BOSTON (CBS) – 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Mike Lockhart sits down with CBSBostonSports.com’s Andrew Celani for a comprehensive fantasy football chat heading into Week 7 of the season.
Week 7 kicks off right here in New England, as the Patriots host the Jets on Thursday Night Football. That game can be seen on WBZ-TV and heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub, with the radio coverage starting at 5:30pm.
The Jets offense is putrid, and with wet conditions expected in Foxboro this evening, Mike Lockhart has the Patriots defense ranked very high this week.
“I have the Patriots defense ranked no. 2 — the Jets stink,” said Lockhart. “It’s going to rain, so it’s probably not going to be a high scoring game. I feel like there’s going to be a lot of running tonight. I feel like people are sleeping on the Seattle defense too. St. Louis is not looking great right now. They’ll get to Austin Davis and shut him down. I have Seattle as my no. 1 defense this week. They’re on the road, but I just feel like after last week’s loss they’re gonna come out on fire. They’re by far my top two. My no. 3 defense is Cleveland. They were definitely my defensive pickup of the week. They’re going to Jacksonville, so it should be a huge game for them. If you can grab Cleveland, or need a cheaper defense in a daily league, go grab them.”
The Jets like to run the ball and the Patriots will be without Jerod Mayo for the season, but Lockhart doesn’t feel like his absence will have any impact on tonight’s game.
WFAN’s Joe Benigno came on Toucher & Rich earlier this week, and he called the Jets secondary “an unmitigated disaster.” It’s no secret the Jets have struggled on defense in the back end, so Lockhart is predicting another solid evening for Tom Brady and his emerging pass catchers.
“[Tim] Wright looks good out there, so does Brandon LaFell and even Brian Tyms — he wasn’t on the field much last week, but he had that touchdown and their improvements are something to look forward to. Before we just had the Julian Edelman show, now everyone is contributing. Hopefully Wright and LaFell can open things up for Edelman now. I like what I’m seeing a lot from this offense. I think Tom Brady is gonna go off tonight,” said Lockhart. “Whenever the weather is bad Tom Brady just seems to go crazy. I think he’ll get three touchdowns tonight. It wouldn’t surprise me.”
There were some key injuries last week, with Victor Cruz of the Giants being chief among them. His injury should mean more opportunities for Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle, but Lockhart thinks the tight end will be the biggest beneficiary.
“At this point, honestly I feel like the tight end is gonna benefit the most. The Giants have gone away from Larry Donnell the last couple of weeks and defenses have really been keying on him. With Cruz out, I feel like they’re gonna have to really get him the ball,” said Lockhart. “The connection with Manning and Donnell from earlier this season will come back. He’s someone to look out for.”
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has really struggled this season, at least to the standards we’ve come to expect from him. He’s throw for 300 yards just once, and has really struggled with Calvin Johnson playing hobbled.
Lockhart, who owns Stafford in the Sports Hub league, is just about ready to move on.
“I’m losing hope with Stafford. This week I’m debating between Brian Hoyer and Stafford,” said Lockhart. “I’m not that high on Stafford going forward. Anytime you have Calvin Johnson healthy it’s a big difference. Tight end Eric Ebron is getting used a little more, but if they can get their backs healthy and get Calvin Johnson healthy for the stretch run of the season, yeah I think Stafford will be okay. But for the next few weeks I’m a little leery of starting him.”
Like Stafford, Marshawn Lynch is another player having a down 2014.
“Beast Mode” has turned into “Least Mode,” and has cracked the 100-yard threshold just once.
Former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson appeared on the NFL Network last night and said the Seahawks are struggling to find an identity on offense, and Lockhart couldn’t agree with that assessment more.
“They wanted to make Percy Harvin that breakout wide receiver. He was always a good player, but they wanted to make the focus more about him and getting him the ball. It feels like they’re in a transition here, and they want to make it Russell Wilson’s team rather than that power running attack. Marshawn Lynch has gotten a ton of carries the last couple years, so maybe he’s hitting that wall finally. They’ve been mixing in the other running backs a little bit too, so he kind of makes me a little nervous. Not pushing the panic button on him yet, but he’s certainly not the guy we’ve seen in the past.”
While we’re on the subject of underachievers, let’s talk about Rams running back Zac Stacy for a little bit.
Stacy has just one touchdown on the season, is getting limited carries and may be losing his job right before our eyes to Benny Cunningham or Tre Mason.
“I’ve been a Benny Cunningham guy since a year ago August. Cunningham is more of their kick returner, punt returner guy. They like to give him the ball, and he’s looked pretty good when he does get it. He’s scoring touchdowns, and if you want to own him that’s not terrible. He’s more of a depth guy at this point — a fill-in for a bye week. I’m not sold on Tre Mason just yet. I want to see more on him. Zac Stacy has got to be hurt. The way he’s running right now, he just doesn’t look right. I like Benny Cunningham, but I don’t like him this week against Seattle.”
When Adrian Peterson was placed on the NFL’s exempt/commissioner’s permission list in September while awaiting his child abuse trial, Lockhart received a ton of questions about what to do with him gone.
Vikings backup RB Matt Asiata provided a nice respite for Peterson owners to figure out their plan of attack, but Jerick McKinnon, who outsnapped Asiata 48-15 in their most recent game, seems to be Minnesota’s man going forward.
“Asiata was the short term guy, and I felt like McKinnon was gonna be the long term answer. McKinnon is a rookie; he played a little bit of running back in college, but mostly quarterback. He was a guy I felt like they wanted to get him in there slowly. It looks like McKinnon is taking over,” said Lockhart. “If you’re in a real deep PPR league and need a flex, Asiata might be a good play to get in there. But I think McKinnon will be the guy the rest of the season. I like his running style. He doesn’t dance behind the line of scrimmage. He hits the hole hard.”
Raiders wideout Andre Holmes has really burst onto the scene in his last two games, totaling three touchdowns and over 200 yards receiving combined in those contests.
Who is this guy, and is he for real?
“This is his second year. He went undrafted and is one of those big receivers. The Raiders need to find their core receivers. Holmes is still young and kind of raw, but he’s a big target and I would definitely pick him up and put him on your bench. Heading forward to the second half of the season, he could be a huge pickup for you.”
Lockhart also touched on LeSean McCoy, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins.
For Lockhart’s full breakdown and positional rankings, visit fantasybuzz.net!
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