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NFC South Player Analysis
Matt Wilson, FantasySharks.com, Staff Writer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Minnesota Vikings)

QB Mike Glennon: Even though Josh McCown (thumb) has resumed throwing, Glennon is expected to start in Week 8. He draws a nice home matchup against a Minnesota Vikings defense that allowed 236 passing yards and 2.3 touchdown passes per contest in the last four weeks. Consider Glennon a decent fantasy QB2 or bye-week replacement option. ( 210 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 5 yds rush )

QB Josh McCown: McCown has returned to practice and according to media reports, is throwing well, but Mike Glennon is still expected to start against the Minnesota Vikings. ( 40 yds pass; 2 yds rush )

RB Doug Martin: On the season, the third-year pro has scored just once. Martin also hasn't rushed for more than 50 yards in a game. He draws a great matchup against a Minnesota Vikings defense that surrendered an average of 123.3 rushing yards and 1.0 rushing touchdowns per game to opposing tailbacks during the last month. Martin is a strong play as a fantasy RB2. ( 66 yds rush; 3 catches for 29 yds )

RB Bobby Rainey: With Doug Martin starting in Tampa Bay's last three games, Rainey averaged 7.0 total touches and 34 total yards per contest with one touchdown scored. Consider him a low-end flex option in PPR formats against a Minnesota Vikings defense that yielded 123.3 rushing yards and 1.0 rushing touchdowns per game since Week 4. ( 48 yds rush; 3 catches for 21 yds )

RB Mike James: ( 10 yds rush; 1 catch for 2 yds )

WR Vincent Jackson: Start Mike Glennon's favorite target as a fantasy WR2 versus a Minnesota Vikings defense that ranked 20th in fantasy points allowed to enemy receivers during the last month. ( 5 catches for 75 yds and 1 TD )

WR Mike Evans: Although the rookie has scored in his last two games, it looks like Evans is operating as the third option in the Buccaneers passing attack behind Vincent Jackson and slot receiver Louis Murphy. Consider Evans a risky play - rookie wideouts can be inconsistent - against a Minnesota Vikings defense that ranked 20th in fantasy points allowed, to opposing receivers during the last month. ( 5 catches for 51 yds and 1 TD )

WR Louis Murphy: Tampa Bay's new slot receiver has quickly established some chemistry with Mike Glennon. During the Buccaneers last three games, Murphy averaged 8.6 targets per contest while amassing 16 catches, 206 receiving yards and one touchdown. He is a decent play as a flex option versus a Minnesota Vikings defense that ranked 20th in fantasy points given up to enemy wideouts since Week 4. ( 5 catches for 50 yds and 1 TD )

WR Russell Shepard: ( 1 catch for 7 yds )

WR Robert Herron: ( 1 catch for 5 yds )

WR Solomon Patton: ( 1 yd rush )

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins: The Minnesota Vikings have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends during the last four weeks, but they didn't face any teams with a dominant tight end. While Seferian-Jenkins has shown some modest progress, the rookie should not be on your fantasy radar right now. ( 4 catches for 39 yds )

TE Brandon Myers: With just two catches for 29 yards in his last three games, Myers clearly has fallen behind rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the depth chart. Myers has no fantasy value. ( 2 catches for 21 yds )

TE Luke Stocker: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

PK Patrick Murray: Consider Murray a very weak play versus a Minnesota Vikings defense that has yielded the eighth-fewest fantasy points to kickers in the last four weeks. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Tampa Bay Buccaneers: As strange as it may sound, Tampa Bay looks like a low-end starting option. During the Buccaneers' last four games, they allowed 41.3 points per contest, compiled 1.5 sacks per outing and notched 2.5 takeaways per game. Here is the appeal of Tampa Bay this week: the Minnesota Vikings, during the month, scored 17.5 points per game, allowed a whopping 4.8 sacks per contest and committed 2.0 turnovers per outing. ( 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



New Orleans Saints (vs Green Bay Packers)

QB Drew Brees: Even though he hasn't tossed more than two scoring strikes in a game so far this season, Brees remains a must-start. The Green Bay Packers defense has surrendered an average of 244.8 passing yards and 1.8 touchdown passes per contest during the last four weeks. ( 302 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 3 yds rush )

RB Mark Ingram: Even though Ingram was not productive against the Detroit Lions last week, he touched the ball 10 times while Khiry Robinson received just three touches. Since Pierre Thomas (shoulder) is not expected to play, Ingram will see the extra early-down work. Consider him a solid play against a Green Bay Packers defense that have yielded 105 rushing yards per game and one rushing touchdown to enemy running backs during the last month. ( 61 yds rush and 1 TD; 4 catches for 32 yds )

RB Pierre Thomas: Thomas (shoulder) is not expected to play in Week 8. We'll provide an update later in the week.

RB Khiry Robinson: Since Pierre Thomas (shoulder) is not expected to play, Robinson should receive a few extra touches, but the Saints likely will lean more on Mark Ingram. Based on expected workload, consider Robinson a weak play versus a Green Bay Packers defense that gave up 105 rushing yards per contest and one rushing touchdown to opposing running backs since Week 4. ( 31 yds rush; 2 catches for 14 yds )

RB Travaris Cadet: Since Pierre Thomas (shoulder) is not expected to play, Cadet is the leading candidate to handle the Saints' passing-back duties. Since Week 4, he has racked up 15 catches, 129 receiving yards and one touchdown grab, but Cadet didn't receive any carries. Consider him a dice roll flex option in PPR scoring formats. ( 5 yds rush; 6 catches for 50 yds )

WR Marques Colston: With a banged-up Jimmy Graham playing on a snap count last week, Colston operated as Drew Brees' go-to receiver in the middle of the field. The assumption here is that Graham still isn't 100 percent healthy, so look for Colston to do it again this week. Start him as a fantasy WR3 versus a Green Bay Packers defense that ranked 14th in fantasy points allowed to enemy wideouts during the last month. ( 5 catches for 62 yds )

WR Brandin Cooks: Last week, the rookie took a backseat to Marques Colston and Kenny Stills, amassing just two catches for 23 yards. Cooks is usually more productive at the Superdome, so he should bounce back. Consider Cooks a decent flex option against a Green Bay Packers defense that ranked 14th in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts during the last month. ( 3 yds rush; 5 catches for 52 yds )

WR Kenny Stills: Don't chase Stills' big fantasy outing (five catches for 103 yards and one touchdown) from last week. He was demoted from the starting lineup back in Week 2. Stills now operates as a situational deep threat, which makes his week-to-week fantasy production unpredictable. Stills is a very dicey flex option. ( 1 yd rush; 2 catches for 33 yds )

WR Robert Meachem: ( 1 catch for 17 yds )

WR Joseph Morgan: ( 1 catch for 5 yds )

WR Nick Toon: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

TE Jimmy Graham: Although Graham (sprained shoulder) played close to 30 snaps last week, he didn't catch any passes. Our projections assume that Graham is healthier and will play close to a full game, but there are some doubts about whether he can take hits and block effectively. Until we see Graham make it through full practices during the week, he is a very risky play. We'll provide an update on Graham's playing status later in the week. ( 5 catches for 64 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ben Watson: With Jimmy Graham (shoulder) playing a limited number of snaps last week, Watson caught just one pass for three yards. He lacks fantasy appeal. ( 2 catches for 16 yds )

TE Josh Hill: Even though Jimmy Graham (shoulder) played a limited number of snaps last week, Hill wasn't heavily involved in the offense. He caught only one pass for eight yards. Hill should not be on your fantasy radar. ( 1 catch for 16 yds )

PK Shayne Graham: Consider Graham a weak play against a Green Bay Packers defense that yielded the seventh-fewest fantasy points to enemy kickers since Week 4. Graham's matchup has shootout potential, so he likely will be kicking more extra points than treys. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def New Orleans Saints: The Saints defense is a weak play. Since Week 4, New Orleans has allowed 31 points per game, notched just 1.67 sacks per contest and amassed only one takeaway per outing. During the last month, the Green Bay Packers have scored 36.3 points per game. They also gave up 2.0 sacks per contest and committed just one turnover. ( 1 sack )



Atlanta Falcons (vs Detroit Lions)

QB Matt Ryan: The Falcons triggerman has thrown only one touchdown pass in each of his last three games. Why has Ryan been struggling? His protection has been poor. the Falcons lost four starting offensive linemen to season-ending injuries. Reliable slot receiver Harry Douglas (foot) also has been out of the lineup. Consider Ryan a weak play as a fantasy QB2 against a Detroit Lions defense that surrendered 261.8 passing yards and one touchdown pass per outing during the last month. SPECIAL UPDATE: The Atlanta Falcons/Detroit Lions contest kicks off at 9:30 AM EDT, Sunday, in London, England. ( 253 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 6 yds rush )

QB T.J. Yates: ( 21 yds pass )

RB Steven Jackson: Consider the touchdown-dependent Jackson a weak play versus a Detroit Lions defense that yielded just 70 rushing yards per game and one rushing score to opposing running backs during the last four weeks. SPECIAL UPDATE: The Atlanta Falcons/Detroit Lions contest kicks off at 9:30 AM EDT, Sunday, in London, England. ( 30 yds rush; 3 catches for 11 yds )

RB Jacquizz Rodgers: Averaging just 3.3 combo touches per contest during the last month, Rodgers lacks fantasy appeal as long as Steven Jackson is healthy. ( 21 yds rush; 2 catches for 17 yds )

RB Antone Smith: His streak of games with a touchdown ended at five last week. Averaging just 4.0 combo touches per outing, the boom-or-bust Smith is not a recommended fantasy play against a Detroit Lions defense that gave up just 70 rushing yards per contest and one rushing touchdown to enemy running backs since Week 4. SPECIAL UPDATE: The Atlanta Falcons/Detroit Lions contest kicks off at 9:30 AM EDT, Sunday, in London, England. ( 12 yds rush; 2 catches for 27 yds )

RB Devonta Freeman: Buried on the depth chart, the rookie runner has averaged 6.0 total touches and 42.5 total yards per contest in Atlanta's four-headed backfield during the last four weeks. ( 11 yds rush; 2 catches for 18 yds )

WR Julio Jones: The fourth-year pro is coming off two dud outings, and he draws a challenging matchup against a Detroit Lions defense that has yielded the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers during the last month. Nevertheless, Jones remains a must-start. SPECIAL UPDATE: The Atlanta Falcons/Detroit Lions contest kicks off at 9:30 AM EDT, Sunday, in London, England. ( 6 catches for 72 yds )

WR Roddy White: Consider White a weak play as a fantasy WR3 against a Detroit Lions defense that surrendered the ninth-fewest fantasy points to enemy wideouts since Week 4. SPECIAL UPDATE: The Atlanta Falcons/Detroit Lions contest kicks off at 9:30 AM EDT, Sunday, in London, England. ( 7 catches for 55 yds )

WR Harry Douglas: Douglas (foot) has missed four straight games. Heading into late Wednesday morning, his Week 8 playing status was unknown. We'll leave his projections alone for now and provide an update later this week. ( 3 catches for 35 yds )

WR Devin Hester: Operating as Atlanta's fill-in slot receiver while Harry Douglas (foot) has been sidelined during the last four weeks, Hester (hamstring) racked up one good fantasy outing against three poor ones. If Douglas misses his fifth straight game, Hester will get the nod in the slot, but he lacks fantasy appeal. ( 1 yd rush; 2 catches for 24 yds )

WR Eric Weems: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

TE Levine Toilolo: The second-year pro hasn't caught more than three passes or amassed more than 35 receiving yards in a game this season. Toilolo also notched his only scoring grab back in Week 1. He is waiver-wire material. ( 2 catches for 15 yds )

TE Bear Pascoe: ( 1 catch for 2 yds )

PK Matt Bryant: The Detroit Lions defense gave up 7.5 points per game to enemy kickers during the last month. However, we don't expect the struggling Atlanta offense to generate many scoring chances for Bryant. Consider him a weak play. ( 3 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Atlanta Falcons: The Atlanta defense is a weak play. Since Week 4, the Falcons allowed 31.8 points per game. They also notched one sack and 1.3 turnovers per outing. The Detroit Lions offense, during the last month, scored 19.8 points per game. The Lions allowed a surprising 4.3 sacks per outing and committed just one turnover per contest. ( 1 sack, 1 Fumble )



Carolina Panthers (vs Seattle Seahawks)

QB Cam Newton: His matchup against the struggling Seattle Seahawks defense isn't as scary as it looked at the beginning of the season. During the last month, Seattle has allowed an average of 228 passing yards and 2 touchdown passes per contest. Start Newton as a fantasy QB1. ( 242 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 35 yds rush )

QB Derek Anderson: ( 20 yds pass )

RB Jonathan Stewart: DeAngelo Williams (high ankle sprain) could return this week, which means that he and Stewart would operate in a committee against a Seattle Seahawks defense that allowed an average of only 93 rushing yards per game and two rushing touchdowns to enemy running backs in the last month. Consider Stewart a weak play as a flex option. We'll provide an update on the status of Williams later this week. ( 43 yds rush; 2 catches for 18 yds )

RB Chris Ogbonnaya: Operating as Jonathan Stewart's backup last week, Ogbonnaya touched the ball just five times. If DeAngelo Williams is a no-go for Week 8, Ogbonnaya would back up Stewart again. If Williams is healthy enough to suit up, Ogbonnaya would drop to third on the Panthers running back depth chart behind him and Stewart. Whatever happens, Ogbonnaya should not be on your fantasy radar. ( 19 yds rush; 2 catches for 14 yds )

RB Darrin Reaves: Although he was active last week, Reaves (calf) didn't touch the ball. He is buried on the Panthers running back depth chart behind Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams (high ankle sprain), Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker. ( 7 yds rush; 1 catch for 3 yds )

RB Fozzy Whittaker: He has dropped behind Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams (high ankle sprain) and Chris Ogbonnaya on the Panthers' running back depth chart. Whittaker (quadriceps), who was inactive last week, should not be on your fantasy radar. ( 4 yds rush; 1 catch for 9 yds )

RB DeAngelo Williams: If Williams (high ankle sprain) is healthy enough to play, he would split carries with Stewart in a tough matchup versus a Seattle Seahawks defense that gave up 93 rushing yards per contest and two rushing touchdowns to opposing ball carriers during the last four weeks. Williams, who rarely catches passes, would rate as a weak flex option. We'll provide an update on Williams' status later in the week. ( 34 yds rush; 1 catch for 12 yds )

WR Kelvin Benjamin: The Seattle Seahawks defense yielded the sixth-fewest fantasy points to enemy wideouts during the last four weeks. Unless the Panthers move Benjamin around the formation, he likely will spend the afternoon battling Richard Sherman, which obviously would depress the rookie wideout's production. Consider Benjamin a weak play as a flex option We recommend you look elsewhere this week. ( 5 catches for 53 yds )

WR Jerricho Cotchery: Assuming Kelvin Benjamin spends the afternoon battling Richard Sherman, some extra targets likely will come Cotchery's way. However, the Seattle Seahawks defense gave up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers during the last four weeks, so the matchup obviously is a challenging one for Cotchery. Consider him a weak play as a fantasy WR4 or flex option. ( 5 catches for 50 yds and 1 TD )

WR Jason Avant: ( 3 catches for 27 yds )

WR Brenton Bersin: ( 1 catch for 12 yds )

WR Philly Brown: ( 3 yds rush; 1 catch for 8 yds )

TE Greg Olsen: The must-start Olsen will battle a Seattle Seahawks defense that has ranked just 20th in fantasy points allowed to enemy tight ends during the last month. Since Kelvin Benjamin is expected to struggle against shadow coverage by Richard Sherman, Olsen will be a key target for Cam Newton. ( 7 catches for 80 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ed Dickson: ( 1 catch for 10 yds )

TE Brandon Williams: ( 1 catch for 1 yd )

PK Graham Gano: During the last four weeks, the Seattle Seahawks defense ranked 15th in points allowed to opposing kickers. Carolina should generate a decent number of scoring chances for Gano. Consider him a solid low-end starting option. ( 2 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Carolina Panthers: The disappointing Carolina defense looks like a weak play. During the last month, the Panthers allowed 34.3 points per game. They also averaged 1.8 sacks and 1.5 takeaways per contest. In the same time span, the Seattle offense scored 25.33 points per game. The Seahawks allowed just 2.0 sacks per outing and committed only one turnover. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



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