Last week, if I told you that Hines Ward, Dwayne Bowe, and Braylon Edwards were going to combine for a measly 3 catches, 33 yards and a single touchdown, you probably would’ve thought I was nuts.
If I also told you to SIT these three guys last week—which much to my dismay I did not— you probably would’ve thought “Yeah right, are you kidding me?”
Well, I said to start them, and sure enough all three combined for those stats above in arguably their worst game for all three players this year thanks largely to a growing trend defensively in the NFL: excellent defensive backs.
While the safeties are the majority leader in interceptions, it is the play of a handful of DBs that has most WRs lacking in the type of Fantasy numbers most expect. Bowe was a victim of Antoine Cason and Steven Gregory—although Matt Cassel’s play didn’t help either—Braylon Edwards had a long night dealing with arguably the best corner in the league Nnamdi Asomugha, and Hines Ward was victimized by a little dude named Benny Sapp, and for those of you who missed the Vikings-Steelers game you missed this guy literally throwing himself all over the field—it really was a sight.
So as we enter Week 8 it may be a good idea to remember who is out there covering your receivers as you try to get your roster set. Whether it’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie covering Carolina’s Steve Smith, Asante Samuel covering whoever the Giants feel they wanna throw at him, Charles Woodson helping out with Sidney Rice, or Darrell Revis covering the Dolphins wideouts, there is plenty of trouble out there to afford your notice.
This week features some interesting matchups including one game I think will be the Fantasy game of the Week which we’ll get to later.
The most interesting aspect of this week is the new kids are beginning to give the veterans a run for their money which is precisely the tone for this week’s Start-Sit—let’s begin:
Must Start of the Week:
Mike Sims-Walker: I was very tempted to put Miles Austin in this spot but with the consistent production of Sims-Walker, the fact he is the number one playmaker for the Jags every single week, and the fact they are facing the hauntingly horrid coverage of the Titans, it seemed to me a no contest—sorry Austin.
Sims-Walker is coming off an impressive outing against the lowly Rams and will ride that wave into Tennessee where he is sure to have huge success. Sims-Walker is averaging 7 catches for 99.5 yards and 1 TD per game, which ironically enough is right on-par with his last performance against the Titans where he caught 7 balls for 91 yards and two scores. Make sure he isn’t on your bench.
Two through Ten:
|#2 Miles Austin: All the way up from number ten Austin has been nothing short of amazing, particularly over his last two games in which he has combined for over 400 yards on 16 grabs and 4 TDs. He is an absolute must start this week until he slows down—if he ever does.|
|#3 Marques Colston: The Dallas Cowboys did a huge service to the Saints last week by basically exposing the vulnerabilities of the Atlanta secondary. The Saints rose to the occasion last week against a very good Miami D particularly beating up on shutdown corner Will Allen. Expect much more of the same in this divisional showdown from Colston and Co.|
|#4 Larry Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald isn’t having quite the season him— or you—may have envisioned at the start of the year, but he is still proving each week he can produce against anyone. Fitz hauled in 83 yards on 6 catches and dropped what would’ve been his only score of the game. This week against a Carolina team that struggles to cover their lunches with aluminum foil let alone good receivers, he is sure to produce once more.|
|#5 Reggie Wayne: Wayne has been reported as having a slight groin injury—well that’s nice— Wayne does however slip a bit this week in rankings due largely to Dallas Clark and Austin Collie being huge red zone targets right now for Indy. Keep an eye on Wayne’s status with us or with our trusted Dominator Service.|
|#6 Vince Jackson: I should be tarred and feathered for not mentioning Jackson last week vs. KC, as Jackson literally lit up the Chiefs all day. This week he will have a double opportunity against Oakland considering the Raiders are terrible and lights out corner Asomugha has a nasty eye injury that will require him to wear a shield which could affect his coverage skills. Start Jackson with confidence.|
|#7 Donald Driver: The Packers made some huge mistakes their first go around with the Vikings, but since then the Packers have tightened themselves up a bit, while the Vikings secondary has fallen to shaky status. The Packers have gotten better at containing the run as described here by our own Rustyn Rose, and Driver will face a Antoine Winfield-less secondary which should benefit him greatly.|
|#8 Devin Hester: Hester’s speed will be a huge factor against a Cleveland team that has virtually made any Fantasy writer’s job a lot easier than it normally is. He should be targeted at least 7 times and good for a score or two.|
|#9 Steve Breaston: Don’t let the rumors of a knee injury or last week’s dismal performance shy you away from Breaston, he is still a prime starter who is averaging just under 5 catches and just under 80 yards a game this season.|
|#10 Brandon Marshall: The Ravens are not the same defensive monster we have all been accustom to the past couple of years, and they are particularly bad at covering big receivers who like to expose the weaknesses of zone coverage; Marshall will be a world of trouble for Baltimore this week.|
Must Sit of the Week:
Robert Meachem has been a huge disappointment for owners this year, and the Saints are consistently showing that he is a last resort option for Drew Brees. It comes as a surprise considering the size and speed he has, and he has never really had problems catching the ball, it just seems to be the way right now.
Through 6 games he has 6 catches for 151 yards and 2 TDs and while I don’t see this trend continuing down the stretch, Meachem would be lucky to see 2 grabs for 30 yards against the Falcons. IF you own him, and there are better options on the Waiver Wire, you can consider getting rid of him in shallow leagues.
Two Through Ten:
|#2 Roy Williams: Well from Start to Sit the roller coaster ride of Roy Williams continues, and as long as Austin, Witten, Choice, and Barber keep it going you can expect more of his anemic performances week in and week out.|
|#3 Derrick Mason: Mason has been a favorite target of Joe Flacco, but Denver is undefeated and sporting the number one scoring defense which means they are gonna lurk around until Flacco tries to find Mason…it’s kinda like fishing. I don’t like Mason’s chances this week.|
|#4 Percy Harvin: Here’s an idea, let’s take our prize draft pick and keep him on returns AND send him into double coverage against the hardest hitting team in the AFC and let’s see what happens. Harvin may be having a banner year, but you can’t expect his body to keep this up unless the Vikings afford him some rest; the Packers won’t make it any easier.|
|#5 Megatron aka. Calvin Johnson: Megatron is still hobbling around on that bum knee and he is very questionable this week. Even if he does start—which I don’t think he will—he won’t be very useful.|
|#6 Michael Crabtree: Crabtree was having a nice debut until Vernon Davis stepped in and stole the show. The problem this week is the Colts suddenly have a stellar passing defense that will surely slow the rookie down. He isn’t worth the start this week.|
|#7 Josh Morgan: Again, the Colts can’t be passed on and the only offense I see coming will be Davis and Gore.|
|#8 Earl Bennett: Bennett should be the lowest man on the totem pole in a contest that should favor Knox, Hester, Olsen, and Forte.|
|#9 Roddy White: The Saints secondary continue to impress, and outside of White’s one monster game he has been less than average. This week is very unfavorable.|
|#10 Steve Smith: Delhomme could be benched this week, which is laughable because it is pretty much too late for the Panthers. Rodgers-Cromartie should be able to handle Smith this week.|
Risky Starters To Consider.
If you are hurting in the WR department and have any of the following guys, keep in mind that they may have more upside than down.
Greg Camarillo-Dolphins: Camarillo is an intriguing receiver in that; he consistently produces each week but on a very minimal basis. Camarillo is the Dolphins main possession receiver and although he doesn’t have a lot of downfield speed, he is usually good for about 4 or 5 catches and 30 to 40 yards.
The Dolphins are still deploying the Wildcat which dips into the production of receivers and they also have to deal with Darrell Revis this week, so if you need someone in a pinch Camarillo will give you something if you’re out of options.
Eddie Royal-Broncos: there has been a lot of inconsistency surrounding Royal and after his two returns last week he was rested by the staff. Hmm, rested huh?
I guess the old philosophy of…oh I don’t know, playing your players is a thing of the past in Denver but since this is the way they are treating the youngster he is worth a discerning eye. He shouldn’t be considered a top start, rather a bye week fill-in at best.
Nate Burleson-Seahawks: Burleson is such a gamble week in and week out and his track record shows it. Through 6 games he has had 3 awesome performances and three crappy ones. But Burleson is just that type of player, hot one minute then cold the next.
Still, if you’re in a spot, he makes for a nice start against the Cowboys on the road, but the likelihood is that the Cowboys will try to keep the Seahawks attack under lock and key. Out of all the risky starts, Burleson is second best.
Jerricho Cotchery-Jets: Rex Ryan is “very optimistic” about Cotchery starting this week, despite Cotchery holding himself out last week at the last minute. Cotchery said he didn’t feel 100% and wasn’t worth getting out there if he couldn’t help his team.
Cotchery faces a tough Miami defense and an even tougher corner in Will Allen, and if there are any lingering effects of the hamstring Cotchery will not be 100% which means his bread and butter—his exploitation of soft coverage with his speed—will not be a factor.
Keep an eye on him, and if he really is ready to go, and you’re in a spot give him the nod.
James Jones-Packers: The Packers only have three healthy receivers with Nelson and Finley out and it is so bad that the club has mentioned the possibility of calling up Jake Allen from the practice squad—I know, I have no idea who he is either and I’m a Packers fan.
With Driver, Jennings, and Jones the only three options right now, James Jones will surely see some extra targets this week form Rodgers making his value increase a bit.
Jones is the best risky start of the group with the highest ceiling for sleeper value, and if you need someone to plug and play you can bet Jones will come through.
Fantasy Game of the Week: Eagles vs. Giants.
OK no, this is not a plug for the World Series, but the Eagles vs. the Giants always winds up being a big time affair and you can bet this week’s game will be no different.
In the last four meetings, there has been a total combined 149 points, a total of 1,442 receiving yards and 9 total touchdowns, and one can make a stout argument that both teams are vastly improved at the WR spot than the past two years.
The Eagles will probably be without Brian Westbrook as he is dealing with a pretty nasty concussion which will clear the way for Jackson and Maclin to have a huge day.
The Giants have had success spreading the ball around to their big three and despite the quality of the Eagles defense, I think this game will turn into a shoot out late.
Fantasy Projections for Receivers:
DeSean Jackson: 6 catches for 85 yards and 1 TD
Jeremy Maclin: 5 catches for 101 yards and 1 TD
Hakeem Nicks: 6 catches for 90 yards and 1 TD
Steve Smith: 7 catches for 95 yards and 1 TD
Manningham: 4 catches for 51 yards
Final Score: 27-24 Philadelphia
Good Luck this week everyone.