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Value Plays: Week 7

A comparison of the weekly positional rankings and the Top 200, this is an output of the players who could have unexpected big fantasy weeks.

This article will take a weekly look at players who could provide value in a given week. The basis for this value will be the difference between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly rankings. Both of these are from the Footballguys.com Insider content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation. Now, let's take a look at this week's value players.

Quarterback

Blake Bortles

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: +6

The Jaguars host the Raiders in a plum matchup for the Jacksonville offense.  Oakland travels across the country for the early game on Sunday.  This is usually a difficult transition for most teams.  Add in the fact that the Raiders are the fourth-best matchup for opposing fantasy quarterbacks, and it is easy to see why Bortles is ranked so high this week.

Matt Ryan

  • Top 200 ranking: 5
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +3

Ryan is coming off impressive showings in consecutive road games against elite defenses, Seattle and Denver.  The trip home to host San Diego should set up nicely for Ryan and his bevy of weapons.  The Chargers are the 22nd best defense in limiting fantasy points to opposing passers.  Great matchup for a good pass offense coming home after a two-week road trip. 

Running Back

Giovani Bernard

  • Top 200 ranking: 22
  • Weekly ranking: 9
  • Difference: +13

Bernard and the Bengals get a chance to lick their collective wounds this week after the Patriots whooped them last week, with much of the damage coming in the final three quarters.  The game against state-rival Browns should allow the Cincinnati tailbacks, Bernard and Jeremy Hill, to see plenty of carries.  We expect the shifty Bernard to break off a few huge plays in the game. 

Melvin Gordon

  • Top 200 ranking: 7
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +3

The Chargers are expected to lean on the running game in order to slow down the high-flying Falcons passing game.  The game is in Atlanta against a suspect rush defense.  In fact, the Falcons – on average - yield over 30 PPR fantasy points per game to opponents’ tailbacks.  This is great matchup has to give Gordon owners hope for a strong outing.  Now, all the youngster needs to do is hold on to the ball and not fumble.

Spencer Ware

  • Top 200 ranking: 23
  • Weekly ranking:  15
  • Difference: +8

Ware still enjoyed a sizable role last week, even with the return Jamaal Charles.  With the Saints coming to visit, the Chiefs will establish the running game against the soft front seven of New Orleans.  This is a defense which is by far the worst in the league at holding opposing running backs in check.  The Saints give up over 35 PPR fantasy points per contest, which may be enough to keep both Ware and Charles owners happy. 

Wide Receiver

Alshon Jeffery

  • Top 200 ranking: 28
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +21

Jeffery looks to be finally healthy after being nicked up for most of the first few games of the season.  We expect the Thursday night game in Green Bay to be high scoring enough for Jeffery to have a big outing.  As with Cameron below, the Packers are the sixth-best matchup for opposing receivers, averaging a whopping 41.14 PPR fantasy points yielded per contest. 

T.Y. Hilton

  • Top 200 ranking: 10
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +5

Hilton and the Colts travel to Nashville to face the Titans.  With the injuries to Donte Moncrief and Dwayne Allen, Hilton should get ample pass targets.  This is a game where Hilton should have at least two or three big plays.  With no other big-play pass catchers, we are expecting the Indianapolis coaching staff to force-feed the speedy receiver the ball. 

Cameron Meredith

  • Top 200 ranking: 38
  • Weekly ranking: 17
  • Difference: +21

Meredith emerged out of oblivion to be a fantasy factor last week.  He gets another favorable matchup against Green Bay Thursday evening.  As with Jeffery above, we like the chances of the Chicago receivers to each go over 20 PPR fantasy points.  If both offenses come to play, this could be the most points scored on Thursday night since the close of the NBA season.  The Packers will be without multiple starters in the secondary, making this matchup even better.

Tight End

Dennis Pitta

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: +13

The Ravens travel to New York to face the Jets.  The Jets defense is a mess and yields big fantasy points to opposing tight ends.  This Jets defense even allowed Gresham to look ok on Monday night.  The injuries to the receiver position should also lead to more targets for Pitta than fantasy owners might expect. 

Charles Clay

  • Top 200 ranking: 18
  • Weekly ranking: 12
  • Difference: +6

Clay has been an inconsistent fantasy performer this season, but the chance to play against his former team – the Dolphins – in Miami could be enough to push the athletic tight end into a great game.  Miami is an average defense in defending the tight end position and will be tested this week. 

Feel free to email me (Tefertiller@Footballguys.com) with feedback.  Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIn, and Google+, so you can ask me questions on one of these as well.