Bilicki's NFL Fantasy, Week 7

DAN BILICKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:14 PM ET

TORONTO - For the first time that I can remember, we actually had a couple of fantasy-relevant players dealt at the NFL's ho-hum trade deadline. The biggest of which was Carson Palmer, who goes from retirement to starting for the Raiders in the span of a couple of practices.

Many probably got excited about picking up a big name guy that will now be leading a 4-2 team, but there is a lot to be skeptical about with the former Bengal.

First off, even though he worked with coach Hue Jackson in Cincinnati, there’s no guarantee he can learn an entire playbook in a matter of days. And having just met his new receiving corps earlier this week, how much timing, chemistry and understanding can you develop in that time.

Secondly, Palmer hasn’t been lighting the world on fire since his knee injury in the playoffs a few seasons ago. In the past three seasons, his yardage, completion percentage and yards per attempt have all been down.

Finally, the Raiders are a run-first offence. With Darren McFadden, how could they not be? Their line is much better at blocking for the run than pass-protecting, meaning the mostly immobile Palmer could be dodging pass rushers more often than not.

There is some good news though: The Raiders are on their bye next week. If there’s anything that a QB new to town needs, it’s that time to prepare.

— There was also plenty of quarterback turnover this week. Along with the Raiders, three other teams tossed their keys to backups in hope of either saving their seasons or to Suck for Luck. It would probably be best to stay away from Minnesota’s Christian Ponder (for now) and Washington’s John Beck, but nobody’s talking about them with Tim Tebow poised to take over in Denver.

For his first start Tebow has a decent fantasy matchup, facing a Miami team that has given up the fourth most fantasy points to opposing QBs. He may have lost his top target — which we’ll get to in a second — but his real value is in his ability to run the ball. I wouldn’t expect big passing numbers, but some rushing yards and a possible TD on the ground will buoy his value.

— The other big name to get dealt this week was Brandon Lloyd, who leaves Tebow-mania in Denver to head to one of the worst teams in the league, St. Louis. He finally gives Sam Bradford the go-to receiver that he has lacked the past season and a half. Lloyd also reunites with Josh McDaniels, who coached the Broncos last year and helped Lloyd become the league’s leading receiver in yardage. While I’m usually bearish on traded receivers, this should be a lateral step for Lloyd — maybe even an improvement.

— Thanks to Lloyd’s arrival, Mike Sims-Walker was sent packing. Joining the Rams in the off-season, MSW failed to make any impact with his team, gaining 139 yards in four games. Sims-Walker didn’t spend much time on the unemployment line though. He’s already back with the Jaguars and might even get the start this week against Baltimore.

— With Jahvid Best suffering his first inevitable injury of the season last week, the Lions’ running game took a big hit. Then, when Detroit tried to trade for Ronnie Brown, it was voided because Jerome Harrison reportedly has a brain tumour. That will leave Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams sharing the role as lead back as long as Best suffers from concussion symptoms — something that he has had a problem with in the past.

VERSUS

CAM NEWTON, QB, CAR

* Passing numbers are starting to level out and interceptions are becoming a concern.

* Faces a Washington team that has allowed the third least points per game this season.

* Against Washington last week, Mike Vick — who plays a similar style to Newton — picked up 18 fantasy points.

* Coach Ron Rivera has talked about cutting the QB’s carries, limiting Newton’s potential for points on the ground.

MATT SCHAUB, QB, HOU

* Had an MRI this week and has been bothered by hip, knee and chest ailments. Almost certain to start on Sunday, though.

* Faces Tennessee, who has been above average against the pass and in points allowed this season.

* Passing game was very limited last week against Baltimore and only averages 5.9 yards per attempt.

* Should again be without all-pro wide receiver Andre Johnson.

VERDICT: Schaub will play, but he’s hurt and hasn’t looked effective without Johnson. Go with Cam the man.

STAT CORNER

Think the middle of the Lions defensive line is impressive? Well last week, 138 of Frank Gore’s 141 rushing yards were straight down the middle.

RUN CAM, RUN

Cam Newton has more rushing touchdowns (six) than 21 of the league’s 32 teams. He has more rushing touchdowns than the Titans, Cowboys, Rams and Chiefs combined.

SIT/START

* Sit Carson Palmer, QB, OAK vs. KC — Like I said in the column, he’s too risky in his debut.

* Sit Josh Freeman, QB, TB vs. CHI — It may be his second ever start in England, but that’s no reason to trust him.

* Start Jackie Battle, RB, KC at OAK — After a breakout week and a bye, he should be a key player for the Chiefs. * Start DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL vs. STL — With Felix Jones out, Murray gets the bulk of the carries against the NFL’s worst run defence.

* Start Earnest Graham, RB, TB vs. CHI — Ran for more than 100 yards last week and faces an average Bears team this week.

* Start Eric Decker, WR, DEN at MIA — Playing with Tebow may limit the offence, but he’s now the number one target there.

* Sit Vincent Jackson, WR, SD at NYJ — Playing on the east coast, against Revis Island and missed some practice time this week.

* Sit Raiders receivers vs. KC — Like we said with Palmer, what kind of chemistry could this group possibly have this early?

* Start Jimmy Graham, TE, NO vs. IND — He’s third in the league in receiving now and going for fifth straight 100-yard game.

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