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In The Spotlight – Week 8 In Review

Week 8 Fantasy Headlines:

  • Calvin Johnson: 14 Catches, 329 Receiving yards & 1 TD
  • Marvin Jones: 8 Catches, 122 Receiving Yards & 4 TDs
  • Terrelle Pryor Sets NFL QB Record with a 93-Yard TD Run
  • Andre Ellington: 15 carries for 154 Yards & 1 TD
  • Matthew Stafford Passes for a Career-High 488 Yards
  • Frank Gore & Colin Kaepernick: 125 Rushing Yards & 4 Rushing TDs
  • Drew Brees Shreds Bills with 5 TD Passes
  • “Red-Hot” Andy Dalton Torches Jets with 5 TD Passes
  • Cam Newton Racks Up 3 Total TDs; Panthers Steamroll the Bucs
  • Jamaal Charles’ Scoring Streak Ends, But Chiefs Still Climb to 8-0
  • Tom Brady Passes for Just 116 Yards & 1 TD, But Patriots Still Win
  • Rob Gronkowski Disappoints with 2 Catches for 27 Yards
  • Geno Smith Benched After Throwing 2 Pick-Sixes in Loss to Bengals
  • Matt Ryan Tosses 4 Picks In Falcons’ Loss to Cardinals
  • Steven Jackson: 11 Carries for 6 Yards

Game Summaries & Fantasy Commentary:

Bye week: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers & Tennessee Titans.

Thursday Night Game:









Fantasy Focus – Carolina Panthers:
Cam Newton is playing some of the most efficient and intelligent football of his career. The Panthers field general completed throws to nine different receivers on his way to amassing 221 passing yards and two touchdown tosses against no interceptions. Newton also rushed 11 times for a team-high 50 yards and one score. During the last three weeks, he has completed 77 percent of his passes and compiled eight total touchdowns.

Greg Olsen (3-21-1 on four targets) and Mike Tolbert (7-35-0 rushing and 4-29-0 receiving) each caught a scoring pass from Newton. Ted Ginn topped all Carolina receivers with five grabs for 80 yards.

DeAngelo Williams (8-43-1 rushing and 1-8-0 receiving) scored for the first time this season.

Fantasy Focus – Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Mike Glennon passed for 275 yards and one touchdown with no turnovers. However, the rookie passer, who was sacked three times, was unable to move the offense when it mattered, and Glennon padded his stats with a few garbage-time drives.

Timothy Wright (5-48-1 on eight targets) hauled in Glennon’s only scoring strike. The Panthers successfully shut down the explosive Vincent Jackson, limiting him to just five catches for 79 yards on 13 targets. Mike Williams (3-20-0 on six targets) was a non-factor for the second straight week.

As expected, rookie Mike James (10-39-0 rushing and 4-25-0 receiving) didn’t get on track against one of the top defenses in the NFL. His longest run in 10 carries was 15 yards. James also lost third-down work to backup Brian Leonard (1-7-0 rushing and 6-32-0 receiving).

Key Injury:
DeAngelo Williams (quadriceps)

Fantasy Tips:
There is a good chance that Jonathan Stewart will make his 2013 debut in Week 9, which will torpedo the already limited value of DeAngelo Williams. However, I think Mike Tolbert will retain most of his fantasy value. Tolbert has scored in three straight games while operating as Carolina’s preferred option in the red zone, and the Panthers would be foolish to change his role.

Don’t overreact to Smith’s disappointing game. The Buccaneers had been using Darrelle Revis mostly in zone coverage up until this game (don’t ask me why), so it was a big surprise to see him shadowing Steve Smith (4-42-0 on seven targets).

Mike Williams has been ineffective during the last two weeks, because he apparently is playing with a torn hamstring. Unless you’re desperate, he does not belong in your starting lineup until further notice.

Waiver Wire Prospects:
Mike Tolbert, Ted Ginn

Early Sunday Afternoon Games:








Fantasy Focus – Dallas Cowboys:
In case you missed the game, Dallas’ heartbreaking loss wasn’t Tony Romo’s fault. Granted, Romo wasn’t sharp for a good portion of the contest, completing just 14-of-30 throws for 206 yards and three touchdowns. He also scrambled three times for six yards.

Facing extra defensive attention all afternoon, Dez Bryant hauled in just three passes for 72 yards on six targets, but two of his grabs were for touchdowns. The bulk of Bryant’s receiving yards came on a 50-yard pass from Romo in the fourth quarter. Terrance Williams (2-64-1 on 10 targets) hit pay dirt for the fourth straight game. Jason Witten (2-15-0 on two targets) and Cole Beasley (1-8-0 on three targets) were non-factors. Miles Austin was inactive.

With DeMarco Murray (knee) sitting out for the second straight week, Joseph Randle (14-26-0 rushing and 3-18-0 receiving) handled the bulk of the rushing duties. Randle and Lance Dunbar (5-16-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) found very little running room against an inspired Lions run defense.

Fantasy Focus – Detroit Lions:
Calvin Johnson racked up one of the best single-game receiving performances in NFL history: 14 catches for 329 yards and one touchdown. The 329 receiving yards fell just short of Flipper Anderson’s league-record 336 receiving yards in a single contest, which was set back in 1989.

Kris Durham (4-54-0 on six targets) and Brandon Pettigrew (3-31-0 on six targets) were the only other stat sheet notables. Matthew Stafford passed for a career-high 488 yards along with one touchdown. He also scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard plunge with 12 seconds left.

Reggie Bush (21-92-1 rushing and 8-30-0 receiving) and Joique Bell (4-32-1 rushing and 1-22-0 receiving) both found the end zone.

Key Injuries:
Reggie Bush (shoulder/chest – returned to the game). Ryan Broyles (Achilles’ tendon) caught just one ball for eight yards.

Fantasy Tip:
According to media reports, DeMarco Murray suffered a setback to his sprained knee during a Friday practice. Keep a close eye on his status this week.

The Lions have a Week 9 bye. Nate Burleson (broken arm) could return as early as Week 10.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
Nate Burleson









Fantasy Focus – San Francisco 49ers:
San Francisco treated an audience at Wembley Stadium in London, England, to a good old fashioned NFL blowout. The 49ers steamrolled the leaky Jaguars defense with 221 rushing yards. For the second week in a row, Frank Gore (19-71-2 rushing and 1-6-0 receiving) hit pay dirt twice. Gore has scored at least once in four of his last five outings. Kendall Hunter rolled up 84 yards on nine carries while playing in clock-killing mode.

Colin Kaepernick kicked in 54 rushing yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. With the running game clicking, Kaepernick didn’t have to do much as a passer. He completed 10-of-16 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown, which went to Vernon Davis (3-52-1 on four targets). Anquan Boldin (4-56-0 on six targets), as you probably suspected, had a quiet afternoon.

The San Francisco defense notched just one turnover (a pick-six) and no sacks.

Fantasy Focus – Jacksonville Jaguars:
As usual, Chad Henne couldn’t move the offense when it mattered. Henne padded his stat line in garbage time (29/45 for 228 yards and one touchdown against no picks). Mike Brown (3-43-1 on six targets) caught Henne’s only scoring strike of the game late in the third quarter.

Justin Blackmon (4-31-0 on 10 targets) dropped what likely would have been a 26-yard touchdown pass. He has been struggling because of groin and hamstring injuries. Cecil Shorts (7-74-0 on 10 targets) continues to play through a clavicle/shoulder injury.

In the rushing department, Maurice Jones-Drew compiled 75 rushing yards on 19 carries and caught six passes for 47 yards, which was his most productive outing of the season. Prior to this contest, Jones-Drew’s involvement in the passing game had been next to zero, so the six receptions are a big surprise.

Key Injuries:

Fantasy Tip:
San Francisco and Jacksonville both have a Week 9 bye.

In his last three starts, Chad Henne rarely has been able to move the Jaguars offense outside of garbage time. We could see Blaine Gabbert reinstalled as the starter in Week 10, which obviously would impact the value of Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts. Gabbert also rarely throws to Jones-Drew.

Waiver Wire Prospects:








Fantasy Focus – Cleveland Browns:
Making his first start in place of the struggling Brandon Weeden (benched), Jason Campbell played solidly overall. He came very close to leading the Browns to a come-from-behind triumph. Campbell went 22-of-36 for 293 yards and two touchdowns with no picks or lost fumbles. He was sacked just once.

Josh Gordon (5-132-1 on 10 targets) bounced back from a dismal Week 7 outing with his third 100-yard outing and third touchdown grab of the season. Backup running back Fozzy Whittaker (2-22-1 receiving) hauled in Campbell’s other scoring pass. Jordan Cameron (4-81-0 on four targets) racked up most of his stats in the second half.

The Browns running game, as expected, was a non-factor against the Chiefs defense. Willis McGahee rushed for a team-high 28 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for zero yards.

Fantasy Focus – Kansas City Chiefs:
Jamaal Charles amassed 100-plus total yards for the eighth straight contest, but he failed to hit pay dirt for the first time this season. Charles rushed 18 times for 74 yards and caught five balls for 46 yards.

Alex Smith did his usual game-manager thing. He completed an efficient 24-of-36 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions. Smith also rushed for 40 yards on six carries. Fullback Anthony Sherman (3-23-1 receiving) and Dexter McCluster (7-67-1 on 10 targets) each caught a touchdown pass. Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden, as expected, shut down Dwayne Bowe (1-7-0 on two targets). Donnie Avery (3-31-0 on five targets) had a quiet game.

Key Injury:
Jamaal Charles (knee – returned to the game)

Fantasy Tip:
Jason Campbell played much better than expected. His Week 9 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, however, is not a great one.

Historically, Dexter McCluster has been a big fantasy tease. However, he has led Kansas City Chiefs in receiving two weeks in a row. During that stretch, McCluster has amassed 11 receptions, 137 receiving yards and one touchdown grab on 15 targets. If you’re desperate, take a flier on him.

Waiver Wire Prospects:
Jason Campbell, Dexter McCluster (flier value)

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