Week 8

Joique-BellAnother great performance from the Denver Broncos (on short rest, no less) led off this week perfectly, and it also hopefully started off your fantasy week in fine style (as it did mine with Emmanuel Sanders and Ronnie Hillman). But if it didn’t, and you’re instead down (or you sat Keenan Allen on your bench), I have some advice to help you get back in the Week 8 game.

It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…

QUARTERBACKS

Tony Romo, DAL. About time we started taking Romo seriously. I know. That sounded weird even to me as I said it, but it’s also true. Having that #1 rusher, and that offensive line, is protecting Romo like nothing else has before. He’s getting time in the pocket and making the most of it, and he sets up well with the Monday night matchup this week against the rival Redskins.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU. Fitz had a quietly good game last week with over 20 standard fantasy points against the Steelers, and he faces a similarly inept defense in Tennessee this week. He should keep the hot hand going, and avoid the turnovers against the Titans. Get him active this week.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA. Forget about the game against Cleveland last week, and quarterbacks have done well against that Jaguars defense. Couple that with Tannehill, who has been hot of late, and you have a recipe for a good game from the Miami quarterback. Besides, he plays better with Reggie Bush out (statistics don’t lie), and guess who won’t be playing in this game? I think Tannehill has finally arrived. Top-10 play this week.
Alex Smith, KC. I know, it’s usually tough to trust Smith, but did you see what Russell Wilson did to that Rams’ defense last week? Alex Smith is mobile, but even better, he has Jamaal Charles who he likes to throw the ball to out in space. Smith will step up in this one, and he always plays his best football at home too. A definite bye-week replacement for  you if your quarterback is out this week.

AVOID: Matt Ryan, ATL. Playing in London won’t change his fortunes this week. I’m sure he wishes his “home game” would actually be at home, but even that advantage seems to have been whittled away as thin as his offensive line anymore. He just won’t have time to get set to make the throws he needs to make. Not a top-15 play this week.

RUNNING BACKS

Chris Ivory, NYJ. Yeah, it’s time to drop Chris Johnson (if you hadn’t done so weeks ago) and trust the only Chris actually getting anything done in that Jets running game, Mr. Ivory. Yes, he faces a pretty tough defense in Buffalo this week, but it’s a divisional game so throw most stats out the window. The Jets will run hard to try and take some of the slack off of Geno Smith, and Ivory has become their workhorse.
Joique Bell, DET. Reggie Bush is expected to be absent for this game, and Bell showed us what he can do as the bell cow (ha ha) last week. I think that continues against a really poor Atlanta defense in London this week and Bell goes over 100 yards with at least one touchdown, with even some yards through the air (helped also by the absence of Calvin Johnson). Definitely an elite option this week.
Benny Cunningham, STL. If you’ve followed the situation in St. Louis you’ll know that it’s been mostly a by-committee approach this season. Every time it seems like one has stepped up another gets in the mix. But one thing that stays the same most weeks is who gets the goal-line work. That man is Cunningham, and who would you rather trust to put up solid points week to week than the goal-line back? Most are going with Mason, but Cunningham is a huge sleeper as long as he’s active.
Bryce Brown, BUF. Many people raced to the waiver wire this week to pick up either Brown or Anthony Dixon, depending on which one they thought would be the “leader” in this newly re-vamped Bills run offense. And make no bones about it, that’s where Buffalo makes its mark, running the football. Between them Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller routinely averaged 30 touches per game. Brown is the more explosive back, and I like that more so against the Jets defense this week.

AVOID: Bishop Sankey, TEN. So much potential, but he just doesn’t capitalize even when it should be a good matchup. I don’t like him this week because even though he has a chance to go off, I’d rather have him do it on my bench than worry the entire time that he’ll just put up dud numbers again in my lineup. He makes my ulcers have ulcers. Not this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Golden Tate, DET. What do you have against Golden Tate? He has been as hot as just about anybody lately with Calvin Johnson out (and even when he was on the field but a decoy). Yet he’s still sitting on a lot of peoples’ benches. This week should be another amazing performance from the sudden #1 receiver in Detroit. I like him a lot against that suspect Atlanta defense.
Andrew Hawkins, CLE. He’s been pretty dependent on number of touches this year, and if you’re in a PPR league he was  great contributor for you the first four weeks. He’s probably been sitting on your bench since then, but it’s time to get him active again against an Oakland defense that has not performed well against receivers. Hoyer will find him in this one, early and often.
Marques Colston, NO. This one should be a no-brainer. Jimmy Graham is obviously still not 100% and New Orleans desperately needs a win against Green Bay this week. Colston played well last week with over 100 yards in a similar scenario and I think that continues here.
Mike Wallace, MIA. I liked him last week, and I like him even more this week with a matchup against the Jaguars. As much as I’m all-in on Ryan Tannehill, I’m also high on Wallace to have a big effort against that defense. Get him active.

AVOID: Pierre Garcon, WAS. I know you’re still either excited or steamed about that great performance Garcon put up last week, depending on whether or not you had tossed the dice and put him in your lineup. He was in mine and he rewarded me for it, but I’m taking him out this week. With Colt McCoy possibly starting (and take out that one catch and run by Garcon last week) it’s just too risky to expect him to put up the same numbers. I would also avoid DeSean Jackson in this contest.

TIGHT ENDS

Jordan Reed, WAS. Last week I played Reed instead of Jimmy Graham, and it paid dividends, though it was hard to do. I think McCoy will lean on Reed this week as well, with his ability to get far down the field hampered by that surprising Cowboys defense. Reed will be his security blanket, and I like him even more in PPR leagues this week. Get him active.
Gavin Escobar, DAL. Romo is obviously looking for Escobar in the end zone right now, so he’s the better fantasy option over Jason Witten this week. Look for him to get even more active in the middle of the field too, as he has size advantages over those Redskins defenders.
Jeff Cumberland, NYJ. Similar to Escobar, Cumberland has been the go-to guy for Geno Smith in New York. Having Percy Harvin to stretch the field will also help Cumberland accumulate more touches and more yards underneath. In fact, I like Cumberland to score in this one against Buffalo as well, making him even more attractive as an option.
Martellus Bennett, CHI. Bennett got off to a blazing start to the season, so much was expected of him, but just like Jay Cutler himself, he has run hot and cold since. Against that New England defense, though, he should shine as most of their effort has to be spent trying to contain Jeffery, Marshall, and Matt Forte. I think Bennett will be the forgotten man, and Cutler will find him for at least one score and maximum yardage.

AVOID: Jermaine Gresham, CIN. He’s just not involved that much in the offense right now, and of course there was literally no offense last week so that didn’t help matters. There should be more this week against Baltimore, but they will focus on that running game, the one that fell completely flat last week, so I don’t see Gresham getting meaningful touches, even with A.J. Green still out.

3 BEST BETS

Kickers – Chandler Catanzaro, Cody Parkey, Blair Walsh

D/STs – Miami, Kansas City, Detroit

Good luck setting your lineups.

The Fantasy Ace

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