Worst Fantasy Starts For Week 8
What's interesting about fantasy football is that it pretty much boils down to a game of risk. Not Risk the board game, mind you - although we've been over that one before! - but risk in the same way a stock portfolio is about risk. It's not really about always picking home runs; it's about not picking the players who will kill your roster.
So with that in mind, here's a few land mines you'll need to avoid in Week 8, powered by the mathematical models that make us the most accurate projection engine in the business. Remember kids, if it ain't math, it's probably just some fat guy and his opinion.
The Dolphins were once a sexy pick to rise up and challenge the throne of the Patriots in the AFC East. Now they're behind the Jets.
The things that were supposed to work for the Dolphins simply haven't: Lamar Miller was supposed to be the dependable rock carrier, the defense was supposed to stay firm and keep the team in the game, and Mike Wallace was - for some unexplainable reason - supposed to suddenly change personalities and not be the petulant disaster he was during his last year in Pittsburgh.
What has worked however is the slow and steady maturation of Ryan Tannehill into a franchise quarterback; his NEP is firmly in the top half league wide and comparables that include Drew Bledsoe, Kerry Collins, and Matt Hasselbeck point to an efficient, if unspectacular career.
But you're concerned about this week, and for this week, he's not a great start. Going into New England is never fun, and it's mad worse after the Patriots dropped a game to the Jets to decrease their cushion in the division. Belichick and crew will be looking for payback, likely dropping Tannehill and the Dolphins to a fourth straight loss.
Instead of Ryan, look for Terrelle Pryor to exercise his legs against the soft zone of his hometown Steelers, and even consider Christian Ponder in what is likely to be a garbage-time points grab against the Packers at home.
This one should be obvious. If you've got Willis McGahee, be glad you got a few weeks of productivity out of him because that's about all the juice that was left to squeeze out of that orange. The fact that Jason Campbell is still in the league, much less starting, is baffling. The matchup against the Chiefs D is a disaster to start with - they're #1 in our NEP power-rankings - and with a rookie QB, it's going to be lights for Willis.
Being a rookie is never easy; trying to fill Doug Martin's shoes - even if he was a total bust this year - is even harder. Now tack on the fact that your starting QB is also a rookie, a sub-replacement level one at that. And if that's not bad enough, factor in a night game against the #4 power-ranked defense in the Carolina Panthers, all while your team becomes a media circus trainwreck.
Mike James? Maybe next week.
This red-light pick is a little more nebulous because BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been productive; his NEP is in the top 20 league-wide and his role on the Bengals as the most traditional rusher to Gio Bernard's "Diet Reggie Bush" magic act is a useful one. Unfortunately, there's only so many touches to go around and trends certainly seem to point to a little more lightning and a little less thunder in the Bengals backfield.
The Jets will be riding high off of their somewhat controversial win against the Patriots; they're the #7 power-ranked defense to start with, the added juice will mean that BJGE will have to work even harder in his limited role. Not a terrible play, but there's better ones.
Instead of these three, consider going with Rashard Mendenhall, even though he's looking dire in the past weeks. Your mother and I could both put up yards against the inexplicably awful Falcons defense. Beyond that, keep an eye on the Giants situation at RB - the Eagles are certainly beatable through the air and if either Brandon Jacobs or Peyton Hillis are available, I'd like them both over these three.
With the emergence of Robert Woods, Steve Johnson's vice-like grip on the targets in Buffalo is slowly fading. Thaddeus Lewis may have shown marginal signs of figuring out how to be an NFL QB, but he's nowhere near there yet and the matchup in New Orleans is as bad as it gets. The Saints D is much better than you think - they are power-ranked #6 - and without having to respect the QB, they'll sit on the run and force Buffalo into obvious passing downs, not exactly the best situation for a rookie QB on the road.
Instead of Steve, you may want to consider Michael Floyd, who will benefit from the largesse of the Falcons defense and the extra attention paid to Larry Fitzgerald and of course, if Jarrett Boykin is available in your league for some reason, he's an obvious upgrade.
How We Did Last Week
Always Listen To Me
Sam Bradford: #23 QB
Bilal Powell, #52 RB
Larry Fitzgerald, #56 WR
Never Listen To Me Ever Again
DeAndre Hopkins, #10 WR
Zac Stacy, #9 RB
Le'Veon Bell, #17 RB