The Battle Has Just Begun
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall
Well hello to all. First, let me apologize for my lack of content in the past few weeks. I just finished a grueling week of midterms, so blame the rigors of school. I’m back now, and should be throwing out quality information on a regular basis again (until finals that is).
Now, back to football. Week Eight brought us many thrills, spills, and victorious Bills, but I want to start off this week addressing the RB situation in Tennesse, where Chris Johnson is slowly losing ground to his understudy, Javon Ringer. Although facing a paltry Colts defense, Johnson only managed 32 rushing yards on 14 carries, not what you would expect from a supposed superstar. What’s more troubling for Johnson, however, is that Ringer actually performed quite adequately, gaining 102 yards-from-scrimmage. His impressive performance ultimately led Titans coach Mike Munchak to declare that Ringer and Johnson would continue to split carries going forward. Naturally, this has serious fantasy implications.
Ringer, a talented back in his own right, may have just entered RB2 territory. If given half of the Titans carries each week, Ringer could yield some impressive results. It’s also important to note that on Sunday, he grabbed five catches for 42 yards, making him an interesting PPR play as well. After this week, he should be universally owned. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Ringer continues to steal carries away from the overpaid superstar, especially if Johnson continues to falter.
As for Johnson, although clearly troubled, now is the time to buy low. Keep in mind, this was once an elite commodity, and it is hard to imagine him continuing to, for lack of a better word, suck. Try and see what little you can give to acquire his services. He could turn it around again and lead your team to an imaginary championship. Make the Move.
After the jump, see what else of importance happened in Week Eight:
- As much as I hate analyzing Mike Shannahan and his rather ridiculous coaching decisions, it’s time to grab shares of Tashard Choice, who as of Monday has been claimed off waivers by the Redskins. In a short stint as a starter in 2010, Choice was far from terrible. With only the fragile Ryan Torain and explosive but inexperienced Roy Helu standing in his way, Choice, if given the opportunity, could solidify himself as the starter for a struggling Redskins team. Shannahan has done some weirder things in the past, so Choice is definitely worth a speculative add in all formats.
- If Tim Tebow continues to start in the NFL, he will be an excellent fantasy football player. As a football fan, however, it’s hard watching this guy attempt to play the quarterback position. Under constant pressure from the Lions defense, Tebow showed the flaws he exhibited in the pre-season. He looked scared and confused on Sunday, constantly making poor throws, and often times making it easy for the Lions defenders to strip the ball away from him. Kyle Orton should be the starter in Denver, because Tebow will not get it done. God clearly doesn’t watch much football.
- I recently pulled off a trade in which I shipped Adrian Peterson and Hakeem Nicks for Fred Jackson, A.J. Green, and Willis McGahee. I’m not going to bother arguing the Jackson vs. Peterson debate, as I’m sure you guys all know the answer to that one. I will, however, state that Green will outproduce Nicks for the remainder of the season. Nicks is a stud, but he plays on a team with a plethora of targets. With the emergence of Victor Cruz (seven catches, 94 yards, TD on Sunday) and the re-emergence of Mario Manningham (6 catches, 63 yards, TD), Nicks will have to share the receiving workload, which ultimately will deplete his overall production. Green, in contrast, is the undisputed number one target of Andy Dalton, and thus it’s highly likely that he will receive the majority of the Bengals’ targets week in and week out. This will yield productive fantasy games, games that will surpass the production of Nicks (who for your information, injured his hamstring on Sunday; he’s considered day to day).
- After watching the Eagles vs. Cowboys game, two things became evident. First, LeSean McCoy is the number one running back, in fantasy and in real life. Second, the Eagles looked like the team we and Dennis Green thought they were. Despite their tumultuous start to the season, the Eagles will make the playoffs and if they continue to play like they did on Sunday night, may have a chance to make the Super Bowl.
- Jackie Battle is starting to really impress me. On Monday night, the running back showed finesse and strength on his runs. He also showcased some ridonkuloous athleticism on his leaping one yard TD. Kansas City loves to run the ball, which could make Battle a fringe RB1. He’s currently still available in 43% of Yahoo leagues, so go scout your waiver wire and see if he’s still hanging around. He is worth the risk.
Super Sleepers of the Week
Here, we highlight one player per offensive position who despite their low start percentage (according to Yahoo!), are poised for a breakout game. These are the players that win you fantasy matchups, so pay attention if you know what’s good for you!
A.J. Feeley vs. the Cardinals
This play is obviously contingent on Sam Bradford’s status next week, but if he is unable to go, Feeley could make for a nice spot start. The Cardinals defense is atrocious, and their pass defense has given up close to 278 yards a game. The Rams, coming off an impressive victory over the Saints, will come guns blazing against an unimpressive Cardinals team. This, naturally, will bode well for Feeley.
The Prediction: 280 Passing Yards, 3 Touchdowns, Interception, 27 Fantasy Points
Curtis Brinkley vs. the Packers
Again, this play all depends on the health of other players (Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert). If either Tolbert or Mathews are unable to play, Brinkley will have all the touches to himself. He showed on Monday night that he’s a strong runner, so solid fantasy numbers are inevitable if given the majority of the touches. Remember, quantity is a fantasy footballer’s best friend.
The Prediction: 66 Rushing Yards, 5 Catches, 54 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 28 fantasy points (PPR), 23 points (Standard)
Greg Salas vs. the Cardinals
The rookie has taken over the slot position in St. Louis, and thus far has performed modestly. This will change in Week Nine, where Salas heads to Arizona to face their terrible pass defense. Brandon Llyod will likely be the primary focus of the Cardinals’ secondary, which should leave open space for Salas. A breakout game is very likely here.
The Prediction: 8 catches, 94 yards, Touchdown, 23 fantasy points (PPR), 15 points (Standard)
Jake Ballard vs. the Patriots
The Pats may be an elite team, but their defense is nothing spectacular. In fact, their pass defense is giving up the most passing yards per game in the league (324). In week eight, the Pats had trouble covering Steelers tight end Heath Miller, so it shouldn’t take much for Ballard to find some open space in Week Nine. A sneaky tight end play for those needing a bye week filler, Ballard is sure to impress.
The Prediction: 6 catches, 66 Yards, Touchdown, 18 fantasy points (PPR), 12 fantasy points (Standard)
Until next week, this has been your captain speaking.
Justin Occhionero has been dominating the Fantasy sports world for six years now. When not obsessing over his teams, he enjoys long walks on the beach, chai latte’s, and making fun of MDS’ analysis (albeit most of the time they agree). Follow him on Twitter or send him questions, comments or a Haiku to firstname.lastname@example.org.