WEEK 8: Need a running back? How about a tissue instead?
If you walked past a closet at work and thought you heard someone crying, you probably did. It was no doubt a Fantasy Football owner who sought refuge after combing the waiver wire and finding no one to sub in for bye-week-bound running backs Arian Foster or Ray Rice this week. Indeed, this has not been a good year for finding running back help. And unless you had the No. 1 spot in the waiver pecking order, you didn’t get Jacksonville’s Rashad Jennings. What’s that? It just isn’t fair. There, there, fella. There, there.
What I learned last week:
Ben Roethlisberger’s wife should be more than a little jealous of all the love he is showing TE Heath Miller this season.
Play the man:
Browns QB Brandon Weeden. And, no, I’m not falling for him like Roethlisberger for Miller. I admit I was wrong when I thought he was in for a brutal rookie season. The AFC North’s pass defenses aren’t the blankets they once were, and Weeden faces the quartet of matadors the Chargers call a secondary this week.
Put him on the pine:
Felix Jones, assuming DeMarco Murray can’t play and Jones get the starting nod.
One BIG thought:
Arian Foster is No. 1, Ray Rice is No. 2, and Adrian Peterson is No. 3 in the running back rankings. Sounds like a normal year for Fantasy Football running backs, right? Uh, take a closer look.
The following all were probably taken in the first two rounds in leagues with owners with functioning brains: LeSean McCoy, 14th among RBs in fantasy points; Chris Johnson, 16th; Darren Sproles, 17th; Michael Turner, 19th; Darren McFadden, 20th; Maurice Jones-Drew, 21st; Matt Forte, 23rd; DeMarco Murray, 24th; Steven Jackson, 25th; Ryan Mathews, 27th; and Fred Jackson 29th.
Forte, Mathews and Jackson can blame injuries to varying degrees. Moreover for Jackson, C.J. Spiller won’t let him return to workhorse status. The others simply don’t have good excuses for being substandard. Most are at least 10 spots below where they were expected to be.
Who among them can reverse their fortunes, assuming they’re not out for a couple of games like MJD will be? McCoy, if Eagles coach Andy Reid remembers once upon a time handing the ball off to McCoy and throwing short passes to him were a pretty effective offense; Chris Johnson, because his schedule finally hit the softer part where he can thrive; and McFadden, who has quite a few favorable matchups down the stretch.
I want to add Forte to that list, especially after two straight games in which his ankle was sound enough to handle 20 carries, and he has two patty-cake defenses awaiting him in the next two weeks — Carolina and Tennessee. But, and this is a really, really big BUT, in Weeks 10 to 14, he faces Houston, San Francisco, Minnesota twice and Seattle. Feast in the next two weeks, Matt, because you’re going on a five-week starvation diet after that.
Two smaller thoughts:
■ I could have picked up Felix Jones last week, two weeks after I waived him, but decided not to waste my No. 2 spot in the waiver-wire order on him. That allowed me this week, after climbing to No. 1 in the waiver order, to use it on Rashad Jennings, which I did.
■ The Denver defense looks like it’s worth picking up. If you do it this week, make sure you hang onto your current defense one more week. Denver’s schedule doesn’t become favorable until after it gives up 35 points to New Orleans.
How many yards and TOUCHDOWNS does Peyton Manning throw for against the Saints?
Tim: 362 yards and 3 TDs.
Ben: 345 yards and 4 TDs.
After Dustin Keller’s big game last week is the Jets’ TE worth rostering?
Tim: Yes. The tight end position has become pretty average, and Keller can do average.
Ben: No. Two words why: Mark Sanchez.
Whose turn is it to have the big game at WR in Atlanta: Roddy White or Julio Jones?
Tim: Lots of good sports science and analysis here: These two have been alternating big weeks, and if they remain true to it, it’s Jones’s turn.
Ben: I’m going with Jones. he’s the go-to guy for a big play.
Will Steelers’ WR Antonio Brown ever score a TD this season?
Tim: Oh, probably, but it appears it will have to be on a long pass or punt return because once Roethlisberger gets in the red zone, he has tunnel vision for Miller.
Does Chris Johnson rush for more than 100 yards again this week?
Tim: Yes, and at least one score.
Ben: I’m giving this CJ2K a chance here by saying he will have another great game — finally!
If Dallas RB DeMarco Murray can’t play, who rushes for more yards in his place: Felix Jones or Phillip Tanner?
Tim: Tanner. Picked up yet on my negative vibe for Mr. Jones?
Ben: Murray won’t play. I’d still go with Jones for his breakaway speed.
DeAngelo Williams got waived in our league after combining to rush for 10 yards in the past two weeks. Any hope for him the rest of the way?
Tim: No. And I laughed at the dummy (that’s you, Darrel Allen) who drafted him.
Ben: Nope. This guy fell off the face of the earth and apparently into the abyss of “one-hit wonders.”