Dallas Cowboys at DETROIT LIONS
Week 7 proved mortal foils like “health” and “fitness” don’t apply to transcendent players, and this week Calvin Johnson should feast on a Cowboys secondary that has been prone to giving up big plays all season. He should again be the top scoring WR this week. The Cowboys defense is also giving up the most points to opposing fantasy QBs, and as a result Matthew Stafford is locked in as a top-5 option this week.
Reggie Bush was held out of practice on Friday, so his status needs to be monitored coming up to the game. Whether he or Joique Bell get the start, there are plenty of points too be had. The Cowboys defense is giving up the 7th most total yards to running backs, something either Bell or Bush could take advantage of. If he’s good to go, Bush is a top-10 option, and should see at least 100 total yards.
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Until recently, we have been reluctant to recommend Joe Fauria as a viable fantasy start. Week 7 showed a complete change in his usage, being targeted more frequently, and not just in the red zone. He’s still a boom-or-bust player, but the Cowboys are giving up the 4th most points to tight ends.
CLEVELAND BROWNS at Kansas City Chiefs
Frankly, it’s very difficult to recommend any Browns players with any enthusiasm against one of the toughest defenses in the league. Jason Campbell will be getting the start under centre, and while he might be an improvement on Weeden, it’s hard to say his ceiling is significantly higher.
The two players to feel best about starting are Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, with the hopes that their significant talents can overcome the other obstacles in their way. Cameron retains his TE1 status as he should provide a safety valve for Campbell, and Gordon is a low-end WR2, as it’s too hard to count against his potential to break off a long score.
New York Jets at CINCINNATI BENGALS
When did Andy Dalton turn into a world beater? Over the last two weeks, Dalton has posted over 700 yards, 6 TDs, and just 1 INT. The Jets are quietly one of the best defenses in the league, but Dalton has enough weapons and the hot hand to ride with this week. AJ Green is the #1 ranked WR through 7 weeks, and should approach 100 receiving yards and a TD again.
The Jets defense is giving up the fewest yards to opposing running backs, and the 5th fewest points. It’s difficult to sit Gio Bernard unless you have a very strong bench, but he and BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be viewed as flex starters at best this week. The Bengals defense is a viable start this week, going against a rookie quarterback who runs hot and cold.
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PITTSBURGH STEELERS at Oakland Raiders
Ben Roethlisberger has been disappointing this season, and it is a stretch to believe he will suddenly become a touchdown machine in the game. The yardage might be there, but in an offense lacking in red zone options, he remains a QB2 option.
Le’Veon Bell is now unequivocally the Steelers’ bell cow back, with at least 16 carries in each of his 3 games since returning from injury. He was very impressive running against a stout Ravens defense last week, and should record over 80 yards and a TD this week.
The main options in the passing game remain Antonio Brown and Heath Miller, both of whom Roethlisberger looks to early and often. The Raiders defense has struggled against WRs this season, and Brown is a borderline WR1 this week. Miller is a lock for at least 60 yards receiving, and is 50/50 to score as well.
GREEN BAY PACKERS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The only Vikings player worth starting this week is Adrian Peterson, and even he has struggled over the last two games. Until the Vikings get some stability particularly at the QB position, it will remain a fantasy wasteland.
The Packers offense, on the other hand, continues to roll along in spite of the fact that they are missing key pieces. Aaron Rodgers has the ability to make ordinary players extraordinary, and this week is a top-3 option against a leaky Vikings secondary. Jordy Nelson remains a must start, and Jarrett Boykin is worth another shot as a WR2.
Eddie Lacy continues to see a surprising amount of work in the Green Bay backfield, and is a borderline RB1 this week. Andrew Quarless will see extended work in place of Jermichael Finley, but is not a viable option for week 8. The Packers defense is a top-10 option this week.