The Comfortables, The Cautions, and the Casualties: Week 7

I was that guy.

I was the D-bag who benched Aaron Rodgers while he went off for 6 TDs.

My logic was sound. Ben Roethlisberger (who I started over A-Rod) was having a very good year playing against a Titans team that, to quote Bart Scott, couldn’t stop a nosebleed this year. Meanwhile, Rodgers has shown this year that he can put up duds fantasy-wise against great defenses. Look no further than his games against the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears. Houston was one of those elite defenses. Everybody can point and laugh after the fact, but the bottom line is that my logic wasn’t crazy, things could have easily gone the way I predicted, and I’d be sitting here giving you all some serious “I told you so”s rather than eating the big plate of crow that I’m currently enjoying. No matter, I still started Rodgers in another fantasy league and single-handedly won my matchup. Besides, my decision to bench Rodgers for Big Ben wasn’t nearly as bad as anybody who benched their starting QB for Alex Smith (one of my friends benched RG3 for him!!!). Lesson learned: don’t get cute, don’t overthink it, start the studs ALWAYS.

For those of you who care (and none of you should), my luck is horrible this year, as I’m either at the top or near the top in “Points Against” in all of my leagues. No matter how well you plan or how effective you start, you can’t stop your opponent from scoring, and if they score more, they win. Them’s just the breaks sometimes.

This week is brutal for fantasy purposes, especially at the Wide Receiver position. No Falcons, Broncos, Chargers, Eagles, Chiefs and Dolphins means no Roddy White, Julio Jones, Eric Decker, Demariyus Thomas, Malcolm Floyd, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, or Dwayne Bowe. And wouldn’t you know it…I’m not facing a single team that has any one of those guys. I told you, not my luck this year.

What you have left is an unimpressive slate of games that I believe were scheduled on purpose as a favor to baseball. Titans/Bills? Browns/Colts? Jags/Raiders? Yuck. No thank you. Where’s Gus Johnson when you need him?

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

Comfortables: Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Seattle Defense, San Francisco Defense

Cautions: All Seattle Offensive Starters not named Lynch, Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree

Casualties: Robert Turbin, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Braylon Edwards, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss

Sleeper: Golden Tate

Thursday night games have proven not only to be unpredictable, but also a little sloppy. These guys go through demolition derbies on Sunday. It’s too much to ask them to be ready only for another one only four days later (but the rest for the next week is nice). I don’t like very many offensive options in this game for that reason, as well as the fact that these are two of the best defenses in the league (start either with confidence if you have them). Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are the only every-week starts for the 49ers squad, and the only Seahawk I feel good about is Beast Mode. The 49ers gave up their first rushing TD at home since 2010 last week to Ahmad Bradshaw, so you should feel good about Marshawn’s chances here.

Prediction: San Francisco takes out their frustrations from last week’s Giants loss on the Seahawk team which is Hyde on the road to their home Jekyll.

Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills

Comfortables: Chris Johnson, Fred Jackson, Kenny Britt, Stevie Johnson, Tennessee Defense, Buffalo Defense

Cautions: Matt Hasslebeck, Ryan Fitzpatrick, CJ Spiller, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Jared Cook, Scott Chandler

Casualties: Darius Reynaud, Tashard Choice, Damian Williams

Sleeper: Jamie Harper

That’s it…I’m off the Darius Reynaud train. Week after week I listed him as a sleeper figuring that Mike Munchak would get fed up with Chris Johnson’s ineffectiveness and try something new. Yet week after week, Munchak tries to justify the ridiculous contract the Titans gave CJ0K and continues to trot him out and give him a full workload. Last week, it ended up paying off bigtime as the Titans got a huge home win against a superior Steelers team. This week, they are away at another bad team that overachieved last week, the Buffalo Bills. I honestly don’t know how this game will play out, so it’s in your best interests to stay with the top running and receiving option for each team, as well as the defenses, because I expect this to be a low-scoring, mistake-filled game.

Prediction: No clue…let’s say the Bills because when in doubt, pick the home team.

Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts

Comfortables: Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson (if active), Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Defense

Cautions: Brandon Weeden, Josh Gordon, Donnie Avery, Benjamin Watson, Coby Fleener, Cleveland Defense

Casualties: Chris Ogbannaya, Delone Carter, Cleveland WRs not named Josh Gordon, T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen

Sleeper: Montario Hardesty (if Trent Richardson is inactive)

Last week, the Indianapolis defense made Shonn Greene look like a superstar. Shonn Greene! Imagine what a healthy Trent Richardson could do! Unfortunately for his owners, he’s day-to-day with a rib injury, so they need to pick up Montario Hardesty as insurance if T-Pain’s a scratch. I’m not buying the Colts’ dud or the Browns’ big win last week as new trends, and rather expect a return to normal for each. Luck will find Reggie Wayne early and often, Vick Ballard will get more opportunities with the game close, and Indy’s defense will force Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland offense into a couple of turnovers. Don’t believe the hype.

Prediction: Indy gets a bounce-back win on the arm of Andrew Luck and the hands of Reggie Wayne.

Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants

Comfortables: Robert Griffin III, Eli Manning, Alfred Morris, Ahmad Bradshaw, Pierre Garcon (if active), Hakeem Nicks (if active), Victor Cruz, Martellus Bennett, New York Giants Defense

Cautions: Santana Moss, Fred Davis, Washington Defense

Casualties: Ryan Grant, Evan Royster, David Wilson, Andre Brown, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Reuben Randle

Sleeper: Domenik Hixon

How bout them Giants, eh? Never bet against them when everybody else is betting against them! However, there’s serious danger this week, as the Giants are home (where they’re not nearly as good as on the road), and favored (the biggest warning sign of all). Basically, this has bed-shitting trap game written all over it. Especially against a Redskins team they went 0-2 against last year with a serious upgrade at QB. No clue if Pierre Garcon plays or not, but if he’s out, Moss, Robinson and Hankerson all get upgrades against a bad Giants secondary that overachieved last week in a “nobody believes in us” game. As for the backfields, don’t get cute with any backups. Washington belongs to Alfred Morris (thank God) and New York belongs to Ahmad Bradshaw. Hixon always remains an intriguing sleeper, and all Nicks owners (ahem) should have Hixon rostered as a handcuff in case Hakeem can’t go.

Prediction: Giants should win this, but I feel just as nervous this week as last week, maybe even moreso.

New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Comfortables: Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Doug Martin, Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Jimmy Graham

Cautions: Josh Freeman, Pierre Thomas, LeGarrette Blount, Lance Moore, Mike Williams, New Orleans Defense

Casualties: Mark Ingram, Devery Henderson, Tampa Bay Defense

Sleeper: Dallas Clark

Ah, the crazy NFC South. Aside from the Atlanta Falcons, who really is good in this division? Both Carolina and New Orleans are underachieving mightily, and Tampa Bay is a confusing team to figure out. The usual suspects for New Orleans (Brees, Sproles, Colston, Graham) should be good to roll with, as well as the Bucs’s big two (Muscle Hamster and V-Jax). LeSean McCoy owners who have him on bye this week may want to look at either Pierre Thomas or LeGarrette Blount, who have quietly posted just as good numbers as the starting RBs.

Prediction: The Saints continue to ride the momentum and pick up a big win on the road.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers

Comfortables: Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Felix Jones, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Steve Smith, Jason Witten, Greg Olsen, Dallas Defense

Cautions: DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Defense

Casualties: Mike Tolbert, Kevin Ogletree, Brandon LaFell

Sleeper: Philip Tanner

DeMarco Murray is out, so Felix Jones is in. Yeah, I’m not too thrilled about it either. But as a Murray owner who also owns Jamaal Charles, who is on a bye, I don’t really have much of a choice. I actually like Cam Newton this week at home, even though he has been tough to trust, as has Tony Romo. It’s tough to predict who out of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin will go off, but it’s a sure thing that one of them will. I also like both Tight Ends in this matchup, as well as Dallas’s defense.

Prediction: The Cowboys pick up the win on the road after Newton has a key turnover.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans

Comfortables: Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub, Ray Rice, Arian Foster, Torrey Smith, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Houston Defense

Cautions: Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Defense

Casualties: Bernard Pierce, Ben Tate, Kevin Walter, James Casey

Sleeper: Jacoby Jones

The poor, deflated Ravens defense. LaDarius Webb and Ray Lewis are out for the year, and Terrell Suggs isn’t ready to come back yet. I think Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and company will take advantage. I also like Flacco, Ray Rice, and Torrey Smith to have good games, and it might even be worth rolling with Anquan Boldin, as he’s posted some good numbers.

Prediction: The Texans take advantage of a depleted Ravens D to get a bounce-back win at home.

Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams

Comfortables: Aaron Rodgers, Alex Green, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings (if active), Green Bay Defense

Cautions: Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Daryl Richardson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Brandon Gibson, Jermichael Finley

Casualties: Donald Driver, Lance Kendricks, St. Louis Defense

Sleeper: James Starks

Oh yeah, that’s the good stuff with Aaron Rodgers. Expect more of the same against the Rams D. I like all Packers starting offensive options, and I’d upgrade James Jones to must-start if Greg Jennings can’t go. Steven Jackson is now in a bona-fide timeshare with Daryl Richardson, so it’s tough to trust him, as he put up pedestrian numbers before even with a full workload. If I have to start any Rams offensive option, I’d go with Brandon Gibson (and I have to in one league).

Prediction: The Packers continue to roll.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings

Comfortables: Christian Ponder, Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Defense

Cautions: John Skelton, William Powell, Arizona Defense

Casualties: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Toby Gerhart, Jerome Simpson, Todd Heap

Sleeper: Alfonso Smith

I like all Vikings options here, as Minnesota has been extremely impressive, and lost a close game to the Redskins mostly because they were on the road. Minny is legit at home. And I really like their chances going against Helter Skelton and his merry bunch. Gonna be tough to go with any Cardinal option other than Fitzgerald, but I’m rolling with William Powell and the Arizona Defense in a couple leagues.

Prediction: The Vikings bounce back and win at home.

New York Jets vs. New England Patriots

Comfortables: Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, New England Defense

Cautions: All Jets Starting Offensive Players, Brandon Bolden (if active)

Casualties: All Jets Backups, Julian Edelman, Deon Branch, New York Jets Defense

Sleeper: Danny Woodhead/Shane Vereen

Don’t let what the Jets did against Indy last week fool you: this will be a slaughter. Start all your Patriots. Start none of your Jets, not even Shonn Greene. In fact, if you have him, try to trade him, as his stock will never be higher all season. As Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight might not be healthy enough to play this Sunday, Rex Ryan is toying with the idea of putting Tim Tebow in as a backup for Greene. All I can say is I really hope this happens, and I want to see either the trainwreck or the miracle that ensues.

Prediction: Annihilation.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Oakland Raiders

Comfortables: Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Oakland Defense

Cautions: Carson Palmer, Denarius Moore, Darius Heyward-Bey, Jacksonville Defense

Casualties: Blaine Gabbert, Rashad Jennings, Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones, Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson, Mercedes Lewis

Sleeper: Brandon Myers

Well, this is a no-buys matchup if I ever saw one. MJD and DMC, possibly the Oakland D, the kickers, and nothing else. Most of America will most likely be watching Jets and Pats, while the rest will be watching the NLCS. Those of you in the Bay Area and northern Florida/southern Georgia areas, may God have mercy on your souls.

Prediction: The Janikowskis beat the Scobees 12-9.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Comfortables: Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Rashard Mendenhall (if active), BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, AJ Green, Andrew Hawkins, Heath Miller, Jermaine Gresham

Cautions: Isaac Redman (if active), Pittsburgh Defense, Cincinnati Defense

Casualties: Emmanuel Sanders, Armon Binns

Sleeper: Baron Batch (if either Mendenhall or Redman, or both, are inactive)

I was shocked that the Steelers lost to the Titans, so combined with their loss to the Raiders, it seems they’re not that great on the road. So it’s hard to like them here against a very good Bengals team. I personally think this is going to be a shootout. I like all starting offensive options on both sides.

Prediction: Cincinnati wins a shootout.

Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears

Comfortables: Matthew Stafford, Mikel LeShoure, Matt Forte, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Defense, Chicago Defense

Cautions: Jay Cutler, Michael Bush, Kellen Davis

Casualties: All Backup WRs

Sleeper: Joique Bell

This is the toughest matchup to predict. I expect both defenses to do really well. You can make a good case that the Bears are the best football team in the league right now, but they need good QB play out of Jay Cutler to win games against good teams. I’m not sure Cutler can do it against Ndomakung Suh and Nick Fairley. I do like Forte and Marshall though.

Prediction: UPSET SPECIAL! Jay Cutler throws a pick six and the Lions get a HUGE road win on Monday night and beat the Bears.

That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull. I surpassed 100 followers, but I could always use more!