The NFL is a business; we all know this. Businesses focus on market trends to better position themselves for success. What are some trends going on that you need to position yourself strategically for? Running backs are going down like flies. Eddie Lacy, C.J. Anderson, Thomas Rawls etc. I’ll show you some pinch pick-up’s for week 8 to help you position yourself for a win, or even a championship.
The obvious choice: Alex Smith, KC
You get it now, don’t you? Start anyone and anything against the Colts. The Colts give up nearly 20 points per game to opposing quarterbacks and Alex Smith is about to be the beneficiary of that awful defense. The run game will keep this defense honest, and they’ll likely have 8 men in the box because of the Chiefs monster backfeld. Smith may not be the most fun QB to watch, but don’t forget he was a #1 overall pick in the draft. He’s entirely capable of picking apart this Colts defense for 20+ points. Also, Smith is only owned in 31% of NFL leagues and 41% of ESPN leagues; you’re welcome.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ
Okay; hear me out, it won’t take long. He’s playing the Browns. See? Your opinion switched that quickly. The Browns tote what is probably the worst roster in the NFL; and because of that, they’re ranked as the 31st passing defense in the league, giving up an average of over 20 points to quarterbacks throwing the pigskin against them. We know Fitzpatrick can put up 300 and 3 scores, even if he hasn’t been able to do so this season. Want a bold prediction? This game is a shoot out and you need to start Fitzpatrick if you’re in a pinch. He’s only owned in about 10% of both ESPN and NFL leagues so he’s very likely an option for you.
The stretch: Josh McCown, CLE
There’s a reason it’s called “the stretch.” But, based on my bold prediction above, this NYJ-CLE game could be a shoot out; and we all know how lovely it is to own a QB in a shootout. Corey Coleman may be coming back this week, and Terrelle Pryor has been an awesome story to experience these last couple of years. If Coleman is back, expect the football to fly deep downfield often as even Revis admits he’s not who he used to be. The Jets are 24th against the pass and I expect 15-20 points from McCown.
The obvious choice: Devontae Booker, DEN
C.J. Anderson is out for the year after getting surgery on his knee. Devontae Booker will run this backfield for the remainder of the season. Kapri Bibbs is also on the depth chart, but with only 3 touches all year long, don’t worry about him grabbing many more than 5 touches per game. Booker is a good runner, but great in the pass game. We all know how awesome that extra 3rd down value means for backs. Get Devontae now.
Chris Thompson, WAS
With Matt Jones ruled out this week, Chris Thompson is the running back to own. Robert Kelley has flashed a bit this year, but Thompson has the passing down value that pushes him well beyond Kelley. Also, Jones’ fumbling problems from last year are far from gone: if Thompson shines in his absence, don’t be surprised if he seizes that RB1 spot in Washington moving forward.
Matt Asiata, MIN
Jerrick McKinnon was in a walking boot for most of this week and has been ruled out for week 8. Minnesota took it’s first loss of the season and it was apparent it was because their offense couldn’t produce against a quality defense. This offense just happens to be playing the Bears this week, one of the worst defenses in the league. Asiata will run all over them, I expect big things out of Matt Asiata this week. Asiata is only taken in 48% of ESPN leagues and 18% of NFL leagues.
The stretch: Mike Gillislee / Reggie Bush, BUF
LeSean McCoy is listed as “doubtful” for their game against the Patriots. So, in the chance he’s out for Sunday’s game look to Gilleslee to grab a majority of the touches. Gillislee is listed as “questionable” himself, so if, by chance, he gets demoted to “out” the torch is passed to the timeless Reggie Bush. Bush did steal a TD last week, but Gillislee has proven himself in this system. So, based on the injury report, follow the depth chart pecking order when deciding who to pick up in this ground-and-pound offense.
The obvious choice: Ty Montgomery, GB
Well duh, right? I mean, I could even put him in the running back section. This is about as big of a must pick-up as I could possibly recommend. Remember when Marques Colston used to be TE / WR a few years back? Having the type of versatility that Montgomery offers going into weeks 9 and 11 (with a bunch of teams on bye), this is a critical pick-up if you can get him. It’s no guarantee, but Montgomery has proven his worth. Even if the Packers have a “standard” running back in the backfield, they’re still going to try and get Montgomery the ball == much like a Tavon Austin or Cordarelle Paterson. Unfortunately, it seem’s like ESPN players figured this out long before NFL fantasy players — Ty is owned in 81% of ESPN leagues but only 37% of NFL leagues.
Michael Thomas, NO
I told you this last week; but, did you listen? You should have, most of my recommendations paid off; including Michael Thomas. He’s now up to 46% ownership in NFL leagues and 71% of ESPN leagues. To be honest, I thought he should of been a draft choice. Brees has now thrown the most 300 yard games in the history of the NFL. With not a whole lot of other options on that offense, Michael Thomas has flourished. Even if he doesn’t go off this week against Seattle; he’s worth the add for the rest of the season.
Davante Adams, GB
Davante Adams went off against a bad Chicago defense, posting 13 catches, 132 yards, and two scores. I like to think Aaron Rodgers will continue to perform in a shootout game against the Falcons. Falcons stud corner, Desmond Trufant will likely cover Jordy Nelson. Adams and Mongomery could be the beneficiaries of this back and forth scoring battle. Adams may not be an every week start against better defenses, but he’s worth an add in a pinch this week carrying a high floor and high ceiling.
The stretch: Brandon LaFell, CIN
Brandon LaFell has 4 TD’s in his last 3 games. He seems to have turned into a go-to in the red zone for Andy Dalton. That being said, Tyler Eifert — his 2015 red zone go-to — is coming back from the injury he suffered in the Pro Bowl. Now, the reason I have LaFell in here still, is I think he has the potential for additional targets if Josh Norman travels with A.J. Green all day. LaFell is available in 88% of NFL leagues and 74% of ESPN leagues.
The obvious choice: Jack Doyle, IND
Again; Jack Doyle was on last weeks list and paid off for anyone that chose to start him. Dwayne Allen is expected to be out 3-5 more weeks; leaving Doyle as Andrew Luck’s coveted TE1 until Allen’s return. Doyle is a borderline must start; we know Luck loves throwing to TE’s in the red zone, but Doyle was a staple move-the-chains type guy last week. Doyle is still only taken in 52% of ESPN leagues and 34% of NFL leagues. Grab this guy whether you need a spot-start, or a longer-term TE option.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU
C.J. Fiedorowicz played nearly 3/4 of his team snaps against the Broncos. That was an ugly game, and Fiedorowicz didn’t have the game I was expecting him to; but this week, they have Detroit at home. Brock Osweiler will be more comfortable at home; C.J. is worth a start against the 30th ranked defense at stopping opposing tight ends.
The stretch: Antonio Gates, SD
Antonio Gates is recovered and has started getting the targets we’re used to seeing him get, especially in an offense lacking target-hog, Keenan Allen. He got 10 targets last week, most of which were in the red zone. But, Gates is a stretch playing this stingy Denver defense who he only had 2 catches and 16 yards against a few weeks ago. In that game, Hunter Henry stole the show. Chances are Henry isn’t available in your league, but Gates is. If you’re in dire need of a TE option, Gates could pay off for you — after all, Philip Rivers will have to rely on his TE’s to avoid taking too many hits.
Defense / Special Teams:
The obvious choice: New York Jets @ Cleveland Browns
This baffles me, really. NFL fantasy leagues have the Jets as 33% owned and ESPN leagues have them in 75%. Even though this is the “obvious choice” it’s not a guarantee; there’s a real lack of quality streaming options this week. I can see this game being a shoot out, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets defense mess with that questionable offense, even with Josh McCown.
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
I won’t lie to you here, I’m not sold on any of the streaming options this week. It’s really just going to be a great week of football. The Chargers managed 11 points in week 6 against Denver. My expectations are less here, but I still don’t believe Trevor Siemian is good enough to manage the ball all game. I have hopes that Joey Bosa keeps grinding and this defense can get a couple turn overs. This is likely a low scoring game, so at least you won’t get negative points.
Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles
This game will be my favorite to watch this week. I think my Wentz article has been backed up by his play as of late, so I see this surprisingly consistent Dallas defense as a streaming option this week. The Cowboys have faced teams by the likes of the Packers, the Bengals, and the Giants; all of which scored no more than 20 points on this defense. I love Byron Jones at safety, and the Dallas corners are making a statement. If the Cowboys can find a way to get pressure on Wentz, this game could actually get ugly.
The stretch: Cleveland Browns vs New York Jets
I know; I’m sorry. This game could just go in any direction. The Browns defense is bad, and I said this game could be a shoot out. The reason I have the Browns in this spot is because of how many turnovers the Jets commit: it’s the most in the league. Even with a high scoring game, if the Browns can get enough turnovers they could score 7-10 points like they did against Miami, despite giving up 30 points.