Whether you’re fantasy team is 2-5 or 5-2 heading into week 8, it’s a big week for all as the fantasy playoffs approach. Our fantasy guru, James Morris, gives his “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” lineup advice to help you set your team for Sunday.
Week 8 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” by James Morris
The big news for week 8 has to be two players dealing with bad wheels; Greg Jennings will have surgery to correct a sports hernia this Tuesday, and Maurice Jones-Drew is dealing with an arch sprain.
I would personally cut Jennings (unless you have an I.R. spot) because by the time he gets back the fantasy playoffs will be in full swing and he still has rust to knock off. MJD will be back, and owners have been scrambling all week long trying to snag Rashad Jennings off the waiver wire. Don’t expect too much here because the Jaguars are 25th in the NFL in team rushing, and MJD is averaging 4.8 YPC to Jennings’ 2.6 YPC. If they were 25th with a stud like MJD, imagine what they are going to be like with a perennial back-up in Jennings.
Ben Roethlisberger – QB Steelers: There few defenses better to play against than the Washington Redskins for a fantasy QB, so Big Ben is a must-start this week. The Redskins give up 24.1 fantasy PPG to QBs, and Roethlisberger scores on average 20.58 PPG. Even if you go with the median and say he scores 22.34 points, which would make him a solid QB1 in all fantasy formats.
Andrew Luck – QB Colts: Luck is currently ranked #12 for QBs in NFL.com fantasy football, but he really isn’t getting a lot of love from the big-box fantasy columnists and websites. This week the Colts face the Titans and their 6th worst defense (23.9 PPG) for fantasy QBs. If he can just cut down on the INTs (7), he would quickly jump up into the top 10 for fantasy QB rankings.
Willis McGahee – RB Broncos: This is one of the rare times you will see “Whatchu Talk’n Bout” Willis on my start ‘em list. But, the Saints give up 26.7 PPG to RBs (2nd worst) and Peyton Manning should open up running lanes with the threat of the pass. I have him as a highly placed RB1 this weekend, so feel free to start him in all formats.
Chris Johnson – RB Titans: How the mighty have fallen; you have to be told to play CJ2K. The Titans lock up with the Colts, and as bad as the Titans secondary is, the Colts are even worse at stopping the run. They give up 23.3 PPG to RBs (5th worst) and Johnson is coming fresh off a 195 yards, 2 TD performance last week. Enjoy it while it lasts, as he runs into a Bear, a Dolphin, and a Texan in the next four weeks.
Reggie Bush – RB Dolphins: The Jets defense is a far cry from what it once was, and they are allowing 25.4 PPG to RBs in PPR leagues (10th worst in NFL). If there was one person on the Dolphins to start this week, I would put Bush at the top of that list. The Jets are still ranked #1 against WRs in PPR leagues with 25.4 PPG, so Ryan Tannehill and Brian Hartline might not be tremendous fantasy options in this one.
Randall Cobb – WR Packers: Greg Jennings is already out, and now it looks like Jordy Nelson is going to be a full-blown game-time decision. The coaching staff has already said that Cobb is locked into a major offensive role regardless of Greg Jennings’ status this season. I have Cobb as a high-end WR2, with a possible move up to WR1 if the game against the Jaguars gets as out of hand as I think it will.
Josh Gordon – WR Browns: I am not a huge fan of Brandon Weeden, but I also can’t ignore that Gordon has scored four times in three weeks. Gordon isn’t going to win you any awards in PPR leagues (2.0 receptions-per-game), but the Chargers give up the 6th most fantasy points to WRs (27.3) in standard scoring formats. He is a TD or bust play, so he is more of a WR3 or flex play for those who have a starter on a bye this week.
Heath Miller – TE Steelers: As far as TEs’ go, Miller isn’t someone that I typically think of as worth owning. But, if you should have a need for a TE, you could do much worse this week. The Redskins give up 11.8 PPG to TEs’, which is the 2nd worst number in the NFL this season. He is owned in 64.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, so there is a decent chance he is available in yours.
Green Bay Packers defense: Even though the Packers are owned in 93.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, they rank #18 in NFL.com fantasy rankings right now. This week however they are facing a Jaguars offense that can’t move the ball (235.8 YPG total offense, dead last in the NFL). This could be one of those weeks where the Packers fantasy defense scores as many points some flex players.
Cam Newton – QB Panthers: Newton made the NFL look so easy last year that even though he is right on par with his numbers from his rookie campaign, people are saying he is regressing. That being said, the Bears defense isn’t going to quiet any of those critics given they are #2 in fantasy points allowed to QBs with 13.7 PPG. Maybe he runs for a TD, but I think overall he is going to be a bust this weekend.
Matthew Stafford – QB Lions: This is more about the Seahawks defense than it is about the Lions offense. I think the season-ending injury to Nate Burleson will either be a blessing in disguise for the Lions and force Titus Young to step up, or sink their battleship when Young doesn’t live up to the hype. Either way, the Seahawks have been killing fantasy QBs all season long, and I don’t see a whole lot changing this week.
LaRod Stephens-Howling – RB Cardinals: Last week LSH saw a career high 24-touches, which resulted in 104 rushing yards and a TD. I can almost guarantee that “The Hyphen” won’t have the same success this weekend against a stifling 49ers defense. I wouldn’t even put him in my flex spot, so an all-out benching is my recommendation.
Rashad Jennings – RB Jaguars: Jennings was by far one of the hottest waiver wire adds for week 8, but I am not as sold on him as the big-box websites seem to be. The Jaguars are 25th in the NFL for team rushing, and that was with MJD and his 4.8 YPC. Jennings is averaging just 2.6 YPC, so the odds are that they produce even less than before. If one of the league’s best RBs has them ranked 25th, what do you think a perennial back-up like Jennings will do for them? Not to mention that if this game gets out of hand, the running game is going to be abandoned.
DeSean Jackson – WR Eagles: The Falcons boast one of the best passing attacks in the NFL, so on the surface one would think this game is going to be a shoot-out. But, did you know that the Falcons defense allows just 29.6 PPG (#7 in NFL) to WRs? Jackson is by far one of the most overrated fantasy WRs in my opinion, so sitting him is no hard decision on my part.
Larry Fitzgerald – WR Cardinals: As I told you in my Wednesday article, I traded Fitzgerald for Tony Gonzalez in our Dolphins NFL.com league. The 49ers are sure to emulate what the Vikings did last week (4 catches for 29 yards and 0 TDs), plus the Cardinals still have John Skelton under center.
Vernon Davis – TE 49ers: The Cardinals are great at stopping TEs’, and currently rank out at #2 in the NFL with just 4.5 fantasy PPG allowed. Davis’ main drawback has always been his QB, and Alex Smith has been playing way over his head up to this point. The 49ers have the 6th toughest Strength of Schedule remaining for QBs, so Davis is someone I would sell high on before your league’s trade deadline.
Denver Broncos defense: Did you know that the Broncos defense is currently ranked 8th in NFL.com fantasy leagues, they are owned in just 19.8 percent of leagues, and that they have 3rd best fantasy defense S.O.S for their remaining games? All that being said, I wouldn’t come within a country mile of playing them against the Saints this weekend. I would certainly add them, but I wouldn’t play them this weekend.
Question of the week
Q: It’s Adam from The Jock/ESPN in Valdosta, GA. We met at a Jaguars game last year and you came on the show a few times last season. I’m torn this week in one of my fantasy leagues and I don’t know who to go with for this week. Here are my options (I can play 3 of them)
Thanks for your help from a struggling fantasy owner – Adam Smith
A: What’s upper my man. My picks would be White, Floyd and Gordon. Jennings is now out for 3-6 weeks; LaFell and the Panthers face an oppressive Bears defense; and even thought the Dolphins give up the 10th most fantasy points to WRs at 24.7 PPG, the Chargers giving up the 6th most at 27.3 PPG.
Some sleepers I like this weekend are Donnie Avery and Davone Bess, in that order.
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