Starts, Sits & Smashes

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SURVIVOR SMASH: WEEK 8

Amazing. I put an end to this segment two weeks ago and have been red-hot since, picking the Bengals (vs. Indy) in Week 6 and throwing out winners on Dallas (vs. STL) and Denver (vs. MIA) in Week 7.

Cleary, that means I’m ripe for a fall. But for what it’s worth, I’ll take the Buffalo Bills over Washington this Sunday.

POINT SPREAD SMASH OF THE WEEK

Current Record: 3-3 (no pick in Week 2)

Last week’s selection: San Diego (-1.5) at NY Jets: LOSS

BUFFALO BILLS (-6) vs. Washington Redskins (in Toronto): The Bills currently rank third in the NFL in scoring (31.3 pts/gm) while the ‘Skins rank 22nd (19.3 pts/gm). Throw in the fact that Santana Moss and Tim Hightower are both out of action and you have yourselves and game in which yours truly will be very excited to watch.

CLICK HERE to check out the rest of the Week 8 lines.

START ‘EM UP

Matthew Stafford/Shaun Hill, QBs, Detroit Lions (at Denver): It looks like Stafford (ankle) should be good to go for Sunday’s showdown at Denver, but in the off chance that he’s a late scratch, don’t hesitate to pick up and start backup signal-caller Shaun Hill. The Broncos currently rank 19th in the NFL against the pass (247.5 yds/gm) and are surrendering an average of 24.5 fantasy point per game to opposing quarterbacks (2nd-most in NFL). Remember, Hill is the same guy who threw for 250+ yards in six of ten starts last season.

The line: Detroit -3/41.5

Vegas notes: The Lions are 0-8-1 against the spread in their last nine games as a road favorite, while the Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a home underdog of 0.5-3.0.

The pick: I know the trends and the “Tebow Effect” point to Denver in this one, but I’m leaning towards Detroit -3. I think the Lions’ front four causes big problems in this one.

Chris JohnsonIt's time for Johnson to bust out of his funk.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (vs. Indianapolis): It all comes down to this. If CJ2K can’t produce a big game against a Colts defense that ranks 31st in the NFL against the run (150.9 yds/gm) and is currently giving up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (26.0 pts/gm), then it’s time to start looking for a Plan B, because it’s not getting any easier than this.

The line: Tennessee -8.5/43.5

Vegas notes: The Colts are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games against AFC opponents while the Titans are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an against the spread loss.

The pick: Without Kenny Britt, this Titans offense has been having big-time trouble moving the football. I’ll take the Colts and the points.

Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Arizona): Boldin has only scored two touchdowns this season and has been held to less than 50 receiving yards in two of his last three starts, but we smell a bounce-back in Week 8 against the Cardinals. Arizona currently ranks 28th in the NFL against the pass (274.2 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 27.0 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (4th-most in NFL). If quarterback Joe Flacco can get some protection, he should be able to shred this secondary.

The line: Baltimore -12.5/43

Vegas notes: The Cardinals are 2-8 against the spread in their last ten games as a road underdog while the Ravens are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an against the spread loss.

The pick: This is a lot of points to lay, but if I had to make a pick, I’ll go with the Ravens. They should bounce back huge after being humiliated at Jacksonville on Monday night.

Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans (vs. Jacksonville): For as solid as the Jacksonville defense looked on Monday night against the Ravens, this is still a unit that has had trouble slowing down opposing tight ends (9.5 fantasy pts/gm, t-7th-most in NFL). Enter Daniels, who has posted 70 or more receiving yards in two of his last three starts.

The line: Houston -9.5/40.5

Vegas notes: The Jaguars are 2-8 against the spread in their last ten Sunday games after having played on Monday night the week before.

The pick: Letdown city for Jacksonville, as Houston rolls in this one.

Eli ManningManning continues to deliver for fantasy owners.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (vs. Miami): Maybe it’s his patented dumbfounded facial expressions or maybe it’s because his older brother gets more attention despite the fact that he hasn’t played a single game this season, but Eli Manning gets very little respect. Too bad, because the guy is currently a top-ten fantasy quarterback and has a very soft matchup Sunday against a Miami Dolphins team that ranks 21st in pass defense (258.5 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 23.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (3rd-most in NFL).

The line: NY Giants -9.5/42.5

Vegas notes: The Dolphins are 1-9-1 against the spread in their last 11 games overall.

The pick: How the hell can you feel comfortable putting money down on Miami?

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints (at St. Louis): With rookie ball-carrier Mark Ingram (heel) unlikely to play in Sunday’s game at St. Louis, the Saints will turn to Thomas to spearhead their power running attack. When you take into account the fact that the Rams currently rank dead-last in the NFL against the run (183.8 yds/gm) and are giving up an average of 25.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (2nd-most in NFL), you can’t help but love Thomas’ upside in Week 8.

The line: New Orleans -13.5/48

Vegas notes: The Rams have not covered one dam n spread this season.

The pick: If my options are Drew Brees or an offense that is scoring less than ten points per game, I’ll take Drew Brees.

Jabar Gaffney, WR, Washington Redskins (at Buffalo, in Toronto): Gaffney’s ceiling isn’t all that high, but with wideout Santana Moss and pass-catching running back Tim Hightower out of commission, this guy is in line to see a big increase in targets. It couldn’t come at a better time because Sunday’s showdown north of the border takes place against a Buffalo Bills team that ranks 30th against the pass (284.8 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 25.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (8th-most in NFL).

The line: Buffalo -6/45.5

Vegas notes: This line opened at Buffalo -4 and was immediately bet up to Buffalo -6. The early money loves the Bills.

The pick: We can’t disagree. Bills -6.

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals (at Baltimore): Coming off that embarrassing primetime loss at Jacksonville, you know this defense is going to be fired up to do some damage. Entering Week 8, the Ravens are giving up an average of only 11.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (2nd-fewest in NFL), so it’s at this point that any of you who haven’t already moved Kolb to the bench can do so comfortably.

The line: Baltimore -12.5/43

Vegas notes: The UNDER is 5-1 in the Cardinals’ last six road games and 4-1 in the Ravens’ last five games after accumulating less than 150 passing yards in their previous game.

The pick: UNDER 43

Knowshon MorenoMoreno may be starting, but he's got a tough matchup in Week 8 vs. Detroit.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos (vs. Detroit): Just because he’s moving into the lead role now that Willis McGahee is out of action doesn’t mean you should throw Moreno into your starting lineup. The Lions have had their struggles against the run, but this defense is surrendering an average of just 15.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (8th-fewest in NFL). Add in the fact that backup running back Lance Ball is likely to see some touches and you’re better off going in a different direction for Week 8.

The line: Detroit -3/41.5

Vegas notes: After opening the week at 43.5, this total was quickly knocked down by the early bettors to 41.5

The pick: UNDER 41.5

Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Cincinnati): Spending $41 million on a wide receiver will only get you so far without a decent starting quarterback, as the Seattle Seahawks are quickly finding out. Rice has caught just nine passes over his last three starts and has only found the end zone once since joining the Seahawks. Expect the low totals to continue Sunday as the Cincinnati Bengals come to town with a defense that currently ranks 5th in the NFL against the pass (189.0 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of just 15.0 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (4th-fewest in NFL).

The line: Cincinnati -3/37.5

Vegas notes: The Bengals are 8-1 against the spread in their last nine games overall while the Seahawks are 4-0 against the spread in their last four home games.

The pick: Cincinnati is the better team, but I don’t have a feel for this game. No play.

Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions (at Denver): He’s found the end zone it two of his last three games, but Pettigrew runs into a Denver defense this weekend that has done a very nice job of limiting the production of opposing tight ends in 2011. On the year, the Broncos are giving up an average of just 5.9 fantasy points per game to opposing TEs (5th-fewest in NFL), so we recommend you go with another option in Week 8.

The line: Detroit -3/41.5

Vegas notes: See above.

The pick: Already made above (leaning towards Detroit -3).

Pittsburgh Steelers, D/ST (vs. New England): In the eight games the Steelers have played against the Patriots since 2002, Pittsburgh is giving up an average of 27.6 points per game, which includes the 39 Tom Brady and company hung on them last year at Heinz Field. Nothing about this matchup screams, “defense.”

The line: New England -3/52.5

Vegas notes: For his career, Tom Brady is 6-1 against the Steelers (including the postseason).

The pick: Patriots -3

Tim TebowICONTebowmania is headed for road block in Week 8.

Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos (vs. Detroit): We hate to keep hammering on the same game, but lets face facts: Tebow’s solid fantasy line in Week 7 was pretty much amassed during the final three minutes of a game against a terrible Miami Dolphins football team. This week, the former Heisman Trophy winner tries his luck against a Detroit Lions defense that is surrendering only 15.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (6th-fewest in NFL). We’re fans of Tebow, but this week won’t be easy.

The line: Detroit -3/41.5

Vegas notes: See above.

The pick: Already made above (leaning towards Detroit -3).

Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns (at San Francisco): With Peyton Hillis suffering a setback in his recovery this past week, it looks like Hardesty will once again get the call as the featured back for the Browns. Leave him on the bench and look elsewhere, as the former Tennessee standout has a Week 8 date with a San Francisco 49ers team that ranks second in the NFL against the run (74.7 yds/gm) and is giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (10.1 pts/gm).

The line: San Francisco -8.5/38.5

Vegas notes: Our good friend Warren Sharp delivered some awesome analysis for this game on Wednesday, so I’ll leave the breakdown to him.

The pick: OVER 38.5

Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys (at Philadelphia): Despite their 2-4 record, the Eagles boast a pretty loaded cornerback platoon that features a plethora of trips to the Pro Bowl. So it’s no wonder that this defense is surrendering an average of only 18.3 fantasy point per game to opposing wide receivers this season (11th-fewest in NFL). Be advised that Austin hasn’t found the end zone since he blew up back on September 18th.

The line: Philadelphia -3.5/50.5

Vegas notes: Warren Sharp also delivered some impressive research on this game as well, so you can go ahead and CLICK HERE to check it out.

The pick: UNDER 50.5

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Upcoming Games

Nov 23rd, 8:15 PM

LA Rams +4 -110

Tampa Bay -4 -110

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Nov 26th, 12:30 PM

Houston -2.5 -110

Detroit +2.5 -110

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Nov 26th, 4:30 PM

Washington +2.5 -110

Dallas -2.5 -110

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Nov 26th, 8:20 PM

Baltimore +3.5 +100

Pittsburgh -3.5 +100

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Carolina +4.5 -110

Minnesota -4.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Tennessee +3.5 -110

Indianapolis -3.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Arizona -2.5 -105

New England +2.5 -105

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Cleveland -6.5 -110

Jacksonville +6.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Miami -7 -120

NY Jets +7 -120

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Las Vegas -3 -110

Atlanta +3 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

NY Giants -5.5 -110

Cincinnati +5.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

LA Chargers +5.5 -110

Buffalo -5.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 4:05 PM

San Francisco +7 +100

LA Rams -7 +100

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Nov 29th, 4:05 PM

New Orleans -5.5 -110

Denver +5.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 4:25 PM

Kansas City -3 -110

Tampa Bay +3 -110

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Nov 29th, 8:20 PM

Chicago +7.5 -110

Green Bay -7.5 -110

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Nov 30th, 8:15 PM

Seattle -5 -110

Philadelphia +5 -110

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