Winning consistently in fantasy football takes three things: good players, research and a little bit of luck. If you drafted well or worked your league (waiver wire, trades) like a maistro, then you’re ahead of the curve. Typically, if you nail down the right matchups, the luck part can take care of itself. And then there’s those guys that played Derek Carr last week. Screw those guys.
However, if we’re thinking matchups, Carr would actually be a guy to target this week. But he’s not the only one. In fact, there are five killer matchups we all should be targeting and trying to exploit in fantasy football this week. I’m not going to hand out the obvious calls, though. Aaron Rodgers is awesome and at home against a very shaky Carolina Panthers defense. You don’t really need me to beat that into you. But playing Eddie Lacy in that same matchup might need a little extra nudge (do it!).
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best matchups to chase after in week seven:
Arizona Cardinals Pass Defense
Arizona isn’t stopping anyone through the air right now. Their run defense is another story, but this matchup being on the road helps the Raiders out a lot. Derek Carr and Andre Holmes went off last week, and as difficult as it is to tie your week seven to a rookie passer or the damn Raiders in general, it might not be the worst idea in the world – especially if you’re looking for some salary cap relief on daily sites like Draft Kings.
Washington Redskins Pass Defense
Washington is another strong run defense you’ll want to shy away from, but their pass defense is abysmal and it’s hard to see them doing anything but sucking this week. It’s true neither Jake Locker or Charlie Whitehurst should strike fear into the ‘Skins hearts, but they’ve been so bad, it’s hard to buy them suddenly beasting out. Even if they start the game out hot, Tennessee is going to have to throw all day one way or another, which has to bode well for their receiving weapons. I’m not totally sold on their quarterbacks, but I think their main passing weapons – Delanie Walker, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter are more than worth the gamble this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars Entire Defense
Jacksonville has actually been a little bit better the past few weeks, but that likely has more to do with the matchups they’ve been facing. Truth be told, they are a terrible defense and you could do a lot worse than stacking Cleveland Browns players in week seven. I’m still not completely sold on Brian Hoyer being anything close to elite, while no Browns wide receiver is exactly a lock in any given week. Jordan Cameron busted out last week, though and Ben Tate is averaging 23+ carries per game in his two games back from injury. That makes those two guys very solid value plays, while other Cleveland options are absolutely worth a shot in the dark if you’re desperate.
Minnesota Vikings Run Defense
The Vikings remain a middle road pass defense, while they seem to have the goods to present problems in any given week in that department. Against Kyle Orton in week seven, they’re not as tasty of a matchup as they might appear to be. That doesn’t mean I’m against using Orton or Sammy Watkins, though. I’m sure they’ll do fine. The play to use this week is going to be Fred Jackson, though. Minnesota isn’t stopping the run at all lately and the Bills love to run. It only makes sense that F-Jax goes nuts. C.J. Spiller has to be a slight sleeper due to his role dropping off the face of the earth last week. Even with limited snaps, this would be a pretty good week for him to just play out of his mind.
Atlanta Falcons Run Defense
Atlanta is a pretty horrible defense, all around. They can surprise against the pass at times, though, and it’s certainly worth noting that they somehow lock up opposing tight ends fairly well (4th overall through the last four weeks). It’s their run defense you’ll want to target like a mad man, though, as they’ve been absolutely gashed throughout the year and come in as the worst run defense in fantasy football in 2014. That really hasn’t changed over the past four weeks, either, so you’re going to want to fire up Justin Forsett, who busted off 100+ yards last week. He’s the Ravens rusher to use on a weekly basis due to pure touches and talent, but you could pull the sleeper card and hope for success out of Lorenzo Taliaferro, too.
St. Louis Rams Entire Defense
The Rams have actually picked up their run defense a bit the past four weeks, but they’ve been run on in 2014 and overall they’ve been giving up a ton of points. The Seattle Seahawks come to St. Louis this week, and they should be fairly pissed about losing at home to the Cowboys. Marshan Lynch had just 10 carries a week ago, so you know Beast Mode will need to be fed. Russell Wilson is coming off of his worst game in over a year, too, so a big bounce back performance is fairly likely with this matchup. Percy Harvin has been pretty spare and despite the Rams supposedly having a stingy pass defense (they’re actually giving up most fantasy points to WRs), he’s shaping up as a pretty strong play.