Hogs & Dogs: Week 8
Hellooooooo fantasy friends! Welcome to week eight of the fantasy season! We are halfway through the regular season and boy is the season flying. The NFL season is our favorite so of course it’s the shortest of the sports seasons. But, half way done means we still have some great football left to be played. This week have some more great info for you as you look to make those lineup adjustments and propel yourself further up the standings.
This installment is our Wednesday special, our weekly start and sit article that we like to get out to you before Thursday night’s game. While discussing starts and sits in Hogs and Dogs, we also like to sprinkle in some buy lows, sell highs, and contrarian views that might not exactly mesh with what the majority of other experts are saying. We like to give you a different perspective on the NFL while also delivering some helpful advice that can translate to your league.
Dak Prescott – Rookie quarterbacks are having quite the year. Dak, Wentz, Brissett, Lynch, and Kessler have all looked good in different situations this year. Some have spot started while others have become the full time starter, but most have looked at least decent while under center. Dak is in a precarious situation with Jerry Jones continuing to say that Tony Romo will be the starter when he returns. In the meantime, Dak has looked good, albeit with a somewhat limited playbook as he continues to learn the offense. He also gets Dez back this week, which can only help the situation. Look for Dak to make it even harder for Dallas to swap him out for Romo after this week’s primetime matchup against Philadelphia.
Marcus Mariota – The pride of Oregon has really made a name for himself this year. Last year was not great, especially with the mid-season coaching change and the poor play across all aspects of the game. It was to most people’s surprise that Mike Mularkey was brought back to coach this team. But this year things have better for Tennessee who continues to play gritty football behind a strong offensive line. Just look at DeMarco Murray’s numbers from this year. Mariota has led Tennessee to wins in two of their last three while averaging 24.99 fantasy points over that period. He has turned into a great streaming, if not consistently starting option for a lot of fantasy teams. The train should keep on rolling with their upcoming schedule featuring the likes of Jacksonville, San Diego, Green Bay, Indy, and Chicago. The Titans, and in turn Mariota, can continue to be successful if DeMarco can keep the defense honest and Mariota can continues to utilize his escape and running ability. Who knows, maybe Tennessee can finally be playing for something late in the season with how bad the AFC South is.
Matt Jones – Jones has been considered almost every week for this article, but I’ve yet to include him this year. Let me tell you, I haven’t been on a roller coaster like this in a long time. Jones’ point totals starting in week 1: 3.30, 12.50, 7.90, 20.80, 3.60, 20.50, and 0.70. Wow. So if the trend continues, we should pencil Jones in for 20+ points this week. That’s about the only thing that’s keeping him in the Hog conversation this week rather than being down below with the Dogs. But with the good comes the bad, and that’s just what Jones was last week as he had more butter fingers and couldn’t hold onto the pill. He has three official fumbles on the year, though there have been many close calls and poor exchanges that have been a result of his baby paws. If he wants to hold onto his job, he needs to hold onto the ball. Jay Gruden is probably down to his last chance with Jones, so if he fumbles again this week, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s benched for a week or two. Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson have been stealing significant work from him because of these problems. Jones needs to regain the trust of his coaches and start back out his role there in Washington. If he loses out on goal line and passing down work again this week, then Jones might be sittable going forward. But, having Jones on a few of my teams, I think he does bounce back this week and I’ll be starting him with confidence as an RB2. As we always like to say, caveat emptor.
Demaryius Thomas – DT has really solidified himself as an every week low end WR1/high end WR2 in my opinion. He’s not in the elite tier that he used to be as most of his games are capped at one touchdown and probably around 100 yards, but Thomas has been one of the safest plays in fantasy this year. Through seven games, he has put up double digit fantasy points in five of them and is on pace for 85 catches for 1,042 yards and 9 touchdowns. Those are the numbers we were familiar with when he played with Peyton. I expect him to actually surpass those projections this year, as he has seen double digit targets in back to back games after only seeing 7 at most in weeks one through five. Trevor Siemian also appears to have more trust in DT than he had at the beginning of the season, which obviously helps things. Look for DT to finish the season as a middle of the pack WR1 as I expect things to only get better between him and Siemian. Just work on them drops young man!
Blake Bortles – This one should be obvious to most of you by now. Bortles has sometimes been in that conversation of bad real life quarterback, good fantasy quarterback. But these days, he’s not a good quarterback whatsoever and there have got to be much better options for your team on the wire. Bortles has surpassed 20 points just twice this season through six games. His last two games have resulted in 10.94 and 13.14 points respectively, with three interceptions combined over that period. On the season he only has 9 touchdowns to go along with 9 picks, and in standard scoring he’s the seventeenth best quarterback this year. Woof. That whole offense continues to be in shambles. Drop his ass now and grab Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota, Dak Prescott, or even Eli Manning for heaven’s sake. I’d play any of them over him before I give him another shot.
C.J. Anderson – If you sold high after the first few weeks of the season, great move. If you held onto C.J. then it’s been rough sledding for you my friend. What we thought was a great offensive line after they man-handled Carolina and Indianapolis has actually revealed itself as those teams having some bad defensive lines. Besides Monday night against Houston, that Denver offensive line was looking worse and worse each week. Weeks three through six for Anderson resulted in an average of 7.15 fantasy points per game. You were drafting Anderson as an RB1 or RB2 and those numbers are not going to cut it, as my friend O.T. Genasis likes to say. Then Monday night happened, and Anderson ran wild for 107 yards on 16 carries. Problem is Devontae Booker appears to have turned this backfield into a full-fledged 50-50 time share, as he handled the rock 17 times Monday night. Each guy came away with a touchdown, but Booker actually out snapped Anderson 35-28. If Denver’s offensive line can piggy back off week seven’s performance then Anderson and Booker can each be viable assets going forward. But I’m not sure I trust them to do that. Anderson is also being evaluated for a knee injury which he appears to have suffered in Monday night’s game. I’d be very cautious playing Anderson from here on out as it appears Denver prefers to keep each back fresh, similar to what Oakland has done with Latavius. Keep an eye on this situation as we wait to see how this injury plays out and Anderson seeks a second opinion.
Lamar Miller – It’s unfortunate that injuries are part of the game, but at this point we’ve all comes to terms with it as most of our teams have been annihilated in one league or another by them. Lamar Miller is not exempt from this rule, as we saw on Monday night when he hurt his shoulder on the third carry of the game. He was then constantly being spelled by Alfred Blue for the remainder of the evening. There is no doubt that if he didn’t get hurt, Houston would’ve been in this game right up until the end. The other aspect of this is that teams have gradually started to crowd the box and force Brock Osweiler to throw the ball; because why wouldn’t they?! Osweiler has been a disappointment so far with the Texans and their offensive weapons are feeling it. Detroit is a great matchup for Miller, but if they start to crowd the box and/or his injured shoulder start to bother him, we as fantasy owners could be in for a long day. I’m still starting him this week, but keep a close eye on the situation moving forward.
Julian Edelman – Things just don’t seem right and I’m not happy about this as a Patriots fan. It’s evident that Edelman is still feeling some ill effects from the foot surgery that he had last year. We know that these types of injuries can linger (see: Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Sammy Watkins), and have many setbacks. What’s unfortunate about the situation is that New England isn’t giving him the time off that we think he needs in order to recover fully from this. Granted we don’t know what’s best for him and the team, it appears that he still isn’t 100%. He isn’t making the same cuts and doesn’t appear to have the same quickness that we all remember. He has yet to surpass 8.20 points in a game this year and still hasn’t scored a touchdown. New England also has a plethora of weapons at Brady’s disposal with Marty B., Gronk, James White, Amendola, Hogan, etc. that make Edelman’s volume not as heavy as previous years. Unless you’re out of options this week, I’d heavily consider benching him as he has shaped into more of a WR4/5 so far this season. He should hopefully return to form after the Patriots’ bye week in week nine. Keep him stashed on your bench; I think big things are around the corner for he and Brady who are still working on getting on the same page. Hopefully his foot heals up over the bye and we can see the Julian we know and love.
And that does it. Good luck this week friends. Remember to send us your lineup questions on Twitter @TFFGurus, @TheFantasyBoys, and @DaFantasyFather, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help you, and if you can’t get enough of the Gurus be sure to check out Trophy Time, our twice a week podcast that you can find on iTunes, Google Play, etc. Also, if you have a player that you want to be covered in Hogs & Dogs please email or tweet us that player. I’d love to tackle a player or situation each week that either slipped my mind or I wasn’t going to originally include. So send in your conundrums and we’ll try to include some info for you! Finally, make sure to check out our Facebook page, The Fantasy Football Gurus.