We approach the half-way mark of the NFL season this week folks, how are things treating you? For me it has been a very typical season of tough choices, heart ache and some joy have helped me roll on to an 18-10 record in 4 Fantasy leagues! It has been tough of course, and it always seems that I have to sweat out each week up until the final whistle on Monday night. In fact I jumped up in the standings in one league when a late Lions TD lowered the points of the Bears defense and a team in that league ended with a loss by a half of a point. Just crazy!
As you all know, we are also approaching Halloween season, and we have seen some wild costumes in the NFL for sure. Last week we watched Josh Freeman wearing his Dan Marino costume, firing for over 400 yards and 3 TDs, which could of actually been 5 if not for a push out and a stop at the 1 yard line. Oh and how about the get up on that kid in Tennessee Chris Johnson, who did an excellent job impersonating Barry Sanders.
How about Jay Cutler on Monday night, wearing the costume of gladiator and playing through pain after a huge sack before the half? Granted he did nothing big by the numbers, but he held his team together, even looked like a leader in getting a key division win. The Baltimore Ravens? Yes a whole team in costume, looking more like the Cleveland Browns in getting thumped by the Houston Texans. See even NFL players can get into the spirit, scary huh? Well depending on what you did and who you chose it could be a pure nightmare! (Boo!)
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints: Some Manning owners are still hesitating, but that time is over. He looks very much like the Manning of old, with 14 TDs this season, including 6 in the last 2 weeks. This week the Saints come to town, a defense that could have 11 Jon Vilma’s and still not make a dent in anyone’s offense. This is an easy play here.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons: Very few coaches work the post-bye week magic quite like Andy Reid, and what better time to pull a rabbit out of a hat than this week. Last year Vick was excellent against his former club before an injury forced him out. The Falcons, while undefeated could be better on defense, and Vick will go all out here. I have told anyone who will listen that Philly ends the Falcons win streak, and Vick will need to lead that charge. He will, and you will profit!
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants: Please don’t hurt me, I know he has been brutal, but the last few weeks has shown improvement. The Giants seem to bring out the best in Romo, including a 3 TD effort in week 1 against the same G-Men. Not quite sure what it is about this defense that makes him spark, but in the last 4 meetings he has 12 TDs and averages over 300 yards.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks: Being home may help, but this Lions offense is terrible of late. Outside of a miracle comeback against Philly, the Lions have posted just 13 points in the last 3 weeks. The Bears showed just how easy it can be to get to Stafford, and he looked sore after Monday’s game. Now one of the NFL’s top defenses by the numbers comes to town. Not looking pretty.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears: A new GM? That’s how the Panthers solve the problems with this offense? Cam Newton is becoming very average of late, and this tough defense won’t help. He has just 5 TD passes this season and his WR corp seems bored on the field. If you have another QB the time may be here to use him over Newton, he is killing teams right now.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns vs. San Diego Chargers: I have been big on Weeden the last few weeks, but not real giddy about the match up this week. It is the midway point of the season, which is when the Chargers usually wake from hibernation and play better ball. Yes he has 6 TDs in his last 3, and has gone over 250 yards in each, but the Chargers defense is not that bad, and it is a game they need. I think you can do better this week.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts: Here we go again. The guy we saw last week was that superstar who boldly went by CJ2K. He’s fast and shifty, making huge plays and getting it done. The Titans are a whole different team when Johnson takes over, so they will force him all over Indy, who has never been known as a good run defense team. Monitor him week to week, but go with him here.
Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins at New York Jets: Some people are on the fence about Bush and using him moving forward, but I am here to say it’s pure nonsense. Before an injury in his last game against the Jets, Bush was averaging 6.1 yards per carry, and the Jets run defense has been torched this season. Bush also catches passes at a clip of 3.5 grabs per week, so he is always active and has the speed to go all the way every time he touches the ball. He is rested and healthy, go with it!
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders: Some of Charles’ best games have come against the Raiders, and coming off a bye week he is well rested and ready to roll. The Chiefs are keeping Brady Quinn at QB so he will need to use Charles to the fullest to give his team a chance to win. With an average of 80 rush yards and 3 catches per week means he’s working and now he needs more TDs. This week he should be good for maybe 2.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears: The light work load issued to DeAngelo Williams might make Stewart owners giddy, and it may amount to something, but not so much here. I have a hard time trusting anyone on this offense against the Bears.
Steven Jackson/Darryl Richardson St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots: Despite Richardson’s improving work and it helping Jackson, this is not the week to try these guys. The Patriots are tough on the run, which means we will probably see lots of Sam Bradfords arm. If he can find enough receivers is a whole other story.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers: Yes he took the bull by the horns and was excellent last week, but here comes the ferocious 49ers defense to slow him down. The Cards have plenty of issues on the offensive line and a crazy situation at QB, so trying to endorse their running game is hard to do.
Eric Decker/Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints: If you used the big 2 from Tampa last week you did decent, so there is no holding back from starting either one of these guys this week. Peyton Manning is hot right now, and he likes to spread the ball between both of these WRs. Again, if you have both you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, but if you have one, use them.
Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos: Yep I like this match up for both teams, and I like how well Colston has been playing lately. 5 TDs in his last 3 starts and he is catching at least 7 passes per. With Jimmy Graham out there is more action to be had, and Denver, while tough on defense will have a hard time stopping the red hot Colston.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys: If you like Salsa dancing, you must love watching Cruz. Sure there is a contract issue looming, but hey if he plays well, someone will pay him, and of late he looks like a billionaire. He is doing possession as well as deep hitting receiving and is becoming a true superstar in the league. These games are always filled with yards, so expect Cruz to get plenty.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks: I don’t like the QB so how can I like his top option? Johnson is clearly in the Madden curse stage, having just 1 TD this season, no matter how hard they try and force the ball to him. Last week he was frustrated and roughed up by the Bears defense, and the Seahawks are similar in style. Each week I say how he is due to break out soon, but I am having a hard time guessing how soon. Stay away here.
James Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Despite 6 TDs over his last 4 games, I am going against him. The Packers seem to love everyone but Jones, as yes he gets TDs but little else during the game. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are stepping up and it may be time for Jones to step out.
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins: He seems to have a sudden case of the dropsy’s, and it is helping Antonio Brown become more productive. Wallace has loads of talent, but a pre-season holdout seems to be taking it’s toll. There is little scary about the match up but a long view look worries me about Wallace.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants: Coming on strong and getting back into the flow, Witten is worth a shot here. He is due for some end zone looks too, and Romo brings it against the Giants normally.
Dustin Keller, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Keller got into the end zone last week, and seems back from a groin injury. Keller has always been a key part of this offense, and with the bang ups at WR he should be busy each week.
Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings: A few nice clutch catches last week should not have you all running to him. Clark has done very little this season, and the match up isn’t great. Sure keep an eye on his progress, but not here.
Martellus Bennett, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys: A lot of print about this match up so far, but if you are still looking to use Bennett, you have not been watching lately.
Defenses I like this week:
San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns
Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions
Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers
Defenses I don’t like this week
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Waiver Wire: It is taking a lot of work to find anything big, but keep chipping at those rocks, you may still find some gold nuggets!
Rashard Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Did decent last week after an injury to Maurice Jones-Drew, and will fill the lead role for a week or 2 at least. This week is tricky, but you can use him if you need to.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers: Not a great week for him, but they need someone to step up here. He has been getting more targets so it may amount to something.
Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins: 3 TDs in 3 weeks has been nice, and they have been looking his way when they need the big play. Moss is hard to trust normally, but he has been awfully good of late.
Philadelphia Eagles Defense: I see them getting dropped in many leagues, but with new coordinator Todd Bowles in charge they should bring more blitzes and more chances for turnovers. The Wide 9 was killing Philly, and that is gone. Could be a nice sneak pick.
So here is my stuff for Week 8, use it or lose it! Come on, use it! Thanks for reading and as always best of luck!
I have now joined Twitter, so if you would like to ask any questions or need any advice feel free to reach out to my personal account, @JPshark71.
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