NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fantasy Football High Risk vs. High Reward | Week 7 

Fantasy Football

As we get further into the NFL season, fantasy football is full force and while some fantasy owners are blessed to have few to little injuries, others have to take bigger risks in order to win their respective match-ups.

There are always fantasy options that you will start regardless of how unfavorable the match-up is, but there are some that you have to reconsider.

NFL Soup analyzes some of the riskiest fantasy options for Week 7 that also come with a potential for heavy rewards.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

I personally never recommend sitting Stafford because he always seems to produce in one way or another.

That being said he has one of the toughest match-ups that he will have all season long against a very difficult Bears defense on the road.

Stafford won’t have the pleasure of playing in a dome where the conditions are perfect, and has to face a tough pass rush while playing in cooler and possibly wet weather.

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s almost a no-brainer to start anybody against the New Orleans defense in 2012, but Josh Freeman is hardly a fantasy staple.

Kansas City felt the wrath of Freeman in Week 6, thanks to their offenses inability to produce anything other than a three and out, which helped tire the defense.

I still like Freeman this week especially considering his weapons are top notch. I think it’s safe to expect 16+ this week.

Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Jones came out of nowhere to replace an injured DeMarco Murray in Week 6, and did a very nice job against a tough Baltimore Ravens defense.

He gets an exceptional match-up this week against a Panthers defense that ranks 26th against the run according to Football Outsiders.

However, the Panthers get to gameplan against him this week, whereas the Ravens had to plan against the stronger, more physical Murray. They were caught off guard by the speed of Jones, which is something the Panthers have the luxury of trying to help prevent.

Still, his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield also adds value, and he should be a solid start.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

Johnson is seemingly a scary start weekly having just two double digit performances in six tries.

The good news is that he gets to face a Buffalo Bills defense that would almost fare better if they didn’t line up anybody up at all.

Perhaps the hyperbole was a bit unfair and unnecessary, but in a perfect world, starting Johnson this week would lead to 20+ points. Given his track record this season, however, it’s no guarantee that he even scores five points.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants

Nicks (knee) still isn’t 100%, and the emergence of Domenik Hixon could lead Eli Manning to look the other way if he doesn’t believe Nicks can go up and make the play.

Still, even at 80%, Nicks is better than many receivers in the league, and is very tough. His red zone ability makes him nearly impossible to sit anytime he will play.

The risk that he re-injures himself is really the biggest risk here, but against the Redskins secondary, he should be a great start.

Donnie Avery, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Reggie Wayne will likely be shadowed by Joe Haden this week, which could open up the door for targets to Donnie Avery (and perhaps T.Y. Hilton).

Avery caught four passes for 60 yards against a slightly better secondary a week ago in New York (Jets), and could be in line for another reasonable game against a weak Browns secondary that lacks great cornerback depth.

Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton has failed to look like the same quarterback he was a season ago as a rookie, moreso from a passing standpoint than anything else.

This has led to the reduced value in the speedy Steve Smith, who has disappointed many fantasy owners with his lack of production.

The good news is that Mike Jenkins is no lock to start this week, and the Cowboys secondary still has to make plenty of strides before being a top notch group.

Kellen Davis, TE, Chicago Bears

Detroit ranks among the bottom of the NFL in total defense and 26th against opposing tight ends.

Davis is not a huge play maker, but he can do just enough to create mismatches and make a few plays here and there. He’s still a solid red zone option if Jay Cutler can get them there.

Without Alshon Jeffery in the mix, Cutler will need to find a reliable red zone target and Davis could be that option this week.

Oakland Raiders Defense

The Raiders intercepted Matt Ryan three times a week ago and have played better as a whole, despite still struggling to hold teams under 20 points.

Facing Maurice Jones-Drew is never an easy task, but facing a mediocre quarterback in Blaine Gabbert does offer potential for more turnovers.

If they can contain MJD, the Raiders could be looking at double digit fantasy points this week.

Minnesota Vikings Defense

The Vikings defense from Week 6 looked quite a bit different than the one that we saw in Week’s 3-5.

The secondary is the biggest concern, but facing John Skelton could be a blessing. The great news about starting the Vikings defense is that they will force Skelton to beat him in the air, likely having little problems against the 3rd and 4th string rushers in Arizona.

But Skelton has shown flashes of brilliance and has some legit weapons that could expose a secondary that lacks depth.

About the author: Keet Bailey

Keet Bailey heads the NFL Draft division of NFL Soup. Bailey’s 2012 NFL Mock Draft scored 12th overall among 112 participants according to The Huddle Report’s Annual Mock Draft scoring contest. An avid Cleveland Browns fan, Keet hails from and resides in Ohio. Follow Keet on Twitter @NFLSoupKeet