Week seven saw the New England Patriots try every way possible to give the New York Jets a key win on the road. We also saw the new look Baltimore Ravens’ defense get railroaded by the Houston Texans. There were a couple of key injuries and for many of us, we are happy to have the teams back from their week seven byes.
Hey Driver 8, take a break and read along for our waiver wire advice. Enough about the future. What have you done for me lately?
Bye week eight: Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals
Josh Freeman – Well, hello Mr. Freeman! Freeman was on this list last week and he went out and performed again. He’s been the southern Aaron Rodgers by the Bay. He’s had terrific matchups the last two week and he’s taken advantage of them. His schedule looks good going forward as he faces the Vikings, Raiders, Chargers, Panthers over the next four weeks. Each of those is in the top 15 of points allowed to QBs. He should be number one on your priority list if you are struggling at QB with the likes of Matthew Stafford or Tony Romo.
Jake Locker – It looks like Jake Locker will be out at least one more week as the Titans will continue to go with Matt Hasselbeck and give Locker time to fully heal. Locker is the future at QB for the Titans so they are playing it safe with him. Locker should regain his starting job when he is fully healthy.
Brady Quinn – Quinn is now the starting QB for the Kansas City Chiefs. Let that sink in for a moment. Ok, that’s enough. Quinn is not an NFL QB. He shouldn’t be on your team unless you are sick of looking at Blaine Gabbert on your roster or have an affinity for Touchdown Jesus.
Chad Henne – Henne came in for an injured Blaine Gabbert. Henne set the NFL QBs back 50 years with his performance. It looks like Gabbert will be ready for Week eight. If he isn’t, Henne shouldn’t be on your fantasy squad.
Jason Campbell – A late addition on Monday night as Jay Cutler has left the MNF game early with a shoulder injury. Campbell is nothing more than a game manager at this point in his career and is only useful in two QB leagues.
Rashad Jennings – Jennings should be number one on your waiver wire priority unless you have a stable of stud RBs. However, do not expect RB1 performance as Maurice Jones-Drew hasn’t supplied that this year (even though he may have been drafted as such). MJD has been close to the bottom of the top 20 in RB scoring production putting him in as a solid RB2/Flex play. I would expect flex-level production (top 30) from Jennings and expect him to have the job for several weeks (if not the remainder of the season).
LaRod Stephens-Howling – William Powell fumbles and Stephens-Howling steps into the void. Many will be excited to see his performance against such a staunch run defense. Not so fast my friend. The Vikings admitted after the game that their game plan centered on shutting Larry Fitzgerald down and daring the Cardinals to run. So, I wouldn’t be too excited about Stephens-Howling’s performance. He’s likely the nominal starter for now, but the Cardinals haven’t shown a consistent ability to run the ball. He’s a potential flex or bye week play in some leagues.
Jamie Harper – Harper picked up another two TDs this week and looks like he has solidified himself as the Tennessee Titans short yardage back.
Chris Johnson – Oh, and it seems that Chris Johnson may be back in full CJ2K mode. It’s pretty amazing how he has turned his game around after being left for dead. I’m quite stunned he’s done it, but he doesn’t show a sign of slowing down. He’s got Indianapolis twice in the next six weeks
Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya – Hardesty was on this list last week due to Trent Richardson’s injury. Richardson missed a good chunk of last week’s game and none of the Browns RBs took advantage of the great matchup they had. There is speculation that Cleveland will sit Trent Richardson for one week to help in heal. Should they do that, Hardesty will be the early down back with Ogbonnaya spelling him on third down. Hardesty is a low-end bye week replacement. Ogbonnaya is useful only as a bye week replacement in PPR leagues.
Alex Green – Green has a great matchup this week against a Jacksonville Jaguar team that has little hope of staying with Aaron Rodgers. Green could provide top 20 production this week.
Jonathan Stewart – It looks like Stewart may have moved ahead of DeAngelo Williams in the pecking order for the Panthers? It seems that way, but it doesn’t seem like it’s worth much as the Panthers RB who scored the most last week was Mike Tolbert. The Panthers backfield is a mess and I suggest steering away from it and let other waste roster spots on those players.
Shonn Greene – Hat eating update. He scored another TD this week so I’m only down to two more TDs before I have to eat my hat. I’m still confident.
Jeremy Kerley – Kerley has emerged as the number one WR target for Mark Sanchez. While you stop laughing, I’ll tell you that Kerley has nudged his way into the conversation as a legitimate WR3 for the rest of the season as he’s shown consistency while other WRs in the Jets lineup have not.
Santana Moss – Moss picked up two TDs last week against the New York Giants. It looks like Washington may have a different leading WR each week. Moss is a grizzled veteran at this point in his career, but he looked like a spring chicken in week seven. He could have some value going forward as neither Leonard Hankerson nor Josh Morgan has shone during their auditions.
Ryan Broyles – Nate Burleson was injured on Monday Night Football and Broyles came on in his place picking up his first three catches and first TD of his career. Burleson broke his leg and will be out for the year. Broyles was a second round pick of the Lions this year after coming off an ACL injury his senior year. He was seen as a first round talent heading into his senior year. He’s a sneaky play (especially in PPR leagues) and I’d like him as a WR3/flex play for the rest of the season.
Randall Cobb – Cobb has been fantastic, but there is the possibility that Greg Jennings will return this week. It will be interesting to see how Cobb remains integrated into the offense as he’s earned the playing time. However, I would expect Cobb’s production to drop when Jennings returns.
Josh Gordon – He’ll be a part of the Cleveland Browns offense all year long. He’s got a gear that few other players have and makes plays when he touches the ball.
Jerome Simpson – He’s important to the Vikings offense as he regularly draws pass interference penalties. However, he doesn’t seem to catch passes so he’s not useful at this point.
Washington Redskins TEs – Fred Davis tore his Achilles this week and is done for the season. The TE has been a big part of the Redskins offense, but it hasn’t produced a ton of fantasy points. The Redskins will likely fill the void at TE with a three-head rotation of Logan Paulsen (known more for his blocking and flowing locks) who filled in admirably against the Giants, Niles Paul (a converted WR with intriguing talent, but a lack of experience at the position) and veteran Chris Cooley (released in camp, but re-signed this week).
I think Paulsen will get the first chance to replace Davis’ production and could match it which leaves him as a TE2. I think Cooley is a threat to Paulsen’s potential, but will need to get into game shape which could take a couple of weeks. And Paul will stay in the background due to his value on special teams.
TE playing the Titans – This may be the last week of our updates as the Titans have improved over the last three weeks against TEs. The Titans face the TE duo of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener of the Indianapolis Colts. Any production will likely be split making neither an attractive option.
Brandon Myers – I’m not sure I’ve mentioned Myers in my column this year and if I haven’t it’s my mistake. Myers has converted his targets at an 82% rate this year. He’s also become a bit of a PPR darling the last couple of weeks. The Raiders don’t’ seem to be able to run currently so Myers looks to be a substitute for that short game. He faces the Chiefs this week.
Rob Housler – Todd Heap may never be healthy again and all Rob Housler does is take advantage of his playing time. He picked up five receptions this week, but the Vikings were doubling Larry Fitzgerald with a safety. Housler is a good dynasty league keeper, but should be up and down in production this year.
Dustin Keller – Keller looked fully healthy last week and could contribute in the second half of the season. The Jets look to be getting more comfortable on offense as Jeremy Kerley has stepped up as a solid WR and Shonn Greene has been able to run a bit. Keller has always had the talent, but his production has lagged.
Oakland Raiders – Yes, the Raiders gave up 23 points to a Jaguars team what finished with Chad Henne at QB and Rashad Jennings at RB. However, they face the awful Kansas City Chiefs who have been the friendliest of all offenses to fantasy defenses. And, they have Brady Quinn at QB. That should be enough for a solid bye week replacement this week.
Baltimore Ravens – Just a reminder from last week. Hopefully, you are now convinced that the Ravens defense is no longer a viable fantasy defense. The Houston Texans should have convinced you. Drop them in all formats.
Pittsburgh Steelers – While you are at it, feel free to drop the Steelers defense as well. Jack Lambert ain’t walking in that door.
Plus, the offense can’t run the ball which leads to more defensive plays for an aging unit
(Ed: – This last note is not correct. The Steelers are actually leaders in defensive time of possession and defensive plays per game. While their “real world” statistics are good, they still aren’t a viable option going forward in fantasy. They only have three interceptions, 11 sacks and five fumble recoveries through six games. They are near the bottom of fantasy defenses in terms of scoring and I don’t see them turning it around due to their age. I’d like to thank the anonymous commenter who made me aware of this, but his use of profanity precludes me from posting his comment. – Chris)
Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi