Thursday Night Football heads to the NFC West this week for a showdown in the desert as the Seahawks fly south to take on the Cardinals. Before you chalk this up as an easy W for Seattle, remember the Seahawks lost their last road game in Indy and have dropped their last two trips to Arizona. That being said, the Seahawks have the better team and should be able to get a tough divisional road win even though they’re on a short week.
Even in what promises to be a defense-first game, there are some solid plays to start your fantasy football weekend off right if you have players from these teams. Here’s a quick rundown by position of who you should start and sit this week as we get week 7 rolling.
Seattle: Russell Wilson has continued to be productive as a dual-threat QB but hasn’t quite reached the QB1 potential that many owners counted on when drafting him high this season. Depending on your scoring system and how much it rewards rushing, he’s in the middle of the QB2′s around 15th in scoring so far this season. He’s had huge games like against Jacksonville where he threw for four TD’s but has failed to find the endzone on the ground or through the air in two of his last three games. The Cardinals have been pretty solid against opposing QB’s which leaves Wilson as a QB2 option or a bye-week fill-in if needed. Don’t start him over a stud option, and since it’s Thursday go another direction if you’ve been rotating this season.
Arizona: Carson Palmer showed some QB2 upside earlier this season but has thrown multiple interceptions in his last four games and hasn’t had 300 yards or three TDs in any game this season. Going against the elite Seahawks D isn’t the time to roll the dice, so don’t play Palmer this week in fantasy if you can help it.
Seattle: The Seattle running game continues to be it’s bread and butter behind Marshawn Lynch. He’s a workhorse back who should be locked in as your RB1 regardless of matchup. He’s in the top three in the NFL in rushing yards and rushing TDs and should be started this week even against the Cardinals who allow the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Because Arizona does fare so well against the run, I’d avoid Christine Michael and Robert Turbin who don’t get enough consistent work to merit flex consideration.
Arizona: In another bad matchup, the Cardinals two-headed running backs have to go against Seattle who allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Andre Ellington is emerging as a playmaker and can be a great play if he gets more of the workload going forward. Right now, he’s stuck sharing with Rashard Mendenhall cutting into the fantasy value of both. They both can be used as deep-league flex plays, but hopefully you have a better option than going against Seattle’s punishing defense in a timeshare.
Seattle: The Seahawks are a run-first offense which makes receivers on Seattle fluctuate wildly. Golden Tate is probably the most consistent option, but he’s been under 50 yards more than he’s been over it in the last five weeks and has only found the end zone once. Arizona has a solid secondary so stay away if you can. Tate, Doug Baldwin, and Sidney Rice are playable in flex spots only in extremely deep leagues if you have to fill in for a bye.
Arizona: The Cardinals WR are more well-known but in an even worse matchup. Just when everyone was ready to walk away from Larry Fitzgerald he went off for 117 yards and a 75 yard score last week. You can run him out as a WR3 or flex play this week, but the Seahawks D is tough so consider your options. Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts are sometimes fringe options for flex play but not in this matchup.
Seattle: Zach Miller is supposed to return from injury this week, but Arizona has done fine against opposing TE, so hold off on starting or adding Miller until he shows he’s going to be a big part of the Seahawks passing game going forward.
Arizona: Before the season, Rob Housler got some sleeper buzz but has struggled with injury all season and faded to a fantasy non-factor. Last week, he turned in his best numbers of the season which was still just four catches and 32 yards. He’s worth watching to see if he’s useful for the future, but Housler isn’t ready to take the field for your fantasy team yet.
Seattle: If you drafted the Seahawks D, you took them high enough that they’re a every week start for you. This week they should dominate against a turnover-prone Cardinals team. Arizona gives up the seventh-most points to opposing defenses and have not scored more than 25 points this season.
Arizona: Arizona’s D has been better than expected and should be fired up hosting their rivals in prime time. If you need a matchup play, the Cardinals aren’t the worst option out there since they’ve put up seven points or more in every game this season and the Seahawks have allowed nine points or more in four of their last five (ESPN Standard Scoring). I don’t think Arizona is the best play available for this weekend, but they’re serviceable and should be a decent option if your desperate for a matchup play this week.
I do think the Seahawks get the win, but it won’t be easy or high-scoring. For the most part, this is a fantasy stay-away game except for Lynch and the defenses.