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Week 8: Wide Open!

Nearly all 2013 fantasy football drafts focused on running backs for the first two rounds with a few exceptions, including
Aaron Rodgers

Calvin Johnson

. Halfway through the season, unfortunately, we have already seen several backs become clear busts or suffer major injuries. Many fantasy owners are scratching their heads for drafting
Doug Martin

or C.J. Spiller after witnessing the performances that several wide receivers posted in Week 8.

Calvin Johnson

nearly doubled his receiving yards for the season against the Dallas Cowboys in a thrilling comeback victory. Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 receiving yards and finished seven yards short of the NFL single game record set by Flipper Anderson on Nov. 26, 1989. After Johnson’s performance, you probably flipped stations to the Cincinnati Bengals’ afternoon blowout over the New York Jets where
Marvin Jones

torched New York for 122 receiving yards and four touchdowns!
Jordy Nelson

Golden Tate

Harry Douglas

also came up huge for fantasy owners in Week 8, especially in points per reception leagues.

Is it worth trading undependable, workload sharing running backs for proven and consistent wideouts? It is certainly worth pondering, but for now just take a dive with me as we analyze Week 9.


It feels weird listing
Robert Griffin III in this column as I generally focus on players that you are not automatically starting and may be “on the bubble.” After a few underwhelming performances including a very subpar game against Denver in Week 8, Griffin III finds himself here. Assuming his knee is not a concern for this weekend, Griffin III should thrive at home as his Redskins welcome the San Diego Chargers, who allow the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks. The Chargers have also allowed almost 6.0 yards per rush for quarterbacks, which will also favor Griffin III.

Week 9 Forecast: 200 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, 2 TD

Running Back

Ryan Mathews has disappointed fantasy owners every season since his impressive 2011 sophomore year. Quietly in 2013, his fantasy stock is rising again after back-to-back 100-plus yard rushing efforts. Unfortunately,
Danny Woodhead

is much more involved as a pass-catcher, but Mathews has received more than 20 carries in each of his last two games. The Chargers’ back will make it three in a row as he battles the Washington Redskins, who have surrendered the most points to opposing running backs, including six touchdowns over the last three games.

Week 9 Forecast: 100 total yards, TD

Wide Receiver

Santonio Holmes

suffered a hamstring injury in Week 4, most analysts believed that
Stephen Hill

Jeremy Kerley

would receive the bulk of the targets from quarterback
Geno Smith

. Well, Hill has yet to eclipse 46 receiving yards in a game since Holmes’ injury and Kerley’s production has been utterly unpredictable. After being released from the Cleveland Browns,
David Nelson signed with New York and has stepped in over the last two weeks and received the most targets while averaging 80 receiving yards per game. In fact, Nelson received the sixth-most targets of all wide receivers in Week 8. Although New Orleans’ secondary is much improved this season, it is likely that New York will be playing from behind most of this game and will need to pass … a lot!

Week 9 Forecast: 80 yards, TD

Tight End

In his first start of the season following
Jermichael Finley

’s injury,
Andrew Quarless did not exactly “wow” fantasy owners that snagged him. However, Green Bay led Minnesota throughout Week 8 and focused primarily on the running game. Quarless should see more opportunities against a Chicago Bears defense that has allowed 134 and 135 receiving yards to tight ends over the last three weeks.

Week 9 Forecast: 50 yards, TD

Defense/Special Teams

Indianapolis Colts rarely make an appearance on a list recommending defenses. However, they have been strong in 2013 and were quite impressive in their recent bout knocking out the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Although their turnover numbers are not overpowering this season, Indianapolis’ defense does have an attractive matchup against its dilapidated division rival, the Houston Texans. Houston will be starting its third-string quarterback,

Case Keenum
while both running backs
Ben Tate

Arian Foster

are recovering from injuries suffered in Week 7 and are questionable for this weekend. The Colts should win this game and limit Houston’s offense.

Week 9 Forecast: 13 points


Week 8 Results

Quarterback – Carson Palmer

Week 8 Forecast: 225 passing yards, 2 TD
Week 8 Results: 172 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT (good call)

Running Back – Eddie Lacy

Week 8 Forecast: 100 total yards, TD
Week 8 Results: 112 total yards, TD (good call)

Wide Receiver – Pierre Garcon

Week 8 Forecast: 80 yards, TD
Week 8 Results: 46 yards (bad call)

Tight End – Jordan Reed

Week 8 Forecast: 60 yards, TD
Week 8 Results: 90 yards (good call)

Defense/Special Teams – Green Bay Packers

Week 8 Forecast: 14 points
Week 8 Results: 8 points (decent call/may vary by league)

Good luck in Week 9!

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