Trick or Treat! Yes, folks the words spoken by children everywhere who are celebrating Halloween, hold relevance in the world of fantasy football. Essentially, each week when setting our lineups, we try to avoid those “Tricks” (players that are due for a bad week) and plug in those “Treats” (players that that are set to go off). In the scope of helping you do just that, the Bruno Boys proudly present the Fantasy Football Week 8 Sit Ems.
QUARTERBACKS – SIT ‘EM
Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) vs. Denver
Flacco is posting a stellar sophomore season, racking up 1,674 passing yards and 11 TDs with just 5 INTs through six games. In fact, Flacco’s play is a large reason why the Ravens have been able to remain competitive this season despite the slow demise of their defense. In addition, he’s coming off a bye week, which means he and his supporting cast should be fresh. So, why are we down on a rock solid QB coming off the bye week? Simple, while Flacco has played himself into QB1 discussions for fantasy purposes, he’s not quite at the must play level, which means when a bad match-up presents itself, it’s best to avoid. This week Flacco and the Ravens host the Denver Broncos, a team that’s giving up just 6.5 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. Yes, they did allow double digit fantasy points to the QB position in week 5 and week 6, but their opponents those two weeks were Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, and while both put up double digits, their point totals were just 14 and 12 respectively. If the Broncos can keep those two under wraps, they will do the same to Flacco.
Marc Bulger (St. Louis Rams) @ Detroit
While we’re advising you to avoid Flacco due to the match-up, that’s not the reason we suggest leaving Bulger on your bench. In fact, to many fantasy owners who own the likes of Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, or Carson Palmer, Bulger’s match-up has them thinking bye week fill in. But, we’re going to advise against that. Yes, Bulger does face a Detroit Lions’ secondary that is allowing opposing QBs to go for 21.5 fantasy points per game, the second most in the league, but the quarterback’s days of being a fantasy option are in the past. Bulger has posted just one double digit outing this season in the six games he has played in, and he just made it to the double digit plateau in that one with 10 fantasy points. The name and match-up could fool owners into using him, but the good news is since you’ve read this, you won’t be one of those poor owners cursing his name come Monday.
Eli Manning (New York Giants) @ Philadelphia
Manning started out the season with 8 TD passes and 64 fantasy football points over the first four games but since a Week 4 showing in which he had three TDs and 19 fantasy points he has been mediocre at best. Over the last two games, against tougher competition, Manning has completed just 48.5 percent of his passes and has started to get turnover happy, having thrown four INTs to just two TD passes. With the New York Giants taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in a crucial divisional game you would think Manning should play at a high level. However, if you combine his recent struggles with the fact that the Eagles’ pass defense allows just 190 passing yards per contest and is averaging two INTs per game, you have yourself a risky Week 8 play. The icing on the cake, Manning has failed to throw for 200 yards in four of his last five contests against the Eagles, and he has at least one interception in three of those games.
RUNNING BACKS - SIT ’ EM
Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) vs. Minnesota
Grant is coming off his best outing of the season as he ran for 148 yards and a score in Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns. Luckily for Grant’s owners, he took advantage of that match-up because this Week 8 one is not appealing. Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau means the Minnesota Vikings are in town, a rush defense that is giving up just 95.4 rushing yards per contest and that has allowed just two rushing TDs on the year. Grant did amass 10 fantasy points against the Vikings when these two teams met in Week 4, but he was saved that week by the five points he gained as a receiver due to 50 receiving yards. We don’t expect Grant to be such a big part of the team’s passing plans in this one, which means he could very well end the day in the four-to-seven fantasy point range if he fails to find pay dirt.
Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos) @ Baltimore
While it is true the Baltimore Raven’s defense is struggling in 2009 as mentioned in Joe Flacco’s write-up above, those struggles are due to their inability to stop the pass. The Ravens rank seventh in the league in rush defense, giving up just 91.2 rushing yards per game to go with three rushing TDs on the season. So, yes, when you see your running back matched up with them, like Moreno’s owners do this week, it’s best to look elsewhere for a RB play. Since Moreno posted back-to-back weeks of double digit fantasy points in weeks three and four, the runner has just 13 fantasy points in two games. His struggles continue in Week 8.
Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Seattle
Jones posted some big days prior to suffering an injury earlier this year, so fantasy owners are eager to get the running back back into their line-ups, especially since the larger role Tashard Choice was supposed to see, according to Jerry Jones, didn’t come to fruition. While it is true that Jones is the clear cut No. 2 RB in Dallas behind Marion Barber, it’s not clear whether his explosiveness is back on the field with him following the knee injury. Before using Jones again, we want the RB to post more than one fantasy point as he did in Week 7 and prove he is flex-option worthy.
WIDE RECEIVERS - SIT ’ EMS
Roy Williams (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Seattle
Can the torch be passed from one player to another if that first player never gets it lit? If it hasn’t happened before, but it’s happening in Dallas right now. Coming over to Big D from the Detroit Lions via a trade last season, Williams was supposed to be the future for the Cowboys at the wide receiver position—a belief further solidified by the fact that the Cowboys parted ways with the oft-troubled Terrell Owens this offseason. But, as the team’s “No. 1” Williams has just 230 receiving yards with one score on the year. Those are numbers that Miles Austin surpassed in one game as he tallied 250 yards and two scores against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. Following a bye, Austin exploded again in Week 7 for 171 yards and 2 TDs against the Atlanta Falcons. Austin is now the team’s No. 1, making Williams the No. 2 wide receiver. If he couldn’t get points as the go-to-guy, what makes you think he’ll do so as the second fiddle.
TIGHT ENDS - SIT ’ EMS
John Carlson (Seattle Seahawks) @ Dallas
After his 95 receiving yard, 2 TD and 21 fantasy football point performance in Week 1, Carlson has been just another tight end. The second year player out of Notre Dame has failed to score a TD since the season opener and has only been able to muster 17 fantasy points over the Seahawks’ last five games. The match-up against the 22nd ranked Dallas Cowboys pass defense looks good on paper, and Carlson did have 6 catches for 105 receiving yards in a 2008 meeting, but Dallas has been surprisingly good at defending the tight end position this year. Outside of Week 1 and Week 3 in which Dallas surrendered a TD (26 combined fantasy points) to the tight end position, Dallas has allowed just 10 fantasy points to opposing tight ends and until Carlson starts scoring touchdowns he will be nothing but a three-to-six point yardage play and not much more.
KICKERS - SIT ’ EMS
Neil Rackers (Arizona Cardinals) vs. Carolina
Racks started out the season on fire, having converted on three 40-plus yard FGs and scoring 22 fantasy points over the Cardinals’ first two games, but it’s been all downhill since. With Arizona starting to find the end zone at a consistent rate, Rackers has attempted just four FGs over the last four games and none of them have been outside of 38 yards. In comparison, Rackers has nailed all 10 of his extra point attempts since the Cardinals’ Week 4 bye week. Facing a stingy Carolina Panthers passing defense would make one think Rackers should see plenty of FG changes in this game, but the Panthers have allowed opponents to attempt just six FGs in six games. At the rate Arizona has been finding paydirt can you really rely on Rackers to have more than two FG chances? If you are looking for a safe four-to-six point play it’s Rackers, but beyond that look elsewhere.
DEFENSES - SIT ’ EMS
Green Bay Packers D/ST vs. Minnesota Vikings
Don’t let the recent success of the Packers defense fool you. Yes, they have allowed three points, forced five turnovers and racked up 35 fantasy points over the last two games but that was against the struggling Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns offenses. Facing a Minnesota Vikings offense that is third in the NFL in scoring (29.4 points per game) will be no easy task for a defense that had allowed 93 points over their first four games. In a Week 4 meeting against Minnesota, quarterback Brett Favre threw for three TDs in a 30-23 Minnesota route of Green Bay. In that game the Packers failed to sack Favre and if it wasn’t for an Adrian Peterson fumble that was returned for a TD their defense would have posted just two points in standard scoring league. With both of these teams offenses in high gear you can expect this game to be yet another high scoring NFC North match-up and if Green Bay fails to record sacks or force turnovers, like their last match-up, they have little fantasy value.