Fantasy Football Week 7 Pickups

Week 7 marks the midpoint of the fantasy season.  If you were lucky enough to survive this year's busts and injuries, congratulations!  For those less fortunate, those looking to add depth, and those looking for bye-week subs, your week 7 fantasy football pickups are here! The Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, and Green Bay Packers byes in week 7.
Quarterback (QB)
- i's -
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (shoulder)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (knee)
Michael Vick, Pittsburgh Steelers (hamstring)

- BYES -
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Payton Manning, Denver Broncos
Aaron Rogers, Green Bay Packers

- R's -
Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (currently owned in 5.9% of all ESPN leagues): The return of Arian Foster benefits Hoyer in 2 ways: 1. Opposing defenses need to stack the box to stop Foster, opening up routes downfield. 2. Hoyer can gain easy passing yards by dumping the ball off to the RB for short gains.  Let's not forget, Foster is a pass-catching monster out of the backfield.  If Washington returns this week, Hoyer will have a full compliment of targets to throw in a juicy matchup vs. a struggling Dolphins defense.  If you need a bye-week sub or QB2, Hoyer could be the man.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (currently owned in 11.3% of all ESPN leagues): He's not a superstar, but he's reliable.  The Jets QB has thrown for multiple scores in 4 out of 5 games this season.  He's playing behind a great offensive line and has a running game to back him up.  They can set up play-action and throw it to veterans Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker.  He averaged roughly 14.6 fantasy points per game in weeks 1-4 and tallied 253 yards for 2 scores and a pick, totaling 25.2 points in week 6 (he had a bye in week 5).  This week, the Jets play a middling New England defense that ranks 16th against the pass and 22nd vs. the run. 

Runningback (RB) / Wide Receiver (WR) / FLEX
- i's -
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers (foot
Karlos Williams, RB, Buffalo Bills (concussion)
Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns (shoulder)
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets (ankle)
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions (arm)
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (concussion)
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers (hip)
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills (ankle)

- BYES -
Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
Giovanni Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
CJ Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
AJ Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
Demarius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers
Devante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

- R's -
Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions (currently owned in 26% of all leagues): Theo Riddick has been a valuable asset to the Lions' offense this season.  Bell has been hurt, Zenner is on IR, and Abdullah got banged up this past week.  Riddick is a slot receiver labeled as a runningback.  He already has passing down duties so he should be picked up in PPR leagues.  He could see more touches through the air and on the ground if Abdullah keeps dropping the ball.

Brandon Oliver, RB, San Diego Chargers (currently owned in 1.3% of all ESPN leagues): need a speculative play?  Melvin Gordon has fumbled in 4 of the last 6 games, and twice in the first 2 quarters of week 6.  Oliver had a fairly productive week for 2 quarters of play (7 rushes for 23 yards, 4 catches for 40), and should at least be looked at in all PPR leagues.  If Gordon keeps dropping the ball, Oliver will see a larger role in the Chargers' offense.  Everyone needs to respect the Chargers' passing game, giving the backfield plenty of room to run.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings (currently owned in 2.3% of all ESPN Leagues): WHO is Stefon Diggs?  The 6-foot, 195lb rookie 5th round pick out of Maryland is making a name for himself while Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson struggle (check out his 2015 NFL draft profile).  Although he hasn't scored, Diggs has caught 13 passes for 216 yards.  Yes, the Chiefs secondary has been banged up, but 6 of those catches for 87 yards came against the Broncos' elite defense.  Opposing defenses will stack the box to stop Adrian Peterson first because he's a homerun threat every time he touches the ball.  That sets up play-action for downfield routes thrown to Diggs.  Pick him up now, and play him week 7 against a very beatable Detroit secondary.

Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (currently owned in 1.2% of all ESPN leagues): Cooper is a boom or bust flex flier whose production depends on the big play.  While he's only had 8 catches for 180 yards in the last 3 weeks, 2 of those catches went for scores against the Giants and Redskins.  Teams are too busy watching Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, and DeMarco Murray, leaving Cooper open downfield.  He plays against a tough Carolina panthers defense in week 7, and has a bye in week 8.  However, the eagles have a great schedule after the bye, so stash him if you have an open spot or are desperate for WR production.  He could be useful later this season.

Honorable mention: you didn't hear about Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots (owned in 10.5% all ESPN leagues) or Lance Moore, WR, Detroit Lions (owned in 0.2% of all ESPN leagues) even though they had great weeks because their usage remains to be determined.  They're often the third or fourth option in pass-heavy offenses so they're basically handcuffs.  watch out for updates on Edelman's injury, as that will affect Amendola's production.  Also, if Megatron continues to take the top off of defenses, Moore could find himself open more often in a pass-heavy offense.

Tight End (TE)
- i's -
Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars
Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions

-  BYES -
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears,
Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos

- R's -
Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (currently owned in 3.9% of all ESPN leagues):  The seasoned veteran had a career night as the Saints rolled with the punches.  They lost yet another left tackle, rookie Andrus Peat.  The left side of the offensive line got banged up and the coverage clamped down on Cooks and Snead.  That left Watson open on most short and intermediate routes, and Brees connected with him 10 times for 127 yards and a score.  If teams continue to cover the deep ball to stop the big play and stack the box to stop the run, the intermediate slant, hitch, and out routes will be open.  Therefore, Watson should continue to see productivity.

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