Fantasy Football Corner – Week 8
QB- Jay Cutler (Bears): Cutler has struggled the past two weeks, throwing five interceptions to just three TDs and his QB Rating has been below 80 in both contests. Look for Cutler and the Chicago offense to turn things around this week against a Browns defense that ranks 24th verse the pass and 31st against the run. Cutler is about to rebound in a big way, so disregard his recent struggles and make sure he’s in your lineup this week.
RB- Kevin Smith (Lions): Smith has really struggled the past three weeks, but a game against the Rams can cure all ills. The Rams are 27th in the NFL in run defense. It would help Smith if QB Matthew Stafford and star WR Calvin Johnson play on Sunday, but the Rams defense is so putrid that he should be able to produce regardless.
RB- Marshawn Lynch (Bills): Lynch was terrible on the ground last week, rushing for just 40 yards on 17 carries (2.4 YPC), but his early touchdown salvaged his bad real life game and made it a solid 10-point fantasy effort. This week Lynch gets the good fortune of facing the Texans and their 21st ranked run defense and with starting QB Trent Edwards out again, look for Buffalo to stay committed to Lynch and the ground game.
WR- Miles Austin (Cowboys): The past two weeks, the undrafted WR out of Monmouth University has put up unreal numbers in the only two starts of his career; 16 catches, 421 yards, four TDs. Wow. This week he will face a Seahawks defense that is no where near as good as their rank. Seattle’s numbers are skewed due to shut outs they posted against the woeful Rams and a Jaguars team missing their top WR. It will be tought for Austin to match the numbers he has posted the past couple of weeks, but another strong outing certainly appears to be on tap.
WR- Mike Sims-Walker (Jaguars): Sims-Walker has been a superb fantasy player this season. He spurned owners (myself included) when he was a late scratch just before his Week 5 game, but in the four contests he has played in he has produced. He has 398 receiving yards in those four games (99.5 yards a game) and three TDs. This week he will face a Titans defense that he rocked back in Week 4 to the tune of 91 yards and two TDs. Only another late scratch will prevent Sims-Walker from tearing up the Tennessee secondary once again.
TE- Greg Olsen (Bears): Olsen hasn’t emerged as the great receiving TE that many predicted, but he has been doing better in recent weeks (three TDs in his last four games). With this weeks’ opponent being the Browns and their terrible defense, he looks like a good bet to find the end zone once again and rack up some solid yardage along the way.
K- Robbie Gould (Bears): I know you must be thinking, “Another Chicago player?” Well yes, that’s how bad the Cleveland defense has been this year. I know the Chicago offense has failed to give Gould chances, but they will come out with a vengeance against this terrible Browns defense and put up a big total on the scoreboard. That means for at least one week Gould will get the chances to be relevant in fantasy football once again.
DEF- Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys hounded Falcons QB Matt Ryan last week sacking him four times and forcing three turnovers in the game. They appear to be back to their aggressive 2008 form, and with Seattle coming to town this week and all the injuries that have decimated that offensive line, the Dallas D could be ready to wreak more havoc.
QB- Matt Schaub (Texans): In a standard fantasy football league, no player has put up more fantasy points this season then Schaub. He leads the NFL in passing yards (2074) and TD passes (16), but he may be without star WR Andre Johnson (bruised lung) Sunday. Not only that, but he will face a Bills defense that has allowed just over 190 passing yards per game and has allowed just one touchdown from opposing QB’s the past four weeks while forcing 10 turnovers from those QB’s in that same time span. If you want anything out of your fantasy QB this week, sit Schaub.
RB- Pierre Thomas (Saints): The matchup against Atlanta appears favorable at first glance (Falcons 23rd ranked run defense), but there are many problems; (1) RB’s Mike Bell and Reggie Bush are stealing carries (2) Bell is getting the majority of the goal line opportunities (3) the Falcons pass defense (26th in the NFL) is even worse then their run defense (4) the Saints happen to be a passing team, so which weakness of the Atlanta D do you think New Orleans will predominantly attack? Do yourself a favor and sit Thomas.
RB- LaDainian Tomlinson (Chargers): The future Hall of Fame RB looks like a shell of his former self. LT got 23 carries against the league’s 25th ranked run defense last week, and yet he could only muster 71 rushing yards and couldn’t find pay dirt. Tomlinson is averaging just 3.5 YPC and has just one TD on the season (albeit it came against this week’s opponent, the Raiders). The former fantasy stud is going on nothing but his name value alone right now. Bench him and save yourself the disappointment of checking the box scores on Sunday to find another 20 carry 75 yard performance with 0 TDs next to his name.
WR- Derrick Mason (Ravens): Mason has been extremely productive the past three games, posting 303 receiving yards and 3 TDs. But this week against a stout Broncos defense that has only given up 10 points to a fantasy WR once in six games, Mason is due for a quiet game.
WR- Vincent Jackson (Chargers): I cannot stress this enough; when a star WR faces the Jets or the Raiders bench them if you have any other option. That is how dominant the Jets top corner Darrelle Revis and the Raiders shut down man Nnamdi Asomugha have been. Asomugha has yet to allow an opposing receiver reach 75 yards receiving in a game this year and while Jackson was able to get a late TD in the team’s first meeting with Oakland that was not with Asomugha covering him. Look for Jackson to be blanketed throughout the game and come up small this week.
TE- John Carlson (Seahawks): Carlson has topped 50 yards just twice this season and he has failed to catch a TD pass since Week 1 against the Rams. This week he will face a Cowboys team that has only allowed over 50 receiving yards to a tight end once this year and is coming off shutting down one of the league’s best in the Falcons Tony Gonzalez.
K- David Akers (Eagles): The Giants will oppose Philadelphia this week and that strong defense of New York’s will limit the Eagles offense and thus the opportunities that Akers will have to be a successful fantasy play.
DEF- New York Jets: The Jets defense is coming off a stellar week in which they demolished Oakland and silenced Raiders DE Richard Seymour predictions in the process. However, this week they face a Miami team that left New York totally befuddled as they allowed 31 points and did not record a sack or cause a single turnover. If you start the Jets D this week, you will regret it after their game wraps up.
RB- Shonn Greene (Jets): With backup RB Leon Washington out for the season after he broke his leg I this past Sunday, the former third round pick out of Iowa will get Washington’s old share of the carries. In his first major action this past week, Greene posted 144 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the team’s blowout of Oakland. This week he isn’t a good play against the Dolphins, but in the future he will have some favorable matchups and will get chances to put up solid fantasy numbers alongside starting RB Thomas Jones.
RB- LeSean McCoy (Eagles): Eagles star RB Brian Westbrook left Monday night’s game against the Redskins with a concussion and his status for this week is in doubt. Meanwhile McCoy has looked explosive in his limited role and with Westbrook’s knack for getting injured McCoy could get more opportunities in the future.
WR- Michael Crabtree (49ers): Crabtree was much better then expected in his NFL debut and he has a chance to further develop as the year goes on and become a reliable WR option. If he’s available pick up him now and you could reap the benefits later in the season.
WR- Anthony Gonzalez (Colts): There were big expectations in Indy for the third year wideout coming into the year, but a knee injury has sidelined Gonzalez up to this point. He may not return this week, but soon he will back as the #2 WR in a pass happy offense.
TE- Tony Scheffler (Broncos): Scheffler put up a gaudy fantasy line the last time Denver played (6 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD) and this week the team will face the 23rd ranked pass defense of the Baltimore Ravens. Not only that, but the Ravens still blitz constantly, which should result in a lot of quick throws and check downs to RB’s and TE’s, which will only help Scheffler’s cause.
DEF- Arizona Cardinals: The Cards shut down the Giants in New York last week and this week they get to go up against the Panthers. Arizona’s defense ranks #1 against the run allowing under 68 yards per game and 3 YPC. With the Cards stuffing the run that will force Carolina QB Jake Delhomme to pass the ball more, and Delhomme happens to lead the NFL in interceptions with 13 in just six games.
Last Weeks Results: 11-7
Overall Record: 56-47
*NOTE* We forgot to mention last week that the Add Em segment would no longer count toward record, as long term adds and such could not be calculated. Therefore, we added more Start Em and Sit Em players to make up the difference and help give fantasy players more help on tough decisions.
NFL Games of the Week:
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1:00 p.m. on FOX)
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers (4:15 p.m. on FOX)
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (8:30 p.m. on ESPN)