A Dash Of…Cheslock

(Dash’s Note: In an effort to help the fantasy football community, I’ve hired a ringer to write about week 8. And yes, this obviously means I lost a bet to sports producer Aaron  Cheslock. Enjoy.)

Week 8 Byes: Falcons, Ravens, Bears, Browns, Giants, Eagles

Dictionary.com defines fantasy as “a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic”. Now, if you imagined your ideal fantasy team this preseason, it might have included perennial standouts DeAngelo Williams and Larry Fitzgerald. Rude awakening, both players are ranked out of the top 100 in standard scoring leagues. Suddenly your fantasy can look like a scary reality in a hurry, and I know there are some of you out there. But it’s only week 8, there’s
still hope.

There has been an awful lot of early under achievement from supposed top 50 talent this year. Runners like Williams, Shonn Greene, and Ryan Matthews show little tread on their tires while mid round picks Arian Foster and Ryan Torain look like top 10 plays this week. Wide outs such as Fitz and Steve Smith (the older, statistically unattractive one) are helpless as long as they’re doubled more than Chris Dachille’s scotch glass while Steve Johnson and Mike Williams (Seattle, but really whichever one you’d like) combine for 19 catches and 245 yards last week.

Injuries and how we react to them often impact the success of each team throughout the season. If you waited till Wednesday to get the official word that Colts TE Dallas Clark was out for the season, you might have missed out on a great replacement such as Aaron Hernandez or Dustin Keller. Hopefully you didn’t lose Tony Romo or Michael Vick,
but if so, Ryan Fitzpatrick seems like a great sleeper for the rest of the way. At least you know he’ll throw an awful lot.

This week there are six teams on bye weeks. And there are lots of stars that you rely on week to week on said teams. Hopefully if you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you to start Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, or to bench
Brandon Jackson against the best defense in the NFL. Hopefully I give you more treats than tricks this Halloween.
So lets just focus on the tougher calls this week…

START:
Carson Palmer at Miami- Aside from the fact that he’s coming off a 400 yard three score week, Miami’s Defense is allowing just over 18 fantasy points on average to opposing passers.

Jon Kitna vs. Jacksonville- He did throw for two scores last week, and if you lost Romo, he’s a great replacement for this week against the Jags’ horrid pass defense. Dez Bryant showed promise last week, and Miles Austin remains due for a big game.

Thomas Jones vs. Buffalo- He’s rushed for 100 yards for two straight games and the Bills allow the third most points to opposing running backs. Oh, and the Chiefs have the best rushing offense in the league.

Ryan Torain at Detroit- Portis should be out again this week. This should be a high scoring game and Torain should top 100 yards for his third straight contest. He’ll do some damage in the passing game too.

Steve Smith at St. Louis- “Wow, what a hypocrite”, I know. But the Panthers did get Matt Moore back and St. Louis has
allowed three TD’s to wide outs in their last three games. Smith should score here.

Hines Ward at New Orleans- Reunited and it feels so good. Wards’ line before Big Ben came back: 12 receptions for 165 yards and a TD. In the two games he’s been back: 12 grabs for 185 yards and two scores. Start him in all formats.

Jason Witten vs. Jacksonville- This is purely based on a season high nine grabs last week and the history of backup quarterbacks leaning on tight ends. Witten’s a sturdy one.

Neil Rackers at Indianapolis- Houston @ Indy, lots of points, in a dome, Rackers is 9-11 on the year. Pretty good bet here.

Rams Defense vs. Carolina- St. Louis was actually my sleeper pick last week. Despite them under performing, they have my confidence again. The Panthers offense is in shambles. DeAngelo Williams might not play and they should throw multiple blitz packages Matt Moore’s way. The ramblin’ Rams should come through for you if you need a quick bye week replacement.

SIT:
Brett Favre at New England- Really? 10 picks in six games and you’re really expecting an explanation?  Ok, he’s old,
and hurt. And if the silver fox doesn’t start, don’t start Tavaris Jackson either (Durr).

Ryan Matthews vs. Tennessee- Well, Mr. Matthews (any “Boy Meets World” fans anymore?) hasn’t broken 100 yards
in a game yet this season and only has one touchdown thus far, while the Titans have only allowed one all year. Plus Mike Tolbert figures to still get most of the goal line touches.

Michael Crabtree vs. Denver- Troy Smith’s his QB, Champ Bailey will be on him all game, and it’s in the friendly confines of… London? Call me crazy, but I see let down here.

Jeremy Shockey vs. Pittsburgh- Shockey is beginning to lose touches to Donald Thomas and Jimmy Graham. Aside from that fact, the Steelers (much to Ravens fans dismay) have pretty good success against opposing Tight Ends. Just ask Todd Heap.

Jay Feely vs. TB- He’s on a struggling offense which could bode well for him down the stretch. However, that won’t help him this week as the Cardinals need to figure out how to move the ball period. They won’t give him many chances.

New Orleans Defense vs. Pittsburgh- First of all, Cleveland?!?!? Did anyone see that coming? Pittsburgh’s offense has been on fire since Roethlisbergers reinstatement. I know they’re a good defense, but I’d look for an alternative this week, if you can afford to drop someone.

Taper Expectations for:
Greg Jennings WR GB- Will see a lot of CB Revis

Tom Brady QB NE- I know if you own him you’re starting him, no arguments. Just remember his line from last week against San Diego and prepare for a similar week against a tough and desperate Vikings Defense.

All Dallas RB’s– They should destroy the Jags’ and run all over them, however this will probably be closer than it ought to be. Start Felix Jones as a #2 this week and Barber is a solid flex, and you’ll get those numbers. But neither are anything higher, until one sets himself apart from the other.

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