If you survived last week’s “Hell Bye Week,” then you can breathe a sigh of relief as week 8 is a much more manageable one. Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are the only teams on bye week and unless you have Ray Rice, A.J. Green or Arian Foster, your team should be in just fine shape. There are some injuries this week that are shaking up a few fantasy rosters and with the midseason bump out of the way, teams that hope to be playoff bound have to make their pushes now. Here are 5 players for you Fantasy teams that I feel will help your roster improve before Sunday’s games.
There are a lot of Jets haters out there and I can completely understand why. That being said, Dustin Keller is back and healthy and he is without question Mark Sanchez’s #1 option in the passing attack. Last week, Keller was targeted 7 times and caught all 7 passes, accumulating 93 yards and a trip to the endzone. The Jets are facing a Miami Dolphins team that is talking a whole lot of shit, which is surprising because the Jets beat the Dolphins in one of the uglier games of the season in week 3. With back up tight end, Cumberland, out with an injury, Keller will see even more targets than normal. There will be a strong emphasis on the ground game which will open up some good play action looks for Keller down the field. I think that Dustin will have an even bigger game this week than last and there is no reason why he should be a Free Agent in anyone’s league from here on out. He is without question a top 10 TE in the NFL.
Predictions for week 8: 9 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown
The Chicago Bears are quietly having a stellar season. The main reason that the Bears are 5-1 is because they have the highest scoring defense in the league and they seem to be able to shut down any team that they face. Another contributing factor to the Bears success is the amazing chemistry between the NFL’s 8th leading receiver, Brandon Marshall, and one of the worst QB’s in the NFL, Jay Cutler. This week the Bears have the luxury of facing off with the dismal Carolina Panthers. While the Bears offense does not put up too many points, this is surely a game where that can change. I think Marshall will draw a lot of double teams which should open up the field for a lot of his receiving buddies. I feel that Devin Hester will be the biggest beneficiary of the receivers on the Bears as he will have the ability to catch short screens or even quick slants and dominate the game with his YAC. Let’s not forget about his ability to take one to the house on any given punt return.
Predictions for week 8: 6 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown, one kick return for a touchdown
Where has the Dancing With the Stars Champion been hiding this season? On the bench watching Aaron Rodgers tare up the league once again. But with Greg Jennings out for at least another week and Jordy Nelson questionable, Rodgers is going to have to look for other options in the passing game. The obvious first choice for him is going to be James Jones followed by Randall Cobb. The third option is the one that I feel will have his biggest and only good game of his season, Donald Driver. The truth of the matter is that the Packers are going to have a field day destroying the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars and I think Donald wants to prove he still has a little something left in the tank. I can see Driver and Rodgers connecting like the olden days for some impressive long yardage passes. A lot of people thought that Driver was retired as he has only had 4 catches for the entire season on the most pass friendly team in the league. All Driver has to do is pretend he is back in the ballroom and he will be able to move around all of the Jaguars secondary.
Predictions for week 8: 5 receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown
The surprise rookie out Abilene Christian has been catching the eyes of fantasy owners across the country. While at the beginning of the season you would have been thought to be crazy to say that someone would take touches away from Steven Jackson, Daryl has emerged as a true offensive threat. While he does not get that many touches on the ground, roughly 7-10 a game, he does get a lot of snaps in the backfield. Over the past two weeks, Richardson has shown glimpses of what he can do in the open field and now that the Rams have the advantage of facing off with one of the leagues worst passing defenses, the New England Patriots, they will try and find successes in their pass game. In his rookie year, Richardson is yet to find the endzone but I think that streak will end on Sunday. The game is being played in Wembley Stadium in London, England and while I feel the Pats will inevitably win the game, I think Richardson will make a name for himself on international turf.
Predictions for week 8: 8 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown, 5 receptions for 70 yards
This is the first time I have ever picked a player in back to back weeks, but after how accurate I was with last weeks predictions for Palmer, (Predictions: 24-46 for 320 yards and two TD’s, Actual: 26-46 for 298 yards and 2 TD’s), I had to go with him again. I am going with Palmer again mainly because he has the easy matchup against the team that I rank as the worst in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Oakland Raiders are a terrible team in their own right and there really is no looking up for them any time soon, but Palmer has been throwing for nearly 300 yards every single game yet he is still a Free Agent in majority of fantasy leagues. One of the first sleepers I talked about in the 2012 season was Denarius Moore, who has emerged as one of the more reliable receivers in the league the past few weeks. With Heyward-Bay on one side and Moore on the other, Palmer has good options to look for and will have a pretty successful season regardless of Oakland’s overall record.
Predictions for week 8: 27-48 for 315 yards and two touchdowns
The deadly week 7 is upon us and every fantasy football owner in the world is shaking in their boots. Teams on their bye this week are the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers. Throughout those teams there are some real fantasy studs that need to be replaced this week like Matty Ice, Peyton Manning, Jamal Charles and LeShawn McCoy. With big names like these on the bench this week, fantasy owners are scrambling to fill their rosters and pick up the best players available on the waiver wire. Well I’m here to make your decision making a little easier.
The #1 draft pick from this past years draft is making his first appearance on the Sports Debaters Sleepers article…he should be honored. With 4 regular fantasy starting quarterbacks on bye weeks (Peyton, Ryan, Vick, Rivers), many owners need to find a reliable replacement. Andrew Luck has been having a pretty solid rookie campaign throwing for nearly 300 YPG. One of Luck’s issues, which is common among rookies, is his turnovers. Through his first 5 games, Luck has thrown 7 picks and fumbled 3 times. Luckily for Luck- see what I did there- he has the privilege of facing the god awful Cleveland Browns this week on his home turf. With the Colts starting tailback, Donald Brown, out for the near future, Luck will have a lot more responsibility in an already pass-friendly offense. I can see this being Luck’s best game as a starter for the entire season. If your regular starting QB on your fantasy team is off or injured this week, or if your QB just has a tougher matchup then your comfortable with, Luck is a must start.
Predictions for week 7: 28-50 for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2 rushes for 15 yards
The Washington Redskins have been an anomaly this season. They have won games they should have lost, lost games they should have won, they have star players injured and no name rookies exploding for ridiculous numbers, i.e. Alfred Morris, and they are doing all of this with a rookie QB, who in my mind is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. In week 1, RG3 found a favorite target in Pierre Garcon but since Garcon got shook up in that game he hasn’t been the same since. RG3 has had to find other help like Morris, Fred Davis and the always reliable Santana Moss. This week in their division matchup against the first place New York Giants, RG3 is going to need to unload his entire bag of tricks and I think that will start by introducing the second year man out of Miami, Leonard Hankerson, to the world. Hankerson has already showed signs of talent and he even had a game in week 3 where he was targeted 11 times against the Bucs in a Redskins thrilling win. With Garcon most likely not playing again this week, RG3 will be taking advantage of Hankerson’s speed and I see this being a breakout game for the sophomore. The Giants secondary is nothing to brag about but they have been playing better of late, but knowing Tom Coughlin, their focus will be on the Redskins ground game. That leaves the field open for my man Hankerson.
Predictions for week 7: 7 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown
Greg Olsen has been driving fantasy owners, including myself, crazy for years. The six year man out of the University of Miami has extremely reliable hands and is one of the best rout running Tight Ends in the NFL. So why are his numbers so inconsistent? No one knows. Olsen has had the second most targets on his team and is only 4 behind Cam Newton’s favorite target Steve Smith. The 1-4 Panthers have been a huge disappointment this year and I honestly don’t think things are going to get any better. This week they go up against the reeling Dallas Cowboys in a game that I can all but guarantee the Panthers will lose. Dallas will score early and often forcing Cam to try and comeback on his arms and not his legs. Smith will get his targets and even Lafell will get some looks, but I think the biggest receiving performance for the Panthers will come from Olsen. I’m expecting Olsen to be the recipient of a lot of short dump passes from Newton when he feels DeMarcus Ware breathing down his neck. Olsen also has the potential for some big plays up the seam. With Tony Gonzalez on bye week, I feel that Olsen can feasibly have the best week out of any TE in the league…plus he has a ridiculously hot wife!
Predictions for week 7: 9 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown
I remember a time when Carson Palmer was a must start in every league 8 teams or more, when Chad Johnson was a respectable and feared receiver and the Cincinnati Bengals were an extremely scary team to face. How things change. Now Palmer is at the helm of one of the laughing stocks of the NFL. The Oakland Raiders are so beyond bad that success does not seem like it will be coming any time soon. Arguably two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Jaguars (1-4) and Raiders (1-4) face off in a battle that will prove who is actually on the bottom of the league. The Raiders are pathetic but I think the Jaguars might be worse. While Palmer’s season ending numbers won’t be anything to hang on the refrigerator, I think this week will be a successful one for the former #1 draft pick out of USC. Palmer is coming off of his best start of the season (23-53 353 yards 1 TD 1 INT) against an Atlanta Falcons defense that is more than impressive. This weeks task is much easier and if you are in need of a quarterback this week and Andrew Luck is already taken, Palmer will be a very safe and smart start.
Predictions for week 7: 24-46 for 320 yards and two touchdowns
Information surfaced early yesterday that Rashard Mendenhall and Issac Redman will both be inactive for the Steelers Sunday Night Football matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. Jonathon Dwyer is the Steelers third tailback and will now be the starter with the top two backs out with injuries. He will be splitting runs with their fourth tailback, Baron Batch, but Dwyer will be seeing the majority of touches in the backfield. Dwyer is yet to do anything of significance this season but this will be a game where he can prove his worth. It is a nationally televised game against a team that just fell to the only team without a win in the NFL. The Bengals are falling from grace really fast and since Big Ben and company are coming off of a surprising loss themselves, this game is a must win for Pittsburgh. I do feel that majority of the Steelers offense will rely heavily on the air attack, but that doesn’t mean Dwyer won’t benefit from that. Dwyer has wicked fast speed and if he is lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a Roethlisberger screen pass, he can easily take at least one to the house. I think this game can be the answer to whether or not the three year man out of Georgia Tech can be a formidable option in the NFL.