Week 8 Fantasy Tips from the Playbook War Room

Fantasy Tips, Inside the Game, Playbook War Room

The mid-point in the season is about to hit us, which for fantasy owners means that bye weeks and injuries are in full effect. This bye week features four potent AFC offenses, something that hurts owners a bit. However, injuries are something that can be much more detrimental to owners. While we cannot predict the future, we have tried to take into account our rankings for these dinged up players to try and help everyone out the best we can.

Quarterbacks

1.  Aaron Rodgers
2.  Peyton Manning:  Manning, against a Defense that is giving up 30 points a game?  Be prepared for a lot of points here.
3.  Tom Brady
4.  Drew Brees
5.  Matt Ryan
6.  Eli Manning
7.  Robert Griffin
8.  Andrew Luck:  The Titans give up 281 yards through the air and have allowed the most points of any defense in the league. Go ahead and start Luck this week.
9.  Philip Rivers:  With his weapons having a week to get healthy we think Rivers plays well this week. The Chargers have such a balanced attack with Floyd, Gates and Mathews that they should be able to exploit Cleveland’s discrepancies in coverage.
10.  Ben Roethlisberger
11.  Brandon Weeden:  We have loved the improvement from Weeden the past few weeks. He looks much more comfortable in the pocket which has allowed him to stretch the field vertically. The Chargers cover 3 scheme should allow him to get a few big plays down the field this week.
12.  Michael Vick
13.  Tony Romo
14.  Jay Cutler:  Cutler has the potential to put up better points than his ranking, but his inconsistency still worries us. The Panthers are physical on the outside and can rush the passer, so Cutler’s timing could be slightly off this week.
15.  Alex Smith

Running Backs

1.  Jamaal Charles:  The Chiefs have one of the top OL’s in football and should be able control the line of scrimmage this game. With so much uncertainty at QB and in the passing game, Charles is the Chiefs best bet to win the game – especially against an overly aggressive linebacking group.
2.  LeSean McCoy:  The Falcons Defense gives up the 5th most yards on the ground and we think the Eagles get back to utilizing their best offensive weapon this week. Getting McCoy involved early is only going to help Michael Vick get the ball down the field as the game progresses.
3.  Matt Forte
4.  Chris Johnson
5.  Darren McFadden
6.  Frank Gore
7.  Willis McGahee:  The Saints Defense is too bad for us not to feel great about McGahee this week. The Broncos OL is going to be able to move this front 7 which should let McGahee have a big day.
8.  Alfred Morris
9.  Marshawn Lynch
10.  Ryan Mathews
11.  Reggie Bush:  Bush was running well in the first matchup with the Jets. He was showing great patience with the ball which helped him be effective on virtually all of his runs. If the knee is healthy, which we assume it is, Bush should get back to his early season production.
12.  Darren Sproles
13.  Steven Ridley
14.  Rashad Jennings:  Now that Jennings is ‘the guy’ in Jacksonville, with MJD injured, he becomes a must start. He is going to receive 15-20 carries and is involved in the passing game, all things that should have you feeling good this week.
15.  Trent Richardson
16.  Michael Turner
17.  Ahmad Bradshaw
18.  Vick Ballard
19.  Alex Green
20.  Steven Jackson:  Jackson is ranked so low for two reasons. The first is the involvement of Daryl Richardson. The second is the physicality of the Patriots front 7. They do a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage and their LBs are extremely aggressive at getting downhill off the snap.

Wide Receivers

More specifically, as we are writing this, Jordy Nelson is not looking like he is going to play so we have left him out of our rankings. However, if he does suit up and is close to 100% he is still a must-start, along with Jones and Cobb.

1.  Roddy White
2.  Reggie Wayne
3.  Demaryius Thomas:  Since we are so high on Peyton Manning, why not rank the team’s top receiver high as well. Thomas should do great this week.
4.  Brandon Marshall
5.  Victor Cruz:  Cruz is still such an important aspect of this offense that he cannot have a ‘bad’ week. However, Nicks is finally healthy and the best part of the Cowboys defense this season has been their DBs. Cruz is a still must start but he might be slowed down a bit.
6.  Eric Decker:  Thomas has the physical tools to dominate more than Decker, but Decker is Peyton’s most targeted receiver this year. We feel great about starting both these guys.
7.  Marques Colston
8.  Calvin Johnson:  We feel that the Lions offensive scheme and Matthew Stafford are more the reason for his lack of production than anything. Johnson went 19 straight plays last week without seeing the ball. Until the Lions get creative with how they utilize Calvin, a defense like the Seahawks has the ability to really limit his potential.
9.  Randall Cobb
10.  Wes Welker
11.  Mike Wallace
12.  Hakeem Nicks
13.  Julio Jones
14.  Larry Fitzgerald:  Last year, the 49ers gave the NFL the recipe on how to slow down Calvin. We anticipate they take a page out of their own book and really limit the only reliable weapon in the Cardinals passing game. Fitzgerald is too good to rank lower, but be warned.
15.  Jeremy Maclin
16.  Dez Bryant
17.  Miles Austin
18.  James Jones:  If Nelson cannot go, we feel Jones gets a huge boost up our rankings. With so many weapons attacking the middle of the field, Jones is going to have a lot of single coverage on the outside which Rodgers will attack.
19.  Dwayne Bowe
20.  Antonio Brown
21.  Brandon Lloyd
22.  Lance Moore
23.  Josh Gordon:  Gordon is a physical specimen and has really developed a chemistry with Weeden. The Chargers secondary has really struggled down the field. They have subpar recovery ability and do not play the ball well in the air. Since they’ve given up the 4th most plays of 40 plus yards, Gordon is in a good position to get a few plays down the field.
24.  Denarius Moore
25.  DeSean Jackson

Tight Ends

1.  Rob Gronkowski
2.  Aaron Hernandez
3.  Jimmy Graham
4.  Tony Gonzalez
5.  Antonio Gates
6.  Heath Miller:  The Redskins have one of the worst back sevens when defending TEs. Their LBs are not overly physical at the line of scrimmage and struggle changing direction in coverage. With London Fletcher potentially out, look for Miller to have a big game.
7.  Jason Witten
8.  Martellus Bennett
9.  Kyle Rudolph
10.  Vernon Davis:  Davis has been getting open, on tape, but simply has not been getting looks from Alex Smith. Until he redevelops a role in this offense, we have to rank him this low.
11.  Brandon Myers
12.  Brandon Pettigrew:  The Seahawks limited the 49ers TEs to only one catch last week which cannot bode well for Pettigrew. This LB and Safety corps have the size and athleticism to match Pettigrew and really limit his targets and run after the catch capabilities.
13.  Brent Celek
14.  Jared Cook
15.  Jacob Tamme

Defense

1.  San Francisco:  We think San Fran comes back into form this week against a poor OL and a QB who does not do great standing up against pressure.
2.  Chicago
3.  Green Bay
4.  Seattle
5.  New England:  The Patriots’ ability to make the Rams one-dimensional should play in their favor. They should be able to limit the Rams total yardage and get themselves a turnover or two.
6.  Miami:  The Dolphins are another team that can make the Jets one-dimensional with the talent of their front 4. Shonn Greene is not going to have the same success running the ball, as he had the past two weeks, which puts a lot of pressure on Mark Sanchez. We like the Dolphins Defense a lot this week.
7.  Atlanta
8.  Arizona
9.  San Diego
10.  New York Giants

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