Worst Fantasy Starts For Week 7

Never send to know for him the bell tolls, Sam; it tolls in Week 7 for thee.

What's interesting about fantasy football is that it pretty much boils down to a game of risk. Not Risk the board game, mind you - although we've been over that one before! - but risk in the same way a stock portfolio is about risk. It's not really about always picking home runs; it's about not picking the players who will kill your roster.

So with that in mind, here's a few land mines you'll need to avoid in Week 7, powered by the mathematical models that make us the most accurate projection engine in the business. Remember kids, if it ain't math, it's probably just some fat guy and his opinion.

Sam Bradford

Now, let's get the obvious out of the way first: Sam Bradford would never be starting for your team under normal circumstances. This however is the eye of the bye-week hurricane, so if you need to scramble, you may be eyeing Sam after the Rams looked strangely, unusually competent in blowing out the Texans last week.

Please stop it.

He's facing the #4 power-ranked defense in Carolina. On the road. And even though Zac Stacy looks like they've finally found a RB1 above replacement-level, they don't still don't have anything resembling a strong receiving threat and oh, by the way, Sam Bradford's top statistical comparables include pre-Brandon Marshall Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell. No.

If you're scrambling for a QB1, start and end on waivers with Nick Foles. Beyond that, I'd rather start Alex Smith and Joe Flacco over Sam.

Bilal Powell

It's tough to know what to make of the Jets. Some week they look competent, other weeks they look like the mess we and Dennis Green all thought they'd be. Last week they looked downright terrible against the below-average Steelers, with Bilal Powell leading the ineptitude with a dismal rushing success rate of 12%.

You know what's even worse? Instead of the overrated Pittsburgh defense, now they're going into the vastly underrated Patriots defense, who rank #2 in our algorithmic power rankings. And unlike last week, this game is in the division, against a defensive genius, against a team that is riding high on the backs of a ridiculous last-second victory. How many red lights do you need?

Le'Veon Bell

Even though they no longer have their precious ping-pong or backflips, the Steelers are beyond thrilled that Le'Veon Bell is healthy. I mean, did you see Jonathan Dwyer attempt to run the ball?

Unfortunately for yinzers everywhere, Bell isn't all that good, either. His top statistical comparable is Ronnie Brown, and he's going up against their biggest rival in the Ravens, owners of the #5 power-ranked defense.

To make matters worse, the Ravens are unusual in that while they're net-negative against the run (-17.53 in nERD, to be exactly), they're vulnerable against the pass, scoring slightly below average at a nERD of +3.02. This should signal to you - and Todd Haley - that the way to attack the Ravens is through the air. Sorry, Le'Veon. Better luck next week.

Zac Stacy

Remember what I said about Sam Bradford above? It applies here, perhaps even more so, to Zac Stacy.

There's just too many other waiver options to recommend rolling with him against the Panthers, not when Joseph Randle or Brandon Jacobs are available. Stacy will be productive in this league, and even in this season, but this just isn't the week to trust him if you need a win.

Larry Fitzgerald

You have to feel for Larry Fitzgerald. He was totally screwed by the Heisman voters - I wonder what McDonald's Jason White is working at these days - and he's been screwed by the Cardinals, a sublime talent forced to endure year after year of terrible QB play.

It's tough to really recommend not starting him because he's got the talent to beat anyone, but obviously the matchup against Richard Sherman and Seattle is far from optimal. Without the true development of a secondary option - Michael Floyd, please - and still inconsistent rushing, Seattle is clearly going to let anyone else but Fitzgerald try to beat them.

The official recommendation is to start him - but don't expect much. He's WR3/Flex at best.

DeAndre Hopkins

Every week it seems like there's some new, young, hot WR that forces himself into the hearts and minds of fantasy players. Whether it's Rueben Randle or Alshon Jeffery or DeAndre Hopkins, the only thing it seems you can truly expect is inconsistency.

While it looks like Hopkins has a great feature - we count Victor Cruz and Isaac Bruce in his comparables - he's still very much a boom-or-bust candidate and a matchup against the #1 power-ranked KC defense is not an attractive one at all. Factor in the likelihood of seeing T.J. Yates under center and you've got a sure-fire fade candidate.

If you need someone else, look first at guys who are great position to capitalize on injuries: Harry Douglas immediately comes to mind, and to a lesser extent, Jarrett Boykin in Green Bay.

How We Did Last Week

Always Listen To Me

Terrelle Pryor: #21 QB
Chris Johnson, #35 RB
Pierre Thomas, #28 RB
Julian Edelman, #37 WR

Never Listen To Me Ever Again

Rueben Randle, #13 WR
Heath Miller, #6 TE