AFC and NFC South Week 8 Preview

So the Colts, Texans and Titans are on bye this week…..I guess this is going to be a super short preview. Jacksonville flies to England to play the San Francisco 49ers…..and they are the underdog by 17 points (at the time of writing)……will they cover?!

San Francisco at Jacksonville (In London!)

Okay, Chad Henne threw for 300+ yards last week which bodes well for ONLY his receivers. Like I said this is going to be short – you’re starting Justin Blackmon for sure. He has averaged 8 receptions for almost 130 yards per game since returning, while only finding the end zone once. Jacksonville is going to be down in this game for sure, so I have confidence that Blackmon (and Shorts) are going to be targeted a lot and will have a ton of catches/yards. Hope that they both find the endzone, but I think both are solid plays this week.

MJD……such promise this season. Only 9 carries last week and is only averaging 14 carries per game this season. I’m completely out on him and he doesn’t have a great match up again this week (does he ever??) – they’re going to be behind, he hasn’t been involved in the passing game (just 10 receptions this year) so he likely won’t put up a big game. If you’re decimated at RB and have to start him due to bye/injuries, pray for a TD.

NFC South

Another short one – Tampa Bay and Carolina play on Thursday night, so check out our podcast on Wednesday night for a preview on that game! I don’t know what else will go wrong in Tampa, but hey, there’s lots of season left. New Orleans coming off a bye gets the lowly Bills coming off a huge win against Miami. Atlanta heads to Arizona to take on the tough Cardinals run defense…..good thing they don’t run the ball well anyway or we may have a problem.

Buffalo at New Orleans

Drew Brees at home….against the 20th best pass defense in the league. They’ve given up 15 passing TDs so far this year – expect Brees to put up at least 3 TD and a ton of yards, as usual. This could be an especially good game for Brees, after the heartbreaking loss in New England two weeks ago – I could see Sean Payton have his foot to the floor and on the gas the entire game. Just in case you were wondering – Brees’ stats at home this year in 3 games: 1112 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs, with a rating of 117.2. Yeah, he could be the #1 QB this week.

The Saints running back situation continues to be a cloudy mess. It’s a mess in the sense that they use all the guys back there, rather than the mess that is the Giants backfield. Sproles is the guy who is going to catch a ton of passes and get some carries here and there…..a PPR stud all the time. Pierre Thomas gets a lot of work in the passing game and will get some carries against a Bills rush defense that ranks 28th in the league, giving up 123 yards per game. Robinson (and Ingram if he plays) will also be involved here and there, frustrating Sproles/PT owners to no end. Moral of the story, start Sproles and start Pierre if you’re shallow at RB in PPR.

So…..Jimmy Graham might not play. As a Saints fan, that SUCKS. For fantasy, its not fun to be missing your best player for 2 weeks in a row. Monitor the injury and practice reports – if he plays you’re starting him. There’s no Talib to shut him down this week. If he doesn’t play, Ben Watson is an interesting guy if you’re desperate – he may have an increased role and Brees and Payton love to use their TEs (David Thomas the last few years). That being said, if Graham is out, Colston gets a huge boost. He may finally have his huge game, like last year when Jimmy Graham was out. I think Colston is a must start this week, especially with all the injuries, byes, and the fact that he had a week off to recover from whatever is causing his mediocrity. Kenny Stills is another guy to monitor – in a deeper league he could be a great play this week, especially if Graham is out. He’s been getting more and more involved every week and is always a threat to score a TD with Brees throwing to him.

Atlanta at Arizona

Julio out…..Roddy Out…..Gonzo shut down…..oh Matt Ryan still puts up 275 yards and 3 TDs last week against a solid Tampa Bay defense. Matt Ryan is a better passer than Russell Wilson….who just torched this pass defense on Thursday night. Maybe it was a short week, or maybe they aren’t all that great. I like Matt Ryan a ton this week – he still has some weapons to play with.

So who expected Harry Douglas to just go off? Definitely not me…..it was surprising but it looks like Tampa Bay keeps playing zone defense and great QBs can slice and dice the zone if they see it. I like Harry Douglas a lot this week, I say ride him out until he disappoints! Come on, Sidney Rice caught a long TD against this defense. Zach Miller had a good game against this defense last week, so expect Gonzalez to have a very, very good week. Listen, the Falcons are going to move the ball, they’re going to throw it, and throw it, and throw it. Gonzalez and Harry Douglas will have good games and they’re the only guys worth starting. Monitor Roddy’s status but I wouldn’t risk putting him unless he’s fully practicing all week.

The Atlanta backfield and running game……yuck. Steven Jackson looks like he won’t return this week, but even if he does, the Arizona run defense ranks 7th in the league in yards per game, giving up 3.6 YPC (6th best in the league). Atlanta looks to have abandoned the run game (just 15 rushes last week) and it was split basically down the middle: 8 for Rodgers and 7 carries for Snelling. The bright spot? Jacquizz is heavily involved in the passing game – 18 catches for 117 yards and 2 TDs over the past 3 games. If you’re really desperate for a running back (mainly in PPR) I think Jacquizz could be decent this week, hoping he gets into the endzone. Snelling has the tendency to vulture those short rushing TDs from Jacquizz, but Arizona has only given up 3 TDs on the ground through 7 games, so I wouldn’t count on a TD on the ground from either of these guys.

 

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