Okay folks, we are onto week eight in the NFL season, which means another trip to London, England. Let’s sidetrack here for a minute. I was lucky to have visited the great city of London in May during the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The experience of being around the fans of both teams and the overall fans of the game of soccer watching the final in one of the local pubs was an unforgettable experience. I don’t see American football making any inroads in England for awhile. A game a year is okay for branding, but I don’t think it is fair for one team to lose a home game for it. Speaking of the sporting fans across the pond, they love their soccer and live and die along with their teams. There are no NFL jerseys being worn or sold on the streets. But, there are soccer ones sold all over the place. I love the city of London and think they do a great job embracing the experiment of the NFL in England. If you go into Lillywhites located in Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London, you do not see a sign of the NFL throughout their six floors of sporting goods and apparel. And this is one of the top sporting stores in all of Europe (there is a full floor of soccer jerseys from around the globe). So, in the end, I do not see this experiment of the NFL in England working more than a game here and there. NFL Europe did not work, so why would a full-time team work in England? I believe it will be like soccer here. There are some big fans, but it will not catch on as a major force.
Now, back on track to a recap of week seven and let’s instead focus on the Jacksonville Jaguars continuing to be horrible in a home matchup against the San Diego Chargers, Peyton Manning getting beat in his return to Indianapolis, and the horrible display of football between the New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night (can we flex these games too?).
Week seven meant a chance to cement your team as a true contender at the top of your division or one that may just play spoiler down the stretch. Also, another week of fantasy football means another week of hits and misses from this column. The hits: Harry Douglas, Brandon Gibson, Alshon Jeffery, DeAngelo Hall (no interception but he did have three pass deflections), Keenan Allen, Kendall Wright, Jarrett Boykin, and Anthony Fasano (said three catches for 30 yards and got four catches for 27 yards). The rest are classified as misses. None-the-less, read this to help you find a few golden nuggets, err diamonds to help you win at fantasy football and perhaps win a little money while you are at it by heading to MyTopSportsbooks.com.
Remember: This column is not designed to spotlight the top options at each position. If you are looking for advice on start/sit options or top players at a specific position, check out our rankings and other columns throughout the week. This is going to be a weekly spotlight of one player from each game this weekend that has a shot to be a nice flex or last starting option (a WR3 or RB3 for example). Will they all produce a large number of points? No. These are nice lottery tickets to fill in on your team and give you a chance to steal the win.
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
Kris Durham (Detroit Lions) – Kris Durham may not be fast, but he’s tall and big, which makes him a nice target for the pass-happy Lions. It also helps that he was college teammates with Matthew Stafford at Georgia and has developed a nice rapport over the years of playing together. Stafford threw to Durham eight times with five connections for 41 yards. While he may not put up the largest point totals every week, he does get the poor Cowboys defense at home this Sunday. The Lions will be involved in a shootout, one in which most of the offense should benefit from. Durham gets six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
Ryan Succop (Kansas City Chiefs) – My first selections would be the Kansas City Chiefs defense against Jason Campbell (forgot he was still in the league) and Jamaal Charles. After those two, maybe Jordan Cameron and then the Ryan Succop would be where I look. There is not much offense to come out of this game. The Browns defense is pretty good and the Chiefs offense sputters a lot throughout the course of the game. That sputtering offense will provide Succop with the chance to have a few field goals and an overall nice day. Succop gets three field goals and two extra points.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Daniel Thomas (Miami Dolphins) – Coming out of the bye week, Daniel Thomas surprisingly got 12 carries for 60 yards against the Buffalo Bills last week (more than Lamar Miller’s nine carries). It will be interesting to watch who will be getting the carries in the weeks coming. The Patriots were shredded by Chris Ivory, so it is not going to take any special back to get a good day against the injury-filled Patriots defense. The Dolphins may look to ball possession to keep Tom Brady off the field and this will give Thomas more chances to tote the rock. If you are desperate, Thomas may have a nice day. He gets 15 carries for 70 yards and a possible score.
Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints
Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills) – Jackson has been a solid force once again for New York’s team (yes they are the only team to play their home games in the state of New York). With C.J. Spiller hurt and unlikely to make an impact once again this week, Jackson needs to step up and carry the load. He may be a bit hurt as well, but I believe he will be in the lineup as always and will have another solid day at the office. He gets 15 carries for 55 yards and a score.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles) – Cooper has found a nice place in the Eagles offense and has been productive the past two weeks. He snagged six catches for 88 yards last week against the Dallas Cowboys after getting four catches for 120 yards and a score a week before. Now, he gets a weak Giants defense (doing well against the Vikings is not a sign of a turnaround). The Eagles could find themselves in a shootout and rely on Cooper to get some looks outside along with DeSean Jackson. Cooper gets five catches for 75 yards.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (in London, England)
Mike Brown (Jacksonville Jaguars) – I’m the first to admit that I’ve never heard of this guy before the last two weeks. But, it seems that Mike Brown may have carved out a niche in the Jaguars offense. They have to throw the ball a lot to keep in games while playing from behind so there is a lot of throws to go around. So, Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts will get there usual production, but Mike Brown could have a nice day here and there. I see him as a Mike Thomas type of player that was a productive talent in Jacksonville in the past. If the 49ers have a weakness, it is in their slot receiver coverage. Brown gets four catches for 45 yards and maybe a garbage touchdown.
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals
Jeremy Kerley (New York Jets) – Kerley’s targets per game has been sneakily going up as the weeks wear on this season. He had seven targets two games ago against the Steelers and 10 targets last week against the Patriots along with 97 yards and a score. The Bengals’ pass defense has been struggling the past few weeks, giving up big numbers to the Lions and Bills. So, Kerley could have a nice day at the office this Sunday. He gets six catches for 65 yards and a score.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
Shaun Suisham (Pittsburgh Steelers) – Another kicker? Yep and Suisham is worth being put in this column. He has been a top fantasy point producer for the Steelers these past few weeks as Big Ben and the rest of the Steelers have been unable to get the ball across the goal line. He has eight field goals in the two weeks since the bye week and will continue to put up top five kicker points week after week as long as the Steelers sputter out in the red zone over and over. The Raiders have been solid at home (2-1) and can put up a fight defensively every now and again. The Steelers will continue to struggle getting touchdowns on the road during this West Coast trip and Suisham will have a stellar day with three field goals and two extra points.
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos
Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins) – Reed had his breakout game a week ago against the Chicago Bears with nine catches for 134 yards and a score. While he may not put up those kinds of numbers week in and week out, Reed is a special talent. His athleticism is at the top of the spectrum among tight ends in the NFL and he showed that throughout his career at the University of Florida. It seems that RGIII has developed a rapport with the young tight end and has made him the number two receiving threat. Reed is a mismatch against mostly any defense, especially the weak Broncos defense that has not stood up well against the passing attacks of the Cowboys and the Colts in the past few games. Reed gets seven catches for 65 yards and a score.
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
Harry Douglas (Atlanta Falcons) – It is the same thinking as last week. With Julio Jones out and Roddy White most likely out, it’s time for the other Falcons to step up, especially the other wide receivers. It is going to be on the veteran Douglas to step it up once again and produce on the outside. He grabbed seven passes for a career-high 149 yards and a touchdown, so it seems that he will be the main wide receive in Atlanta for the time being. Matt Ryan and the Falcons like to lean on their passing attack game in and game out. He gets five catches for 85 yards and a score.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Jarrett Boykin – Coming into last week’s contest, he had one catch on the season and only six in his career. But, he had eight catches for 103 yards and a score against the Cleveland Browns to cement a status as a WR3/Flex play weekly. And now he’s got the opportunity to make even a bigger mark with Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley out for awhile and James Jones possibly out again this week. The Packers may rely on the run game again with Eddie Lacy producing and the top receivers out. But, Aaron Rodgers likes to sling it around and he showed he will continue to throw in last week’s game. Boykin will continue get a lot of single coverage as the spotlight is on Jordy Nelson in the passing game. Boykin will use his great speed to get five catches for 75 yards and a score.
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
Zac Stacy (St. Louis Rams) – Yes, it is a horrible matchup for Stacy against the great Seahawks defense. But, Kellen Clemens is now the starting quarterback for the Rams and they need to rely on a steady running attack if they have any chance to win on Monday night. Stacy is the lead back in St. Louis and has been getting the bulk of the carries week after week. Due to the matchup, I like him as a flex play. He gets 60 yards on 22 carries and a possible score.
As you head out into the rest of week eight in the NFL, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. This is all about filling that last flex spot in your starting lineup with a guy that has a good matchup or a solid chance of production. These guys are my best options for that to occur. I wish everyone luck in their eighth week of the season and hope your team solidifies a playoff position.