With Nick Foles showing the world why Michael Vick was the starting quarterback for Philadelphia, Reggie Wayne tearing his ACL, Doug Martin injuring his shoulder (DO NOT DROP HIM YET), and the future of both Arian Foster and Ben Tate now up in the air following their bye week, this week has been a mess, but we still have to press on. Here are your bad and good matchups for week 8.
Willis McGahee may still be the lead back in Cleveland, but against a stingy Kansas City defense, I wouldn’t count on him for much of anything this week. They cover the air fairly well too so Josh Gordon’s situation isn’t much better, but with the trade deadline fast approaching, there’s always a chance Gordon lands on a different team before Sunday. Who knows, it could even be for the Chiefs. Gordon’s still a solid WR3/flex play this week, but McGahee should stay on your bench unless you have the bye week blues.
Speaking of mediocre running backs, Zac Stacy looked decent against the Panthers last weekend, but Seattle will be a much greater challenge. Even with the Rams handing the ball to him the most, Stacy is a 5-7 point player this week unless he’s lucky enough to break one for a trip to the end zone. Don’t count on it.
Giovani Bernard is in a similar situation this week when the Bengals host the Jets. Bernard is getting the ball more than BenJarvus Green-Ellis these days, but his 5.9 points in standard leagues last week is about what you should expect from him this week as well. He’ll probably rush more than seven times this week, but an extra 3-5 touches isn’t suddenly going to make him a star this week.
As for receivers, New England and Atlanta are both in tough matchups this week so Julian Edelman and Harry Douglas should be used with caution while the injury question marks surrounding both Roddy White and Danny Amendola combined with these matchups should keep them on your bench.
In more pleasant news, especially for New England, Stevan Ridley is a solid RB2 this week after being hit or miss for most of this season. It was all Brandon Bolden early in the game last week, but Ridley eventually made a respectable fantasy performance out of limited action. Against Miami’s porous run defense, Ridley will likely tally a few extra touches this week and seems likely for a score.
Jarrett Boykin has also turned himself into a must start in the absence of Randall Cobb. Look for another strong performance this week against the Vikings. You should start Jordy Nelson too, of course, but you didn’t need me to tell you that.
Speaking of unbelievably talented receivers, Larry Fitzgerald is in a great spot this week. He’s been great about every other week and after a terrible showing against Seattle, he’s due. Look for Fitzgerald to bounce back in a big way this week and likely share some fantasy points with Michael Floyd as well, if you need him.
For tight ends, Jordan Reed, Tony Gonzalez, and Kyle Rudolph are all in great spots for success this week and should absolutely be started depending on the size of your league. Jordan Cameron, on the other hand, is in a tough matchup so as great as he’s been for fantasy owners this season, you shouldn’t expect the world from him this week. Jimmy Graham is in a bad position too and that’s IF he plays so whomever you picked to fill in for him last week is probably worth sticking with this week.
At quarterback, RGIII and Colin Kaepernick are in especially nice matchups this week, but unless you’re a big Terrelle Pryor fan, almost all of the remaining fantasy-relevant QBs are in good to average matchups this week so start your team’s top QB and don’t overthink it.
Ready for your sleeper pick of the week? Last week’s sleeper pick, Brandon Gibson, caught, not one, but two touchdown passes. This week, I’m picking Jason Avant. With Michael Vick back, but likely not 100%, he may not be able to break off and run as much as he typically would. This means that when the going gets tough, he’s going to be looking for the open man somewhere in the middle of the field and that man is frequently Avant.