|If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 4||Notes and Observations Week 4: Chiefs Embarrass Patriots in 41-14 Blowout||2014 MLB Playoffs Expert Picks: Wildcard Round||Connelly’s Top Ten: The End for Tom Brady and the Patriots?|
I’m not a man who’s afraid of commitment. Heck, I’m engaged (please, hold your applause)… if that’s not proof enough that I’m not a commitment-phobe, then I don’t know what is. But I’m starting to question my decision-making abilities when it comes to who, or what, I commit to. (Disclaimer to keep me out of the doghouse: Future wife, I’m NOT talking about you!)
My personal fantasy teams are riddled with players that I’m trying to remain committed to. At the top of that list, Mr. Jay Cutler. During one of my drafts, I decided to keep waiting on the quarterback position, instead opting to load up on quality backs and receivers. Cutler has made me pay for that decision all season long. The Chicago QB has had to battle through concussion issues the last month, but last week, heading into the game against Washington, I was convinced that he was healthy, and ready to put up a monster game for my struggling fantasy team. Oh contrare! Cutler regressed to have a very Cutler-esque Sunday, throwing four picks, all to the same guy mind you, leading my fantasy team to yet another defeat.
There are guys like this throughout the league. They came into the season with hype and promise, but have disappointed their fantasy owners nearly every week. We all have at least one or two on our rosters… Jamaal Charles? Matt Schaub? Larry Fitzgerald? Mike Sims-Walker? Steve Smith, the Panther? And of course, Brett “Dick Pic” Favre?
So how long do we stay committed to these underachievers before we cut our losses and annul the fantasy marriage? We’re heading into Week 8, for Pete’s sake (who is Pete?)… when is enough, enough?
I vote, now is the time. Heck, we’re heading into election week… that’s a sign that you should vote with me… now is the time.
If your fantasy team is loaded with players you’re tired of rooting for week after week, make a trade just for trading’s sake. Or for Pete’s sake… again, whoever Pete is. Get some new blood on that roster of yours… get some new faces to root for every weekend… spice up your life, what do you have to lose, except more fantasy games, right?
For the rest of you that drafted nothing but MVP candidates, overachieving football gods, and successful late-round fantasy sleepers… well we hate you for your wisdom… scratch that… we hate you for your gosh darn luck!
All that being said, we forge on to Week 8… unofficially the kickoff to the second half of the fantasy season. This is the first of two consecutive weeks where we’ve got six teams sitting at home on their bye weeks. Couple that with the many injuries around the league, and it leaves fantasy owners awfully thin, with plenty of decisions to make.
Before we roll with my Week 8 player picks, let’s quickly review how I fared in Week 7.
You’re going to notice a trend here with my Week 7 picks… just remember the song lyric, “two out of three ain’t bad.” Cutler, as I mentioned, sucked to high heavens last week, but Big Ben (302 yards, 2 TDs, no INTs) and Rivers (336 yards, 1TD, 1 INT) made up for it. I love these two QBs the rest of the way, if you can trade for them.
Again, “two out of three ain’t bad.” Matt Ryan led the Falcons to a 39-point offensive outburst, throwing for 3 TDs and 299 yards on the day, but Kolb (231 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, fumble) and a banged-up Romo (5-for-7, 39 yards, 1 TD) put up “joker”-like stat lines… thanks boys.
Gimme some More-no! Knowshon found the end zone twice on Sunday, on receptions no less. But Chris Ivory (15 carries for 48 yards, no TDs) and the beloved Danny Woodhead (8 for 24 yards, 3 catches for 28 yards, no TDs) couldn’t capitalize on their favorable matchups.
Back to me being two-for-three. Beanie didn’t light the world on fire with his 54-yard day, but his touchdown I guess makes him not so “joker”-ish. The other two though didn’t rush for 30 yards combined! Brown had 14 yards against the Steeler D, while the Pats held the rookie Mathews to 15 yards on the ground.
I guess I chose the wrong Mike Williams, eh? The Bucs rookie only caught five of the 11 passes thrown his way, for a respectable 82 yards, but no scores. Fitzy had another disappointing Sunday, catching just three balls for a measly 30 yards. But Dwayne Bowe helped me out with a pair of touchdown catches, to go along with 81 receiving yards.
Did anyone see Kenny Britt’s huge-gantic fantasy day coming? He was benched for the first quarter, yet still was the top fantasy receiver of the week, hauling in seven catches for 225 yards and three scores. Miami’s Davone Bess also scored on one of his six catches in Week 7, but San Fran’s Michael Crabtree had a stinker of a game, totaling just 31 yards on his four catches.
Moral of this story: never trust a Cleveland Brown. Even with their beatdown of the defending Super Bowl champs, the Browns did it without their leading receiver, TE Benjamin Watson. Watson caught just one 18-yard pass in the win, and was targeted just twice. 29 tight ends were targeted more than Watson was in Week 7. All I can say is, “Oops, sorry!”
The Jags’ tight end touchdown machine was out of order on Sunday, catching just three of the nine passes targeted for him from third-string QB Todd Bouman, for 44 yards and no TDs.
“Only six running backs have five or more rushing touchdowns so far this season, Chris Johnson (7), Arian Foster (6), LeSean McCoy (5), Rashard Mendenhall (5), Mike Tolbert (5), and LaDainian Tomlinson (5). Foster and LT are on byes this week. My prediction: the other four will not find the end zone in Week 7.”
If it weren’t for the dinky little touchdown run from Mike Tolbert in the Chargers-Pats game, I would’ve had this wacky prediction nailed! Johnson, McCoy, and Mendenhall were all kept out of the end zone in Week 7. Ugh, so close!
“Through six weeks, only two wide receivers have had 13 or more receptions in a game, Roddy White (13 in Week 1) and Reggie Wayne (15 in Week 4). In Week 7, we’ll have two more receivers added to this list.”
Not quite. Two receivers came close with 11 grabs on the day, and Roddy White was one of them. The other, Seattle’s Mike Williams. Nice effort gentlemen… thanks for the old college try.
“In the three AFC vs. NFC matchups this week, the NFC will not only win all three, but each winner will win by a double-digit margin.”
I wasn’t even close on this one… in fact, two of the NFC teams I had winning by double-digits didn’t even win at all (New Orleans and Philadelphia). Atlanta at least one their game over the Bengals, but thanks to a late charge by Cincy, that win was only by a touchdown. Friggin’ NFC teams…
Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to pick good fantasy wide receivers, because I certainly haven’t done it yet this season. Maybe that day is today… on we go with my Week 8 Aces and Jokers!
Lots to like about the Cincy QB, even when he’s filling his face with weiners! Like his 412 yards and 3 TDs last week. Like his multiple TD games in three straight weeks. Like that he’s facing a Miami team that has allowed their last two opposing QBs to pass for over 300 yards. And like that Palmer now has three talented receivers at his disposal, with the emergence of rookie Jordan Shipley, along with the co-stars of the “T-Ocho Show.”
Call me crazy, but I actually like both QBs in this game. The Bengals are tough against the pass… when they’re healthy… which they’re not. Henne is gaining chemistry with the team’s new standout receiver Brandon Marshall, and Davone Bess is proving that the Dolphins made a great move in signing him to a three-year contract extension.
Orton came out of the gate with MVP-like performances the first month of the season, but his last few Sundays have been certainly less stellar. He gets to go up against the Niners this week in jolly old England, a team that just made Carolina’s Matt Moore look like a legitimate NFL quarterback. The Broncos have a stable of receivers that are just a lot more talented than anything San Fran can put out there to cover them with, which should lead to a big day across the pond for K.O.
Sure, he and the Jets will be rested, coming off their bye week, but I don’t know that the bye week will do this team any good. The team was zipping along at 5-1, winners of five straight… the bye week may have snapped that momentum (here’s hoping!). Sanchez hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards in his past three games and Green Bay is very good at forcing turnovers. Sanchez can be very good at making turnovers. Not a great matchup for the “Sanchize.”
You may be tempted to start Bradford this week, since he’s facing an awful Carolina team, but I would think twice about it. If there’s one thing the Panthers do well, it’s covering the pass. In their last four games, the Panthers have let up an average of only 179 yards through the air, forcing seven interceptions during that span. The Rams should win this game, but your fantasy team won’t win their game if Bradford’s your starting QB.
Hasselbeck’s season has been two-fold, great at home but less than great on the road. He’s on the road this week, against Nnamdi Asomugha and the Oakland Raiders. Oakland’s holding opposing QBs to just under 200 passing yards per game… look for the Seahawks to rely on Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett this week, instead of Matt Hasselbeck and the passing game.
Wells is finally starting to live up to the hype he had back in his Ohio State days, and with Tim Hightower battling a bad case of “fumble-itis” lately, it’s Beanie’s time to shine. The Cards host the Bucs this week, who rank 31st in the league in rushing defense. Beanie ain’t no weenie this week… start him if you’ve got him.
Jones still shares carries with Jamaal Charles, but this week, I’d consider both guys starter-worthy in fantasy land. Jones, who does have more carries this season than Charles, has 100+ yards in two straight games, and has 100+ yards in his last two games against the Bills. In fact, Jones averages just under 100 yards per game (97.3) in seven career games facing Buffalo. He’ll have no problem leading the Chiefs to yet another victory on Sunday.
No team allows more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Detroit Lions. Ryan Torain gets to face those Lions on Sunday. I’m starting him, and so should you.
The Jets have only given up one touchdown to opposing running backs this season through six games. They’ve shut down the likes of Ray Rice, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, and Knowshon Moreno. Brandon Jackson, yeah he’s nowhere near as talented as those four guys. ‘Nuff said, don’t start B-Jack this week.
I was as high on Mathews as anyone was coming into this season, but now that we’re entering the eighth week of the season, I’m afraid it’s about time we officially label the Chargers rookie a bust. He reached a new low last week, rushing for just 15 yards on eight carries against the Pats. Mike Tolbert and Darren Sproles kill Mathews’ fantasy value even more, and them facing the Titans this week doesn’t help their cause any. Like the Jets, Tennessee has only allowed one touchdown from opposing RBs.
I’ve never liked “The Sub Shop” (sorry, that’s my nickname for him, it just hasn’t caught on yet), and this week, I especially don’t like him. Williams is fighting through a foot injury, and last time I checked, feet are what you run on. To go with that, the Rams are not awful on run defense this year, especially at home. I’m driving past DeAngelo this week… opt for Subway or Quiznos instead.
There is no doubt in my mind that Moss catches a touchdown pass against the Pats this weekend. No doubt. It doesn’t matter who is throwing the ball for Minny on Sunday, Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson, Fran Tarkenton, Randall Cunningham, it doesn’t matter. Moss may have one catch for one yard, but that one catch will be made in the end zone. But if the betting line is set at one catch for one yard, I’m taking the over. Oh, and news flash: the Pats secondary still stinks.
From one former Patriot to another. Guess who is tied with Antonio Gates and Roddy White for the league lead in red zone targets this season, with 11. Go ahead, guess. I’ll wait… ok, no I won’t, I have a deadline to meet. It’s Gaffney. “Orton to Gaffney” will be a common phrase heard in London this Sunday, even more common than “hello, gov’nor” or “bloody scoundrel!”
I am convinced that come August of next year, assuming that the 2011 NFL season starts on time, if at all, we’ll be considering Mike Wallace a top five fantasy receiver heading into the season. Wallace, who has touchdown catches in each of the last two games started by Ben Roethlisberger, will have another one Sunday night in New Orleans. I like everything I’ve seen from Wallace… sky’s the limit on this guy, he’s a must-start for the rest of the year, no doubt.
His age is finally catching up to him. At 35, Driver is sinking down the depth chart, with Greg Jennings and now James Jones emerging as better options for Aaron Rodgers in the passing game. Last week, Driver went without a catch for the first time in 133 games, and he hasn’t eclipsed the 90-yard mark in any game this season. He may not face Darrelle Revis this week, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be any more open against a tough Jets defense.
Crabtree was a “joker” in Week 7, and he’s a “joker” again in Week 8. With Alex Smith out now with a shoulder injury, the Niners turn to Troy Smith (not related to Alex, believe it or not) under center. I’m expecting a heavy dose of Frank Gore from the San Fran offense this week, and with Denver’s Champ Bailey likely locked on to Crabtree, I don’t see a way Troy Smith gets him the football too often.
I hate to do it, but Welker just hasn’t been the same since Randy Moss’s departure. No touchdowns since Week 2, and he hasn’t eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark yet this year. The Vikes have only let one receiver put up a 100-yard receiving day on them this year, and that happened just last week, with James Jones. Obviously I’m still rooting for the guy, but in the fantasy world, I’m down on Mr. Welker.
Sure, he’s struggled the past few weeks, but he and the Chiefs are up against Buffalo this week, and every tight end that faces the Bills goes off for a huge day. With the likes of Jermichael Finley and Dallas Clark out of action, fantasy owners are scrambling for top flight talent at the position. This week, you can consider Moeaki a solid fill-in.
Daniels will have better weeks, but this week doesn’t bode well for the Houston tight end. He had just one nine-yard catch in Week 1 against the Colts, and Indy is the best team in the league at defending the tight end position. They’ve let up just 171 yards and one TD through six games to opposing tight ends. That’s scary good.
(These are admittedly low-odds predictions that only I have the stones to profess…)
Tags: Beanie Wells, Brandon Jackson, Carson Palmer, Chad Henne, DeAngelo Williams, Donald Driver, fantasy fast forward, Fantasy Football, Jabar Gaffney, Kyle Orton, Mark Sanchez, Matt Hasselbeck, Michael Crabtree, Mike Wallace, NFL, Owen Daniels, Randy Moss, Ryan Mathews, Ryan Torain, Sam Bradford, Thomas Jones, Tony Moeaki, Wes Welker