We’re officially at the mid-way point of the NFL season. This is where desperation will start to settle in for some teams. We’re down to 5 undefeated teams, 2 of which will face off against each other this week. I don’t want to keep you guys waiting any longer, so let’s take a look at my week 8 preview.
Let’s take a look at my five biggest Fantasy Football storylines heading into Week 8:
1. Battle of the unbeaten teams
It’s Peyton Manning against Aaron Rodgers. Get pumped up! Sure it’s not the Peyton of old, but its 2 greats on the field and 2 undefeated teams. It’s the high powered Packers offense against the nasty Denver defense and it’s on national television. There are so many intriguing storylines here from the decline of Peyton Manning to the health of Packer players like Randall Cobb. It all comes down to who wants it more and I will no doubt be watching it, along with millions of people.
2. The War Continues
The Dolphins are back and better than ever under their new Head Coach, Dan Campbell. The team is playing with passion and they look invigorated, since the coaching change. However, the true test will come this week when they play the undefeated New England Patriots. The Patriots are on top of their game. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski look unstoppable. While in Miami, running back Lamar Miller has been an absolute monster the past two weeks. Ryan Tannehill has played like the guy a lot of Fantasy experts expected him to play like prior to the season starting. Most Thursday Night Football games suck, but this one won’t. This one will be a war.
3. The Aftermath
Well the whole Greg Hardy/Dallas Cowboys fiasco from Sunday was fun to talk about. The question remains as to what will happen going forward with the Cowboys. Does the whole matter blow over or will it linger on. If I had to guess, I’d say that this going to linger with issue after issue, until not even Jerry Jones can defend Hardy. On the field, the Cowboys need to pull themselves together fast because a Seattle Seahawk team that is fighting for their playoff lives is coming to Dallas this week and it could get ugly if the Cowboys aren’t prepared.
4. Monday Night Madness
Monday Night Football this week will see the 6-0 Panthers host the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are a team that’s imploding right now and having to face a Carolina team that looks very impressive to start the season may not be the best matchup for the Colts at this time. ProFootballTalk is reporting that organizational discussions about Colts Head Coach, Chuck Pagano have begun, which should not come as a shock to anyone. Despite this, the Colts could present a tough matchup for the Panthers. If the Colts are able to give Andrew Luck time to throw the ball, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts pulled the upset. That’s a big “If” considering the Panthers D sacked Sam Bradford 5 times last week. Another W here for the Panthers would be a nice notch on their belt regardless of the issues in Indianapolis.
5. Diggstown Hero
There’s a new stud in town in Minnesota and his name is Stefon Diggs. He’s clearly the best WR for the Vikings, which isn’t saying much. However, he’s turned into Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target (when not handing the ball of to Adrian Peterson). In the rookie’s first 3 games of the season, he has seen no less than 9 targets in any game and he’s had 100+ yards in receiving in each of his last two games. He’s averaging 17.1 yards per catch as he has 19 receptions for 324 yards and 1 touchdown since coming onto the scene. Diggs is a must own player right now and it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep up this great play going forward. This week his Vikings play the Bears and he should be able to put up similar numbers to the past few week.
Week 8 Byes: Buffalo, Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville
Each week I will present what I think are the juiciest fantasy matchups at each position. I don’t want to keep you guys waiting, so let’s take a look at the juiciest matchups for Week 8:
Cam Newton (CAR vs. IND) – Newton is 101/181 for 1,275 yards to start the season and has thrown 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Those aren’t great numbers, but Carolina has found a way to get things done so far. I expect Cam to be ready to go for this one. I think the Colts get the W, but Cam throws for 3 touchdowns.
That’s just a small sample of what the Colts could be in store for…
Matt Ryan (ATL vs. TB) – The Falcons have been in a minor funk as of late. On the season, Matt Ryan is 172/267 for 2002 YDS, and 9 touchdowns. Tampa Bay sucks and I think that this matchup is just what the doctor ordered for Ryan and the Falcons to get their groove back.
Drew Brees (NO vs. NYG) – Drew Brees and the Saints get the Giants this week and he should be able to do some damage against them. Brees is 171/253 for 1871 yards and has 8 touchdowns this season. Life after Jimmy Graham has been far from wonderful for Brees, but I expect 2-3 touchdowns this week for him.
Alshon Jeffery (CHI vs. MIN) – It’s been a slow start to the season due to injuries for Alshon Jeffery. On the season he has 13 receptions for 225 yards and 1 touchdown. I’m sure that’s not what his owners were expecting when they drafted him. However, his injuries appear to be in the rearview mirror and he’s Chicago’s only legit WR target. As long as he’s on the field, he should see plenty of targets. I expect 100+ yards in receiving with 1 touchdown for him again Minnesota this week.
Keenan Allen (SD vs. BAL) – Allen is ballin’ out this year with 62 receptions for 690 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Chargers play the Ravens this week, so look for Philip Rivers to continue to rely on Allen in this game. I expect 11 receptions, 1 touchdown and 100+ receiving yards against the Ravens.
Calvin Johnson (DET vs. KC) – Business is starting to pick up for Megatron. On the season he has 43 receptions for 574 YDS and 3 touchdowns. The Lions started cleaning house this week when they fired their offensive coordinator. They need to get back to the basics and that would include getting Johnson more involved in their offense. The Lions play the Chiefs this week and I expect 1 touchdown from Megatron.
All hail Megatron…
Justin Forsett (BAL vs. SD) – Forsett started the season off slow, but he’s slowly starting to turn things around. On the season, he has 116 carries for 493 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Ravens host San Diego this week, so I expect Forsett to see a hearty helping of touches. He’ll have another 100+ yard game with 1 rushing touchdown and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did some damage catching the ball out of the backfield this week either.
Doug Martin (TB vs. ATL) – The “Muscle Hamster” is quietly putting together a nice season. Doug Martin has 109 carries on the year for 541 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tampa Bay plays Atlanta this week and if the Bucs have any shot to hang with the Falcons, they’re going to have to feed Martin. I expect 20+ carries this week for Martin, for 80 yards and 1 touchdown.
Mark Ingram (NO vs. NYG) – The Saints need a win this week against the Giants to pull their record even on the season. When they’ve been successful this year, Mark Ingram has been in the equation. On the season, Ingram has 102 carries for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Giants appear to be getting Jason Pierre-Paul back on defense this week, so it won’t be easy. But, I expect the Saints to find clever ways to get Ingram the ball.
Greg Olsen (CAR vs. IND) – On the season, Olsen has 27 receptions for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. Look for him to be heavily involved in the offense again this week against the Colts, if the Panthers have any shot to remain undefeated.
Benjamin Watson (NO vs. NYG) – Watson was fairly quiet last week against the Colts, but the Saints are generally better when they get their tight ends involved in the offense, hence why I think their offense has seen a drastic decline of production this year without Jimmy Graham. I expect the Saints to scheme up more plays this week for Watson and I’m looking for 75+ receiving yards and 1 touchdown from him against the Giants.
Justin Tucker (BAL vs. SD) – Justin Tucker remains one of the top kickers in the game. For the season, he’s made 14 FG’s in 17 attempts, while nailing all 15 XP attempts. That’s pretty good, considering how bad a lot of kickers have been this season. The Ravens play the Chargers this week and I fully expect this one to be a high scoring game, which plays into Tucker’s favor.
Houston Texans (vs. TEN) – The Texans defense haven’t been all that good this year, but they’re going to need to step up going forward with their offense losing Arian Foster for the season. They draw the Titans this week and I expect a glimpse of the old Texans D this week. They’ll shut the Titans down.
St. Louis Rams (vs. SF) – The Rams D must be salivating at this game against Colin Kaepernick’s awful 49ers. Kaepernick and company have been nothing short of awful this year. Kaep’s accuracy has been off and he’s been facing tons of pressure from opposing teams. It won’t get any better this week when San Francisco travels to St. Louis, where a nasty Rams D is lying in wait for the 49ers offense.
Bust of the Week
Chris Johnson (ARI vs. CLE) – Chris Johnson is having one hell of a year and at this point, he should be considered for the comeback player of the year. He has 111 carries for 567 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, this week the Cardinals travel to Cleveland to play a Browns defense that can be very good at times. If you look at John’s weekly breakdown of numbers, you’ll see that every other week Johnson has a huge game. It’s not all Johnson’s fault. Sometimes the Cardinals coaches rely more on their other backs. Johnson had a big game against the Ravens on Monday Night Football last week, so it’s Johnson’s turn for a relatively quiet game. Look for the Browns to do a good job of bottling him up and force the Cardinals to have to find other ways for them to beat the Browns.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Each week I will give you my value picks for both FanDuel and DraftKings. Please remember that the salaries are a bit different at each site, so you may not see the same guys on each list because of that. Also, at the end of the day, the final decisions are yours to make, but I’m here to guide you through some value picks. Without further hesitation, let’s get into my DFS value picks for Week 8:
Brian Hoyer (HOU– QB – $6,900) vs. TEN – With no Arian Foster for the rest of the season, the Texans offense is going to have to rely more on the air attack. Hoyer has been solid the last 3 weeks and I like him this week for $6,900 against the Titans.
Jonathan Stewart (CAR– RB – $6,600) vs. IND – Stewart has been proving the haters (me) wrong as of late. He’s carried the ball 20+ times the last two games and I think that he’ll be heavily involved in the Panthers offense again this week against the Colts.
Stefon Diggs (MIN– WR – $6,700) vs. CHI – I spoke about Diggs earlier and I’m rolling the guy out there until if and when he regresses. The price of $6,700 is extremely low considering how well he’s done as of late.
Benjamin Watson (NO – TE – $5,400) vs. NYG– The Saints need to find ways to take down the Giants and their offense always runs better when tight ends are involved. For $5,400, I’ll take it.
Houston Texans (DEF – $4,700) vs. TEN– I spoke about the Texans defense needing to step up this week and how I think they will, so when I see $4,700 as their price tag, I’m jumping all over them.
Andy Dalton (CIN QB – $6,000) vs. PIT – The undefeated Bengals draw the Steelers this week, in what appears to be the game Ben Roethlisberger returns to the lineup for the Steelers. The Red Rocket has been impressive all year and I expect this to be a fairly high scoring game. Dalton is a steal at $6,000.
Doug Martin (TB– RB – $5,500) vs. ATL – Martin will be relied on big time this week, so I’m a bit shocked to see a $5,500 price on him. That’s good enough for me to snatch up.
Martavis Bryant (PIT – WR – $5,300) vs. CIN – Big Ben appears to be on track to return to the lineup this week and that’s great news for all parties involved on the Steelers offense.
Gary Barnidge (CLE – TE – $4,700) vs. ARI – Not sure what DK is thinking here with this price. Maybe they looked at how well the Cardinals D plays. But, Barnidge has been a beast all year and had 100+ yards against an even tougher Rams D last week. This price for Barnidge is insane!
New York Jets (DEF – $2,900) vs. OAK – The Jets lost a tough one against the Patriots last week and I fully expect them to get back on track against Oakland this week.
Good luck this week!
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