The only way Sunday could have been better for Dolphin fans after the 30-9 win over the Jets was a victory in fantasy football. For those Dolphin fans who happened to start Jason Witten or Matthew Stafford; it’s safe to say it was a pretty good weekend all around. Our fantasy team of James Morris and Jon Cope analyze all the week 8 fantasy action, and get you ready for week 9.
Would anyone have thought before this week that Jason Witten would go all Boss Hog on the New York Giants and finish #2 overall in fantasy points scored for week 8? WITHOUT A TOUCHDOWN! Keep reading and you’ll see how.
Beyond that, we learned this week that Titus Young is worth picking up in all formats, Cam Newton is being held back by coaching, not a regression of skills, and that you cannot bench Tom Brady because he always has the chance to go all Tom Brady on the NFL. Can you believe James actually had to tell one emailer to play Brady this weekend? C’MON SON!
Ok, enough of the fan talk. Let’s look at who helped up bring fantasy into reality, and who we wished kept their reality as a fantasy.
Winners (by James Morris)
Matthew Stafford – QB Lions: Why did Stafford do good? Well, 1: Because I benched him in our Dolphins NFL.com fan league, and 2: Because he played the Seahawks who have a way of making things go horribly wrong for fantasy owners. Stafford finished this week with 352 yards passing, 4 total TDs and an INT.
Josh Freeman – QB Buccaneers: Freeman roasted the Vikings secondary to the tune of 262 yards and 3 TDs on Thursday night. His schedule gets harder from here on out, so it would be a good time to sell high on him if you can find a taker at a decent price.
Doug Martin – RB Buccaneers: Martin owners have been waiting for him to have his breakout game, and he finally did on Thursday night. Martin ran for 135 yards, hauled in 3 passes for 79 yards and scored 2 TDs. His 36.40 points was good enough to finish week 8 as the #1 overall player in NFL.com PPR scoring.
Rashad Jennings – RB Jaguars: In standard scoring formats, Jennings is going to be a flex player at best most weeks because he doesn’t get a ton of yards. But, in NFL.com PPR scoring leagues he finished as a low-end RB1 with his 59 yards rushing and 6 catches for 56 yards receiving. I would try and sell high on your waiver wire find, but some RB depth is always a good thing if you can’t trade him.
Titus Young – WR Lions: Young had some lofty expectations before the season started, but failed to live up to them as he averaged just 7.50 fantasy points in NFL.com PPR scoring prior to today. And, it was only that good because of his week 3 (19.50 fantasy points) and week 7 (14.10 points) performances. This week Young got bumped up to the #2 WR spot and finished with 9 catches for 100 yards and 2 TDs.
Cecil Shorts – WR Jaguars: Shorts is now starting in place of Laurent Robinson, and he was able to haul in 8 passes for 116 yards. Blaine Gabbert won’t get to play against the Packers liberal secondary every week, so if you happened to play Shorts this week just thank the football Gods and move on.
Jason Witten – TE Cowboys: As I alluded to earlier, Witten racked up an amazing 18 passes for 167 yards in week 8. Even though he didn’t score, the receptions alone in PPR formats made him a stud this week.
Miami Dolphins defense: I told people over Twitter and Facebook that the Dolphins defense was a nice sleeper pick this week, and they didn’t disappoint. They allowed just 9 points to the Jets while getting 4 sacks, an INT, a recovered fumble and a defensive touchdown when Olivier Vernon recovered a blocked punt in the endzone. Vernon also blocked a FG in the game, although that doesn’t help in NFL.com scoring. The Dolphins finished week 8 as the #2 fantasy defense with 19.00 points.
Losers (by James Morris)
Cam Newton – QB Panthers: Newton was able to throw for 314 yards against a tough Bears defense. But, he also threw 2 INTs (both to Tim Jennings), one of which was taken 25 yards for a Pick 6. Like I said earlier, I don’t believe Cam I Am is regressing, I just think he needs an offensive minded coach to help him out.
Eli Manning – QB Giants: Eli and crew may have won the war, but he lost the battle for his fantasy owners. Manning finished second worst starting QB with his 192 yards passing and an INT. He failed to reach the endzone, and that was the nail in the coffin.
Jamaal Charles – RB Chiefs: The Chiefs offense is a tricky one to navigate, and this week Charles was the bomb that destroyed fantasy lineups. Charles certainly wasn’t in charge as he ran just 5 times for 4 yards, and caught 3 passes for 6 yards. Charles didn’t get hurt, there was no injury, he simply didn’t get the touches.
Alfred Morris – RB Redskins: I said on Wednesday that Morris was someone I would trade away due to his remaining games Strength of Schedule (23rd hardest in NFL). This weekend he was only able to run for 59 yards and no endzone visits. The Redskins did get down early to the Steelers, which took the running game out of the picture. But, fantasy football is all about stats and I don’t think he is going to put up great stats in the second half of the season.
Victor Cruz – WR Giants: The [play] Book of Eli wasn’t working on Sunday and Cruz suffered because of it as he reeled in just 2 passes for 33 yards and no salsa dances (no TDs). Cruz is still a WR stud, so chalk this one up to a bad game and keep plugging him into your WR1 slot.
Vincent Jackson – WR Buccaneers: It’s amazing how much things can change from week-to-week, and this week V-Jax managed just 2 catches for 40 yards. I do think that Freeman is headed for a decline in production, and that means Jackson is going to be pick-n-choose play going forward.
Antonio Gates – TE Chargers: The Chargers and Browns game had a final score that more closely resembled an MLB final score than an NFL one (7-6). Because of the lack of scoring on the Chargers end, Gates finished the game with just 2 catches for 14 yards. Gates has been a fantasy bust this year, but he also has the ability to pull off big numbers like he did in week 6 (6 catches for 81 yards and 2 TDs).
Minnesota Vikings defense: The Vikings gave up 36 points to the Buccaneers on Thursday night, and managed just a single sack for defensive fantasy stats. That gave them a total of -3.00 points this week, something that is extremely hard to do in fantasy football.
Week 9 Waiver Wire Additions (by Jon Cope)
Titus Young- WR Lions (owned in 54.6% of NFL.com leagues)- As James mentioned above, Young had a monster game on Sunday with 100 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns against Seattle. The Lions are craving a second option in the passing game with Calvin Johnson banged up and facing double teams, so this is a perfect opportunity for Young to breakthrough. Young and the Lions passing game face three consecutive favorable matchups: Jaguars, Vikings and Packers so if the 2nd year wide receiver is still available in your league, don’t hesitate to add him to your roster.
Danny Amendola- WR Rams (owned in 30.8% of NFL.com leagues)- Amendola nearly played Sunday, and definitely should return for the Rams following their week 9 bye week. A healthy Amendola is cleary Sam Bradford’s #1 target in the passing game, as evidenced by the fact that he was targeted with at least 9 passes in each of the 4 complete games he played this year. Amendola will be a reliable WR3 for fantasy owners looking for consistency from the position during the push for the fantasy playoffs.
LaRod Stephens-Howling (owned in 25.3% of NFL.com leagues)- It’s a rough week to look for running back free agent additions, so I’m placing “The Hyphen” on the list again since he’s available in nearly three-quarters of NFL.com leagues. Tonight might be a rough night for him against the 49ers defense, but he should have success from a total yards perspective this coming Sunday against the Packers. I’d expect the versatile Stephens-Howling to be a big factor in the Arizona passing game as well as the running game, especially if the Packers get a significant lead and force the Cardinals into catch-up mode..
Earl Bennett- WR Bears (owned in 0.8% of NFL.com leagues)- If you’re in a deep league and in need of WR help, Bennett might be able to help you out down the stretch. Bennett, a former college teammate of Jay Cutler, has replaced Alshon Jeffrey as the #2 option in the Bears passing game. After Sunday’s game against the Titans, the Bears face a few strong run defenses and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bennett benefit from the Bears needing to put the ball in the air a little more.
Chargers Defense/Special Teams (owned in 7.6% of NFL.com leagues)- If you need a defense for week 9, look out west as the Chargers have a tasty home matchup with the Chiefs. No offense has allowed more fantasy points to opposing defenses than Kansas City. The Chargers defense is stout against the run, #2 in the NFL, which should force Matt Cassel into plenty of throwing situations which could lead to quite a few turnovers for a Chargers defense that should play well in the primetime home game.
Be sure to check back on Wednesday for a Week 9 Fantasy Q & A blog.
Also, for more fantasy advice, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.