Fantasy Football Week 8: Start 'em and Sit 'em

Former Head Coach of the University of Florida Gators Urban Meyer leads a moment of silence for the 2011 Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. In true Miami fashion, he bid adieu to Tony Sparano while he is still employed by the Dolphins. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

It's a shame the Miami Dolphins don't play the Minnesota Vikings this year.  If we did, maybe Viking defensive end Brian Robison would provide the kick in the groin the Dolphins deserve for their lackluster season.  Instead, the defensive end targeted his kick towards T.J. Lang of the Green Bay Packers, the last team in the NFL deserving of a swift kick to the nuts.  Robison should take a moment to think who he kicks.  Would the media and NFL be so upset if he kicked Paul Soliai in the groin?  I'd have my doubts.  If the NFL or the media even watched the game at all, they'd agree Miami probably deserved it.  So who deserves to start for your Fantasy Football team this week?  Here's a hint, your roster shouldn't consist of many Dolphins.

QBs:

Start 'em:

Eli Manning:  This isn't just a "start them because they play Miami" pick, but rather pick him because he's actually a good QB.  It is a great benefit he does play Miami and the 21st ranked passing defense.  The Dolphins are still struggling with injuries in the secondary as Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons are still on the injury report.  It appears Vontae Davis' hamstring flared up again and has become an issue.  It must be that time of the month.  He has thrown TDsin 4 of 6 games this year, which doesn't seem overly impressive, but in each game he threw a TD, he has thrown for at least two.  In fairness, the Eli helped New York get close to the goal line and Bradshaw helped pound the ball in.  Eli didn't score because he had a bad game, but only because of circumstances.  I expect Eli to have at least one TD this week against a poor Miami defense.

Cam Newton:  The Carolina Panthers host the Minnesota Vikings, a team that looks much better with Christian Ponder at QB instead of Donovan McNabb.  The Vikings rank 29th in pass defense and have trouble against QBs with mobility.  Josh Freeman was able to gain 259 total yards and a TD against the Vikings earlier this year and Aaron Rodgers was darn near perfect against the Vikings last week.

Matt Hasselbeck:  Last week aside, he has done very good for the Titans this year.  He claims his injured thumb is fine and Tennessee coaches held Hasselbeck out of practice despite his own petitions to participate.  In case you missed the Indianapolis-New Orleans match up last week, It looked like an FBS school matching up with an FCS team.  Hasselbeck will be facing that FCSteam this week and may be able to throw a TD or two with his left hand.

Sit 'em: 

Kevin Kolb:  He's going against the Baltimore Ravens, owners of the best defense in the NFL.  Kolb has struggled all the entire season and has talked openly about his struggles adjusting to the new offensive system in Arizona.  Don't expect this week to be the week he turns it around.

Blaine Gabbert: He looked good when he was given the nod halfway through the game against the New York Jets, but Gabberthas been unimpressive since then.  He threw a TD in the four performances after the Jets, but he still lacks a multi-TD game and has only thrown for 200+ yards in a single game against the Bengals.  Thus far, Gabbert has 4 TDs in 5 1/2 games and is completing less than 50% of his passes.  Those are some pretty ugly numbers.

Curtis Painter:  People may be rather surprised about Painter's performance.  He hasn't been all that bad and I think he's done reasonably well given the circumstances.  He did score 5 TDs in 3 games prior to being obliterated by the Saints.  He started the season slow against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his performance picked up against the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals.  In his first two weeks, he completed less than 50% of his passes, but he did throw for 281 yards and 2 TDs against the Bucs.  Following those performances, he completed 55% of his passes against the Chiefs and 67% of his passes against the Bengals, throwing 3 TDs and 1 INT in those two games.  Painter has the ability to put up some points and keep the Colts in the game, but their terrible performance against the Saints, who don't boast a spectacular defense, following four games in which the Colts played close to the level of their opponents has to be a concern.  The Titans have an average pass defense and the Colts could pull off an upset, but Painter is a risk this week.  Unless he is your only QB available, it isn't a risk I'm willing to take.

RBs:

Start 'em:

Chris Johnson:  This has to be the week CJ bounces back.  If he doesn't bounce back against the Colts and their 31st ranked run defense, there aren't only concerns about CJ on your fantasy team, but CJ'sfuture on the Titans.  If Javon Ringer outperforms CJ again with limited carries, this team may end up moving to a RB by committee approach.  CJ, if you don't want to fade in oblivion, you *need* to have a big game Sunday.  I have to believe that even if CJdoesn't wow people, that he will have a solid game.  This is his chance to pick up his second 100 yard performance and his second TD and this time it'll probably be in the same game.

Pierre Thomas and Darren SprolesMark Ingram is unlikely to play this week with an injury and Chris Ivory won't receive many touches if he does play, meaning Sproles will probably get more carries against the Rams.  The Rams allow 183.8 YPG on the ground, an absolutely abysmal number that ranks them last in the NFL.  Both Sproles and Thomas will get plenty of opportunities to shred another poor defense.  Both of them are good picks for this week since even Drew Bledsoe could probably have a 100 yard rushing game against the Rams.

Ryan Torain:  I expect him to get more carries than Roy Helu this week and may be the biggest produce for the Redskins for the remainder of the season since Tim Hightower has been placed on the IR.  For all the positive news the Bills have received, they have been terrible on defense, especially against the run.  Fred Jackson was able to run for over 100 yards and picked up three TDs.

Ahmad Bradshaw:  He's been getting more carries in the last two games and will probably be the featured back from here on out.  He's been able to pick up 75 total yards in his previous two games and I think he is on the rebound.  Chris Sneewill be back on the line this week too, allowing better blocking in front of Bradshaw.  Bradshaw may have another big day on the ground and through the air against Miami's 19th ranked run defense. It's possible he may have a chip on his shoulder as well since he didn't think Miami offered him enough money in the offseason.

DeMarco Murray:  Last week's stomping over the Rams immediately made Murray Dallas' leading rusher.  After a breakout like that, you have to give him another chance against the 23rd ranked run defense of the Eagles.  Philadelphia has an unimpressive front seven and you will be kicking yourself if Murray has another big game while he sits on your bench.  Then you will come and kick me.  I don't want that, so put Murray in your lineup.

Sit 'em:

Justin Forsett/Leon Washington:  They will probably split carries since Marshawn Lynch may again sit out with back spasms, but the Bengals surprisingly rank 5th against the run and the Seahawks offensive line has been unimpressive despite some quality play by Robert Gallery and Max Unger.

Reggie Bush/Daniel Thomas:  They're hard to play because they share carries, but to make matters worse the offense struggles to get the ball into the end zone.  Neither Bush or Thomas are solid starts because 50 yards means little if you don't pick up a score.  I'd rather play a RB that will get more carries and probably more yards even if they're not guaranteed a score.

Bernard Scott:  He will start for Cedric Benson this week, but none of the Bengals RBshave been consistent in picking up yards.  The Seahawks have done pretty good with their run defense, ranking 11thin the NFL with 104.7 YPG allowed on the ground.

WRs:

Start 'em:

A.J. Green:  He's done a solid job as Andy Dalton's primary and is making himself a great 3rd starter for fantasy football teams.  The Seahawks rank an average 20th in pass defense, but it is hard to pass up on this rookie against a mediocre defense.  Green has over 400 yards on the season and has 4 TDs in 6 games, solid production for a rookie.

Nate Washington:  He's done pretty well since becoming the primary WR once Kenny Britt was placed on IR at the end of September.  Though he has been limited to two or fewer catches in two of the past three games, he's done a good job of picking up yards.  Six of his 29 receptions have gone for 20+ yards and I think he can make a few more big plays against the Colts.

Pierre Garcon:  He hasn't been making many big plays since two solid performances against the Bucs Chiefs earlier in the year, but he's still receiving plenty of targets.  Even his 8 reception, 52 yard day was a respectable game in PPR leagues.  Because Cortland Finnegan will be seeing plenty of Reggie Wayne, I think Garcon will see plenty more passes thrown his way and he's always a threat for a big score.  I just have a feeling he'll be one of the Colts that rebounds from the terrible game last week.

Sit 'em:

Larry Fitzgerald:  I hate sitting star WRs, but I have a hard time thinking Fitz can have a big game against this defense when he has little support around him, especially since TE Todd Heap is trying to recover from an injury and may not be able take pressure off Fitz with being a threat in the middle of the field.  Fitz does have 500+ yards so far in 6 games because he's being forced fed the ball, but he's been held to 2 TDs.  He'll have a hard time getting more than 75 yards in this game and it's unlikely he'll catch a TD.

Ben Obomanu:  With Mike Williams and Sidney Rice healthy, Obomanu's targets will continue to decrease.  He's the low man on the totem pole with Rice, Williams, and Doug Baldwin in front of him.  On the bright side, by sitting him you don't have to track what is sure to be a snoozefest.

Michael Crabtree:  He is listed as probably while his partner, Braylon Edwards, is listed as questionable.  The Browns have quietly done a solid job on defense and lead the NFL in pass defense.  San Francisco has been spreading the love, making it a difficult play for any of their WRs.  Crabtree will be matched up opposite of Joe Haden, making it an even tougher matchup.

TEs:

Start 'em:

Jake Ballard:  He's done a solid job replacing Kevin Boss and we all know of Miami's struggles covering TEs.  7 of his 15 receptions have gone for longer than 20 yards so he's a good bet to pick up solid chunk yards.

Brandon Pettigrew:  He's Detroit's second leading WR and is a solid red zone target.  Once again, with all the attention going to Calvin Johnson, Pettigrew has a great opportunity to take advantage of a below average pass defense.

Ed Dickson:  He's hasn't really had a huge game, but he's been a consistent target for Joe Flacco.  He is tied for second on the team with Ray Rice for targets with40 passes thrown his way.  He doesn't make the big plays, but he is a good underneath option against the Cardinals, owners of the league's 28th ranked pass defense.

Fred DavisChris Cooley is on the IR and Davis has been a growing part of the offense. He has a great opportunity to shine against Buffalo with a poor defense.  Davis has a chance to have a solid year and just may end Cooley's career in Washington.

Sit 'em:

Dallas Clark:  He's just not the same TE without Peyton Manning.  A lot of the blame falls on not having Peyton Manning, but Clark's hands haven't been as reliable as they have been in the past.

Todd Heap:  If he is able to play, it will be very difficult for him to accomplish much against his former team.  He's a big name, but it's just too risky a moveto put faith in him to have a big game on Sunday against his former team.

Anthony Fasano:  Not only doesn't he receive a lot of attention, but he will be going against the Giants, who have capable LBs to cover TEs.  The Giants are used to facing TEs like Jason Witten, Brent Celek, Chris Cooley, and Fred Davis.  Fasano won't be much of a challenge to shut down compared to those other names.

Miami Dolphins Sleeper of the Week:

Dan Carpenter:  I hate this pick and it is not made in jest, but the Giants have a good defense and it's hard to see any of Miami's players having a huge game.  I suppose Brandon Marshall is an option because he's force fed the ball, but Miami's ability to drive down the field without finishing it off for a TD makes it likely Carpenter can kick 2-4 FGs this week.

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