Fantasy Football Contributor
Welcome to my Week 8 Fantasy Football preview column. I don’t delve into rankings, stats or data. You can find all of that at other sites. In fact, that’s where I find mine. My column is all about my impressions of different players and situations that could impact your fantasy team this week and in the future. We’ll check back in after Week 8’s games.
1. Mike Gillislee. Keep that name in your back pocket. It might come in handy on Sunday.
2. Marcus Mariota, I think, is growing into something special. Through eight games this season he’s sitting on 14 touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. Last year, in 12 games, Mariota had 21 total touchdowns. Assuming good health the rest of the season 30 total touchdowns isn’t out of the question. That would put Mariota among the Top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL in total touchdowns. He’s also on pace for 3,600 passing yards. When he came out of college last year I spent an eighth-round pick on the guy and didn’t even play him last year, hoping he would develop, and he’s doing it. Sure, Jameis Winston went ahead of him in the NFL Draft and in most fantasy drafts last year, and probably this year too. But in 2017 that script might flip. If you have him in a keeper league, like I do, don’t even entertain the thought of not protecting him. This Titans team is only getting better and the running combo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry will continue to take pressure off of Mariota.
If you can swing a deal for Mariota, do it, if for no other reason than this. In Week 16, when most fantasy championship games are held, Mariota and the Titans face Jacksonville again.
3. I have an owner in one league that has lost Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson in the space of two weeks. That’s bad luck all the way around for a contending team in that league.
Now, this is an intriguing situation if you’re looking at Denver’s running game. Anderson’s backups are rookie Devontae Booker and second-year back Kapri Bibbs. Neither Booker nor Bibbs has much of an NFL track record, and this Broncos team wants to run the football. If they’re not successful doing so, it could impact the fantasy fortunes of any Bronco you might own. And I have Demaryius Thomas, so you better make this work, Gary Kubiak.
4. I think Ben Roethlisberger will be back sooner than later. Why? Because that’s just how he’s been his entire career when it comes to injuries. His torn meniscus should keep him out four to six weeks. I expect Roethlisberger to be back in four, which would be good news to his fantasy owners, like me.
5. And by the way, if you were among the many to give up on DeMarco Murray, well, I won’t say shame on you. After what happened in Philly last year you were probably right to be skeptical. But 756 rushing yards and six scores, along with 197 receiving yards and two touchdowns through eight games, we were all dead wrong about this guy. If you took a flier on him, pat yourself on the back.
6. I think this is your last week to start Dak Prescott, if you have him on your team. Tony Romo is working out with the team, though not in 11-on-11 drills yet. The Cowboys aren’t saying anything publicly, but my gut tells me that they’re eying Romo’s return next week against Cleveland. I don’t think that means you won’t see Prescott again this season, and he’s certainly worth hanging on to, especially if you own him in a dynasty league. I’m just saying that in the short term Romo is coming back and if you’ve been hanging on to him all this time, that’s good news. I think he can still play.
7. I’m intrigued to see if the Packers keep using Ty Montgomery in a running back capacity, if for no other reason to see what chaos it creates in position eligibility. Montgomery is listed as a wide receiver, but the Packers have been using him more and more as a running back in lieu of its injured backs. Now, Montgomery only has 14 carries right now and fantasy football isn’t like fantasy baseball in that you have to play a set amount of plays at a position to be eligible. And any emergence by a Packers back, such as Knile Davis, might take care of this issue. But it’s the most intriguing position debate since Kordell Stewart could play quarterback and catch passes in the 1990s.
8. A deep league pickup at QB this week? Browns QB Josh McCown. It sounds like he’s coming back this week and starting for Cody Kessler, who is now in the concussion protocol. The Browns are playing the Jets. He should put up solid number and take better advantage of receivers like Terrelle Pryor
9. Player I think will have a big game from this Sunday? Seattle TE Jimmy Graham. He’s facing his former team, the New Orleans Saints. He’s been a double-digit performer in each of his last four games in a PPR league. I think this is the week the beast we knew in New Orleans finally comes out.
10. My lineups. I play in three different leagues. If you care, here’s are my starting lineups this week and how I did:
LSFL (scoring only – 6-1 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. Mariota takes Roethlisberger’s place, while Nugent and the Raiders defense are the new additions as I try to get to seven wins.
Dereliction (yardage/PPR with bonuses for long TDs and FGs – 0-7 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. 0-and-8 is just a few days away.
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 actually led the league in scoring last week, so I’m hoping for a repeat in Week 8.