By Doctor Vasu Vaddiparty
Week 7 of the NFL features two teams who don’t have or haven’t established an identity of what kind of team each will be. The Denver Broncos will travel to the desert to take on the Arizona Cardinals. Denver has gotten off to a 2-4 start with wins over the Raiders and the Seahawks. A tough loss last week against the Rams showed that they can play. They have a tough defense but has not played well as well as a pretty good running game. Von Miller leads the defense but has given up 154 points over the first 6 games. Some of their losses have been blowouts to the Jets where they gave up 34 points and 27 to the Ravens and Seahawks. Then they have had good games defensively holding the potent Rams to 23 and losing a tough Monday night battle with the division-leading Chiefs. They will face a rookie QB with two starts and is 1-1. Denver needs to rely on the running game and shutting down the run so they are forced to put the rookie in tough situations to convert first downs and TD’s.
The Cardinals have a 1-5 record in which their only win was against division rival San Francisco. One reason they won is because the 49ers turned the ball over five times and only won by 8 points. They are 0-5 in the other games that have produced little to nothing offensively even with one of the best RB and a WR who is found the fountain of youth. The Cardinals have scored 76 points in six games and that will not get it done. Defensively after a few mix-ups has responded well since 81 points in the last 4 games compared to 58 in the first two games. They have had tough losses as well including a GW-FG loss to Seattle and another 2-point loss to the Bears. Last weekend they were in the game until they ran out of gas in the 4th quarter against a stacked Minnesota team.
Which offenses will show up will be the question tonight but both defenses have out-performed their respective offenses.
The Thursday preview of Fantasy Football ramifications will be broken down below between the Broncos and Cardinals from Glendale to get you a good jump on your week.
Case Keenum was one of the FA names that came up for QB when the Vikings decided not to re-sign him in spite leading them to the NFC Championship Game losing to the eventual champion Eagles. Keenum has thrown for 1687 yards but leads the NFL in INT’s with 8. If he is forced to throw the ball in long situations it bodes very badly for the Broncos’ fortunes. Arizona’s defense is 14th in the league in passing yards but 31st in rushing yards allowed. Keenum needs to manage the game and establish the run and establish play-action when needed. How does this affect Fantasy Football looking for a good QB play? Keenum is a QB 2 or 3 this week. Denver will rely on its running game to be successful.
Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have combined for 618 yards and 3 TD’s with Lindsay leading the way with 346 yards. He is a good candidate for a starting RB vs. a 31st ranked run team of the Cardinals. The Broncos will be establishing the run and my bet is Lindsay will be the one to get the majority of carries. If you are looking for a guy with TD capability then Freeman would be your best bet.
WR / TE
The Broncos are led by Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas at WR. Both are No. 2 candidates for WR and are probably not good plays this week with the Broncos looking to establish the run. If there are no other candidates to play on your team then Sanders would be the best available pick as he has 40 catches and two TD’s. Jeff Heuermann is a serviceable TE but probably a No. 3 choice at TE.
Josh Rosen was the 1st round pick for Arizona last spring and has started the last two games taking over for the ineffective and often-injured Sam Bradford. Rosen has mixed results going 1-1 with a win against the 49ers and a loss against the Vikings. Rosen has two TD’s and two INT’s. He has thrown for 626 yards in the two games. Rosen will look to throw the ball against the 14th ranked pass defense. With weapons offensively and hopefully the O-Line will protect Rosen to allow him to exploit the defense. Throwing the ball should be mixed in with the run as Denver has struggled against the run. Rosen has to be accurate and use the running game to his advantage. He is a good No. 2 option or realistically QB 1.5.
David Johnson is a RB1 and an obvious choice to start. Denver’s defense against the run is ranked 32nd otherwise known as last in NFL. Johnson has come off injury in 2017 but had over 2000 yards from scrimmage in 2016. He is healthy and running the ball very well. His speed and power is a big asset to Josh Rosen learning the ropes at QB for a team that is 1-5. David Johnson is a must play for Fantasy this week. Arizona’s offense is 32nd in Rush yards but David Johnson is a fantasy starter.
Larry Fitzgerald has regained his form from years gone by. He has 22 catches for 215 yards but has yet to find the end zone. Fitz has a complimentary piece this year in rookie Christian Kirk. Kirk has had a successful rookie year with 25 catches and long TD catch against the 49ers. Both are good picks but probably No. 2 WR’s. Arizona’s offense is 31st in passing. TE is not an option for Fantasy as Jermaine Gresham and Ricky Seals-Jones are pass catching and blocking TE’s who don’t contribute to the passing game as Rosen has really developed a rapport with Kirk more so than Fitzgerald. Seals-Jones is not a good matchup facing the Broncos.
Defenses have kind of switched from the beginning of the year to where they both have switched good to bad and bad to good. Arizona has improved the defense the last few weeks but still has a 1-5 record while Denver started 2-0 and now is 2-4 3 games behind KC. Neither defense is worth picking up in fantasy week. But neither offense has performed up to standard either. Stay away from defenses on Thursday night football.
Denver comes into the game as small -1 favorite with the total being at 42.5. The totals have been especially high for the league this season but this might be accurate being in that both teams offenses have not performed as expected. Denver has lost four in a row while Arizona is 1-1 since starting 0-4. Both teams passing games are adequate at best but both teams can run the ball. Denver’s defense has played terribly in losses to KC and the Jets but played better at home against the Rams. Still it’s not very good. The Cardinals look to have some synchronicity over the last two weeks since Rosen has taken over at QB. He has help with future HOF’er Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk at receivers plus the all-purpose, when healthy 1500 yds+ David Johnson in the backfield.
Not exactly the matchup that Fox or the NFL Network wanted, but every team has to play on a Thursday.
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