NFL recap – Week 8

Dolphins v. Giants: The heart attack G-men have really leaned heavily on Eli this year; Manning again provided top flight fantasy numbers in this one, no surprise against the paper fish (349 yards, 2 TDs). Victor Cruz led NY receivers (7 for 99, TD), with Mario Manningham having a solid day as well (6 for 63, TD). Hakeem Nicks didn’t have a TD catch or big yardage, which was bad news for those expecting a big day from him, but even worse news is him leaving with a hammy injury, which could keep him out of Sunday’s game against the ghostly Patriots passing D. Ahmad Bradshaw gave you ok yardage (88 combined rushing/receiving) but he hurt his foot in the process; he did return to the game after getting taped up, but you know his history, so take precautionary measures if you own him. For Miami, pat yourself on the back if you foresaw Reggie Bush having a great flex/RB2 day (120 total yards, 103 rushing), and give yourself another smaller one if you inserted Matt Moore as a bye week QB2 fill-in (31 rushing, TD, 138 passing). Steve Slaton vultured a goal line TD, but nothing else to report here.

Jaguars v. Texans: It was the Arian Foster Show again this week (112 rushing, TD) for Houston, with Matt Schaub and the passing game playing second fiddle (225 passing, TD, rushing TD); Joel Dreessen caught a short TD pass to give you good TE points (2 for 19). For J-ville, only – who else – MJD helped you out (63 rushing, TD), with Jason Hill sorta kinda giving you at least something (5 yard TD catch). Blaine Gabbert looked very green (10 for 30, 97 yards, TD, 2 INTs); stay away!

Cardinals v. Ravens: 180 degree game for Ray Rice in this one (63 rushing, 36 receiving, 3 rushing TDs). Usually he gives you tons of yards with no TDs, but are you complaining? Joe Flacco threw for 336, but 0 TDs, plus a lost fumble. Anquan Boldin had a great day against his old team (7 for 145), and has come on of late as a fantasy force; kudos if you bought low. For Arizona, Beanie Wells was back and useful (83 yards rushing, TD), while Larry Fitz gave you good yardage (3 for 98), and Early Doucet caught Kevin Kolb’s lone TD pass (2 for 20). Kolb is in a walking boot with turf toe after this one, not that he is a starter in most leagues.

Saints v. Rams: Those who thought Brees could come close to last week’s insane numbers in this game were sorely disappointed (269 yards, TD), as was anyone who put a lot of stock in NOs offense in general. Only Lance Moore (7 for 74, TD) and Pierre Thomas (34 total yards, rushing TD) gave you a return on your investment. For St. Lou, S-Jax exploded (159 rushing, 32 receiving 2 rushing TDs). There was a Brandon Lloyd imitating a WR1 sighting here too (6 for 53, TD).

Vikings v. Panthers: Was certainly a day most of the top RB draft picks met their projections, as Foster, MJD, S-Jax, Rice, and – the best of ’em in my opinion – AP showed (86 rushing, TD, 76 receiving, TD). Christian Ponder didn’t hurt you, but didn’t really help either (236 yards, TD), and that was it from Minny. For Carolina, Cam Newton is this year’s Michael Vick (290 passing, 3 TDs, 53 rushing, 2 fumbles lost), and even if he flops in the second half, he has proved everyone wrong who thought he’d struggle mightily his first year. Steve Smith continued the rejuvenation tour (7 for 100, TD), and Greg Olsen (4 for 73, TD) had a top TE day for ya; Jeremy Shockey caught a 1 yard TD to give you a tidy 6 points if you plugged him in.

Colts v. Titans: You’d think with 27 points, Tennessee gave you some great fantasy starts. Alas, you’d be wrong, as only Nate Washington (4 for 34, 3 yard rushing TD, receiving TD) would qualify as a great start, with Matt Hasselbeck (224, TD) giving you a somewhat decent one. For the sad sack Colts, Donald Brown scored a rushing TD to go with 33 yards, and Dallas Clark was not bad as a TE option (6 for 77). Curtis Painter threw for 250 yards and ran for 79 more (!), but no TDs. They used to be one of the best fantasy offenses in the business, but that ship has sailed without Mr. Manning behind center. Also of note was Chris Johnson splitting carries with Javon Ringer (14 a piece), while only gaining 34 yards. If you own him, I don’t know what to tell you but to ride it out, as you will have to sell him at such a deep discount, it would not be worth it. Sucks when everyone drafted/kept around him is having a great year, too (sorry Mike).

Lions v. Broncos: Good thing fantasy football exists, or else Tim Tebow’s final line would look terrible (172 passing, TD, 63 rushing, fumble lost). A lot of this was accumulated in garbage time, but they all count the same in the end. Eric Decker caught his lone TD pass (6 for 72), but I would not count on Decker being anymore than a once in a while fantasy starter with Tebow the QB. This game was really all Detroit: Matt Stafford was brilliant (267, 3 TDs, 21 yards rushing), Calvin Johnson was supreme again (6 for 125, TD), Titus Young (4 for 66) and Tony Scheffler (3 for 38) each had TD grabs, and Maurice Morris filled in adequately for Jahvid Best (58 rushing, TD). Over/under on Megatron reaching 20 TDs? I don’t know if I take that under, guy is just deadly from anywhere on the field.

Redskins v. Bills: This one was pretty one-sided, to say the least. If you owned Fred Davis, congrats, you had the only Washington player of value (8 for 94). Otherwise, just a parade of Bills: Ryan Fitzpatrick (262, 2 TDs, 1 fumble lost), Fred Jackson (120 rushing, 74 receiving), and Scott Chandler (2 for 35, 2 TDs) all provided good to great fantasy lines.

Bengals v. Seahawks: Despite scoring 12 points, Seattle gave you some very good receiving totals here. Ben Obomanu (4 for 107) and Sidney Rice (7 for 102) both went over 100, with Doug Baldwin having a WR3-type day (5 for 73). Marshawn Lynch had just 24 yards and lost a fumble, but did get you a rushing TD. And Tarvaris Jackson threw for 323 yards, though no TDs. The Bengals offense didn’t fare much better; it was their D and special teams that really produced, especially in the 4th quarter. Andy Dalton was serviceable (168, 2 TDs), Bernard Scott was ok in Cedric Benson’ absence (76 rushing), while A.J. Green (4 for 63) and Jerome Simpson (1 for 14) caught the touchdowns.

Browns v. 49ers: Colt McCoy (241 passing, TD, 30 rushing, fumble lost), Josh Cribbs (2 for 56, TD), and Ben Watson (3 for 64) were Cleveland’s only halfway solid performers. Frank Gore gave you another great show (134 rushing, TD), but let’s hope you didn’t put too much stock in Alex Smith (177, TD, 22 rushing). Michael Crabtree actually isn’t looking bad lately: he went 5 for 54 with a score here, to follow up on his 9 catch, 77 yard day two weeks ago. Hey, baby steps, right?

Patriots v. Steelers: The Steelers are, like the Giants, a team transitioning the last few years from bruising running team to air it out passing offense. Ben R. was over 300 again (365, 2 TDs), and he spread the ball around to 9 different receivers, so no one really had an elite day. Heath Miller (7 for 85), Antonio Brown (9 for 67, TD) and Mewelde Moore (2 for 29, TD, 16 rushing) were your fantasy performers. For the Pats, Tom Brady had a very uncharacteristically mediocre day (198, 2 TDs), but against Pittburgh’s superlative D, you’ll take it. Rob Gronkowski (7 for 94), Deion Branch (4 for 36, TD) and Aaron Hernandez (2 for 9, TD) rewarded you if you stuck with N.E. skill position players here – well, not if you stuck with Wes Welker, he had his worst fantasy day of the year.

Cowboys v. Eagles: The sleeping giant has awoken! Well, at least it is stirring. Philly’s star backfield definitely showed up for this one, as Michael Vick (279 passing, 2 TDs, 50 rushing, zero turnovers!) and Shady McCoy (185 rushing, 2 TDs, 15 receiving) were owning Dallas all night. Jeremy Maclin (3 for 54) and Brent Celek (7 for 94) caught the touchdowns, while Jason Avant snuck in a solid game (5 for 74). Sorry if you own DeSean Jackson, he didn’t join the party (3 for 31). For the ‘Boys, Tony Romo was pedestrian at best (203, TD) despite throwing 35 passes, and only Laurent Robinson of all people made an impact receiving wise (5 f0r 103, TD). DeMarco Murray had only 74 yards, but on 8 carries, as Philly’s early lead negated his play-making ability out of the backfield.

Chiefs v. Chargers: This one was a fantasy bust all around until the 2nd half. That’s when Matt Cassel (261, TD, fumble lost) and Philip Rivers (369 passing, lost fumble) threw for most of their yardage. However, the receivers who benefitted were not named Bowe or Jackson. Jonathan Baldwin (5 for 82, TD) led KC while Malcolm Floyd (5 for 107) led SD. Antonio Gates was also in the mix (4 for 73). On the ground, Jackie Battle was productive (70 yards, TD), Ryan Mathews gained over 100 total (57 rushing, 55 receiving, lost fumble) while Curtis Brinkley, filling in for the injured Mike Tolbert, was a surprise fantasy asset (43 rushing, 24 receiving, rushing TD).

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