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The Amateur Ward: “The Front Seven- Gearing Up for the Playoffs Through IDP”

The storyline of Week 6 could easily have been the glaring pass interference by Richard Sherman versus Julio Jones on the Falcons 4th down with the game on the line last week, but the referees chose to simply ‘look the other way’ and not call it, costing the Falcons the game. Oh well, at least those who started Sherman got the points for a pass defensed last week.  But every NFL fan must agree, that was pass interference. Hopefully no bull calls/no calls will cost teams an opportunity at a win this week, but that is all too commonplace in the NFL and head coaches need the right to challenge those. Weirdly, the Seahawks have been on the right side of a controversial call/non call before.  Just ask the Packers.  They had the game taken from them in Week 3 versus the Seahawks with a questionable catch in the end zone to end the game.

Yes, Week 6 was interesting and eventful as Big Ben went down with a knee injury, leaving the Steelers to start their backup QB Landry at the helm for the next 4-6 weeks. With the push for the playoffs gearing up, now is the time to be watching over the waiver wire, waiting to make the best pickup of the week/season.

Nick Bellore (ILB/SF)- Bellore has been white hot the past two weeks.  He will look to san-francisco-49ers-lb-borland-24-says-hes-retiring1continue his hot streak into Week 7 versus the Buccaneers and Jameis Winston who has struggled with ball security early in the season with four fumbles and a pedestrian nine to eight touchdown to interception ratio. Bellore may not be of use in coverage, but he is physical at the line of scrimmage, racks up tackles and creates turnovers. If he is available in your leagues, snap him up.

Malcolm Smith (WLB/OAK)- Smith was a favorite to finish among the top 15 fantasy linebackers heading into the season.  He has not lived up to those lofty expectations as he has only 17 tackles on the season. On the bright side, he does have three forced fumbles and two sacks, so he may not contribute every game, but when he does, he makes his stats count. With the weak running game of the Jaguars on tap, Smith could be in line for another big day as Blake Bortles has been sacked 14 times and has a mere eight to seven touchdown to interception ratio. Big play targets Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns help spread the field.  But,  unless Jacksonville establishes the run early on, Irvin will feast up at the line.

Lawrence Timmons (ILB/PITT)- With Big Ben on the shelf for a few weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee, the Steelers defense will need to play lights out to give the offense a chance to score. This will be no small task versus the Patriots in Pittsburgh this week. Timmons has been very hit or miss this season as he has three games in which he has had minimal impact, and is not even on pace to halve his production of the past few seasons. Timmons will contribute tackles this week, but is best left on your bench versus an elite quarterback in Tom Brady.

Dee Ford (OLB/K.C.)- One of the surprises for the Chiefs  over his past two games, Ford has recorded two and a half sacks and 11 tackles heading into the Chiefs-cincinnatibengalsvkansascitychiefspw9nyga5emylSaints game this Sunday. No, Drew Brees does not get taken down often (eight times this season), but the Saints run game has zero runs of over 20 yards, and a only a lone score by their running back Mark Ingram. While Ford may not get Brees on the turf, he will put pressure on Brees and make him rush some passes or throw some away. He is a bit of a big play/dud risk, but the tackle numbers should keep him as a solid starter this week.

Brandon Marshall (ILB/DEN)- After showing signs of a breakout  last season when he posted 102 tackles and two forced fumbles, Marshall may not break 100 tackles this season and has yet to create his first turnover. When the Broncos let Trevathan go to the Bears, they clearly were invested in Marshall, expecting him to set the tone on the interior of the Broncos defense. The Texans may not be an explosive offense, but they have two elite young receivers on the outside in ‘Nuk’ Hopkins and Fuller V, which spreads opposing secondaries and keeps defensive lines honest. Enter in Lamar Miller who has rushed for 520 yards, and things could be challenging once more for Marshall this week.

Brian Robinson (DE/MIN)- While he may be overlooked with Danielle Hunter bursting onto the scene this season, Robinson is another key piece in the nasty Vikings defense and on pace to break his career high in sacks (nine, 2013) in 2016. He already has two forced fumbles and continues to benefit from the Vikings defensive play this season. The Eagles are gradually opening the playbook for rookie QB Carson Wentz.  But he has not faced the caliber of defense the Vikings will bring this week. Robinson is a must start this week as he should continue to produce at a nice clip and should not be on the waiver wire, outside of the deepest of leagues.

Corey Liuget (DE/SD)- If Liuget is one of your starters, this week is one to sit him as the Falcons corey-liuget-san-diego-chargersfeature one of the most explosive offenses this season. Liuget has not recorded a sack and the Falcons have bolstered their offensive line. Liuget will rack up a handful of tackles and a rushed pass or two, but will be hard pressed to make his mark on this matchup.

Derek Wolfe (DE/DEN)- Wolfe is on his way to setting new career highs in sacks and tackles, and has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners this season. He has an underestimated ability to deflect passes and has been one of the more underestimated players on the Broncos since his rookie season in 2012. A four game suspension delayed his 2015 season, but when he was on the field he was a great run defender and dominant at the point of attack. He has carried the momentum into 2016 and looks to build upon his solid start to 2016 this week. A sack is a very real possibility and he is an emerging star at defensive end for the Broncos.chk_fhkwyauccec

DeForest Buckner (DT-DE/SF)- After last week’s two sack, recovered fumble performance versus the
Bills, Buckner gave 49er fans a glimpse of what he could be in his prime. The Buccaneers  offensive line has some holes and Buckner  could be a huge factor in shutting down the run game this week and getting after Winston. Rookie DTs are very hit/miss, but Buckner makes for a solid play this week.
Timmy Jernigan (DT/BAL)- He started 2016 off with three sacks and ten tackles over the first three games of the season for the Ravens.  Since then, Jernigan has zero sacks and eight tackles, making his monster start seem a thing of the past. He will get an opportunity to break his slow skid this week versus the Jets who start Geno Smith at QB and who are without receiver Eric Decker (hip, shoulder) for the season. Jernigan is worth a speculative start this week, given the abysmal play of Jets QBs this season.  But fantasy owners are growing more hesitant about starting him every week. This could be his last opportunity to show he still is a productive DT.

Hopefully everyone reading this didn’t decide to go against one’s own good judgment and decide to start two players who both got 0 points on offense, effectively losing you your matchup last week. Yes, I am pissed, and looking to destroy anything in my path this week.

Any questions/comments are always welcome and good luck to all the rest of the season.


(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Football Show: Join Ej GarrCorey D Roberts, and Coach Jeff Nelson live Sunday October 23rd, 2016 from 11am-12:30pm EST for episode #73 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. We will be breaking down key matchups, discussing fantasy start/sit, some DFS, and handicapping as well.

Jeff is the defensive coach for Freedom H.S. in PA,  an 8 year veteran of Major League Fantasy Sports, and 3 time champion.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I am a recent college graduate from a small liberal arts school in Atlanta, GA. I'm a sports junkie and a diehard Atlanta sports fan.

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