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Week 7 Risers & Fallers Analysis for Fantasy Football

June Rivera - Flickr: MIA_vs_OAK_008; cropped from File:MIA vs OAK 008.jpgIt feels like this NFL season has been littered with more injuries than ever. Maybe it's because every game, practice, press conference and interview is constantly under a media microscope, but there are a number of players who might be able to step into favorable opportunities to produce for fantasy, spurred by the injury bug that surrounds their situations.

This weekly column examines ten fantasy football players, five guys that are on the up-and-up, or “risers,” and five guys that are struggling, or “fallers.” You shouldn’t necessarily take these ten players as start/sit sleepers or waiver wire add/drop recommendations, as the analysis here is meant to be more of a gauge for how a fantasy football player is currently trending heading into Week 7 of NFL action.

With that said, here are your Week 7 risers and fallers. Good luck with your fantasy football lineup and matchups in Week 7, RotoBallers!


Fantasy Football Risers - Stock Up

Lamar Miller, RB - Miami Dolphins

With Knowshon Moreno out for the season, Miller now has the lead role in the Dolphins backfield. I am still not sold on Miller as an every-down, cowbell back in the NFL, but without having to split carries with Moreno, Miller should consistently see around 20 touches per game. He scored last week against the Packers, and caught three balls out of the backfield in addition to rushing the ball 14 times for 53 yards. Miller should be a fairly solid RB2 the rest of the season.


Rueben Randle & Odell Beckham Jr., WR - New York Giants

Here are two more guys with increasing roles after a teammate suffered a season-ending injury. With Victor Cruz done for the year with a torn patellar tendon, Randle and Beckham step into Eli Manning's number one and two targets, respectively. While both still have a long way to go to become polished NFL wide receivers, they should both be targeted a good number of times, especially inside the red zone. Randle is pretty much a must-start from here on out, and Beckham is FLEX-worthy in most leagues moving forward. In all honesty, I would probably start Randle over guys like Keenan Allen (foreshadowing) and Percy Harvin at this point.


Mohamed Sanu, WR - Cincinnati Bengals

I believe A.J. Green's toe injury is more significant than what Bengals camp is saying to the media. And even if he returns, you have to think it's something that will linger all season. The Bengals also placed wide receiver Marvin Jones on season-ending IR earlier this week. This opens the door for Sanu to be Andy Dalton's most reliable target moving forward. On Sunday, Sanu caught 10 balls for 120 yards and a score. Expect similar numbers as long as Green is out, and even after he returns, Sanu should still see plenty of action. He's a must-start right now.


Shane Vereen, RB - New England Patriots

Despite his strange usage in the Patriots backfield through the first several weeks of the season, Vereen should benefit substantially from Stevan Ridley's season-ending ACL injury. Even though some of Ridley's touches will go to either James White or Brandon Bolden, you have to think Vereen's touches will increase with Ridley out of the lineup. Additionally, the Patriots offense looks much better of late, and I think you will start to see Vereen catch more balls out of the backfield and become more involved in runs outside of the tackles. If you've held on to Vereen this long, you might be rewarded.


James Starks, RB - Green Bay Packers

I am legitimately starting to worry in leagues where I'm an Eddie Lacy owner. The Packers have now publicly stated that Starks will continue to see touches, going as far as intimating that it could become a "50/50 split." I don't think it will go quite that far, but 60/40 certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility. Lacy continues to struggle running the ball, and it was Starks rather than Lacy who was on the field during the Green Bay's game-winning drive in Miami on Sunday. Regardless of whether or not you're a Lacy owner, Starks is a must-add in all but the shallowest of leagues, especially given Lacy's injury history.


Fantasy Football Fallers - Stock Down

Keenan Allen, WR - San Diego Chargers

After a 10-catch, 135-yard performance against Jacksonville in Week 4, Allen has now turned in two straight three-catch games, which is cause for some major concern for owners of the second-year wideout. Allen has yet to score a touchdown this season, and with Malcolm Floyd, a healthy Antonio Gates and the ageless Eddie Royal all catching balls, Philip Rivers seems to have too many options to focus on feeding Allen, especially since the Bolts continue to win. You'd be crazy to drop him, but I might start guys like the aforementioned Randle and Sanu over Allen right now.


C.J. Spiller, RB - Buffalo Bills

If you have Spiller on your team, I'm sorry. I am not opposed to dropping Spiller at this point, as he's been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments this season. He capped off a six-carry, 19-yard performance on Sunday with a lost fumble. The snaps and touches are in favor of Fred Jackson, and it isn't close at this point; I can't see Spiller's playing time increasing unless Jackson goes down with an injury. There's not much else to say, except that Spiller should remain on your bench...if he's lucky.


Wes Welker, WR - Denver Broncos

You thought that Peyton Manning would continue to use Welker as his safety valve in the Broncos passing attack, especially after Welker caught seven balls in his first game back from suspension in Week 5. But on Sunday against the Jets, Welker caught just one pass, and it was very late in the game. I'm willing to let one game slide, but it's got to be somewhat concerning, especially given how well Emmanuel Sanders has played in Welker's absence (and continues to play since his return). If Welker goes another week with only a couple of looks from Manning resulting in little production, then we'll have to reevaluate Welker's place in the Denver offense.


Roddy White, WR - Atlanta Falcons

This isn't the Roddy White from four or five years ago. He looks a step slower and a good bit less agile. I think he's healthy-- he's just not the same player he once was. White has no more than five catches in a game this season, and while he's scored two touchdowns, his receptions have been trending downward, even with some friendly matchups. Roddy is also losing some targets to Devin Hester, as the Falcons seem determined to keep him in the mix. The Falcons also have several capable running backs, and it's not uncommon for Matt Ryan to use them in the passing game out of the backfield. You have to hold on to Roddy White, but I'm not opposed to sitting him for better options.


Matt Asiata, RB - Minnesota Vikings

Well, that was fun while it lasted. Asiata's time as the Vikings primary running back appears to be over, as Jerick McKinnon touched the ball 17 times on Sunday, versus just three for Asiata. Matt Asiata gave the Vikings some solid starts for a few weeks, but it's fairly clear that McKinnon is the more explosive and better all-around back, and the Vikings prefer him to Asiata. I probably wouldn't drop Asiata just yet, but there's no way he should start in any leagues come Sunday.


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