Fantasy Football Matchups

Week 8 Fantasy Football Matchups

Author: Chris Dale

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Well, I’m back after a brief, one-week hiatus, but I can’t say I have good news for you.  Week 7 was brutal, with several key players going down with injuries, some for the remainder of the year.  Here is some help in sorting through the carnage, and hopefully helping you overcome both injuries and bye weeks to take your team to the top!

Note: (?) denotes injury, and uncertain to play this week.

 

mia_logo-50x50nyg_logo-50x50Miami at NY Giants

 

The NY Giants claim that their defense is back to full strength.  This spells trouble for the struggling Dolphins.  Brandon Marshall has been frustrating owners all year.  He puts up serviceable numbers each week, but always leaves lots of points on the table.  Last week he lost himself a TD by unnecessarily going out of bounds.  My advice: start him, but don’t watch the game unless you feel like screaming at your TV.  Daniel Thomas, if his hamstring holds up, looks to be a decent play against a Giants defense that has given up the 10th most points to RBs this year.  However, it should be noted that the Giants focused on rush defense during the bye.  It’s hard to get excited about any other Miami skill player (Matt Moore, Davone Bess, Reggie Bush, Anthony Fasano).  Fasano did score last week, but the Giants have been rock solid against TEs.

 

Coming off a bye week, Eli Manning’s receiving core should be back to full strength.  This week should tell us if Mario Manningham can start producing like last year, or if the concussion he suffered earlier in the year will have lingering effects on his concentration.  Hakeem Nicks is always a must-start, and Victor Cruz is still targeted often by Manning.  Brandon Jacobs is back from a sprained knee, but will probably be given limited carries as he tests his strength again.  Ahmad Bradshaw owners should be able to enjoy one more week of not having to worry about Jacobs vulturing goal line touches.  Jake Ballard has scored in two of the past three games, and Miami has not had much luck defending the TE position, so Ballard makes a great fill for Jermichael Finley/Tony Gonzalez owners.

 

Winner: NY Giants

 

Dolphins

 

***** n/a

**** n/a

*** Brandon Marshall, Daniel Thomas

** Davone Bess, Reggie Bush

* Matt Moore, Anthony Fasano

 

Giants

***** Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks

**** Eli Manning, Giants defense

*** Mario Manningham, Jake Ballard

** Victor Cruz, Brandon Jacobs

* n/a

 

 

jac_logo-50x50hou_logo-50x50Jacksonville at Houston

 

Jacksonville came out of nowhere last week, absolutely smothering the Ravens on defense.  Don’t expect a similar result this week.  Houston has been playing fantastic on offense, and it’s much harder to play defense on the road.  Also, Andre Johnson could be back this week, so keep an eye on his status if you’ve been holding onto him.  Arian Foster probably won’t duplicate his monster performance from last week, but should still produce solid RB1 numbers.  The Jaguars are very good against opposing TEs.  That combined with Andre Johnson’s return could reduce Owen Daniels numbers significantly this week.

 

Jacksonville still can’t seem to get much done on offense.  MJD is a lock for 80-100 yards each week, but hasn’t reached the endzone very often.  Jason Hill is getting a lot of looks from Blaine Gabbert, and might be worth taking in some deeper leagues.

 

Winner: Houston

 

Jaguars

 

***** Maurice Jones-Drew

**** n/a

*** n/a

** n/a

* Blaine Gabbert, Jason Hill

 

Texans

 

***** Arian Foster, Andre Johnson (?)

**** n/a

*** Matt Schaub

** Owen Daniels

* Jacoby Jones, Kevin Walter, Joel Dreessen

 

 

ari_logo-50x50bal_logo-50x50Arizona at Baltimore

 

Look for Baltimore to bounce back after an abysmal week in Jacksonville.  Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin will feast on a weak Cardinals secondary, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another long TD catch from Torrey Smith.  Ray Rice should break 100 yards as well, as the Ravens will go up early and then grind it out on the ground.  Ed Dickson has been targeted a bit more as of late, but hasn’t proven to be reliable yet.

 

Beanie Wells seems to be recovering fairly well from another knee injury, but this is not a good matchup.  Alfonso Smith would get the start if Wells can’t go, but again, due to the matchup, he’s probably not worth picking up unless Wells goes out for an extended period of time.  Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald have not been producing at nearly the rate that many people expected.  You have to start Fitzy, but I hope your  bye week problems don’t make you start Kolb.

 

Winner: Baltimore

 

Cardinals

 

***** n/a

**** Larry Fitzgerald

*** n/a

** Beanie Wells (?)

* Alfonso Smith

 

Ravens

 

***** Ray Rice

**** Anquan Boldin

*** Joe Flacco, Ravens defense

** Torrey Smith

* Ed Dickson

 

 

no_logo-50x50stl_logo-50x50New Orleans at St. Louis

 

I would not be at all surprised if the Saints set a record by scoring another 62 points this week.  The Saints offense has everything clicking.  Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, and Darren Sproles all have the potential to put up top 10 numbers for their position every week.  Mark Ingram is questionable this week with a heel bruise, so Sproles should see the ball even more, and Pierre Thomas’s role will increase as well.  This is a very favorable matchup for the PT Bruiser, so pick him up if you need a fill-in for all the byes and injuries to RBs.

 

Sam Bradford will most likely miss another game, so A.J. Feeley will get the start.  Brandon Lloyd instantly got involved after being re-united with Josh McDaniels, hauling in six balls for 74 yards.  Expect Lloyd to be even more involved this week.  The only other player I would start from the Rams is Stephen Jackson, who continues to be one of the most heavily-used players in the league.

 

Winner: New Orleans

 

Saints

 

***** Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles

**** n/a

*** Lance Moore, Pierre Thomas

** n/a

* Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson

 

Rams

 

***** Stephen Jackson

**** Brandon Lloyd

*** n/a

** A.J Feeley

* Lance Kendricks

 

 

min_logo-50x50car_logo-50x50Minnesota at Carolina

 

Vikings fans, and football fans in general for that matter, have to be excited after seeing Christian Ponder’s first start.  Obviously he has lots to learn, and Charles Woodson was more than happy to teach the newcomer, intercepting him twice.  But Ponder responded to pressure very well, made tough throws, and kept Minnesota competitive against the Packers.  This week, the newtonsmithVikings shouldn’t need much from Ponder, other than clean handoffs.  Adrian Peterson should follow his 175 yard game (coming against a fantasic Packer run defense) with another monster game against a pretty terrible Carolina run defense.  Percy Harvin is still battle a rib injury, and is questionable.  Both Michael Jenkins and Visanthe Shiancoe meshed well with Ponder, and will benefit from the removal of Donovan McNabb.  Carolina’s secondary, aside from Chris Gamble, is beatable.  Either Jenkins or Harvin could have some big gains in the air, depending on who Gamble ends up defending.

 

Cam Newton had a perfect passer rating in the 2nd half of last week’s matchup with the Redskins.  He really is something special.  This week we’ll see how well he can hold up under pressure.  Defensive end Jared Allen is playing out of his mind right now, and will pressure Newton often.  Steve Smith is the leader in my mind for comeback player of the year, thanks in large part to Newton.  If you were brave, unlike me, and drafted Smith, I applaud you.  Enjoy your rewards.  Greg Olson and Brandon LaFell have also been the recipients of TD passes from Cam, but neither produce steadily.  LaFell has just 16 catches on the season, and Jeremy Shockey’s presence takes away quite a few opportunities from Olson.  Jonathan Stewart continues to be the main RB here, but neither he nor DeAngelo Williams produce consistently enough for me to endorse either one.  There is also the glaring fact that Newton is the goal line back.  Stewart and Williams have combined for three TDs; Cam has rushed for seven.

 

Winner: Minnesota

 

Vikings

 

***** Adrian Peterson (I would give him six stars if I could!)

**** n/a

*** Michael Jenkins

** Christian Ponder, Percy Harvin (?), Visanthe Shiancoe

* Greg Camarillo

 

Panthers

 

***** Cam Newton, Steve Smith

**** n/a

*** Greg Olson, Jonathan Stewart

** Jeremy Shockey, DeAngelo Williams

* Brandon LaFell

 

 

ind_logo-50x50ten_logo-50x50Indianapolis at Tennessee

 

Even against a below-average Saints defense, the Colts only managed seven points, so it’s hard to expect much of anything this week.  Pierre Garcon has come back to earth after back to back multi-touchdown games with Curtis Painter behind center.  Joseph Addai is questionable for this week.  If he can’t go, Delone Carter and Donald Brown would share the workload.  Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne have not been able to get it going with Painter, and it’s tough to justify starting either one of them, especially with Cortland Finnegan draped all over Wayne.

 

Matt Hasselbeck had an absolutely terrible game last week, and as a result everyone on the team suffered.  He should revert to how he has been playing earlier this season with a heavy dose of Nate Washington and Jared Cook.  If Chris Johnson is going to turn his season around, this is the game to do it.  The Colts do not defend the run well.  Johnson easily has the potential for 100 yards and a score here, if not more.  It all depends if he can shake the cobwebs and get back to last season’s form.

 

Winner: Titans

 

Colts

 

***** n/a

**** n/a

*** Pierre Garcon, Joseph Addai (?)

** Delone Carter, Reggie Wayne

* Dallas Clark, Donald Brown

 

Titans

 

***** Chris Johnson

**** Nate Washington

*** Matt Hasselbeck, Jared Cook

** n/a

* n/a

 

 

det_logo-50x50den_logo-50x50Detroit at Denver

 

Tim Tebow had better be praying that Ndamukong Suh learns the virtue of mercy before this weekend.  Suh went back and forth with the Atlanta Falcons last night about dirty play, and is probably looking to relieve some frustration by putting QBs on their backs.  Tebow turned an awful fantasy day into a good one in just five minutes last week.  He’ll need 60 minutes of good matthew staffordplay to stand a chance this week.  Willis McGahee had surgery on his hand this week, and will be out for a few weeks at the bare minimum.  Knowshon Moreno reclaims the starting role this week, and should benefit from having Tebow at QB.  The pair hooked up on a screen pass TD already this year, and Moreno should get a lot of quick passes as John Fox tweaks the offense to play to Tebow’s strengths.  Eric Decker is the starter now that Brandon Lloyd is in St. Louis, but his style of play does not figure to mesh well with Tebow manning the helm.  Demaryius Thomas seems to be Tebow’s favorite target, and had a TD catch in his first game back from injury.  Again, because Tebow likes the short passed, TE Daniel Fells should see an increased workload from here on out.  Fells also caught a TD pass last week.

 

Matthew Stafford was a full participant in practice on Thursday, so barring any setback, he should start.  Shaun Hill has been preparing in case the worst happens, but probably isn’t worth picking up.  Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew continue to be the focal points of this passing attack.  Neither Titus Young nor Nate Burleson has been involved often enough to be fantasy starters.  Jahvid Best is out this week, so Maurice Morris will get the start, and Keiland Williams will get some carries as well.  Only pick up Morris if you are absolutely desperate: this offense is all about the passing game.

 

Winner: Detroit

 

Lions

 

***** Calvin Johnson

**** Brandon Pettigrew

*** Matthew Stafford

** Maurice Morris, Nate Burleson

* Keiland Williams, Titus Young

 

Broncos

 

***** n/a

**** Tim Tebow

*** Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas

** Eric Decker, Daniel Fells

* n/a

 

 

was_logo-50x50buf_logo-50x50Washington at Buffalo

 

Washington has fallen victim to the injury bug in a big way.  On offense, Tim Hightower and Chris Cooley are out for the season, and Santana Moss is out for 5-7 weeks.  John Beck has taken over as the starting QB, and we never know which RB will be favored by Mike Shanahan on any given week.  The loss of Hightower limits his options somewhat though, so both Ryan Torain and Roy Helu get a boost in value.  The one mainstay in this offense has been Fred Davis, who has delivered week in and week out, with both Grossman and Beck behind center.  Jabar Gaffney has been stepping up his game, and will need to continue that trend now that Moss is out of the picture.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick and company should tear it up against a Redskins defense that allowed 250 yards passing and 150 yards rushing to Caronlina last week.  Fred Jackson is a must-start every week, regardless of matchup.  Stevie Johnson will be matched up with DeAngelo Hall, but should still produce good numbers.  Roll with him.  David Nelson and Scott Chandler could also take advantage of this injury-riddled team, but are consistent producers.

 

Winner: Buffalo

 

Redskins

 

***** Fred Davis

**** n/a

*** Ryan Torain, John Beck, Jabar Gaffney

** Roy Helu

* n/a

 

Bills

 

***** Fred Jackson

**** Stevie Johnson

*** Ryan Fitzpatrick

** David Nelson, Scott Chandler

* n/a

 

 

cin_logo-50x50sea_logo-50x50Cincinnati at Seattle

 

If you had the misfortune of watching the Seahawks-Browns game last week, I pity you.  I’m fairly certain that if you had been strapped to your chair, you could have sued for cruel and unusual punishment.  Watching this week’s Seahawks game should be a less painful experience than last week, but so would eating pinecones.  Tavaris Jackson is questionable for this week, but after Charlie Whitehurst’s performance last week, I’m sure that Pete Carroll will roll with T-Jax if at all possible.  Marshawn Lynch has also been limited, but it looks like he will play as well.  It’s not a great matchup for Lynch, so try to find a replacement for him this week if you can.  Leon Washington would get the start if Lynch can’t go, and has some value in PPR leagues if he does start.  Sidney Rice would benefit from Jackson’s return, but should only be considered as a bye week plug-in or WR3 in deep leagues.  Doug Baldwin was held without a catch last week, disappointing many owners who recently picked him up.  The matchup isn’t bad this week, but that kind of unpredictability in fantasy football is more stress than I’m willing to risk.

 

Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have a special rookie connection that has led to fantastic results on the field.  Green should top 100 yards and a have a score this week, because running against the Seahawks just doesn’t work.  Jerome Simpson has been piling up the yards, but still hasn’t reached the endzone.  I could see Jermaine Gresham getting a redzone score and 50+ yards this week as well.  Bernard Scott will start in place of a suspended Cedric Benson, but Seattle is giving up the fewest yards per carry in the NFL.  Scott will get plenty of touches; just don’t expect him to get far.

 

Winner: Cincinnati

 

Bengals

 

***** A. J. Green

**** n/a

*** Jermaine Gresham, Jerome Simpson, Andy Dalton

** n/a

* Bernard Scott

 

Seahawks

 

***** n/a

**** n/a

*** n/a

** Tavaris Jackson (?), Sidney Rice

* Marshawn Lynch (?), Leon Washington, Doug Baldwin

 

 

cle_logo-50x50sf_logo-50x50Cleveland at San Francisco

 

Cleveland is struggling mightily right now.  Peyton Hillis should be back to play this week, as the Browns have claimed that he will receive 20-25 carries this week.  However, San Francisco has allowed the fewest yards rushing this year, and Montario Hardesty figures to get a decent number of carries as well.  In the passing attach, both Benjamin Watson and Mohamed Massaquoi are both doubtful due to concussion symptoms.  That leaves Greg Little, Evan Moore, and Joshua Cribbs.  That group leaves a lot to be desired, and none are worth having on your fantasy team.

 

San Francisco is coming off a bye and before that, a huge win over Detroit.  They should be able to carry over that momentum and easily beat the Browns.  Frank Gore has been playing really well, and should continue to produce at a high level, despite the Browns above-average run defense.  Vernon Davis is the only constant performer in the passing game (although he was held to two catches for eight yards in the Detroit game).  Michael Crabtree had a big day versus the Lions, and Delanie Walker has scored in back to back games now, but hard to trust anyone other than Davis in this low-volume pass attack.

 

Winner: San Francisco

 

Browns

 

***** n/a

**** n/a

*** Greg Little

** Peyton Hillis (?), Montario Hardesty, Joshua Cribbs, Colt McCoy

* Evan Moore

 

49ers

 

***** Frank Gore

**** Vernon Davis

*** n/a

** Michael Crabtree

* Alex Smith, Delanie Walker

 

 

ne_logo-50x50pit_logo-50x50New England at Pittsburgh

 

A lot of people have the Patriots winning this one.  Tom Brady has a history of going to Pittsburgh and having great games.  But if the NFL teaches us anything, it’s that last year doesn’t mean a thing.  The Steelers have got it all going now, finally protecting Roethlisberger and getting their passing attach going.  Mike Wallace has been money in the bank all year for fantasy owners.  Hines Ward is competing only with Tony Gonzales for the ageless wonder award.  However, he has a hamstring injury and is weswelkervery questionable for this week.  Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are both solid plays against the leaky Patriots secondary.  Heath Miller and Rashard Mendenhall are weak plays this week, as the Pats defend the TE and RB positions pretty well.  Also, Mendenhall has not been playing well in general this year, and I forsee another game where he fails to top 50 yards.

 

It’s tough to pick against Brady, and he will still produce good numbers this week, even if the Pats lose.  Just don’t expect a line like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees had last week.  Wes Welker will get his, but it’s always a crapshoot as to who the other contributors will be for the Pats.  This week I think it will be Chad Ochocinco…….ahhh, just kidding, had to check if you were still paying attention.  It should be noted that the Steelers have given up the least points to WRs this year, and the 22nd most points to TEs.  So my money is on Rob Gronkowski, although Aaron Hernandez could always steal a TD.  Deion Branch should not be used as a bye week fill-in this week.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis could end up having a great game if the Patriots decide to try to keep the ball out of a red-hot Roethlisberger’s hands.

 

Winner: Pittsburgh

 

Patriots

 

***** Tom Brady, Wes Welker

**** Rob Gronkowski

*** BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Aaron Hernandez

** n/a

* Deion Branch

 

Steelers

 

***** Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace

**** n/a

*** Antonio Brown

** Emmanuel Sanders, Rashard Mendenhall

* Heath Miller

 

 

dal_logo-50x50phi_logo-50x50Dallas at Philadelphia

 

Prior to beating the hapless rams, the Cowboys had lost two games in a row, blowing 4th quarter leads in both games.  Miles Austin and Dez Bryant will have their work cut out for them against the talented Eagles cornerbacks.  This should lead to Tony Romo looking for Jason Witten early and often, so I would not be surprised at all if Witten finishes with 100 yards and a TD.  DeMarco Murray has top 10 RB potential this week, coming off his historic performance against the Rams.  Philadelphia is allowing the 3rd most points to RBs.  Felix Jones is out, and Tashard Choice is limited with a shoulder injury, so Murray will get nearly all the carries.

 

Philadelphia is again in a must-win situation if they are to have a chance of making it out of this division.  The Dallas secondary is very beatable, so DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin should be in for some big numbers.  LeSean McCoy should also come up big, though most likely in the passing game more so than by rushing.

 

Winner: Philadelphia

 

Cowboys

 

***** DeMarco Murray, Jason Witten

**** n/a

*** Miles Austin, Dez Bryant

** Tony Romo

* n/a

 

Eagles

 

***** Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin

**** DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy

*** n/a

** n/a

* Jason Avant, Steve Smith, Brent Celek

 

 

sd_logo-50x50kc_logo-50x50San Diego at Kansas City

 

At the risk of jinxing myself, ANTONIO GATES IS HEALTHY!  Hopefully fantasy owners who stored him on the bench for this long are going to be rewarded for their patience.  Gates said he was sore after the game, but no more than after any game, and no complications arose with his foot.  It does seem like the entire Chargers offense is battling injuries.  Pro Bowl LG Kris dwayneboweDielman suffered a grand mal seizure as a result of a concussion sustained in last week’s game.  Philip Rivers has either a bruised sternum or ribs, but will play.  Mike Tolbert is questionable, and did not practice Thursday.  Malcolm Floyd did not practice either and is questionable, but seems hopeful that he will play.  Vincent Jackson is recovering from a hamstring injury, but did practice and is probable.  Ryan Mathews seems to be 100%, and should be in for a big day.  The key is that the core players (Rivers, Jackson, Mathews, and Gates) should all play, and take advantage of the weak Chiefs defense.  That, combined with the great Chargers defense, should be enough for the win.

 

After being hailed by some as the next Arian Foster, Jackie Battle turned in a serviceable, but not exceptional day.  Had Todd Haley not given Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster 19 combined carries, or not had a fullback dive with Le’Ron McClain or a trick play with Javier Arenas, Battle could have had a monster game.  That being said, I personally don’t expect Haley to change the way he coaches, so Battle will probably turn in a similar 70-something yard performance this week.  Dwayne Bowe is the focal point of this offense, and is a must start every week.  Steve Breaston is starting to produce more, but is not involved enough to be played in most fantasy leagues.

 

Winner: San Diego

 

Chargers

 

***** Ryan Mathews

**** Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson

*** Philip Rivers

** Mike Tolbert (?)

* n/a

 

Chiefs

 

***** Dwayne Bowe

**** n/a

*** Jackie Battle

** Matt Cassell, Steve Breaston

* Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster

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