Hits & Misses – Week 8: Happy Halloween!

matt's bills pumpkinWith Halloween right around the corner, hopefully your fantasy teams are in for more treats than tricks! While there is no game on Sunday night due to the World Series, I’m excited for the treat we’ll all get on Monday night when we actually get to see a good football game (Falcons @ Saints), instead of what we were forced to witness last week. Make sure to set your rosters early on Saturday so that you don’t forget while you’re nursing that post-party hangover on Sunday!

Anyways, here are our “Hits” and “Misses” for week eight, listing players you want to make sure are in your lineup, as well as those you might consider shelving for the week (or at least lowering your expectations!) We start it off with a few big name running backs that you may be concerned about…

Running Back
Hits
Misses
Steve Slaton, Texans @ BUF – Slaton has started racking up the yardage (including receiving yards) and touchdowns over the past couple games and now he gets a great match-up against a Bills defense that has been lit up for between 116 and 312 rushing yards in every game over the past five weeks. Adrian Peterson, Vikings @ GB – Purple Jesus finds himself headlining the running back “Miss” column again this week as I see Favre’s return to Lambeau overshadowing everything else in this game. The Vikings and Packers will air it out all afternoon as each quarterback tries to prove that their current team’s made the right decision about having them as their starter.
Steven Jackson, Rams @ DET – Even with opposing teams knowing that S-Jax is the only semblance of offense that the Rams have to offer, he’s still racking up the yardage. Expect that trend to continue, but with his opponent this week being the woeful Lions, there is a much higher probability of a touchdown. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers @ ARI – Williams has run well over the past two weeks and is starting to look like the player that racked up 18 rushing touchdowns last year. However, the Cardinals run defense is solid, only allowing two teams to rush for over 100 yards this season. You’ll most likely keep Williams in your line-up, just lower your expectations some what.
Matt Forte, Bears vs CLE – Forte has had one good game all season and has to be in the running for “Most Disappointing Player of the Year.” However, his one good game came against a bad team (Lions), which is a good sign for this week’s match-up with the Browns (another bad team.) Ryan Grant, Packers vs MIN – As I said with Peterson, this game will be won/loss with the passing game, with the running game just being an after thought. Plus, the Vikings run defense is pretty darn good.
Quarterback
Hits
Misses
Tony Romo, Cowboys vs SEA – Since Miles Austin has taken the offense on his shoulders (something Roy Williams obviously couldn’t do), his quarterback has been playing a heck of a lot better. Romo has thrown for over 660 yards and five touchdowns in the past two games and should have another big game (at home) against the Seahawks. Donovan McNabb, Eagles vs NYG – McNabb played less-than-inspiring football against the Redskins last week (156 yards, 1 TD) and now he plays another tough defense with the Giants.
Brett Favre, Vikings @ GB – This just has the makings of a HUGE game for Favre. While the Packers pass defense has been pretty good this year, I don’t see them slowing down Brett Favre, who lives for these big games. Matt Ryan, Falcons @ NO – The Saints pass defense may be a little overrated this year, considering they’ve played the likes of Detroit, Buffalo, New York (Jets) and Miami to pad their stats, but they’re still pretty good. Matt Ryan has thrown five interceptions (vs six touchdowns) over his past three games and I expect a few more this Monday.
David Garrard, Jaguars @ TEN – Even with Tennessee coming off a BYE, I don’t see them improving drastically in pass defense. The Titans gave up 323 yards and three touchdowns to Garrard just four weeks ago and while I don’t expect quite as good numbers this time (as it’s in Tennessee), he should still have a big game. By the way, if you weren’t aware just how bad the Titans have been against the pass, let me give you their average stats allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks so far this season: 325 yards, 3.2 TD! Alex Smith, 49ers @ IND – If you were hoping that Smith would be a good BYE week plug-in after his three touchdown, near comeback performance last week, you could be in for a disappointment. In the past few games, Colts have limited quarterbacks (Bulger and Collins…about the quality of Smith) to around 150 yards and zero touchdowns…expect about the same from Smith (with a few interceptions sprinkled in for good measure.)
Wide Receiver
Hits
Misses
Brandon Marshall, Broncos @ BAL – Coming off a BYE, Marshall should be geared up and ready to put up big numbers against an overrated Ravens defense. Andre Johnson, Texans @ BUF – I don’t know about you, but a bruised lung doesn’t sound good to me! I suspect it will limit his breathing somewhat and possibly slow him down a bit, but that’s my non-medically-based assumption. Either way, he plays a tough Bills defense…IN Buffalo. Who knows what the weather is going to be like.
Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars @ TEN – Like Marshall, Sims-Walker (who was actually Marshall’s teammate at UCF…in case you didn’t know) is also coming off a BYE and has a great match-up against the worst pass defense in the NFL. Derrick Mason, Ravens vs DEN – Mason gets to go up against a refreshed Broncos pass defense that was already one of the tops in the league heading into their BYE week.
Devin Hester, Bears vs CLE – The Browns were recently beat up by the Packers and Steelers receivers and while the Bears might not have as much talent at the position, I think Jay Cutler will want to make up for his awful performance last week and Hester will be the recipient of a lot of his throws. Michael Crabtree, 49ers @ IND – While I may have underestimated Crabtree a bit last week, this could be the week where a lot of people overestimate him and think about plugging him into their line-ups. The 49ers are playing a Colts defense that has only allowed one touchdown to a wide receiver this year and I find it hard to believe that Moneytree will be the second.
Tight End
Hits
Misses
Jeremy Shockey, Saints vs ATL – Shockey loves the spotlight and what better place to strut his stuff than on Monday Night Football in New Orleans?! Tony Gonzalez, Falcons @ NO – After a quick start to the season, Gonzo’s numbers have dropped off a bit. This Monday it’s not going to get any easier for him either, playing the Saints in New Orleans…a team that hasn’t allowed a tight end to score a touchdown all season long.