Lions' Stafford, Johnson should stay hot versus Falcons

Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com breaks down all of the Week 7 games from fantasy perspectives.

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
Detroit does allow 129.5 rushing yards per game, and the Falcons would prefer to lean on their running game to attempt to control time of possession. Look for Michael Turner to be very busy this week, and expect another touchdown run. Matt Ryan will have to open things up at some point, though, to keep up with the Detroit offense, so expect more than one TD pass. Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez will be key receivers for Ryan in what should be one of the week's most compelling matchups. Harry Douglas should also catch a downfield strike or two. Atlanta allows 97.5 rushing yards per game, so only start Maurice Morris if you must. Keiland Williams could get some goal-line opportunities, though. The Lions are somewhat predictable, yet still hard to contain. The Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson connection is the most prolific in fantasy football right now, and Brandon Pettigrew has become Detroit's real No. 2 receiver. No other Lions receivers are worth starting unless you are really digging deep, as Nate Burleson simply does not get open enough.

Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins rank 29th in passing yards allowed per game, so Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow does not have to be shy about throwing the ball. Eric Decker will likely be his best option, as he is a big target and has been involved in the flow of the offense all season. Demaryius Thomas should eventually work well with Tebow but is just returning to action and should be reserved and scouted by fantasy owners if possible. Willis McGahee is a fine starter as he returns to his hometown and should be used often to keep pressure off Tebow. Knowshon Moreno may not get enough touches to help fantasy teams. Brandon Marshall will be keyed up in a major way to burn his former team and is one of the best WR starts of the week. Daniel Thomas should at least post respectable numbers, but he has been limited in practices and may not be able to take full advantage of a friendly matchup. You would hope Reggie Bush would get enough quality touches against a vulnerable run defense, but it has become apparent you cannot count on that with Bush.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
The Titans rank 10th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game and have surrendered only one rushing score. No team can fully contain the versatile Arian Foster, though, and he should still roll up pretty good yardage numbers even if he does not score. Matt Schaub could find the Tennessee defense tough to crack, though, without Andre Johnson. Schaub is only an adequate start at best this week as he depends on Kevin Walter and Owen Daniels to move the chains. Both players should deliver respectable PPR totals. Matt Hasselbeck will have to get rid of the ball in quick-strike fashion, and expect him to distribute the ball between Nate Washington, Damian Williams and Jared Cook. All three -- as well as Hasselbeck -- are decent fantasy starts. Williams does have real TD potential, though, and Cook has upside against any opponent. Chris Johnson likely won't post outstanding numbers against a front seven that will be largely focused on stopping him.

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The seemingly unstoppable Matt Forte is ready for another big game from scrimmage against a defense that allows 114.5 rushing yards per game. Tampa Bay has only 10 sacks and will likely give Jay Cutler time to throw -- they rank 26th in yards allowed per game. Of course, Cutler spreads the ball around, but not with high-yield results, so his pass-catchers are big fantasy gambles. You should get a respectable performance from Cutler, though.

Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns
Charlie Whitehurst will get the call here and he can make sound decisions and keep the Browns honest. If Browns cornerback Joe Haden is unable to go, Sidney Rice gets a fantasy boost. Whitehurst will get receiver Mike Williams back, and his presence could mean fewer reps for Doug Baldwin, who becomes a big gamble this week. Seattle's passing game is gaining enough respect to open things up for Marshawn Lynch, who is a viable No. 2 RB start. Montario Hardesty will likely get the bulk of the carries for Cleveland, but is not an optimum start against a tough Seattle run defense. Colt McCoy does face a secondary that has lost its best cornerback in Marcus Trufant but remains aggressive and opportunistic. McCoy might be in for a two-touchdown, two-interception day. This is Greg Little's opportunity to bust out, though, and Mohamed Massaquoi could be a TD threat. Ben Watson should be a good bye week plug-in.

San Diego Chargers at New York Jets
The Jets have been much more vulnerable against the run than expected, making Ryan Mathews a must-start this week. The Chargers will look to keep Mike Tolbert in the mix, and he should be a legitimate goal-line threat and garner flex consideration. Philip Rivers is getting his top targets back and should throw more than one TD pass. Vincent Jackson should be started despite his recent injuries -- as well as the Revis Island factor -- because he appears to be healthy enough to give it a full go. Jackson has too much upside no matter the matchup, so don't reserve him unless you have a player of similar value. Antonio Gates may be limited, though, and is not a recommended starter. Look for Malcom Floyd to be targeted often as Mathews and Jackson command a lot of defensive attention. LaDainian Tomlinson is the wild-card start of the week against his former team. Look for a Tomlinson score and more frustration from Shonn Greene. The Chargers' defense ranks second in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, so there are a lot better options than Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes.

Week 7 Fantasy Trends

   In this week's Trends, Scott Engel says fantasy owners can look for Philip Rivers to start getting hot agaisnt the 
  [Jets](/teams/newyorkjets/profile?team=NYJ) while 
  [Willis McGahee](/player/willismcgahee/2505674/profile) should stay hot against the 
  [Dolphins](/teams/miamidolphins/profile?team=MIA). 
  [**More ...**](http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d8234d9d7)  

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers rank 31st in rushing yards per game, making this a prime opportunity for Ryan Torain to get heavily involved in the game plan. With John Beck at QB, you will likely see a heavy dosage of Torain, a fine RB2 start this week, with some Roy Helu mixed in for flex consideration. Beck likely won't open things up too much and should rely a lot on Santana Moss and Fred Davis. Both players should come through with decent PPR numbers. The Redskins have allowed an NFC-low four TD passes and could limit Cam Newton this week. Still, it's hard not to start the impressive rookie, even if this will not be one of his best weeks. Look for Washington to keep Steve Smith to less than 100 yards, and the Carolina RBs are also not going to be attractive options.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals
Look for the Steelers to be balanced against the Cardinals, even with top weapon Mike Wallace dealing with a hamstring issue. Arizona allows 118.8 rushing yards per game, so it should be another productive week for Rashard Mendenhall. A strong running game will allow Ben Roethlisberger to effectively use play-action passing, and look for Antonio Brown to make some big plays. Roethlisberger can also effectively keep the sticks moving with high-percentage throws to Hines Ward and Heath Miller. Roethlisberger could be good for at least two TDs while his counterpart, Kevin Kolb, should sputter. Larry Fitzgerald might only post decent totals, but Beanie Wells could look good against a Steelers run defense that is no longer truly fearsome.

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Jackie Battle has earned the right for more carries and is a quality flex play this week. Battle offers little upside but he will not hurt your fantasy team. The Chiefs should move the ball well against Oakland, and Matt Cassel is a strong option during bye weeks. You can bank on another outstanding performance from Dwayne Bowe, while Steve Breaston makes a nice WR3 start if you are out of options. Oakland will lean heavily on Darren McFadden and won't ask too much of Kyle Boller. Expect excellent all-around production from McFadden, and Michael Bush might get some chances to score from short range. Darrius Heyward-Bey is the only Oakland WR you should start this week.

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas run defense has been formidable, so don't count on Steven Jackson for anything more than respectable production. Brandon Lloyd plays his first game with the Rams but is a risky play. Sure, he knows the Josh McDaniels' system, but he still has to get his timing down with the QBs. As with any other week, you are taking a big chance any time you roll with anyone other than Jackson. The Rams run defense has been notoriously bad this year and DeMarco Murray is a fine play given the matchup. Still, Dallas is a pass-first team, and Tony Romo should be good for more than two touchdown passes. Start Miles Austin and Dez Bryant with confidence. Jason Witten is obviously a terrific start, and do not be surprised to see Laurent Robinson make some plays against his former team.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Starting anyone other than Adrian Peterson on the Vikings is a major gamble, even during a bye week. Even though the Green Bay pass defense has been very vulnerable, Christian Ponder simply does not have the weapons or experience needed to exploit the matchup. Percy Harvin has been a big disappointment so far and should not be used over another WR who has been more dependable. For fantasy scouting purposes, though, watch to see if Ponder starts to develop a relationship with rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph. The Packers RBs are mediocre no matter the matchup. But the Vikings rank 24th in passing yards allowed, which translates into yet another big passing day for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers should be stellar again, and Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are must-starts. James Jones has been a regular scoring threat and Donald Driver is worth consideration if you are really digging deep. Look for Rodgers to make a strong effort to get Jermichael Finley the ball more often this week.

Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints
The Saints have allowed 12 TD passes, most in the NFC, so you will not necessarily see Curtis Painter struggle in this one. Reggie Wayne should reach the end zone, and Pierre Garcon should be a quality start as well. None of the Colts RBs are recommended starts as bye-week fillers. The Colts have allowed nine passing TDs and rank 18th in passing yards per game allowed. It should be another productive day for Drew Brees, especially working to Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham. Lance Moore and Robert Meachem are strictly desperation plays. Darren Sproles could give the Colts LBs fits, and Mark Ingram should reach the end zone.

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars rank eighth in passing yards per game allowed, so do not expect above-average numbers from Joe Flacco. Anquan Boldin will perform very well for PPR purposes, but Torrey Smith can be hit or miss. Ray Rice will be the focal point of the Baltimore attack, so expect him shine under the Monday Night lights. The Ravens have been stout against the run as usual, but Maurice Jones-Drew can still deliver the fantasy goods. Of course, no other Jaguars are worth the gamble. Mike Thomas has been statistically mediocre, and Jason Hill can simply disappear at any time.

For more advanced insights and breakdowns, plus live chats, check out the RotoExperts.com Xclusive Edge package, which includes VIP access to all content from Scott Engel, a 15-year veteran fantasy analyst with sites such as CBS SportsLine and ESPN.com, and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame.

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