Fantasy owners essentially have to start their star players on a weekly basis regardless of how unfavorable their matchups appear to be. That is especially true during a week like this one as six teams are on bye, which means there are very few alternative options.
With that said, it's best for owners of such players to brace for less production than they have grown accustomed to. That makes filling out the rest of the lineup that much more important, and it tends to give owners a much-needed sense of urgency in that regard.
There are several fantasy studs who figure to struggle in Week 8, and here is a closer look at three in particular who will fail to come up big this weekend.
To say that this hasn't been a great season for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would be an understatement. Brady has largely appeared to be superhuman over the course of his career, but he has been little more than ordinary this year. The fact that the Pats are 5-2 despite Brady's mediocre play is certainly impressive, but that means little from a fantasy perspective. Brady was drafted as a top-five quarterback in most leagues; however, he hasn't even come close to performing at that level.
Brady hasn't been useless by any means, but he has just eight touchdowns as opposed to five interceptions in seven games, and he also has just one 300-yard game to his credit. Much of that has to do with the fact that Brady's receiving corps has been decimated. This has forced him to rely on the likes of Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. The result is one of the worst completion percentages in the league, according to NFL on ESPN.
There is hope that things will get better as tight end Rob Gronkowski is back in the fold, and wide receiver Danny Amendola could play this week as well, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston. Despite that, Brady doesn't figure to have a big game in Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins. While Miami is allowing nearly 270 passing yards per game, it has yielded just eight passing touchdowns while racking up seven interceptions and 17 sacks. This figures to be a tight, hard-hitting affair, which doesn't bode well for Brady's production.
Fantasy Projection: 212 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris has been solid this season, but his output hasn't compared to what he was able to do as a rookie last year. Much of that has to do with the fact that quarterback Robert Griffin III is still trying to get his legs under him. He has been able to do that over the past couple weeks, and that should lead to a more effective read-option game moving forward, which will help Morris immensely.
With that said, Morris' breakout performance will have to wait. Washington faces the Denver Broncos on Sunday, which is the last thing Morris wants to see. Denver is No. 1 in the league against the run as it is surrendering just over 77 yards per game. The Broncos' issues stopping the pass have something to do with that, but the front seven has been excellent in run coverage regardless. On top of that, Morris is coming off a game in which Roy Helu vultured three touchdowns. As NFL.com's Michael Fabiano pointed out, it was a fantasy owner's worst nightmare.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is well known for his propensity to muddle running back situations, and that appears to be what he is doing right now. Morris is still unquestionably the starter, but Helu earned himself more snaps. With Denver's run defense and Helu looming over him, Morris will simply be average at best on Sunday.
Fantasy Projection: 58 rushing yards
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is unquestionably one of the best pass-catchers in the NFL, and his past two games have confirmed that. Green went off in Week 1, but four mediocre showings in a row followed. Green has 12 catches for 258 yards and two touchdowns over the past two weeks, though, and he is hoping to turn in another dominant showing when the Bengals face the New York Jets in Week 8.
That is easier said than done as the Jets are surrendering just 225 passing yards per game. Also, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is fairly inconsistent. He has consecutive 300-yard passing days under his belt against suspect defenses, but he has struggled when faced with true challenges this season. Gang Green is definitely a tough nut to crack as New York is second in the league against the run and has an impressive 24 sacks. Also, cornerback Antonio Cromartie promises to be draped on Green all day long.
All it takes is one big play in order for Green to make an impact. He proved that last week when he reeled in an 82-yard touchdown catch against the Detroit Lions. The Jets generally don't allow explosive offensive plays, though, which is why they are currently in playoff contention at 4-3. You absolutely must start Green this week if you have him on your roster, but this won't be a vintage Green performance by any means.
Fantasy Projection: Four receptions for 60 yards
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