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Survivor Guide: Week 7

by Mark Miller
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $500,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 7's games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $40,000. Starts Sunday, October 19th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

*Team listed in BOLD is my pick to win the game

Strong Play

Arizona (@ Oakland) – The Cardinals are sitting on top of the NFC West with a 4-1 record and head to Oakland this weekend with their sights set on locking up their 5th win of the season. Carson Palmer returned last weekend and completed 28 of his 44 passes for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michael Floyd is happy that Palmer is back in the starting lineup as they connected in the 1st quarter for a 20 yard touchdown. Palmer did a nice job distributing the football, connecting with 8 different receivers, including Larry Fitzgerald in the 2nd quarter for a 24 yard touchdown. As for Oakland, they almost came up with a major upset against the San Diego Chargers last weekend. They even held the lead 3 different times at 7-0, 21-14 and 28-21, but they couldn’t close it out. Darren McFadden ran the ball well against the Chargers but he will struggle running the football against Arizona, leaving it up to Derek Carr to move the football against the Cardinals secondary which ranks 32nd against the pass. Some may look at this as being a trap game for the Cardinals and may be looking towards next week’s matchup against the Eagles. But I think this team is focused and will walk off that field with a win. Additionally, if you haven’t used Arizona in your Survivor Pool, this may be the week to use them because their upcoming schedule is tough with games against Philadelphia and Dallas over the next two weeks.

Next 3 Games
Arizona: vs. Philadelphia, @ Dallas, vs. St. Louis
Oakland: @ Cleveland, @ Seattle, vs. Denver

New England (vs. NY Jets)Tom Brady is coming off two straight games in which he has looked like his vintage self. Last week against the Bills, Brady threw for 361 yards and 4 touchdowns and averaged 9.8 yards per attempt. Although things went well for Brady, things didn’t go so well for RB Stevan Ridley and LB Jerod Mayo who both suffered season ending knee injuries. Fortunately for the Patriots, their first game without their services will be at home against the Jets. The Jets offense has been woeful, to say the least, and Geno Smith has been pretty awful. The Jets defense is second in the league with 19 sacks and they’ll need Mo Richardson and Sheldon Richardson to not only apply pressure on Brady, but they will need to hit him and make their presence known if they want a chance to win this game. With the short week for preparation because the game is Thursday night and the fact that the Jets are 3-10 in their last 13 games at Gillette Stadium, I would recommend taking the Patriots this week if you haven’t already. The Patriots schedule gets tougher in the next two weeks with games against the Bears and Broncos followed by their BYE week in Week 10.

Next 3 Games
NY Jets: vs. Buffalo, @ Kansas City, vs. Pittsburgh
New England: vs. Chicago, vs. Denver, BYE

Seattle (@ St. Louis) – The Seahawks were stunned at home last Sunday against the Cowboys, and in that game Seattle couldn’t get any momentum offensively and were killed in the time of possession 38 minutes to 22 minutes. I expect a bounce back game for Seattle and believe they will dominate both sides of the football this weekend against the Rams. Marshawn Lynch only carried the football 10 times last week, but I expect that number to at least double this week against a Rams team that allows an average of 139 rushing yards per game. Seattle is expected to be without corner back Byron Maxwell which means the Rams will try to attack his replacement, Marcus Burley. The last time the Seahawks lost back-to-back games was in Weeks 7 and 8 in 2012 against the 49ers and Lions. I believe they will keep this trend in tact and come away with their 4th win of the season.

Next 3 Games
Seattle: @ Carolina, vs. Oakland, vs. NY Giants
St. Louis: @ Kansas City, @ San Francisco, @ Arizona

Decent Play

Baltimore (vs. Atlanta) – The Falcons remain a puzzling team and I have to scratch my head because I don’t know what to expect from them any given week. Last week I expected them to dominate the Bears defense, but their offensive line gave up 4 sacks and the Falcons receivers had trouble catching the ball. Now they head to Baltimore who’s coming off a win against the Buccaneers in dominating fashion, beating Tampa Bay on the road 48-17. The Ravens will go with a balanced attack and will use Justin Forsett as the primary ball carrier and I believe Owen Daniels will be targeted often and could be in for a big game this weekend. As for the Falcons offensively, Matt Ryan will need to get the ball out of his hands quickly because the Ravens D Line will make their presence known. If Matt Ryan can get any type of protection, they will have a shot to win this game. In the end, I think that the Ravens will dominate this game in the time of possession and as well as in the trenches leading to a win in front of their home crowd.
 
Next 3 Games
Atlanta: vs. Detroit, BYE, @ Tampa Bay
Baltimore: @ Cincinnati, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Tennessee

Dallas (vs. NY Giants) – The Cowboys and Giants couldn’t have had a more opposite performances in Week 6 with the Cowboys defeating the Seahawks in Seattle and the Giants getting shutout on the road in Philadelphia. Dallas improved to 5-1 with their win, whereas the Giants fell to 3-3. This is a very important game for both teams; if the Giants win, they remain in the hunt for the division. If they lose, they will fall 3 games out of the division with 7 games left. For Dallas, it’s simple, they need to win in order to keep pace with the Eagles or possibly take sole possession of the division. As for the game, the Giants lost Victor Cruz for the rest of the season and are expected to be without Rashad Jennings this week. That leaves Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham and Larry Donnell as Eli Manning’s primary targets. The Cowboys offense has been explosive and their defense has been a nice surprise this season. Although the Giants have done a decent job against the run this year, I expect the Cowboys to stick with what they do best which is running the ball with DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys offensive line will create running lanes and Murray should have a 7th consecutive game with 100+ yards.  The Cowboys have gotten the best of the Giants in 3 out of their last 4 games, and if Romo protects the football like he’s done during their winning streak, the Cowboys should come out on top.

Next 3 Games
NY Giants: BYE, vs. Indianapolis, @ Seattle
Dallas: vs. Washington, vs. Arizona, @ Jacksonville

Cleveland (@ Jacksonville) – The Cleveland Browns dominated both sides of the football against the Steelers in Week 6 but were dealt a big blow when they lost their starting center, Alex Mack, to a broken leg. The Browns ran the ball well and had 155 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns between Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell.  The Browns will continue to pound the ball on the ground with Tate and Crowell this week against Jacksonville who allows 117 rushing yards per game. Brian Hoyer has been effective, and he could also be in for a game against the 30th ranked pass defense. I also expect Jordan Cameron to be a focal point for this offense this weekend. As for the Jaguars, they played the Titans tough but still came up short, losing 16-14. Blake Bortles was able to move the ball in the air, completing 32 of 46 passes for 336 yards but the Jaguars offensive line was a huge liability, giving up 6 sacks to the Titans defense. It also didn’t help that they couldn’t establish a run game, resulting in their running backs averaging 2.4 yards per carry.  The Jaguars defense has improved over the last two weeks allowing a total of 33 points over those 2 weeks as opposed to the 38 points on average they allowed in the first 4 games. I believe this will be a low scoring game and the Jaguars will keep it close, but it will be Cleveland that finds a way to secure the win and improve to 4-2.

Next 3 Games
Cleveland: vs. Oakland, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Cincinnati
Jacksonville: vs. Miami, @ Cincinnati, vs. Dallas

Chicago (vs. Miami) – The Bears are seeking their first win of the season at home and are hoping it comes at the expense of the Miami Dolphins. Jay Cutler had a field day against the Falcons defense last weekend but he’ll have a much more difficult time against Miami’s defense which only allows 222 total yards per game. I believe this game will come down to which quarterback takes care of the ball because both defenses will be applying pressure on the opposing quarterback all game. Due to the amount of pressure that may be applied by the Bears defense, I expect Miami to play conservatively and have Lamar Miller carry the load against a Bears defense that allows 103.7 rushing yards per game. I think Chicago pulls out the win as long as they can establish the run with Matt Forte because that will open up the passing game. If they can’t establish the run, like Oakland, New England even Green Bay failed to do, Miami will keep this game close until the end.

Next 3 Games
Miami: @ Jacksonville, vs. San Diego, @ Detroit
Chicago: @ New England, BYE, @ Green Bay

Risky Play

Green Bay (vs. Carolina) – The Packers were on the verge of a loss in Miami last week but Aaron Rodgers led his team on a game winning drive throwing for the go head touchdown with 3 seconds remaining on the clock. The Packers defense was weakened once they lost cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields to injuries in the 3rd quarter which resulted in an 80 yard and 79 yard touchdown drives by the Dolphins. The Packers have been moving the ball well and Aaron Rodgers has 15 touchdowns compared to just 1 interception on the season. His success should continue once again this week against the Panthers defense that has allowed an average of 34 points per game over the last 4 weeks. My only concern is the health of Green Bay’s secondary because they will be a liability if Shields and Williams can’t suit up on Sunday. If they are able to play, then I’d move the Packers up a tier and up a couple spots in the rankings.

Next 3 Games
Carolina: vs. Seattle, vs. New Orleans, @ Philadelphia
Green Bay: @ New Orleans, BYE, vs. Chicago

Denver (vs. San Francisco) – The 49ers are coming off an impressive 2nd half comeback win against the Rams in St. Louis on Monday night after falling behind 14-0. Colin Kaepernick had his best game of the season throwing for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns, but it wasn’t all roses for the Niners.  They failed to play a complete game of football and they also lost Patrick Willis, Stevie Johnson and Mike Iupati to injuries during the game. It looks as though Willis will not play Sunday night against the Broncos, and that could prove to be huge in this game. The Niners defense had 5 sacks prior to their game against the Rams, but they blitzed more often than usual and were able to collect 5 sacks against St. Louis. They’ll need to dominate the Broncos offensive line, which has been shaky at times, if they want to have a shot to win this game on the road. Even though the Niners have suffered a lot of injuries this season, their reserves have played well, but if Willis and Iupati are out, I would bump the Broncos up a couple spots in the rankings. With that said, even if they play, I think Julius Thomas will be too much for the 49ers defense to handle and Peyton Manning will lead the Broncos to their 5th win of the season.

Next 3 Games
San Francisco: BYE, vs. St. Louis, @ New Orleans
Denver: vs. San Diego, @ New England, @ Oakland

Indianapolis (vs. Cincinnati) – Before their Week 4 BYE, the Bengals defense allowed a total of 33 points. Over the last two weeks, they have allowed 80 total points and are now ranked 22nd and 29th against the pass and rush, respectively. It doesn’t get any easier this week against the Colts who have the number 1 ranked passing offense in the league. Andrew Luck is having a Pro-Bowl type season and should have another 300+ yard performance against the Bengals. Although I do think the Colts will beat the Bengals, I don’t believe it’s a lock because the Bengals are still a very tough team and I think this is a true barometer game for both teams. The Colts have had an easy schedule having beaten the Jaguars, Titans and Texans; their only tough win of the season has come against the Ravens two weeks ago. If you believe the Bengals will win this game, I’d still recommend staying away from Cincinnati this week and use them in one of their next 3 games which are all at home, especially in Weeks 9 and 10 against the Jaguars and Browns.

Next 3 Games
Cincinnati: vs. Baltimore, vs. Jacksonville, vs. Cleveland
Indianapolis: @ Pittsburgh, @ NY Giants, BYE

Avoid

Washington (vs. Tennessee) – It took a blocked field goal for the Titans to squeeze out a win against 0-6 Jaguars in Week 6, and it wasn’t pretty. The Titans offensive line allowed fill-in QB Charlie Whitehurst to get sacked 3 times and the offense had problems keeping drives extended and putting points on the board. I expect Washington’s linebacker Ryan Kerrigan will have his eyes set on sacking Whitehurst and forcing him to throw into coverage, which could result in turnovers. The Jaguars defense is prone to giving up big plays which mean DeSean Jackson could be in for a monster game. With his explosive playmaking ability, I believe he will be the difference maker this week. If Jake Locker can’t go for a second consecutive week, I’d consider bumping Washington up into the next tier. With that said, they’d still be a risky play because Washington has found ways to lose games this year. I wouldn’t put it past them to do the same again this week.

Next 3 Games
Tennessee: vs. Houston, BYE, @ Baltimore
Washington: @ Dallas, @ Minnesota, BYE

San Diego (vs. Kansas City) – The Chargers survived a real scare against the Raiders last week, escaping with a 31-28 win. Some may chalk it up to the Chargers overlooking the Raiders, but their defense raised some eyebrows and could be a cause for concern with Oakland’s Derek Carr picking them apart for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Chargers defense also couldn’t stop the run, letting Darren McFadden average 5.7 yards per carry. The Chiefs are coming off a bye, so Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis should have fresh legs. Alex Smith will do Alex Smith things; play smart and protect the football. I feel that this is a dangerous game for San Diego and if they aren’t careful and if they play sloppy, they could get picked off and their 5 game winning streak could be in jeopardy.
 
Next 3 Games
Kansas City: vs. St. Louis, vs. NY Jets, @ Buffalo
San Diego: @ Denver, @ Miami, BYE

Buffalo (vs. Minnesota) – It seems as though the Bills made the right decision benching E.J. Manuel and going with Kyle Orton as their starting quarterback. Since he was put into the starting lineup, Orton has thrown for 607 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first 2 starts of the season. The Bills have been awful running the ball even gave Anthony Dixon more rushing opportunities (7) than C.J. Spiller (6) last week against the Patriots. Teddy Bridgewater has yet to throw a touchdown since he was inserted into the Vikings starting lineup and has shown how raw he was last week against Detroit after being picked off 3 times against a stout Lions defense. Bridgewater was under a lot of pressure all game which led to some of those interceptions. The Bills, who have 19 sacks on the season, should have similar success against the Vikings offensive line which could lead to him turning the ball over. My issue with this game is that I don’t completely trust Kyle Orton or Teddy Bridgewater right now so I recommend avoiding this game all together.

Next 3 Games
Minnesota: @ Buffalo, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Washington
Buffalo: @ NY Jets, BYE, vs. Kansas City

Pittsburgh (vs. Houston) – The Texans did a nice job getting back into the game against the Colts last week after falling behind 24-0. But in the end, the Texans still fell to a superior team for a second week in a row. Houston travels to Pittsburgh for a Monday night showdown against the Steelers who have been brutal all year. The game plans should be different for both teams; Houston will pound the ball in the ground with Arian Foster and Pittsburgh will try to exploit the Texans secondary with Antonio Brown who I expect will have another game with over 100 receiving yards. Pittsburgh has traded off wins and losses every week this season, so if that’s any indication who will win this game, then Pittsburgh is due for a win after last week’s loss to the Browns.

Next 3 Games
Houston:  @ Tennessee, vs. Philadelphia, BYE
Pittsburgh: vs. Indianapolis, vs. Baltimore, @ NY Jets

Detroit (vs. New Orleans) – The Saints are 0-3 on the road but the Lions offense, which has struggled the last two weeks, may be without Calvin Johnson once again. Reggie Bush was held out of last week’s game as well, but could possibly return this week against the Saints. I don’t have any faith right now in New Orleans winning a game on the road, but with so many questions marks on the offensive side of the ball for the Lions, I highly recommend avoiding both the Lions and Saints in Survivor Pools this week.

Next 3 Games
New Orleans: vs. Green Bay, @ Carolina, vs. San Francisco
Detroit: @ Atlanta, BYE, vs. Miami

Week 7 Survivor Pool Rankings
1.    Arizona Cardinals
2.    New England Patriots
3.    Seattle Seahawks
4.    Baltimore Ravens
5.    Dallas Cowboys
6.    Cleveland Browns
7.    Chicago Bears
8.    Green Bay Packers
9.    Denver  Broncos
10.    Indianapolis Colts
11.    Washington Redskins
12.    San Diego Chargers
13.    Buffalo Bills
14.    Pittsburgh Steelers
15.    Detroit Lions

Mark Miller
Mark Miller writes the Survivor Picks column for Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter.