The bye week portion of the schedule continues in Week 8, though
it’s likely to be a lot easier to assemble your starting lineup
with the return of Green Bay, Cincinnati, Denver and Chicago.
On bye this weekend are the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles
and Washington Redskins who haven’t contributed much to fantasy
lineups this season. In fact, the fourth team on bye, Jacksonville,
has probably produced more from Blake
Bortles (23.6 FPts/G), T.J.
Yeldon (10.1), Allen
Robinson (13.5) and Allen
Hurns (11.6) than the other three teams combined.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
- Oscar Wilde
1) “He has certainly earned
some more touches,” said Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett
of Darren McFadden at Monday’s press conference.
OK, this one does seem simple. Darren
McFadden ran well inside and outside on his way to 152 yards
and a touchdown on 29 carries in Week 7 against the New York Giants.
The previous game he didn’t get much of an opportunity to run
but caught nine balls for 62 yards. “Run DMC” is proving to be
the best back in the Cowboys RBBC and is the guy to own down the
stretch and into the fantasy playoffs. The caveat being, as always
… his staying healthy.
The remaining schedule is favorable for
Rivers including two games against the burnable KC secondary.
2) Philip Rivers should outscore Tom
Brady the rest of the way.
Brady owns a four-point edge in points-per-game (30.1 vs. 26.1)
The Chargers play a more favorable schedule through Week 16. San
Diego faces the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, the worst pass defense
in football, and all told will see six teams over the final eight
games ranked No. 21 or worse. Brady will face just one team ranked
21st or lower. Add in the fact that Philip
Rivers is likely to see just one cold/windy/snowy weather day
over those eight games (a Dec. 13 trip to Kansas City) and the edge
should go to the Chargers signal caller. November and December weather
in Foxborough can be pretty harsh as well as late season trips to
Denver and the New York Jets.
3) Thursday night football and Sunday
morning games from London makes life a lot harder for fantasy owners.
There is nothing worse than having to make a start/sit decision
before teams practice or with incomplete information. How many times
does your backup play before your injured starter. It’s tough
enough when the decisions are all on Sunday between 1 pm and 8 pm,
but it’s been made even tougher by the NFL’s decision
to try earlier kickoff times. Like before my Sunday bacon and eggs
or Thursday evening. It happened to me just last weekend. My flex
decision was between the hot, but injured, Jeremy Maclin (422 yards
receiving, 1 TD in last four games) or T.J. Yeldon who was coming
back from a groin issue. Maclin had passed all his concussion tests
by Friday and was thought to be good to go so I sat Yeldon on Sunday
morning. Of course Yeldon had a great game and at the last minute
Maclin was declared inactive so I was left without a good backup
4) Carson Palmer suffered from the same late-game “illness” that
befell Eli Manning in Week 1.
Palmer dropped back to pass with 2:32 left to play and the Ravens
out of time outs. He threw an incomplete pass and was penalized
for intentional grounding. The ill-conceived play gave Joe
Flacco and the Ravens additional time on a final drive which
could have cost a win for those playing against the Baltimore quarterback
or wideout Steve
Smith. Flacco racked up 72 passing yards on the final drive,
but gave most of the fantasy points back in a game-ending interception.
In Week 1, Eli committed a similar mistake and it not only cost
the Giants the game, but allowed Tony
Romo to add 64 yards (earning him a 300-yard bonus) and a touchdown
pass to his total for the evening. That would be a dreadful way
to lose your fantasy matchup. Is good clock management really that
hard? Perhaps teams should hire a specialist (he says with his hand
raised to volunteer his services).
5) If a coaching change won’t make things different in Detroit (see
below), why has a change turned Lamar Miller’s season around?
The coaching change in Miami also included an increased emphasis
on the running game. Under head coach Dan Campbell and OC Bill Lazor,
Miller saw 21 touches in Week 6 and 17 touches in just 24 snaps
during the first half of a blowout win over Houston. He averaged
just 11.7 touches under the old regime. I love the new balanced
offense in Miami. It will get a huge test on Thursday against the
undefeated Patriots where keeping the ball away from Tom Brady is
the only way to slow the league’s leading offense (35.5 ppg).
I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.
- Samuel Butler
1) With Arian Foster sidelined for the season, Alfred Blue should
become a viable fantasy starter.
Certainly a reasonable thought at first glance, but it’s likely
Blue did have a monster game against Tampa Bay back in September,
but he’s averaging just 3.9 ypc and faces a rough three-game stretch
against Tennessee, Cincinnati and the New York Jets. The Titans
and Jets are top-six against the run and the Bengals are respectable.
Plus, both Chris
Polk and Jonathan
Grimes are better pass receivers.
2) The offensive coaching changes in
Detroit will change/help Matthew Stafford’s fantasy value.
Unless the new coaches are ready to get on the field and block then
I don’t think we are going to see a big change. With no running
game to speak of, the Lions are almost exclusively dependent on
the pass. Matthew
Stafford has been sacked 16 times, been hit a staggering 53
times (second most). No wonder Stafford is currently dealing with
hand and rib issues.
3) At the 2015 NFL Draft I believed
Jameis Winston had a better chance to be JaMarcus Russell or Ryan
Leaf than Cam Newton.
I thought he was turnover machine in his final season at Florida
State (22 turnovers in 14 games) and didn’t know if he could get
that under control. Sorry Jameis, I’m big enough to admit I was
wrong. Other than one ugly game against Carolina (he’s not alone
there) Winston has been a solid low-end fantasy option (256.4
ypg passing and rushing, 10 TDs, 7 INTs). He has thrown for
at least 207 yards and a touchdown in every game this season. If
you need a quarterback during the bye weeks, the Bucs’ quarterback
is a viable alternative.
4) At some point Chip Kelly is going
to realize that Ryan Mathews (6.1 ypc) is a better fit for the Eagles
running style than DeMarco Murray (3.5).
That may eventually happen, but it doesn’t mean Kelly is going to
Mathews or even give him an equal workload. It’s called ego.
As the team’s ultimate decision maker, Kelly spent big money to
steal Murray away from the Dallas Cowboys and for a lot of people
it’s hard to admit a mistake. Expect Murray to continue to get the
larger share of the workload.
5) Rex Ryan’s arrival in Buffalo was
supposed to make the Bills’ already very good defense into an elite
Just ask him. The Bills defense was abused by Tom Brady and the
Patriots (OK, understandable) and the undefeated Bengals, but what
was that we saw in London last Sunday. The braggart’s pass
defense is 20th against opposing QBs, 23rd against WRs and 19th
against TEs. It won’t get any easier for Buffalo’s defense
which has produced just three turnovers in the past four games as
they face the suddenly torrid Dolphins offense (82 points in their
last two games) after a Week 8 bye.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.