Fantasy Football Contributor
When looking back on Week 8, the watch word is Tim Hightower. The vet found himself with a 100-yard rushing game in relief of Mark Ingram on Sunday, and if you need some RB help he’s probably the top option on your waiver wire. The Saints benched Ingram for fumbling, and there is no worse dog house to be in, whether it’s the NFL or fantasy football.
As for the rest …
1. I think Aaron Rodgers has finally figured it out. That game with Atlanta was vintage Rodgers — efficient passing, multiple touchdown passes, the additional rushing yards and, just at a non-statistical level, he finally looked comfortable. Now, the Packers lost the game, but from a fantasy standpoint you don’t care about that. You care about the numbers, and in some of the leagues I play in he netted his team 36 points. Now that the Packers basically have no running game, Rodgers’ numbers are likely to remain at that level for the foreseeable future.
2. If you have Dak Prescott, hang onto him for a little bit longer. I believed, no matter what, that Tony Romo would come back when healthy and cleared to play. Now, I do believe Romo will play at some point this season. But it won’t be next Sunday against Cleveland. It will be Prescott. The Cowboys have already acknowledged that. Had the Cowboys lost Sunday night, combined with Prescott’s sub-par play for three quarters, that would have left the door open for Romo. But the Cowboys’ and Prescott’s comeback in the fourth quarter and overtime closed that door.
This is important because the Cowboys face the Browns on Sunday and that could lead to some nice numbers for Prescott, fantasy-wise.
3. The return of Jonathan Stewart could mean big things for the Carolina Panthers and your fantasy team. After scoring close to 20 points in standard leagues in Week 6 against New Orleans, Stewart surged back from the bye week with a 95-yard, 2-touchdown performance against Arizona on Sunday. That’s the second straight week Stewart has scored at least 20 fantasy points in standard leagues. When you think about how poorly the Panthers started the season, Stewart was injured for most of that stretch. To me, Stewart is the missing piece to this offense and with him healthy again that means the Panthers are going to start surging back in the standings and Stewart’s fantasy numbers should remain steady. Three of their next four games are against teams ranked No. 21 or worse against the run in fantasy. Keep him in your lineup.
4. Hopefully you’re not counting on Alex Smith, but if you are counting on him then be aware of what happened the last time he had a concussion. Smith missed five games in 2012. He’s probably a backup in most leagues, but if he misses any length of time that would rob you of some potentially good fantasy matchups in the next three weeks. Jacksonville, Carolina and Tampa Bay are all in the bottom half of fantasy defense against quarterbacks. Hopefully Smith makes it back this week.
5. Watching that Packers-Falcons game, it made me wonder how much stock you should put in Mohamed Sanu. Up until Week 6 Sanu had just one double-digit scoring outing this season. Since then Sanu has scored 25 fantasy points in standard leagues in the past three games. If you had him in a PPR league and you started him last weekend you got 23 points. The chemistry with QB Matt Ryan is there, and if you saw that final scoring drive you know what I’m talking about. Now, the problem is the next three games are against teams that are Top 12 in fantasy defense against wide receiver. So, if you have him, you might want to sit him for a few weeks until a more favorable matchup against Kansas City in Week 13. His numbers have been too sporadic this season to count on him.
6. Do you have Derrick Henry? Well this might be the time that comes in handy, especially if you have DeMarco Murray, too (you did handcuff the pair, right?). Murray always seems to get hurt at some point each season, and after suffering a toe injury last Sunday this might be the time Henry gets to start. If so, the Titans’ offense is tailor-made for him and you just have to look at Henry’s numbers in relief to understand the impact he can have — 97 yards and a touchdown. If he plays next week, play him. The Chargers, the Titans’ Week 9 opponent, are No. 27 against fantasy running backs.
7. Don’t add Torrey Smith unless he gets out of San Francisco. He deserves a better situation. Perhaps it will be Philadelphia, where it’s long-rumored. Perhaps it will be another destination. All I know is that if he doesn’t get out of San Francisco he’ll remain a sporadic spot-starter the rest of the season. Only grab him if you have no other options.
8. NFL game to load up on for Week 9? My gut says Indianapolis at Green Bay. Between Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers there should be a ton of passes thrown that day, which makes just about every receiver on each roster a viable option.
9. NFL game to avoid for Week 9? Pittsburgh at Baltimore. Ack. That just sounds like a bad game all the way around. And with no Ben Roethlisberger I imagine the only Steeler worth having this week will be Le’Veon Bell.
10. My lineups. I play in three different leagues. If you care, here are my starting lineups this week and how I did:
LSFL (scoring only – 6-2 record): QB Marcus Mariota, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Chris Ivory, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR A.J. Green, WR Allen Robinson, PK Mike Nugent, Def. Oakland. I didn’t score many points and was thoroughly destroyed by Tom Brady and Jonathan Stewart on their own.
Dereliction (yardage/PPR with bonuses for long TDs and FGs – 0-8 record): QB Russell Wilson, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Ryan Mathews, TE Greg Olsen, TE Jimmy Graham, WR Tyrell Williams, PK Dustin Hopkins, DEF Atlanta. I scored 43 points. That’s just terrible.
NFFL (fractional scoring/PPR): QB Tom Brady, RB Gio Bernard, RB Frank Gore, WR Brandin Cooks, WR Golden Tate, WR A.J. Green, PK Mason Crosby, DEF Detroit. I didn’t lead the league in scoring, but I finished in the Top 3 and that means that I’m in the money again.