Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 10/20/11

With six weeks in the books, you know where you stand and kind of team you have. You are either in coasting mode, maybe trying to find that one more player to complete your lineup, or you are barely breathing as you make every trade offer and waiver wire pickup you can. If you are in the latter group, take heed: there is help. There is still a way to win.

At this point in the season, we have collected enough data and stats to make more sound decisions. Then again, it’s all how you interpret those statistics. Here are a few I find interesting.

1000/1000 Club – Population: 2 (for now…)

It’s only Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig right now, but that number has a chance to double this year. Both Ray Rice and Matt Forte are on track to join the 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a single year group. Both have the schedules to do it. In their fourth year in the league, both have their teams leaning on them.

Through 5 games, Rice stands at 398 rushing yards and 302 receiving yards. He’s on track to get 1,280 rushing yards and only 960 receiving yards. He’s just shy, but don’t think they won’t need him to help him get those receiving yards as the weather starts to turn and downfield passing becomes more difficult. The next two games against Jacksonville and Arizona will be a good show of his talents.

Through 6 games, Forte is leading his team in both rushing and receiving with 527 yards on the ground and 381 in the air. His production has been unbelievable and if he can stay healthy there is no reason he shouldn’t end up as a top 5 running back. Keeping this pace, Forte will reach 1,400 rushing yards and 1,011 receiving yards. Worth a bit more than a franchise tag, wouldn’t you say?

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart

Can’t it be that time of year when one of them gets injured? That would make all of our lives so much easier. The offseason appeared to figure this time share out for us after Carolina kept Williams, agreeing to pay him $43 million over five years. Normally you don’t pay a running back that sort of money unless you plan on featuring him.

This isn’t the case here.

Cam Newton is running the offense primarily out of the shotgun, spreading the field, and taking running opportunities himself. Through six games, Williams has 58 carries, Stewart has 44 carries, and Newton has 47. While Williams has turned his 58 carries into 302 yards, Stewart isn’t far behind converting his carries into 210 yards.

Sure Williams is still the “feature” back, but this offense is built on quick movement and the ability for their young QB to dump passes away in the flat. Here, Stewart takes a major leap in production over Williams as Stewart has been able to catch 21 passes as opposed to Williams’ 8 catches. Their total touches: Williams 64, Stewart 65. Not only has Stewart caught 21 passes, the third most receptions for the Panthers, but he has done so on only 23 targets. Stewart has turned those receptions into 210 yards while Williams has added just 48 receiving yards. Williams’ all purpose is just 350 yards compared to Stewart’s 420.

While they are both likely to break into fantasy lineups during the bye weeks, Stewart appears to be the more stable option with the higher upside, especially in PPR leagues, even though the carries have leaned towards Williams the past couple of weeks.

Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz

With Manningham sidelined against the Eagles, Victor Cruz stormed on the scene grabbing 110 yards and two touchdowns. For the next two games he seemed like he was well worth the #1 waiver wire claim as he accumulated 260 yards and a TD even with Manningham on the field. Thispast week he came crashing down with only two receptions for 12 yards and has many people wondering if the few weeks were flukes and if Manningham now regains the number two position in New York.

In my opinion, Manningham never lost the number two receiver spot. If you look at the first two games of the season, Cruz was only targeted two times and caught both balls for a total of 17 yards. With Manningham out, Cruz was able to gather 110 yards and two TDs, but it was only on three receptions and five targets. His largest gain: 74 yards! The next two games were a product of the team struggling, but Cruz always seemed to gather points by fluky catches for long yards. He was targeted nine times against a very weak secondary of the Cardinals, and eleven times against Seattle, but those are both games where the Giants fell behind and were gunning to get back in it.

Even missing a game, Manningham has been targeted more times and I fully expect that he will become a consistent 5 catch for 50+ yards a week receiver. Sure Cruz may have more huge game upside, but those games will be inconsistent. Going forward, Manningham appears to be the more consistent, smart play.

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Be sure to check out the rest of our Week 7 fantasy football content:

  • Week 7 Start/Sit
  • Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups
  • Week 7 Player Rankings
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