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Week Seven Fantasy Advice: Packers’ Pass-catchers should perform

With injured running backs everywhere, the Packers-Bears game should feature a good amount of passing.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

We are heading into the middle game of your fantasy season — unless you play a fourteen week schedule, then this is the last game of the first half. By now, you probably have a good idea what your team is and what you are missing. The Packers on your roster have been a bit of a mystery to this point, though. It seems fitting that these players might give a little clarity in a week where they play the Bears.

PACKERS-BEARS

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers is now the seventh-ranked quarterback in terms of fantasy points per game. If you have him, you drafted him early. Unless you were also somehow clairvoyant enough to have drafted Matt Ryan or Matthew Stafford, you really do not have a better option at this point. Until you see something better from him, you are not starting him in DFS. The Bears have the tenth ranked pass defense by yardage. They share three opponents with the Packers and did much better stopping those teams. Could be a hard row to hoe.

Brian Hoyer

Hoyer took over as the starter in a Week Two game against the Cowboys. Now, after four games the Bears have scored 17, 17, 23, and 16. Meanwhile, Hoyer has thrown for at least 300 yards in each game. Hoyer has more passing yards (1,396) in his four games than Rodgers has (1,170) in five games. The Packers are going to line up the 21st ranked pass defense, battered from repeated injuries, against a team bent on passing it. Hoyer has a serious chance to be a top ten play this week. Good start if you have Cam Newton or Dak Prescott on a bye week.

Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb

Jordy had his worst fantasy day of the year last week... because it was his first week without a touchdown. Cobb and Nelson are still consistently targeted. Cobb is still a WR2 at this point, but he was a flex thought a few weeks ago. In a PPR format he has added value. This week, against a stronger pass defense than the Cowboys, Jordy is a high-end WR2 and Cobb is a low-end WR2.

Alshon Jeffery/Cameron Meredith/Eddie Royal

Yes, I named three receivers there. In a weird way, Jeffery might be the least valuable at this point. Jeffery has only had 10+ targets once. The 13 targets last week was a season high... pushing past a previous best of seven. Jeffery has no touchdowns and has just one 100+ yard game. He is a WR2 in deep leagues, but he is not the catch of this Bears team. After a few slow games, Cameron Meredith has had 12+ targets in the last two games. He crossed over 100 yards in both games as well. Big and fast, Meredith is a possible WR1. Going against a Packers secondary that is banged up and giving up big plays, Meredith has stepped right in for the injured Kevin White as the big play target for the Bears. Eddie Royal remains a PPR-relevant player who will get you a floor of 4 catches and 50 yards. Royal is a flex option with upside.

Knile Davis, et al.

Ugh. Well, even though his fantasy impact was severely reduced due to his lack of touchdown production, Eddie Lacy was the most consistent player. Lacy had 70+ yards in four of five games. The Packers never sought to get him involved in the passing game at all though as he never had more than two targets in any game. With the news that Lacy and Starks might both be out for several weeks, you had better have been quick to grab Knile Davis as the handcuff. Davis is more of a shifty running back than Lacy and might give you more receptions. The problem you will still have to face is that the Packers seem to have focused in on the pass pretty heavily. Davis is a flex option this week with upside.

Jordan Howard

Howard looked great in two weeks against the Colts (25th ranked rush defense) and a home game against the Lions (21st ranked rush defense). Then, last week, we saw a coming back to the mean against the middling Jacksonville defense. The Packers may have fallen all the way to second in rush defense after Elliott ran all over them, but this is still a strong rush defense and Howard is an RB2 this week. Ka’Deem Carey started sneaking away more carries last week and we might start seeing a drop in Howard’s touches. Carey is not worth starting yet, but maybe just put him on your watch list.

REST OF THE LEAGUE

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins has not blown away the league, but he is pretty consistent and he will be playing the Lions this week. No Cam and No Dak this week and Cousins might be a top ten starter this week. Cousins is available in 27% of Yahoo leagues and 30.0% of ESPN leagues. Marcus Mariota is not nearly the consistent producer that Cousins has been, but Mariota has a much higher ceiling. Mariota has put together two straight great fantasy games. Maybe he seems due for a let down, but he is going against the Colts and their 29th ranked pass defense. Mariota is still out there in 58.9% of ESPN leagues and 39% of Yahoo leagues.

Wide Receivers

Again, consider Terrelle Pryor. Still unowned in 16.9% of ESPN leagues and 15% of Yahoo leagues. Pryor has a hamstring issue, but he has been averaging almost 10 targets a week. He is a WR1 and available in many leagues. The Jets have the 28th ranked pass defense and this week Mike Wallace will line up against that defense. Wallace had six targets in each of his first three games (for ten total catches), but Wallace has averaged 10 targets and five catches the last three weeks. Wallace is not a PPR guy, he is a big play receiver. Still, Wallace has value, especially this week. Wallace is available in 35-40% of leagues. Michael Thomas has produced 10+ points in each of the last three weeks and is already past his bye week. Thomas has great talent and got great reviews out of Saints’ camp. Now Thomas seems to have been earning the trust of Drew Brees. Despite the continued success, Thomas is unowned in 60.8% of ESPN leagues and 33% of Yahoo leagues. Thomas is up against a middle of the road Chiefs defense this week.

Running Backs

Christine Michael started on a tear right before his Week Six bye week and continued last week against the Falcons defense in a home win. This week Michael will get the 17th ranked Cardinals run defense in a road game. Michael is available in 11% of Yahoo leagues though just a mere 7.4% of ESPN leagues. The Kenneth Dixon takeover has been put on hold as Terrance West is still holding onto the job. West has seen 20+ twice in the last two weeks and a low rushing yard total of 87 yards. Still, West is available in 20% of Yahoo leagues and 16.3% of ESPN leagues. If you are in a PPR league, take a look at James White. White has had his two highest-carry performances in the last two weeks. White is also the pass catching running back in an offense that is seeing an increase in passing. White is a low-end RB2 and high-end flex and he is available in 50.6% of ESPN leagues and 43% of Yahoo leagues.