It’s getting ugly! Week 8 delivered a variety of the amazingly “good” as well as the atrociously “bad” to fantasy owners. Which would you rather hear about first? We will start with the bad and begin with fantasy “stud” Chris Johnson. The first-round draft pick put up another fantasy bust with 34 rushing yards on 14 carries. Backup running back Javon Ringer is gradually seeing more carries and is a legitimate threat to Johnson’s starting job.
Philip Rivers struggled again in an overtime loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Worst of all, he dropped a snap in the fourth quarter leading to a lost fumble, which prevented San Diego’s kicker from knocking in the winning field goal. Ryan Torain suffered another unproductive outing, which may be partially blamed on the Washington Redskins’ inept offense that was completely shutout by the Buffalo Bills defense. Lastly, the Tim Tebow experiment failed horribly against the Detroit Lions. Tebow remains Denver’s starting quarterback, but his leash is growing much shorter.
Enough of “Debbie Downer.” Let’s give props to the solid performances last week. Several quarterbacks, including Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger continued to sizzle. First-round picks Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice continued to reward their fantasy owners with multi-touchdown games. Lastly, Steven Jackson and the St. Louis Rams miraculously upset the New Orleans Saints. Jackson ran for 159 yards, had 32 receiving yards and netted two touchdowns in the victory.
Let’s take a look at Week 9’s key matchups.
QB Carson Palmer, Oakland – As you read my recommendation of Palmer, please let me make it perfectly clear that I am not suggesting the benching any top-tiered signal caller. If you have a Top 10 quarterback, do not make any radical moves. However, managers who are in desperate need of a quarterback in Week 9 should not discount the veteran. His three interception debut as fill-in for the ineffective Kyle Boller should be dismissed. With two weeks to prepare for Week 9, Palmer and the Oakland Raiders battle the struggling Denver Broncos, which have experienced their own share of quarterback drama. Denver’s pass defense is not terrible, but has allowed the most plays of more than 40 yards (nine). In addition, they will be on the field awhile if Tim Tebow’s performance resembles anything similar to last weekend. Palmer will have downfield weapons, including the recently signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh, to throw to along with Darren McFadden to raid Denver.
Week 9 Projection: 200 passing yards, 2 TD.
RB Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland – Whether it can be blamed it on the Madden cover or simply a one-season wonder, Peyton Hillis is not producing. He has missed a few games due to injury and flu symptoms. Backup Montario Hardesty has done very little with the workload he has received. Hopefully, the third back will be the charm for Cleveland as Ogbonnaya is in line for a start this weekend against the Houston Texans. The Browns’ back will face a tough defense, but should be in line for a full workload. If you are looking to fill your running back or flex slot, give Ogbonnaya a shot.
Week 9 Projection: 85 total yards, TD.
WR Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis – It would have been difficult for last year’s top receiver and arguably biggest fantasy sleeper to encore his 2010 numbers especially with the Denver Broncos’ quarterback soap opera. His recent trade to St. Louis has been a slight improvement, which should lead to more production when Sam Bradford returns to the saddle. In his last two games for St. Louis, Lloyd has been targeted 25 times for 12 receptions and 127 yards. Lloyd faces off this weekend against an Arizona Cardinals’ secondary which has allowed the sixth-most points to wide receivers. Whether Bradford returns or A.J. Feeley fills in again, neither should have any problems finding Lloyd against Arizona.
Week 9 Projection: 90 receiving yards, TD.
TE Brent Celek – Celek earned almost half of his season’s receiving yards in Week 8 with 94 receiving yards along with a score. After an impressive 2009 season hauling in passes from Donovan McNabb, Celek never built the same chemistry with Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick and his numbers have suffered. Over the last two weeks, he has become a prime target for Vick with nine targets in each of the last two games. In Week 9, the Philadelphia Eagles welcome the Chicago Bears, who have allowed the most touchdowns and average total points to tight ends. Celek should have another productive outing and collect another touchdown.
Week 9 Projection: 70 receiving yards, TD.
Oakland D/ST: The Raiders defense has not been consistent this season, but has an attractive matchup this weekend as they battle their rival, the Denver Broncos. Until Tim Tebow finds his groove, defenses will continue attacking the young quarterback. With two weeks to prepare for Week 9 and ample footage from Detroit’s Week 8 slaughter, Oakland should fare well against Denver.
Week 9 Projection: 11 points
Week 8 Results
QB Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee
Week 8 projection: 250 passing yards, 2 TD
Week 8 results: 224 passing yards, TD (partial success)
RB Pierre Thomas, New Orleans
Week 8 projection: 100 total yards, TD
Week 8 results: 34 total yards, TD (partial success)
WR Michael Jenkins, Atlanta
Week 8 projection: 80 receiving yards, TD
Week 8 results: 30 receiving yards (Fail)
TE Jake Ballard
Week 8 projection: 65 receiving yards, TD
Week 8 results: 55 receiving yards (partial success)
New Orleans D/ST
Week 8 projection: 12 points
Week 8 results: 12 points (Success)
Good luck in Week 9!