By Mike Cannici
Matthew Stafford (vs WAS)- Stafford returns this week after missing the last seven weeks with a shoulder injury to face one of the worst pass defenses in the league. He is a great bye week filler and should be owned in all 12 team leagues. There obviously is the question of how his shoulder will hold up but I’d bet that the Lions would not be getting their franchise QB back on the field if he wasn’t 100%.
Matt Cassel (vs BUF)- Don’t look now but Cassel is a good start once again in a home matchup against the Bills. Buffalo’s offense has been much better of late, so look for this to be a close game but their defense is still terrible and they put zero pressure on the QB. Cassel is another example of a great matchup play or a bye week replacement.
Chad Henne (@CIN)- Henne has been very efficient since coming out of the Dolphins bye week. The big numbers haven’t been their but to his credit the turnovers haven’t been their either. CB Jonathan Joseph may be out again for the Bengals and Henne could put up similar numbers to Matt Ryan’s last week (299 yards,3 touchdowns).
Ryan Torain (@DET)- Torain has played very well since taking over for Clinton Portis, with the exception of the two fumbles last week. He draws the Lions this week who are 26th vs. the run, so look for another big day out of Torain. He is a solid flex play with low end RB2 upside.
Beanie Wells (vs. TB)- Wells has been a disappointment thus far but did pick up 54 yards and a score last week. He gets the 31st ranked rush defense Sunday at home and should have his biggest day of the year, especially with Max Hall struggling with in the passing game. Wells is a great flex start and could possibly put up top 5 numbers this week as long as the Cardinals can keep it close, and if they get a solid lead, watch out, it’ll be the Beanie Wells show.
Felix Jones (vs. JAC)- Jones struggled last week against the Giants, but really who hasn’t since week three, but with the loss of Tony Romo, may actually become more valuable going forward. Jon Kitna replaces Romo, and while I don’t think Kitna will be horrible, I do think Dallas will rely on the run a little more going forward, to limit the turnovers and mistakes. This week Jones gets the Jaguars who are 25th against the run and 27th vs. the pass. Jones is a very good flex play this week and even a low end RB2 in PPR leagues.
Pierre Garcon (vs. HOU)- With Austin Collie, Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai out, there is going to be a lot more balls to go around and Garcon will be the #2 option behind Reggie Wayne. Garcon should at least duplicate his numbers from week six against the Redskins (4-104-1) if not surpass them. Houston ranks dead last against the pass and at home, Peyton Manning will be airing it out. Solid WR3/Flex in this matchup.
Dwayne Bowe (vs. BUF)- This should almost go without saying, but I know there are a lot of owners out their wondering, should I start Bowe again this week? The answer is simple, HELL freaking yes. He has scored two touchdowns in each of the last two weeks, and playing this week at home against the Bills, it wouldn’t shock me that he does it again. Dexter McCluster will miss the next few weeks with a high ankle sprain, so Bowe’s targets should increase even more. He’s a high end WR3 with WR2 potential. Get him in lineups.
Patrick Crayton (vs. TEN)- Crayton is averaging around 100 yards in each of his last two games, and has another solid matchup this week. He makes for a great flex play and a WR3 in PPR leagues. In this pass happy offense; look for Crayton to put up 6-8 catches, around 80-90 yards and a score this week. Start him with confidence.
Vince Young (@SD)- Young is likely to start Sunday in San Diego after missing last week’s game with knee and ankle injuries. He isn’t a good start however as he is 0-4 in his career against the Chargers. The Chargers are also ranked 4th against the run and 1st against the pass, making Young a desperation start at best.
Donavan McNabb (@DET)- I know I know most people’s eyes light up if they have a player facing the Lions, but the Lions have defended the pass pretty well and McNabb is coming off a terrible game against the Bears last week. The Lions have allowed 10 passing TD’s in 6 games and have six interceptions to go along with that and 16 sacks. McNabb is a decent start in 2QB leagues, but if you start just one, I hope you have other options.
Ryan Mathews (vs. TEN)- Mathews has two things working against him this week, one is the Titans are 10th vs. the run and second the Chargers don’t like to run the ball very often. Mathews is still recovering from his ankle injury and is near 100% but their still babying him a little bit. I was watching some tape of him last night on NFL Networks playbook and saw how he still is trying to bounce it to the outside instead of following his blockers and hitting the holes. The Chargers o-line hasn’t been great, but during those highlights, their was at least three HUGE holes he could have hit for big gains. He’s just a rookie, but a rookie who should be on your bench this week if you have better options.
Saints RB’s Chris Ivory/Ladell Betts (vs. PIT)- Ivory and Betts weren’t spectacular last week against the Browns at home and this week draw the league’s best run defense in the Steelers. Ivory had that big week six game and Betts has been decent in PPR leagues, but both are better left on fantasy benches in week eight. The Steelers have only allowed two rushing touchdowns this year, and both were from less than 3 yards out and are allowing opponents 2.8 yards per carry. The Steelers have also faced backs the likes of Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, Ronnie Brown, Ray Rice and the list goes on. Ivory and Betts are nowhere near those players so keep them on benches this week.
Lee Evans (@KC)- I know Evans has been solid lately and I love the guy as much as anyone, but he draws a matchup with Brandon Flowers this week, one of the up and coming star cornerbacks, and should be held in check. I expect Stevie Johnson to have another solid day, but keep Evans on benches this week if it’s feasible. With that Kansas City crowd noise, I’d expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to have a lot of trouble moving the ball.
Mike Williams (@OAK)- Williams has been great the last two weeks, but is about to hit a wall, and that wall’s name is Nnamdi Asomugha. The Seahawks are also not nearly as good on the road as they are at home and similar to Ryan Fitzpatrick, I think Hasselback will have problems with the crowd noise and finding Mike Williams open on a regular basis. Williams will be great the rest of the way, I just don’t see this week being one of those great weeks.
Michael Crabtree (vs. Den in London)- Crabtree’s value took a big hit last week with the loss of QB Alex Smith to a separated shoulder. Crabtree was just starting to get it going and will now be relegated to a flex play at best with Troy Smith or David Carr at the helm. Troy Smith is definitely the better of the two options, but I don’t see Crabtree having the big games we saw from him during weeks four through six. It pains me to say this as I am a Crabtree owner in a keeper league and two redraft leagues but keep him on the bench this week, at least until we see what we have with Troy Smith.