Seven weeks down. Halftime!
Unless your team is 7-0 right now, the first half of the season probably hasn't gone exactly like you had hoped. And even if it has gone swimmingly so far, that doesn't mean the second half will go just as well. And why is swimmingly an adverb that means it's going well? I guess it's better than "drowningly," but why not "joggingly" or "jazzercisingly" or some other form of exercise that I refuse to do? Just kidding, I lover jazzercise!
But as we all know, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go down the crapper. If you had drafted the "perfect team" back in August, it would've looked something like (non-flex leagues):
QB: Aaron Rodgers (GB) RB: Arian Foster (HOU) RB: Ray Rice (BAL) WR: Calvin Johnson (DET) WR: Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) WR: Julio Jones (ATL) TE: Jimmy Graham (NO) DST: San Francisco 49ers K: David Akers (SF) But that roster wouldn't even be the top scoring roster to date. Here's what the "perfect team" would be if we based it on performance to this point:
QB: Drew Brees (NO) RB: Arian Foster (HOU) RB: Ray Rice (BAL) WR: A.J. Green (CIN) WR: Victor Cruz (NYG) WR: Vincent Jackson (TB) TE: Tony Gonzalez (ATL) DST: Chicago Bears K: Lawrence Tynes (NYG) The running backs are the same, not a huge surprise since people keep telling me that they're pretty good, but every other name is different. Which lineup would you prefer moving forward? Or would you throw a different name into the mix?
Time to start thinking about how you want your team to look the rest of the way. You should know your strengths and weaknesses by now. And if you don't...well, then we've definitely identified one of your weaknesses. Get to it boys and girls, we just turned the corner.
Onto the good, the bad, and the not sure if they're worth the headache...
Week 8 BUYS:
The matchup between Peyton Manning and Drew Brees should be a great one on Sunday night. I'm putting the floor for combined scoring between these two elite level passers at 50 points. I should probably put it at 60. Brees is averaging an insane 30 points per game in standard scoring, with at least 35 points in his last three showdowns. Peyton is averaging about a touchdown less at 24 points per game, but I'd actually give him the edge if I had to pick who finished better on the night. Both quarterbacks are dialed in, but the defense Peyton is facing is far more giving than his own.
I'm glad I'm playing the team with Arian Foster this week in my longest standing league. I doubt I'm the only one celebrating that small victory this week. Ditto for you guys going up against a team with Ray Rice.
I'm buying that Miles Austin is the wide receiver you want to own in Dallas. In Week 6, Miles put up a rather craptastic three fantasy points, but every other week has been between 10-13 points. It's nice when your wide receiver puts up 21 points like Dez Bryant did in Week 6, but the rest of his weeks have been a rollercoaster, including a pair of 1-point outings. Not sexy, but all of a sudden that two point weekly average that Miles is boasting over Dez looks even better.
Matchups I like this week:
QB: Andrew Luck vs. Tennessee. It's always nice when your quarterback dials up his own number at the goal line. It's even nicer when he does it twice, which Luck did last week against Cleveland. Those two scores on the ground basically rescued a sub 200-yard, zero passing touchdown outing. Now, will he do that every week? Of course he will. At least he better if he ever finagles his way into my starting lineup. Luck hasn't necessarily lit the fantasy world ablaze these past two weeks with five and 18 points, respectively. But he stands a good chance to eclipse those numbers this week (possibly combined) against the Titans who have given up at least 20 points to every quarterback they've faced but one. RB: Chris Johnson vs. Indianapolis. Whether or not you liked his moves in the end zone, you had to have liked his moves to get him there... unless he was starting against you. Johnson went off for just under 200 yards and two touchdowns, one of them from 83 yards out. Now he gets to follow up that performance with another inviting opponent in the Indianapolis Colts. If he doesn't spend too much time dancing in the backfield, he should be making moves in the end zone again this week. Provided he doesn't get stopped at the one yard line, because then it's Jamie Harper's time to shine. WR: Mike Wallace vs. Washington. Mike Wallace turned an awesome Week 7 into a rather crappy one. Wallace was targeted 15 times in the game, but only caught eight of them for 52 yards. That's what we in the "biz" call a case of the "dropsies." Yes, that is the technical term! Wanna fight? You started it. Whether it's extra pine tar or maybe another 15 extra targets this week, I think Big Ben and O.C. Todd Haley will make sure Wallace gets on track against one of the league's worst secondaries.
Week 8 HOLDS:
Josh Freeman has looked stellar since coming off of his Week 5 bye. I try and class it up with a word like "stellar" once in a while to keep my editors happy. In the last two weeks, Freeman has combined for 63 total fantasy points. This week he's matched up against the Vikings on Thursday night. Is it just me, or have the Thursday night games been less than amazing? Far, far less in my opinion. Minnesota is ranked near the bottom of the league when it comes to giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks, but outside of the shellacking they took at the hands/feet of Robert Griffin III, they've done a respectable job. Not sure if it's the Thursday factor or Minnesota's defense, but I wouldn't feel comfortable playing this matchup this week.
Place your bets ladies and gentlemen. What's it going to be this week for Stevan Ridley? There's not much in-between with this guy? His weekly fantasy numbers this year look like this: 20, 9, 3, 22, 19, 3, 6. So this week against the St. Louis Rams, he will either get you around 20 points... or about six. St. Louis is middle of the road when it comes to letting running backs score against them, so which are you betting on?
Jeremy Kerley on even weeks. Kerley is averaging double-digit fantasy points on odd weeks and just over two points on the even weeks. Is it his quarterback inconsistency, or is it his fear of even numbers? If you ask him how many fingers you're holding up, just don't make it two or four.
Tough Matchups for Studs this week:
QB: Eli Manning vs. Dallas. The last time Eli played the Cowboys was the Wednesday night game that kicked off the NFL season. Remember how that went? You probably remember Kevin Ogletree's performance more than Eli's, and for good reason. Eli was only able to put one ball in the end zone that game and came away with 14 points. In Eli's last two matchups, he has only one touchdown in each of them, as well. Is it a rut? Possibly. Either that or he's hit two consecutive potholes and there's another dead ahead. Better get your swerve on Eli. RB: Marshawn Lynch vs. Detroit. Beast mode did pretty well against the 49ers last week. He didn't reach the end zone, but he did ground out 103 yards rushing and another 13 on a reception. Hardly enough to make the earth shake, but he was just the second back this year to rush for over 100 yards against the Niners. Next up: the Lions who can be just as stingy with the goodies, ranking 4th against running backs in fantasy football. They're like the house that gives out apples instead of skittles for Halloween. WR: Calvin Johnson vs. Seattle. Calvin had a rough go of it against the Bears in Week 7. He was either octuple-covered all game long or had the ball punched out of his hands by Peanut Tillman whenever the ball did manage to squeeze through the defense. I'm not saying bench Calvin. Who would? Yes, I'm sure there are some out there. But he's going up against another tough crew in the Seattle secondary, maybe even tougher than last week's. Week 8 SELLS:
Ryan Fitzpatrick was a Top 5 fantasy quarterback last week with 25 points. In the two weeks prior to Week 7, he totaled nine fantasy points. No, there was not a bye mixed in either. That type of inconsistency can really throw a wrench at your head. Thank you Chuck Norris.
Jonathan Dwyer looked good last week against Cincinnati. And when I say "good," I mean like Jerome Bettis good. I doubt he gets "athletic fit" clothing when he goes out shopping, more likely the "husky" size. But that backfield is already crowded enough in Pittsburgh without trying to squeeze in another beefy dude. I'd stay clear of that timeshare unless you're getting desperate.
Greg Little finally learned how to catch the ball. Little caught six of the seven balls thrown his way last weekend, racked up 52 yards and a score. Good one Greg, almost had us fooled. Now you're going to have to drop everything for the next three weeks just so your average doesn't get skewed.
Matchups to Avoid this week:
QB: Cam Newton vs. Chicago. Look here sweetheart, whatever is going on with Cam right now (including postgame sweaters) ain't pretty. If he still has that suggestion box handy, I would recommend not watching the game tape of what happened to Matthew Stafford last week when he played the Bears. A garbage time touchdown to Ryan Broyles was the only highlight, and the only thing that got Stafford into double-digits for the week. Maybe another suggestion would be to hand the ball off this week as much as possible...or play dead. Otherwise, he's getting mauled. RB: LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell vs. San Francisco. LaRod la-rode the usually stout Minnesota Vikings defense for 149 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Yes, I know that was awful. What's your point? Powell on the other hand, didn't do much of anything. Regardless of who gets more carries this week, I don't see the Niners making it a habit of allowing hundred yard rushers. Once, twice, three times a...nuh, uh. WR: Brian Hartline vs. New York Jets. Hartline got blanked against the...