Friday - Jan 15, 2021

Home / Commentary / Week 8 Fantasy Intelligence Report: News Nuggets, Reactions, and Tebow

Week 8 Fantasy Intelligence Report: News Nuggets, Reactions, and Tebow

N.N. — News Nuggets

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray had a starting debut to remember last week when he rushed for 253 yards against the St Louis Rams on Sunday. And now, according to the Comcast Sports Network in Philadelphia the Cowboys are ready to unleash their new star power once more when they suit up this week to play the Eagles.

Murray broke the Cowboys’ franchise record of 237 rushing yards in a game, which was previously held by Emmitt Smith, so his performance is nothing to bat an eye at, and certainly has earned him more playing time regardless of Felix Jones’ status in the coming weeks.

“It’s unbelievable,” Murray said. “It is just a humbling experience. You always wish to play well and hope to play well. But I never thought in a million years I would have this kind of day.”

“He did a great job all day making big runs, not just the breakaway runs that he had but all the tough runs that he had inside,” wide receiver Miles Austin said. “Anytime you have 250, I don’t care who had it before you, it’s pretty serious. More power to him. Hopefully he can keep it going.”

But is coach Jason Garrett ready to hand the keys to the Cowboys running car to Murray, and keep Felix Jones parked when he’s ready to suit up?

“We’re certainly hopeful to get Felix back,” Garrett said. “He’s been really our bell cow runner here for the last year or so. He’s done an outstanding job with his opportunity so far. Certainly, DeMarco warrants some playing time after his performance.”

Some playing time? Now, why does coach have to stir up a controversy, and who is he trying to fool? Fantasy owners need to start DeMarco Murray at all times from here on out, or until coach actually sticks to his guns and puts the underachiever back in the starting lineup.  Jones is out this week.   

According to the Detroit Free Press Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, moved well in practice all week, and appears to be on track to start this Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

“If he’s able to go Sunday then he will,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday. “He’s our starting quarterback.”

Believe it or not, Stafford’s injury has come at the right time. Why?

In three of his last four games Stafford has completed under 60.2% of his passes (his season average), and has thrown for just 214 yards per game. He has looked uncomfortable in the pocket, has seen an increase in sacks, and an overall decrease in production.

“Stafford’s been through some adversity,” Fox analyst John Lynch said. “I remember early in the year, I think we had them Week 3 (against the Vikings), and he hadn’t been sacked (going into that game). I think he was the one quarterback in the league who hadn’t been sacked, but it wasn’t for lack of being pressured. He was being pressured quite a bit, and he was doing a terrific job of getting the ball out of his hands.

“But now I think — and it happens to Tom Brady, I watched the Lions do it to him in the preseason — when you get pressured, when you get hit, you don’t know when’s the breaking point, but at some point it’s going to start having an effect. And I think that’s what you’re seeing with him as a quarterback. It affects his accuracy, it affects everything.”

In other words, maybe this is a wake-up call for the coaching staff. Either better protection needs to be provided or the Lions need to start spreading the field to keep opposing defenses from stacking the box. No matter who starts on Sunday something has to be done about protection packages, otherwise we’re going to see a Mummy under center.

In other Lions news it looks as though running back Jahvid Best is unlikely to play this week, as he continues to play it safe in his recovery from his second concussion.

According to the Arizona Republic it still remains a mystery as to what is causing Beanie Wells to have his latest saga with “locking” knee trouble.

“Some of the locking symptoms people talk about could mean something inside the knee is loose or misplaced: a meniscus tear or a loose piece of cartilage or bone, or an injury to the joint cartilage, if it’s a big enough piece. That’s some of the most common things if there is “true” locking.”

Ok, I’m no doctor, but this doesn’t sound good. It kind of remains me of the old Domanick Davis knee injury. And while Wells has practiced this week, and his knee is reportedly improving, the original thought was that this injury was probably season-ending.

I wouldn’t let Wells leave my bench period, even if he does come back. Alfonso Smith will likely start in Wells’ place this week against Baltimore. Smith rushed for 17 yards and a touchdown last week against the Steelers. He’s not a good start though against the Ravens, who currently rank third against the run.

According to the Denver Post, as he prepares for the Lion’ secondary, Broncos’ wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has made it known that he wants to become an elite receiver just like former Georgia tech teammate Calvin Johnson, who taught Thomas some of the things he knows and uses today.

“He taught me how to get off ‘press’, how to read defenses,” Thomas said. “Coming from high school, I hadn’t played receiver much, so I got with him and I learned a lot from him. I’m just trying to get where he’s at. He is elite.”

Thomas and Johnson will face off for the first time ever this week, a match-up I suspect Johnson will win running away. Calvin is a solid play for sure on Sunday, while Demaryius is a good play in the flex position for those looking to fill a bye week gap.

Other Notes

According to the Houston Chronicle the Texans have made it official: Wide receiver Andre Johnson will miss his fourth consecutive game due to a nagging hamstring injury.

“I just don’t feel like I’m ready to play,” Johnson said. “It gets frustrating because every week a game goes by that you wish you can be out there, but it’s just part of the process. I just keep working hard, and, hopefully, next week I can be out on the field. I feel like I’ve made progress, but the main thing is trying to get to full speed. I haven’t been able to get to that yet, so that’s why I’m not playing.”

According to the St Louis Post-Dispatch Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Saints due to a high ankle sprain.

“I think that’s the smart way to go,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “Reggie (Scott) and Sam are being smart about it. … He won’t play in this game and then we’ll see where we’re at.”

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wide receiver Hines Ward may not play Sunday against the Patriots.  Fortunately for offensive coordinator Bruce Arians the Steelers have good depth even if Ward has to sit out. 

“I feel very comfortable with Jerricho (Cotchery) in his spot or Emmanuel (Sanders) splitting it,” Arians said. “We have our fingers crossed that he will be ready to go because he is the heartbeat.”

Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace have become must starts if Ward sits, especially against a New England defense that is ranked 32nd in passing yards allowed per game (322.2), and is now without one of their top cornerbacks, Leigh Bodden.  

W.7.R. — Week 7 Reactions

The Buccaneers may have found a new offensive gem, and the timing couldn’t be anymore perfect. Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe looked like the best football player on the Wembley Stadium turf on Sunday against the Bears. He was breaking tackles, running next to flawless routes, and looked like a future All-Pro. He made many forget about Mike Williams. Snatch him and stash him while you can.

– I was amazed at all the praise Christian Ponder received during the game against the Packers. Sure, he made a few nice throws, but when you finish 13 of 32 with two interceptions, and lead the losing team I’m not sure you deserve much more than a small pat on the back for effort, debut start or not. I know that if that kind of performance was that of the below mentioned Tim Tebow he would get plenty of daggers thrown at him. Ponder is certainly a better option than Donovan McNabb, but he has a long ways to go yet to warrant any kind of hype. He sure likes Michael Jenkins though.

– Did I mention that Tim Tebow and his ugly arm is a winner?  Just asking.

– I have to wonder if the Tennessee Titans defense received the memo that Arian Foster was healthy and playing. Foster was shredding defenders like they were pieces of mail getting mulched like fall leaves. Yeah, Foster is back at the top of his game, and I don’t think he’s going back down any time soon. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Chris Johnson to return to even Marshawn Lynch status. Yes, that’s a little harsh, but he deserves it, especially after what he has done to not earn his “unearned” contract.

W.8.F.H.S. — Week 8 F.I.R. Hot Sheet

The weekly hot sheet is intended to give fantasy owners a quick reference guide/card to help with the filling of starting lineups. It is in Google Docs format, and is provided below. This will be a feature that will be provided every week. If there are any enhancements you would like to see, please send any suggestions, I’m always looking to improve and provide the best material.


S.O.R. — Speaking Out Religiously

When my cellular phone bill arrives in the mail, and I see the envelope labeled US Cellular I always think to myself, “Is this what God truly wanted?” When I see all the Twitter feeds on Fox NFL Sunday scroll like an ESPN Bottom Line I always think to myself, “Is this what God truly wanted?” And when I saw all the headlines about “Tebowing” this week and the website craze that was created, I just about steamed like a red hot tea pot. I didn‘t ask, I already knew, “This is not what God wanted.”

Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow has every right to pray to the Lord on Sundays, and be passionate about it whether you like it or not.  However, there’s a line that I believe can’t be crossed, and unfortunately those more interested in mocking and creating a phenomenon for financial purposes, while allowing others to follow as if it’s a game, have crossed that line. I don’t like it! 

Prayer is supposed to be sacred. It is supposed to mean something.

It’s a Christian who is losing a battle to cancer, praying next to their bed for the Lord’s strength to get through the next day. It’s a Christian who just wants to thank the Lord for everything that he has provided for him/her, letting it be known how much happiness exists within the heart. And sometimes it’s a Christian who gets down on a knee at the end of a play, in the end-zone, or at the beginning or end of a game thanking the Lord for the gifts he has given him, the health they wish to receive moving forward, and to remind him he is their one true God.  Insert Tim Tebow.

Prayer is not a game! Prayer is a sacred conversation between Christians and the Lord. Unfortunately, some have chosen to make it a public unsacred ceremonial phenomenon.  And whether the intentions of those “loving” Broncos fans were good or not, they knew how the vast majority of the NFL world, fans and players, would mockingly respond.

The “Tebowing” craze has already turned in to one mega money-maker for the NFL, and commissioner Roger Goodell is probably licking his chops and hoping that this fad continues to grow in popularity, so he can grow his pockets that much bigger.  Maybe not, I don’t know. 

It’s funny though, because coincidentally the Bible Verse of the day at happens to be this, from 2 Chronicles 7:14.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

So I have to ask myself and you one last question, “Are all those ‘Tebowing’ actually turning from their wicked ways and seeking His face, or are they merely playing the crazed game just to become a face themselves, in the crowd?”

Don’t get me wrong I am all for those who want to pray for the right reasons, and encourage it. I just ask you not to glamorize it like you’re at some kind of fashion photo shoot. It’s a private practice that means something, not a Facebook pose to show the world that you‘re somebody you‘re really not. Oh, and by the way, you wouldn’t be that somebody without the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for


About Fantasy Sharks launched in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is (or has been) home to some of the most talented and respected writers and content creators in fantasy football.