Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 7: Breaking Down Pivotal Fantasy Lineup Decisions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after scoring a 1 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter of the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Fantasy football owners have one more week to enjoy before bye weeks kick into overdrive. At that point, filling out a starting lineup on a weekly basis becomes a much tougher task due to the extremely limited number of extra options.

While things should be a little easier in Week 7, with just two teams—the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saintssitting out, the pivotal decisions an owner makes will still have a major impact. After all, that's what makes fantasy football interesting.

Let's place some of Week 7's toughest calls where they belongeither in the starting lineup or riding the bench. The list is followed by analysis on a few tough decisions owners will need to make.


Start 'Em or Sit 'Em?


Breakdown of Toughest Decisions

Sit: Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams)

Bradford has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners who took a chance on him, most likely as a backup for a top-tier quarterback. He's tied for sixth in standard scoring among quarterbacks, ahead of several big names, including Tom Brady.

Despite that early success, Bradford remains a matchup play from a fantasy perspective. His track record isn't quite strong enough yet to rely on him every week, especially with the quarterback position being pretty deep this season.

Week 7 is one of those matchups Bradford owners should shy away from. He faces a Carolina Panthers defense that ranks second in points allowed and third in yards allowed. Due to that, expect the Rams' signal-caller to take a step back, at least for one week.


Sit: Stevan Ridley (New England Patriots)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09:   Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots congratulates teammate Stevan Ridley #22 after he scored a touchdown in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles on August 9, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphi
Elsa/Getty Images

Ridley failed to score more than seven fantasy points in any of the first five weeks. Just as owners were probably losing confidence in him, the Patriots' running back broke out with 96 yards and two touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints last week.

While those who exiled Ridley to the bench during his slump are probably eager to get him back in the lineup, Week 7 isn't the best time to do it. New England goes up against the rival New York Jets, which rank second against the run at a shade over 75 yards per game.

The teams previously faced off in Week 2, and Ridley finished with just 40 yards on 16 carries. So even though Ridley is coming off his strongest performance of the season, fantasy owners should wait another week before counting on him again.


Start: Rueben Randle (New York Giants)

Relying on the third option in a passing attack is always tricky. That's especially true when it comes to the New York Giants and Eli Manning, who has been wildly inconsistent in the early going. But Randle has done enough in recent weeks to gain trust from fantasy owners.

Over the past two games, Randle has racked up over 170 yards and three touchdowns, which was good for 34 total points. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks have combined to score just 31 points over the same span, showing that Randle is taking on a larger role, especially on the opponents' half of the field.

Cruz and Nicks are still going to be involved, of course. Yet, with the Giants facing a shaky Minnesota Vikings secondary, Randle remains a high-upside fantasy start. He should have no problem stringing together a third straight solid game.