We have officially entered the dog days of fall where the stronger teams get stronger and the weaker ones fall by the waist side and get left behind the pack to rot in fantasy football infamy as terrible as anything imaginable. Think about it: a years worth of teasing and punishment until ’14′s new season, inside jokes at your expense, and Internet ridicule; and those are just for the casual leagues. Six teams are on bye weeks, so the waiver wire adds become more important than ever in your quest to get out of the dog house and play spoiler or continue your dominance over your league. Without further adieu; welcome to week 8!
Bye Week Teams: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers
Robert Griffin III (WAS- @DEN: 4:25pm Sun)
While many believe RGIII’s star has fallen quicker than the “reality show” “Southie Rules”, the fact of the matter is that like a fine wine, Robert Griffin III has gotten better with time. This week at “Mile High”, his star is about to rise even higher. With the emergence of borderline stud TE Jordan Reed and the continued health of Pierre Garçon, not only does the likelihood RGIII puts up big numbers increase, but Washington could actually walk out a winner (or at least cover the spread!) Robert Griffin’s draft-day nemesis Andrew Luck just lit up the Denver defense and I expect RGIII to keep pace with the Indianapolis Colt. The yards may not be there, but the touchdowns will.. And maybe even more.
Matt Ryan (ATL- @ARZ: 4:25pm Sun)
You wouldn’t be able to tell that the losses of Roddy White & Julio Jones affected QB Matt Ryan on Sunday against Tampa Bay. Matty Ice threw for a poultry 273 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 31-23 win. Unfortunately for Ryan owners, the Arizona Cardinals give up the 15th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season, not exactly the type of defense he should be going up against with two of his top targets out. Furthermore, in week five at home Cam Newton didn’t throw a single touchdown against them. There’s no doubt the Cardinals play much better at home and they’re determined to prove it against the Falcons. It would be wise to look for better options in week eight.
Mike James (TB- v.CAR: 8:25pm Thurs)
The only thing that would get Mike James on the field for a significant amount of time was a debilitating Doug Martin injury. Open sesame. Martin suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder last Sunday and will be out for an extended period of time (reports suggest 4-6 weeks) and with the team signing Bobby Rainey, only he and James are the running backs on the roster worth any consideration in fantasy leagues. With the teams early turnaround on Thursday night, Rainey will get little, if any carries at all. Mike James is the guy this week, but against a Carolina defense in the top 12 fewest fantasy points allowed bracket, James won’t be able to do anything. They were able to hold Marshawn Lynch to five fantasy points and Adrian Peterson to eight. The only silver lining if you’re a running back-desperate fantasy owner is that Zac Stacy just scored 14 points against them. Otherwise, he’s worth only a pick up off waivers this morning until he proves himself on the field. Considering Doug Martin couldn’t play behind that offensive line, I don’t see James doing much better.
Giovani Bernard (CIN- v.NYJ: 4:05pm Sun)
One of the many benefactors of Andy Dalton’s recent success has been RB Gio Bernard. Scoring 16 fantasy points in a week six win @BUF and five @DET last week, Bernard’s numbers have been slightly feast or famine. The Jets have given up only one receiving touchdown (Jason Snelling in week five) and 144 yards receiving over the course of the first seven weeks of the season. The Jets haven’t played such a young, multi-faceted talent like Bernard all season long. The power run game with BenJarvus Green-Ellis just won’t work, so while the upside for Bernard against New York may be a little higher than his predicted output, the idea that he will be out on the field for significantly more snaps than the law firm is a very real possibility and, if Cincinnati wants it’s best chance to win, will absolutely put in motion on Sunday.
Percy Harvin (SEA- @STL: 8:30pm Mon)
Before I start, this is a pure upside play and if the Seahawks weren’t on the big stage Monday night playing a god awful Rams defense giving up the 12th most fantasy points to wideouts this year, my pick would have been different. This is what fantasy football is all about though; taking big risks and winning big weeks en route to a playoff birth and hopefully championship. The ‘hawks are looking for a burst in their suffering WR corps and there’s no better player to give it than multi-talented receiver Percy Harvin. If you drafted him late and stashed him in your IR spot: congratulations! Watching him put up points for your team will be like opening a christmas gift after every touchdown he scores. The gifts wont be socks from your grandmother who clearly just doesn’t understand you. They’ll be big, bright, glowing touchdowns week in and week out. He’s just begun practicing this week and hasn’t been activated off the IR/PUP list just yet. If he is, expect him to start and flourish against the Rams because there’s no better defense for a player to debut for the season against than the Rams. Put him in your FLEX spot in case he doesn’t play so you can drop a player to pick up one playing on Monday night.
Greg Jennings (MIN- v.GB: 8:30pm Sun)
Some fantasy pundits have proclaimed that Vikings WR Greg Jennings is good for two weeks this season: the ones where he plays his former Packers team. I completely disagree. Maybe those pundits didn’t see the garbage on Monday night where the Vikings got shellacked by a less than stellar Giants team in a game where new QB Josh Freeman was overthrowing guys and missing his targets. Near the end of the game, Jerome Simpson and Co. were clearly annoyed by the lack of offensive output the team had displayed, lowering their heads and sulking as only divas do. Wide receivers go as their quarterbacks go. As long as Josh Freeman continues to play or, lack thereof, Greg Jennings is not just a non-start, he’s droppable in almost all leagues. At the end of the day, one beastly 21 point week doesn’t make up for the weeks of three, eight, four, three, and four points respectively over the course of the season. Don’t even consider him this week and if he happens to have a great game, pick him up or start him when Minnesota visits Green Bay in week 12 if you want. But you won’t have to because he won’t do anything on Sunday.
Charles Clay (MIA- @NE: 1pm Sun)
Charles Clay has been a surprise in a Miami Dolphins offense that has yet to perform up to their true potential this year. Clay has three touchdowns in the teams last three games. He even rushed for a score in week two’s win in Indy. Although he finished the day with only one reception for seven yards, that one reception did turn into a score which means QB Ryan Tannehill does indeed look for him in the red zone. At the end of the day, all we can ask of our tight ends is that they get into the end zone. Other than last week, Clay has not only got into the end zone, but is a main target in the teams passing game in between the 20’s. The New England Patriots give up the 17th most points to tight ends and without tackling machine LB Jerod Mayo in the middle, Clay should have a field day with whatever undersized CB the team throws at him. Clay is a start in all leagues this week against a Patriots team that has had deficiencies covering tight ends for years now. Par for the course in week 8.
Jordan Cameron (CLE- @KC: 1pm Sun)
Talk about a player that’s fallen from the graces. When it comes to tight end Jordan Cameron, Brandon Weeden is not Brian Hoyer. There is no doubt that Cameron flourished under Hoyer and Weeden certainly hurts his fantasy value. Cameron’s lone touchdown in Sundays loss to the Packers came in garbage time. While garbage time certainly counts in fantasy football, it won’t be like that every week. It is worth noting that he led the team in targets overall during the game, but there’s no doubt about it: Brandon Weeden hurts Jordan Cameron. Cleveland travels to Kansas City playing a Chiefs team that ranks the best in the league handling tight ends. Cameron is a no brainer bench this week based on the tight ends still on the waiver wire that have been performing. Jordan Reed (WAS- @DEN: 4:25pm Sun) and even Joseph Fauria (DET- v.DAL: 1pm Sun) are much better options this week and, dare I say, going forward until Weeden or another guy under center can prove otherwise.
New York Jets (@CIN: 4:05pm Sun)
Bengals QB Andy Dalton is playing the best football of his career and its happening on the road. With 25 and 27 points at Buffalo and Detroit respectively, imagine what he can do at home. He’s thrown four interceptions in the past five games, but is posting 300+ yards/game in the past two games with three touchdowns in each outing. With all the teams on a bye week, one might think the Jets are a smart play based on Daltons history as being a questionable quarterback. The Jets defense isn’t much better than Buffalo and he lit the Bills up. Oh, Cincinnati also has AJ Green. He isn’t playing too bad either.
Cleveland Browns (@KC: 1pm Sun)
This is actually a pretty sneaky play for fantasy owners that from the outside looking in, one might scroll right past it. The Browns give up the 11th fewest points to QB’s and 4th fewest to WR’s. Only Joseph Fauria (21 points) and Jermichael Finley (13) have scored in double digits for the TE position and CB Joe Haden is playing some of the best football of his career. QB Alex Smith is more of a game manager than anything else, never getting to 300yds passing this season (288 v. NYG in week four was the closest he got). He’s thrown for three scores only once this season (that very same week against the Giants) and has thrown for two in only two weeks. The most telling statistic in all of this is the fact that Smith hasn’t thrown a touchdown in four games this season. He won’t be throwing all over the field so as long as the Browns clog up the middle of the field and the linebackers get out to the sidelines, the Browns could actually post a decent fantasy day.