Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em
Like clockwork, the GameDay live chat kicks off at 10:30am eastern on Sunday and will last for sixty minutes in an attempt to go over everything you need to know heading into all of the Week 8 action. Bring your questions and your predictions.
FADE OF THE WEEK (Season: 2-5)
Last week: CAROLINA PANTHERS (+2.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys (loss)
NEW YORK GIANTS (-2.5) at Dallas Cowboys: The Giants have won three straight road matchups at Dallas while averaging 37.0 points per game in the process. In addition, Big Blue is 4-1 ATS over their last five road games against the Cowboys.
LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS
Nice to see that the one week we decide to jump on the home dog trend--which had been hitting at 66%--the home dogs go 0-4 ATS in their worst showing of the year. So after a 1-4 weekend, we’re now sitting at 14-21 on the year. You can go ahead and stick a fork in this contest entry. It’s done.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (+4.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-2.5) at Cleveland Browns
NEW YORK GIANTS (-2.5) at Dallas Cowboys
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-7) vs. St. Louis Rams
ARIZONA CARDINALS (+6.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers
CLICK HERE to check out all of the current Week 8 lines.
SURVIVOR SMASH FOR WEEK 8
Minnesota’s 21-14 win over Arizona in Week 7 moves us to 6-1 on the year. That might be cool if we hadn’t bit the bullet in Week 2 with New England. But as long as these continue to hit, we’ll continue to post ‘em.
TENNESSEE TITANS over Indianapolis Colts: It’s not that we love the Titans in this matchup, because we don’t. But based on the teams we’ve already used and the matchups on the Week 8 schedule, this was the only game that seemed appealing. Talk about confidence!
Teams used prior to this week: Detroit, New England, Chicago, Green Bay, NY Giants, Atlanta, Minnesota
FANDUEL WEEK 8 SALARY CAP CHALLENGE
You guys have been bringing the heat in the Fanduel leagues this season. Well done. Same format this week: $2 entry, $1,000 prize pool and bragging rights over Bowen and myself.
CLICK HERE to enter!
START ‘EM UP
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at Cleveland): The loss of wide receiver Vincent Jackson has dealt a serious blow to Rivers’ bottom line, but over his last three starts, the San Diego signal-caller is still averaging 268.0 passing yards per game with six touchdowns. The Bolts are coming off the bye and desperately need to notch one in the win column, so look for a solid effort Sunday against a Cleveland defense that ranks 26th in the league against the pass (276.9 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 24.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (second-most in NFL).
Willis McGahee, RB, Denver Broncos (vs. New Orleans): Week 8 marks the start of a four-game stretch of matchups that should see McGahee produce some highly effective results. Sunday night’s showdown with New Orleans should get that run off on the right foot when you consider the fact that the Saints currently rank 31st in the NFL against the run (161.0 yds/gm) and are surrendering an average of 26.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (second-most in NFL). If you can still trade for McGahee, we advise that you get on the horn and do it.
Averaging 9.5 targets per game, Brown should have no problem posting a big stat line Sunday against Washington.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Washington): While he’s only found the end zone once this season, Brown is averaging a healthy 9.5 targets per game. And for those of you who have been waiting for this guy to break out with a monster performance, Sunday against the Redskins is as good a chance as Brown will have this season to go nuclear. Washington currently ranks dead last in the NFL in pass defense (328.4 yds/gm) and is giving up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2012 than any other team in the league (33.7 pts/gm). This means that Mike Wallace is also an excellent start for Week 8.
Alex Green, RB Green Bay Packers (vs. Jacksonville): The second-year running back out of Hawaii has carried the ball 42 times over the last two weeks with very little to show for it. However, the Packers are a 15-point favorite for Sunday’s showdown with Jacksonville and there is a good chance that Green Bay gets up big in this one and then shuts down the passing game in an effort to run down the clock. The Jaguars are currently surrendering an average of 25.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (third-most in NFL), so if Green gets enough carries, he should be more than capable of producing a solid stat line.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns (vs. San Diego): Gordon has turned 22 targets over his last three starts into just seven receptions. But those seven catches were big ones, resulting in 240 yards and four scores. The rookie from Baylor has the hot hand right now, so get him in the starting lineup for Cleveland’s Week 8 home date with a San Diego defense that ranks 25th in the NFL against the pass (268.2 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 27.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (sixth-most in NFL).
Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts (at Tennessee): This one is a stretch, so keep in mind that we are only advising you start Fleener if you’re desperate and play in a deeper fantasy league. While the rookie from Stanford has yet to score his first professional touchdown, Sunday offers up a great opportunity for Fleener to post some solid numbers against a Titans defense that is giving up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than any other team in the league (13.2 pts/gm).
Green Bay Packers, D/ST (vs. Jacksonville): The Packers rank just 14th in fantasy scoring at the D/ST position this season, not to mention the fact that Pro Bowler Charles Woodson is out of action for the foreseeable future. So there’s no better time than Week 8 for a home showdown with a Jacksonville Jaguars offense that ranks dead last in the NFL in scoring this season (14.7 pts/gm). Throw in the fact that Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew is out of commission for this one and you’ve got a very tasty matchup for the Packers.
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (at Chicago): The former Heisman Trophy winner currently ranks just 15th in fantasy scoring at the quarterback position and has thrown only three touchdown passes with four interceptions over his last four starts. It’s still too early to throw in the towel on this guy for the season, but owners are advised to look for another option this Sunday, as Newton travels to Chicago to take on a Bears defense that is giving up just 13.7 fantasy points per game to opposing signal-call ers this season (second-fewest in NFL).
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions (vs. Seattle): In four starts this season, Leshoure has turned a grand total of 83 touches into just one touchdown. Detroit is struggling on offense right now and we don’t see the team’s fortunes changing in Week 8 against a Seattle Seahawks defense that ranks fifth in the NFL against the run (85.0 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of just 12.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (t-fourth-fewest in NFL). Leshoure owners are better served leaving this guy on the bench in Week 8.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Atlanta): Maclin posted a 130-yard effort back in Week 6 against the Lions, but prior to that he had amassed just seven receptions for 69 yards and one score over his previous three starts. He’s not the worst option on the board for Week 8, but take note that the Falcons rank 11th in the league in pass defense (223.3 yds/gm) and are giving up an average of only 19.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this year (eighth-fewest in NFL). Maclin’s upside for Sunday is limited.
ICONPhilly's defense is rested and ready to shut down Turner.
Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons (at Philadelphia): We’ve got to hand it to the 30-year-old Turner for what he’s been able to accomplish this year considering the guy has so much wear on his tires. But while his season stat line is exceeding expectations in the eyes of many, take note that Turner has rushed for more than 80 yards in just one of six starts this season and is averaging only 14.0 rushing attempts per game. The Falcons head to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday to take on a rested Philadelphia defense that is surrendering an average of only 13.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (t-seventh-fewest in NFL). Turner isn’t a terrible option, but you may want to consider making a switch if you have a more favorable matchup at your disposal.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (vs. San Francisco): In his first game with John Skelton under center, Fitzgerald was targeted seven times, which resulted in only four receptions for 29 yards. The Arizona offensive line is really struggling this season and Monday night’s showdown against the 49ers’ pass rush could have Skelton running for his life. In addition, San Francisco currently ranks first in the NFL in pass defense (173.4 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of only 15.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (second-fewest in NFL). We anticipate most Fitzgerald owners starting the Pro Bowl wide receiver anyway. That’s fine, we just wanted you to be warned.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers (at Arizona): After finding the end zone four times over his first three starts, Davis is currently on a four-game scoreless streak that has seen the tight end catch just ten passes over the last three weeks. Throw in the fact that the Cardinals are surrendering an average of just 4.5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (second-fewest in NFL) and you have another bad spot in which Davis is probably better served sitting on the bench.
Dallas Cowboys, D/ST (vs. NY Giants): The Cowboys have dropped three straight home contests to the Giants, while giving up an average of 37.0 points per game in the process. That’s not good. And when you consider the fact that starting linebacker Sean Lee has been lost for the season, you can’t like the ‘Boys chances in this one of limiting Eli Manning and the New York offense. There are better options available for Week 8.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh