The next two weeks in fantasy football will really be bye week hell. We have 6 teams (Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco) off and another 6 teams (Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington) off next week. That amount of players unavailable can put a strain on your starting roster.
In addition, we lost C.J. Anderson for the season as he had surgery this week and will be placed on injured reserve. LeSean McCoy isn’t expected to play and if he did he would be very limited. Lamar Miller is dealing with a shoulder injury and his status is still uncertain. Jerick McKinnon has been ruled out as well as Tevin Coleman. That is a lot of running backs in addition to not having Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Jay Ajayi, Rashad Jenning and Carlos Hyde out.
The next two weeks you are going to have to piece together a make shift lineup or decide which positions to punt. In the past, I have sacrificed my kicker position by playing my kicker on his bye week rather then dropping a player to fill in one week. Most times it works in your favor but there are some risks if you are in a close scoring matchup.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Melvin Gordon– 68 rushing yards 2 touchdowns, 6 receptions for 53 yards and 1 touchdown. Gordon is one of the most underrated players in fantasy. Most people don’t give him credit for his production this season. Yes, he doesn’t run great but he has scored in all but 1 game this season and has 10 total touchdowns this season. He is on pace for 18 rushing touchdowns and 4-5 receiving touchdowns. He might barely break 1,000 yards.
Davante Adams– 13 receptions for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is Adams first 100+ yard game since his rookie season. It’s hard to trust Adams as a starter. However, Eddie Lacy and James Starks are out and Randall Cobb is banged up, so Adams has a good chance to continue to get a high volume of targets.
Matt Forte– 100 rushing yards 1 touchdown, 4 receptions for 54 yards and 1 touchdown. Forte hasn’t had a good game since his Thursday night game against the Bills in Week 2 when he scored 3 times. He’s questionable this week so monitor his status before you use.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Jordy Nelson– 1 reception for 9 yards. Sometimes in a game when one player goes off such as Davante Adams, another player’s stats suffer. Nelson struggled this week and hasn’t looked good all season. It might be another year before he is fully recovered from his 2015 injury.
Brock Osweiler– 131 passing yards. Osweiler has played terribly this season and has killed the fantasy value of DeAndre Hopkins. He gets a dream matchup against the Lions. If he can’t have a good game this week, he should be benched in real life.
The Jaguars 2016- Nothing to see here. Competing against the Browns for the #1 draft pick in 2017.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Carson Palmer against the Panthers. This is not the 2015 Panthers where they went 15-1 and had a stout defense. The current Panthers defense is ranked 26th in pass defense allowing 282 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Panthers are allowing 20 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and have given up 30+ points in 2 of the last 3 games. Play all your Cardinals.
Aaron Rodgers against the Falcons. Is Rodgers finally back? Sure he hasn’t been terrible this season as he is the 12th best quarterback in fantasy, but for a player such as Rodgers, that’s just not enough. He’s a top-5 quarterback every season so being outside of the top 10 is a having a down year. This week’s matchup should be a shootout. The Packers secondary is bad so Julio should be running all over the field at large clips. That leaves the Packers having to put up yards and points on the board to keep this close. No running game means lots of throws. We saw that last week where Rodgers had a season-high 39 pass attempts. The Falcons have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 19.4 per game. They allow 294.3 passing yards per game (31st) with 15 touchdowns given up.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Browns. Fitzpatrick went from turnover machine to sitting on the bench. Then before you knew it he was thrown back on the field due to the injury of Geno Smith. So here we are looking at him as a low-end starter. He has a great matchup against the winless Browns. The Browns pass defense is 29th in the NFL allowing 285.7 passing yards per game with 18 touchdowns. They are giving up 20.9 fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Good running back matchups this week:
Spencer Ware against the Colts. I have been all over Ware this season as he has powered my lineup in one of my leagues as well as several weeks on DraftKings. With Jamaal Charles ruled out for this week, you have to go back to using Ware against a poor Colts’ run defense. The Colts are 24th in the league allowing 118.6 rushing yard per game with 7 touchdowns. That is a touchdown per game. They are the 2nd worst fantasy team this week in fantasy points allowed to running backs with 22.7 per game.
Christine Michael against the Saints. For those people who are familiar with MLB DFS, the term Coors field slate is common. For those who don’t play MLB DFS, Coors field games are DFS gold where you can expect a ton of scoring. Well this season, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is the Coors field of the NFL. If the Saints are playing at home, you start every viable player in that game. I’m more on Michael in this game than the Seahawks passing game because Russell Wilson is hobbled and should lean more on the run game. If you look at what the Saints have done against the run, fantasy goodness every week. The Saints allow the most fantasy points to running backs at 25.2 per game. The Saints are 22nd in rushing yards allowed with 116.8 per game. They have given up 11 rushing scores which equates to almost 2 per game.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Devontae Booker against the Chargers. With the news of C.J. Anderson being placed on I.R., many scrambled to add Booker where he was available while some have stashed him on the bench just for this opportunity. I had Anderson in 3 leagues and hate to lose a running back. I was only able to handcuff him in one of the three leagues. In the first game against the Chargers, Booker only saw 5 carries but still rushed for 46 yards which is 9.2 yards per carry. He will get the majority of the carries in this game against a defense that is allowing just 90.1 yards per game (8th) but have given up 9 touchdowns on the ground. They give up 21 fantasy points per game to running backs.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Philip Rivers against the Broncos. Rivers is the 7th best quarterback in fantasy this season and even though he has lost some key players, he continues to put up good numbers. He has scored 20+ fantasy points in 3 of the past 4 weeks. The one week he didn’t score more than 20 was against these Broncos that held him to 11 fantasy points. The Broncos defense is allowing a league-low 175 passing yards per game with just 4 touchdowns. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for over 270 yards, and since Week 2, have held fantasy quarterbacks to 14 points or less.
Dak Prescott against the Eagles. Prescott has been rolling his rookie season, putting up good fantasy numbers. Since Week 2, he has averaged 17.3 fantasy points. The story to monitor is when Tony Romo is healthy, will they make a switch. For now, you have to expect Prescott to be the starter, but if he struggles for a game or two we could see a switch happen. This week is going to be a struggle for Prescott as he faces a good Eagles’ pass defense. The Eagles are allowing 204.3 passing yards per game (5th) with 6 touchdowns given up. They are the toughest team to score fantasy points against for quarterbacks with 9.8 per game. If Dez Bryant is able to play it may help but I don’t think he gets more than 15 points this week.
Cam Newton against the Cardinals. Newton has had basically 1 bad fantasy game this season as you can look at his points per game average, which at 24.2 puts him as the 3rd best quarterback. However, with the missed game and the losing streak, people have been down on Newton. Coming out of the bye he gets a tough matchup against a Cardinals’ pass defense that allows the 3rd fewest passing yards with 193 yards per game with 5 touchdowns. Newton may run a score in this game, but facing a team that allows just 11.3 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks is a situation you want to avoid.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Ryan Mathews against the Cowboys. You will be looking at your roster and Mathews will be there. Now if you do not have any other healthy running backs then you bite the bullet and play Mathews. He hasn’t been great this season, averaging 43.7 rushing yards per game. He faces a good Cowboys’ run defense that has allowed 92.3 yards per game (10th) with only 2 scores on the ground. They have limited fantasy running backs to 11.7 points per game (3rd).
Mark Ingram against the Seahawks. I can’t understand the limited touches this season as he hasn’t carried the ball more than 18 times in any game. He has just 1 rushing touchdown all season and faces a team that has allowed just 2 scores on the ground all season to running backs and those came in the same game. The Seahawks allow 84.2 rushing yards per game (6th) and give up just 12.3 fantasy points per game to running backs.
Lamar Miller against the Lions. Last week, Miller had a tough matchup so his 61-yard performance was understandable. This week, he faces a Lions team that can give up some yardage but are stingy when it comes to touchdowns allowed to running backs. So far this season they haven’t allowed a touchdown to a running back and only 2 scores total on the ground. The Lions allow 111.4 rushing yards per game (18th) but hold fantasy running backs to 13.3 fantasy points per game. Miller is dealing with an injury so check his status before lineups lock.
Good luck to everyone in Week 8.