As we head toward the seventh Sunday of the 2016 season, you may find yourself looking to bolster your fantasy rosters. Injuries have changed the fantasy landscape quite a lot since the start of the season, and bye weeks probably aren’t helping.
If you’re the proud fantasy owner of Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Ezekiel Elliott or Greg Olsen, you are in need of a temporary replacement for at least the current week.
We’re here to help with some positional fantasy rankings. We’ll be examining the top players at each position, providing standard and PPR lists for skill players and looking in-depth at some individual fantasy situations.
Our choices are based on factors such as past performances, projected role, matchup and injuries where applicable.
Week 7 QB Rankings
Rank Player 1 Tom Brady, NE 2 Matt Ryan, ATL 3 Drew Brees, NO 4 Blake Bortles, JAX 5 Andrew Luck, IND 6 Kirk Cousins, WAS 7 Philip Rivers, SD 8 Matthew Stafford, DET 9 Alex Smith, KC 10 Andy Dalton, CIN
There are some favorable matchups to exploit this week, especially at quarterback. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady goes up against a feisty, but often inconsistent, Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts battle a Tennessee Titans defense that just gave up 336 yards and two touchdowns to Cody Kessler.
However, Week 7 also features the absence of Steelers quarterback Roethlisberger, who recently underwent surgery for a torn meniscus. If you’re a Roethlisberger owner, find a replacement now. We also have to consider how Roethlisberger’s injury affects skill-position players such as receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell.
Week 7 RB Rankings
Rank Standard PPR 1 DeMarco Murray, TEN Le’Veon Bell, PIT 2 Le’Veon Bell, PIT DeMarco Murray, TEN 3 David Johnson, ARI David Johnson, ARI 4 Devonta Freeman, ATL Devonta Freeman, ATL 5 Spencer Ware, KC Spencer Ware, KC 6 Melvin Gordon, SD C.J. Anderson, DEN 7 C.J. Anderson, DEN Lamar Miller, HOU 8 Lamar Miller, HOU Melvin Gordon, SD 9 Todd Gurley, LA Todd Gurley, LA 10 Mike Gillislee, BUF Jacquizz Rodgers, TB 11 Jacquizz Rodgers, TB Mike Gillislee, BUF 12 Christine Michael, SEA Giovani Bernard, CIN 13 Mark Ingram, NO Christine Michael, SEA 14 Isaiah Crowell, CLE Mark Ingram, NO 15 Giovani Bernard, CIN Frank Gore, IND
Bell should realistically be fine, as he will likely be the centerpiece of the offense. With Landry Jones under center, the Steelers are likely to implement a run-oriented, conservative offense.
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"A shootout is not the type of game we’re looking for," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. "We have to work to possess the ball on offense."
While Bell should be OK, Brown is likely to see a dip in production. He simply isn’t the same player with Big Ben on the sidelines. In fact, Brown has never caught a touchdown pass from a quarterback not named Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger’s injury isn’t the only significant one this week. Tampa Bay Buccaneers back Doug Martin is still out, and Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is largely expected to miss Week 7 as well.
Consider starting Jacquizz Rodgers in place of Martin this week. Mike Gillislee should get the call if McCoy cannot play. Gillislee should be an especially strong spot start—he’s averaged 6.9 yards per carry and nine yards per reception this year with the Bills.
Tennessee Titans back DeMarco Murray is healthy and is an absolute must-start this week. He’s already racked up 698 combined rushing and receiving yards this season, and he’ll be going against an Indianapolis Colts defense that is rated dead last by Pro Football focus.
Week 7 WR Rankings
Rank Standard PPR 1 Allen Robinson, JAX Allen Robinson, JAX 2 T.Y. Hilton, IND Julio Jones, ATL 3 Julio Jones, ATL T.Y. Hilton, IND 4 A.J. Green, CIN Odell Beckham Jr,. NYG 5 Odell Beckham Jr., NYG Mike Evans, TB 6 Mike Evans, TB A.J. Green, CIN 7 Amari Cooper, OAK Amari Cooper, OAK 8 Bandin Cooks, NO Brandin Cooks, NO 9 Antonio Brown, PIT Terrelle Pryor, CLE 10 Terrelle Pryor, CLE Antonio Brown, PIT 11 Jarvis Landry, MIA Jarvis Landry, MIA 12 Marvin Jones, DET Marvin Jones, DET 13 DeSean Jackson, WAS Jeremy Maclin, KC 14 Jeremy Maclin, KC DeSean Jackson, WAS 15 Stefon Diggs, MIN Julian Edelman, NE
Also keep an eye on Cleveland Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor. The surprising fantasy star has been dealing with a hamstring issue and could be held out of Sunday’s contest with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Browns also might be without cornerback Joe Haden, which could mean big things for Bengals receiver A.J. Green. Haden has been one of the few cornerbacks to really limit Green, dating back to their years in college. Green produced just 73 yards in his last two games against Haden (both in 2014). He could go off if Haden can’t go at all.
Week 7 TE Rankings
Rank Standard PPR 1 Rob Gronkowski, NE Rob Gronkowski, NE 2 Travis Kelce, KC Travis Kelco, KC 3 Delanie Walker, TEN Martellus Bennett, NE 4 Martellus Bennett, NE Delanie Walker, TEN 5 Hunter Henry, SD Cameron Brate, TB 6 Cameron Brate, TB Jimmy Graham, SEA 7 Jimmy Graham, SEA Hunter Henry, SD 8 Julius Thomas, JAX Julius Thomas, JAX 9 Antonio Gates, SD Charles Clay, BUF 10 Charles Clay, BUF Gary Barnidge, CLE 11 Zach Ertz, PHI Dennis Pitta, BAL 12 Gary Barnidge, CLE Zach Ertz, PHI
The Bengals (and fantasy owners) may also benefit from the potential return of tight end Tyler Eifert. Though the Bengals haven’t made a final decision on Eifert’s status, the Notre Dame product was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice.
“In my mind, I’m ready,” Eifert said, per Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Two weeks ago, before it happened, I was in really, really good shape, and I’ve kind of been laid up just trying to get the back right. All things considered, I don’t think there’s anything else I have to pass.”
When it comes to defense, there probably isn’t a better play than the Denver Broncos. Not only is Denver rated first in overall defense by Pro Football Focus, but the team welcomes back former quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler has had his fair share of struggles since joining the Houston Texans. He’s thrown for over 1,400 yards so far, but he’s also tossed eight interceptions to go with just eight touchdowns. The Broncos are looking to add to that pick total.
“He’s like a gunslinger right now,” cornerback Chris Harris said, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “He’s throwing the ball a lot. He’s throwing it everywhere, and he’s also forcing a lot of throws, so there’s a lot of opportunities to get picks.”
Expect a big day for the Denver defense and a not-so-big day for Osweiler.