“The Amateur Ward” Jonesing for Showdown to Denver, CO
Another week, another man down, another crazy week of football. Arian Foster is done for the season…again, and now the Texans are in a real crisis. Who would have thought the AFC South leader would be 3-4. It was supposed to be the Texans year in 2015, but it has been far from a realization, and even JJ Watt is struggling.
When key players on your defense struggle, it is time to decide to either cut bait, bench, or weather the storm. To date, there have been many surprises and busts, and we all keep an eye out for that next man up on defense who is getting hot, or has a great matchup. This week, we take look at some options that have enticing matchups and are smart weekly plays.
Last Week’s Recap: Darrelle Revis and Marcus Gilchrist were less than stellar as both failed to post meaningful stats for fantasy owners, with Revis nearly completely shut off the fantasy scorecard. Chandler Jones, on the other hand, had a nice game with a sack and a forced fumble in the Patriots narrow defeat of the Jets. This goes to show that your top defensive players will show up on a weekly basis and should be no-brainer decisions come Thursday/Sunday/Monday. On a more sour note, hopefully you disregarded my suggestion on Cameron Jordan as he completely blew up Indianapolis and Andrew Luck to the tune of two sacks, passes defensed, and hurries aplenty.
Finally, kudos to the Redskins defense for completely shutting down the Buccaneers in the second week after they got blitzed for 24 points in the first half.
Jason Jones (DE-DET)- Detriot needs a consistent threat in the pass rush outside of Ziggy Ansah, and Jones is the most natural answer. He is not your prototypical sack-heavy DE, every weeks starter, but he is a solid matchup-play guy. This is the week you want to start him. The Lions are playing an extremely soft Kansas City offensive line with major questions on offense after Maclin and a unit that will have very inconsistent RB play after the season ending injury to Jamaal Charles. (Photo courtesy of mlive.com)
Mike Daniels (DT-GB)- The Packers defense, as a unit, is league average, but there will be prime chances for sacks this week versus an immobile Peyton Manning. Mike Daniels is currently leading the Packers DE/DT core in sacks and is also serviceable versus the run game, adding to his appeal this week. We all saw what C.J. Anderson did down the stretch last season, but no one cares, as he has been inconsistent to date.
Vic Beasley Jr (LB-ATL)- Beasley is beginning to be an infuriating player to own, as he has all the potential in the world, but has yet to put it on the field. Perhaps his turning point this season will start versus the #1 pick of the 2015 Draft in Jameis Winson, who himself is raw and will need some seasoning. For fantasy owners, this could be the game that determines your usage of Beasley as the season wears on. If he can make strides and produce a high scoring game, owners should feel comfortable with his gradual emergence, but if he continues to put up low scoring games, you may want to leave him on the bench. With his versatility and burst, he is always a threat to go off at any moment.
Coty Sensabaugh (CB-TEN)- The Texans just lost their star runningback, and now they face one of the most aggressive and stout pass defenses in the league: Tennessee. If that is not bad enough, the Texans have had major issues at QB, and just let go of Ryan Mallett and signed T.J. yates. It truly is a revolving door at QB for Houston. This is great news for fantasy owners who have secondary players opposing the Texans, as picks are sure to be flying. Coty Sensabaugh is a must start this week, and should be in starting lineups as long as Parrish Cox (hamstring) remains out or limited. With three passes defensed and a pick over his past two contests, the opportunity is there for an enormous game for Sensabaugh this week. (Photo courtesy of independentmail.com)
Robert Ayers Jr(DE-NYG)- It is generally advisable to avoid defensive players versus Brees in the SuperDome, but with only nine sacks to date, the Giants need a kickstart at DE, and Ayers returned last week (hamstring). He is clearly the best pass rush option on the Giants, and Brees is definitely sackable as he has been so seventeen times this season. While Damontre Moore tried to hold down the fort at DE while Ayers was out, his game does not compare to the latter’s, and Ayers can make an impact by forcing the ball out sooner than quarterbacks want to release it, leading to more mistakes. Brees is elite, but Ayers is a solid play this week and should be a force in the pass rush and run stop realm this week.
Wesley Woodyard (LB-TEN)- Woodyard is your prototypical moderate tackle-clip, low sack linebacker who always produces at moderate levels, but never spectacularly. Well all of that is true of Woodyard, except that he could be in for a bigger than expected day versus Houston as the Texans adjust to life with Foster (again). The Titans will get after Hoyer fast and hard this week, and without much of a threat at runningback, the Titans defensive line could be in for a great day. Get Woodyard in your lineups as he is going to rack up the tackles and register a sack.
Glover Quin (S-DET)- Quin’s fantasy appeal is down this season as quarterbacks are shying away from him after he was a ballhawk last season, picking off seven passes. Despite his disappointing production to date, the Lions have a juicy date with the Chiefs this week. The Chiefs sport some of the weakest receivers in the league, and with Alex Smith under almost constant pressure, it will be a long day for him in Kansas City. Any errant passes in the proximity of Quin will find its way to his hands. The free safety will be roaming. (Photo courtesy of twitter.com)
Karlos Dansby (LB-CLE)- Sit Los this week. He has not played well versus strong running teams, and Arizona is a surprising unit that will wear any defensive line down, and eventually break a big one off. That’s how they beat the Ravens last: wear em down, then let their defense seal the game.You will get your tackles out of Los this week, but he is going to be gassed and ran over this week. It may not be CJ2K, but it’s Johnson and Johnson with a side of Palmer-Brown&Fitz.
Vontae Davis (CB-IND)- These are the matchups that could lose you a matchup if you play the top players at the position. Davis is a top corner in fantasy and the NFL, but his upside and usage will be dramatically curbed versus a run-heavy, timely pass game. Cam Newton isn’t going to carve any defenses up with his arm, but he will beat them with his legs and his weekly one or 2 passing scores. Davis makes a living defending passes and picking passes off. This is not the week to play to his strengths.
Brandon Meriweather (S-NYG)- Yes, Meriweather has had picks in his past two contests, but they have come versus Sam Bradford and Matt Cassel, who aren’t exactly the most precise quarterbacks. Drew Brees, is another story, as we all know he can pass for over 400 yards in a game with his eyes closed and defenders draped over him. Yes, the Giants secondary will have their hands full this week with Brees. Look for Meriweather to rack up the tackles (8) as he did versus the Falcons in Week 2, but he will not stuff the stat sheet versus the Saints in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of nj.com)
In the Battle of Unbeatens this week, the play of defenses will decide the outcome. While the Broncos have the best secondary in the league, the play of the Packers offense is scarier. Coming off a bye week, the Packers defense will be the difference as Rodgers and Co. will have time to adjust to the style of play the Broncos secondary plays and use their juggernaut offense to throw Denver a curveball. Factor in that the Broncos offense is anemic at times, and they could be forced to throw early and often to keep pace. Don’t get me wrong, this is going to be a higher scoring affair than originally expected. Both defenses will make huge plays, but the Packers defense will be just a tad better and more electric this time.
The Chargers defense should rebound after getting shredded by the Raiders last week 37-29. No, that is not going to be the case this week as the Ravens have too many questions to be considered a legitimate threat to any team at this point. Look at the final play of last week’s defeat; Joe Flacco had happy feet, threw a floater, and had it picked off in the end zone. Expect more pressure on Flacco as the Chargers will be looking to create turnovers versus an inefficient Ravens offense that often struggles to move the ball.
That is it for Week 8. Now finish strong down the stretch as the playoffs draw ever nearer.
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