“Around The Ben”: The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Horrible – Week 8
This week’s edition is more challenging to write, as I see fewer people I dislike for the week. Nonetheless, the list will be thorough, albeit a little shorter than usual for brevity. Some surprises, as always, will be here, as well as some of the usual suspects. To highlight a few names from last week, I was spot on about Harry Douglas, Jarrett Boykin, Zac Stacy, and Vernon Davis. I also completely missed on Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III, Nick Foles, and Brandon Pettigrew. I’ll call it even for last week, but look for a more accurate outcome this week.
Robert Griffin III – Right after I bash him, he goes out and posts 298 passing yards, 2 passing TDs and 84 rushing yards. Let’s hope I don’t jinx him. Oh wait, he looks like his old self, and he’ll be fine against the Broncos pass defense. Mile High shootout this week. Strap your laces on boys!
Geno Smith – The Bengals are struggling defensively, and Smith seems more and more comfortable every week. Geno came up big time last week against the Patriots in the crunch, so he should carry the momentum into this week. He’s not a must-start by any stretch, but it’s conceivable that he could eclipse 300 passing yards this week. The danger with Geno is the bipolar play.
Le’Veon Bell – I don’t know why ESPN doesn’t like Bell, but he is a bruising back who keeps producing. Rushing for 93 yards last week against one of the most stout run Ds in Baltimore, running should be slightly easier against the Raiders this week. Let’s say 107 rush yards, and the possibility for a score.
Jarrett Boykin – Boykin will move into Rodgers’s number 2 option after Jermichael Finley suffered a near career-ending injury last week. Add that to an extremely soft Vikings defense, and another monster day should be in store for Boykin.
Jordan Reed – Every week a tight end seems to go off, but knowing which is like catching lightning in a bottle. The Florida product has fast established repertoire with RGIII, and that means he’s very rapidly approaching the must-start threshold.
Nick Foles – Even I sometimes fall for the hot hand, then get screwed over by goose egg performances (Note: I started Foles over RGIII last week, but still won). Foles fantasy appeal has gone from high, to injured (concussion), to BENCH and waiver wire all in the span of a week. You can ignore Foles in all leagues now that he’s concussed and Vick is healthy (for now).
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – “Law Firm,” for short, should be benched in all leagues. His paltry 3.2 yards/carry, lack of use in the pass game, and the Jets run defense lurking should all be signs to keep BJGE on the pine. The continued maturation of Giovani Bernard will eventually be the end for this bruiser.
Marques Colston – Yes, he’s known as Brees’s top receiver after Jimmy Graham, the problem is he’s done a whole lot of nothing this season. For those of your who keep waiting for a good game to finally come, keep him on the bench until you see signs of life. 3 receptions and 26 yards the past two weeks, with 0 TD since week 1 is all you need to know.
Josh Gordon – The Browns face a formidable opponent this week in Kansas City, and lurking in the secondary is Quinton Demps for pass picking (3 INTs this season). Not only that, the inconsistency (Read benching of Weeden) and starting of Jason Campbell spells disaster for the entire Browns offense, but field day for sack artists Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.
Scott Chandler – Many think the Bills will look Chandler’s way often against the Saints, but by the mid second quarter, the game might be over. This is the week to not trust the behind, throw the ball; ahead, run the ball philosophy.
Matt Ryan – Yes, the Cardinals have ballhawk Patrick Peterson in the secondary and Karlos Dansby the tackle machine at linebacker, but Ryan will still pick apart this Cardinals defense, especially with Steven Jackson back to give the Cardinals defense deep throat and Rodgers pass-catching out of the backfield.
Matthew Stafford – Brandon Carr is going to be hounding Calvin Johnson all day, and if Stafford throws an errant pass, Carr will not miss. With a lack of other reliable receiving targets outside of Johnson, this could shape up to be a long day for Stafford, despite the billing of this game as a shootout.
Josh Freeman – Hopefully no one picked up Freeman, because, seriously what the hell was that (20/53, 190 pass yards, 1 pik, 18.9 QBR)? Freeman has a concussion, and Ponder is starting this week which should effectively end all speculation of Freeman as the Vikings QB, at least until he learns their offense.
Fred Jackson – It seems the ageless wonder keeps on puttering along. With Spiller also nicked up, Jackson could see a bigger role this week. Worth a start in most leagues.
Pierre Thomas – This is exactly why you don’t trust any Saints RB. One RB (Thomas) starts the game, but a little known RB (Khiry Robinson) gets the rushing score. Thomas still has value in PPR leagues, but don’t sleep on the Bills defense too much. Roll a safer option out there if you have one.
Lamar Miller – Fantasy owners are frustrated with Miller, and rightfully so. With only 63 rushing yards the past two weeks, the opponent doesn’t matter, just avoid at all possible costs. If you must roll out a Dolphins RB, gamble on Daniel Thomas, who had 60 rushing yards alone. Yeah, the Miami run game is BAD…
Riley Cooper – Cooper could turn out to be the man opposite Desean Jackson receiver-wise, however, with Vick only back this week, that remains to be seen. Regardless of the outcome, the Giants defense will give up yards, and a sneaky score could find its way to Cooper.
Sidney Rice – Here’s your logic lesson for the week: Given a Seahawks WR scores a TD in any given week, then he will not score a touchdown the next week. Rice scored a touchdown last week, complete the logic exercise. Besides, Golden Tate is the more reliable option for yards most weeks.
Danny Amendolab – He’s questionable every week it seems, and even if he goes, it is unlikely he’ll be of much service in fantasy circles, especially with Gronkowski back. The Patriots have two questionable WRs this week, and they had only three red zone visits last week. Gronkowski is the only sure bet in the Patriots offense as of now.
Rob Gronkowski – Gronk returned and quickly re-established himself as a top 5 TE (114 yards). The Dolphins have given up the second most TDs to TEs this season. No more to say here.
Rob Housler – Housler appears on this list as the Falcons will look to fix the holes this week against Bruce Arians and Co. Housler has surpassed Jim Dray on the depth chart, but it’s still hard to see Housler finding the house against Atlanta.
Anthony Fasano – Fasano may be more relevant than Sean McGrath now that he’s back, but with no viable options on the Chiefs (it is Charles’s show), it’s best to leave Fasano on the WW and not near any part of your team (outside of 20 team, 2 TE leagues, where one of your TE is on a bye).
Tamba Hali (LB) – If you need extra sacks, grab Hali, as he is thumping QBs to the ground (five sacks his past two weeks; nine total). Enter in a disastrous Browns QB situation, and a sack or few is sure to come this week from Hali.
Morgan Burnett (S) – I had Burnett as the second ranked safety coming into this season, and he has not looked the same since coming back from injury in Week 5. You still want to start him for his pick potential, but are also proceeding with caution.
Cortland Finnegan – The long time nasty CB is struggling to stay on the field. Listed as questionable again this week, Finnegan is yet to record his first meaningful stat this season (101 tackles, 3 INT last season).
Thanks for tuning in once again, and don’t forget, I’m always open via Twitter, Gmail, and on Sunday mornings from 11-1 PM on the ESPN message boards. Remember folks, blogging isn’t a habit, it’s a way of life that shouldn’t be changed in the least bit.