Fantasy Football Insider - Week 8
by Nicholas Minnix and Tim Heaney
on October 30, 2010 @ 04:14:53
Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- 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.
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.
Personal foul to cost Britt time?
- 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?
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Given the Arizona Cardinals' QB situation, if
the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get some pressure on that
spot, Aqib Talib could have a lot of success
keeping Larry Fitzgerald in check.
- It won't happen often, but the Carolina Panthers
should employ more three-wide sets, given the performance of David
Gettis and Brandon LaFell.
Those expecting a repeat of Gettis' Week 7 will probably have to deal with
inconsistent play; this passing game is still a work in progress.
- The Dallas Cowboys' Roy
Williams is a prime target for improved fantasy value now that Jon
Kitna, Williams' former Detroit Lions teammate,
will replace Tony Romo (clavicle) at QB. But
Williams couldn't connect well with Kitna last week, and it might take them
a bit to get back in sync.
- Our Cowboys source wasn't that worried about
Miles Austin's production dropping
off. Kitna still carries a capable enough arm that he can throw downfield
if given enough time.
- The Green Bay Packers made sure Donald
Driver (quadriceps) didn't play much in Week 7. It didn't look like
he was running the same. His uninspiring practice performance this week doesn't
bode well for his fantasy stock, even if he plays.
- The seeming resurgence of Owen Daniels will
negatively impact Jacoby Jones a bit.
It might seem that way for Kevin Walter,
too, but really, Houston is running so much more often than they used to that
everyone has suffered a little.
- Anthony Gonzalez shows no signs of
rust despite so much missed time. He should be the biggest beneficiary because
of the Indianapolis Colts' walking wounded and
Reggie Wayne's double teams. Other bit players,
including Blair White and 'tweener
tight end Jacob Tamme, probably won't
see more than a few looks.
- Side note: The Colts may line up Wayne in the
slot, which would make him more of a pain in the tuckus.
- We might see more from Mike Sims-Walker
and Mike Thomas this week; the Jacksonville
Jaguars will probably throw ample short routes to protect quarterback
David Garrard from the Dallas
Cowboys' pass rush.
Holding out hope for the recently inactive Chris
Chambers? He could be up because Dexter
McCluster's Week 8 availability is in doubt. The Kansas
City Chiefs run so many double- and triple-tight end sets, though; Chambers
won't be much of a factor going forward, in any case.
Mendenhall pass expiring?
- Sidney Rice (hip) is starting to
run but hasn't done football drills yet for the Minnesota
Vikings. The deadline for his return is Dec. 5 (Week 13 versus the Buffalo
Bills). Minny's record as the season winds down could determine if he'll
return to the field.
- Aside from Marques Colston and Lance
Moore, picking a New Orleans Saints wide
receiver for fantasy purposes remains a crap shoot.
- The New York Jets want to involve Santonio
Holmes more to improve his connection with quarterback Mark
- The speedy Jacoby Ford will see more
time this week with the Oakland Raiders' Louis
Murphy (chest) out. Ford will probably be featured on bubble screens
and short plays to allow him to create in space. Don't think the Seattle
Seahawks won't see it coming, though.
- The San Diego Chargers could have the next Malcom
Floyd waiting in the wings: Seyi Ajirotutu.
The Fresno State product has a similar build and kind of idolizes Floyd, who
is also from Sacramento.
- Possible (relatively) big winner: Ted Ginn
Jr. He and San Francisco 49ers QB Troy
Smith have known each other since they were seven and were teammates in
high school, college and now the pros.
- Mike X. Williams should have a tough
go of it this week against the Oakland Raiders'
Nnamdi Asomugha, so the Seattle
Seahawks should get others involved. Otherwise, the Seahawks
will feed Williams heavily until he opens things up for others.
- The knee injury that will keep Danario Alexander
out for two to four weeks throws another wrench in the St.
Louis Rams' pecking order. Danny Amendola
is still their most reliable option, with Brandon
Gibson and Laurent Robinson
starting on the outside. Mardy Gilyard
(hamstring) will return this week and see more time. Outside Amendola, it's
still up for grabs.
- Arrelious Benn started for the first
time last week for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Expect
him to be on the field more and more.
- Perhaps no one can cover Kenny Britt
right now. Except himself. The Tennessee Titans
weren't happy that he said anything publicly Re: bar fight. Britt denies involvement,
but there's enough to suggest that he was entangled to some degree. The investigation
will be resolved soon, but at worst, the NFL hands
Britt a one-gamer, and when is anybody's guess. Tennessee is finished disciplining
him. They want to get him the ball as much as possible while he's on a roll.
The San Diego Chargers believe they have the answer,
in Antoine Cason, though.
- 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
- 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
- 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
Around the league
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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