Fantasy Football Week 8: Players Coming off Big Weeks You Should Avoid

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIOctober 25, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Andy Dalton has had back-to-back 300-yard, three-touchdown pass performances, but starting him in Week 8 would be a mistake. Dalton’s Cincinnati Bengals are facing the New York Jets. The Jets have only allowed one quarterback to throw for 300 yards this season; it isn’t a good bet that Dalton will become the second.

He lit up two poor pass defenses the last two weeks, in Buffalo against the Bills and in Detroit against the Lions. The Bills and Lions both rank outside of the top 20 in pass defense.

In the two previous games against the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns—two teams that rank in the top 15 in pass defense—Dalton threw for an average of 209 yards. He also threw two interceptions and no touchdown passes in those games combined. 

The Jets pass defense is ranked 10th in the NFL. Dalton is likely going to be returning to his sub-300-yard game status on Sunday, and he may not find the end zone once. Nine times out of 10, fantasy football owners will have a more productive option at quarterback. Here are two other players coming off solid games that fantasy owners should avoid starting.


Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, QB

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are two reasons owners should consider other options this week if they have Wilson. First, the team is playing the struggling and wounded St. Louis Rams. Seattle would seemingly have the team overmatched, and this game could turn into a blowout. 

St. Louis is playing without its starting quarterback, Sam Bradford. The Rams offense was only scoring 22.2 points per game with Bradford. You’d think some of that would fall off with Kellen Clemens under center. It is unlikely the Rams will be able to score enough points to keep it close early. 

How will the game get out of hand?

Statistics suggest Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks running game could come up big. The Rams have the third worst run defense in the NFL. It seems only logical that the Seahawks would attempt to attack the Rams this way.

This would obviously limit Wilson’s pass attempts early, and because of the Seahawks’ expected success, Wilson may not be in the game late. Even if he is, the Seahawks figure to have the lead and should be primarily running the ball. 

Secondly, Wilson hardly ever throws for a ton of yards. He’s had just one 300-yard performance this season. Even last week, when he tossed three touchdown passes, he only threw for 235 yards.

Clearly, this is a decent fantasy performance, but Wilson has also had his share of fantasy stinkers this season. He’s had two games with no touchdown passes. While there is no doubt the Seahawks will likely emerge victorious, Wilson could easily have a modest day statistically.


Washington Redskins, Jordan Reed, TE

Oct 20, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two weeks, fantasy owners have been scrambling to acquire Reed. Per, Reed has been the most-added player in fantasy football this week. He was owned on just 3.7 percent of fantasy teams before last week’s nine-reception, 134-yard performance. As of now, he’s owned on 54 percent of the ESPN fantasy football squads.

Reed is definitely a solid pick up for the long haul, but he may not explode against the Denver Broncos the way he did against the Chicago Bears.

Denver’s pass defense is ranked dead last at 32nd in the league, but opposing wide receivers have had the most success against them. Only two tight ends have caught a touchdown pass; Jason Witten and Coby Fleener, and only Witten has eclipsed the 100-yard mark.

Reed exploded against a Bears defense that plays a lot of Cover 2. This base defense leaves the middle of the field open. The touchdown pass he caught on Sunday was the result of a missed coverage assignment in the red zone. The Bears didn’t send anyone to cover him until a millisecond before the ball was snapped.

Reed played great last week, and there are definite fantasy numbers to be had from the Redskins in this matchup. But don’t be surprised if Reed isn’t the one who produces them.


Stats per Pro-Football Reference.


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