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 Bengals had a chance to rest up this week and get ready for the second half of the season with a perfectly-timed Week 8 bye. Rumor has it that rookie Dre Kirkpatrick will make his NFL debut in Week 9, giving the defense some much-needed depth in the secondary. Until Kirkpatrick is fully acclimated to the speed of the NFL game, the Bengals defense doesn't change any in fantasy terms.
On a lighter note, I had a Twitter follower ask myself and two fantasy "experts" from the big-box sites in a group Tweet if he should play Dwayne Bowe or Doug Martin this weekend. The two big-box guys said Bowe, "hands down." I told him to play Martin and laid out step-by-step why in three separate Tweets (due to length). Just so you all know, Bowe finished with 3 catches for 65 yards and no TDs; Martin finished with 135 yards rushing, 3 catches for 79 yards and 2 total TDs. So what is the moral of this story? There is a reason why I write FOR the NFL teams, and the other guys write ABOUT the NFL teams!
Alex Smith – QB, 49ers: Smith is someone I put on my Do Not Draft list because the 49ers offense in general is one that it designed to not lose games. But, playing an unstable Cardinals team fixed all that on Monday night as Smith threw for 232 yards and 3 TDs. While he isn't someone I want on my fantasy team, he is owned in 44.7 percent of NFL.com leagues and finished this weekend ranked No. 7 in NFL.com scoring.
Josh Freeman – QB, Buccaneers: Freeman roasted the Vikings secondary to the tune of 262 yards and 3 TDs on Thursday night. His schedule gets harder from here on out, so it would be a good time to sell high on him if you can find a taker at a decent price.
Doug Martin – RB, Buccaneers: Martin owners have been waiting for him to have his breakout game, and he finally did on Thursday night. Martin ran for 135 yards, hauled in 3 passes for 79 yards and scored 2 TDs. His 36.40 points was good enough to finish Week 8 as the No. 1 overall player in NFL.com PPR scoring.
Rashad Jennings – RB, Jaguars: In standard scoring formats, Jennings is going to be a flex player at best most weeks because he doesn't get a ton of yards. But, in NFL.com PPR scoring leagues he finished as a low-end RB1 with his 59 yards rushing and 6 catches for 56 yards receiving. I would try and sell high on your waiver wire find, but some RB depth is always a good thing if you can't trade him.
Titus Young – WR, Lions: Young had some lofty expectations before the season started, but failed to live up to them as he averaged just 7.50 fantasy points in NFL.com PPR scoring prior to Sunday. And, it was only that good because of his Week 3 (19.50 fantasy points) and Week 7 (14.10 points) performances. This week Young got bumped up to the No. 2 WR spot and finished with 9 catches for 100 yards and 2 TDs.
Michael Crabtree – WR, 49ers: The 49ers offense is one of the biggest rollercoaster rides you will ever see, and this week Crabtree owners (owned in 80.2 percent of NFL.com leagues) got to finish on top of the hill instead of on the bottom of it. Regardless of what he has done previously this season, in Week 8 Crabby-Patty hauled in 5 passes for 72 yards and 2 TDs. Those stats ranked him out as the No. 3 WR in NFL.com PPR scoring formats.
Jason Witten – TE, Cowboys: Witten racked up an amazing 18 catches for 167 yards in Week 8. Even though he didn't score, the receptions alone in PPR formats made him a stud this week.
Miami Dolphins Defense: I told people over Twitter and Facebook that the Dolphins defense was a nice sleeper pick this week, and they didn't disappoint. They allowed just 9 points to the Jets while getting 4 sacks, an INT, a recovered fumble and a defensive touchdown when Olivier Vernon recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. Vernon also blocked a FG in the game, although that doesn't help in NFL.com scoring. The Dolphins finished Week 8 as the No. 2 fantasy defense with 19.00 points.
Cam Newton – QB, Panthers: Newton was able to throw for 314 yards against a tough Bears defense. But, he also threw 2 INTs (both to Tim Jennings), one of which was taken 25 yards for a pick-6. Like I said earlier, I don't believe Cam I Am is regressing, I just think he needs an offensive-minded coach to help him out.
Eli Manning – QB, Giants: Eli and crew may have won the war, but he lost the battle for his fantasy owners. Manning finished as the second-worst starting QB with his 192 yards passing and an INT. He failed to reach the end zone, and that was the nail in the coffin.
Jamaal Charles – RB, Chiefs: The Chiefs offense is a tricky one to navigate, and this week Charles was the bomb that destroyed fantasy lineups. Charles certainly wasn't in charge as he ran just 5 times for 4 yards, and caught 3 passes for 6 yards. Charles didn't get hurt, there was no injury, he simply didn't get the touches.
Alfred Morris – RB, Redskins: I said on Wednesday that Morris was someone I would trade away due to his remaining strength of schedule (23rd hardest in NFL). This weekend he was only able to run for 59 yards and no end zone visits. The Redskins did get down early to the Steelers, which took the running game out of the picture. But, fantasy football is all about stats and I don't think he is going to put up great stats in the second half of the season.
Larry Fitzgerald – WR, Cardinals: As I told people last week, I traded Larry Fitzgerald in an NFL.com league for Tony Gonzalez, and people laughed. Why? Because if you look at the Cardinals remaining games, and filter it out by strength of schedule for WRs, they have the toughest SOS in the NFL. Not to mention they have some VERY serious QB issues going on in Arizona. All that being said, Fitzgerald finished this week with 5 catches for 52 yards, good enough for a No. 38 ranking in NFL.com PPR scoring formats. That makes him a flex play, not the No. 1 overall pick by some.
Victor Cruz – WR, Giants: The [play] Book of Eli wasn't working on Sunday and Cruz suffered because of it as he reeled in just 2 passes for 33 yards and no salsa dances (no TDs). Cruz is still a WR stud, so chalk this one up to a bad game and keep plugging him into your WR1 slot.
Vincent Jackson – WR, Buccaneers: It's amazing how much things can change from week-to-week, and this week V-Jax managed just 2 catches for 40 yards. I do think that Freeman is headed for a decline in production, and that means Jackson is going to be a pick-n-choose play going forward.
Antonio Gates – TE, Chargers: The Chargers and Browns game had a final score that more closely resembled an MLB final score than an NFL one (7-6). Because of the lack of scoring on the Chargers end, Gates finished the game with just 2 catches for 14 yards. Gates has been a fantasy bust this year, but he also has the ability to pull off big numbers like he did in Week 6 (6 catches for 81 yards and 2 TDs).
Minnesota Vikings Defense: The Vikings gave up 36 points to the Buccaneers on Thursday night, and managed just a single sack for defensive fantasy stats. That gave them a total of -3.00 points this week, something that is extremely hard to do in fantasy football.