week 7. These players might just win your week.

Air Analysis:

Andy Dalton vs. Browns

Despite the Bengals' early-season struggles on offense, and Andy Dalton's slow start statistically, he's been a legitimate fantasy QB1 the last two weeks, and he's done it against unfavorable matchups (NE, DAL). This week, The Bengals are at home, facing a sorry Cleveland Browns pass defense that ranks 26th in the NFL.

Cleveland has allowed 29.3 points per game, 403.3 yards per game and are the only team in the league to surrender 25-plus points in every single game thus far. The Browns have also allowed 21 offensive touchdowns, tied for the most in the league.

The fact that A.J. Green is due for a big game makes Dalton an even more attractive option this week. Green went off in Week 4 in a home game against Miami, but hasn't posted greater than 90 or scored since then with Cincy playing on the road in each of the last two contests. It's pretty obvious that the Bengals are going to attack the Browns through the air, which leaves ample room for Dalton to put up huge yardage totals, the majority of which will likely be funneled to his top wideout.

When you throw in the possibility of tight end and red-zone monster Tyler Eifert shaping up to play his first game of the season, Dalton's outlook as a fantasy starter becomes even brighter. The Browns have allowed more receiving yards to tight ends than any other team in the NFL, and the position has scored six times against Cleveland.

Kirk Cousins vs. Lions

Kirk Cousins heads into Detroit in Week 7 and will likely be without tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) for the second-straight game. But don't let the lack of Reed deter you from starting Cousins in fantasy.

The Washington signal-caller has been a decent streamer this season with just one game under 15 fantasy points dating back to Week 2.

Cousins has made use of the talent in his receiving corps distributing the ball rather evenly all year. DeSean Jackson has 22 receptions for 333 yards, Pierre Garcon has posted 28 receptions for 307 yards and Jamison Crowder has collected 283 yards on 24 catches.

The Lions defense is allowing a 119.3 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks this year, the worst in the league and a historically bad mark (even worse than last year's Saints' defense). Detroit also boasts the worst third-down conversion rate against, 49.3 percent, which opens the door for drives to keep moving and in turn, additional opportunities for Cousins to put up fantasy points.

While Cousins has thrown at least one pick in all but one game this season, the Lions only have four total takeaways all year. His mistake-prone nature shouldn't cost him here.

The Detroit defense made Case Keenum look like a fantasy all-star last week (he was the QB2 with 29.54 fantasy points). Cousins is set up nicely to produce in a big way.

Ground Analysis:

DeMarco Murray vs. Colts

Last week in this space I wrote about Lamar Miller's favorable matchup against a struggling Colts run defense. He proceeded to collect 168 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns against them on Sunday night. The week prior, Jordan Howard put up 163 yards and a touchdown against them.

Now, DeMarco Murray, the NFL's fourth leading rusher with 526 yards gets to face Indianapolis.

Murray leads all running backs with nine red-zone targets, and already has six total touchdowns, third in the NFL. He's touching the ball a ton, with 138 total touches and is one of only four running backs with 100-plus standard fantasy points so far. As a team, the Titans average 146.7 rushing yards per game and have over 100 rushing yards in five straight contests.

The Colts defense is the definition of a favorable matchup for Murray. They're allowing 29 points per game (29th in the NFL), 411.2 yards per game (30th in the NFL) and 6.5 yards per play (second-most in the NFL).

All of that has resulted in the Colts allowing 25.65 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this year, second-most in the league. Murray has a legitimate shot at being the highest-scoring fanatsy back in Week 7.

Jacquizz Rodgers vs. 49ers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' third-string running back, Jacquizz Rodgers, led his team to a win in Week 5 against the Panthers on the heels of a career night. His 30 rush attempts in the game were a career-high, and also a statement by the Bucs that they're determined to become a more balanced offense following Jameis Winston's league-high 177 pass attempts through the first four weeks.

With Doug Martin still sidelined after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury and Charles Sims already on injured reserve, Rodgers is in line to be the feature back again on Sunday against the 49ers. The matchup couldn't be better, either.

San Francisco is ranked dead last in the league in run defense and has given up nine rushing touchdowns so far. They also allow 174.3 rushing yards per game with a ridiculous 27 runs of 10-plus yards so far. Additionally, they've allowed a 100-plus yard rusher in five consecutive games and have allowed 30-plus points to opposing teams in four of their last five contests. No team has allowed more rushing yards to opposing running backs this year than San Francisco.

If you managed to snag Rodgers before Week 5, make sure to slot him into your lineup this week. If by chance he's still floating around on waivers in your league, add him. He's going to be the Bucs' workhorse back and will have plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy points against San Francisco.

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