Week 7 Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar starts for Week 7.

Quarterback

Brian Hoyer (at GB) **Thursday** - Hoyer already has 300 yards in every start this year and he’s facing a Packers secondary missing their three top corners. The strength of the Packers defense is against the run, so that only encourages Hoyer the gunslinger to pass more. Green Bay has allowed at least one passing score in every game this year and three of the five passers they have faced have thrown for at least 286 yards. This despite facing a middling 34.6 attempts per game. Hoyer is averaging over 44 attempts per start, so he has a high ceiling this week.

Colin Kaepernick (vs TB) - Kaepernick will have to shoulder the offense by himself against the Bucs with Carlos Hyde on the sidelines. Sure, the 49ers will roll Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis, and DuJuan Harris out there, but the Bucs run defense should stonewall them even with a weakened defensive line. This will force the 49ers to pass more against the suspect Bucs secondary, and give Kaepernick more chances to scramble and make big gains as a runner, too.

Blake Bortles (vs OAK) - Bortles has been playing like a mediocre quarterback this year, but he’s going home and he gets a Raiders pass defense that has been very generous this year. The Raiders have allowed opposing quarterbacks to account for 13 scores in the first four games this year, and last week Alex Smith went 19 for 22 for 224 in a conservative passing game plan. Bortles is a boom/bust play, but the talent around him can make up for the gaps in his play if this one turns into a shootout.

Geno Smith (vs BAL) - The Jets have been struggling to run the ball anyway, but this week against the Ravens they should lean pass heavy with their conscienceless new starting quarterback. We haven’t seen Smith in the Chan Gailey offense. He was held back by Rex Ryan’s team philosophy and could mesh better with a more aggressive passing game. The Ravens have allowed multiple pass scores in four of the last five games and only Ryan’s starter in Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor, failed to pass for a score against them.

Running Back

Jacquizz Rodgers (vs SF) - Rodgers is too easy as a sleeper this week, but just know that he is set up for a huge workload against the league’s most vulnerable rush defense. Rodgers had 35 touches in the game before the Tampa bye last week against a much tougher run defense, and now he has had an extra week to heal going into a matchup with the 49ers. The Bucs are committed to the run and their offensive line is gelling with continuity and focus in the game plan. Rodgers should be in your lineup this week.

Matt Jones (at DET) - Washington wants balance on offense and Jones can give that to them. They gashed an Eagles run defense for 231 yards by running backs last week. They gave up 219 yards on the ground to running backs in the first four games. The Lions are missing Haloti Ngata and the Packers, Titans, and Bears all gashed them for at least 100 running back rushing yards in three of the last four games. Jones should get every opportunity to build on his momentum.

James White (at PIT) - White already showed his RB1 ceiling last week against the Browns, this week he faces a weakened Steelers defense that allowed huge games to Darren Sproles and Giovani Bernard as receivers out of the backfield. The Steelers have given up three running back scores in each of their two losses and this one isn’t looking like a win with Landry Jones starting at quarterback.

Devontae Booker (vs HOU) - Gary Kubiak has said that Booker will get more work this week, and he should have plenty of chances as the Denver defense is out for blood against Brock Osweiler after he dissed the team this offseason. CJ Anderson will make this a committee approach, but when the Broncos are favored at home, both running backs can be solid RB2 starts. The Texans have given up six running back scores this year, and Frank Gore notching the first 100-yard game for the Colts since 2012. Booker is worth a look as a flex or desperation RB2.

Chris Ivory (vs OAK) - Ivory is only a desperation play, but sometimes prayers are answered. We know the Jaguars want to get the running game going like they did in London against the Colts. The Raiders just got run over by the Chiefs and they’ve given up a 100-yard rusher in three of the last four games. The Falcons backs combined for 139 yards against them, and even Mark Ingram II and Melvin Gordon III averaged over four yards a carry against them, above their year-to-date averages. Ivory appears to be in the lead in the backfield and he should also get any goal line opportunities.

Don Jackson (vs CHI) **Thursday** - There are differing reports on whether the practice squad back Jackson or WR/RB tweener Ty Montgomery will get more work in the backfield this week, but that does still create an opening for Jackson. He had excellent measureables (4.5 40, 38.5 vert, 7.09 three cone) and should get a chance to gain as much as he can earn in this game against the Bears.

Wide Receiver

Ty Montgomery (vs CHI) **Thursday** - Montgomery caught ten passes last week in limited duty, including a lot of snaps as a running back. He’ll get a good helping of snaps as a back against the Bears, and he could get in as a receiver when he is not a running back because Davante Adams is out. Montgomery is a great bet for a high PPR volume and could be a surprise Week 7 stud.

Anquan Boldin (vs WAS) - Boldin should continue to enjoy increased targets this week with no signs that Eric Ebron or Theo Riddick will play this week. He’s facing a Washington team has given up at least 59 yards to slot receivers like Eli Rogers and Cole Beasley. Boldin has caught 12 of the last 13 targets thrown his way and he has scored in three of last five games. He’s an underrated high floor WR3/Flex for PPR leagues with Josh Norman likely blotting out one of the two outside options on most plays.

DeVante Parker (vs BUF) - Parker almost had a score to make a quality day against the Steelers last week, and he should have a chance to get free deep at least once or twice against the Bills. Torrey Smith was free at least twice last week and converted one into a score, Kenny Britt went 5-75 against them, and three wide receivers averaged over 15 yards a catch against them when they faced the Jets. The secondary tends have a few breakdowns a game and Parker has been coming on in practices according to the team. Those two factors could intersect this week.

Adam Humphries (at SF) - Vincent Jackson quietly went on injured reserve this week, allowing Humphries to possibly inherit an outside full-time role in this offense just in time for the matchup with the 49ers. Even though the 49ers defense is known for their problems against the run, they allowed two scores to the low wattage Bills wide receivers last week and have allowed multiple scores to opposing wide receivers three other times this year, with only Case Keenum failing to throw a touchdown to a receiver against them during his opening night disaster.

Chester Rogers (at TEN) - Rogers is likely going to be promoted to the #2 receiver this week against the Titans. He has been as or more effective as a deep target as Phillip Dorsett, and Rogers should benefit from increased attention on TY Hilton. Three receivers have topped 100 yards against the Titans this year already, and Rogers caught all four of his targets last week for 63 yards. Andrew Luck will have to rely on someone other than Hilton to help move the offense through the air vertically and the best candidate is Rogers.

Torrey Smith (vs TB) - Smith’s fantasy value has a pulse again with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. He reeled in one deep score last week and got free for another, but Kaepernick overthrew him. This week, he gets a Bucs secondary that gave up multiple pass scores to opposing wide receivers every week this season until they faced Derek Anderson in Week 5. If Jaron Brown, Mohamed Sanu, Tavon Austin, and Brian Quick have all broken off big games versus this defense, Smith can too.

Tight End

Jack Doyle (vs TEN) - Doyle has graduated to be the #2 option in the short/intermediate passing game with Dwayne Allen taking his annual trip to the injury report. Doyle already has three scores this year and he has caught 20 of 23 targets thrown his way. Tennessee has allowed at least 50 yards to every tight end of note they have faced this year (Eric Ebron, Kyle Rudolph, Gary Barnidge).

Hunter Henry (at ATL) - Henry has scored in three straight games, even though his snaps dropped from 68 to 42 the week Antonio Gates returned. He has also had at least 61 yards in each of the last four games, and is quickly becoming one of the more trusted targets for Philip Rivers. His Week 7 opponent, Atlanta, has already given up five scores to tight ends, and Jimmy Graham had 6-89 in the week that an opposing tight end didn’t score. Henry could be a big play in a catchup effort.

C.J. Fiedorowicz (at DEN) - The Broncos are stifling to opposing wide receivers, which tends to focus attention on tight ends and the soft underbelly of the pass defense, their linebackers. Hunter Henry (6-83-1) and Cameron Brate (5-67) have both had big games against them with middling physical talent, so Fiedorowicz could be a focus of the passing gameplan this week. He has at least four catches and 48 yards in each of the last three games, with scores in two of them.

Vernon Davis (at DET) - If Jordan Reed returns this week, scratch this one, but if he can’t, Davis becomes a very good waiver wire to your lineup play. Last week, he had two catches for 50 yards and a score against an Eagles defense that had given up 52 yards to opposing tight ends all season. This week, he would draw a Lions defense that has already given up seven scores to opposing tight ends.