Fantasy Football Start/Sit – Week #8
Start – Matt Ryan vs Buccaneers
The Falcons’ signal caller has had a rough go of it in 2 of the last 3 games while not being able to produce the fantasy numbers many owners expected from him at the onset of the season. In the first 7 games of the season Ryan has thrown for a respectable 2002 yards 9 touchdowns to 6 interceptions but respectable is not good enough for the talent of a Ryan. His recent struggles have a direct correlation to the health of the Falcons receiving corps. Star receiver Julio Jones has been hobbled with his troublesome hamstring and Leonard Hankerson has had a litany of injuries hampering Ryan’s options in the Falcons passing game. Timing could not of been better for Ryan this week as he faces a familiar foe he has dominated endless times in his career. The Buccaneers pass defense has been a mess all season long hitting rock bottom last week allowing Kirk Cousins to throw for 317 yards and 3 TDs. The lack of a pass rush and musical chairs in the secondary for the Buccaneers will allow Ryan to bounce back and thrive in this matchup.
Notables – Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Raiders, Teddy Bridgewater vs Bears, Russell Wilson vs Cowboys, Eli Manning vs Saints
Sit – Peyton Manning vs Packers
Peyton Manning is no longer a must start in fantasy leagues this season ranking 29th in QB fantasy points throwing more interceptions (10) than TDs (7) so far this season. In a game in which he is facing off against fellow future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers, the excellent play of both defenses is what has stood out thus far in the season. The Packers defense has intercepted more passes than TDs allowed while being very aggressive in getting after opposing QBs ranking in the Top 3 in sacks and QB completion percentage. Look for Manning to be under constant duress behind a shaky offensive line in a defensive game.
Notables – Colin Kaepernick vs Rams, Josh McCown vs Cardinals, Derek Carr vs Jets
Start – Chris Johnson vs Browns
The comeback player of the year Chris Johnson has risen to the top of the Arizona Cardinal’s depth chart after almost losing his life in a drive by shooting earlier this year. After a disappointing season last year for the N.Y. Jets Johnson is now second in the league in rushing for a Cardinals team who signed him late in the offseason to be their third back on the depth chart. An injury to RB Andre Ellington has propelled Johnson to a must start fantasy option each week especially this week in a very tasty matchup against a Browns team who is dead last in rush defense. The defense who was also the worst rush defense last season has allowed 151 rushing yards per game, 5.1 yards per carry, and 8 TDs on the ground. Fire up CJ2K once again this week as he should eclipse his fourth 100 yard game in his last six contest.
Notables – Justin Forsett vs Chargers, Jonathan Stewart vs Colts
Sit – Latavius Murray vs Jets
Last week Murray made me look good as he delivered on my start recommendation gaining 85 yards and a TD. But this week should not come easy for Murray as he faces off against a formidable Jets run defense that has a league best 3.4 yards per carry allowed. The holes that Murray found last week against the porous Chargers defense will not be there this week against Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and Sheldon Richardson. The Jets’ top ranked run defense eats running backs up for lunch allowing a minuscule 71.5 yards per game with only 2 TD on the ground all season. In four of their six games they have allowed less than 50 yards on the ground with 0 TDs. Keep Murray on your bench if you can.
Notables – Frank Gore vs Panthers, Melvin Gordon vs Ravens
Start – Martavis Bryant vs Bengals
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back! Big Ben is back after his 4 week absence with a MCL injury and all Steelers skill players get a big boost including Martavis Bryant who gets to play with Ben for the first time this season. Bryant has done just fine in the TD department without Big Ben at the helm catching 3 TDs in the last two weeks, which now have him scoring on 11 of his 35 catches in his first 12 games of his career. Absolutely remarkable as all he does is catch touchdowns and propel fantasy owners to wins. With Ben back it isn’t going to be only TDs much longer but more opportunities, targets, receptions, and yards to go along with his propensity for finding pay dirt. Defenses will be in a bind moving forward as they have to give top WR in the game Antonio Brown attention which will allow Bryant to keep doing what he do.
Notables – Mike Evans vs Falcons, Larry Fitzgerald vs Browns, Stefon Diggs vs Bears, Eric Decker vs Raiders
Sit – Amari Cooper vs Jets
I’m really looking forward to this matchup between the talented rookie Amari Cooper against the premier veteran Darrelle Revis. Revis island is no joke and I’m betting on Revis this week to lock down Mr. Cooper. But the game within the game on the outside will be must watch TV this weekend, let’s all see how great Cooper can be facing off against a cornerback no one has success against. Cooper, who leads the league in yards after the catch will be hard pressed to break away from the tight coverage of Revis limiting his opportunities to gain YAC. Either way it goes this should be a fun matchup to watch this week.
Notables – James Jones vs Broncos, Travis Benjamin vs Cardinals, Torrey Smith vs Rams
Start – Ladarius Green vs Ravens
In what should be a game Phillip Rivers lights up the Ravens secondary, TE Ladarius Green will get a full dose of targets with starting tight end Antonio Gates most likely to miss this game due to injury. Green has been consistent and productive this season with or without Gates in the lineup and has now caught 4 TDs this season and will more than likely get in the end zone again this week against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Ravens secondary has been in flux giving up a total of 13 passing TDs with a 101.4 QB rating. All these numbers should mean a big game for Rivers and his receiving weapons. Start Green with confidence this week.
Notables – Eric Ebron vs Chiefs, Benjamin Watson vs Giants
Sit – Kyle Rudolph vs Bears
The Vikings team has not unleashed or utilized the tight end position in the passing game opting to keep Kyle Rudolph in pass protection. It makes sense for the football team to protect and help out a shaky offensive line but in terms of fantasy football we don’t need that. Rudolph is a TD dependent tight end option that you should not gamble with. Keep him out of your lineups even against a poor Bears pass defense who although ranks sixth in passing yards per game and has given up a 64.7 completion percentage, a league leaving 15 passing TDs, and a 101.4 QB rating.
Notables – Dwayne Allen vs Panthers, Clive Walford vs Jets
Start – Titans D vs Texans
Did you see the Texans play last week against the Dolphins? This team is in disarray and has now lost their pro bowl RB Arian Foster for the season. A coaching change is warranted in Houston and the Titans defense is underrated.
Sit – Bengals D vs Steelers
Did I mention Big Ben was back. Well he is and it is not safe to start a defense against the Steelers high powered offense.