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Another week, another celebration for anyone with Raiders on their fantasy roster. In fact, another big week for players on both sides of the game — and with a trip to Pittsburgh in store this week, I'm excited to say: it should be more of the same.
Last week was an injury-plagued one for Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of my projected 'studs', who threw just three passes (and completed all three!) before leaving with an injury. Unfortunately, Amari Cooper's dud couldn't be blamed on injury — just on drops. He did finish with five catches for 45 yards, but it could have been much, much more.
The two studs I did nail were Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Decker had six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Marshall finished with nine catches for 108 yards.
Like most weeks, the sleepers group was another mixed bag. Latavius Murray — despite facing the No. 1 rushing defense, finished with 113 rushing yards. On the other side of the ball, Chris Ivory — facing the No. 2 rushing defense — was a disappointment, with just 17 yards on 15 carries. Clive Walford, also on the list, finished with just two catches for 13 yards.
The biggest win was in the "snoozer" category — where we identified the Jets D as someone to avoid (despite being the top-ranked defense). And, well, I hope you listened, because the Jets allowed 34 points and 451 yards without a single sack or turnover.
But enough about last week, let's look ahead to Week 8...
Ben Roethlisberger — A little rusty last week in his first week back, but Big Ben is licking his chops against a pass defense that has allowed the second-most passing yards-per-game (302). And with Leveon Bell gone, you can bet Big Ben is going to be chucking this Sunday.
Derek Carr — Yes, the Steelers have gone two weeks without allowing a massive game from a quarterback, but in the two previous weeks, the Pittsburgh D allowed almost 800 yards to Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers. Now, enter the league's hottest QB, and you can imagine it's going to be a big week for Carr.
Latavius Murray — It's weird to think of a Steelers defense without a vaunted run D, but the Steelers rank in the middle of the pack right now in rushing defense. If the Raiders can give Murray the ball 20 times, he should have no problem getting over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season.
Antonio Brown — Brown struggled a bit in Big Ben's absence, but Brown is one of the five best receivers in the league, meaning he's a guy that's going to get his no matter who he's facing. Against one of the worst pass defense's in the league? He's in for a big week.
Michael Crabtree — With as much offense as I expect this week, we're going with a record five studs this week (and really, there could be 2-3 more), and Crabtree snags the final spot. In seven games this season, Crabtree has yet to be held to less than four receptions, and while Amari Cooper has struggled with drops, I expect Crabtree to emerge as the team's most prolific receiver this week.
Heath Miller — Miller recorded 10 catches for over 100 yards last week, and, well, the Raiders still can't really defend the tight end position. That said, in the six weeks prior to Week 7, Miller had just nine catches.
Martavis Bryant — After missing the first four games due to suspension, Bryant had a massive Week 5 when he erupted for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Since then, Bryant has recorded just seven catches in the past two weeks. With another week of practice with Big Ben, Bryant could be a big factor for the Steelers.
Taiwan Jones — How this guy spent any time on defense is a mystery when you saw his explosiveness last week against the Jets. Now the question is, was it a flash in the pan or something the Raiders can build on? We'll see.
Deangelo Williams — He'll be a sexy fantasy pickup this week (and you should go pick him up), but I wouldn't start him this week against the Raiders No. 2 rush defense.
Any defense — Don't expect either defense to ball this week, it's just a matter of which one can "break" less.