2012 Fantasy Football Week 7 Surprising Performances: Fan’s Take

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Week 7 of the 2012 NFL season featured big games by Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb and New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. With 11 games played on Sunday, October 21, here's a look at the most surprising fantasy performers from each Week 7 game on Sunday.

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills

Titans RB Jamie Harper - 7 carries, 8 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns

While Chris Johnson did most of the work in the game, it was Harper who took advantage of his opportunities at the goal line. As the team's resident goal-line vulture, Harper's carries make him an inconsistent but startable flex option from week to week. His role can also affect the potential value Johnson has for the rest of the season.

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

Browns WR Greg Little - 7 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

After weeks of little production, Little had his best showing since Week 2 with his second touchdown of the season. While Josh Gordon has emerged as Brandon Weeden's top target over the past two weeks, Little could certainly grasp the No. 2 spot and become a serviceable fantasy wideout if he string together a few good games.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

Texans team defense - 13 points allowed, 4 sacks, 1 safety, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown

The Texans defense had little trouble stopping Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and the rest of the Ravens offense in their blowout victory. While the safety and touchdown in the same game is definitely a rare sight and boosted their fantasy scoring this week, the Texans returned to their dominant form and played like the best defense of Week 7.

Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams

Packers WR Randall Cobb - 1 carry, 19 rushing yards, 8 receptions, 89 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

In what was his best game of the season, Cobb was a solid part of the Packers passing game despite receiving less targets than Jordy Nelson and James Jones. As long as Greg Jennings is out, he is a solid fantasy option who has the desirable playmaking abilities needed to produce in the NFL.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson - 7 receptions, 216 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

While a matchup against the Saints was bound to provide a big game for someone on the Buccaneers offense, Jackson exceeded expectations with a huge game. Continuously outplaying the Saints secondary, he has great chemistry and abilities as the team's primary big-play receiver. With his recent success and progression, Jackson has become a must-start player with Tampa Bay.

Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers

Panthers WR Brandon LaFell - 4 receptions, 53 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

After weeks of little production, LaFell returned to the end zone and scored for the first time since Week 1 against the Buccaneers. Still a main passing target for Cam Newton, his success against a good Cowboys secondary is possibly a positive sign for things to come. Depending on the matchup, LaFell serves as a decent bye-week replacement or low-end flex option.

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings

Cardinals RB LaRod Stephens-Howling - 20 carries, 104 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 45 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

After William Powell's majority of carries in Week 6, Stephens-Howling's big game in Week 7 was somewhat of a surprise. While he and Powell had an opportunity at the starting job once Ryan Williams went out with his season-ending injury, Stephes-Howling has apparently broken away from sharing the role to taking most of the carries from this backfield. He'll be a popular pickup this week and could be a nice long-term running back this season.

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

Redskins TE Logan Paulsen - 4 receptions, 76 receiving yards

While he did not lead the team in receptions (Leonard Hankerson with six) or grab the touchdowns (Santana Moss with the team's only touchdowns), Paulsen did well once Fred Davis left the game after tearing his Achilles. Out for the season, Paulsen now enters a good situation where Robert Griffin III has targeted tight ends this season. While the return of Chris Cooley could take away some of his value, he'll be a player to watch in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders

Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings - 21 carries, 44 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 58 receiving yards

For weeks, Jennings had little value other than serving as Maurice Jones-Drew's primary backup. Once Jones-Drew left the game with a foot injury and seen on crutches during the second half, Jennings stepped into his place and was effective. Especially if Jones-Drew misses games, Jennings could have several more familiar performances to his one in Week 7.

New York Jets at New England Patriots

Jets WR Jeremy Kerley - 1 carry, 2 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 120 receiving yards

Even with return of Dustin Keller, Kerley has solidified his spot as the team's No. 1 wide receiver. After a career-high 120 yards against the Patriots, he has been a solid fantasy option despite not finding the end zone in the past few weeks. With few viable targets on the Jets, Kerley will continue to see targets and have opportunities for good games, making him a worthy addition for any team.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Steelers RB Chris Rainey - 4 carries, 17 rushing yards, 1 reception, 8 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

With Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman inactive, Jonathan Dwyer had a solid game on the round. Although used sparingly, Rainey also had a larger role against the Bengals and scored his first touchdown of his career. Unless Mendenhall and Redman continue to miss games, Rainey has little long-term fantasy appeal.

Sources:

Week 7 Scoreboard, Yahoo! Sports

Greg Little Game Log, Yahoo! Sports

Randall Cobb News & Notes, Yahoo! Sports

Brandon LaFell Game Log, Yahoo! Sports

Washington at NY Giants | Sunday October 21, 2012 | Box Score, Yahoo! Sports

Jeremy Kerley News & Notes, Yahoo! Sports

More from this contributor:

2012 Fantasy Football Week 7 Disappointing Performances: Fan's Review

2012 Fantasy Football Week 7 Last-Minute Popular Drops: Fan's Review

2012 Fantasy Football Week 7 Last-Minute Popular Pickups: Fan's Review

2012 Fantasy Football Week 7 Unfavorable Matchups for Star Players: Fan's Take

2012 Fantasy Football Week 7 Favorable Matchups for Free Agents: Fan's Take

Austin Chang is a lifelong football fan, San Francisco 49ers supporter, and fantasy football player since 2005. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.

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