Fantasy Football

Green a solid start against Jags

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John Halpin

John Halpin has been a fantasy contributor for since 2007. He has written and co-hosted webcasts about fantasy football for, and managed websites for the NHL, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Network. Listen to his "Fantasy 15 Podcast" on and follow him on Twitter.


Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed (PFDPA)

Through seven weeks, our Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed is an increasingly strong tool to help you find good matchups.

As always, please remember that the players listed are mostly meant to be borderline guys, who need reasons for you to play or bench them. You won’t see recommendations to start Calvin Johnson and Drew Brees, because you should always start Calvin Johnson and Drew Brees. Make sense? Good.

Note: The fantasy points per game (FPPG) referenced below are from standard leagues.

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Week 8 Byes: Ravens, Bills, Bengals, Texans

Thursday game: Buccaneers at Vikings


Stay away: Cam Newton, Panthers (at Bears)

This doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on Newton. It’s just that with him being so shaky lately, and with the Bears allowing a league-low 10.5 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, you might want to consider alternatives.


Michael Vick is averaging 272 yards passing and 34 yards rushing per game, and those are pretty good numbers. However, his matchup against the Falcons is a bit worrisome, as they rank eighth with 15.5 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Vick is a bubble guy for Week 8 – use if you must, but not at all costs.

Play, play, play: Andrew Luck, Colts (at Titans)

Luck is averaging 279 passing yards per game – it’s nice when your rookie fantasy QB throws more than 40 times every week – and his three rushing TDs put him behind only the freakish RGIII. Luck and the Colts visit the swiss-cheesy Titans, who rank 31st with 25 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Luck looks to be a solid, low-end QB1 for this matchup.


Carson Palmer is a bit lower on the totem pole than Luck, as he’s QB16 in my rankings. If you’re in a bye-week bind, he could help you, thanks to a date with the subpar Chiefs’ pass defense (23.5 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks).

Running Backs

Stay away: Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (at Bears)

With DeAngelo Williams getting only two carries and being on the field for just five snaps against the Cowboys in Week 7, I’ve been reading a lot this week about Stewart’s increased fantasy value. Stewart’s a nice back, but it’s premature to think that his timeshare with Williams is a thing of the past. With Stewart’s workload still uncertain – and with Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert still around to steal goal-line work – he’s not a great start against the ferocious Bears (9.6 FPPG vs opposing RBs).


Mikel Leshoure has averaged 13 carries and 53 yards over his last three games, while fumbling twice. With the Lions having a home date this week against the nasty Seahawks (11.6 FPPG to opposing RBs), starting Leshoure is a tough proposition.

Yes, I know that LaRod Stephens-Howling had 149 yards from scrimmage in Week 7. He’s playing against the 49ers on Sunday, and they’re fantasy’s second-best defense against opposing runners (10.5 FPPG). Also, Stephens-Howling is a little guy, so we shouldn’t expect him to get 20 carries every week. Pass.

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Play, play, play: Alex Green, Packers (vs. Jaguars)

You’ve got one more chance, Green. You ran 20 times for 35 yards against the Rams, your coach complained Monday that the running game needs to improve, and you’ve got James Starks looking to take your carries. Fortunately, the Jaguars are coming to Lembeau Field this week, and they’re giving up a horrendous 25.6 FPPG to opposing running backs. Since your team might be ahead by 100 points in the second quarter, we think you’ll help to run out a LOT of clock on Sunday. Don’t let us down.


With the Panthers ranking 25th against opposing running backs (22.1 FPPG), Matt Forte is my top-ranked fantasy back for Week 8. Forte’s sidekick, Michael Bush, isn’t such a bad option either. Bush could get 40-50 yards even with limited carries, and remember that he’s the default goal-line option for the Bears. He’s not a great start, but he’s OK at RB30.

Wide Receivers

Stay away: DeSean Jackson, Eagles (vs. Falcons)

The Falcons rank fifth with just 17.7 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers, and second with 9.3 receptions given up to that position. Does that make Jackson a bad start this week? No, but there’s more. Jeremy Maclin is getting healthier, and he’s been targeted 18 times over the last two weeks (11 receptions, 169 yards, TD). Jackson has been targeted 17 times in that span, so it’s not like he’s being ignored, but I’m not feeling great about his Week 8 prospects.


Andre Roberts has been a matchup play for fantasy owners, and he’s got a bad one on his hands against the 49ers, who rank second with 15.8 FPPG allowed to opposing wideouts. Though Roberts’ overall numbers (29 receptions, 389 yards, 5 TD) have been pretty good, he’s been inconsistent, posting less than 40 yards in three games.

Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams has been terrific lately, posting 100-yard games in Weeks 4 and 6, and catching four passes in each of his last three games. Tonight’s matchup against the Vikings, who rank sixth with 18.2 FPPG allowed to opposing wideouts, isn’t a friendly one for him. Give Williams a breather if you can.

Play, play, play: Kenny Britt, Titans (vs. Colts)

Why did Britt catch three passes for 26 yards on the first drive of the game against the Bills in Week 7, and then get virtually ignored for the final 56 minutes? Heck if I know, but a healthy Britt is the Titans’ best wideout, and he’s got a great matchup against fantasy’s 28th-ranked Colts (28.1 FPPG to opposing WRs). If you want to start Nate Washington (23-374-3) as well, I won’t argue with you.


Brandon Gibson might not be the Rams’ big-play threat – that seems to be Chris Givens – but he’s been Sam Bradford’s favorite option since Danny Amendola’s injury, catching 12 passes for 151 yards on 16 targets in his last two games. This Sunday in London, Gibson goes against a talented but struggling Patriots’ secondary that ranks 27th with 27.4 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers. Gibson is a better PPR option than a standard start, but you can use him either way.

In three games since Santonio Holmes suffered a season-ending foot injury, Jeremy Kerley has been targeted 26 times, catching 15 passes for 238 yards. He’s clearly the Jets’ top receiving option, and this week he goes up against a Dolphins’ defense that ranks 23rd with 24.5 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers. Try to start Kerley if you have him.

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Tight Ends

Stay away: Jared Cook, Titans (vs. Colts)

So much promise, so little production. Cook has a ho-hum 25-328-2 stat line through seven games, but has a date with Colts, who are fantasy’s stingiest team against opposing tight ends (3.4 FPPG). Bench Cook if you weren’t planning to do so already.


Jermichael Finley probably shouldn’t have said all those silly things about Aaron Rodgers, because he’s been MIA lately, with seven catches for 54 yards over his last three games. Finley is probably too talented to be ignored for long, but with the Jaguars allowing just 4.9 FPPG to opposing tight ends, you can keep him on the bench in Week 8.

Play, play, play: Dustin Keller, Jets (vs. Dolphins)

After catching seven passes for 93 yards and a score against the Patriots in Week 7, we can assume that Keller is finally healthy and ready to reclaim his place as Mark Sanchez’s security blanket. This week, Keller has a date with a Dolphins’ D that is just mediocre with 7.1 FPPG allowed to opposing tight ends. Consider him a top-10 TE play.


Do you need to be told to start Heath Miller any more? Since I get questions about him every week, I’ll guess that’s a yes. Miller and the Steelers face a Redskins’ squad that is fantasy’s second-worst against opposing tight ends (12.1 FPPG). He’s a no-brainer.

Want to reach deep? The Steelers rank in the middle of the league against opposing tight ends, allowing 7.1 FPPG. With Fred Davis done for the season, Logan Paulsen figures to be at least the Redskins’ short-term solution at tight end, and he caught four passes for 76 yards against the Giants in Week 7. Paulsen is known more for his blocking than his receiving skills, but if you’re struggling with your tight ends, he could be worth a shot this week. I’ve got him at TE20.

Tagged: Falcons, Bears, Lions, Packers, Titans, Colts, Rams, Dolphins, Saints, Jets, Eagles, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Cardinals, Steelers, Michael Vick, Drew Brees, DeAngelo Williams, Michael Bush, Calvin Johnson, Jonathan Stewart, Dustin Keller, DeSean Jackson, Mike Tolbert, Brandon Gibson, Jared Cook, Kenny Britt, Andre Roberts, Mike Williams, Cam Newton, Jeremy Kerley, Andrew Luck

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