Walter Collazo
Week 8: The Quarterback Situation

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Welcome to Week 8. This week the big problem for most owners is going to be the quarterback position. The depth at quarterback this season has thinned out and the position has been hit hard with injuries to No. 12 overall quarterback Sam Bradford , No. 16 Jay Cutler and No. 27 Matt Schaub . Nick Foles and new starter Josh Freeman are dealing with concussions and will be replaced by Michael Vick and Christian Ponder.

We have six teams on a bye this week which include Cutler, Schaub. No. 3 quarterback
Philip Rivers , No. 6 Andrew Luck , No. 19 Joe Flacco and No. 26 Jake Locker. We also have teams switching quarterbacks such as the Cleveland Browns starting Jason Campbell over Brandon Weeden and Chad Henne will remain the starter over Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville.

Waiting on quarterback in this year’s fantasy drafts has taken its toll on some teams. I am a believer that depth at the quarterback position is just as important as depth at running back. In the leagues where I have good quarterback depth, my teams are doing well.

In the leagues where I don’t have that depth, my teams are struggling. Another factor this week is the game in London between San Francisco and Jacksonville. It looks like the 49ers have an easy schedule but
Colin Kaepernick , the No. 17 quarterback in fantasy leagues, has not put up great numbers. In fact, last week was his first game with more than 20 fantasy points since Week 1. Now, the 49ers are not just traveling to the east coast but 5,356 miles east with a time difference of eight hours. That will have some effect on the players where we could see a slow start to the game. Compare Jacksonville, who will be traveling 4,405 miles with a time difference of five hours. If there was a time this season where Jacksonville could pull an upset, this could be the week.

So what are we left with this week? There are just 8-9 quarterbacks whom we drafted as QB1 and the rest are QB2s and QB3s. Quarterbacks such as
Tom Brady and Cam Newton haven’t been playing like QB1s this season. Brady has just two games this season with 20 or more fantasy points and managed just 10 fantasy points last week with Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup. Hopefully, you can ride out the next couple of bye weeks and start preparing for the playoffs.

The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.

Calvin Johnson - 9 receptions, 155 yards, 2 TD. This is the Johnson we expect to see. After two bad weeks in which he missed a game and had just three catches for 25 yards last week, Johnson is hopefully back to putting up big numbers. He has a great matchup against the Dallas Cowboys this week. He is on pace for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns.

Vincent Jackson - 10 receptions, 138 yards, 2 TD. I didn’t expect back-to-back monster games with
Mike Glennon at quarterback but it shows that the problem was Josh Freeman . With Doug Martin out, defenses will be keying on Jackson to force Tampa Bay to throw elsewhere. Key stat from last week is 22 of Glennon’s 44 passes went to Jackson. It was a tough week as Tampa Bay faced Carolina on a short week, though.

Matt Forte - 6 carries, 91 yards, 3 TD, 2 receptions, 18 yards. Forte has been on a tear this season and is on pace to match his career high total of rushing yards which he set his rookie season when he rushed for 1,231 yards. He is also on pace to have his best rushing touchdown total of his career as he has never rushed for more than eight touchdowns in a season. He has done that twice, but he already has six touchdowns through seven games and could finish with 12-13.

The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well, you know.

Joseph Fauria - 1 reception, 15 yards. Those looking to upgrade at tight end or fill-in for
Jimmy Graham, who was on a bye, grabbed Fauria off waivers after his three-touchdown performance. He was a dud this week but the team released Tony Scheffler so maybe there will be more opportunities for Fauria in this offense going forward.

Andre Ellington - 3 carries, 3 yards. After posting 20 fantasy points in Week 6, the rookie looked to have taken the lead from
Rashard Mendenhall, but against a tough Seattle team, he was used sparingly. See what Ellington does this week before you trust him in your lineup.

T.Y. Hilton - 2 receptions, 27 yards. With the loss of
Reggie Wayne and the amount of yards and touchdowns Andrew Luck had, Hilton was not a factor. Through seven weeks, Hilton has four less targets than Wayne and has as many targets as some of the best wide receivers in the game but is catching just 51 percent of his targets. Hilton needs to step up after the bye.


Good quarterback matchups this week

Michael Vick vs. the New York Giants. Stats-wise it looks as if the Giants held down the Minnesota Vikings but if you saw the game you would know that there were two pick-sixes that were dropped and there were plenty of plays where the Vikings receivers were open but Josh Freeman would over throw them by a mile. I’m feeling that this game will be a great fantasy game for everyone where you can see a ton of points scored. I’m starting as many players as I have in this game on either team except the defenses.

Matthew Stafford vs. Dallas. Stafford, through seven weeks, has five games of 21-plus fantasy points. The Cowboys shut the Philadelphia Eagles down last week but
Nick Foles was in for Michael Vick and got hurt and the rest of the game was played by Matt Barkley . In Weeks 4 and 5, the Cowboys gave up 400-plus passing yards in those games and Stafford has a chance to reach those numbers. Stafford is the No. 6 fantasy quarterback averaging 21.7 fantasy points a game. The Cowboys defense ranks 30th in the NFL allowing 291.9 passing yards per game on average and has given up 14 passing touchdowns this season.

Sleeper Pick of the Week: Geno Smith at Cincinnati. Smith is a very underrated fantasy quarterback as he is averaging 17.1 fantasy points per game. It’s better than
Colin Kaepernick , Tom Brady or Eli Manning . This week he will face a Bengals team that has a good defense but can give up enough for Smith to be effective as a fantasy starter. The Bengals defense ranks 13th allowing 234.6 passing yards per game with 11 touchdowns allowed this season. Thad Lewis and Brian Hoyer had big fantasy games against the Bengals and last week Matthew Stafford finished with 26 fantasy points.

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