1. Drew Brees (NO) - Coming off one of his better outings of 2010, Brees will look to continue his hot streak with a fantasy friendly week 7 match up at home against Cleveland. The Browns rank just 21st in the NFL against the pass and only 3 teams have allowed more TDs through the air so far this season. Brees should easily dissect the Cleveland secondary en route to a big week 7 performance. + Knee (Probable)
2. Aaron Rodgers (GB) - In 2 games against the Vikings last season, Rodgers combined for 671 yards, 5 TDs and just 1 interception. Unfortunately, he was also sacked a combined 14 times in those 2 games. While the Vikings have shown improvement in defending the pass so far this season compared to 2009, currently ranking 6th in the NFL, they have been surprisingly ineffective in getting to opposing QBs. The Minnesota defense has only accounted for 6 sacks in 2010. This bodes well for Rodgers and as history suggests, he will be up to the task in this big week 7 match up.
3. Kyle Orton (DEN) - Orton is coming off of his worst performance of the season and he will be facing an Oakland pass defense that ranks 8th in the NFL in terms of yards allowed. That said, there is still plenty to like about this match up. For starters, the only reason the Raiders look decent on paper against the pass is because most teams choose to run against them. While Denver might keep it on the ground a bit more than usual against a terrible Oakland run defense, they are still a pass heavy offense and we fully expect that to continue in week 7, especially with a banged up and largely ineffective backfield. More importantly, the Raiders defense may not give up many yards through the air, but they more than make up for it in other ways. The Raiders have yet to allow fewer than 2 TD passes in a game all season and they have been one of the more generous fantasy defenses in the NFL with regard to opposing QBs. Needless to say, we like Orton’s chances to rebound nicely in week 7.
4. Philip Rivers (SD) - River’s week 6 may have been less than stellar and the prospects of losing both Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates do not help his cause for week 7. That said, we still like Rivers fantasy potential with such a favorable match up at home. New England has one of the worst secondaries in the NFL ranking just 29th in terms of passing yards allowed and they give up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Rivers may be without his better weapons this week, but he is still capable of lighting up the Patriots. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can do it with Buffalo’s weapons then we see no reason why Rivers can’t do the same with the capable group of receivers he has left.
5. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) - As expected, Roethlisberger’s first outing of his 2010 fantasy campaign was a successful one. He should carry that momentum into week 7 against a good, yet very beatable Miami pass defense. The Dolphins rank middle of the pack in the NFL in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs and Big Ben accounted for 220 passing yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions in the final game of last season against them. He should be solid this time around as well.
6. Tony Romo (DAL) - It is difficult to gauge Romo’s week 7 match up against the Giants as his track record against them has been very hit or miss. The G-men have attributed to some of the best games in Romo’s career as well as some of his worst. Matters are further complicated when you assess the high level of play enjoyed by both Romo and the Giants defense so far in 2010. Our best guess is that this game will turn into a shootout and Romo typically excels statistically in such scenarios. He will likely take his lumps and you can probably expect a few errors in judgment, but all in all; the pros still outweigh the cons and Romo has yet to disappoint from a fantasy standpoint against solid competition all season.
7. Joe Flacco (BAL) - He is coming off of one of his better games in 2010 and an ultra favorable match up against Buffalo in week 7 bodes even better. Only 3 teams in the NFL have allowed more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Bills. Flacco will have few worries against this defense as they have just 1 interception and 6 sacks to their credit on the season. The only concern is that Buffalo is even worse at stopping the run than they are the pass and Baltimore’s outstanding running attack could ultimately be the bigger beneficiary here. Especially if the Ravens jump out to a significant early lead, in which case they will likely abandon the passing game all together, thus limiting Flacco statistically.
8. Tom Brady (NE) - All things considered, Brady’s week 6 performance against a top flight Baltimore defense wasn’t half bad. The loss of deep threat Randy Moss was evident and remains an issue of concern, but Brady’s ability to spread the ball around to his many capable receivers should help supplement Moss’ departure in the long run. As for week 7, Brady will face a stingy San Diego pass defense that currently ranks 1st in the NFL in both yards allowed and fantasy points allowed. While that looks great on paper, it almost becomes a moot point when you glance over the quality of competition or lack thereof, the Chargers have faced so far this season. The likes of Matt Cassel, Derek Anderson, Jason Campbell, David Garrard and Sam Bradford are not exactly among the who’s who of elite signal callers. The point being that Brady’s talents and the Patriots passing game in general far exceed that of any team San Diego has faced to date.
9. Eli Manning (NYG) - There are certainly safer fantasy options at QB for week 7, but given Manning’s fairly consistent track record of success against the Cowboys throughout his career; he should be solid this time around as well. Dallas is currently ranked 4th in the NFL against the pass, but they have a secondary that is very burnable and Manning has the weapons at his disposal to make them pay.
10. Matt Cassel (KC) - He isn’t typically a fantasy favorite, but as Cassel proved in week 6 by throwing for over 200 yards and 3 TDs against Houston; he can actually be an asset to fantasy rosters with the right match up. Fortunately, he has an equally promising match up this week against Jacksonville. The Jaguars have allowed 264 passing yards per game on average in addition to giving up 14 TD passes which ties them for dead last in the NFL. While we aren’t high on Cassel’s overall ability, he won’t need much to be successful in week 7 given the extremely generous nature of the Jags defense. Cassel is an ideal candidate for bye week replacement duty under the circumstances.
11. Matt Ryan (ATL) - Ryan has not exactly met expectations so far this season, but he does have a couple of things going in his favor for week 7. For starters, he typically plays much better at home than on the road and this week’s game is in Atlanta. Secondly, Ryan usually excels against defenses that have weak pass rushes and that looks to be the case here with the Cincinnati defense having just 6 sacks to their credit all season and they will be without their best pass rusher in DE Antwan Odom due to suspension. The Bengals may also be without CB Johnathan Joseph for this match up which also bodes well. We expect Ryan to put up solid numbers this week under the circumstances.
12. Brett Favre (MIN) - Favre was nearly flawless in each of the 2 games in which he faced the Packers in 2009 and a dinged up Green Bay defense and the addition of Randy Moss are just a couple of reasons to be optimistic this time around. You can also bet that Favre will be giving his best effort against his former team again in 2010. The problem is, Favre is not the same QB he was last season and his best in 2010 may not amount to much based on his lack of success so far. He’s probably worth gambling on all things considered, but Favre is a risky fantasy play for week 7 none the less. + Ankle, Elbow (Probable)
13. Jay Cutler (CHI) - From a match up standpoint, Cutler should put up solid numbers in week 7 against a Redskins pass defense that’s giving up close to 300 passing yards per game ranking them 31st in the NFL. That said, Cutler hasn’t thrown a TD pass since week 3, he’s been sacked 15 times in his last 2 games and he failed to deliver in an equally promising match up in week 6. Cutler should do well against this defense, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.
14. Kevin Kolb (PHI) - If week 6 was any indication, Kolb may end up living up to his pre season billing after all. As for week 7, he will face a Titans pass defense that has been somewhat generous to opposing QBs in the yardage department ranking just 23rd in the NFL. That said, there are a few things that make this a scary match up for fantasy owners as well. To name a few, the game is being played in Nashville, Kolb will be without his best WR in DeSean Jackson, the Titans lead the NFL in sacks (24) and Tennessee has allowed just 6 TD passes in 6 games with 10 interceptions to their credit. Kolb is good enough to do some damage against this defense, but the Titans are equally capable of doing the same to him. This one could go either way.
15. Carson Palmer (CIN) - There are plenty of favorable aspects to Palmer’s week 7 match up against Atlanta. For instance, Palmer has had 2 weeks to prepare for the game, the Falcons rank just 25th in the NFL against the pass after getting torched through the air in week 6, and there is a very good chance Atlanta will be without their best cover CB in Dunta Robinson due to a concussion. In fact, the only unfavorable aspect is Palmer himself. He has given fantasy owners little reason to trust him to this point and while a big game is not out of the question; it is far from expected.
16. Josh Freeman (TB) - You may or may not be surprised to know that Freeman has managed to crack double digits in fantasy points in all but 1 game so far this season. In week 7, he will be matched up against a Rams defense that ranks a mediocre 20th in the NFL against the pass and has given up 487 passing yards and 4 passing TDs in 2 road games this season. Freeman probably won’t come up with a monster performance in week 7, but we like his chances to at least break into the double digits once again.
17. Donovan McNabb (WAS) - He has still yet to throw for more than 1 TD in a game all season and considering the Bears have only allowed 3 TDs through the air in 6 games, the chances of McNabb breaking out in week 7 are slim to none. He should perform decently in the yardage category, but big plays will likely be held to a minimum.
18. Chad Henne (MIA) - He has double digit fantasy points in his last 3 outings and has at least 300 passing yards and 2 TDs in each of his 2 starts at home this season. Henne will be at home again in week 7, unfortunately, he will be matched up against Pittsburgh. The Steelers secondary is not infallible when it comes to giving up yards, but they are one of the best in the NFL when it comes to making QBs pay for mistakes and keeping them out of the end zone. You probably need to lower your expectations under the circumstances.
19. Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) - We like that the Hasselbeck to Mike Williams connection that was so successful in pre season is finally starting to show up in the regular season. We also like that week 7’s match up against a vulnerable Cardinals secondary is at home. What we don’t like is Hasselbeck’s terrible track record against Arizona, the fact that the Cardinals embarrassed Drew Brees in their last game and the fact that they have had 2 weeks to prepare for Hasselbeck.
20. Alex Smith (SF) - He has been fairly solid in each of his last 2 games, but Smith may have a tough row to hoe traveling across country to face a stout Carolina pass defense. The Panthers rank 5th in the NFL against the pass and have 9 interceptions to their credit in 5 games. Smith is capable, but this is not a safe match up for him.
21. Sam Bradford (STL) - @ TB
22. Vince Young (TEN) - vs. PHI + Knee, Ankle (Questionable)
23. Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF) - @ BAL
24. Max Hall (ARI) - @ SEA
25. Matt Moore (CAR) - vs. SF
26. Kyle Boller (OAK) - @ DEN
27. Colt McCoy (CLE) - @ NO
28. Todd Bouman (JAC) - @ KC