Injuries can derail a fantasy season whether it is direct with the loss of one of your players or indirect such as the loss of a quarterback’s key go-to guy or to a running back’s blocker. The fantasy landscape changes every week and so far in 2015 we have had 78 players at the skill position placed on the injured reserve list. To put that into perspective, in 2014 there were 99 total players at the skill position placed on IR for the whole season. We still have 9 weeks of football to go. At this rate we would lose close to 156 players to IR and that doesn’t include the players that are questionable or day-to-day with injuries.
The hardest hit positions are wide receivers with 31 followed by tight end with 22 and running back with 21. Le’Veon Bell and Jamaal Charles are both in the top 5 of picks and are gone for the season. I have a team that has been riddled with injures as Jordy Nelson and Jamaal Charles were two of my drafted players that are gone. Some owners have had a combo of players which also include Arian Foster and Keenan Allen.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Drew Brees– 505 yards with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. In one of the biggest shootouts this season, Brees shredded the Giants defense for almost as many touchdowns as he’s thrown all season. Just think what could have been if the game went into overtime.
Eli Manning– 350 yards and 6 touchdowns. I don’t know what is more impressive. The fact that Manning threw 6 touchdowns in this game to keep the game close or the fact that he has just 4 interceptions on the whole season. Andrew Luck leads the league with 12 interceptions.
Odell Beckham Jr.- 8 receptions for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns. After a subpar performance last week, Beckham turned in his 3rd 120-plus-yard game of the season. Beckham now has 19 touchdowns in his first 20 games. That is 1 touchdown shy of Randy Moss who holds the record.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Aaron Rodgers– 77 yards passing and 0 touchdowns. It was a difficult matchup for Rodgers but we didn’t expect it would be this bad. The Packers offense has struggled the last 4 games averaging about 19.5 per game. another tough game this week against the Panthers.
Danny Woodhead– 3 carries for 9 yards, 2 receptions for 36 yards.Woodhead was the 4th overall running back in PPR leagues heading into week 8 but this week he touched the ball just 5 times. Hopefully he can bounce back against a beatable Bears defense.
Giovani Bernard– 1 carry for 12 yards, 2 receptions for 22 yards. This was an ugly game for Bernard as he was averaging 15.7 fantasy points per game entering this game. It looks as if Jeremy Hill will be taking over again like he did down stretch.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Peyton Manning against the Colts. Although he didn’t throw a touchdown last week, he threw for the most yards in a game this season. The touchdowns will come and the addition of Vernon Davis will help. The Colts are ranked 27th in the NFL allowing 280 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns allowed. The Colts have trailed by two touchdowns in a bunch of games this year which means the Broncos should have no trouble getting on the board. Peyton needs just 284 yards to pass Brett Favre for most all-time and it is in Indianapolis.
Matt Ryan against the 49ers. Ryan is in a good spot this week against the train wreck season the 49ers are having. With almost no offense this week, the defense should be on field a lot. The 49ers defense is allowing 280 passing yards (27th) with 13 touchdowns given up. Julio Jones is set to go off.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Tyrod Taylor against the Dolphins. Taylor has become a forgotten man in fantasy as he missed the pass two starts before the bye week but was averaging 21.8 fantasy points per game which is 6th best among quarterbacks. He comes back and should come out the gates hot against division rival Miami. The Dolphins defense has disappointed this season and is 19th in the NFL allowing 255 passing yards with 15 touchdowns.
Good running back matchups this week:
DeAngelo Williams against the Raiders. Le’Veon Bell is out for the season which puts DeAngelo Williams back on the map. In the first 2 games of the season, Bell sat out due to suspension and Williams ran well in this offense. In Week 1 he ran for 127 yards, and in Week 2, he scored 3 touchdowns. The matchup isn’t the easiest this week for Williams, but I still like his chances to produce. He’ll get a ton of touches as he carried the ball 20 and 21 times, respectively, in the first two weeks. The Raiders have been stingy on defense allowing just 82.9 rushing yards per game (2nd) with 3 touchdowns but I think that is skewed because they have been beaten through the air easily. With injures and bye weeks, Williams will come in handy.
Jonathan Stewart against the Packers. Stewart and the Panthers are rolling and this week they face the Packers in another key NFC matchup that could determine seeding for the playoffs. It was nice to see Stewart score last week and he has a chance to run well in this game. The Packers have been inconsistent when playing the run as they have held running backs to 40.8 rushing yards in 4 games this season but the other 3 games they have been gashed for 161.7 rushing yards. Last week they gave up 3 rushing scores in a game for the second time this season. Stewart has had 20-or-more carries in 3 consecutive games.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Jeremy Langford against the Chargers. With Matt Forte sidelined, Langford will get the bulk of the carries this week. He faces a Chargers team that has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs with 22.1 points per game. The Chargers are allowing 124.6 rushing yards per game (27th) with 8 touchdowns.The Chargers have allowed 100+ rushing yards to a running back in 6 of 8 games this season.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Andrew Luck against the Broncos. Tough back-to-back games for Luck. After facing the Panthers on Monday night he comes back home to face the Broncos on a day where Peyton Manning is chasing history and the defense is firing on all cylinders. The Broncos defense is #1 in the NFL allowing 171.9 passing yards with only 5 touchdown. It doesn’t help that T.Y. Hilton is banged up as well.
Kirk Cousins against the Patriots. Last week, Cousins put in his best game of the season. You like that! Or so he said. He won’t like the matchup this week. Facing the Patriots who are rolling this season and looking to remain undefeated. The Patriots are middle of the pack in pass defense allowing 249.3 (15th) with 11 touchdowns. However, they will likely jump out to an early lead which will force Cousins to throw more. Cousins has thrown two interceptions in 4-of-7 games this season. Last week he didn’t throw an interceptions but he did lose a fumble.
Sam Bradford against the Cowboys. Many will look to the loss the Cowboys had with Matt Cassel under center but the Eagles offense is not playing well. Bradford is averaging just 14.7 fantasy points per game. To put that into perspective, Colin Kaepernick is averaging more points per game and Bradford is the 25th ranked quarterback through 8 weeks. The Cowboys defense has played well, as they rank 12th in the NFL allowing 234 passing yards per game with 8 touchdowns.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Pierre Thomas/Shaun Draughn against the Falcons. Hopefully you are not in a bad situation where you have to use one of these guys this week. However, there may be some people considering it. The 49ers’ backfield has been decimated with injuries, with a Carlos Hyde foot fracture, a Reggie Bush torn ACL and Mike Davis‘ broken hand. It is not a pretty situation. Add in the losses and change at quarterback and you have a disastrous situation ready to unfold. The Falcons should be smelling blood and ready to take advantage. Their run defense ranks 3rd, allowing 83.4 yards per game but they have given up 10 touchdowns to running backs. They have not allowed a score on the ground in the last two games.
Lamar Miller against the Bills. Miller was almost a candidate for the Urinal Cake award but he saved himself with a touchdown. Still his performance last week was bad as he carried the ball 9 times for just 15 yards. Miller did not run well in the first meeting against Buffalo as he finished with 38 yards on just 7 carries. I expect him to get more touches in this game but on the road in Buffalo against that defense will be tough. The Bills are ranked 6th with 91.9 rushing yards per game and only 4 touchdowns allowed. They have been ran on the last two weeks but I expect them to clamp down coming out of the bye week.
DeMarco Murray against the Cowboys. Is this a revenge game for Murray or will the Cowboys show why they got rid of him this offseason? I think the Cowboys defense will be more focused on stopping Murray in his first game back since going to the Eagles. The Cowboys defense has performed well at times and is middle of the pack allowing 103 rushing yards per game with 7 touchdowns. I could be wrong and Murray goes off but I’m staying away form this matchup. The Cowboys in the first matchup limited Murray to just minus-2 rushing yards.