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. *
One of the most underrated fantasy players in all fantasy football has to be Andy Dalton. Heck, he could be one of the most underappreciated players in the NFL if you look at what the national media says about him most weeks. The truth is fantasy football is all about statistics; it takes out human emotion and bias and JUST looks at what a player does on the field.
So far this season Dalton is ranked 11th on NFL.com for fantasy QBs, which is better than guys like Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick and Michael Vick, all of which are owned in more NFL.com leagues than Dalton.
While Dalton is owned in 83.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, he is started in just 12.5 percent of them. Meaning, he is sitting on people's benches while they start guys like Brady, Kaepernick and Alex Smith. That's right, Smith is owned in 58.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, but started in 16.7 percent of them and ranks out two spots below Dalton at 13th for QBs.
The point I was trying to make Bengals fans is you should never listen to those big box websites or national media on who is good and who is not. They are often wrong and almost always have their opinions skewed by some bias that has little to not merit. If you look at the stats and take your personal opinion out of the equation like I do, then you will find that you'll be right more times than you are wrong! WHO DEY!
Andy Dalton – QB, Bengals: Even though Dalton is ranked 11th overall for fantasy QBs on NFL.com, I've seen him ranked as low as 16th by a major fantasy website. The Jets are giving up 18.4 fantasy PPG this season, but Dalton now has Marvin Jones playing opposite A.J. Green and that is stabilizing the WR corps. Dalton is a good fill-in option for those with their QB on a bye.
Colin Kaepernick – QB, 49ers: If there was ever a week to play Kaepernick and all other 49ers players, it would be this one. The Jaguars are a mess on offense and defense, making them a great team to shadow with fantasy players all season long. Even though I am not a fan of the WR weapons the 49ers have, I am positive that they will find a way to put up quality fantasy stats across the board given the even more pronounced problems the Jaguars have.
Zac Stacy – RB, Rams: With the Rams losing their QB for the season, Stacy and the running game will play an even more prominent role within the offense going forward. As you'll see below, I think the passing game is in for some rough times this week and the running game is what they are going to fall back on when the QB struggles. Stacy is a top-tier RB2 this week just because of the touches I think he will see.
Fred Jackson – RB, Bills: With C.J. Spiller almost a lock to miss Week 8, that leaves Jackson as the starting running back for the Bills. The Saints give up 17.5 fantasy PPG this season to RBs, and Jackson has finished with single-digit fantasy totals in just one week this season on NFL.com's standard scoring format. Jackson is in the upper portion of the RB2 rankings, but has real upside into the RB1 rankings.
Jarrett Boykins – WR, Packers: Boykins took over for Randall Cobb after his injury and didn't fail to impress in Week 7 with his 103 receiving yards and a touchdown against the Browns. This week he gets the Vikings and they have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to WRs each week with an average of 14.7 PPG. Right now he is owned in just 39.6 percent of NFL.com leagues, and that number should be about double. Aaron Rodgers can make even a backup WR a fantasy stud.
Terrence Williams – WR, Cowboys: With so much attention paid to Dez Bryant, Williams has the unique ability to get open and not have to worry about teams bringing help from a safety. This week the Cowboys take on a Lions defense that gives up 26.7 fantasy PPG to WRs this season, sixth worst in the NFL. Williams has pushed Miles Austin to the bench and he is a must-own player (48.5 percent owned on NFL.com) in the second half of the season.
Jordan Reed – TE, Redskins: The Florida Gators product made a statement last week with his 9 receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. Robert Griffin III seems to have found himself a new toy to play with and that is just fine for fantasy owners as they are scrambling to fill in for bye-week players and injured guys like Jermichael Finley. The Broncos allow 9.8 fantasy PPG to TEs this season, which is right below the Bears at 9.9. So, if he can light up the Bears for 9/134/1, he should have success again this week against the Broncos.
New Orleans Saints Defense: This week the Saints figure to jump out to an early lead and cause the Bills to play catch-up ball for most of the game. Playing from behind means throwing, and that usually means forcing the ball, which in turn usually leads to turnovers. The Saints are a solid low-end starting fantasy defense for those who normally use one of the bye week defenses.
Kellen Clemens – QB, Rams: The ONLY reason Clemens made this list is because NFL.com has him projected to finish with the ninth-most fantasy points for a QB at 20.68. That is absolutely absurd considering the Seahawks allow just 14.9 fantasy PPG to QBs (third best in the NFL), and Sam Bradford only managed those points one time this season (Week 2 against the Falcons he scored 26.58). Bradford is clearly head and shoulders above Clemens as a QB, yet NFL.com thinks Clemens is going have more success with the same weapons.
Terrelle Pryor – QB, Raiders: Pryor has been picked up in about 40 percent of NFL.com leagues since the start of the season after being drafted in about four percent of them to start. This week the Raiders take on the Steelers and once again NFL.com has the projections wrong! They are projecting Pryor to finish with the third-most fantasy points this week (25.28) despite playing the Steelers, who boast the second-best defense at stopping fantasy QBs with 14.1 fantasy PPG allowed. This is EXACTLY why you don't listen to the projections that come from NFL.com, ESPN.com, Yahoo.com, CBSSportsline.com, etc. They often make absolutely no sense and can't even be rationalized with stats.
Chris Ivory – RB, Jets: Last week Ivory broke out for 104 yards on the ground against the Patriots, so fantasy owners immediately put him in their lineups for this week. Not so fast. The Bengals defense is ninth in the NFL against fantasy RBs with 14.7 PPG allowed, whereas the Patriots are 18th in the NFL and give up 17.6 PPG. I don't think he will find as many open lanes this week and is likely to fall into the low-end RB2 or flex rankings when the final whistle blows.
Joseph Randle – RB, Cowboys: As quickly as Randle's fantasy star rose, it came crashing back to Earth with DeMarco Murray back in the lineup. Murray may not play a full complement of snaps this week, but he is sure to play enough to stalemate any value that Randle would have provided. At best Randle can hope for some random score on some odd play, but that's not something I would bet on in Week 8 of the fantasy football season.
Dwayne Bowe – WR, Chiefs: The Chiefs are the only undefeated team left in the NFL (7-0), but the mark has to be bittersweet for Bowe, who is owned in 86.3 percent of NFL.com leagues. And ranked 54th among WRs. As sad as it is, Bowe's highest totals this season are 5 catches and 66 yards receiving in a game. This week he takes on the Browns and cover-corner Joe Haden, and that is not a matchup I see him winning. If Boykins is available in your league still, I'd cut Bowe for him.
Marques Colston – WR, Saints: This is the one prediction I truly think could actually go 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Just as easily as I could see Colston being a complete dud like he has been for most of the season, I could also see him racking up 7-9 catches with 150 yards receiving and a TD or two. Jimmy Graham is likely out this week, meaning Drew Brees will need someone to throw to against the generous Bills defense (second-most fantasy points allowed to WRs with 33.1 PPG). History has a way of repeating itself, and Colston has been a complete and total non-factor in too many games this season to bet against.
Joseph Fauria – TE, Lions: The problem with guys like Fauria is they have one good week (34 yards receiving and 3 TDs in Week 6), and those waiver wire trolls that are in every league run to their computer and pick them up. Fauria followed up those Week 6 numbers with one catch for 14 yards (four targets) and no touchdowns in Week 7. Fauria is a classic example of fantasy owners chasing points, which you should NEVER do. We all missed the 3 TD week; suck it up and drive on!
Arizona Cardinals Defense: Once you get past the top 4-5 defenses, the next 7-8 are all bunched up into the same rankings really. Normally the Cardinals are in that top 4-5 group, but this week they run into a Falcons team that did quite well last week without star WR Julio Jones and starting RB Steven Jackson. This week the Falcons get Jackson back, but will still be without Roddy White. Even with Harry Douglas as the team's No. 1 WR, Matt Ryan proved he can make plays no matter who is out there on the field for his team. The Cardinals are a low-end starting defense this week, and I would much rather see the Saints or Steelers defenses in my lineup.