Friday, October 30, 2009
Week 8 Starters & Benchwarmers
You don’t need me advising you to start Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson, or to bench JaMarcus Russell and Brian Robiskie. So I’ll leave the obvious recommendations to the network bozos and focus instead on players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 8.
Watch ‘em roll
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars at Titans. He still hasn’t thrown a TD pass on the road this season, but two other trends are in his favor: He lit up Tennessee for 323 yards and 3 TDs in their earlier meeting, and the Titans stink no matter where they play. Both teams are coming off a bye, so Garrard has had extra time to plan his assault on the league’s worst pass defense.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles vs. Giants. The Cardinals can’t run on anybody, and yet the Giants allowed both of their RBs in the end zone last week. With Brian Westbrook sidelined with a severe concussion, McCoy will shoulder the load for Philly. The multi-talented rookie is good for at least one score and 100 combined yards.
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions vs. Rams. In a game pitting two of the NFL’s worst offenses against equally sorry defenses, it’s hard to predict if this will be a 3-0 snoozer or a 35-31 barn-burner. Either way, Smith will be Detroit’s only reliable and fully healthy weapon on the field (even if Calvin Johnson suits up), so enjoy this rare opportunity to start him with confidence.
Austin Collie, WR, Colts vs. 49ers. Though Reggie Wayne will likely play with his strained groin, he probably won’t be 100 percent. Collie has four TDs over the last three games, and will pick up the slack along with TE Dallas Clark as the Colts toy with the 49ers’ shaky secondary.
Terrell Owens, WR, Bills vs. Texans. He won’t fulfill the 10-touchdown guarantee he made to Buffalo’s mayor for this season, but the slumping diva should chip away at his goal against the same defense that revived Alex Smith’s career last Sunday. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has connected with Lee Evans for TDs in consecutive wins, and should spread the love to T.O. this week in a likely shootout.
More thumbs up: QBs Tony Romo, Brett Favre, Jay Cutler; RBs Steven Jackson, Joseph Addai, Steve Slaton, Pierre Thomas, Ricky Williams; WRs Miles Austin, Devin Hester, Mike Sims-Walker, Donnie Avery.
Roll ‘em back
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens vs. Broncos. Only Indy has given up fewer passing scores than Denver’s three. Flacco was up-and-down prior to the off week; but even with the extra rest, he’s not likely to rack up big numbers against a defense that has allowed just 11 points per game and is also coming off a bye.
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers vs. Vikings. Following his best performance of the season, Grant faces one of the league’s stingiest run defenses in what should be a pass-happy affair. His best chance to excel will be as a receiver, but he’s better off on your bench if you have safer options.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos at Ravens. Just when it appeared the rookie had ascended to workhorse status, Correll Buckhalter returned from injury to disrupt the coronation. Sharing carries against a stout Ravens defense that held Adrian Peterson out of the end zone prior to the bye is not what you want from your starting tailback.
Roy Williams, WR, Cowboys vs. Seahawks. He called his Week 7 outing his “worst game ever,” but he could have expanded that statement to the past 12 months. Now playing in the ever-widening shadow of Miles Austin, Williams cannot be trusted in your lineup until he and Tony Romo exhibit some degree of chemistry.
Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers at Colts. After his 3-TD extravaganza against the Texans, it would be hard to sit the suddenly prolific Davis. But Indy’s pass defense is on a whole different level than Houston’s, and no team has shut down opposing tight ends better than the Colts. Alex Smith and “bust” will once again be inextricably linked after this game.
More thumbs down: QBs Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck; RBs Ryan Grant, Jonathan Stewart, Tashard Choice, Julius Jones; WRs Jerricho Cotchery, Mario Manningham, Bernard Berrian, Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree.
TAKING A FLIER
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans at Bills. Walter has to be counted among the most disappointing players of 2010. After missing the first two games due to injury, he sparkled in Week 3, then promptly disappeared, despite playing with the top passer in Fantasyland. But more will be expected with Andre Johnson nursing his bruised lung (ouch!), even though the elite wideout is expected to suit up. Though Buffalo’s secondary is pretty salty, I think Walter earns his paycheck this week.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…benches Matt Forte this week. Trust me, I feel your pain, fellow Forte owner. I’d like to do more than bench the guy, if you know what I mean. But he’s facing the league’s second-worst run defense, and the Browns have allowed 10 rushing TDs already. Ryan Grant just posted his best game of the season against them, so maybe…just maybe…this is Forte’s week. If not, you have my permission to call me the bonehead.