Fantasy Football Insider - Week 8
by Bryce McRae and Tim Heaney
on October 31, 2009 @ 22:21:32
Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week
Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- Does Donovan McNabb have a favorite
target? He has the most time with tight end Brent
Celek, but teams have tried to take the middle away from the Philadelphia
Eagles' passing attack. Though McNabb has flirted often with wideout Jason
Avant, including during practice this week (something to watch against
the New York Giants?), it's hard to say McNabb
has a true go-to option.
- While we're on
the subject, Michael Vick has needed a rhythm to get going
during his minimal work. The Iggles aren't optimizing his potential. Is he
even a solid fit for the wildcat? He doesn't run inside well, which hurts
his chances there. McNabb has been throwing a lot of balls in the dirt lately.
Maybe they should use Vick more in normal formations for a change of pace....
Saving Matthew Ryan
- Two poor games
with multiple interceptions in each for the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan? It hadn't happened until last week. The two opponents pressured
Ryan more and were jumping on his hot routes.
- Expect the
Denver Broncos to go right at the vulnerable Baltimore Ravens pass D this week, making
Kyle Orton an attractive Week 8 option.
- The New York Giants
appear to be too pass-happy, often throwing on short-yardage plays. They're
not concerned; they point to the fact that many of them haven't connected,
but they believe they did the right thing based on what they were given by
- With Alex D. Smith taking over aerial duties for the San Francisco 49ers, wideout
Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis will probably benefit the most.
The Niners' system revolves around timing and spots, though, so chemistry
isn't as important for receiving targets. The pass catchers will have to adjust
to Smith, more so than the other way around.
- One positive coming
from Derek Anderson: He has the Cleveland Browns' only rushing
touchdown this season. Cleveland has also struggled to score from inside the
5-yard line. We should expect a few more wildcat reps from them this week,
though; the coaching staff was upset they abandoned it so quickly last time
- Vince Young's
return to the starting role for the Tennessee Titans won't change much for
the game plan this week; the change didn't happen until Thursday, remember.
It could be a reduced game plan, however, since VY doesn't have the same grasp
of this offense as Kerry Collins. It should still be more
of the same, though: Pound the ball and pick your spots throwing.
- While Jake Delhomme has been fantasy poison, A.J. Feeley and
Matt Moore aren't system-ready enough to take over for him.
The Carolina Panthers still feel Delhomme gives them the best chance to win
despite his continuous accuracy issues and his constant work on improving
his footwork that hasn't translated yet.
- One reason for Michael Turner's struggles out of the Atlanta Falcons'
backfield: Teams are taking away the cutback lane, and he has faced a lot
of 3-4 defenses, which are designed to stop the run with hybrid OLBs. They've
talked of trying new blocking schemes to get him going, but our insider had
yet to see any of that.
- The Denver Broncos will continue to use Correll Buckhalter as the
complementary option to Knowshon Moreno, because Buck has been more
effective in his decreased use.
- Don't be surprised if Beanie Wells sees more carries than Tim Hightower in the Arizona Cardinals backfield this Sunday, but you should
expect to see Hightower add five or six catches to his double-digit totes.
Wells probably won't see, say, 25 carries per game, but he'll keep it as a
pretty even touch split.
- Corrupting what was a useful pickup, the Dallas Cowboys are sticking with
Marion Barber III as their main back, while relegating Tashard Choice,
a hot fantasy property, to their third-down option. An odd choice: Barber
is better in pass protection, so he's more suited for third downs. They haven't
fully taken advantage of Felix Jones, either.
What happens if Westbrook sits?
- If Brian Westbrook (concussion) doesn't go or is limited this week,
it's a good idea to expect 20 to 25 carries from the Philadelphia Eagles'
LeSean McCoy this week; Westbrook is looking highly uncertain to play.
We may see some token touches from Eldra Buckley, too.
- McCoy and Westbrook haven't benefited from steady run blocking. McCoy is
having trouble evading defenders; this isn't college anymore. He has also
had issues in running the wildcat because he's having more trouble hitting
holes in the formation. There are some nuances McCoy still needs to learn.
- Though he probably won't see much time this week or going forward, the
recently signed P.J. Hill has impressed the Eagles because of his combination
of size and receiving ability.
- The Green Bay Packers should go to their short passing game more often
this week to alleviate pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Ryan Grant
should receive a few more targets, possibly with screens, though he's still
not great as a receiver.
- With Donald Brown (shoulder) out for Week 8, the shifty Chad Simpson should see some work, potentially as much as being the short end
of the Indianapolis Colts' typical 60 percent-40 percent touch split with
Joseph Addai as the majority.
- The Seattle Seahawks are blaming Julius Jones' ineffectiveness on
the offensive line. It helps that Rob Sims (ankle) should play this week;
he has been their best offensive lineman. Jones enjoyed some solid games earlier
this year when the line was intact.
- The New York Jets like Shonn Greene – he brings a good combination
of size, quickness and vision even if he doesn't have great speed. The carry
split between him and Thomas Jones should be along a 20-10 line for
Jones this weekend.
- The Jets would like Leon Washington (fibula) to remain in the Big
Apple for the long term. Who catches passes out of the backfield and does
it well is the question now? Jones is the answer to that first question. You
can't expect Danny Woodhead, who was converted into a slot receiver
a couple of weeks ago, to see much time in that role even though he has been
moved back to RB.
- Don't expect Ahmad Bradshaw's (ankle,
foot) workload for the New York Giants to change unless the cracked bone in
his right foot becomes worse. It's not going to get better; he'll need surgery
eventually - at this point, that'll happen when the injury forces the issue.
The club doesn't believe it'll help to rest him. He'll keep a schedule along
the lines of resting during the week, being limited in practice Friday and
playing on Sunday in order to conserve his mojo for game day.
- Darren Sproles likely will be the biggest headache for the
Oakland Raiders this weekend in their matchup against the San Diego Chargers. The
SoCal team likely will move him around, and Oakland doesn't have anyone to
match up with him.
Austin No. 1 in Big D?
- So Miles Austin won't be doing this
every week, right? The Dallas Cowboys won't be
facing the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta
Falcons all the time. Either way, it looks like quarterback Tony
Romo trusts the latest fantasy flavor, and Austin all but officially bumps
Roy Williams to No. 2 status in Big
D. Encouraging for Austin: his after-the-catch abilities and his tackle-breaking
- It looks like Williams is still feeling a bit of pain in his ribs. He looked
tentative in dropping one ball and weak on a few other plays in Week 7.
- The protective padding Andre Johnson
will be wearing in the Houston Texans' tilt with
the Buffalo Bills shouldn't restrict his movement.
Extra attention from safety Jairus Byrd might
be more restrictive.
- Mike Sims-Walker and Torry
Holt have made the Jacksonville Jaguars'
wide receivers relevant in fantasy circles; Mike
Thomas is slowly working his way into the conversation, too. He runs
his routes well, has good hands and can get open. He isn't the No. 3 yet,
but he's someone to keep an eye on. This week the Jags wideouts have a great
matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
- Miami Dolphins pecking order: Greg
Camarillo, Davone Bess, and
some combination of Brian Hartline
and Ted Ginn Jr. as the No. 3 and No.
4, depending on the week. Ginn will be used as a deep threat, but it's hard
to expect consistent production.
- Is this the week Terrell Owens goes
off for the Buffalo Bills? The CB likely covering
him for the Houston Texans (Jacques
Reeves) isn't great, and the other corner (Dunta
Robinson) should be able to lock up Lee
Evans. Still, this offense struggles to reach the double century mark
in total yards, so it's tough taking that risk.
- Exhibit A that the San Francisco 49ers are already
trusting Michael Crabtree: The formerly
unhappy rookie snared three of their four third-down conversions in Week 7,
his NFL debut.
- The Baltimore Ravens should get Mark
Clayton more involved this week. Denver Broncos
cornerback Champ Bailey has been shadowing
the top receiver the last couple of weeks, so Clayton could see more looks
as Baltimore goes away from Bailey, who'll probably be covering Derrick
- The St. Louis Rams are making slot catcher Danny
Amendola an entrenched offensive option; his reliable hands and quick
separation from defenders make him a third-down asset. The 6-foot-4 Ruvell
Martin (hamstring) has looked solid while working his way back but
still may not be active. Unfortunately, it'll be hard to work in either Martin
or new acquisition Brandon Gibson because
the Rams haven't used many four-wide sets this
- Some positives coming out of Brian Robiskie's
statless debut as a starter: The Cleveland Browns
rook reportedly gained some separation from Green Bay Packers
corner Charles Woodson and handled his assignments
- The Denver Broncos
have been pleased with Tony Scheffler's improved blocking,
and he appears to have chemistry with quarterback Kyle Orton. However, matchups
have helped Scheff's production, and this system doesn't usually feature tight
ends that often. The improved blocking should lead to more reps, though.
- Possibly the biggest
fantasy development from Vince Young's ascension to a starting job for the
Tennessee Titans: the return to fantasy relevance of Bo Scaife.
The two have a history going back to when they were both at the University
of Texas. Scaife could see a lot of dump-off passes.
- Credit a better pass rush, chiefly due to defensive end Calais Campbell,
and improved communication in the secondary for the turnaround in the Arizona Cardinals' defensive performance.
- The Carolina Panthers
can thank more comfortable personnel in their new system, the signing of defensive
tackle Hollis Thomas and the return of strong safety Chris Harris for their
- Despite the positive
performance of cornerbacks Karl Paymah, Benny Sapp and Asher Allen last week,
the Minnesota Vikings' outside run containment takes a hit without cornerback
Antoine Winfield (foot).
- The Detroit Lions
have installed 25 extra blitz packages (total of 65) to cover up their weaknesses.
Linebacker Julian Peterson will be heavily involved as a pass rusher, and
they'll look to be more creative, especially on first and second downs. Expect
the kitchen sink, as opposed to the more applicable toilet.
- The return of Marcus Trufant (back) allows the Seattle Seahawks to put two, big, physical
corners (Ken Lucas the other one) on the field against opposing
wideouts. Seattle will still try to limit Trufant to third-down and nickel
situations, though he probably will end up on the field more than that.
- Atari Bigby's
return two weeks ago has allowed the Green Bay Packers to be more aggressive.
It has opened up for the playbook for defensive coordinator Dom Capers more
because he doesn't have to worry about one of his backup safeties blowing
their assignments. That should help the Packers D almost as much as anything
against the Minnesota Vikings this week.
Around the league
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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