Fantasy Football Insider - Week 8

by Nicholas Minnix and Tim Heaney on October 30, 2010 @ 04:14:53 PDT

 


Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.

Quarterbacks

  • Max Hall, scaled-back playbook in hand, will finally have the Arizona Cardinals' top three receivers at his disposal. That was a luxury Derek Anderson didn't have after Week 1, unfortunately for him.
  • The Carolina Panthers' Matt Moore was much more relaxed and confident in his downfield ability last week. Don't expect those stats every week, but you can expect that competency from now on.
  • This week, the Cincinnati Bengals should concentrate on the run more and run the no-huddle less because of Carson Palmer's hip injury.
  • Matthew Stafford can make the throws that Shaun Hill can't. But the second-year passer's maturation - taking what the D gave him - might have still been evident in his lone half (15 attempts) of 2010. Don't expect the Detroit Lions' offense to change.
  • Tennessee Titans WR Kenny Britt
    Personal foul to cost Britt time?
    Our Minnesota Vikings insider believes Brett Favre (ankle) will start, but the QB is a game-time decision. He practiced Friday and will be fitted with a special shoe. If head coach Brad Childress had it his way, he'd probably start Tarvaris Jackson; Childress isn't happy with Favre's performance, and this would be a perfect time to take Favre out of action and see how they do.
  • Speaking of Jackson, our Vikings source also said that there wouldn't be much of a drop-off in the Vikes' offensive game if he doesn't face that much pressure.
  • During their bye week, the New York Jets focused on finding ways to improve Mark Sanchez's game. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer did some film studying, especially to find out if their O was too predictable.
  • Though Jason Campbell had an impressive Week 7 performance, expect Bruce Gradkowski to regain the starting job when he returns. Campbell's great performance last week was probably more a result of the Oakland Raiders' perfect storm than his actual ability.
  • It was a mild surprise that he passed David Carr on the DC so quickly, but at least Troy Smith gives the San Francisco 49ers options. His mobility may convince the Niners to throw a few surprises at the Denver Broncos, and Smith's arm looked good in practice. But otherwise, the playbook will be pretty limited. If he plays well enough to win, he may very well supplant Alex D. Smith.
  • Vince Young has improved his preparation and ability to diagnose a defense significantly. The Tennessee Titans' passer is more poised and patient. Will opponents notice, though?

Running backs

  • Why does Tim Hightower have so few receptions? Because the Arizona Cardinals' QBs force too many throws downfield. And now he's no longer the starter in name. Beanie Wells seems to play better when he's motivated to prove himself, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' run D presents a great opp for that.
  • Having Fred Jackson in for the majority of the Buffalo Bills' backfield touches is helping their passing game, because he's a better blitz picker-upper than C.J. Spiller or former Bill Marshawn Lynch. F-Jax should continue to see the majority of work.
  • The Carolina Panthers are calling him day-to-day at the moment, but DeAngelo Williams (foot) is unlikely to play in Week 8. Jonathan Stewart should see nearly all of the carries this week. Mike Goodson will be on spot duty, and Tyrell Sutton will dress for insurance. In the three games J-Stew has started, he has averaged 150.3 yards per game and totaled three touchdowns.
  • Our Dallas Cowboys sage still wonders why they don't involve Tashard Choice more. The team claims it's because Marion Barber III is running hard. It's highly unlikely Choice will be involved more often unless Dallas is completely eliminated from postseason contention and wants to give him an extended look.
  • The Denver Broncos are expected to let Knowshon Moreno be a three-down back this week - and probably from now on - with Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney seeing touches only when Moreno needs a breather.
  • Sounds like rest was just the ticket for Jahvid Best. The rookie rusher said that his toe feels a lot better, he's nearly 100 percent, and he feels more explosive than he did in the couple of weeks leading up to the Detroit Lions' bye.
  • The Indianapolis Colts are more prepared for Arian Foster this time around. They're playing faster and more disciplined. Don't expect anything close to a repeat of the No. 1 Houston Texans back's Week 1 performance.
  • With Joseph Addai (neck) unlikely to play, Donald Brown (hamstring) should play this week. Mike Hart will probably start for the Colts, but that means little. The pair might not hit 20 rushing attempts combined, regardless. How much Brown can do is uncertain, and Hart is better in pass protection. If he has to take a seat, expect Hart to get the bulk of the work before Javarris James gets to touch it much.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't been able to let Maurice Jones-Drew run much because they've been behind by big margins often. He said he wants to carry the ball 30 times per game. Don't blame his skills - blame the offense for not setting him up to contribute.
  • Do the New England Patriots have a new No. 1 back? Danny Woodhead is getting closer and closer to top-back reps. Woodhead received carries in the first two series last week - the first time that has happened all year. Of course, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis still in tow and Fred Taylor (toe) still ... alive, we guess ... this remains fluid.
  • Don't rule out Taylor's late-season involvement, fantasy owners. The Pats made a conscious effort to run the ball more as last season wound down. They're getting by with Woodhead and BJGE, but Taylor could be brought back if he's healthy and important games are on the horizon.
  • Pierre Thomas (ankle) had a tumultuous week for the New Orleans Saints. A third opinion told him to lay off his mystery ankle injury even more. He now wears a walking boot without a return timetable. If he isn't ready to go by the bye week (Week 10), he might hit Injured Reserve. A report said Thomas might be a healthy scratch if he were to come back because the Saints are frustrated with him. PT wasn't aware of the report. One reason for the quarrel might be that Thomas went for other opinions besides those of the team's doctors.
  • Even if and when Thomas is healthy, he might cede the majority work to Chris Ivory, who's a favorite of head coach Sean Payton. With Thomas being an unrestricted free agent next year, don't expect N'awlins to sign him; he might want too much money.
  • The Oakland Raiders' Darren McFadden looks like he's unstoppable as long as he's healthy, but the Seattle Seahawks' stout run defense has the answer. It should be tough sledding for Run DMC this week.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers might use Mewelde Moore (spell back) and Isaac Redman (short-yardage) more often in the second half to take some of the load off Rashard Mendenhall.
  • Too much dancing, missed cutback lanes, lack of patience, personal frustration ... Ryan Mathews is an enigma and, at best, a flex fantasy play. That won't change any time soon because of his poor decision-making, especially in pass protection, where Darren Sproles outdoes him easily.
  • The Seattle Seahawks' red zone woes probably begin with their seven new regulars on O, including some young wideouts. Timing, cohesion and restricted space are magnified, and they have no dominant playmaker. The arrival of Marshawn Lynch has helped that aspect of the O to improve, though. Expect him to remain a factor moving forward.
  • Steven Jackson (finger) is likely a game-time decision for the St. Louis Rams. He said he's playing, but our insider didn't see Jackson do much work in practice and isn't certain about the situation. The broken ring finger in his left hand shouldn't limit him completely if he goes; though he probably wouldn't be involved much as a receiver (enter Kenneth Darby), Jackson carries the ball primarily with his right hand. He has gutted through injuries before, so this one will go down to the wire. Be sure to bookmark Hot off the Wire.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem likely to split touches down the middle between Cadillac Williams (more receiving chances) and LeGarrette Blount (more rushes).
  • Chris Johnson sees defenses crowding the line of scrimmage just about every week. Rarely do opponents blitz the Tennessee Titans' QBs. The San Diego Chargers are going to approach him the same way because they've had trouble with fast backs who can run inside.
  • Our Washington Redskins source remains iffy on if Clinton Portis (knee) will be able to return to a productive fantasy role - or return at all - this year.

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Team defenses

  • Reasons for the Dallas Cowboys' run D collapsing: Opposing lines doubling nose tackle Jay Ratliff, linebacker Keith Brooking playing nearly every single down, their defensive ends being ineffective, and their safeties playing sloppy and tentative football. Maybe playing rookie linebacker Sean Lee more could keep Brooking fresh and help them stop the run a bit more.
  • The Denver Broncos get their full secondary back this week with the returns of free safety Brian Dawkins (knee) and cornerback Andre' Goodman (thigh). Their pre-snap communication - and, of course, talent - should be better.
  • The Houston Texans' Brian Cushing gained a lot of experience as a backup middle 'backer at USC, but nothing prepares for you starting there in the NFL - especially against Peyton Manning. The Texans will play only two linebackers in their base package against the Indianapolis Colts this week. Houston's staff is confident in Cushing, but he could struggle with pre-snap responsibilities.
  • Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney should present huge problems for Texans guard Duane Brown. Brown may be rusty after serving a four-game suspension and said that the noise in Indy bothers him.
  • Indy drafted Pat Angerer to replace Gary Brackett, eventually. The hard-working, hard-on-himself rook is a classic Tampa 2 'backer and could probably replace Philip Wheeler in the lineup right now.
  • The New York Jets' pass D might be closing up some holes. With cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie likely to stay on their respective sides of the field, the communication in the Jets' secondary should improve.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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