Fantasy Football

Week 8 lineup calls: Quarterbacks

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Michael Harmon

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Lineup calls: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | D/ST

How quickly did you boot up your computer or web browser on your phone when Tony Romo was leveled on Monday night?

Fantasy owners immediately took to the waiver wire to examine the plug-in plays and long-term options available. Perhaps owners had a worthy replacement sitting on the bench already, but the trend this season (at least I’ve seen it fairly regularly) was to grab one of the upper-tier quarterbacks and use the bench slots for running backs and wide receivers.

Nobody banks on the long-term injury on draft day. It’s all flowers, sunshine and happiness. Well, that hasn’t been the case at all for quarterbacks this season.

In any event, let’s ferret out some viable substitutes and give a nod to this week’s heroes at the quarterback position in this installment of “Lineup Calls.”

Top 10 Quarterbacks

(other than Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, Kyle Orton, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Philip Rivers)

Jon Kitna vs. Jacksonville

Kitna missed a few open throws on Monday night, but it’s hard to wag fingers at a guy who hadn’t played since Week 5 of the 2008 season. He completed 16-of-33 attempts for 187 passing yards and two touchdowns in the near-comeback against the Giants.

He’s a brilliant plug-in play for those affected by bye weeks or injuries this week. The Jaguars rank 27th against the pass (253.1 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game). Jacksonville has produced only four interceptions thus far in 2010, and Jack Del Rio is making adjustments to his starting lineup. His long-term value remains a question mark, but Kitna is a huge play this week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick at Kansas City

Fitzpatrick enters this week’s game against Kansas City with a streak of four consecutive multi-touchdown games intact. He nearly engineered an upset win in Baltimore with a fantastic aerial assault.

The Buffalo ground game has been disappointing. As a result, look for Fitzpatrick to keep gunning downfield against Kansas City. Steve Johnson has scored in four straight weeks, and Lee Evans has crept back into weekly starting consideration. The Chiefs surrender 243.8 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game.

Josh Freeman at Arizona

Freeman opened the season with back-to-back two-touchdown games. He hasn’t repeated the effort since, but has topped 200 passing yards in three consecutive games with a touchdown toss in each game. Freeman represents a solid plug-in play this week against the Cardinals (227.1 yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game), having established a great rapport with rookie Mike Williams and tight end Kellen Winslow.

Matt Cassel vs. Buffalo

The Kansas City offense took huge steps forward in the past two weeks, as Cassel started to work the ball downfield more frequently and efficiently in tandem with the superb running game. Cassel threw four touchdown passes to Dwayne Bowe in these contests.

Look for the touchdown magic to continue this weekend against the Bills. Buffalo generates little push up front (eight sacks), and has decided to reconfigure the defensive scheme after seven games. The Bills have already surrendered 14 passing touchdowns this season.


  • Who will score the most fantasy points for Week 8 of this group?
    • Brett Favre at New England
    • Ryan Fitzpatrick at Kansas City
    • Jon Kitna vs. Jacksonville
    • Donovan McNabb at Detroit
    • Matthew Stafford vs. Washington

Carson Palmer vs. Miami

The Cincinnati offense has not clicked as we’d expected coming into the season, but Palmer has been a strong fantasy option in recent weeks. Palmer brings a streak of three consecutive multi-touchdown games into Week 8 against the Dolphins. In fact, Palmer has averaged 330.7 yards per game during this period, including 371 and 412-yard efforts in defeat. The Dolphins have allowed seven touchdown passes in the past four weeks.

Donovan McNabb at Detroit

Fantasy owners are still awaiting that huge fantasy game from McNabb. Might this be the week against the Detroit secondary? The Lions surrender 224 passing yards and 1.7 passing touchdowns per game. Look for continued success downfield with Santana Moss and tight end Chris Cooley.

Matthew Stafford vs. Washington

Albert Haynesworth is coming off of what Mike Shanahan deemed his “best effort as a member of the Redskins” in Week 7. Controlling Haynesworth at the line of scrimmage will be the key to Stafford’s success in his return to the field.

The Lions deploy a deep and talented receiving corps this week against the 31st-ranked Washington pass defense. Stafford will not be deterred by DeAngelo Hall’s Week 7 heroics. He will continue to target Calvin Johnson, and he’ll be successful in doing so.

Brett Favre at New England

Favre’s status for Week 8 remains a huge question mark, particularly after the name of Dr. James Andrews got tossed into the discussions on Wednesday. However, if he can tape it up, shoot it up or get wheeled to the sideline, I suspect that No. 4 gets back under center in Foxboro. I know that the final box score is all that counts, but a correct call by an official goes a long way.

The Patriots allow 282 passing yards and two passing touchdowns per game. If Favre is under center, he’ll find success against this secondary given his myriad receiving weapons. Now, it’s just a matter of getting to game day.

Chad Henne at Cincinnati

Henne performed well against the Steelers in Week 7. He completed 23-of-36 for 257 yards and one touchdown and one sack. He’d thrown multiple touchdown passes in three consecutive games before Week 7. I look for Henne to get back into the upper-tier of performers this weekend against the Bengals, a defensive unit that has allowed 222 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game. The Bengals don’t apply much pressure (six sacks) and lost Adam “Pacman” Jones for the season because of a neck injury.


  • Who will score the fewest fantasy points for Week 8 of this group?
    • Drew Brees vs. Pittsburgh
    • Aaron Rodgers at New York Jets
    • Vince Young at San Diego

Mark Sanchez vs. Green Bay

Sanchez struggled in the Jets’ final game before the bye, a narrow victory over the Broncos (198 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions). He’s failed to eclipse 200 passing yards in three consecutive games, but I’m anticipating a surge from the passing game following the bye week. The key to the game is the effort from the Jets’ offensive line. They need to establish the run and back off the dominant Green Bay pass rush (22 sacks). Sanchez will stretch the field with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards.

Quarterback Sleepers

Matt Hasselbeck at Oakland

Hasselbeck posted a decent effort against the Cardinals, but certainly fell short of expectations (192 yards, one touchdown, one lost fumble and five sacks). He has a tremendous opportunity ahead of him this week against the Oakland defense. The Raiders surrender only 192.3 passing yards per game, but the ineffectiveness of its run defense puts opposing quarterbacks in position to put points on the board (14 passing touchdowns allowed). You have to be impressed by the connection that Hasselbeck has established with Mike Williams.

Matt Moore at St. Louis

Moore returned to the lineup as the starter in Week 7 and posted 308 passing yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He’s seemingly found new options alongside Steve Smith in rookies David Gettis and Brandon LaFell. With the Carolina running game sputtering, look for Moore to keep working downfield. Moore will make the occasional crushing mistake (see the interception returned for a touchdown in Week 7), but he has a short memory and could make things happen downfield, provided that he can avoid the St. Louis pass rush (20 sacks).

Quarterback Flops

Vince Young at San Diego

Young returns to action this week to take on the confusing San Diego Chargers. The Chargers’ defensive unit has been stellar, although it’s been hurt repeatedly by terrible play by the special teams. San Diego ranks first in pass defense, ceding just 158.6 passing yards and 0.86 passing touchdowns per game. Taken further, the Chargers have amassed a staggering total of 25 sacks through seven games.

Drew Brees vs. Pittsburgh

Brees was intercepted four times by the Browns in Week 7. David Bowens returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns. He has thrown multiple touchdowns in five of seven games this season, but Brees has also tossed eight interceptions in the past three weeks.

He faces a daunting task this week against the top-ranked Pittsburgh defense (13.7 points allowed per game). The Steelers will play without Aaron Smith and this game is at home. I don’t expect Brees to be shut down altogether, but the INT count could rise against this unit.

Aaron Rodgers at New York Jets

Rodgers passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 7 win over Minnesota. He also threw two interceptions, his third game of the season with multiple interceptions.

Rodgers is clearly in your lineup this week, but he’ll face a healthy Jets secondary. The Jets rank fourth in total defense at 16.8 points allowed per game. Rodgers won’t receive much support from the running game against the top-notch Jets front, and he’ll contend with both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie downfield. He’ll have his shot, but Rodgers’ ceiling is lower this week.

Tagged: Michael Vick, Jay Feely, Sammy Morris, Neil Rackers, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Sellers, Phil Dawson, Joey Galloway, Charlie Batch, Jason Hanson, Donald Driver, Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell, Joe Nedney, Derrick Mason, Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Sebastian Janikowski, Marc Bulger, Olindo Mare, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk, Adam Vinatieri, Jake Delhomme, Ricky Williams, Kerry Collins, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, David Akers, Correll Buckhalter, Thomas Jones, Kris Brown, Hines Ward, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Terrell Owens, Rian Lindell, Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Smith Sr., John Kasay, Fred Taylor, Todd Heap, Brandon Stokley, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Maurice Morris, Jeremy Shockey, Josh Reed, Clinton Portis, Antonio Bryant, David Garrard, Daniel Graham, Chester Taylor, Ladell Betts, Shayne Graham, Matt Bryant, Shaun Hill, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Westbrook, Jeff Reed, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Justin Fargas, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Bryant Johnson, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Kevin Walter, Josh Brown, Justin Gage, Seneca Wallace, Antonio Gates, Tony Romo, Clifton Smith, Matt Schaub, Julius Jones, Devery Henderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, Kellen Winslow, Roy Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Lee Evans, Steven Jackson, Michael Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Nate Kaeding, Bernard Berrian, Chris Cooley, Eli Manning, Derrick Ward, Patrick Crayton, Jerricho Cotchery, Mewelde Moore, Michael Turner, Lawrence Tynes, Wes Welker, Willie Parker, Earnest Graham, Malcom Floyd, Jason Wright, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, Brandon Jones, Alex Smith, Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Troy Williamson, Dave Rayner, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Alvin Pearman, Darren Sproles, Roydell Williams, Bo Scaife, Rob Bironas, Josh Cribbs, Leonard Weaver, Nate Washington, Robbie Gould, Lance Moore, Ryan Grant, Greg Camarillo, Tarvaris Jackson, Jerious Norwood, Maurice Stovall, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Vernon Davis, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Laurence Maroney, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Joseph Addai, Kellen Clemens, Greg Jennings, Anthony Fasano, Devin Hester, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Scheffler, Marques Colston, Jeff King, Bruce Gradkowski, Devin Aromashodu, Michael Robinson, Brad Smith, Jason Avant, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Jerome Harrison, Hank Baskett, Miles Austin, Fred Jackson, Chansi Stuckey, Kenneth Darby, Ahmad Bradshaw, Le'Ron McClain, Steve Breaston, Kevin Boss, Dante Rosario, Brent Celek, Legedu Naanee, Troy Smith, Nick Folk, Mason Crosby, Steve Smith, Brian Leonard, Jacoby Jones, Laurent Robinson, James Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, Trent Edwards, Michael Bush, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn Jr., Marshawn Lynch, Brady Quinn, Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, Greg Olsen, Anthony Gonzalez, Kevin Kolb, Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, Dwayne Jarrett, D.J. Ware, Matt Prater, Matt Moore, Pierre Thomas, Eldra Buckley, Jackie Battle, Jonathan Stewart, Joe Flacco, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Dustin Keller, Donnie Avery, Devin Thomas, Jordy Nelson, John Carlson, James Hardy, Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, Fred Davis, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, Ray Rice, Chad Henne, Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Lex Hilliard, Pierre Garcon, Chaz Schilens, Justin Forsett, Adrian Arrington, Tashard Choice, Ryan Torain, Keenan Burton, Tim Hightower, Jalen Parmele, Jacob Hester, Earl Bennett, Jamaal Charles, Early Doucet, Harry Douglas, Steve Slaton, Jermichael Finley, Mario Manningham, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Albert Young, Garrett Hartley, Rashad Jennings, David Buehler, Javon Ringer, Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Julian Edelman, Sammie Stroughter, Shonn Greene, Brandon Tate, Mike Wallace, Jared Cook, Deon Butler, Mike Thomas, Brian Hartline, Louis Murphy Jr., Austin Collie, Johnny Knox, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Knowshon Moreno, Josh Freeman, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Pettigrew, Percy Harvin, Donald Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Beanie Wells, Mohamed Massaquoi, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Michael Bennett, Kareem Huggins, Kahlil Bell, Jimmy Clausen, Rob Gronkowski, Arrelious Benn, Dez Bryant, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, Ryan Mathews, Aaron Hernandez, Jahvid Best, Tony Moeaki, Jimmy Graham, Ed Dickson, Garrett Graham, Montario Hardesty, Dennis Pitta, Brandon LaFell, Colt McCoy, Ben Tate, Boobie Dixon, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Dexter McCluster, Max Hall, Lance Ball

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