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As this continues to build, I have been taking all of your suggestions into consideration, and have decided to make a change to the format of the column. I hope it is now a little easier to read, and flows a little nicer. I have been completely consumed with the start of the NBA Season and, if you are into Basketball, I invite you to check out my team by team Previews for both the Eastern and Western Conferences. In a week where six teams were on a Bye, the ones that did play provided plenty of excitement. In particular, the Receiving numbers put up in Week 8 were nearly record setting. I hope your teams found success, and you are looking good for the start of the Playoff push! Don’t forget, your comments are welcomed and appreciated. Find me on Twitter…
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Andy Dalton continued his barrage on opposing secondary’s as he eclipsed 300 yards through the air for the third straight week. This time he upped the ante on TD passes, totaling 5, and it was not AJ Green who was the beneficiary. If you are a regular reader of this column, you will know that I have been preaching patience with the “Ginger Flinger”. He now has a league best 1,034 yards passing, with 11 Touchdowns to just 2 Interceptions over the past three games. The best part of his streak has been the development of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, giving Dalton a plethora of explosive targets. Expect his torrid play to continue as he pushes his way into the Top 5 amongst the position. Drew Brees was his typical self, taking advantage of a young Bills defense for 332 yards and 5 scores. Matthew Stafford fell just 12 yards shy of passing for 500 yards, but remarkably only had 1 Touchdown through the air. Incredible to think he threw the length of 5 fields, and only once was able to have one break the plane of the End Zone. Mike Glennon continues to be consistent, despite his teams real life struggles. The Rookie has yet to put up eye popping statistics, but he is averaging nearly 250 yards per game with 1.5 TD’s. There are far worse backups for your fantasy roster, and at this point he can be considered a reliable Bye week Start. Tom Brady somehow led the Patriots to a come from behind win, while nursing a badly swollen throwing hand. His team may have won, but his fantasy owners suffered to the tune of 116 yards with a TD as well as an INT. The most notably wretched performance from the Quarterback position came from who I selected as a “Pass ‘Em” last week, the Redskins own Robert Griffin III. Many have stated he seems to be improving and returning to the success he found as a Rookie, but all I saw was a confused and indecisive signal caller. RG3 could not get anything going against the Broncos defense, not even on the ground as a rusher. He will have his games here and there, and the potential will be evident, but he is too inconsistent for me to feel comfortable with as a must Start.
Week 8 offered a couple of notable performances from Running Backs, but a couple is where it ends. Only two players, Andre Ellington and Zac Stacy, were able to surpass the 100 yard mark. Several came close, finishing in the low 90’s and high 80’s, but there were record breaking performances. Eddie Lacy continues to be steady around the 100 yards per game mark, and this week he even threw in a score and 4 receptions. Stevan Ridley appears to be over his early season woes, and is back to being the feature in New England’s revolving door of RB’s. Some poor performances that stood out were Roy Helu returning to Earth; Stephen Jackson offering nothing in his return; Marshawn Lynch being held to just 23 yards; Darren Sproles who hauled in 4 catches for literally no gain; and Giovanni Bernard who may have been the beneficiary of rest time in his team’s blowout of the Jets. Of the big names mentioned, Lynch is the biggest enigma. With Sidney Rice now out for the year, and Percy Harvin still not officially cleared to play, opposing Defenses should continue to stack the box against the Seahawks. It certainly worked in the Rams favor, and although he should receive more than just 8 carries in a game, Lynch appears to be in an uphill battle for the time being. He is someone I would be cautious with until further notice.
This past weekend was tremendous for multiple WR’s, as seven were able to break past the 100 yard barrier. Easily, the best performance was turned in by Mega talent, Megatron, Calvin Johnson, who finished with a whopping total of 329 yards on 14 receptions. Worse than him not breaking the single game NFL record (Flipper Anderson 336 yards), was the fact that he only found the End Zone one time. You would think a yardage total like that would result in say, 4 TD’s or so, which happened to be achieved. However, that performance came in Cincinnati at the expense of my New York Jets, and it was not from somebody Green. Bengals second year man Marvin Jones exploded onto the national scene with his performance. He will be a hot Waiver Wire name this week and rightly so, as he has now scored in three straight games while getting his fair share of targets. If it were not for his big game, Saints WR Kenny Stills might be the most sought after addition, as he hauled in three catches for 129 yards and 2 TD’s. I was pleasantly surprised to see recently named starters Harry Douglas and Jarrett Boykin, turn in solid follow up games. It is proof enough for me that they will continue to be top WR’s for the remainder of the season, garnering many targets from their elite Quarterbacks. Not surprising were the days of Danny Amendola and Dwayne Bowe. I have been a huge backer of Bowe’s, but even now I am ready to wave the white flag. He is the most talented pass catcher on a team that is now 8-0, yet he has been anything but dominant, let alone noticeable. I still do not think you should cut him completely, but even a great matchup should keep him on your bench. Amendola is becoming a liability for reasons beyond just his health concerns. Tom Brady has only one favorite target on the Patriots current roster, and that man is Gronk. The Receivers in New England are becoming very much like the Running Backs: a guessing game as to who has the hot week. I was quite disappointed with the play of Jeremy Kerley and Justin Blackmon, but both were victim to poor play from their QB’s. If the Jets season long trend continues, they should be very competitive in Week 9 against the Saints, and Kerley will benefit. If you are limited at WR, he is worth a play. Blackmon is too good to fall into a prolonged slump. I would start him with confidence, but view as a low end WR2 for the time being.
The most frustrating thing in Fantasy Sports, are without question injuries. Even more so, is when they are your stud players and their status is questionable. Case and point Jimmy Graham, who was sketchy to play, and if he did was unlikely to play long. Many owners begrudgingly kept him benched as a result of his partially torn fascia, and that turned out to be a devastating blow. He only managed 3 catches for 37 yards, but two of those catches went for scores. As a result, even on a poor day for him personally, he still found his way to the top of the Tight End leaderboard. Rookie sensation Jordan Reed turned in another solid outing, compiling 8 receptions for 90 yards. He is rapidly becoming one of the best TE’s in the game, and if he can find more trips to the End Zone could potentially challenge Graham for top honors. Julius Thomas was limited due to an injury, but it does not appear to be serious or anything that will hold him back this week. One player to monitor is the pre-season dynamo Zach Sudfeld. He not only started for his new team, the Jets, but he also caught his first two balls of the entire season (and his career). Jeff Cumberland, who was starting to emerge, sustained a concussion in the game but is not expected to miss any time. Even still, Sudfeld may have a chance as he is the man of unlimited opportunity.
Play ‘Em/Pass ‘Em I take some heat for some of the guys who appear on this list, but more often than not they are accurate. It is a hypothesis, not an exact science. I will remind you: It is always better when I am asked to choose between specific players. Randomly picking guys from a roster that includes the entire league does not completely paint the picture for your individual team. You can do this by leaving your question in the comment section, emailing me at PeoplezPerspective@gmail.com, or asking on Twitter. There are six (6) teams on a bye again this week, so the pickings remain slim. Here are some of the guys I do and do not like…
Week 9 Byes: Denver, Detroit, New York Giants, Arizona, San Francisco, Jacksonville
Play ‘Em: Jake Locker, TEN (@ STL) He will have had two full weeks to rest and heal. Through 5 games he has thrown for 8 TD’s and only 1 INT. Week 9 will put him on everyone’s radar.
Pass ‘Em: Andy Dalton, CIN (@ MIA) This is not to say I think he will have a poor performance, but the Dolphins will be fired up after letting up against NE in Week 8. A big game is not in the cards.
Play ‘Em: Le’Veon Bell, PIT (@ NE) Finally healthy, Bell has the ability to be an every down back for the Steelers. The Patriots are capable of giving up big chunks of yards, and Bell will take advantage.
Pass ‘Em: Fred Jackson, BUF (vs KC) KC’s defense is playing extremely well, and yards of any variety will be hard to come by for the Bills. Jackson will find it tough all day to find open holes.
Play ‘Em: Jarrett Boykin, GB (vs CHI) Since Randall Cobb was lost for the season to injury, Boykin hasn’t missed a beat in the Pack offense. 6+ targets in three straight games is no fluke.
Pass ‘Em: Marvin Jones, CIN (@ MIA) This is more a product of Dalton being limited by the Dolphins than anything else. 4 TD’s again is definitely out, so do not view him as on that level.
Play ‘Em: Coby Fleener, IND (@ HOU) The Colts have been decimated by injury this season, but fortunately had the Bye week to prepare for life without Reggie Wayne. Fleener’s role will be increased.
Pass ‘Em: Timothy Wright, TB (vs SEA) Though Mike Glennon has shown some come consistency with production, the same is not true of his chemistry with the Rookie TE. This is another down week.
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Because of my attention to the opening of the NBA Season, the Mailbag will not appear this week. Sorry for any inconveniences.
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