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Fantasy News: Week 8 Edition

Will it be Westbrook or McCoy?

Frustration has gotten the best of
Brian Westbrook owners this season, and that frusration could carry in to this week’s Eagles match-up with the New York Giants.  Westbrook has been a red and blue killer over the course of his career as he has averaged 108.6 total yards per game, and has scored 12 total touchdowns in 11 games against the division rival.  This week he may not even see the field as a slew of injuries has him banged up again led by the concussion he suffered last week.  Nevertheless, according to the
Philadelphia Inquirer head coach Andy Reid is keeping his star back’s status up in the air. 

“These things take time, and they’re all different, so we’ll just see how it works here.  As long as he’s OK’d and he’s cleared, then I think you’re OK,” Reid said. “These are experts you are talking about that are looking at these things. I know he wants to play. We have to listen to the doctors, both Brian and myself and [trainer] Rick [Burkholder].”

If Westbrook does not play, which is looking like the case here, rookie LeSean McCoy will step in and start for the Eagles, something that he has done before with some success. 

“I’ve been in this situation a couple of weeks ago,” said McCoy, who started against Kansas City when Westbrook sat with an ankle sprain. “I kind of have the flow of the offense. . . . It’s really not a difference. Even when Brian is playing, we’re still rotating quite a bit.”

In that game against the Chiefs, McCoy ran the ball 20 times for 84 yards and scored a touchdown, but in his last three games since the rookie runner has averaged just 2.6 yards per carry.  What gives?

“I’m not sure man; we haven’t really run the ball well lately,” McCoy said. “I’m not sure the reason why . . . I think the more we run the ball, in different schemes, [the better it will go]. I think coach, man, has lately been trying to run the ball a little bit, trying to keep [defenses] honest a little bit.”

Word is that McCoy has been glued to running back’s coach Ted Williams’ side in the past few days just to make sure he knows everything he needs to know when his number is called, which may just be when that coin flips come Sunday.  Overall, don’t expect huge numbers from McCoy, but he should provide enough to be considered as a No. 2 running back in any starting lineup this week. 

 

Young will finally start?

Owner Bud Adams has seen enough.  It’s time for a change at quarterback and according to the
Nashville Tennessean it’s going to start this week against the Jaguars as galloping quarterback Vince Young will take the field as the Titans starter, not Kerry Collins

“I’m still in Kerry Collins‘ corner because I don’t believe that our record is a reflection of the quarterback play,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “It’s a reflection of the team play. I’m still in his corner, but we’ve decided to go ahead and make this change.  As far as the future is concerned, I’m not one of those coaches who’s going to have musical chairs at the quarterback position.” 

Bear down, as here comes the old Titans “Young on the run” offense that left fantasy owners pulling out their hair, especially those who dared to draft any of the Titans receiving options in 2006 and 2007.  But that’s just the half of it.  Now Chris Johnson owners have to worry as to how many carries the inaccurate runner will take from the speed back, and whether or not the former Longhorn can complete a simple two yard screen pass. 

For the record, in 35 career games Young has averaged just 141.8 passing yards, has thrown 33 interceptions to 22 touchdowns, and has a lifetime QB rating of 67.8.  Yes, he has done some damage with his legs in the past, but his 28 rushing yards per game and 10 touchdowns don’t exactly make up for how bad he has been as a signal caller.  Overall, don’t be surprised if the Titans win this week, but do be surprised if Young performs at a starting quarterback-like level. 

Is Daniels of elite status?

Texans tight end Owen Daniels is catching the attention of NFL fans, fantasy owners, and even his teammates this season.  Daniels leads all tight ends with 497 receiving yards and has a team-leading five touchdown receptions.  And according to
The Canadien Press Daniels’ teammates have nicknamed him “Awesome.”  However, Daniels himself insists that he has put up great numbers because of his awesome offensive teammates around him, like Andre Johnson

“I’m definitely benefiting from people focusing on Andre because he’s obviously a huge threat,” Daniels said. “We’re (all) beneficiaries of Andre playing so well.”

Johnson himself thinks otherwise and knows the former Badger standout is only going to get better. 

“I think right now you could easily put him as one of the top tight ends in the NFL,” Johnson said. “As time goes along he’s only going to get better and better.”

So what has been the key to unlocking a career high five end zone trips, which equal the number of times he has crossed the pylon in the last two seasons combined?

“I think it’s just been opportunities down there,” he said. “It’s a little bit more fun when you have a chance to make those plays. Getting in the end zone, winning some games and helping your team out that way and not just being a possession guy and making first downs.”

Daniels has made plenty of fantasy owners happy thus far this season, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop anytime soon, begging the questions: Is he an elite NFL and fantasy tight end?  And how long will he be an elite tight end?

“Owen is becoming a big-time player in this league,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s more consistent in the run game for us than he’s ever been. Obviously, y’all know the plays he can make in the pass game. O.D. is a real pro. He’s going to do it for a long, long time.”

As long as he stays healthy I whole-heartedly agree.  Daniels should be a force for a long time, especially if quarterback Matt Schaub continues to stay healthy and put up elite-like numbers. 

On the injury front

According to the injury report…….

Falcon running backs
Jason Snelling and
Jerious Norwood were both held out of practice for a second straight day on Friday. 

Effect: This means that the Saints defense only has to worry about stopping Michael Turner this week, and if they figure out a way to do that in the first half the Falcons will quickly go to the pass, especially if the Saints jump out to an early lead. 

Carolina Panthers wide receiver
Muhsin Muhammad and tight end
Dante Rosario have been ruled out for this week’s game against the Cardinals. 

Effect:  As if the Panthers didn’t have enough problems, now they’ll be without two of their top targets in the lacking passing game, which ultimately will allow the Cardinals secondary to focus on locking down Steve Smith even more.  The worst news for the run-heavy Panthers is the fact that the Cardinals are the top ranked run defense in the NFL.

Indianapolis Colts rookie running back
Donald Brown is listed as doubtful for this week’s game against the 49ers with an injured shoulder. 

Effect: His most likely absence this week means that Joseph Addai will be used exclusively, which could be huge if the Colts build a big lead early.

Other Injuries

S Donte Whitner — Out

QB Trent Edwards — Out

QB Derek Anderson — Probable

LB Lofa Tatupu — Out

DT Jay Ratliff — Questionable

WR Calvin Johnson — Questionable

QB Matthew Stafford — Questionable

WR Percy Harvin — Questionable

TE Jermichael Finley — Doubtful

WR Jordy Nelson — Out

WR Anothony Gonzalez — Out

K Adam Vinatieri — Out

CB Marlin Jackson — Out

DE Dwight Freeney — Questionable

LB Channing Crowder — Doubtful

WR Jerricho Cotchery — Questionable

WR David Clowney — Questionable

RB Darren McFadden — Out

LB Kevin Burnett — Doubtful

CB Rashean Mathis — Out

CB Cortland Finnegan — Questionable

LB Thomas Davis — Questionable

RB Jonathan Stewart — Questionable

WR Anquan Boldin — Questionable

WR Mario Manningham — Questionable

WR Kevin Curtis — Out

Winfield Out, Berrian Questionable, and Favre makes return. 

On Sunday afternoon the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers will clash in probably one of the most historic, talked about games in NFL history.  And unless you’ve been living underground since Brett Favre’s first pass to himself in 1992 as a member of the green and gold, you should know that No. 4 returning to his sacred passing grounds in rival purple is the prime reason why.  However, there is more news than just No. 4.  I know, it’s crazy. 

According to the
Associated Press cornerback Antoine Winfield will not play on Sunday, which is bigger news than most fantasy owners realize.  In the first showdown between the Vikings and Packers on Monday night in Week 4 Winfield recorded 10 tackles, deflected two passes, and intercepted an Aaron Rodgers pass; Rodgers’ first pick of the year at the time.  Most importantly, Winfield held wide receiver Greg Jennings to just three receptions and 31 yards.  Without Winfield the Vikings have become exposed, especially in the short passing game, an element of the Packers offense that can be the strongest at times.

On the other side of the ball there is also an injury that does not spell good news for the Vikings.  According to the
Minneapolis Star Tribune Wide receiver Bernard Berrian suffered another hamstring injury last week that kept him out of the second half of last week’s loss to the Steelers. 

“It was very frustrating,” he said of being out for the final two quarters. “You don’t like to be not out there playing, especially in a game of this magnitude. You don’t want to be on the sideline watching it. It’s very painful to sit there and watch a loss.”

Berrian remains questionable heading in to Sunday, and although he hasn’t done much this season to get fantasy owners excited, Berrian was another Viking who had his best outing of the year against the Packers during their Week 4 Monday night clash.  In that game the field stretching speed receiver caught six passes for 75 yards and scored one of his two season touchdowns. 

With Berrian out of the way and on the sidelines the Packers would then be able to focus on shutting down the Vikings 2009 top wideout Sidney Rice, who ranks seventh among NFL receivers in yards (545), and has been targeted a team high 47 times thus far.  Keep a close eye on this situation, and consider starting the Packers defense if Berrian can’t go; one less target for Mr. Favre could mean more forced passes. 

Finally, I wrap up this bit of news with a few thoughts on No. 4.  Why not, right?

Brett Favre returns to the field he produced so many memorable moments on, so he deserves no boos on Sunday.  Yes, he has hurt some feelings of Packer fans, but who cares?  He’s a winning quarterback, and you just don’t boo winners for wanting to be winners no matter how much you feel betrayed. 

However, I do want to firmly state that of the two quarterbacks that will be taking the field on Sunday afternoon I would much rather have Aaron Rodgers on my side, both in the NFL and fantasy world.  He’s smarter (two interceptions), has just as strong of an arm, and doesn’t have a grey beard.  Besides that, he’s currently the second best passer in the NFL behind just Peyton Manning, with a QB rating of 110.8. 

Let the fireworks rain down on the northern Wisconsin sky!

Good luck.  Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com.  E-mail him at
e.huber12@yahoo.com

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