IT’S BETTER TO BE LUCKY THAN GOOD
Unlike any of the other Fantasy Sports you may play, football involves a good deal of luck. If your team remains healthy then you have a much better chance for success. If you can avoid playing against the hot team or the hot player each week, then once again, your chances for success increase. Anyone who has played Fantasy football for any amount of time has a sob story. Currently, I am playing in a league in which I have scored the most points, and second place isn't all that close. My record in that league is 3-5. Why? Because I've also given up the most points in the league, and that's not close either. It's just bad luck. I happen to be going up against the hot team more often than not. There is nothing I can do but hope the luck balances out over the last five weeks. This won't be the first time something like this has happened to me or anyone else. Along with many others, I have led a league in points yet failed to make the playoffs. Such is life; it's the rules we play by. One way to alleviate this is to have the last playoff spot in your league go to the team with the most points that isn't already in a playoff spot rather than the next best record. That eliminates the luck factor somewhat. Now, on to reactions for Week 8.
Cam Newton is looking like Superman again. Newton hadn't been living up to his billing as a Top 5 Fantasy QB through the first six weeks of the season but that seems to be changing of late. His passes look crisp and he's running with abandon again, something his owners like to see. One problem, however, is the lack of weapons around him. Teams still look to take Steve Smith away, but even when they don't, he's no longer the dynamic player he once was. Brandon Lafell and Ted Ginn make just as many mistakes as they do catches. In the end, this will keep Newton more towards the bottom of the Top 10 rather than in the Top 5 of Fantasy QBs.
The running game is going to become a quagmire in Carolina. DeAngelo Williams has been a solid Fantasy play this season but Mike Tolbert seems to get all the touchdowns. Now add Jonathan Stewart to this mix and it's going to be a nightmare trying to figure out the best back to go with week in and week out.
Mike James looked to be an adequate replacement for the injured Doug Martin. We now hear that Martin could be out of the lineup for anywhere from 2-8 weeks. Gee, thanks you so much for clearing that up. James isn't going to become a superstar but could be a Flex play each week. One thing to keep in mind is that the Bucs don't look all that interested in playing and they should be trailing, which will force more passes than runs as the game moves on. Mike Williams has been placed on IR with a torn hamstring; this should lead to a few more targets coming Tim Wright's way.
Coaching has so much to do with whether a player is going to have a good Fantasy day or not. Take the Dallas-Detroit game. The Lions decided (as many other teams have) that they were not going to let Dez Bryant beat them. So they double covered him in some form or another for most of the game. Dez ended up with three catches for 72 yards and two TDs; a solid day, but far from Earth-shattering. The Cowboys, however, (in their infinite wisdom) decided to play single coverage on Calvin Johnson for the most part, and we all know how that ended up. There is an old saying in sports, don't let the big man beat you. Dallas doesn't seem to care about this, but then again, with their secondary, every top wide receiver has beaten them.
Jason Campbell looked pretty good against a stout defense and playing in a tough venue at Kansas City. Now, I'm not saying you should go out and grab him, but I am saying that you shouldn't be worried about starting Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon (assuming he is still on the team after the trade deadline Tuesday).
Dwayne Bowe has been abysmal this season. He had one whole catch yesterday. He was a borderline drop coming into the week. Throw in the groin injury and there is no way I would start him any time soon. He's going to have to prove he's worth it to me.
Another big disappointment this season, as far as receivers go, is Mike Wallace. Wallace was signed to not only be a vertical threat in their offense, but also to be someone the opposing defense would have to account for each week. The problem is that Wallace and Ryan Tannehill just haven't been in sync. Wallace did have 10 targets during the game but only three receptions. That just isn't going to get the job done. The running game, however, looked much more dynamic, as both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas actually looked Fantasy worthy. Keep in mind, though, they were running against a Patriots defense without Tommy Kelly and Vince Wilfork. Until the Patriots can solve their lack of depth at DT, teams will continue to run the ball right up the gut at them.
Tom Brady didn't exactly light the world on fire with 116 yards passing and one little touchdown. It's hard to see how he will be ranked as a Top 10 Fantasy QB in the immediate future. Perhaps he just needs a full week of practice with all of his weapons.
I have Jimmy Graham in three leagues. Like everyone else in this business it really was a guessing game as to whether or not to start him Sunday. It came down to my backup. I ended up starting him in two out of three of those leagues, and since I got blown out in the league where I didn't start him, I'm pretty happy. That being said, I really can't blame anyone for not starting him. How many times this season have we started a player who didn't practice all week (Roddy White, Cecil Shorts) only to see him disappear from the game plan or be a decoy. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
That is now two straight weeks that the Eagles haven't scored a touchdown. Mike Vick was a shell of his former self yesterday. It was obvious that his hamstring wasn't anywhere near 100 percent and that he wouldn't scramble like he normally would. This eliminated most of his effectiveness. It is highly unlikely that he starts this week, and with Nick Foles (concussion) 50/50 (at best) to play this week, the Matt Barkley era may have begun. Good luck starting your Eagles, including LeSean McCoy, for the next few weeks.
Teddy Bridgewater, welcome to Jacksonville.
How much money would you have lost in Las Vegas if you bet that Andy Dalton would throw five touchdown passes but not one of them to A.J. Green? Is Andy Dalton coming of age? Probably not, but he's extremely hot of late, and with several Top 10 QBs on bye this week, he should be considered for a start on your Fantasy team.
Terrelle Pryor is not a Top 10 Fantasy QB and more than likely won't be one at any time in the near future, but he can still be an asset to your squad. He's going to be in that 15-16 range most weeks. His legs add to his Fantasy value. In two-QB leagues, of course he's a start, and while I may not rank him in my Top 10, in standard leagues he is someone I might have to consider starting over, dare I say it, Tom Brady.
Robert Griffin III took an absolute beating versus Denver. He's lucky to still be in one piece. It's frustrating for Fantasy owners, as he looked like he was back to being the player we want him to be. Then he has a game like yesterday, which makes you wonder if he won't reach those heights this season. Even more frustrating for Fantasy owners was that Roy Helu was hardly used yesterday, as he only had five carries. What have we said about Mike Shanahan in the past about the way he uses his running backs? He hates Fantasy owners. This is why Alfred Morris is still the smart play game in and game out, and it really was a bit silly to overreact to Helu's three touchdown game last week.
Okay, Harry Douglas has now convinced that he is a must start with Julio Jones and Roddy White out of the lineup. I was concerned that Patrick Peterson would take him out of the game, but that didn't happen. Instead, Tony Gonzalez was once again extremely quiet. So was Steven Jackson, who is quite obviously not at full strength. It's going to very hard to start S-Jax next week. Here's hoping you have better options on your bench. Unfortunately, Jacquizz Rodgers may not be one of those options if Jackson plays, as he won't see enough touches.
Andre Ellington had a big game versus the Falcons and he's a must-start, but keep in mind those numbers (154 yds rushing) came on only 15 carries. He's not someone who is going to touch the ball 25-plus times. He's just not built that way, so he may continue to be touchdown dependent to have a big Fantasy week.
You can make an argument that losing Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley could actually be a good thing for the team. Why? Well, it forced the Packers to run the ball more and become a complete team. Eddie Lacy owners should be thrilled, as his value could really take off. This is not a bad thing for Aaron Rodgers either, as teams now will have to respect the run game more, which should leave more one on one coverage for the likes of Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, and James Jones. Rodgers may not throw as much, but his numbers should still be there at the end.
As long as Christian Ponder remains the starting quarterback for Minnesota, Greg Jennings is a useless Fantasy play. Ponder just doesn't look his way.
Teams on bye this week are Denver, Detroit, Giants, Arizona, San Francisco, and Jacksonville.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
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