I had a terrible week seven after topping 100 points in each of the first six weeks. My trades for Maurice Jones Drew and Emmanuel Sanders didn't help matters, reminding me that sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make. We get one great fantasy team (New Orleans) back this weekend and one not so great (Oakland). Week eight brings the largest numbers of teams on bye so far this season with six taking the week off. Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego and Tennessee with a bye this week, obviously effecting fantasy lineups in a big way. The Thursday night game this week features the Tampa Bay Bucaneers hosting the Carolina Panthers.
I haven't compared historical numbers, but fantasy owners just aren't getting the passing numbers (targets) to supplement the dreaded running back by committee. Ray Rice owners have quickly moved him back into starting lineups after his bye week. The Buffalo duo of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, the law firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and fantasy god Arian Foster are also returning. Shonn Greene, Frank Gore, Stephen Jackson and the New England committee are on vacation in week nine. Tight ends Jermaine Greshmam, Dennis Pitta, Scott Chandler and Owen Daniels are back in starting lineups, with Dustin Keller, the struggling Vernon Davis and fantasy favorite Rob Gronkowski taking a seat this weekend.
During normal weeks, you might be able to get by without adjusting your lineup... not so during bye weeks. Returning from a much needed break in week eight are Michael Turner, Willis McGahee, Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush, LeSean McCoy and Ryan Matthews. Studs like Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Arian Foster need replacing in your lineup this week. Tight ends returning include Tony Gonzalez, Brent Celek and Antonio Gates with Dennis Pitta, Scott Chandler, Jermaine Greshman and Owen Daniels on bye week.
No position is as negatively effected by off-week's as that of running back. It's not even close. There are plenty of quarterbacks and pass catchers around to fill a bye week hole for a week. Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew owners, I feel your pain. You don't know how much they mean to you, until they're gone. Those owners throwing darts with Carolina and New Orleans backfields, might have even found a more reliable option this past week. Week seven is the busiest bye week of the season and plenty of 'hurtin to go around. Michael Turner, Willis McGahee, Jammal Charles, Reggie Bush and all-world backs Ryan Matthews and LeSean McCoy will leave gaping holes in fantasy lineups this weekend.
Note to self- Do whatever it takes to get both Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy on my fantasy football teams in future seasons. Arian Foster you ask? Injury concerns and the Ben Tate presence are a slight distraction with Marshawn Lynch the only running back worthy of argument. Dreams aside, Jamaal Charles appears fully recovered from injury and is the next best all-around bet along with Maurice Jones-Drew. The sleeper of the year remains Alfred Morris, who has quietly been nearly as important to the resurgent Redskins offense as Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III. Jason Witten owners are feeling a bit better this week, actually a lot better after he was targeted more than any tight end in week four, catching 13 of 14 Tony Romo attempts (with the rest going to the Bears).
-Are you still alive? Advancing in the playoffs? After weeks of preparation and months of following every move, every week it’s crunch time in fantasy football leagues across the country. Emerging targets may prove to be the difference between a long off-season and post season pay dirt! With the dreaded running back by committee, pass catching backs and productive tight ends are the difference between victory and defeat. Darren Sproles and Ray Rice are as reliable as it gets in the backfield, while Jimmy Graham and the Patriots tight ends are money!
A pair of running backs has solidified their place atop the running back target chart in New Orleans’ Darren Sproles and Baltimore’s Ray Rice. Chicago’s Matt Forte was amongst them, but obviously has fallen victim to season ending injury. At tight end, we also have co-leaders among the best of the best. New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham is like a wide out playing tight end and New England’s Rob Gronkowski is an absolute beast.
Finally, the bye weeks are over. No more juggling due to off weeks. No more surprises, only injuries to contend with. A special week of action with the usual triple header of action on Thanksgiving Day! Will Detroit hand Green Bay its first loss of the season? Is Dallas all the way back and finally going to be a team to contend with in the postseason? And which Harbaugh brother will prevail?
Is Jimmy Graham the best tight end in the NFL? The answer is a resounding yes, at least from a fantasy perspective. Saints quarterback Drew Brees has targeted the former University of Miami basketball star 96 times through ten weeks off play.
One player caught everyone’s attention this week; Washington running back Roy Helu Jr. Helu was everything in a dismal Redskins offense, targeted an amazing 17 times and catching 14 passes. With Tim Hightower out for the season and Mike Shanahan seemingly lacking confidence in Ryan Torain, Helu may be the go to guy for the remainder of the season. Tashard Choice was claimed on waivers last week, but he remains hurt and his role is undefined at this point.