With six teams on Bye this week, chances are you had to get pretty creative in finagling (cool word, right?) your starting lineup.
Trust me, I know how you feel. I’m the dude starting Matthew Stafford, Jonathan Stewart, LeGarrette Blount, Justin Forsett and Danny Amendola on one of my teams. Those five guys have combined for just seven double-digit fantasy days thus far, an four of those are from Amendola alone (this team is in a PPR league where 1 reception=1 fantasy point).
Throw in the painful injuries to the likes of Brett Favre, Tony Romo and all of the Chargers’ wide receivers and your lineup likely resembles more of a who’s who of fantasy washouts.
But, on a good note, usual studs like Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson face very favorable matchups.
So, without further ado, here are the Start/Sit options for Week 8:
Start These Guys
Kenny Britt—Tennessee Titans/Darren McFadden—Oakland Raiders
After the week these two had last Sunday (both topped over 40, in case you were literally living under a rock), they have become must-starts every week, regardless of format. They were both pretty good plays prior to last week’s outburst, but because of question marks (legal issues for Britt, injury issues for McFadden) before kickoff, it’s very likely that they both spent more time on fantasy owners’ benches than in the starting lineup. Do you really want to risk losing out on 40 points again? I didn’t think so. Start these guys each week.
Jonathan Stewart—Carolina Panthers
Yeah, I know I just wrote about how frustrating he’s been this season, but I also mentioned that it was because Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have had to divide up the carries. Not this week. Williams has been declared out with a foot injury, leaving Stewart all the carries (Mike Goodson might steal a few, but he’s really only been used on passing downs so far this year). Carolina’s two-headed monster averaged 11.8 fantasy points per week combined. Now that Williams is out, Stewart could gulp up all 11+ of those points. Oh, and bee tee dubs (BTW), Stewart is averaging 150.3 yards and a touchdown per game in his three career starts.
Reggie Wayne—Indianapolis Colts
You might be thinking about sitting Wayne because he has scored just twice this year and currently carries that dreaded “Q” tag next to his name on your screen. But, don’t. Yes, he plays Monday night, so it’s possible he could get ruled out after the rest of your teams play, but it’s worth the risk to play him. Why? The Houston Texans’ pass defense sucks. As if you didn’t already know. And Peyton Manning has nobody else to throw to. Everybody’s hurt. Including his trusty Dallas Clark. All of that adds up to a huge, huge day for Wayne if he is able to suit up.
Troy Smith—San Francisco 49ers
Did you see the way Denver was lit up by the Raiders last week? The Raiders. Think about what an offense with Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore can do. Yeah, Smith hasn’t been a good fantasy play since he was at Ohio State (Fantasy NCAA Football tickle anybody’s fancy?), but Denver’s defense just had the worst outing any unit has had all season. They will correct it, but Smith’s ability to go mobile and the weapons around him should make for a 12-20 point fantasy day. That and SF head coach Mike Singletary skipped right over David Carr on the depth chart once Alex Smith was ruled out, so clearly Carr is the forgotten man by the Bay. The Smith of Troy should be able to fend off Carr for the entirety of the game.
Aaron Hernandez—New England Patriots
If your league doesn’t count touchdowns, Hernandez is likely a Top 5 tight end. But, since those types of crazy leagues don’t exist (or if they do, why the heck are you reading this column? Go be weird somewhere else with Ahmad Bradshaw, King “I Get Yards But No Tuddies”), you’re probably debating whether you should start Tom Brady’s tight end (would those last four words sound awkward if it was anybody else besides Tom Brady?). He’s getting loads of looks from Goldilocks and he’s a very solid tight end in terms of yardage and receptions. He just hasn’t scored. Here’s to saying it’ll happen this week. Why? Because it has to sometime. Why not against Minnesota’s banged-up secondary?
Sit These Dudes
Ryan Fitzpatrick—Buffalo Bills
I know, I know. He threw for 4 TDs last week and has three straight 20-point days. But, he’s going up against a Kansas City defense that held Peyton Manning without a TD pass just three short weeks ago. KC’s D is for real this year in terms of limiting fantasy points. I know you’re tempted to start him after the last few weeks, but don’t.
Philip Rivers—San Diego Chargers
Malcom Floyd is out. Legedu Naanee is out. Even Buster Davis is out. Antonio Gates is still not 100 percent. Yeah, Rivers has put up incredible numbers without a truly viable receiving option to this point, but do you really want to start a QB who’s main three targets behind Patrick Crayton are Richard Goodman, Seyi Ajirotutu and Gary Banks? I didn’t think so. The Titans will key on Gates and one of these other no-names (seriously, who ARE these guys?) will have to step up if Rivers is to have anything decent of a fantasy day. He can’t throw to Crayton on every play.
Greg Jennings—Green Bay Packers
All of you Jennings owners have breathed a full-on sigh of relief after his posting 32 fantasy points the past two weeks. Can’t call him a bust anymore. But, Jennings is about to take a stay-cation on Revis Island, and Darrelle is claiming he is 100 percent for the first time this season. Expect Jennings to go back to fantasy anonymity.
New Orleans Saints WRs
The Saints go marching in to the Superdome to welcome the Steelers, arguably the NFL’s best defense. Considering Drew Brees has a curse of the Jay Cutlers and even when he has been right so far this year, he’s spread the ball out so much that it’s been downright nauseating to try to predict, all of the options should take some pine. Even Marques Colston. Yeah, at least one of the guys should be a decent play, but the percentages play out like this: 25 percent chance it’s Colston, 25 percent chance of Devery Henderson, 25 percent chance of Lance Moore, 25 percent chance of Robert Meachem. You have safer options. Play those guys.
Ryan Mathews—San Diego Chargers
Read my past articles from this week. Don’t drop him, but don’t worry about starting him until he gets his *(&(^&@ together. Yes, those symbols are the result of an angry tirade against my keyboard, thanks for asking.
Alex Reside’s Picks:
We are half way through the season, can you believe it? Just to show how the NFL changes. Four out of the five people on my start list this were undrafted in most leagues. You got to snatch them up while their fresh!
Start these guys
There may not have been a better waiver wire pickup this year. In the past 2 games Torain has been “making it rain” with 225 yards and 2 TDs. He continues to cover a lot of terrain and it seems like he can bust off big gains on any play. To make this an even better start, he will be facing the Lions who love letting running backs run all over them. It’s going to be a “Double Torainbow” of fantasy goodness. Your opponents will “Taste the Torainbow.” (I have a million of these, but that last one is my favorite.)
I’ve ridden the Romo train for a few years, and I am beyond happy that I didn’t pick him this year. With Romo out, Kitna will get the start for the 1-5 Cowboys. Now a 37 year old who has been all over the league, Kitna threw zero passes last year while riding the bench for the Cowboys. After going in during last week’s game, Kitna looked promising. He hooked up with 2 TDs to Dez Bryant. While he doesn’t have a ton of upside, he has the potential too put up some good numbers against the Jaguars this week.
Wells has been really slow to start this season due to his knee injury. Over the last few games he has seen an increase in his number of carries, and has been way more productive. Tim Hightower has been sloppy with the football, coughing up 5 times last season and 3 times already this year. If Max Hall and Derek Anderson can’t get the ball to Fitzgerald, he will be more comfortable giving it to Wells.
I always hesitate for a moment before putting a Bill’s player on my start list, but There is just so much to like about Steve Johnson. Already in this season, He has over tripled his career-receiving yardage. He has scored more fantasy points than all the WR that were taken in the first and second rounds of your fantasy draft. Why is he still not owned in a lot of leagues? His name is sewn on the back of an 0-6 Bill’s jersey.
The Titans are a very good football team, and I see them going far this season. Yeah, they have Chris Johnson, but they also have a very solid defense that has been playing really well. This week the Chargers have a pathetic run game, and will undoubtedly have a pathetic pass game with their patchwork WR corp. Unless Ryan Mathews shows up to play (just as I finally move him to my bench), I see the Titans Defense having a great day.
Sit Those Dudes
Ivory was the top of everyone’s waiver wire pickups after his huge performance in week 6 with Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush injured. Last week he only managed 48 yards on 15 carries. This week, I expect even less against the Steelers.
Remember when he was good and young? Well now he’s bad and old. He is averaging just 50 yards and .5 TDs a game. He didn’t score last week, so maybe you are holding on hope that this week he will score a TD. I doubt it. The Jets still have a solid group of DBs, and since Driver failed to complete a catch last week (breaking a streak of 133 straight games with a reception) I’m declaring his career in your starting lineup officially over.
Describing him as “boom and bust” implies that he has had great games. Unfortunately Crabtree really hasn’t. He has had just one 100-yard game. Though there is a silver lining. 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith is starting this week. The downside, he will be facing Champ Bailey.
This isn’t an adequate replacement for Randy Moss. There, I said it. He had a nice game against the Ravens, but last week was a non-factory with 3 fantasy points. I don’t like the matchup this week, because the Viking are still an elite defense even if their offense is lack luster.
Mathews has had a pretty rough go of it this season as described by Tony in his last article. I will still swear that it isn’t Mathew’s fault though. The coaching staff doesn’t use him well. They are still focused on making Philip Rivers the face of that franchise. If they gave Mathews more carries he could be a top tier RB in this league, but right now he averages just 10 carries a game. This next part is intended for Norv Turner:
First thing first, you made a great choice drafting Ryan Mathews- kudos. Second, you’re an idiot for not using him more. I mean, he averages 4.7 yards a carry. Why not give him 20 carries a game? You’re going to score TDs and you are going to win game. Isn’t that what you want?? Oh wait, I forgot that you don’t want to win, because you feel perfectly content taking your team to the playoffs every year and losing. The only problem is that you probably wont make it this year.
Basically, Ryan Mathew’s production this week really depends on if Norv Turner read this.