Man, hard to believe we’re already halfway through the fantasy season. Where has the time gone?
At the mid-point, it’s time to start really addressing a few things. Injury status, playoff schedule, all of that good stuff is important to start noting, especially with trades. When trading right now, its critical that you look at the schedule and realize you’re only getting 6 regular season games out of new acquisitions past this Sunday if 4 teams make week 15/16 playoffs, and only 5 if it’s a 6-team playoff. A little crazy to think you get that little time. While Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Basketball (pumped for a big year!) are both marathons, Fantasy Football is a sprint. I pick Usain Bolt! Championship.
Looking back at last week’s picks, let’s get the one really bad out of the way with Nick Foles taking a crap and calling it a chocolate sundae against the Boys. Man that was brutal, then the concussion. Only thing that would be worse would be… Matt Barkley? Man, Vick has to save Philly! But past that my starts were pretty good – Kris Durham at 5 for 41 I’ll call a push since we all know RCLs are PPR (I also said he’d get 8-9 targets and he got 8, I feel “Smart” – hah!) and he was a deep sleeper, then wins for Fred Jackson, Joseph Randle (maybe debatable, but if you had to play him, 12.30 in PPR is nice) and Coby Fleener. For my benchers, Colin Kaepernick scored more than I expected but still wasn’t huge and Stevan Ridley continues to only be good when I call him a bench call. Watch, he’ll tank this week. Two losses there, then Dwayne Bowe at 5 for 66 I’ll call a push and MJD continues to be awful. Yeah, the James Jones call ended with him not playing, but I wrote him as a bench no matter what the day before! Sue me! Or if you want me to get spiked on the calf, Suh me! An overall good week and I’ll take it. Here’s who I like in week 8 and their % started in ESPN and Yahoo, respectively (NOTE – these are not always recommendations for 1-for-1 swaps, just guys I like who are understarted and guys I hate overstarted):
Andre Ellington (6.3%, 28%) While I think he has a lot of the “Arizona starter” buzz with Rashard Mendenhall out with the toe injury and Alfonso Smith still with an ailing hammy (although he’ll play), but Nick and I on the Pod have raved about Ellington since the onset (fell credit, Nick liked him before me!). With a nice opportunity for him to get a career-high in touches (he still won’t be the every down back) and with 6 teams on bye, I think he’s a pretty solid option as a RB2 or flex if your studs are out.
Brandon Gibson (0.8%, 7%) As I mentioned in this week’s DraftKings picks, I’m a little nervous with this call as I’m all in on Gibson. Starting him on 4 of 6 teams, on my DraftKings roster, and finalizing with an LSD selection, Gibson better deliver! I’m surprised he’s owned and started in so few leagues (especially PPR) as 11.4 is his second-lowest total on the year with a 4 for 74 game. With only one bad game, Gibson has proven there’s room for three producing receivers on the Fins and with Miami likely down against the Patriots, they’ll have to throw. Even if it’s close, the Dolphins can’t run the ball with any consistency, and Gibson should see a lot of love out of the slot.
Michael Vick (38.2%, 33%) With a mix of injury holding him out the previous two weeks and owners still not adjusting their rosters/the fear he comes out early with another injury, I completely understand the Vick hesitation. But the matchup couldn’t be juicier, and Vick was well on his way to a good game against the Giants in week 5 before pulling the hammy. He reportedly ran a 100-yard dash with no issues in Friday’s practice, so hopefully it holds up and Vick I think is a low-end QB1 this week.
Roy Helu (12.0%, 33%) I’m definitely not buying a three TD repeat, but Helu is the guy the Redskins like in their no-huddle and come-from-behind O, which will likely be their common sets in the second half after Peyton goes 30-30 for 500 yards and 7 TDs in the first half. Seriously, it’s going to be like Madden on easy. I know 4 catches is his season-high, but I think he duplicates or improves on that in check downs and gets 80-90 total yards with a chance at a late TD in the red zone. A good fill-in in PPRs.
Rueben Randle (21.2%, 56%) Dude, Randle, who I thought was a decent sleeper, has really turned it on lately (likely after teams that drafted him early cut bait) after doing nothing in weeks 2-4. Yahoo seems to be on it, but Randle is a must-start this week with all the byes. Even if the Philly/Giants game isn’t a shoot out, the G Men will get yards through the air with all their running backs hurt and “jello-legs” Peyton Hillis carrying the load, so Randle should have no problem keeping him his 3-week hot streak.
SON OF A BENCH
Lamar Miller (53.8%, 43%) Not only is Miller a bench this week, but he’s borderline droppable. While everyone loved to crap all over Daniel Thomas this preseason and still do all this season, he’s really not that bad. Maybe Thomas doesn’t deserve half of the backfield touches, but hey, I’m not the coach. Even if Thomas wasn’t getting as much work, the Dolphins running game isn’t doing anything, and I think they’ll be down against the Patriots. Avoid.
Harry Douglas (61.9%, 64%) Conventional wisdom has Douglas a must-start this week with Roddy White still out and Julio Jones obviously lost for the year, but I think you should be hesitant with him this week. Patrick Peterson is playing really well this year and the Cardinals give up the third fewest points to opposing WRs. Douglas is the only Falcons WR playing you’ve ever heard of, and don’t think the Cards won’t key in on him. I’d play a lot of WRs ahead of him, like Randle.
Darren McFadden (68.0%, 63%) Listen, I understand it’s a heavy week of byes, and most teams are forced to go Run-DMC. I’ve never been a McFadden ever since he came to the league (I still think I’ve never had him in probably 100 teams in that span) and I don’t like the matchup against the decent Steelers run D. I just see Oakland being down 10ish points and getting antsy with Terrelle Pryor passing and bailing out with his legs. I’d avoid if possible.
Justin Blackmon (39.0%, 72%) Blackmon has been awesome since returning from suspension (power of JB!), but I think this is a week to avoid unless you’re ravaged by the byes. He had a hammy crop up late this week in practice (maybe it was the plane ride to London!) and it’s a tough matchup against the 49ers in a foreign environment. Literally. I know there’s junk time upside, but I’m avoiding if I can.
Jordan Cameron (71.2%, 65%) I know it’s tough to even consider benching Cameron with the season he’s having, but if you picked up Jordan Reed or say lucked into Julius Thomas to pair with Cameron, JC is a possible bencher. The Chiefs give up the fewest points to opposing TEs in the NFL, it’s at Arrowhead, and the Browns are now going to Jason Campbell. I don’t think Campbell is terrible or anything, but it’s another change at QB for Cameron. Tough matchup, new QB, hard to be all-in on him like usual.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin – and remember I’m going to be a little slower getting to them but I’ll get to everything well before kickoff! Good luck in week 8!