It isn't often that I am so wrong that I want to just stick my head in the sand and never take it out, but that is what happened this week as I recommended Ben Roethlisberger be on people's bench. I think he must have read the article because he had a career game while putting up the most fantasy points in the NFL this week. Kudos to you Big Ben; I'll never doubt you again!
We almost got through one week without an injury for fantasy owners to account for; almost. This week it was Cowboys QB Tony Romo, Browns TE Jordan Cameron and Rams WR Brian Quick who were victims of the injury bug. Romo is obviously the biggest name, and there is real concern because he was injured when he took a knee to the back right where he had offseason surgery. He did return late in the 4th quarter, which is good news.
As far as Cameron and Quick go, Cameron left the game with a concussion and Quick dislocated his shoulder and tore his rotator cuff. Cameron's concussion is concerning because he has a history of concussions. I'd scramble to find other TE options if you own Cameron. Quick is done for the year and will undergo surgery soon to repair his shoulder.
Then we have the QB shuffle happening in New York as the Jets have benched Geno Smith and will start Michael Vick in Week 9. While Vick has experience and can run a little bit, I wouldn't expect much as he did take four sacks, threw an interception, and lost two fumbles in his relief effort this Sunday.
Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers: Who could have predicted 522 passing yards and 6 touchdowns from a guy whose previous yardage high this season was 365 and the most TDs he had thrown was 3? Those were just the stats Big Ben put up in Week 8 as he roasted a Colts secondary that had previously been pretty solid. If you own Roethlisberger and had him on your bench, you missed out on the one truly special game he will have this season. Expect the unexpected.
Kyle Orton – Bills: The Bills offense isn't what you would call "productive" as they average the 7th-fewest total YPG on offense at 326.9. But as we all know by now, the best cure for an ailing passing attack is to play the Jets struggling pass defense. This week the Bills did just that as Orton racked up 4 touchdowns to go along with his 238 passing yards. The only bright spot for the Bills in the way of passing is WR Sammy Watkins, and Orton can't possibly throw to him every single time. Orton isn't worth owning even in 2QB leagues, so please don't waste a waiver wire pick on Orton.
Mark Ingram – Saints: Ingram put up an impressive 7.2 YPC on Sunday and finished with 172 yards rushing on 24 carries. The Saints have one of the better offenses in the league when everything is clicking, as it was against the Packers this week. Ingram will continue to get the lion's share of the carries as long as he is healthy. Ingram is a legit RB2 going forward.
Denard Robinson – Jaguars: It looks like the Jaguars have found their running back as Shoelace has now compiled back-to-back 100-yard games, totaling 235 yards and a touchdown as a starter. One could have chalked the first one up to a bad run defense since it was against the Browns, but the same can't be said this week as the Dolphins have one of the more elite defensive lines in the NFL. Robinson picked up 108 yards on 18 carries for an impressive 6.0 YPC average. He will hold RB2 value going forward, and his value will increase as the team works him more into the passing game.
Larry Fitzgerald – Cardinals: Fitzgerald has been one of the bigger fantasy busts at WR this season as his best game prior to Week 8 was 6 catches for 98 yards and 1 TD. Notice I said prior to Week 8. Fitzgerald turned back the clock on his career as he torched the Eagles for 160 yards and a touchdown on his 7 receptions. His big day came as Michael Floyd saw just four targets and hauled in none of them. Floyd isn't likely to go 0-4 much more in his career, making Fitzgerald little more than a WR3 until he proves this game was more than just a fluke.
Allen Robinson – Jaguars: Robinson has clearly taken the lead in the WR depth chart race as he was on the field for 63 of 71 snaps this week, recording 5 catches for 82 yards and a TD. The touchdown was his second of the season and the yards marked a new season high for the rookie. If you look at his stats from Week 2 on he is averaging 5.4 receptions, 64.7 yards per-game this year. Did you know that Robinson is ranked #31 for WRs on NFL.com this season, putting him squarely in the WR3 ranks despite being owned in just 0.9 percent of their leagues? Brian Quick owners might want to consider him as an option.
Antonio Gates – Chargers: Gates was one of my starters from this week and he did not disappoint as he turned his 8 targets into 5 catches, 54 yards, and 2 touchdowns on Thursday. I'll admit that heading into this season I was a little worried about Ladarius Green stealing some of Gates' thunder at the ripe old age of 34 years old. So far this season Gates has 32 receptions, 417 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, stats good enough to rank him #2 on NFL.com for TEs this season. Gates is a must-start as long as he is healthy.
Buffalo Bills defense: The Bills defense was so good this weekend that they actually caused the Jets to think Michael Vick was a better option than Geno Smith! While the Jets did score 23 points on the day, the Bills still managed to pile up 4 sacks, 4 INTs, and 2 recovered fumbles on Sunday. When the dust settled on Week 8, the Bills were the 4th-best fantasy defense on NFL.com this week. Oh, and did I tell you that they were my starter defense for this week too?
Joe Flacco – Ravens: Look up inconsistent in the dictionary and you just may find a picture of Flacco next to it. In Week 6 he went off for 306 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Bucs; in Week 7 he put up 258 yards passing, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs; and in Week 8 he managed an anemic 195 passing yards, no touchdowns, and 2 INTs. Flacco is the kind of QB you have to play only in the right matchup, not plug him into your lineup and forget about him until a bye week. The Ravens have another divisional game on the road next week as they take on the Steelers, and when these two teams locked up in Week 2 Flacco finished with 166 yards passing and 2 TDs.
Cam Newton – Panthers: Newton is one of the QBs I put on my do-not-draft list before the season even started because the Panthers WRs are not amazing on paper and the O-Line is as suspect as it comes. The only real threats Newton has would be Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen; Benjamin is only catching 56 percent of the passes thrown to him, and offenses centered around the tight end rarely succeed in the long-term. In Week 8 Newton bombed as he finished with 171 yards passing, 24 yards rushing, no touchdowns, 1 INT, and 1 lost fumble against a Seahawks secondary that has been far less than stellar this season. On the bright side though, the Panthers schedule is far easier in the second half of the season than it was in the first half. I am not going to get as excited about him as some of the big box websites I read, but I do think he will be better and he has a chance to finish as a low-end QB1 at season's end.
Maurice Jones-Drew – Raiders: It is amazing to me that MJD is owned in 55.8 percent of NFL.com leagues when you consider that he has just 86 total yards to his name this season. This week he managed 14 of those 86 yards as he rushed for 8 yards and got another 6 yards via the air. I know it pains Jaguars fans to hear it, but MJD is averaging just 2.3 YPC this season and looks completely and totally done. He shouldn't be owned, no matter the scoring format or league size.
Tre Mason – Rams: I warned people about feeding into the hype surrounding Mason and his fantasy value. The Rams don't have a high octane offense that allows for the passing game to take pressure off the running game. Furthermore, the Rams lost LT Jake Long for the season on Sunday after he tore his ACL. Mason managed just 32 yards on 7 carries, while Benny Cunningham gained 27 yards on four carries and Zac Stacy got 5 carries and ran for 17 yards. This is the true definition of running back by committee. Those who listened to the big box websites about Mason's must-start status in Week 8 need to stop listening to those who throw darts at a dartboard.
Wes Welker – Broncos: Much like MJD's situation, I've been telling people for weeks now to cut Welker loose and let him be someone else's headache. There just aren't enough passes to go around for the Broncos to make use of an aging 3rd WR like Welker. This week he hauled in both of his targets (2) for a grand total of 5 yards. That's right; the 89.3 percent of NFL.com owners holding on to Welker got themselves a whopping 5 yards this week! The truth is Welker isn't worth owning unless either Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas miss time due to injury. Until then, Welker is little more than an end of the bench handcuff.
Vincent Jackson – Buccaneers: V-Jax ranks 16th in the NFL this season for WR targets with 65, which is a positive for fantasy owners. The problem is he only has 26 receptions on those 65 targets, giving him a catch percentage of just 40.0 on the season. That numbers is the lowest for any WR of note in the NFL! This week Jackson saw 5 targets and managed to reel in just one of them for 13 yards. The numbers really have more to do with the Bucs offense than they do with Jackson, but you can't ignore the fact that he is 31 years old either. Fantasy owners would love it if Jackson could be traded before the deadline, but his $10 million guaranteed base salary and the Bucs' reportedly high asking price may prove to be too big a hurdle to get over.
Charles Clay – Dolphins: And on the other end of the fantasy tight end spectrum from Gates is Charles Clay. This week Clay saw just 3 targets, hauling in 1 of them for 1 yard. Clay was a guy that performed better than expected last season and became a nice nugget for fantasy owners who grabbed him off the waiver wire. But this season is a different story altogether. Clay is averaging just 3.14 catches and 29.3 yards per game this season, and currently sits at #26 on the TE rankings on NFL.com. He is better left on the waiver wire.
San Diego Chargers defense: Not only did I tell you to start the Bills defense, but I also told you to sit the Chargers defense last week. As good as the Chargers have been this season as a fantasy defense, playing Peyton Manning and the Broncos' high-powered offense all but assured them of a negative-point week for fantasy purposes. That is just what happened as the Chargers defense gave up 35 points while not getting a single fantasy stat to combat the massive point total. No, not a sack, not an interception, not a recovered fumble, nothing! The road gets easier next week as they take on the Dolphins, but this week's -4.00 points stings no matter what.
So how did I do? I missed on Roethlisberger, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jason Witten, but was right on the other 13 picks I made. That means if you listened to me you were right 81.3 percent for Week 8, a FAR better number than you would get from those big box websites! And more importantly, you didn't waste your time riding the Tre Mason bandwagon like everyone else around fantasyland did.