The winner of this week's free HoustonTexans.com fantasy football challenge will receive an Andre Johnson FATHEAD wall graphic.
It's safe to say that LaDanian Tomlinsonis back after his Week 6 explosion and should be in your lineups practically every week from this point on. Unfortunately, just when the easiest decision in fantasy football became easy again, the Chargers have a bye week.
So if you're left scratching your head trying to conjure up a lineup in LT's absence, here are my picks for Week 7 of the free HoustonTexans.com Home Team Challenge. This Sunday, you're playing for arguably the coolest prize in any NFL team's fantasy football league: an Andre Johnson FATHEAD.
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RB Willie Parker, PIT, 40 points (@ DEN): Interesting note: the Steelers rank 27th in the NFL in passing yet have the 10th best offense overall. That's because their second-ranked running attack has been pounding out 167 yards a game. Parker has contributed over 100 yards rushing in four of five games this season, and this week gets the gift of playing by far the worst rushing defense in the NFL. The only concern here is Najeh Davenport – fantasy owners would love it if he would stop vulturing Fast Willie's touchdowns. But even with that looming threat, this is a matchup dream come true for Parker and the punishing Steelers offense.
WR Terrell Owens, DAL, 39 (vs. MIN):Any time you have a WR playing against the league's worst pass defense, you're on the right track. If that WR also just so happens to be on the NFL's second-highest scoring offense and one of the game's elite receivers in Terrell Owens, you should start to feel pretty confident that you really might be on to something. It gets better, though. The Cowboys have been struggling to run the ball of late, and the Vikes' second-ranked running defense hasn't allowed a TD in 2007, so Dallas may be going all pass in this one. *And *T.O. has been clamoring to get the ball more this week, which coach Wade Phillips reportedly has been trying to oblige. All in all, you could say it sounds like a fairly decent idea to stick Owens in your lineup.
NO THANKS QB Peyton Manning, IND, 80 (vs. JAC):Perhaps the most terrifying/idiotic thing to do when writing a fantasy sports article is to predict that Peyton Manning will struggle, but I can't ignore the glaring factors working against the Super Bowl MVP this week. Manning has only three touchdowns in his last four games against the Jags. Speaking of three, that's also the ridiculously low number of touchdowns allowed by the Jacksonville 'D' this season. And Manning will have to play this one on the road in a rare sellout at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium during an even rarer Monday Night Football appearance for Jacksonville in a crucial division game. That fearsome defense should be revved up and ready to make things difficult for Manning.
Alternatives: Carson Palmer, CIN, 73 (vs. NYJ); Tony Romo, DAL, 73 (vs. MIN)
RB Rudi Johnson, CIN, 31 (vs. NYJ):At that price, this fantasy draft first-round talent may look like a steal since he's just coming off an injury. The problem is, he hasn't really come off of the injury yet. Johnson's hamstring kept him out of practice on Thursday for the second day in a row. He'll probably play on Sunday against a Jets defense that ranks 23rd against the run, but there's no telling just how much he'll actually be in the game. Considering he (didn't) practice at this exact same rate last week before he ran four times for eight yards and a whopping zero fantasy points against the Chiefs, this is not a player to take a chance on.
Alternatives: Reggie Bush, NO, 37 (vs. ATL); Thomas Jones, NYJ, 32 (@ CIN)
TEXANS FANTASY SPIN
RB Ahman Green(23 points) is fully healthy, but going against the league's best run defense…the Texans' WR situation is murky given the uncertainty surrounding the return of Andre Johnson(27) and the unclear pecking order now that Jacoby Jones(8) is fully healthy. Kevin Walter(16) had an incredible game last week against a stout defense, so at this point he's probably the one to use out of the bunch…TE Owen Daniels(16) is one of six NFL tight ends to lead his team in receiving yards and remains a good value despite the tough matchup…K Kris Brown(31) is on fire this season and showing no signs of slowing down, although his price tag is awfully high for a kicker…the Texans' D/ST(30) will be poised for a huge game if Titans QB Vince Young is forced to sit out with a strained quadriceps. Even if Young does play, the Titans' offense has had some ugly performances this season. That not only increases the likelihood of a low score, but means that Jacoby Jones should see some punts come his way, giving the special teams a chance for a TD each time he does.
To register for the Home Team Challenge, click **here*. Make sure to set your lineups by Sun., Oct. 21 at 10:00 a.m.*