Back to TheDailyBlitz.com Home Page (All categories)

October 31, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Week 9 Start'em, Sit'em

Last night, Saints running back Mark Ingram carried the ball 30 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns and added a 10-yard reception.

Ingram became the first Saints back to reach 100 rushing yards in back-to-back games since 2006 and he now has four strong performances in five games. In those five games, he has 479 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns.

With 23.0 fantasy points last night, it's virtually a lock that Ingram will get his fourth top-10 performance in five outings.

Given the injuries in the team's backfield, Ingram has seen a massive 56 touches in the past two games. While that level of volume will be reduced once their backfield is again at full strength, Ingram is turning into a weekly RB1.

Looking ahead to the rest of this week's games, here are some players to consider starting:

QB - Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)

Kaepernick's best game this season, and his only one as a top-five fantasy quarterback, came in his first matchup against the Rams. While I don't expect the Rams to give up 343 yards and three touchdowns to Kaepernick again, they have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year. Even though Kaep has just three runs in each of the past two games, he had averaged 8.8 rushes per game in his first five games, which can help boost his fantasy floor if see a few more runs.

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at DAL)

In his four games this season, Palmer has averaged 284 yards and two touchdowns per game. In fact, he has thrown exactly two touchdowns in each game. Palmer has had a minimum of 16.12 fantasy points in those games and has averaged 19.01 per game this season. Only six quarterbacks have a higher per-game average than Palmer this year.

Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize) in DraftKings' Week 9 Millionaire Maker contest.

RB - Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (at NE)

In his three starts, Hillman has either rushed for 100-plus yards or scored two touchdowns in each game. Some fantasy owners may have been disappointed by the variety of ways Hillman did not score a touchdown last week, but he has finished as a top-15 running back in three consecutive weeks. The Patriots have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, which means Hillman has a great chance to make it four games in a row as a top-15 back.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)

Assuming that Giovani Bernard sits this week, Hill will dominate the touches out of the backfield in a matchup where the Bengals should play with the lead (and perhaps a sizable one). In addition, it appears that there is a decent chance that A.J. Green (toe) returns, which should hope open things up for the rushing attack. After averaging 5.08 yards per carry in his first three games, Hill has averaged just 2.63 YPC in his past three, but he should be able to find a groove with a consistent volume of carries this week.

RB - Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at KC)

Not only has Ivory finished as a top-10 performer in back-to-back weeks, he now ranks 10th among running backs in fantasy points scored on the year. One of the few bright spots for the Jets offense, Ivory has averaged 4.69 YPC this season and has scored three touchdowns in the past two games. Although the Chiefs are the only team in the league to not allow any rushing scores on the season, they have allowed 4.7 YPC this season — only five teams have allowed more.

WR - Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (at DAL)

What made Floyd's Week 8 goose egg even worse was the fact that he had an ideal matchup to exploit. It's been a disappointing season for Floyd, who ranks 48th among wide receivers in fantasy scoring this year. Even though he has three games this season with less than two fantasy points, Floyd has double-digit fantasy points in three of four games that Palmer has started (with last week being the exception). This week's matchup is less favorable than the one he had against the Eagles last week, but I expect Floyd to bounce back from last week's dud.

WR - Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)

With the exception of Week 5's dud, Hawkins has had a minimum of nine targets in his other six games. In those six games, Baby Hawk has finished with at least five catches and 70 yards in five of them. Coming off back-to-back outings as a top-17 fantasy wide receiver, Hawkins is virtually guaranteed of double-digit targets as Jordan Cameron (concussion) is expected to miss this game. No team has allowed more fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers than the Bucs.

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)

Of the Jaguars receivers, Robinson would be first choice to start and the second-round rookie has been more consistent than I had expected. Since Week 2, ARob is averaging 8.6 targets per game and has three games with double-digit targets. With a minimum of 51 yards in six of his past seven games, Robinson is averaging 5.4 catches and 64.7 yards during that stretch with touchdowns in back-to-back games. As double-digit underdogs to the Bengals, garbage time could come early for the Jags.

WR - Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)

Against the Chargers and Broncos, the Jets allowed a pair 100-yard rushers, but that was partly a function of their focus on slowing down Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning given their shaky pass defense. With Jamaal Charles and the ground game being Kansas City's bread and butter, the Jets defensive focus will be on slowing down Charles. In the past four weeks, Bowe has finished as a top-36 receiver three times with 64-plus yards in each of those three games and it wouldn't surprise me if Bowe had his best game of the season this week.

TE - Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)

Coming off his best outing of the season (5/70/1), my biggest concern with Witten is that he is used more as a blocker than a receiver especially given Tony Romo's back and Arizona's propensity to blitz. That said, Witten has finished as a top-12 tight end in three of his past four games and the Cardinals struggle in slowing down tight ends.

Enter our FREE Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

Here are some players to consider keeping on your fantasy bench(es):

QB - Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)

At this point, it appears more likely than not that Romo will play with his back injury, but it's hard to have a ton of confidence given the injury. That is unfortunate considering it's a top-10 matchup. The Cardinals love to bring pressure and especially after seeing what Washington did on Monday night, Romo should expect to be hit early and often. Currently, Romo is my 13th-ranked quarterback for the week.

QB - Robert GriffinIII, Washington Redskins (at MIN)

Since his Week 2 injury, Griffin III will make his first start in Week 9 against the Vikings. RG3 wasn't great before his injury and he certainly has the upside for big production, but I'd rather take a wait-and-see approach after the long absence. In addition, the Vikes have limited opposing quarterbacks to the second-fewest fantasy points this season.

RB - Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams (at SF)

Of the Rams running backs, Mason is the one that I would feel most comfortable starting if I had to start one. Given the committee-like approach last week and the difficult matchup (SF allows sixth-fewest fantasy points to RBs), Mason is better used as a flex option this week as opposed to a reliable RB2.

RB - Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)

Dealing with an ankle injury that had him in a walking boot earlier in the week, Martin should remain on your bench even if he plays despite the solid matchup. With the return of Charles Sims from short-term IR, it's unlikely that Martin exceeds his average of 13.4 touches per game. Of the 58 running backs with at least 50 touches this season, Martin ranks 56th in YFS per touch (3.28) and is averaging just 2.86 YPC this season.

RB - Chris Johnson, New York Jets (at KC)

Over his past five games, Johnson has single-digit touches in four of them. Although there are reports that he is expected to get more looks this week, Ivory is clearly the Jets running back to start. Since Week 2, Johnson is averaging just 3.7 YPC.

WR - Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)

While he scored a touchdown against the Rams in Week 6, Crabtree has less than 50 receiving yards in four consecutive games. During that stretch, he has finished as the WR51, WR85, WR28 (vs. STL) and WR71, respectively.

WR - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)

Edelman has finished outside the top 30 fantasy wide receivers for six weeks in a row and has finished outside the top 50 in four of his past five games. Not only is Edelman coming off his worst performance (1/14 on just four targets), but Brandon LaFell appears to be gaining the trust of Tom Brady with three monster performances in the past five weeks. Even with Edelman projected for a line of 6/62/.2 against the Broncos, he curently sits as my WR38 for the week.

WR - Percy Harvin, New York Jets (at KC)

For his first game as a Jet, Harvin was involved in the offensive game plan quite a bit. Targeted nine times, Harvin finished with just four catches for 28 yards, but he added three rush attempts for 22 yards as well. Given the situation at quarterback, it's hard to trust Harvin and I'd keep him on my bench, but there is some upside for owners that do start him this week.

TE - Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)

To be fair, Davis has battled injuries most of the year, but he has yet to finish with more than the four catches and 44 yards he had in Week 1. In addition, he has yet to score since Week 1. Over his past four games, he has averaged just 2.45 fantasy points per game and has finished as the TE30, on average, in those games. The Rams have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends and Davis is just outside my top-12 fantasy tight ends this week.

To see who I would start based on your team, please consult with my Week 9 rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

October 30, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 9 Wide Receivers

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had a slow start that may have worried some fantasy owners, but he has been as dominant as ever over his previous four games.

Before Denver's Week 4 bye, Thomas had a total of 13 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown and as the WR55, WR12 and WR58 in those three games.

Since then, however, Thomas has exceeded eight catches and 100 yards in four consecutive games and he has racked up a stat line of 34/626/5 during that stretch. Although he didn't score last week and finished as the WR23 for the week, he was the WR1, WR4 and WR1 in the previous three weeks.

On a team loaded with talented playmakers, Thomas is on pace for 107 catches and 1,753 yards, both of which would be career highs, and 14 touchdowns, which would tie a career high.

If there is a week where he may struggle, it's this week against the Patriots. Whether or not he spends the day on Revis Island, the Patriots have allowed the fewest fantasy fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Meanwhile, teammate Emmanuel Sanders is having a career year.

Through Week 8, Sanders ranks ninth (sixth on a per-game basis) in fantasy points among wide receivers.

Sanders doesn't have four consecutive 100-yard games, but he does have four 100-yard games on the season. And while he didn't score in the team's first five games, Sanders has four touchdowns in the past two weeks including three of them in Week 8.

Set to notch career highs across the board, Sanders is on pace for 107 catches, 1,449 yards and nine touchdowns.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize).

Some more thoughts on wide receivers:

- One week after a dud 2/16/0 performance on a season-low three targets, Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin bounced back in a huge way with 12 catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns on a season-high 16 targets against the Cardinals. Aside from Week 6, however, Maclin has had double-digit targets in all six of his other games this season. Maclin ranks sixth among wide receivers in targets (77), but no receiver averages more per game (11.0) than Maclin.

- Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is second in targets per game (10.88), but he currently leads all wide receivers in scoring in both standard and PPR-scoring formats. Going back to the start of last season, Brown now has 24 consecutive games with at least five catches and 50 yards. As great as he was last year, Brown is on pace for 120 catches for 1,704 yards andn 14 touchdowns, which would be franchise records across the board.

- Next up for the Cardinals, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, are the Dallas Cowboys. It appears that the Cowboys will have Tony Romo (back) under center, but the Cardinals blitz as much as anyone and the Cowboys struggled against the blitz last week. Especially with the commitment to the ground game, Dez Bryant has relatively modest numbers — only two top-24 performances over the past five weeks. Through eight weeks, Bryant has the eighth-most fantasy points among wideouts and second-year teammate Terrance Williams ranks 17th.

- Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (toe) has returned to practice, but it's unclear whether he will return to the field on Sunday. Considering that the Bengals are double-digit favorites against the Jaguars this week, it's certainly possible that Green sits as a precaution ahead of their Thursday Night Matchup in Week 10 against the Browns.

- Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has come up huge in the past five weeks. With a 9/90 line in his only game under 100 yards during that stretch, Hilton is averaging 7.4 catches and 136.0 yards per game over the last five and has scored a touchdown in two of his past three games. No receiver has more receiving yards than Hilton (866) this season.

- New England's Brandon LaFell has been a bit inconsistent, but he has three games with at least 17.9 fantasy points over his past five games. In his past five games, however, he has finished as the WR7, WR80, WR3, WR47 and WR11, respectively. LaFell seems to be building the trust of Tom Brady, but there has been a lack of weekly consistency from him. Denver has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

- With eight touchdowns in his rookie 2013 season, San Diego's Keenan Allen didn't score his first touchdown until Week 8. He has finished inside the top-36 wide receivers only twice in eight games, but the good news is that he has double-digit targets in three of his past five games and is averaging 9.4 per game during that stretch. The bad news is that the Dolphins have allowed just the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

- Through Week 8, there are five rookie receivers inside the top 35 wide receivers in scoring: Sammy Watkins (12th), Kelvin Benjamin (13th), Brandin Cooks (25th), Allen Robinson (31st) and John Brown (34th).

Here are my Week 9 fantasy football wide receiver rankings:

1. Antonio Brown, Steelers (vs. BAL)
2. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles (at HOU)
3. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (at NE)
4. A.J. Green, Bengals (vs. JAX)
5. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (at NYG)
6. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (vs. ARI)
7. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos (at NE)
8. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers (vs. NO)
9. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (vs. OAK)
9. Michael Floyd, Cardinals (at DAL)
9. DeSean Jackson, Redskins (at MIN)
12. Keenan Allen, Chargers (at MIA)
13. Allen Robinson, Jaguars (at CIN)
14. Andre Johnson, Texans (vs. PHI)
14. Rueben Randle, Giants (vs. IND)
14. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (vs. PHI)
14. Mike Wallace, Dolphins (vs. SD)
18. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
19. Marques Colston, Saints (at CAR)
19. Pierre Garcon, Redskins (at MIN)
21. Brandin Cooks, Saints (at CAR)
21. Andrew Hawkins, Browns (vs. TB)
21. Steve Smith, Ravens (at PIT)
24. Terrance Williams, Cowboys (vs. ARI)
25. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (at DAL)
25. Mohamed Sanu, Bengals (vs. JAX)
27. Eric Decker, Jets (at KC)
28. Anquan Boldin, 49ers (vs. STL)
28. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers (at CLE)
28. Torrey Smith, Ravens (at PIT)
31. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at CLE)
32. Michael Crabtree, 49ers (vs. STL)
32. Brandon LaFell, Patriots (vs. DEN)
32. Malcom Floyd, Chargers (at MIA)
35. Andre Holmes, Raiders (at SEA)
36. Kenny Britt, Rams (at SF)
37. Miles Austin, Browns (vs. TB)
38. Julian Edelman, Patriots (vs. DEN)
38. Reggie Wayne, Colts (at NYG)
40. James Jones, Raiders (at SEA)
41. Wes Welker, Broncos (at NE)
41. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (vs. WAS)
43. Martavis Bryant, Steelers (vs. BAL)
43. Percy Harvin, Jets (at KC)
45. Kenny Stills, Saints (at CAR)
46. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (vs. IND)
47. Greg Jennings, Vikings (vs. WAS)
48. Cecil Shorts III, Jaguars (at CIN)
49. Jordan Matthews, Eagles (at HOU)
50. John Brown, Cardinals (at DAL)
51. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (vs. SD)
52. Riley Cooper, Eagles (at HOU)
53. Stevie Johnson, 49ers (vs. STL)
54. Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks (vs. OAK)
55. Travis Benjamin, Browns (vs. TB)
56. Markus Wheaton, Steelers (vs. BAL)
57. Tavon Austin, Rams (at SF)
58. Brandon Lloyd, 49ers (vs. STL)
59. Preston Parker, Giants (vs. IND)
60. Jerricho Cotchery, Panthers (vs. NO)

Teams on bye in Week 9: Bears, Bills, Falcons, Lions, Packers, Titans

More of our Week 9 rankings:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 9 Running Backs

Given their durability history, you may not have been thrilled with landing DeMarco Murray and Arian Foster as the first two picks of your fantasy draft(s).

If you've gambled on this injury-prone duo with back-to-back picks, however, the gamble has more than paid off through the first half of the season.

Murray is getting most of the attention, but Foster has been nearly as good.

In fact, Foster ranks second only to Murray in terms of fantasy points scored and he has missed one game.

While Murray has set an NFL record with eight consecutive games of 100-plus rushing yards to start the season, Foster has gained 100-plus yards on the ground in six of his seven games this season. In addition, Foster has a four-game active streak of 100-yard games.

In those four games, Foster has scored a total of eight touchdowns including three of them last week against the Titans. Foster has finished as a top-12 running back in those four games, but he has finished with the most or second-most fantasy points at the position in three of those games.

If Foster can stay healthy and play in the remaining eight games, he's on pace (over 15 games since he missed Week 3) for 1,997 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Murray is on pace (2,108 rushing yards) to set the single-season rushing record.

Of these two stud backs, Foster (vs. PHI) has a much more favorable matchup than Murray (vs. ARI) has this week. The Eagles have been middle of the pack (15th-fewest) in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, but no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Cardinals this season.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize).

Some more thoughts on running backs:

- Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw may have to share the workload with Trent Richardson on Monday Night Football, but he gets a favorable matchup against the Giants. Aside from the Falcons, who are on bye this week, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing RBs than the Giants. Bradshaw has scored a total of eight touchdowns with scores in all but two games and only four running backs have more fantasy points than he does this season.

- While there has been lots of attention paid to the locker-room issues in Seattle and the resentment brewing inside Marshawn Lynch towards Pete Carroll, this is the perfect week for him to go off a la Beast Mode. Lynch has finished as the RB30 (or worse) in three consecutive games, but the team is favored by more than two touchdowns at home against the Raiders and projected to score the second-most points this week according to Vegas. It wouldn't surprise me if Lynch scored multiple touchdowns this week.

- Saints running back Mark Ingram rushed 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night against the Packers. Ingram has now finished as a top-nine fantasy running back in three of four games with the exception being to the Lions stingy run defense. Given the team's injuries in the backfield and the quality of the matchup, Ingram is once again a solid RB1 this week.

- With Montee Ball (groin) expected to miss at least another week, Ronnie Hillman will once again dominate the touches in Denver's backfield. Hillman has had 20-plus carries and 100-plus yards in two of his three starts. It was the other game that he finished as a top-three running back (scored two TDs), but he has finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in three consecutive games. The Patriots have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

- Pittsburgh's LeVeon Bell rushed for 100-plus yards in two of his first three games of the season, but he has been kept under 100 rushing yards since then. That said, Bell has exceeded 100 YFS in all eight games this season and is on pace for 2,172 YFS and 84 receptions this season. With the fourth-most fantasy points at the position through Week 8, Bell's only finish outside the top 20 RBs was in Week 2 vs. the Ravens (RB21), who are this week's opponent.

- Jaguars running back Denard Robinson became the team's first 100-yard rusher in Week 7 and then he did it again in Week 8. Against the Browns, Robinson gained 108 yards on 18 carries and he goes against a Bengals team that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Here are my Week 9 fantasy football running back rankings:

1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (vs. PHI)
2. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
3. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. OAK)
4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
5. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (at DAL)
6. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)
7. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
8. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (at HOU)
9. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (at NE)
10. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. SD)
11. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)
12. Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
13. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at KC)
14. Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)
15. Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers (at MIA)
16. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (vs. WAS)
17. Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
18. Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)
19. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
20. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
21. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
22. Andre Williams, New York Giants (vs. IND)
23. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
24. Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)
25. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)
26. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
27. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)
28. Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
29. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
30. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (at HOU)
31. Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
32. Travaris Cadet, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)
33. Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
34. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
35. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
36. Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (vs. WAS)
37. LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
38. Chris Johnson, New York Jets (at KC)
39. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
40. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
41. Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. OAK)
42. Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
43. Juwan Thompson, Denver Broncos (at NE)
44. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
45. Peyton Hillis, New York Giants (vs. IND)
46. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (vs. PHI)
47. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
48. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (vs. SD)
49. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
50. Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)
51. Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
52. De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
53. Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
54. Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
55. Cedric Peerman, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)
56. Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
57. James White, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
58. Dan Herron, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
59. Darrel Young, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
60. Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)

Teams on bye in Week 9: Bears, Bills, Falcons, Lions, Packers, Titans

More of our Week 9 rankings:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 9 Quarterbacks

Compared to the first four weeks of the 2014 NFL season, perception has certainly changed quite a bit over the past four weeks for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In the first four weeks of the season, Brady was anything but terrific as he averaged less than 200 passing yards per game (197.75 to be exact) with no multi-touchdown games during his slow start. During that span, he averaged only 9.31 fantasy points per game with his best game coming against the Raiders (12.66 points, QB25) in Week 3.

Starting in Week 5, however, Brady has been the Brady to whom we've become accustomed over the past decade. In his past four games, Brady is averaging 317.0 yards per game and has a 14:0 TD-to-INT ratio. He's had a minimum of 20.98 fantasy points in all four games and has not finished worse than the QB7 for the week.

And he's coming off his best game of the year (354 yards and five touchdowns) with 34.16 fantasy points. It was his second game with 30-plus fantasy points in the past three weeks.

Of course, the standard line between any matchup between two great quarterbacks is that Brady is playing the Broncos defense — or Peyton Manning is playing the Patriots defense — and it isn't a matchup between two great quarterbacks.

That said, the way the Brady and the Patriots have played over the past four weeks makes the drama of the matchup(s), the teams and quarterbacks, all that more exciting.

The Broncos have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they have not allowed a top-12 finish to an opposing quarterback since Week 3 (Russell Wilson).

As well as Brady has played recently, Manning has played just as well through the entire season.

Suprisingly, Manning has yet to finish as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback in any given week this season. That said, he has yet to finish outside of the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks in any week and has finished as a QB7 or better in six of seven games.

In his seven games so far, Manning has thrown for 2,134 yards (304.86/G) with 22 touchdowns (3.14/G) and only three interceptions. In fact, Manning has thrown multiple touchdowns every week with at least three scores in six of seven games.

One year after setting the single-season records for passing yards and passing touchdowns, Manning is on pace for 4,878 yards and 50 touchdowns.

There have been only two quarterbacks in NFL history — Brady and Manning — that have one 50-TD season, which would make Peyton the only to ever accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons if he maintains his current pace.

The Patriots have allowed four top-12 fantasy quarterbacks this season, but none have finished higher than QB9 in any week. And no team has held opposing quarterbacks to fewer fantasy points than the Patriots.

This rivalry game will have plenty of significance in terms of both "real" and fantasy football this week.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize).

Some more thoughts on quarterbacks:

- Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has alternated between monster fantasy performances and duds over his past four games since the bye. Here are his past four games: 34.24 fantasy points (QB1), 10.24 (QB27), 37.12 (QB1) and 13.46 (QB22). One of the league's best dual-threat quarterbacks, Wilson has rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in both of those QB1 performances. While Wilson has exceeded 202 passing yards only twice this season, he has thrown multiple passing touchdowns in five of seven games and has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in each of those five multi-touchdown games.

- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns against the Colts last week and became the first quarterback in NFL history with multiple 500-yard games. Big Ben's worst fantasy performance (6.68 points, QB30) of the season came in Week 2 against the Ravens. He gets a shot to redeem himself on Sunday Night Football in a rematch of this intense rivalry.

- San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick had his best game of the season in Week 6 against the Rams. In that game, he threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns, both of which are season highs, and he gets another shot at the Rams this week.

- Arizona's Carson Palmer has now thrown exactly two touchdowns in all four of his games this season with a a pair of 300-yard games. Palmer hasn't been great, but he's been consistent with a minimum of 16.12 fantasy points in each game and at least 21 points in two of those games.

- For the first time since his injury in Week 2, Washington's Robert Griffin III will get the start in Week 9. Considering RG3 wasn't playing great before the injury, I'd prefer to wait a week before inserting him into my starting lineup, if possible. In addition, the Vikings have done an excellent job at limiting fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Only the Lions (12.32/G) allow fewer fantasy points than the Vikings (13.79/G).

Here are my Week 9 fantasy football quarterback rankings:


1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (at NE)
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. OAK)
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)
6. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
7. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at MIA)
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
9. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (at HOU)
10. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)
11. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. SD)
12. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at DAL)
13. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
14. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
15. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
16. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)
17. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. IND)
18. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)
19. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)
20. Michael Vick, New York Jets (at KC)
21. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
22. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans (vs. PHI)
23. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
24. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
25. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (vs. WAS)
26. Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams (at SF)

Teams on bye in Week 9: Bears, Bills, Falcons, Lions, Packers, Titans

More of our Week 9 rankings:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Fantasy Football Week 9: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues

Coming into Week 9, most fantasy leagues are entering the home stretch of the regular season. Every week becomes more and more important in solidifying a playoff spot. With six teams on bye this week, a lot of teams will be plugging in numerous bench players or potentially even a waiver pickup.

Finding underrated players to perform like starters is the key to success in a week like this, so hopefully this week’s picks will lead you in the winning direction.

First, let’s take a look at last week's results:

Week 8 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+35.6+47.0-4.6+11.2-4.4
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+8.3+117.9-86.5+27.6+67.3

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.

Best of the week -- Mark Ingram +29.0: Ingram was a stud last week and returned to his pre-injury form in what is shaping up to be his best season as a pro, despite missing several weeks. He benefited from injuries to Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson, but he is the lead back (for whatever that is worth in the Saints offense) and will continue to produce. He is in the RB1 conversation as long as he gets the workload he received in Week 8.

Runner-up -- Ahmad Bradshaw +18.0: Last week, I stated this pick was dependent upon Richardson's status. Richardson was active in emergency duty only and didn’t see the field for a single snap, leaving the bulk of the workload to Bradshaw. As expected, Bradshaw produced at an elite level with an increased workload and made owners who started him over LeSean McCoy and Giovani Bernard very happy.

Worst of the week -- Cam Newton -32.0: – If you were to look at the score of the Seahawks vs. Panthers game (13-9), you would have guessed it was a result of two of last year’s best defenses locked in a defensive duel. Well, defense prevailed but it wasn’t a result of great defense, more of two inept offenses. Granted, I only watched about half the game as I was flipping around between multiple, but what I saw was gross. Neither team could do much of anything with the ball, and it wasn’t a result of great defense – poor execution from all parties was the culprit. Both offenses dropped 5+ spots in offensive efficiency rankings from last week, while each gaining only one spot defensively. Further evidence that this was a game full of ineptitude. Newton was basically awful from the start. Just as it seemed like he was starting to find his way, he came crashing back to the disappointing season he is suffering through. While Newton’s 11 points were ghastly, Jay Cutler and Nick Foles’ production were achieved in unlikely manners. Cutler did the vast majority of his work in the 2nd half, which was complete garbage time due to a 38-7 halftime deficit. Foles 30 points look relatively mediocre considering it took 62 pass attempts to achieve.

Runner-up -- Dwayne Allen -11.4: Allen had averaged just short of six targets per game over the previous five games, producing well along the way. In a game where 85 points are scored and Andrew Luck threw 45 pass attempts, Allen somehow only came away with 2 targets, one of which was caught for a touchdown. Perhaps Luck should have utilized his TE more in the game, given the Steelers struggles against that position.

Now, on to this week's picks ...

Now, on to this week’s picks.

Quarterbacks

Joe FlaccoBaltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Flacco has a showdown with the Ravens bitter rivals this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Steelers defense looked as good as they have all season last week, they still surrendered 34 points and 400 yards to Luck. For the season, Pittsburgh is ranked 24th in pass defense efficiency while the Ravens rank 7th in pass offense efficiency. The Steelers offense clicked last week and that should carry over to some extent this week, putting Flacco in a position to air it out in order to keep up on the scoreboard. Additionally, the Ravens may be without Justin Forsett this week, putting more of the offensive burden on Flacco’s arm.

Consider starting him over:
Andy Dalton – ECR 13
Ryan Tannehill – ECR 14

Colin KaepernickSan Francisco 49ers
FantasyPros ECR – 8

The Niners come off a bye and get the St. Louis Rams at home this week. A few weeks ago, Kaepernick put up 343 yards and three TDs against this same Rams team, in St. Louis. The Rams rank last in the NFL in pass defense efficiency and give up the fifth-most fantasy PPG to QBs. Given the continued run-game struggles, an extra week to prepare, and a great matchup, Kaepernick seems like a strong candidate to reach top-5 status this week.

Consider starting him over:
Cam Newton – ECR 7 (Panthers players keep biting me and I should learn to stay away from them. But nothing about last week inspired confidence in their offense and they have a short week against the Saints, who’s defense has played well the past two weeks.)
Russell Wilson – ECR 5

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a one-week contest for Week 9 with $2.2 Million in prizes ($1 Million to 1st) and entry is $27.

Running Backs

Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 14

Ingram was so successful last week, I’m plugging him in again. His ranking is a bit higher this week, but still too low in my opinion. He tore up a Green Bay defense that struggles against the run, but guess what? The Panthers are even worse, ranking 2nd to last in run defense efficiency and allow the third-most fantasy PPG to RBs. Brees’ struggles on the road are well-documented, and this is a critical game for the NFC South Division lead. Thomas and Robinson appear to be out again this week and I expect the Saints to be committed to the run game and ride Ingram to victory.

Consider starting him over:
Branden Oliver – ECR 13
LeSean McCoy – ECR 7

Lorenzo TaliaferroBaltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 30

Justin Forsett has yet to practice this week due to a leg injury. He has yet to ruled out, but in the event he does, Taliaferro will be the lead back. As mentioned previously, Pittsburgh’s defense is not the typical Steelers D. Not only do they struggle against the pass, but they are not very good against the run either. They rank 20th in run defense efficiency and have allowed over 5 YPC the past two weeks. They rank well in fantasy points allowed, but a lot of that has to do with the competition. All but two of their eight opponents rank in the bottom half of run offense efficiency, with five games against teams ranked in the bottom 12. Given 15-20 carries in this game, Taliaferro has a legit chance to crack RB2 numbers, if not more. If nothing else, he is the goal-line back in a game where I expect a lot of points to be scored. Vegas has this game as the 5th highest point total this week.

Consider starting him over:
Frank Gore – ECR 21
Darren McFadden – ECR 22
Andre Williams – ECR 24

Wide Receivers

Anquan BoldinSan Francisco 49ers
FantasyPros ECR - 31

A mere three weeks ago, Boldin put up a line of 7/94/1 against the Rams. He gets them again this week and not much has changed since that game. The Rams still rank near the bottom of the league against WR2’s, 31st to be exact. They also give up the 11th-most fantasy points to WRs on a weekly basis. In addition to being a great matchup for Boldin, it’s not a fantastic matchup for Michael Crabtree, as the Rams are middle of the pack against WR1s. Kaepernick has zero issue making Boldin the primary target on any particular week, and this week sets up well to be such an occasion.

Consider starting him over:
Eric Decker – ECR 28
Vincent Jackson – ECR 21
Allen Robinson – ECR 24

Andrew HawkinsCleveland Browns
FantasyPros ECR – 30

Tampa Bay is flat out terrible against the pass. They give up the 2nd-most fantasy points to WRs and rank dead last against WR1’s. Outside of one game against the Steelers where he registered two targets (zero catches), he has a minimum of nine targets in every game. The matchup alone is enough to get you excited about Hawkins sleeper appeal. But there are ancillary aspects at play here. Cleveland runs a conservative offense, but with Alex Mack injured, their offensive line hasn’t been the same and the run game has suffered as a result. On top of that, Tampa Bay actually ranks 11th in run defense efficiency – their fantasy points allowed is skewed by blowout losses in which the opponent turned to the run game early on. Cleveland isn’t blowing anybody out. If they want to move the ball, they will need to do it via the pass.

Consider starting him over:
Branden LaFell – ECR 23
Eric Decker – ECR 28

Tight Ends

Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts
FantasyPros ECR - 8

Another repeat pick this week. Either I am stupid, stubborn, or persistent – probably a combination of the three. Allen again gets a great matchup. I like to use efficiency rankings in conjunction with fantasy points allowed, because it can expose holes in FPA and give a more accurate view of matchup strength. There are several scenarios where this applies, but the Giants are a great example this week. They give up the 13th-most fantasy points to TEs, slightly below average but it doesn’t scream great matchup. However, they are last in efficiency by a large margin. When you look at their schedule thus far, they have played one team that heavily utilizes their TE, two teams that give limited targets, and the rest barely involve TEs. Yet they still are below average in FPA.

I believe the two targets Allen received last week are the exception not the rule. I’m rolling with him again in hopes Luck looks his way more often. If he does, Allen could be in for a big game.

Consider starting him over:
Jordan Reed – ECR 6
Antonio Gates – ECR 5

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 9! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.

October 28, 2014

Fantasy Football Rest-of-Season (ROS) Rankings: Weeks 9 to 16

Earlier today, I updated my rest-of-season (ROS) fantasy football rankings.

The point of these rankings is to tell you who I would rather have for the remainder of the season (through Week 16) and can be used to help with waiver-wire and trade decisions.

Here are our updated ROS quarterback rankings:

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Here are our updated ROS running back rankings:

1. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
2. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
3. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
5. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Here are our updated ROS wide receiver rankings:

1. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
4. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

Here are our updated ROS tight end rankings:

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
2. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
5. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Tight End Rankings

I will publish my initial Week 9 fantasy football rankings within the next 24 hours.

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

2014 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Dallas Cowboys (Tony Romo): 18.29 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. Minnesota Vikings (Teddy Bridgewater): 17.89
3. Carolina Panthers (Cam Newton): 17.80
4. Tennessee Titans (Zach Mettenberger, Jake Locker): 17.68
5. Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan): 17.63

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 9-16):

32. New York Jets (Michael Vick, Geno Smith): 14.96
31. Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler): 15.64
30. Denver Broncos (Peyton Manning): 16.03
29. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill): 16.13
28. Oakland Raiders (Derek Carr): 16.17

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest to win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

2014 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Carolina Panthers (DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart): 21.59 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. Cleveland Browns (Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell): 20.79
3. Green Bay Packers (Eddie Lacy): 20.13
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey): 19.98
5. Baltimore Ravens (Justin Forsett): 19.90

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 9-16):

32. Oakland Raiders (Darren McFadden): 15.30
31. Seattle Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch): 16.45
30. St. Louis Rams (Tre Mason, Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham): 16.63
29. Miami Dolphins (Lamar Miller): 16.77
28. Kansas City Chiefs (Jamaal Charles): 16.90

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest to win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

2014 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Carolina Panthers (Kelvin Benjamin): 26.45 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones, Roddy White): 26.07
3. Seattle Seahawks (Doug Baldwin): 24.96
4. Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu): 24.75
5. Dallas Cowboys (Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams): 24.73

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 9-16):

32. Denver Broncos (Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker): 20.29
31. New York Jets (Percy Harvin, Eric Decker): 20.46
30. New England Patriots (Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell): 20.8
29. Arizona Cardinals (Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald): 20.85
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Allen Robinson, Cecil Shorts): 21.06

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest to win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

2014 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 9.56 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. New York Giants (Larry Donnell): 9.39
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Clay Harbor): 9.35
(tie) 4. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz): 9.15
(tie) 4. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 9.15

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 9-16):

32. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 5.90
31. Miami Dolphins (Charles Clay): 7.36
30. Baltimore Ravens (Owen Daniels, Crockett Gilmore): 7.39
29. San Diego Chargers (Antonio Gates): 7.46
28. Atlanta Falcons (Levine Toilolo): 7.51

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest to win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

October 27, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 9

One of the players on last week's waiver-wire post was Jaguars running back Denard Robinson.

As much as the Jaguars had struggled to run the ball this season, Robinson was coming off the team's first 100-yard performance. In fact, it was the first time that a Jaguars running back had more than the 42 yards that Toby Gerhart had in the opener.

With 108 yards on 18 carries against the Dolphins on Sunday, Robinson now has back-to-back 100-yard games and is certainly worth adding if he's available on your league's waiver wire.

Robinson won't be listed below, but his Yahoo! league ownership has jumped from nine percent last Monday to 57 percent one week later.

For our waiver-wire posts, we have a self-imposed rule of only including players with Yahoo! ownership of 50 percent or less.

With that said, here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (50 percent)

Among the quarterbacks available in half of leagues, Palmer is the best of the group from a rest-of-season standpoint — view my rest-of-season fantasy quarterback rankings. Averaging 284.0 yards per game, Palmer has thrown exactly two touchdowns in all four of his games with only one interception on his 154 attempts this season. The matchup in Week 9 against the Cowboys might not be as favorable as we had thought it would be back in August, but Palmer has the Rams in Week 10 with six teams on bye next week as well.

[Related: 2014 NFL bye-week schedule/grid]

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (42 percent)

With a phenomenal matchup on Sunday, Smith was an enormous fantasy disappointment (even though the team won in a landslide) against their in-state rivals. For owners in a bye-week pinch, however, he gets another shot at capitalizing on an incredible matchup. No team has allowed more fantasy points to QBs this season through Sunday's games. One of the league's most mobile quarterbacks, Smith has 593 rushing yards since 2013 and ranks fourth among QBs during that span, which often helps to compensate for his modest passing production.

QB - Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (36 percent)

Although he won't start tonight against the Cowboys, RG3 should return in the very near future (perhaps Week 9). Even though he struggled prior to getting injured, his unique set of physical tools give him tremendous upside if he's able to put things together once he returns.

Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize) in DraftKings' Week 9 Millionaire Maker contest.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans (11 percent)

In most weeks, I would not want to start The Amish Rifle. (Ok, all weeks.) But if your regular starter (say Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, etc.) has a bye, Fitzpatrick could put up respectable numbers as your bye-week replacement in Week 9. Clearly, the Texans are a run-first team as Arian Foster is running like it's 2011, but Fitzpatrick gets the weak Eagles secondary this week. The Eagles have allowed six top-12 performances to fantasy QBs in their seven games to some fantasy studs that include the likes of Chad Henne, Austin Davis, Kirk Cousins, etc.

RB - Andre Williams, New York Giants (50 percent)

While initial reports speculated that Rashad Jennings would return after the Giants' Week 8 bye, ESPN's Dan Graziano tweeted that he'd be "surprised" if Jennings returned this week. While he posted relatively modest numbers (109 rushing yards, no touchdowns) in the two games that Jennings has missed, Williams will get a sizable workload against the Colts if Jennings indeed misses another game.

RB - Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (seven percent)

One of my favorite sleepers in the preseason (before the injury that landed him on short-term IR) was Sims. The Bucs used an early pick (69th overall) on Sims, who especially excelled as a receiver out of the backfield. In his four years in college, Sims racked up 203 receptions and also rushed for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior. Sims will be eligible to return this week and as Pewter Report writes, it's "only a matter of time" that Sims becomes the starting running back.

RB - Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (36 percent)

The Daily Show had a productive outing against the Seahawks on Sunday with 16 carries for 79 yards and added three catches for 15 yards. Through Sunday's games, that puts him at the RB21 this week despite the tough matchup. Unfortunately for (prospective) Stewart owners, DeAngelo Williams is expected to return from his multi-week absence.

RB - Jonas Gray, New England Patriots (six percent)

With Stevan Ridley out for the season, Gray has assumed the role of the team's big back. While I would still prefer Shane Vereen by a lot, there will be opportunities (especially in blowouts like yesterday) for Gray to be productive. Gray gained 86 yards in Sunday's win over the Bears.

RB - Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (eight percent)

With Bernard Pierce being a healthy scratch on Sunday, Taliaferro got goal-line work and scored two touchdowns. Even so, he had just seven carries this week and a total of 11 in the previous three weeks. His production will likely be inconsistent, but he should be a flex option during the bye weeks when Pierce is also inactive.

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (50 percent)

Hunter is not having the breakout season that I had expected, but there could be plenty of opportunities for targets and even touchdowns in garbage time. Hunter and rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger displayed some good chemistry in the preseason and Hunter was targeted a season-high 10 times in Mettenberger's first start.

WR - Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (36 percent)

Converting on all 11 of his season high in targets, LaFell led the team's receivers with a 11/124/1 line on a day that Tom Brady threw five touchdowns. LaFell has three big games (17.9-plus fantasy points) in his past five outings. During that five-game span, LaFell has a stat line of 26/415/4 and is averaging 7.2 targets per game.

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (23 percent)

A weekly member of this list for most of the year, Robinson had another strong outing on Sunday. Robinson has now scored in back-to-back games and has more than 50 yards in six of his past seven games. Over that seven-game stretch, Robinson is averaging 8.6 targets, 5.4 receptions and 64.7 yards per game.

WR - Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders (42 percent)

Both Holmes and teammate James Jones are worth owning and Jones is also owned in just 46 percent of leagues. And with the heaviest part of the bye season about to start, it's good news that the Raiders have already had their bye. Holmes has found the end zone and scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his past four games.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (seven percent)

Bryant has only been active in two games, but he now has seven catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns. With Ben Roethlisberger having a monster performance this week, Markus Wheaton also scored a touchdown, but I'd prefer to own Bryant over Wheaton the rest of the way. A six-foot-four receiver with excellent speed (4.42 forty at combine), Bryant is a better bet than Wheaton to score a touchdown in any given week.

WR - Kenny Britt, St. Louis Rams (five percent)

With Brian Quick out for the season, Britt will have an opportunity as the team's best wide receiver not named Brian. That said, Britt has posted modest numbers (16/249/1) this season even though he has played almost as many snaps (307, 65.2 percent) as Quick (355). No other Rams receiver has played more than 144.

TE - Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams (32 percent)

With a season-low three targets in back-to-back games, Cook has just four catches for 36 yards in his past two games. In addition, he has yet to score a touchdown while fellow tight end Lance Kendricks has scored in four of five games. That said, Quick's injury should lead to more targets for Cook, who averaged 8.4 targets per game in the team's first five games of the season.

TE - Crockett Gilmore, Baltimore Ravens (three percent)

With Owen Daniels out, Gilmore got only two targets and finished with just two catches for 23 yards on Sunday. Assuming Daniels (knee scope) misses more time, Gilmore could see more opportunities in future game(s). The Ravens face the Steelers in Week 9, which gives Gilmore a top-10 fantasy matchup.

More fantasy football resources:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

October 25, 2014

Week 8 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Beazley

Here are my Week 8 picks against the spread:

Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 over Baltimore Ravens (4 units)

The Ravens offense has been clicking lately, but let's not jump to conclusions. The Bengals already beat the Ravens in Baltimore 23-16 early this season. In that game, Joe Flacco might have arguably played the worst half of football in his career. The Ravens are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings at Cincy. Give me the Bengals to win, 24-20.

Chicago Bears +6 over New England Patriots (5 units)

This is way too many points versus a very talented Bears offense. The Patriots are going to have a very hard time slowing down Matt Forte, who leads the league in receptions this year. I also think Brandon Marshall is targeted early and often, even if Darrelle Revis is on him. And Jay Cutler plays better on the road than at home. I like the Bears to win outright, 31-23.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 8 Contest: Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize).

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals — Over 48.5 (3 units)

I love me some Chip Kelly football. The Cardinals defense has been pretty terrible against the pass in recent weeks. I believe Nick Foles and the Eagles offense has a big game. The Eagles D isn't any better either. I think this game will rival the Pack/N.O. game as the high scorer of the week: Philly 38, Arizona 36.

Washington Redskins +10 over Dallas Cowboys (3 units)

Rivalry game, plus the 'Skins are 7-1 ATS vs. Dallas over the past eight games. I don't care who Washington has at QB. I think they can keep this close. DeMarco Murray fails to rush over 100 yards (poll), but the Cowboys win a slugfest. Boys, 18-12.

Note: NFL lines are from sportsbook.ag

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 8 DraftKings Fantasy Football Values

As I pointed out in yesterday's must-start post, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte is worth his high cost.

Not only does Forte lead running backs in receptions (52), he actually leads the NFL in that category and is on pace for 119 receptions. While I don't think he'll finish with 119 catches, Forte has a minimum of five catches every week this season and has double-digit receptions in two of his past three games.

As successful as DeMarco Murray has been running the ball, it's actually Forte — not Murray — that leads running backs in fantasy points in point-per-reception (PPR) formats. [Note: DraftKings uses full PPR scoring.]

One of the reasons I love Forte is he's extremely consistent. Over the past four weeks, he has finished as the RB5, RB2, RB1 and RB1, respectively. And he has a top-three performance in Week 1 as well.

With another favorable matchup against the Patriots this week, Forte is one of the safest high-priced studs that you can insert into your DraftKings lineups.

Due to salary-cap confinements, however, it's not possible to load up only on stud players in DraftKings contests. Some value plays need to be mixed in as well.

Here are some value plays for Week 8 DraftKings contests:

QB - Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. SEA), $6,600

Aside from paying up for Aaron Rodgers ($9,000), Newton is my first choice among the mid-priced options this week. Newton ran the ball just seven times compared to the 17 he had the previous week, but the good news is that he is running the ball again and has 148 rushing yards and a touchdown over the past two games. Given up the 12th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, the Seahawks have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in five consecutive games. My fifth-ranked quarterback yet to play (started the week as my QB7), there are nine other quarterbacks with a higher salary this weekend.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 8 Contest: Turn your $27 entry fee into the $1 million top prize in their Week 8 contest.

RB - Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. IND), $6,300

The only way in which Bell had disappointed fantasy owners is that he didn't score his second touchdown of the season until Week 7. That said, he is still the third-highest scoring running back in PPR formats after Forte and Murray. Bell ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards (599) and carries (117) and second among running backs in receptions (36) and receiving yards (339). Among running backs with at least 50 touches, none have averaged more yards from scrimmage per touch than Bell (6.13). As my third-ranked running back at the seventh-highest cost at the position, Bell gives owners a stud option at a discounted price.

RB - Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (at ATL), $4,800

In order to play Bell, you need to join a contest that starts at 9:30 a.m., which means your options are limited. That said, he's a must-start in games in which you can play him. With Reggie Bush listed as doubtful (i.e., not going to play), Bell will dominate the team's touches with Theo Riddick mixing in some as well. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than the Falcons, which have allowed nine top-20 fantasy running backs (PPR) in just seven games.

RB - Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (vs. GB), $4,300

Not only is Pierre Thomas out this week, but so is Khiry Robinson. That leaves the bulk of the backfield workload to Ingram, who returned last week from his hand injury, and the next guy on this list. Before sustaining the hand injury, Ingram had three rushing touchdowns in two games. Based on Vegas odds, the Saints are projected to score the third-most points this week in a game with the highest over-under. In other words, there could be a few goal-line opportunities for Ingram as well as a heavy workload.

RB - Travaris Cadet, New Orleans Saints (vs. GB), $3,000

As noted above, injuries in the backfield and expectations of a shootout should lead to solid fantasy production from Cadet, who is priced at the position-minimum salary. Even with Thomas healthy, Cadet had been stealing a significant role in the team's passing attack. Over the past three games, he has six receptions twice and a total of 15 catches. I could easily see Cadet finishing with six catches for 50 yards and adding another 20 or so rushing yards.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at ATL), $6,500

Like with Bell, Tate can only be used in select contests with a 9:30 a.m. start time, but he's worth getting into your lineup if you can. With the expectation that Calvin Johnson sits ahead of Detroit's Week 9 bye, Tate is line for another monster game. Over his past four games, Tate has 32/448/2 on 44 targets and at least 116 yards in three of those games.

WR - Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (vs. PHI), $4,900

In his first three games, Floyd had a pair of 100-yard games and he has scored in back-to-back weeks, but Floyd has yet to have a top-20 finish in PPR scoring. That could change this week. The Eagles have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points (PPR scoring) to opposing wide receivers this season. Priced lower than 23 other wide receivers, Floyd is my 14th-ranked wideout.

WR - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. CHI), $4,600

Always better in PPR formats (like DraftKings) than standard-scoring formats, Edelman is the 31st-most expensive wideout this week, but he is my 18th-ranked wide receiver. Edelman has four top-20 finishes in seven games, but unfortunately he has finished as the WR45 or worse in three of the past four weeks. That said, Edelman has had at least seven targets every week and has averaged 9.29 targets and 6.29 catches per game this season.

WR - DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (at TEN), $4,200

Bouncing back from his Week 6 dud (2.2 fantasy points), Hopkins had six catches for 108 yards in Week 7. Hopkins now has 100-plus yards or a touchdown in five of seven games this season. At $4,200, there are 41 receivers priced higher than Hopkins, but it's unlikely that 41 of them outscore him.

WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU), $3,100

At only $100 above the position-minimum salary, Hunter is a high-upside guy that can deliver a bang for the buck. Or 20 cents on the dollar. As his two one-catch games over the past four weeks illustrate, his floor is low especially considering rookie Zach Mettenberger will be making his first NFL start. That said, Hunter and Mettenberger displayed good chemistry in the preseason and Mettenberger has the strong arm to attack the Texans vertically. I'll roll the dice with Hunter in a few lineups this weekend.

Special offer from DraftKings: Get a 100-percent deposit bonus (up to $600) when you sign up for an account.

TE - Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (vs. SEA), $5,500

While he doesn't receive the attention of other top tight ends, Olsen is actually the top-scoring tight end in PPR formats this season. (He's second behind only Julius Thomas in standard-scoring formats.) Olsen has finished with at least five catches and 60 yards in six of seven games and has scored a total of five touchdowns. Not only has he finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in six of seven weeks, but he has finished as a top-four performer five times. This week's matchup is nothing to fear and it can actually be exploited as the Seahawks are giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. My top-ranked PPR tight end this week, Olsen is only the third-most expensive.

TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at DAL), $4,000

One of the most physically-gifted (and injury-plagued) tight ends in the league, Reed is healthy again and gets a favorable matchup this week. Over the past two games, Reed has 13 catches for 136 yards on 17 targets. Aside from the Bengals, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Cowboys.

TE - Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (at ARI), $3,200

Playing only 61 of 149 snaps in the team's two most-recent games, Ertz has barely played more than 40 percent of the team's offensive snaps over the past two weeks. Ertz played 64.48 percent of the offensive snaps in Weeks 1 to 4. That said, Ertz is a talented receiver, priced only $200 above the position minimum and the Cardinals present a matchup with the possibility to exploit. After allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends last year, Arizona is currently allowing the sixth-most this season.

In addition, check out our site's DraftKings Week 8 Cheat Sheet.

Also, check out my weekly fantasy football rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

October 24, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Week 8 Start'em, Sit'em

We are roughly halfway through the 2014 NFL season — it always goes by way too fast, doesn't it? — and there are always surprises along the way.

As an example, both Ahmad Bradshaw and Justin Forsett rank inside the top-eight fantasy running backs through Week 7 and they are well ahead of LeSean McCoy (RB26). In fact, Bradshaw (92.8) has scored more fantasy points than McCoy (53.6) and Zac Stacy (37.5) combined.

While Bradshaw is listed below in this week's Start'em, Sit'em column, which players you should insert into your starting lineup depends on your roster and league's scoring settings.

In other words, if you own Eddie Lacy, McCoy and Bradshaw and can only start two running backs, I would start Lacy and McCoy even though Bradshaw is listed below as a "start." While he's ranked as a solid second running back, I have both Lacy and McCoy ranked a few spots higher.

For a better guage of which player I'd start over another, check out my fantasy football rankings.

Looking ahead to the rest of this week's games, here are some players to consider starting:

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at JAX)

Tannehill got off to a slower start than I had expected, but he's been very productive over his past three games. Averaging 21.05 fantasy points per game during that stretch, Tannehill has finished as the QB11, QB13 and QB4 in his past three games. Not only does he have a minimum of 244 passing yards and two touchdowns in those games, he's added a total of 132 rushing yards as well.

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. PHI)

Palmer has been solid in his three starts this season as he thrown for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in each of his starts. Prior to the Eagles bye and shutout against the Giants, they had allowed five consecutive top-12 finishes to opposing quarterbacks. In those games, they allowed multiple touchdowns each week and a total of 13. On the season, the Eagles have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs.

Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize) in DraftKings' Week 8 Millionaire Maker contest.

RB - Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (vs. ATL)

With Reggie Bush listed as doubtful for Sunday's game in London, Bell will have this incredibly favorable matchup mostly to himself. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Falcons. In seven games, the Falcons have allowed seven running backs to finish the week as a top-13 running back and they have surrendered 12 rushing touchdowns to RBs. Over the past two games, Bell has 20 touches and a touchdown in each game and it's likely that streak extends to three games this weekend.

RB - Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts (at PIT)

While the pace is not sustainable, Bradshaw has scored seven touchdowns including six receiving scores in seven games this season. To put that into perspective, only three other running backs — Jamaal Charles, Danny Woodhead and Darren Sproles — have had that many receiving touchdowns in an entire season since 2005. That said, Bradshaw has scored the fifth-most fantasy points among running backs through Week 7 and he has finished as an RB1 (top-12 RB) in four of seven games. Although he may not score his eighth touchdown of the season, Bradshaw has become a weekly start as long as he's healthy.

RB - Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (at CLE)

Over the past five games, McFadden has averaged 17.0 touches per game (13.8 carries and 3.2 catches per contest). During that five-game span, he has finished as a top-27 (or better) running back in four games. In other words, he's producing at an RB2/flex level in the majority of his games. This week, the Raiders will face the Browns, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the position.

RB - Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (at TB)

The bad news is that McKinnon and yours truly are tied with zero NFL touchdowns. More than likely, McKinnon will break that tie some day — and perhaps it's this week. Either way, McKinnon has a pair of 100-yard rushing games over the past four weeks including last week against the Bills' vaunted run defense. An extremely explosive athlete, McKinnon has a great matchup this week as the Bucs have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

[Related: McKinnon made his way on to our must-start list for Week 8 DraftKings contests.]

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. ATL)

Going into Week 8, Tate has 48 catches for 649 yards and two touchdowns on 65 targets. Antonio Brown (50) and Julio Jones (49) are the only wide receivers with more receptions than Tate, who currently ranks ninth among wideouts in fantasy points in standard-scoring formats. With Calvin Johnson either playing a decoy role or inactive, Tate has racked up a line of 32/448/2 on 44 targets over the past four games. If Megatron sits again this week, Tate is a top-three option for me at wide receiver.

WR - Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (at NYJ)

Excluding a three-target game in Week 6 spent on Revis Island, Watkins has eight-plus targets in his other five games since Week 2. Last week, he had a season-high 14 targets and finished with a 9/122/2 line. The WR15 through Week 7, Watkins has a favorable matchup against the Jets, who have allowed four 100-yard receivers including a 209-yard game to Jordy Nelson.

WR - Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (vs. PHI)

Although Floyd had a pair of 100-yard games in the three games before the bye and he has scored a touchdown in back-to-back games, he has finished as a top-20 wide receiver only once this season. With Palmer back under center, it wouldn't surprise me if Floyd has his best game of the year against the Eagles, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year.

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (at PIT)

Hilton has only one touchdown this season, but he has five-plus catches in all seven games this season and has nine-plus targets in all but one game. Over the past four games, he has been particularly productive with at least 90 yards in each game and has racked up a line of 31/525/1 during that stretch. With Reggie Wayne already ruled out for Week 8, Hilton should have another highly productive outing.

TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at DAL)

One of the most physically-gifted (and injury-plagued) tight ends in the league, Reed is healthy again and gets a favorable matchup this week. Over the past two games, Reed has 13 catches for 136 yards on 17 targets. Aside from the Bengals, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Cowboys.

TE - Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts (at PIT)

On the season, Andrew Luck has thrown 19 touchdowns and the largest share has gone to tight ends (nine). While Coby Fleener also has three touchdowns, Allen has caught a touchdown in five of seven games this season. In those games, he has finished as a top-seven fantasy tight end or better. The Steelers have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Enter our FREE Week 8 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

Here are some players to consider keeping on your fantasy bench(es):

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. DET)

With an offensive line that has lost four starters to season-ending injuries, Ryan is going to get pressured early and often facing one of the league's top defensive lines. Technically, this week's game is considered a "home" game, but Ryan has struggled away from the Georgia Dome. In his four games outside of Georgia this year, Ryan has finished as the QB27, QB14, QB19 and QB23, respectively. Considering the Lions have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, this could turn out to be a really long day for Ryan and Falcons.

RB - Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. MIN)

Martin has yet to exceed 45 rushing yards in any of his four games this season and he's averaging just 2.90 yards per carry. While the matchup is favorable, Martin is nothing more than a flex option for me this week.

RB - Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

With Shonn Greene sidelined for two weeks, Sankey has 34 carries for 117 yards (3.44 YPC) and one catch for seven yards. While the volume is good, the modest production isn't and there's a good chance that Sankey comes out when (or if) the Titans get near the goal line. Like Martin, Sankey is a flex option for me this week.

RB - Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons (vs. DET)

While he averaged 14.4 touches per game in the first five games of the season, Jackson has just 15 touches combined over the past two weeks and has finished outside the top-50 fantasy running backs each week. The Lions have allowed just 3.21 YPC to running backs and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.

WR - Percy Harvin, New York Jets (vs. BUF)

As I noted in our NFL power rankings, nobody could have expected that the Seahawks would have traded Harvin in between back-to-back losses. While the Seahawks are a run-first team, Harvin is still a head case and it'll be interesting to see his impact on a locker room that has had its share of dysfunction. While Harvin will get return opportunities, his offensive snaps will be limited as he gets familiar with the offense in the middle of the season.

WR - Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings (at TB)

Patterson scored his first receiving touchdown (he also had a rushing score in Week 1) of the season last week. That said, he still finished outside the top 36 fantasy receivers on his 2/9/1 stat line. That's not a typo — he had just nine yards. Patterson has exactly two receptions in four consecutive games and his receiving yards in those games are 38, eight, 15 and nine, respectively. Since Week 2, Patterson has three carries, but (to recycle my McKinnon joke) I have more rushing yards than he does during that span: zero to minus two. Patterson has a great matchup this week, but do you trust that he capitalize on it?

WR - Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

Wright has seen a high volume of targets with eight-plus in four of his past five games. He's had a couple of productive outings, but I have a hunch that Justin Hunter and the strong-armed rookie Zach Mettenberger show off the positive chemistry they displayed in the preseason. If you're in a 12-team league, I have Wright ranked as a WR3, but I have Hunter ranked a few spots higher this week.

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. IND)

Miller has just one game with a top-12 finish and he has finished as the TE30 (or worse) in four of seven games this year. Over his past three games, Miller has just eight targets, six catches and 78 yards.

To see who I would start based on your team, please consult with my Week 8 rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Daily Fantasy Football Roundtable: Week 8 DraftKings Must-Starts

Each Friday, our contributors tackle the $1 Million question (DraftKings' Millionaire Maker contest) and give their one must-start player that they like in DraftKings contests.

Here are our Week 8 DraftKings must-starts:

Brendan DonahueJeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,500)

Coming off a bye, Maclin and the Eagles travel to Arizona who have given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. If you take out the Giants game where the Eagles dominated and didn't need to throw the ball in the 2nd half, Maclin has been targeted at least 10 times in every game. In what should be a shootout, I expect at least 10 targets for Maclin again and a great chance of producing well above his $5,500 price tag.

Sean BeazleyJerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings ($4,900)

One player I love this week is Vikings RB Jerrick McKinnon ($4,900). McKinnon is my sixth-ranked RB this week. McKinnon had a 19/103 line last week and should continue to get the bulk of the carries for Minnesota. He faces the Bucs, who rank 25th vs. the run this year and allow a league-worst 34 points per game. I think McKinnon could break out this week in a big way.

Ryan Watterson — Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings ($4,900)

McKinnon gets a top matchup against the lowly Bucs this week. Tampa has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs this season. McKinnon has solidified himself as the lead back in Minnesota and has become the focal point of this offense. At $4,900, it will be hard to find a better value than McKinnon.

Dan YanotchkoShane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots ($6,200)

I am targeting Shane Vereen of the Patriots this week, as he is made especially for the Draft Kings full-point PPR format. Since losing Stevan Ridley for the year, Vereen is now the workhorse for the Pats and had an impressive stat line against one of the best rush defenses in the Jets. Vereen last week ran for 43 yards, but he had five receptions on eight targets for 71 yards and two touchdowns. I like the matchup of Vereen coming out of the backfield against the Bears, who allow 21.8 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs in PPR formats.

Kevin HansonMatt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears ($8,800)

Without a doubt, finding underpriced values is imperative, but starting high-priced studs that actually produce like studs is important as well. In other words, if you spend the money, you better get production and that's exactly what Forte has delivered. The top-scoring fantasy running back in PPR formats (DeMarco Murray is second), Forte leads running backs in catches (52), but he also leads the entire NFL. (Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is second with 50 and Forte is on pace for 119 catches.) In PPR formats, Forte has finished the past four weeks as the RB5, RB2, RB1, RB1 — and he had an RB3 performance in Week 1 as well. The Pats have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in PPR formats and Forte is about as safe as it gets and worth the salary.

-> Turn $27 into $1 Million in this week's Millionaire Maker contest

More Week 8 content:

Good luck in Week 8!

Previous 15 Entries

2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 8 Oct 23, 2014
Fantasy Football Week 8: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues Oct 23, 2014
Fantasy Football Rest-of-Season (ROS) Rankings: Weeks 8 to 16 Oct 21, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 8 to 16 Oct 21, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 8 to 16 Oct 21, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 8 to 16 Oct 21, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 8 to 16 Oct 21, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 8 Oct 20, 2014
Week 7 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Yanotchko Oct 19, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Week 7 Start'em, Sit'em Oct 17, 2014
2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7 Oct 16, 2014
Fantasy Football Week 7: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues Oct 15, 2014
Fantasy Football Rest-of-Season (ROS) Rankings: Weeks 7 to 16 Oct 14, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 7 Oct 14, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 7 to 16 Oct 14, 2014