Fantasy Football Advice for Week 8
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Every Tuesday during the NFL season, WhatIfSports.com will release its fantasy projections for the upcoming week. The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically-based player rankings. In addition to our computer forecasts, WhatIfSports.com will also offer a "creative" perspective at its fantasy football coverage in a weekly feature called "Fantasy Fever." Enjoy.
QB: Jon Kitna, Cowboys. Don't laugh. While "Kitna Time" has never translated to success in the win column, the Cowboy quarterback is well-respected in the fantasy community. In his last action as a starter, Kitna compiled two straight seasons of 4,000 yards in the 2006 and 2007 with the Detroit Lions. And although he's now 38, Kitna proved he hasn't lost his magic, throwing for two touchdowns in relief of Tony Romo on Monday night. A matchup with Jacksonville should prove to be opportunistic for Kitna, as the Jaguar unit comes in ranked 27th in passing defense.
RB: Thomas Jones/Jamaal Charles, Chiefs. Normally a good rule of thumb is to avoid utilizing a back stuck in a committee-rotation, but Jones and Charles have been effective enough as individuals to warrant exception from this decree. Kansas City takes on Buffalo this week, a dreadful defense that's allowing 174.5 yards a contest, last in the NFL. Starting Jones or Charles should correlate to big numbers in Week 8.
WR: Steve Johnson, Bills. Along with Brandon Lloyd, Johnson has been this year's breakout fantasy stud. Since Ryan Fitzpatrick took over the reins from Trent Edwards, Johnson has been unstoppable, collecting 19 receptions for 301 yards and five touchdowns. Buffalo's Week 8 opponent, Kansas City, is pedestrian against the pass, giving up a relatively high 243.8 yards a game. Furthermore, the Bills often find themselves down early, forcing the offense to attack from the air. Look for Johnson to continue his success against the Chiefs.
TE: Owen Daniels, Texans. Daniels was still recuperating from knee surgery the first few weeks of the 2010 season, translating to minimal fantasy performance. Yet Daniels appeared fully recovered in Houston's Week 6 showing against Kansas City, where the Texan tight-end hauled in five balls for 79 yards. Coming off a Bye week, Daniels should be at 100% against the Colts.
DEF: St. Louis Rams. Carolina's offensive unit is absolutely atrocious, scoring just 12.5 points per game (last in the NFL) and averaging 259.8 yards (ranked 31st in the league). Factor in that St. Louis is holding opponents to 18.7 points and the game will be held in the Edward Jones Dome, and it's easy to visualize triumph for Steve Spagnuolo's squad.
QB: Mathew Stafford, Lions. Stafford is set to start for the first time since injuring his shoulder in Week 1 against the Bears. While the Washington defense ranks last in the NFC, it's best to monitor Stafford's performance this weekend before inserting him into your starting lineup.
RB: Ryan Mathews, Chargers. The Charger running back has yet to validate his hype, gaining 297 yards and finding the end zone only once. Mathews has been hampered with injuries, and San Diego has found themselves behind in most games this season, equating to abandonment of the running game in favor of the pass. Mathews is still worth a spot on your roster, but until he proves his worth, keep him on the bench.
WR: Dez Bryant, Cowboys. Bryant had a brilliant performance on Monday night, scoring three times (two receiving, one returning) against the Giants. Even better news for Bryant owners is both receiving touchdowns game with Kitna, Bryant's new quarterback for the foreseeable future, behind center. But temper expectations on Bryant, as he still remains the 4th option in the Cowboy passing game behind Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and Jason Witten.
TE: Vernon Davis, 49ers. Davis is among the elite tight-ends in the NFL, but with Troy Smith as the new signal caller for San Fran, predictions on Davis' production are unknown. Only start Davis if a suitable backup cannot be found.
DEF: Miami Dolphins. There's no doubt the Cincinnati Bengals have been one of the bigger disappointments in the NFL in 2010. Yet the Bengal offense is still explosive, averaging 371 yards of offense through six games. With Miami's defense falling in the middle of the pack (22.5 points, 317.3 yards a game), best to stay away from the Dolphins in Week 8.
The Blair White ProjectWhite will fill-in for the injured Collie.
Waiver Wire Watch: Blair White. The Colts will be without the services of Austin Collie for at least a week and Dallas Clark for the season. White, an undrafted rookie from Michigan State, is listed as the third wideout behind Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon. White's owned in just 6% of leagues, so with the Indianapolis WR corps riddled with injuries, White is a safe pickup.
Fantasy Flashback Performance: It's always satisfying when a backup produces in a spot start for a player on Bye in fantasy. But to have that fill-in produce a career performance? Well, my friends, life doesn't get much better than that. In 2006, Alge Crumpler was having a decent season, accumulating 194 yards in Atlanta's first five games. Yet in a Week 7 matchup against Pittsburgh, Crumpler submitted a masterpiece, bringing in six catches for 117 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Falcons edge the Steelers 41-38. How do I remember this? Crumpler was a backup on my team in '06, and I was fortunate/lucky enough to reap the benefits of Crumpler's gem that day. While Crumpler finished the season strong (four touchdowns in the last ten games), the former Tarheel never came close to equaling his three-TD feat.
This Week in Kevin Walter: The Houston Texans might have been on Bye in Week 7, but don't tell that to K-Walt. The Texan Tornado spent his "down time" training in the mountains, undoubtedly still upset over his exclusion from the Houston game plan against Kansas City. The Texans travel to Indy this week for a prime-time showdown with the Colts, and #83 always shines when the spotlight is bright. Expect no less than 150 yards and four scores from Walter.
Walter's 2010 stats:22 receptions, 266 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Walter's 2010 CBC (Cornerback Body Count) : 6
Rookie Review: David Gettis. A 6th round selection out of Baylor, Gettis was far from an automatic lock on the Carolina 53-man roster. Yet through seven weeks of the season, Gettis is leading the Panthers in yards (244), receptions (18), and touchdowns (2). Most of this production came Sunday, where Gettis caught eight receptions for 125 yards and two scores. This performance is particularly impressive when realizing Gettis had just four touchdowns in his four-year college career.
Gatorade Shower Goes To: Kerry Collins. The Titans backup, two months shy of turning 38, led Tennessee to a 37-19 win over Philadelphia. Filling in for the injured Vince Young, Collins threw for 276 and three touchdowns as the Titans moved to 5-2 on the season.
Varsity Blues Quote of the Week:
Mox: Now if we go out there, and we half-ass it 'cause we're scared, all we're left with is an excuse; we're always gonna wonder. But if we go out there, and we give it absolutely everything - that's heroic. Let's be heroes."
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