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The Lowdown – Week 8

Welcome to
The Lowdown for Week 8. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!

Them’s Fighting Words

I have to admit, today’s NFL leaves me a little disappointed. The game is changing — and not for the better. Defenders have become little more than speed bumps as the rules now favor wide-open offenses; receivers roam the middle of the field with impunity, without nary a concern that some
Ronnie Lott-like safety will decapitate them; the runners I admired growing up (guys like
Larry Csonka, John Riggins and
Earl Campbell) have gone the way of the Dodo, replaced by scat backs that gain 12 yards on an option play and then take themselves out of the game for a couple of plays.

That’s why I was giddy over the angry words of
Steve Smith and
Martellus Bennett at the conclusion of their Week 7 games:

– Smith had some
interesting comments

for trash-talking St. Louis cornerback
Janoris Jenkins:
“When you embarrass people, you rub it in their face. When your dog (urinates) on the carpet, you rub it in his face” and “
If I see him in the street, I will bust Janoris Jenkins in his mouth.” I agree with Smith, who had to deal with Jenkins tweeting trash about his family before the game.

– Bennett had an even better reason to want to “
Brandon Merriweather in the face

.“ Merriweather has earned a deserved reputation as a dirty player (just watch any Washington Redskins game he’s played in this season) and seemed to not really be too upset that he got suspended for headhunting against Chicago.

I really expected the players to file grievances with the NFLPA and the NFL and then spend two weeks on the sideline wearing baseball caps. At least
some of my faith in the game remains intact.

Smoke and Mirrors

In one of my many Experts’ leagues this season, I’m sitting on top with a 6-1 record (14-team league). I say this not to brag but as an honest expression of amazement. I’ve managed this 6-1 record while losing both
Reggie Wayne and
Julio Jones to season-ending injuries and having drafted
Miles Austin as my WR3. I’m now rolling with
Harry Douglas,
Eddie Royal and
Sidney Rice at wide receiver. Yes, you read that right: Douglas, Royal and Rice.

Look, I’d like to think that I’m a sharp guy with vast experience in fantasy football, and that’s why I have a 6-1 record despite the mishaps listed above. Must be my uncanny waiver wire ability or a shrewd trade with a rube owner, right? The truth is that I have no clue as to why I’m in such good shape in this league. No idea at all.

Keep that in mind as you read through this article. I’m not all that smart, but I’m definitely lucky this season. I mean, did you see my
Ryan Mathews call last week? Or
Stevie Johnson as a flex play? Seriously, I’ve abandoned all my computer algorithms and analytics. Now I’m acting just like the guys on
Fantasy Live, making worthless predictions while simultaneously stating the obvious … hey, start
Adrian Peterson everybody! Can I get my old gig on the radio back now?

While I’m waiting for Sirius to call, grab on to these coattails and ride them until I implode.

Road Rage

Before I get to the “Interesting Players of the Week,” I need to get this off my chest … it has nothing to do with football, so if you’re one of those readers who can’t stand to read anything unrelated to fantasy football, skip the angry emails to Tony Holm and just jump to the next section.

At what point did this country lose the ability to properly make left turns? I swear, my commute should be a grand total of eight minutes, but this morning I nearly had three aneurisms.
YOU DON’T STOP AT THE TRAFFIC SIGNAL WHEN MAKING A LEFT TURN! GET INTO THE INTERSECTION TO MAKE THAT TURN! Sounds simple, but our nation of increasingly afraid-of-driving adults has no idea how to make a left turn.

While I’m at it, is there some secret cabal of safety goons, women and senior citizens that follow me around in the morning?

– Hey random cops: I drive a total of 1.5 miles in the morning, I don’t need to wear my seat belt, OK? There’s no need to give me a $110 ticket for wanting to be comfortable at 6:30 a.m.

– Soccer moms: stop driving those huge SUVs that you can’t handle! No one can see around your stupid vehicle and while it makes you feel safer, it makes the rest of us feel afraid to pass you on the left. Oh, and the most important thing: nobody cares about your stupid kids. Just stay in one lane and try to hit the minimum speed, OK?

– Old people: just take the bus. Please.

OK, I got that out of my system. Now I’m good to get back to football.

Interesting Players for Week 8

Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze …

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco
(‘at’ Jacksonville): Nobody is talking about Gore in any of the leagues I’m in (between experts leagues and buddy leagues, that’d be about 25), and it’s hard to figure out why. Gore is fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (547), which puts him on a par with guys like
Jamaal Charles (561),
Arian Foster (542) and
Marshawn Lynch (572). Surprisingly, Gore falls behind all three of those guys with just seven receptions — but still, he’s averaging 14 points in PPR points per game. Against the stout-as-paper Jaguars, Gore should be able to easily top his average output and be a nice RB1 this week, given all the teams on bye.

Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati
(vs. New York Jets): He’s questionable heading into Sunday, but if he plays Jones has huge upside against the Jets. With
Antonio Cromartie likely shadowing
A.J. Green the entire game and the Jets’ front seven being pretty tough against the run, Jones will get plenty of opportunities to make some plays. Don’t be fooled by his season stats (16 receptions, 247 yards, 3 TD) — Jones has accumulated more than half (54 percent) of his season’s fantasy production in the past two weeks (7 receptions, 128 yards, 2 TD). If you’re like me, scouring the wire for bodies to play at WR3, Jones might be just enough to earn you a win this week.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington
(at Denver): I don’t know much, but here’s what I
do know about Washington-Denver this week: (1) The Broncos’ offense is really, really good; (2) The Redskins’ defense is really, really bad. Having thus emptied my head of its knowledge, Griffin III becomes a candidate for one of the week’s biggest quarterback plays. You have to figure that the Redskins will be playing from behind, which means plenty of passing from Griffin III; but that’s not the enticing part. The juicy part is that Griffin III is starting to resemble last season’s Griffin III. The past two weeks, Griffin III has rushed for 161 yards on 20 carries (after 18 rushes for 72 yards in his first four games); hey, that’s an extra eight points a game on top of his passing numbers. More importantly, it might be an indication that Griffin III (and the Redskins coaches) feel he is close to 100 percent. Great news for Griffin III owners who have been sitting on his recovery.

Jeff Cumberland, TE, New York Jets
(at Cincinnati): Cumberland is a pure hunch for this week. If you’ve been watching Jets games, you would’ve seen that quarterback
Geno Smith has been looking Cumberland’s way more and more as the season has progressed. In the last three games, Cumberland’s targets have gone from four to six to seven; not jaw-dropping, but just something I noticed. I think that with the Jets’ wide receivers corps being what it is (horrible), Cumberland becomes one of Smith’s better options, especially with
Kellen Winslow suspended. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cumberland puts up a stat line of five catches, 80 yards and a touchdown.

Don’t forget to bench any players from
Chicago, San Diego, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Houston and
Tennessee, who are on a bye this week. While you’re at it,

give my podcast a shot

and join my legion of fans … if my wife and mom can be called a “legion.”

John T. Georgopoulos is an 18-year veteran of fantasy sports journalism. His
Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on eight occasions. You can also listen to his weekly non-sports opinions


or follow him on Twitter:


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