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NFL Fantasy Help -- Week 8

eagle eye

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It's a new week now and some people will be back on the field. For the most part this good news.


> Calvin Johnson is running and it looks like he will be back on the field this week.

> AJ Green is still questionable as Cincy tries to fiugure out where their offense has disappeared to.

> Even though Zac Stacy was available he got one touch in the Rams win over Seattle. It looks like St Louis is going to try riding Tre Mason for a while and Benny Cunningham will be the backup. That was the RB rotation Sunday. Mason is worth a pickup just in case.

> Denard Robinson gained over 100 yards in the Jacksonville win over Cleveland and it looks like he may be the starter going forward. Why not go young because the Jags aren't going anywhere else.

> As I posted in last week's thread Ronnie Hillman looks like a guy who is going to be heavily in the Broncos mix going forward based on his excellent showing in the Broncos spanking of the 49ers Sunday night.


More to come.

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There's a new sheriff in town boys and his name is Zach Mettenberger. According to Bleacher Report Mettenberger will leap-frog Jake Locker and Charlie Whitehurst and make his first NFL start at home this week against the Texans. Mettenberger was a sixth round pick is this year's NFL draft for the Titans and it was a bit of a head scratcher that he fell that low in the draft after a good career at LSU. There are a lot of LSU fans in this area who may appreciate Mettenberger getting the start. Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt made the announcement this week but apparently told Mettenberger to get ready to start 2 weeks ago.


This may be the week to try to pick up Minnesota's Jerrick McKinnon if he isn't already gone in most leagues. Currently McKinnon is only owned in 13% of fantasy leagues. Last week he gained 103 yards in 19 carries and every week his work load has increased. The Vikings play Tampa Bay who fields one of the worst run defenses in the NFL.


I'll say this again, it's Tre Mason time in St Louis. Neither Zac Stacy nor Bennie Cunningham has provided the spark to the Rams offense that Mason provided last week against the Seahawks, which was a Rams win BTW. Mason has 18 touches and he rushed for 85 yards against the 'Hawks defense. He might only be worth a flex position since the Rams are facing a stout Kansas City defense.


Need a WR? Then Doug Baldwin could be your guy. Even before Percy Harvin was shipped off to the Jets Baldwin was the guy most looked to in the Seahawks passing game and the 123 yards receiving he had vs the Rams last weekend is proof enough of that. This week's matchup against Carolina is a favorable one for the 'Hawks passing attack. Last week Seattle QB Russell Wilson seemed to enter the spot of a fantasy QB with a big performance against the Rams. With teams loading up to stop Marshawn Lynch the passing game has had to step up. Except for some razzle-dazzle on special teams resulting in a TD on a punt return and a big first down late in the 4th quarter on a fake punt the Rams would have blown another big lead like they did against Dallas and lost the game.


Speaking of Percy Harvin you might see if your free agent pool has Harvin listed. He may have been dumped after being traded to the Jets this past week. Despite having a rep of being a terrible locker room guy Harvin's impact on the Jets offense could be profound. He may be worth a look as a flex start this week. Harvin does have a lot of talent and he could be a shot in the arm for the Jets offense. He certainly hasn't had time to be a negative in the locker room just yet.


The Bills lost RBs Freddie Jackson and CJ Spiller to injuries this past week leaving you a couple of options here. Bryce Brown could be the guy or Anthony Dixon could be the guy. My research leads me to believe Dixon is the one to lean on. He was the Bills top runner against the Vikings in the Bills win last weekend. Even though Brown has the experience Dixon seems to have the most upside. Both guys will see action just a Jackson and Spiller split carries with Brown maybe being the more valuable as a pass blocker for QB Kyle Orton. It's a good RB matchup for the Bills this weekend playing the recently porous Jets run defense.


Need a bye-week QB? How about Miami's Ryan Tannehill? He been one of fantasy football's top QBs the past three weeks. Tannehill has scored over 18 fantasy points the past three games including the 23 plus he put last week against the Bears. This week Miami faces a poor Jacksonville Jaguars defense who hasn't been able to contain opposing QBs except for an unexplainably poor performance last week by Cleveland's Bryan Hoyer which led to the Jags first win of the season. Jacksonville is at home which does make a difference but Miami is not Cleveland. The Dolphins have been much more consistent than the Browns this season and Miami has the horses for this course.


It's time to pick up Odell Beckham Jr. He showed why the Giants used a 1st round pick on him in this year's draft. He was a factor in the Giants game against the Cowboys last weekend and he will be counted on going forward with Victor Cruz out the rest of the season. Beckham and TE Larry Donnell are going to be counted on by the Giants going forward which is to say they are viable fantasy pickups now.


The Jags have a new RB to lean on. His name is Denard Robinson. He had his coming out party last week against the Browns with 22 carries for 127 yards. He saw more action than either Toby Gerhart or Storm Johnson. Robinson is owned by only 0.2% of fantasy leagues. This is good news for Jacksonville who has been looking for an heir to the RB throne since Maurice Jones-Drew left for the west coast in free agency.


If you can't trust anyone in the New England Patriots backfield to step up on a consistant basis then you have to sort of look toward the passing game. The Patriots are a passing game team with Tom Brady and a guy who has been emerging as a big part of the mix has been WR Brandon LaFell. He's a big, fast target with experience and Brady said this summer he was excited to have LaFell on the team. In recent weeks Brady has gone to LaFell fairly often. He's scored double digit fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 games scoring 3 TDs as well. He is only owned in 12% of fantasy leagues.


I know he's probably gone but with Calvin Johnson out the past few games with a high ankle sprain Golden Tate has shown up for the Detroit Lions. If you can find him he's worth picking up. Even when Johnson returns Tate will be a crackerjack #2 WR who will see a lot of targets because Megatron will demand double coverage and Tate has the ability to may teams pay. I'll bet that Seattle had forked over some cash and kept Tate especially since they dumped Percy Harvin.

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Tonight's game should be a fun one to watch. Two high powered offenses square off against good defenses. Obviously, you give the edge to Denver. Top to bottom this game could conceivably be your whole doggone fantasy roster. QB's Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers, RBs Ronnie Hillman and Brandon Oliver, WRs Demaryius Thomas, Emmanual Sanders, Keenan Allen, Wes Welker and don't go to sleep on Malcolm Floyd. TE's Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas. Both teams have a good kicker and you could do a lot worse with either defense. Sit back and enjoy what should be a really entertaining game. I wish I had posted this in time for kickoff but as the Joker said in The Dark Knight, "....and here we.....GO!"
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The Bills aren't the only team to suffer a big loss in their running back depth chart. New Orleans will have to deal with life without Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson for a while. Fortunately NO got Mark Ingram back and although his production wasn't anything to write home about he was back on the field and Detroit has a top 5 run defense. So, if you need a RB you might consider Travaris Cadet. The guy may take the Khiry Robinson role as a 3rd down back and be the guy who is big in the passing game. Ingram did work very hard on his pass catching in the off season but it's almost a for sure, no it IS a for sure, that Cadet will get some touches that could help out on a bye week.


The Lions-Falcons game may be considered a home game for the Falcons but they are in London. England. This isn't a home game for anyone. The numbers should be skewed a bit but the Lions have the advantage because their defense has been playing a whole lot better than Atlanta's. One game shy of the halfway point of the season you have to say that Atlanta has been a disappointment. Sunday's game in London doesn't look like they are going to get better. The usual suspects have to be on the table for Atlanta, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. Roddy White is real ify because he's only got into double digit fantasy points 3 times in 7 games and he's on a pace to gain less than a 1,000 yards for the second year in a row. On the Lions side of the ball Matthew Stafford and Joique Bell are your best bets with Golden Tate in the mix as well. Calvin Johnson will be a game time decision but recovering from high ankle sprain isn't easy and it isn't a short term injury. Depending on how severe it could take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to heal but the fact that the Lions are considering putting him back in the line up makes me think he's at least close to getting back on the field.


Cincy is not likely to get AJ Green back this week. The toe injury he's trying to recover from isn't recovering very quickly. For a Cincy offense who has been challenged lately facing the Ravens at home is not the way to get well. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackman is on the hot seat already and the loss of Green is killing the Bengals. In their last 3 games Cincy has lost 2 and tied once in a game they should have won vs Carolina. Mohammed Sanu will be the #1 WR if Green can't go and he was shut down against the Colts last week. It would be hard for me to see this game as a good matchup for Sanu, Giovani Bernard or anyone else on the Bengals sideline.


It's official--or at least as official as an NFL injury report can be--Colt McCoy is starting against the Cowboys on Monday night. This game may not be the cake-walk some feel it's going to be. After all the Redskins are top ten in defense and top ten in points scored. Their downfall is turnovers. Jim Haslet's defense has always caused the Cowboys problems and if McCoy plays mistake free football like he did last week in a come from behind win over Tennessee Dallas could very well have their hands full. One guy the 'Skins need to get going is RB Alfred Morris. Morris has been pretty much a no-show the last couple of weeks which hurt the Redskins cause and killed me in fantasy. With arguably the best WR tandem in the NFL in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson and TE Jordan Reed Dallas will have to play some serious D especially if Morris gets back on track.

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I've been looking around to see if there are any diamonds in the rough out there fantasy owners can take advantage of when injury and bye weeks can take their toll on their rosters.


There is one item I saw and that was that Patriots RB Shane Vereen was not at practice on Friday and he is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. You may have noticed that since Stevan Ridley was lost for the season with a torn ACL and MCL it's been the Vereen show in New England. Against the Jets a week ago Thursday Ridley's backup Brandon Bolden got one touch on a 4 yard pass play. The rest of the touches went to Vereen and rookie RB from Notre Dame Jonas White. He has 3 carries for 12 yards compared to Vereen's running output at 11 carries for 43 yards. If Vereen is out it's a coin flip if White gets the start or Branden Bolden gets the nod. That's the maddening thing about the Patriots and Bill Belichick, no way to predict what they will do from week to week. In all likelihood Vereen will play but if you want or need RB help check the final injury report about 11 o'clock tomorrow morning. Then flip a coin as to who gets the most touches between Bolden and White. The freaking Patriots, sheesh. One guy who you should consider picking up is WR Brandon LaFell. Against the Jets he was subdued a bit but he was tied for 2nd in receptions (4) and 3rd in yards (55). The yardage leader was Vereen with 71 but Vereen also logged 2 TDs. But LaFell has been emerging as this year's Randy Moss and as Tom Brady begins to trust him more he is becoming that down the field threat the Pats have missed since the departure of Moss.

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Ryan Tannehill or Mathew Staford?


That's a good question Big T! Stafford has been having to do without the best WR in the NFL in Megatron for the past 3 games. Golden Tate has stepped up some but Reggie Bush hasn't been Reggie Bush for a few games now and the Lions offense has struggled a bit. Now, by struggling a bit I mean he's only had 1 300 yard passing day in the last 4 games although he knocked on the 300 door against the Saints and Jets. Megatron is a game time decision and I'd like to see him play a week before I plug him into my fantasy lineup. But the question is Stafford or Tannehill isn't it? This is not the year of astronomical passing numbers for the usual suspects and Stafford's output has fallen off it's not exactly chickenfeed either.

Tannehill has had to be a revelation to the Dolphins this season as well as to fantasy owners. His numbers aren't quite as good a Stafford's but they have certainly been in the ballpark. So, while Stafford has the edge in numbers, a slight edge, Tannehill has the better matchup IMO. The Dolphins have a home game against Jacksonville. A real home game not one on paper like Atlanta has against Detroit in London. No long plane flight, no media crush from European press, no unfamiliar surroundings. When it gets down to it a game is a game though and Detroit's matchup against Atlanta, on paper anyway, is more difficult than Miami's tilt with Jacksonville. It would be hard to sit Stafford but Miami's weapons are healthier than Detroit's and I honestly would go with Tannehill.

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All I can say is, 'Big T, I was wrong as hell about Tannehill and I hope you went with Stafford. Sheesh, where the hell did Jacksonville get a defense? Miami won the game but Tannehill's numbers paled in comparison to Stafford's. The first half of the Lions game I looked like a freaking genius but that's why they play two halves. The Dolphins won by the skin of their teeth a week after they destroyed the Bears. Speaking of the Bears, do they suck or what?!
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