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Scott Cullen

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What do you do with the Packers? Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown for 300 yards since Week 9 last season and they are missing running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks. That’s good news for WR Ty Montgomery who, it turns out, could be the next-best option at running back for the Pack and could be a PPR monster. 

They also made a deal to acquire Knile Davis from Kansas City and while Davis doesn’t have a long and storied track record, he’s gained more than 100 yards from scrimmage three times in his career. 

If Rodgers is on his game, then the Packers should be fine, but it’s fair to wonder whether he’s not performing to his customary level. His 234.0 passing yards per game and 88.4 QB rating are his lowest since he became the starter in 2008. That has spin-off effects, most notably hurting the value of Packers wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

The Bears, then, might prove to be a lively underdog because QB Brian Hoyer is moving the chains a bit – throwing for 300-plus in each of his four starts – and has a new favourite target, WR Cameron Meredith, who has 20 catches for 243 yards on 27 targets over the past two games. The Bears are a flawed team, to be sure, but could be catching Green Bay at a decent time. 

More Week 7 matchups to watch:

CLE at CIN

The winless Browns have had moments of being a competitive underdog and they could be at Cincinnati, but it could tilt the wrong way in a hurry if WR Terrelle Pryor’s hamstring problem lingers and prevents him from playing. RB Isaiah Crowell has accumulated a modest total of 76 yards from scrimmage in the past two games, but he may be the Browns’ best chance to stay in the game.

The fight could be even more challenging for the Browns if the Bengals get TE Tyler Eifert back. To be fair, though, most Bengals are good picks at home against a Browns team giving up 403.3 yards per game.

NO at KC

This is a little interesting because the Chiefs don’t appear to be built to take advantage of the Saints’ shoddy pass defence. Certainly, WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Trevis Kelce are worthwhile, but beyond that? Good news though: the Saints can’t stop the run either, so expect and increased workload for Jamaal Charles, and don’t expect Spencer Ware to get shuffled aside altogether.

Maybe the Saints aren’t going to grind it out on the ground, though Mark Ingram has a couple 100-yard games this season, but if they want to throw it, Brandin Cooks and rookie Michael Thomas could put pressure on the Chiefs secondary. Mix in WR Willie Snead and TE Coby Fleener and that’s probably the best bet for the Saints and QB Drew Brees.

SD at ATL

This has the feeling of the Chargers being overmatched, yet they could still put up points – they rank third in points per game behind Atlanta and New Orleans. There’s some appeal to Philip Rivers’ supporting cast. RB Melvin Gordon gets touches, and touchdowns, despite 3.4 yards per carry and receivers Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams are solid options. Looking for upside? Take rookie TE Hunter Henry, who has pulled ahead of Antonio Gates on the depth chart.

The problem for San Diego is that they are going up against the league’s best offence through six weeks and the Chargers don’t have the defence to throw a wrench into Atlanta’s plans. That means runners Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman should be good to go, and star WR Julio Jones will be a major threat.

NE at PIT

This could have been an epic regular-season matchup, but with Ben Roethlisberger out, the question is whether the Steelers are going to be able to contain the Tom Brady-led Patriots. Brady has spread the ball around, making two running backs (LeGarrette Blount and James White) and two tight ends (Gronk and Martellus Bennett) viable fantasy contributors, though WR Julian Edelman has been relatively quiet (9 REC, 65 YDS, 17 targets in two games with Brady at QB).

It’s hard to imagine Pittsburgh’s new QB, Landry Jones, matching Brady score for score, unless the Steelers’ defence is great. Will Jones at least be able to move the ball enough so that WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell continue to get theirs? With Big Ben, it was fair to look to the supporting cast for production. Now, it’s a question whether the big dogs will get enough to eat.

 

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The Denver defence will be waiting for Brock Osweiler.

HOU at DEN

If Texans QB Brock Osweiler was going well, he’d still have his hands full dealing with the Broncos defence, a unit allowing a league-low 182.3 passing yards per game. But when Osweiler has been struggling, and can’t seem to get on the same page as No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins, it could get ugly. Houston’s hope may rest with Lamar Miller in the running game and, potentially, deep threat rookie WR Will Fuller, who expects to be ready for Monday night.

On the other side, Houston brings a solid pass defence, too, allowing 189.3 passing yards per game, second to Denver, and that could pose problems for QB Trevor Siemian, and limit the appeal of wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. They have to be started, but it’s not an ideal matchup. Maybe RB C.J. Anderson has a better shot at a big day, going up against a Texans defence that has allowed 126.3 rushing yards per game, ranking 29th in the league.

Who I like more this week: Sam Bradford, David Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Mike Gillislee, Stefon Diggs, Kenny Britt, Anquan Boldin, Cameron Brate

Who I like less this week: Aaron Rodgers, LeSean McCoy (injury?), Theo Riddick, Mike Wallace, Willie Snead, Quincy Enunwa, Jack Doyle

My Week Seven Player Rankings:

 

QUARTERBACKS

RANK Name Team Opp
1 Tom Brady NE @ PIT
2 Matt Ryan ATL vs SD
3 Matthew Stafford DET vs WAS
4 Philip Rivers SD @ ATL
5 Drew Brees NO @ KC
6 Andrew Luck IND @ TEN
7 Andy Dalton CIN vs CLE
8 Marcus Mariota TEN vs IND
9 Derek Carr OAK @ JAC
10 Aaron Rodgers GB vs CHI
11 Blake Bortles JAC vs OAK
12 Kirk Cousins WAS @ DET
13 Jameis Winston TB @ SF
14 Eli Manning NYG @ LA
15 Russell Wilson SEA @ ARI
16 Brian Hoyer CHI @ GB
17 Tyrod Taylor BUF @ MIA
18 Sam Bradford MIN @ PHI
19 Alex Smith KC vs NO
20 Carson Palmer ARI vs SEA
21 Colin Kaepernick SF vs TB
22 Joe Flacco BAL @ NYJ
23 Ryan Tannehill MIA vs BUF
24 Carson Wentz PHI vs MIN
25 Landry Jones PIT vs NE
26 Cody Kessler CLE @ CIN
27 Case Keenum LA vs NYG
28 Trevor Siemian DEN vs HOU
29 Geno Smith NYJ vs BAL
30 Brock Osweiler HOU @ DEN

 

RUNNING BACKS

RANK Name Team Opp
1 David Johnson ARI vs SEA
2 Le'Veon Bell PIT vs NE
3 DeMarco Murray TEN vs IND
4 Devonta Freeman ATL vs SD
5 Todd Gurley LA vs NYG
6 Christine Michael SEA @ ARI
7 Melvin Gordon SD @ ATL
8 LeSean McCoy BUF @ MIA
9 C.J. Anderson DEN vs HOU
10 Spencer Ware KC vs NO
11 Lamar Miller HOU @ DEN
12 Mark Ingram NO @ KC
13 Jordan Howard CHI @ GB
14 Jamaal Charles KC vs NO
15 Tevin Coleman ATL vs SD
16 LeGarrette Blount NE @ PIT
17 Matt Jones WAS @ DET
18 Terrance West BAL @ NYJ
19 Frank Gore IND @ TEN
20 Giovani Bernard CIN vs CLE
21 Isaiah Crowell CLE @ CIN
22 Jeremy Hill CIN vs CLE
23 Jay Ajayi MIA vs BUF
24 Ryan Mathews PHI vs MIN
25 James White NE @ PIT
26 Chris Ivory JAC vs OAK
27 Jacquizz Rodgers TB @ SF
28 Jerick McKinnon MIN @ PHI
29 Matt Forte NYJ vs BAL
30 T.J. Yeldon JAC vs OAK
31 Rashad Jennings NYG @ LA
32 Duke Johnson CLE @ CIN
33 DeAndre Washington OAK @ JAC
34 Bilal Powell NYJ vs BAL
35 Darren Sproles PHI vs MIN
36 Arian Foster MIA vs BUF
37 Devontae Booker DEN vs HOU
38 Mike Gillislee BUF @ MIA
39 Matt Asiata MIN @ PHI
40 Jalen Richard OAK @ JAC
41 Knile Davis GB vs CHI
42 Derrick Henry TEN vs IND
43 Zach Zenner DET vs WAS
44 Chris Thompson WAS @ DET
45 Bobby Rainey NYG @ LA
46 Latavius Murray OAK @ JAC
47 Dwayne Washington DET vs WAS
48 Justin Forsett DET vs WAS
49 Kenneth Dixon BAL @ NYJ
50 Don Jackson GB vs CHI
51 Theo Riddick DET vs WAS
52 DeAngelo Williams PIT vs NE
53 Shaun Draughn SF vs TB
54 C.J. Spiller SEA @ ARI
55 Mike Davis SF vs TB
56 Carlos Hyde SF vs TB
57 Orleans Darkwa NYG @ LA
58 Robert Kelley WAS @ DET
59 Travaris Cadet NO @ KC
60 Ka'Deem Carey CHI @ GB

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

RANK Name Team Opp
1 Julio Jones ATL vs SD
2 A.J. Green CIN vs CLE
3 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG @ LA
4 Mike Evans TB @ SF
5 Allen Robinson JAC vs OAK
6 Brandon Marshall NYJ vs BAL
7 Jordy Nelson GB vs CHI
8 T.Y. Hilton IND @ TEN
9 Amari Cooper OAK @ JAC
10 Antonio Brown PIT vs NE
11 Marvin Jones DET vs WAS
12 Jeremy Maclin KC vs NO
13 Brandin Cooks NO @ KC
14 Alshon Jeffery CHI @ GB
15 Michael Crabtree OAK @ JAC
16 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs SEA
17 Jarvis Landry MIA vs BUF
18 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs HOU
19 Doug Baldwin SEA @ ARI
20 Cameron Meredith CHI @ GB
21 DeAndre Hopkins HOU @ DEN
22 Terrelle Pryor CLE @ CIN
23 Emmanuel Sanders DEN vs HOU
24 Randall Cobb GB vs CHI
25 Julian Edelman NE @ PIT
26 Travis Benjamin SD @ ATL
27 Jordan Matthews PHI vs MIN
28 Stefon Diggs MIN @ PHI
29 DeSean Jackson WAS @ DET
30 Kenny Britt LA vs NYG
31 Golden Tate DET vs WAS
32 Michael Thomas NO @ KC
33 Mike Wallace BAL @ NYJ
34 Allen Hurns JAC vs OAK
35 John Brown ARI vs SEA
36 Tyrell Williams SD @ ATL
37 Robert Woods BUF @ MIA
38 Ty Montgomery GB vs CHI
39 Willie Snead NO @ KC
40 Will Fuller HOU @ DEN
41 Sterling Shepard NYG @ LA
42 Anquan Boldin DET vs WAS
43 Devante Parker MIA vs BUF
44 Jamison Crowder WAS @ DET
45 Mohamed Sanu ATL vs SD
46 Tavon Austin LA vs NYG
47 Kendall Wright TEN vs IND
48 Torrey Smith SF vs TB
49 Quincy Enunwa NYJ vs BAL
50 Chris Hogan NE @ PIT
51 Brandon LaFell CIN vs CLE
52 Adam Humphries TB @ SF
53 Sammie Coates PIT vs NE
54 Michael Floyd ARI vs SEA
55 Steve Smith BAL @ NYJ
56 Jeremy Kerley SF vs TB
57 Tyler Lockett SEA @ ARI
58 Pierre Garcon WAS @ DET
59 Victor Cruz NYG @ LA
60 Rishard Matthews TEN vs IND
61 Adam Thielen MIN @ PHI
62 Chris Conley KC vs NO
63 Kamar Aiken BAL @ NYJ
64 Dorial Green-Beckham PHI vs MIN
65 Davante Adams GB vs CHI
66 Phillip Dorsett IND @ TEN
67 Dontrelle Inman SD @ ATL
68 Breshad Perriman BAL @ NYJ
69 Tajae Sharpe TEN vs IND
70 Brian Quick LA vs NYG
71 Tyler Boyd CIN vs CLE
72 Marquise Goodwin BUF @ MIA
73 Chester Rogers IND @ TEN
74 Marqise Lee JAC vs OAK
75 Seth Roberts OAK @ JAC

 

TIGHT ENDS

RANK Name Team Opp
1 Rob Gronkowski NE @ PIT
2 Travis Kelce KC vs NO
3 Delanie Walker TEN vs IND
4 Jimmy Graham SEA @ ARI
5 Hunter Henry SD @ ATL
6 Martellus Bennett NE @ PIT
7 Zach Miller CHI @ GB
8 Coby Fleener NO @ KC
9 Gary Barnidge CLE @ CIN
10 Kyle Rudolph MIN @ PHI
11 Cameron Brate TB @ SF
12 Julius Thomas JAC vs OAK
13 Dennis Pitta BAL @ NYJ
14 Jordan Reed WAS @ DET
15 Tyler Eifert CIN vs CLE
16 Charles Clay BUF @ MIA
17 Zach Ertz PHI vs MIN
18 Jack Doyle IND @ TEN
19 Antonio Gates SD @ ATL
20 Vernon Davis WAS @ DET
21 C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU @ DEN
22 Jesse James PIT vs NE
23 Jacob Tamme ATL vs SD
24 Eric Ebron DET vs WAS
25 Dwayne Allen IND @ TEN
26 Lance Kendricks LA vs NYG
27 Richard Rodgers GB vs CHI
28 Will Tye NYG @ LA
29 C.J. Uzomah CIN vs CLE
30 Larry Donnell NYG @ LA

 

DEFENCE/SPECIAL TEAMS

RANK Team Opp
1 Denver Broncos vs HOU
2 New England Patriots @ PIT
3 Minnesota Vikings @ PHI
4 Cincinnati Bengals vs CLE
5 Buffalo Bills @ MIA
6 Seattle Seahawks @ ARI
7 Arizona Cardinals vs SEA
8 Baltimore Ravens @ NYJ
9 Green Bay Packers vs CHI
10 Los Angeles Rams vs NYG
11 Philadelphia Eagles vs MIN
12 Tennessee Titans vs IND
13 Houston Texans @ DEN
14 New York Giants @ LA
15 New York Jets vs BAL
16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ SF
17 Miami Dolphins vs BUF
18 Oakland Raiders @ JAC
19 Kansas City Chiefs vs NO
20 Detroit Lions vs WAS
21 Pittsburgh Steelers vs NE

 

KICKERS

RANK Name Team Opp
1 Stephen Gostkowski NE @ PIT
2 Justin Tucker BAL @ NYJ
3 Mason Crosby GB vs CHI
4 Matt Bryant ATL vs SD
5 Adam Vinatieri IND @ TEN
6 Cairo Santos KC vs NO
7 Brandon McManus DEN vs HOU
8 Steven Hauschka SEA @ ARI
9 Josh Lambo SD @ ATL
10 Chandler Catanzaro ARI vs SEA
11 Mike Nugent CIN vs CLE
12 Matt Prater DET vs WAS
13 Josh Brown NYG @ LA
14 Dustin Hopkins WAS @ DET
15 Blair Walsh MIN @ PHI
16 Will Lutz NO @ KC
17 Sebastian Janikowski OAK @ JAC
18 Nick Folk NYJ vs BAL
19 Chris Boswell PIT vs NE
20 Dan Carpenter BUF @ MIA
21 Caleb Sturgis PHI vs MIN

 

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca