Welcome to Week 7. This is a real important week for fantasy owners. The halfway point of the regular fantasy season, for most leagues. Make or break week here. This could be the week your team rises up and is strong for the rest of the season, or the week it tanks and you start looking for fantasy basketball leagues. There have been some underperforming “almost stars” on the IDP side of the ball, a few of which I will highlight below. They might not be on your waiver wire, but if they are, now’s the time to get them. Good luck!
This Week’s Sleepers
Derek Smith (SF) – Prior to a Week 6 bye, the Niners’ Derek Smith had back-to-back solid efforts. If he’s on your waiver wire, get him. If he’s on your bench, start him. The Niners face the surging Washington Redskins, who will be pounding the rock all day.
Adalius Thomas (BAL) – Has strung together increasingly good games the past three weeks, and faces a Chicago Bear team that will look to control the ball with the run. Thomas will be helping stuff the run all day.
Kawika Mitchell (MIA) – Another favorable linebacker matchup against a run-first team. The Dolphins will look to keep the Kansas City offense off the field as much as possible and thus could be running a lot. Mitchell should also help in covering TE Randy McMichael. Mitchell has had 2 solid efforts in a row (with a bye week sandwiched in there). Look for more of the same this week.
Others to consider: Channing Crowder (MIA), Chaun Thompson (CLE) and Colby Bockwoldt (NO)
Justin Tuck (NYG) – Averaging 8.5 “traditional fantasy points” over the past 2 weeks. Not bad for a backup DE. If you’re in a serious bind, you could do worse. Strahan on one side, Tuck and/or Umenyiora on the other. Tuck could have a decent day, as the Giant line will have to contain the double-headed rushing monster of Denver RBs Bell and Anderson.
Derrick Burgess (OAK) – Alright, I’m not all that good at math, but I’m gonna try out an equation here. 12 fantasy points, bye week, 12 fantasy points. His team’s offense is in a shambles. His Week 7 opponent’s offense looks to control the ball with the run. Below-average QB. I think when you add all that information up, you come up with a potential huge game. Grab and start him before it’s too late. You’ve been warned.
Bryant Young (SF) – OK maybe he doesn’t necessarily classify as a true sleeper, as he’s probably on someone’s roster in your league. But, if he’s available, get him. If you were considering benching him after a Week 6 bye and Week 5 goose egg, don’t. Chief DE Jared Allen went bonkers on the Redskins, who are Young and Co.’s Week 7 opponent. Could be a big day for Young.
Others to consider: Aaron Smith (PIT), Will Smith (NO), Grant Wistrom (SEA)
Kennoy Kennedy (OAK) – If by chance he’s still on your league’s waiver wire, go get him ASAP. His past three weeks have been off the charts. Week 7’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns, bring a balanced attack to the table, so the Detroit defense will have to continue to make plays in order for them to have any chance at a win.
Dominique Foxworth (DEN) – If Kennedy isn’t on the wire, perhaps this guy is. His 3-week total is just as impressive as Kennedy’s. He’ll face a Giant offense that’s been known to throw the ball a bit this season. With the injuries in the Denver secondary, Foxworth has been a very nice surprise.
Ike Taylor (PIT) – It’s no secret that Taylor’s having a solid season thus far. If your league-mates have been napping, Taylor might be available. In the case that you already own Taylor, you should start him this week without question. The Bengals will look to air it out in this potential shootout, and Taylor will be busy tackling Bengal WR Chad Johnson all day long.
Others to consider: Keion Carpenter (ATL), Tank Williams and Pacman Jones (TEN)
Last Week’s Sleepers – Report Card
DeMarcus Ware (DAL)
The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 sack
The Skinny: This guy continues to improve. Definitely worth a look in deeper leagues. Consider yourself in a good position if you own him in a dynasty league. Looks like he’s gonna be the real deal.
Angelo Crowell (BUF)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT / pass defensed
The Skinny: Not so much in the way of tackles, but a very good overall game for the once-backup LB. If he’s available in your league, he’s definitely worth a bench spot or perhaps 3 rd LB, depending on the size of your league.
Junior Seau (MIA)
The Fat: Nothing.
The Skinny: The veteran LB was a late scratch due to injury. In his place, Donnie Spragan had 6 total tackles.
David Thornton ( IND)
The Fat: 4 solo tackles
The Skinny: Fellow LB Cato June was the star of the show on Monday night. Thornton will continue to be a good third LB or bench guy. Keep an eye on him, if he’s available or being offered up by his owner.
Daryl Smith and Akin Ayodele (JAC)
The Fat: 5 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle (Smith); 3 solo tackles, 4 assisted tackles and 1 forced fumble (Ayodele)
The Skinny: Very solid efforts from both Jag OLBs. Depending on the matchup and size of your league, both of these guys merit consideration as bench fill-ins.
Jared Allen (KC)
The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumbles recovered
The Skinny: The Yahtzee of the week! Wow! This guy was touted as a deep sleeper late last season and heading into this season. If by chance he’s still on your waiver wire after this absolute explosion, go get him.
Osi Umenyiora (NYG)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble
The Skinny: Solid outing for Umenyiora. Strahan was the bigger scorer, but Umenyiora’s efforts would have been fine in a bind.
Bryce Fisher (SEA)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles
The Skinny: Darnit, picked the wrong Seahawk DE. I figured the Seahawk D would get to Texan QB David Carr several times, and it was Grant Wistrom, not Fisher, that got to the QB and logged 4 tackles.
Ian Scott (CHI)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles
The Skinny: The Vikings are horrible. That’s it. Scott stuffed up the middle and let the Bear playmakers disrupt the Viking “offense” all day. Unfortunately, Scott didn’t pad his stats with a sack or two, as I predicted.
Chris Kelsay (BUF)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle
The Skinny: Nothing special from the Bill DE.
Mike Rucker (CAR)
The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 ½ sacks and 1 pass defensed
The Skinny: I’ve put this guy in this report a couple of times, hoping he’d have a game like this. Playing opposite the stud Julius Peppers opens things up for Rucker and the rest of the Panther line. Playing the hapless Lions helps, too. Don’t be afraid to add Rucker and play him against the right opponent.
Derrick Gibson (OAK)
The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle and 2 passes defensed
The Skinny: Nice game for Gibson. If by chance he’s on your league’s waiver wire and you’re hurting at DB, you could do far worse than Gibson.
Marlon McCree (CAR)
The Fat: 3 assisted tackles
The Skinny: Bit of a shock here, coming off a monster game in Week 5. LB Dan Morgan was a tackling machine and as a result, McCree wasn’t able to log tackles in run and short pass support.
Daylon McCutcheon (CLE)
The Fat: 7 solo tackles
The Skinny: Not bad for a cornerback facing a run-oriented offense. Surprisingly, Raven QB Anthony Wright threw the ball 31 times, completing 23. As a result, McCutcheon had a nice tackle total.
Charles Tillman (CHI)
The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 INT and 2 passes defensed
The Skinny: If Jared Allen was the Yahtzee of the week, maybe this guy is like the Uno or Boggle of the week. The Bear defense has playmakers, and their IDPs will have their share of good games. Urlacher is obviously the guy to have here, but if you grab one of their secondary stars, you might find a gem.
Michael Hawthorne (STL)
The Fat: Sitting on his couch
The Skinny: Just after press time of last week’s column, Hawthorne was cut by the Rams. After two weeks of averaging 6 solo tackles a game. Odd.
Kelly Herndon (SEA)
The Fat: 6 solo tackles and 1 pass defended
The Skinny: As expected, Texan QB David Carr passed a bunch (33 attempts). If he would have completed more than 19 of those passes, perhaps Herndon’s tackle totals would have been even higher.
Got a comment? Suggestion? Deep sleeper I’m missing or should keep an eye on? Email me at email@example.com.