James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
The big news for Week 8 has to be two players dealing with bad wheels; Greg Jennings will have surgery to correct a sports hernia this Tuesday, and Maurice Jones-Drew is dealing with an arch sprain.
I would personally cut Jennings (unless you have an IR spot) because by the time he gets back the fantasy playoffs will be in full swing and he still has rust to knock off. MJD will be back, and owners have been scrambling all week long trying to snag Rashad Jennings off the waiver wire. Don’t expect too much here because the Jaguars are 25th in the NFL in team rushing, and MJD is averaging 4.8 YPC to Jennings’s 2.6 YPC. If the Jags were 25th with a stud like MJD, imagine what they are going to be like with a perennial backup in Jennings.
Ben Roethlisberger – QB, Steelers: There few defenses better to play against than the Washington Redskins for a fantasy QB, so Big Ben is a must-start this week. The Redskins give up 24.1 fantasy PPG to QBs, and Roethlisberger scores on average 20.58 PPG. Even if you go with the median and say he scores 22.34 points, that would make him a solid QB1 in all fantasy formats.
Andrew Luck – QB, Colts: Luck is currently ranked No. 12 for QBs in NFL.com fantasy football, but he really isn’t getting a lot of love from the big-box fantasy columnists and websites. This week the Colts face the Titans and their sixth-worst defense (23.9 PPG) for fantasy QBs. If he can just cut down on the INTs (7), he would quickly jump up into the top 10 for fantasy QB rankings.
Willis McGahee – RB, Broncos: This is one of the rare times you will see “Whatchu Talk’n Bout” Willis on my start ‘em list. But, the Saints give up 26.7 PPG to RBs (second worst) and Peyton Manning should open up running lanes with the threat of the pass. I have McGahee as a highly-placed RB1 this weekend, so feel free to start him in all formats.
Chris Johnson – RB, Titans: How the mighty have fallen; you have to be told to play CJ2K. The Titans lock up with the Colts, and as bad as the Titans secondary is, the Colts are even worse at stopping the run. They give up 23.3 PPG to RBs (fifth worst) and Johnson is coming fresh off a 195 yard-, 2-TD performance last week. Enjoy it while it lasts, as he runs into a Bear, a Dolphin, and a Texan in the next four weeks.
Randall Cobb – WR, Packers: Greg Jennings is already out, and now it looks like Jordy Nelson is going to be a full-blown game-time decision. The coaching staff has already said that Cobb is locked into a major offensive role regardless of Greg Jennings's status this season. I have Cobb as a high-end WR2, with a possible move up to WR1 if the game against the Jaguars gets as out of hand as I think it will.
Josh Gordon – WR, Browns: I am not a huge fan of Brandon Weeden, but I also can’t ignore that Gordon has scored four times in three weeks. Gordon isn’t going to win you any awards in PPR leagues (2.0 receptions per game), but the Chargers give up the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs (27.3) in standard scoring formats. He is a TD or bust play, so he is more of a WR3 or flex play for those who have a starter on a bye this week.
Heath Miller – TE, Steelers: As far as TEs go, Miller isn’t someone that I typically think of as worth owning. But, if you should have a need for a TE, you could do much worse this week. The Redskins give up 11.8 PPG to TEs, which is the second-worst number in the NFL this season. He is owned in 64.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, so there is a decent chance he is available in yours.
Green Bay Packers Defense: Even though the Packers are owned in 93.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, they rank No. 18 in NFL.com fantasy rankings right now. This week however they are facing a Jaguars offense that can’t move the ball (235.8 YPG total offense, dead last in the NFL). This could be one of those weeks where the Packers fantasy defense scores as many points as some flex players.
Cam Newton – QB, Panthers: Newton made the NFL look so easy last year that even though he is right on par with his numbers from his rookie campaign, people are saying he is regressing. That being said, the Bears defense isn’t going to quiet any of those critics given they are No. 2 in fantasy points allowed to QBs with 13.7 PPG. Maybe he runs for a TD, but I think overall he is going to be a bust this weekend.
Tony Romo – QB, Cowboys: The Cowboys are a polarizing team; you either love them or hate them. Then there is Tony Romo and his fantasy football followers. Even the most hardcore Cowboys fans that I know can’t seem to have confidence in starting Romo because of his erratic fantasy numbers each week. In Week 8 the Cowboys face their divisional rivals, the New York Giants. Eli Manning has proven he is one of the best QBs in the NFL, and I don’t think Romo has the mental ability to step up in a big game and compete with the big dogs. I see a disappointing week ahead for Romo’s fantasy owners.
La'Rod Stephens-Howling – RB, Cardinals: Last week LSH saw a career-high 24 touches, which resulted in 104 rushing yards and a TD. I can almost guarantee that “The Hyphen” won’t have the same success this weekend against a stifling 49ers defense. I wouldn’t even put him in my flex spot, so an all-out benching is my recommendation.
Rashad Jennings – RB, Jaguars: Jennings was by far one of the hottest waiver wire adds for Week 8, but I am not as sold on him as the big-box websites seem to be. The Jaguars are 25th in the NFL for team rushing, and that was with MJD and his 4.8 YPC. Jennings is averaging just 2.6 YPC, so the odds are that they produce even less than before. If one of the league’s best RBs has them ranked 25th, what do you think a perennial backup like Jennings will do for them? Not to mention that if this game gets out of hand, the running game is going to be abandoned.
DeSean Jackson – WR, Eagles: The Falcons boast one of the best passing attacks in the NFL, so on the surface one would think this game is going to be a shootout. But, did you know that the Falcons defense allows just 29.6 PPG (No. 7 in NFL) to WRs? Jackson is by far one of the most overrated fantasy WRs in my opinion, so sitting him is no hard decision on my part.
Larry Fitzgerald – WR, Cardinals: As I told you in my Wednesday article, I traded Fitzgerald for Tony Gonzalez in our Dolphins NFL.com league. The 49ers are sure to emulate what the Vikings did last week (4 catches for 29 yards and 0 TDs), plus the Cardinals still have John Skelton under center.
Vernon Davis – TE, 49ers: The Cardinals are great at stopping TEs, and currently rank No. 2 in the NFL with just 4.5 fantasy PPG allowed. Davis’s main drawback has always been his QB, and Alex Smith has been playing way over his head up to this point. The 49ers have the sixth-toughest strength of schedule remaining for QBs, so Davis is someone I would sell high on before your league’s trade deadline.
Denver Broncos Defense: Did you know that the Broncos defense is currently ranked 8th in NFL.com fantasy leagues, they are owned in just 19.8 percent of leagues, and that they have third-best fantasy defense S.O.S for their remaining games? All that being said, I wouldn’t come within a country mile of playing them against the Saints this weekend. I would certainly add them, but I wouldn’t play them this weekend.
Q: I have a choice to start 3 of these players: Lance Moore, Denarius Moore, Miles Austin or Marques Colston. What do you think? And, would you play Ben Roethlisberger or Philip Rivers?
--Steven Tyler from California
A: Steven Tyler … I LOVE “I don’t want to miss a thing!”
I personally wouldn't start 2 WRs from the same team, so Lance Moore is my odd-man out. There is a chance both Colston and Moore have big days, but I wouldn’t want to bank my fantasy week on it.
Cleveland and Washington are equally as horrible with fantasy points allowed to QBs, so then it falls to talent. And, I would give Big Ben the call over Rivers.