The 2014 Fantasy Football campaign is entering Week 7, and Jake Ciely of RotoExperts.com will be providing exclusive fantasy coverage for NewOrleansSaints.com all season. Jake will give you the expert deal on Saints players from fantasy perspectives with his in-depth game previews every week.
With the bye week over, it's time to get back to enjoying the Sunday action for the Saints. The Saints head to Detroit to face the surging Lions, but with a full two weeks of preparation, you can expect Drew Brees and company to come out firing.
It all starts with Brees, too. Brees headed into the bye with four straight games of two touchdowns and two straight games of 340 or more passing yards. He actually has three games with 333 yards or more, which is why Brees is 12th on NFL.com in Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG). The Saints will need Brees in a big way, as the Lions have allowed the least FPPG to quarterbacks at 10.31. With Brees on a roll before the bye and this being a dome game, look for him to overcome the tough matchup and put up yet another QB1 performance.
The return of Mark Ingram improves the backfield situation, yet makes fantasy choices a bit more challenging. Ingram was terrific pre-injury, and Khiry Robinson has done a great job as the replacement. Pierre Thomas had a huge game before the bye, so now we have three running backs sharing touches. As it stands, Ingram is the fourth-best running back in FPPG with 17.3, while Thomas sits at 24 with 9.7 and Robinson at 35 with 8.6. Actually, Robinson would be more around the 17th running back if looking solely at the games where he filled in for Ingram, as Robinson averaged 11.03 per game. Ingram maybe eased back into action, so Robinson appears to be the best bet in Week 7. However, with how good Ingram looked in the first two weeks, there is a real chance that he regains a primary role in short time. I'd call Robinson a RB3 with upside for more, Ingram a RB4 and Thomas a RB3 or RB2 in PPR leagues for right now.
At wide receiver, there is more potential than most weeks with Jimmy Graham being out. Brandin Cooks ranked 40th at receiver in FPPG with 7.6 and Marques Colston is 45th with 7.2. Both are less than one FPPG from hitting the Top 32 and have WR2 upside. Colston is averaging more than seven targets per game and Cooks more than eight. In addition, Cooks is averaging 6.4 receptions per game, which locks him in to WR2 status for PPR leagues. Don't forget about Kenny Stills. There is plenty of big-play potential with Stills, and Brees could look his way more than usual this week.
There are opportunities to be seized at tight end, and that's where Josh Hill can step up. Hill already was making noise with a touchdown in Week 4 and 53 yards in Week 5. Now Hill has high-upside TE2 value. Ben Watson could get in the mix too, as Watson gives Brees a solid and dependable red zone option. Watson's value is likely tied to touchdown production.
Shayne Graham had a great fantasy day against the Bucs. With three field goals and 11 FPs, Graham showed he still has K1 potential any week, and in Detroit, it should be no different. The Saints DST has a real chance to put up their best score of 2014. Calvin Johnson will likely sit one more week, and as seen the past few games, the Lions' offense is less daunting to defend without him.
Tom Brady will look to keep his hot run going, as the Jets allow the second most FPPG to quarterbacks at 21.47. Brady has 51.72 FPs over his last two games, which included a big outing against the tough Bengals defense. Carson Palmer is back and healthy, which means he'll be knocking on the QB1 door again, especially with a good matchup against the Raiders. If you need a good streaming quarterback, Brian Hoyer could be your man. Not only does he face the Jaguars defense, but Hoyer also has more than 200 passing yards in every game and at least one touchdown.
Justin Forsett has taken the lead role in Baltimore and not looked back. You can expect another big game this week, as the Ravens host a Falcons team allowing 29.37 FPPG to running backs on NFL.com. Eddie Lacy should bounce back nicely, as the Panthers rank second only to the Falcons in FPPG allowed at 24.00. Jerick McKinnon looks to have passed Matt Asiata on the Vikings depth chart but could have a tough go this week. The Bills allow the least amount of FPPG to running backs at 10.5 and have yet to give up a rushing touchdown. With Stevan Ridley out, Shane Vereen's value will increase, but those needing running backs should look to Brandon Bolden and James White. As always, it's unclear whom Bill Belichick will turn to first, but both should be owned.
Andre Holmes had a huge Week 5, and it's clear that Holmes is the Raiders most explosive receiving option. Holmes is now in the starting lineup across from James Jones, and he has the most targets over the last two games. Victor Cruz is out, which not only means Rueben Randle's value increases, but Odell Beckham Jr. should be owned in all leagues. OBJ will be at least a WR3 each week. Doug Baldwin's usage has increased of late, and with the Rams defense allowing the third most FPPG to receivers at 28.36 per, Baldwin has WR4 value with upside for more.
Dwayne Allen is touchdown reliant for Fantasy value, but against the Bengals, the potential is there, as they allow the most FPPG to tight ends (13.06). Larry Donnell has a great chance to rebound against a Cowboys team allowing 12.73 FPPG. Tim Wright's chances of finding the end zone are good again this week, as the Jets defense has allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends with seven already.