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.
Calvin Johnson finished with 14 catches, 329 receiving yards and a touchdown to lead all NFL players in fantasy points scored in Week 8. Michael Vick was pulled in the second quarter, suggesting that his hamstring is a bigger problem than the Eagles had hoped it would be. You can’t trust hamstrings with mobile QBs, and Vick has to be benched until further notice. DeMarco Murray was a last-second scratch, leaving many fantasy owners scrambling to find waiver wire replacements. With Murray being such a late scratch this week, it likely means he will heal up and be ready to go for the Cowboys Week 9 matchup against the Vikings. Last but not least, the trend of playing whomever plays against the Jaguars worked to perfection again this week as Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers put on a fantasy football show on Sunday. Kaepernick was everything I knew he would be, so hopefully you took my advice and played him.
Colin Kaepernick – QB, 49ers: I had people reaching out via email and social media all weekend long asking if either the location (London, England) or weather (59 degrees and 16 MPH winds) would adversely affect Kaepernick’s game. My answer was simply “no, play him!” Kaepernick finished with 147 yards passing, 55 yards rushing, and scored 3 touchdowns on the day (two rushing, one passing). Not to beat a dead horse, but it is a very good bet to play whatever players suit up against the Jaguars for the rest of the season.
Andy Dalton – QB, Bengals: As I predicted, Dalton was an amazing fantasy asset on Sunday as he finished with 325 yards passing, 5 touchdowns and one interception. Dalton has now thrown for at least 325 yards in three straight games, and has 11 TDs and just 2 INTs over that span. Dalton is one of the most underrated and underappreciated QBs in the NFL, and those feelings have translated into fantasy football as well. That is sure to change after this week, so make sure he is owned in your league before someone else snatches him up.
Jason Campbell – QB, Browns: What a difference a QB can make for a fantasy team. Campbell stepped into the Browns starting role this week and proceeded to rattle off 293 passing yards with 2 TDs and no INTs. As of Sunday night Campbell was NFL.com’s No. 7-ranked QB for Week 8. Those needing a backup QB with a bare waiver wire, or those in 2-QB leagues, will want to go grab Campbell before someone else does. He isn’t going to be a golden ticket off the waiver wire, but he will certainly help those in need of QB depth.
Andre Ellington – RB, Cardinals: Rashard Mendenhall watched his role with the Cardinals disappear in Week 8 as Ellington put up 154 rushing yards and a touchdown. With the Cardinals on a bye in Week 9, you can be sure that Ellington’s role increases going forward, while Mendenhall’s decreases. Ellington is only owned in 24.2 percent of NFL.com leagues as of Sunday night, so make sure he isn’t available in your league right now!
Fred Jackson – RB, Bills: When you look at the box score and see 45 yards rushing, 8 yards receiving and a touchdown it doesn’t excite many people. But, because running backs have been a disappointment for the most part this season, those numbers were good enough to put Jackson as NFL.com’s No. 12-ranked RB for Week 8 in standard scoring formats. He wasn’t playing in beast-mode or anything, but RB1 numbers are RB1 numbers and sometimes 45 yards and a TD is all you need to be better than the other guys.
Calvin Johnson – WR, Lions: Normally I don’t mention Megatron unless he is a complete bust because he is a stud in the NFL, and therefore supposed to do well each week. With that said, I would be derelict in my duties as a writer if I didn’t mention him this week after he put up a monster line of 14 catches, 329 receiving yards and a touchdown. You read that right, 329 yards receiving! That is 123 MORE yards than Tony Romo had passing on the other side of the ball! Johnson fell just 7 yards shy of Flipper Anderson's single-game record, but did finish as NFL.com’s No. 1 overall-ranked player (36.90 fantasy points) in Week 8. That’s pretty hard to do as a WR because your stats depend on the QB, and if you do well, he probably did better.
Marvin Jones – WR, Bengals: Jones has been nothing short of amazing for the last three weeks, totaling 15 catches for 250 yards and 6 TDs. This week Jones came up with 8 of those catches for 122 yards and 4 TDs. He finished just behind Johnson this week with 36.20 fantasy points on NFL.com, and will most certainly be the most added player by the middle of next week. Jones is worth taking in all formats with 12 teams or more.
Kenny Stills – WR, Saints: Stills is the textbook definition of fluke, as he hauled in 3 passes (on 4 targets) for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 8. The reality with the rookie is that he is a fourth or fifth option in the Saints passing game, and should be left on the waiver wire in all but the deepest of leagues for now. Let him be someone else’s headache next week. But, for now, he can stand up and take a bow as he finished with 25.03 fantasy points on NFL.com (No. 3-ranked WR).
Jordan Reed – TE, Redskins: Reed has turned into a must-own player for fantasy football since the Redskins Week 5 bye. This week Reed finished with 8 receptions for 90 yards, and No. 4 on NFL.com’s fantasy TE rankings in standard scoring formats. Reed has the coaches' and quarterback's confidence, and should be owned in all formats going forward.
New Orleans Saints Defense: The Saints finished as NFL.com’s No. 9-ranked fantasy defense this week thanks to their 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, interception and 17 points allowed. The Saints are more of a plug-and-play defense than a defense you hold on to throughout the season. However, after what the Bengals just did to the Jets, I’d hold on to the Saints one more week and give them a play if you need help in that area.
Michael Vick – QB, Eagles: Vick was less than impressive on Sunday as he finished with a modest 31 yards passing, no TDs and one INT. Vick said he felt a pop when he aggravated his hamstring injury, suggesting that the injury is going to keep him out of action yet again this season. An MRI will tell us more on Monday, but it is looking more and more like Vick will be heading to the waiver wire.
Robert Griffin III – QB, Redskins: RGII failed to take advantage of the NFL’s most generous defense when it comes to fantasy QBs this week. The Broncos give up an average of 25.4 fantasy PPG to QBs this season, but Griffin was only able to score 3.98 points in NFL.com standard formats (with fractional scoring) thanks to his 132 yards passing, TD, 2 INTs and lost fumble. And to make matters worse, Griffin was forced to leave the game after injuring his left knee (not the same one as last year). Chances are he will be fine for Week 9, but you just can’t trust him in fantasy leagues right now.
Tom Brady – QB, Patriots: The Patriots chose to run the ball against the Dolphins (37 rushing attempts and 22 passing attempts), and because of that Brady finished with just 116 passing yards, one TD and one INT. Brady is on pace for an 18:12 TD-to-INT ratio this season, which is exactly why I warned fantasy owners to avoid him in drafts. He ranked out as NFL.com’s No. 20 QB in Week 8, and that is about where he is ranked overall this season for QBs.
Chris Ivory – RB, Jets: Just as I said, Ivory was horrible on Sunday and finished with just 11 yards rushing. That equals 1.10 fantasy points if you get fractions and one point if you don’t, and that made him the worst starting RB in fantasy football for Week 8. The Bengals got up on the Jets early and Ivory was a non-factor in the passing game. The same could happen next week when they take on the Saints, so can we guess who will be on the Sit ‘em list next Friday?
Steven Jackson – RB, Falcons: The only thing fantasy football owners can hope and pray for is that Jackson’s hamstring was bothering him, thus causing him to be more of a decoy than a bust this week. Jackson managed just 11 yards rushing, and 7 yards receiving with no end zone visits to at least pad the stats. Jackson looked like he was running on two flat tires in this one and fantasy owners need to find other options as the Falcons take on the Panthers in Week 9, then the Seahawks in Week 10.
Kenbrell Thompkins – WR, Patriots: Thompkins isn’t someone that I personally like in fantasy leagues because he’s only caught 23 of his 56 targets this season. That means he only catches 41 percent of the passes thrown to him, which is dead last on the team if you take out Josh Boyce, who only played in one game this season. This week Thompkins was targeted just one time, and surprise, he failed to come up with a reception. He’s owned in 70.0 percent of NFL.com leagues, and I think that number should be about half that with Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back into the fold.
Rueben Randle – WR, Giants: I got more questions about playing Randle than almost any other player in fantasy football this week. Yes, Randle had scored in three straight games while recording 211 receiving yards and 12 receptions over that span. The Giants passing pecking order is supposed to go Victor Cruz No. 1, Hakeem Nicks No. 2, and then Randle No. 3. On Sunday, Randle received just one target and failed to haul it in, leaving his owners with a big fat 0.00 for fantasy points. Randle is little more than a WR4 and flex option as he obviously isn’t a top option for Eli Manning.
Joseph Fauria – TE, Lions: As I predicted, Fauria was a complete and total waste of fantasy roster space this week as he finished without a single target. Face it, Fauria was a one-week wonder and is stuck as the Lions No. 2 TE behind Brandon Pettigrew. I actually got into an argument on Facebook with a Fauria fan that went silent after the game. If you have gotten to the point where Fauria is your starting TE, you need to read my draft article before the start of next season to prevent this disaster from happening again!
Kansas City Chiefs Defense: The Chiefs are NFL.com’s No. 1-ranked defense, and entered Week 8 35 points ahead of the Seahawks. But, I don’t think anyone counted on Campbell coming in for the Browns and doing so well in his first start. Even though the Chiefs held the Browns to just 17 points, they also recorded just one sack and a fumble recovery on the day. The lack of stats ranked them No. 19 this week, which was actually sixth-worst as of Sunday with Monday Night Football pending and the plethora of teams on a bye.
For those keeping count, I went 15-16 this week with the only wrong pick being the Arizona Cardinals defense. I said to play Kaepernick, Dalton, Jackson, Zac Stacy, Jarrett Boykins, Terrence Williams, Reed, Saints defense, and to not play Terrelle Pryor, Kellen Clemens, Ivory, Joseph Randle, Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston and Fauria. You find me another football analyst that can run off 15-out-of-16 picks and I will buy whatever product he has, because that person is a genius!