Is there anything worse in Fantasy than finding out after 1pm EST on Sunday that one of your starters won’t play? That’s what happened for those owners who had Ty Montgomery in their starting lineup. Sure, we knew he was ill in the later part of last week, but it’s rare that an illness will keep a football player out of a game. Hopefully, you had a backup available in the late games to use as a replacement. I know that I didn’t in one league and it may have cost me the matchup. In some leagues, you might even be able to make a waiver wire claim. There just aren’t enough bench spots to have backups at each position for the late games. It really becomes luck of the draw. Maybe you have a player at that position, maybe you don’t. Such is life. Now, on to Week 8.
Jacksonville at Tennessee
I doubt that Blake Bortles is suddenly going to play better because the team fired the offensive coordinator. Bortles hasn’t looked good; he’s constantly missing his targets. This is not all the fault of the receivers. They are not always running the wrong routes; his accuracy is off. The running game isn’t taking any of the pressure off either. Chris Ivory has been a bust so far this season, and T.J. Yeldon has been one since he was drafted. I know we all want to jump on the Derrick Henry bandwagon after his big game Thursday, but let’s keep a couple of things in mind. He received the extra touches because DeMarco Murray had a foot injury late in the first half and had to come out of the game. The game was also a blowout that necessitated the use of both running backs. Murray is still the number one back and having a great season. Henry is still second fiddle.
Washington at Cincinnati
Could Washington become a two TE offense? Vernon Davis has caught 11 passes for 172 yards in the last two games. Yes, Jordan Reed is back, and he’s a must start, but Washington may have a rejuvenated Davis on their roster, which can only make them better. Rob Kelley had 87 yards on 21 carries and a score Sunday. Is that enough to take the starting job away from Matt Jones? Maybe. At the very least, he didn’t put the ball on the ground. Tyler Eifert returned to a full-time role and you saw what he can do, especially in the red zone. Andy Dalton loves to look for him when it matters most. Good luck trying to figure out what wide receiver to start opposite A.J. Green. The last couple of weeks it was Brandon Lafell; yesterday it was Tyler Boyd.
Kansas City at Indianapolis
The Chiefs won the game but that is secondary to the beating they took. Alex Smith suffered a concussion and didn’t return. Nick Foles performed very well in his absence (who doesn’t versus Indy?) and could be an interesting pickup if the Chiefs don’t receive good news this week about Spencer Ware and Jamaal Charles. Ware also left with a concussion and Charles will visit Dr. Andrews to see if they can determine what exactly is wrong with his knee. Charcandrick West will be a popular add this week. T.Y. Hilton left but returned to the game with a hamstring injury. He only caught one pass for 20 yards during the game and his status will be one to watch. Donte Moncrief had a solid return (4-41, TD) but it could’ve been so much better if he didn’t have another TD called back because of a penalty. He’s safe to start once again.
Oakland at Tampa Bay
I’m not sure how you win a game after taking 23 penalties for 200 yards. This is why I’m very wary of Latavius Murray. He’s so TD dependent. He only rushed for 48 yards. He did catch five passes, so in PPR leagues you won’t complain, but he’s so hard to trust him week in and week out. As if we don’t have enough injuries at running back, Jacquizz Rodgers left this game with a foot injury. He didn’t play in overtime. This is another situation we will watch. Doug Martin didn’t practice at all this week with the hamstring injury, which means we may all be running out to grab Peyton Barber off the waiver wire if he is still available.
Seattle at New Orleans
The days of Russell Wilson being a must-start this season are over for me. It’s not all his fault. The offensive line is poor, and injuries to his knee and ankle have taken away his ability to make plays outside the pocket. If you can’t put up big numbers versus the Saints, who can you put them up against? If you’re asking why Mark Ingram only touched the ball three times versus Seattle, it’s probably because he was being punished for fumbling earlier in the game. I would imagine this won’t be a long-term punishment and that he will play next week. Fantasy owners desperate for a running back may want to look at Tim Hightower.
Detroit at Houston
Matthew Stafford had trouble getting the ball down the field Sunday, and constantly had to settle for underneath passes rather than throwing the ball over the top of the secondary. This was good news for Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick, but not so much fog Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. If you were a Lamar Miller owner and sat him Sunday, I don’t think that anyone could blame you. He came into the game with a shoulder injury and almost everyone was wondering if he would be able to finish the game. We all saw what happened with LeSean McCoy, and how poorly that worked out for his Fantasy owners. This looked like a similar situation. As for the passing game, Brock Osweiler has wrecked the Fantasy value of DeAndre Hopkins. It doesn’t matter, you probably have to start him, but he’s no more than a low end WR2. That really hurts to say.
Jets at Cleveland
The Jets may have won the game but Ryan Fitzpatrick was pretty awful. He will remain the starter, though, at least until the Jets are mathematically out of the playoffs. This is probably good news for Brandon Marshall owners. Matt Forte is back to being must-start, as the Jets are also back to featuring him. Terrelle Pryor was back in top form for this game and could be even more interesting for Fantasy owners if Corey Coleman returns. I don’t know if the Browns will win a game this season, but they are entertaining. Pryor will be a start for me once again, but Coleman will take away some of his targets.
New England at Buffalo
Who is going to stop NE in the AFC? Tom Brady is just picking apart defenses. Take away Rob Gronkowski and he’ll find Chris Hogan deep. Take away the running game with LeGarrette Blount and he will use Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola in the short passing game. There are just too many options. One of those options may eventually be Dion Lewis, who is back to practice and could be ready to play by Week 10. It’s not fair to judge Tyrod Taylor on this game. He didn’t have many weapons, as his top receiver in Sammy Watkins and top running back in LeSean McCoy both missed the game. Just about any QB would stumble without those weapons. Mike Gillislee was a solid replacement for McCoy, but Buffalo plays in Seattle next week before their bye. You may want to try and move him to the McCoy owner before they realize this.
Arizona at Carolina
This was another strange game for Carson Palmer. He threw for over 350 yards and three scores, yet the team scored only 20 points; he was sacked eight times, threw an interception, and fumbled twice. He’s a matchup play each week. Michael Floyd was active for the game but didn’t see a target. He may have been a “break glass in emergency” type of player. So much for the thought that the Panthers may try to protect Cam Newton and limit his rushing attempts. He ran the ball seven times versus Arizona for 43 yards. It’s business as usual but they are playing with fire.
San Diego at Denver
The final statistics say Philip Rivers threw three interceptions. Well, two of those should’ve been caught by his receviers, but the passes went off their hands. That has to be frustrating for those leagues that give negative points for a turnover. Rivers threw a perfect ball but the receiver had hands of stone, so you lose two points and possibly your week. Hunter Henry only had two receptions for 14 yards, and although he was up against a tough defense in Denver, he doesn’t look like he’s anywhere near 100-percent either. Devontae Booker had an inauspicious starting debut for Denver. Yes, he reached the end zone, but only had 54 yards on 19 carries. That’s a 2.8 YPC. He did catch five balls for 30 yards, but Fantasy owners will want to see more out of him before they make him a RB1.
Green Bay at Atlanta
Montgomery actually has a kidney injury (shocking that a team would lie about a player’s ailment). It seems that he could’ve played had the game been a must-win, but the team was playing it safe with his health. Randall Cobb also missed the game with a hamstring injury. Aaron Rodgers once again looks like Aaron Rodgers. The running game, however, is still a work in progress as neither Knile Davis nor Don Jackson showed much of anything. Rodgers led the team in rushing and was the only threat out of the backfield. Julio Jones once again looks injured. He was hobbling around during this game and only had three receptions for 29 yards. The Falcons used Terron Ward as a replacement for Tevin Coleman, (hamstring) but there is little reason to rush out to the waiver wire to grab him as he is nothing special.
Philadelphia at Dallas
The Eagles run a boring offense. They don’t take many shots down the field in the passing game, choosing to dink and dunk with Carson Wentz. Darren Sproles was the main ball carrier for Philadelphia. Whether that was by design or if Ryan Mathews was punished for his recent fumbling problems is unknown. Mathews was the goal line runner for those looking for a silver lining. Dak Prescott looked like a rookie for three quarters, but made enough big plays with both his feet and arm to pull out a big win for the Cowboys. The Tony Romo watch is definitely on, but with Cleveland up next for Dallas, Romo may still have to wait for at least one, if not two subpar games from Dak to get a shot at the starting job. Dez Bryant proved to everyone that there is nothing wrong with his leg. He had four catches for 113 yards, and his night could’ve even been bigger had Dak been on target all game.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.