Here are the guys I like or dislike in week 8 compared to the other experts on FantasyPros.com. I focus on guys that are actually on that start/sit bubble. There’s no need to tell you I’m higher on DeSean Jackson when I have him ranked #3 and the expert consensus rank (ECR) has him ranked #8. Both rankings unequivocally tell you to start him.
Some of the names discussed below are Tony Romo, Mike James, Cecil Shorts, Steve Smith and several others.
If you have additional start/sit questions, feel free to ask in the comments below or ask me on Twitter @TheRealTAL.
Colin Kaepernick / QB / @ Jacksonville / ECR: 10 / My rank: 7
Most Kaepernick owners probably don’t have a second option they’d consider starting over him in most weeks and especially when he’s got a matchup this good. But if you happen to have Kaep and another QB with a good matchup like Michael Vick (vs. NYG) or Eli Manning (@ PHI), don’t get cute. Stick with Kaep this week. He’s had 15 and 19 fantasy points the last two weeks in an average and a below average matchup, so he should fare at least that well with a better matchup against the Jags.
Maurice Jones-Drew / RB / vs. San Francisco / ECR: 20 / My rank: 15
Don’t be scared off by the 49ers matchup. They’ve allowed the 11th most fantasy points per game to RBs, and they are rated as the 22nd and 17th run defenses in the league by Football Outsiders and ProFootballFocus, respectively.
Michael Floyd / WR / vs. Atlanta / ECR: 25 / My rank: 18
Floyd has been consistently targeted and now has 51 targets for the year, just seven fewer than Larry Fitzgerald. And he’s consistently caught those targets as he has exactly five catches in each of the last four weeks. He’s also been consistently looked at close to the end zone as he is 15th among receivers in Mike Clay’s opportunity-adjusted touchdowns stat (oTD), which tells us that Floyd should probably have more TDs at this point than the one he has and will get more if his current usage continues. He has a great matchup this week with the Falcons who are 4th worst in fantasy points allowed per game to WR, 11th worst in pass coverage according to ProFootballFocus and the worst pass D in the league according to Football Outsiders.
Cecil Shorts / WR / vs. San Francisco / ECR: 22 / My rank: 19
After leaving his week 6 game early with a should injury, there was a lot of concern about whether Shorts would even play in week seven. But he played and got a team-leading 13 targets. He also led the team in targets in week five which was the only other week he played a full game with Justin Blackmon in the lineup. So as far as I’m concerned, Shorts is the #1 option in this passing game. The Jags will likely be throwing a lot chasing the Niners, so I expect Shorts to see double digit targets again this week.
Joseph Fauria / TE / vs. Dallas / ECR: 14 / My rank: 9
There are four matchups for tight ends that are significantly better than the rest, and Fauria has one against the Cowboys this week. Fauria actually got some non-end zone looks last week, and he played a higher percentage of snaps in week 7 than he had in any other week this year (via ESPN).
New York Jets / DST / @ Cincinnati / ECR: 16 / My rank: 7
This is a good defense. Football Outsiders has them rated as the 4th best. ProFootballFocus has them rated as the 8th best. They allow the third fewest yards per play. The only reason they haven’t been a top fantasy defense is because they haven’t forced many turnovers, and they only have one defensive TD. But turnovers are a fickle thing and touchdowns even more so. This week they’ll face the Bengals who have turned the ball over 12 times, which is the eighth highest total in the league. They’re available in about 85% of ESPN.com standard leagues.
Tony Romo / QB / @ Detroit / ECR: 6 / My rank: 11
I’m not exactly sure why the other rankers are so sure that Tony is a clear QB1 this week. I assume everyone still has the big day against the Broncos fresh in their mind, but Romo has been wholly underwhelming the last two weeks in some great matchups. He faced Washington and Philadelphia who both rank in the top 10 in most fantasy points allowed to QBs per game, but he only managed 20 points combined in those games. And his adjusted yards per attempt for those two games was right around five yards per attempt. In short, he was really bad in two really good matchups. This week he’ll face the Lions who handled RG3, Cutler and Rodgers pretty well earlier in the year. They’re not an elite pass defense, but they’re noticeably better than Washington and Philly.
Gio Bernard / RB / vs. New York Jets / ECR: 15 / My rank: 21
I feel like I say this every week, but why does everyone keep ranking a guy in a clear timeshare as a definitive “start” guy? BenJarvus Green-Ellis has 101 touches on the year to Bernard’s 92, and BJGE has had more carries than Bernard the last three weeks. Bernard has been getting a few more touches recently because of his involvement in the passing game, but the workload split is so even that it’s hard to count on either guy to be worth starting given their chances of a TD are reduced by the split and the yardage just isn’t quite there. This week is an especially bad week to go with Bernard because he’s facing the Jets who are a top run defense and the defense who has allowed the second fewest receiving yards to running backs (144).
Zac Stacy / RB / vs. Seattle / ECR: 17 / My rank: 23
The San Fran run D may not be what it used to be, but the other formerly dominant defense in the NFC West, Seattle, is still dominant. They allow the 4th fewest fantasy points per game to RBs and are a top six run D according to both Football Outsiders and ProFootballFocus.
Mike James / RB / vs. Carolina / ECR: 19 / My rank: 24
Doug Martin wasn’t very good this year in large part because the offensive line in front of him wasn’t very good. According to ProFootballFocus they’re the 5th worst run blocking line in the league. And they’re the 7th worst according to Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards statistic. I see no reason why James would have more success than Martin did. And that’s especially true against Carolina who is an above average run defense in terms of fantasy points allowed per game to RB and an elite run D according to Football Outsiders.
Josh Gordon / WR / @ Kansas City / ECR: 17 / My rank: 21
I was hesitant about Gordon this week because of the matchup with the Chiefs who are a bad matchup for receivers by any measure. But now that we know that Jason Campbell will start at QB for the Browns this week, I’m even more uncertain about Gordon. He’s an elite talent so it’s dangerous to leave him on your bench. But with receiver being such a deep position, I’m guessing you may have two or three better options this week.
Jarrett Boykin / WR / @ Minnesota / ECR: 16 / My rank: 23
This Green Bay offense can support three receivers, but Boykin obviously isn’t Randall Cobb. I want to see how much the third receiver gets when the third receiver is Boykin, not Cobb. This obviously assumes that James Jones is good to go this week. If he isn’t or if we know he’s going to be limited, Boykin is a top 20 receiver.
Steve Smith /WR / @ Tampa Bay / ECR: 20 / My rank: 27
I just get the feeling that Tampa is going to start using Revis a little differently after the attention the situation drew last week. If that happens, Smith will be the receiver negatively affected by that. And it’s not like Smith has been this great this year. He doesn’t have more than 70 yards in a game. In fact, he has kind of been like a tight end. He’ll get you three to six points a week with his yardage and is only valuable if he happens to score that week. That’s not something I want to have to count on from the receiver position.