I’ve been a little lax in my Game Flowbotics player and match-up notes the past couple weeks, so I’ve refocused my efforts for Week 8. … I’m butting up against bedtime as I write this on Wednesday night, and I’ve blurbed my way through the first five games of the upcoming slate, including Thursday Night Football and the next London game. I’ll get through the rest of the Week 8 match-ups on Thursday, so check back in before Sunday if I haven’t yet examined your key fantasy options in the spreadsheet. With all that said, let’s dive right into the numbers:
As always, my ranks are a couple mouse-scrolls away, but for the space between, here are a few interesting Week 8 rankings situations…
Drew Brees (at home) vs. Seattle
I wrung my metaphorical hands over this ranking in the Game Flowbotics sheet, and I’m still wrestling with where to settle on Brees. On one hand, we saw Seattle shut down the Arizona offense in Week 7. On the other hand, Carson Palmer might not be a great quarterback anymore. With a once-again complete host of receiving threats to aim at, Brees has vaulted back into our good graces in fantasy.
Great defenses like the Seahawks are adept at removing one or two key offensive weapons from opposing game plans, but can Seattle stop all of Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, Michael Thomas, Coby Fleener, and Mark Ingram with a generational talent directing the offense from under center? I must be due for another vacation to the Neutral Planet because my guy says “maybe.” Ultimately, there aren’t a ton of passing match-ups lined up with quality signal callers this week, so I’m erring on the side of talent in a tough spot with Brees at QB6.
The Best Defense is…
Aside from the top-ranked Vikings and Broncos, most team defenses are difficult to peg given the schedule this week. The lack of solid options is intensified for early-slate DFS, where the Eagles and the aforementioned Vikings are not available. As a result, I’m drawn toward a few off-kilter options in Week 8.
My primary target for a defense/special teams is Kansas City. One might scoff at the choice to square off against Andrew Luck and the Colts, but I’m not scared off. The Chiefs show up for every game with solid defense, and I worry Luck’s lack of viable receivers is eventually going to catch up to him. Add in Kansas City’s ability to run the ball and control the clock with Spencer Ware, then you’ve got a recipe for a top-10 defense.
In the leagues where I’m streaming, my most common waiver claims on defense this week were the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. I like America’s team coming off a bye to face a rookie quarterback. Meanwhile, the improving Jags face a Tennessee team who have allowed at least seven fantasy points to all opposing defenses aside from the lowly Browns.
Mr. Rodgers’ Neighbors
It’s no secret the Packers are entering an easy match-up for passing production, but sorting out the pecking order among Green Bay’s receivers is anything but easy right now. My head tells me not to overreact to a single bad game from Jordy Nelson. Still, Davante Adams has the same number of touchdowns (5), and Randall Cobb has taken over the target lead for the Packers (55 to Jordy’s 51). Both Adams and Cobb also have more receiving yardage than Nelson.
Wait a minute — isn’t Jordy Nelson supposed to be the deep threat on this team? I’m afraid those days are over, as it seems Nelson’s explosion has officially been sapped by past injuries. Sure, he can be effective around the goal line, but so can Anquan Boldin. No disrespect to Boldin, who is having another nice season in a tremendous career, but Boldin’s preseason fantasy expectations were a lot different than Nelson’s. Again, these concerns could all be dispelled with a nice game in Atlanta, but I’m starting to believe Adams is the receiver to own in this offense (although, I’d venture this reaction to Adams is subconsciously tied to his affordable cost).
I haven’t even mentioned Ty Montgomery yet, who may have inadvertently unlocked Aaron Rodgers from his boring-offense shackles when Green Bay was forced to install the shifty receiver as an injury stopgap at running back. Montgomery is the Pack’s new floor-play at receiver, in the mold of Danny Woodhead or even his teammate Cobb, who continues to excel in those same areas. The result of injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks is a Green Bay offense tailored to Rodgers’ strengths — reading the defense and exploiting mismatches with smart, accurate throws.
Rodgers should have little trouble carving up the Falcons’ defense on Sunday, but how should we rank his receiving options? For the time being I’m embracing the floors of Cobb and Montgomery. Both are in my top-15 at the position. Nelson is next in line at WR17, primarily based on legacy and touchdown upside. Adams brings up the rear at WR22. Despite the excellent match-up, I’ll eventually need to fade at least one of these receivers to some extent. It’s extremely unlikely all four will finish in the top-25 at wide receiver, so stay tuned through Sunday to see how the rankings get updated. Without further ado, here they are…