Welcome to Week 8's version of underrated PPR players. As always, let's take a look at last week's picks and the year to date total +/-.
|Week 7 Results|
* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.
Best of the week: Russell Wilson – Wilson was the No. 1 QB in fantasy last week, scoring a monster 40.3 points, depending on your scoring system. He outscored Drew Brees and Cam Newton by a total of 35.8 points.
Runner-up: Jermaine Gresham – Gresham had one of the more interesting stat lines you will see – 10 catches on 12 targets for 48 yards. That’s an astonishingly poor 4.8 YPC. However, I picked him because I thought he would get the opportunities, which he did. His 14.8 points ranked 8th in a PPR last week, scoring a total of 20.2 points more than the competition.
Worst of the week: Cecil Shorts – Typically, a four-point performance from Shorts means he left the game with an injury. It is rare to see Shorts lead the team in targets and produce next to nothing, but such is life. The real reason for the large negative value was Roddy White, who ironically was the “worst of the week” just seven days ago. Coming off a terrible game at home against a weak secondary, he of course goes off on the road against a tough secondary. Fantasy football is a fickle mistress. Shorts netted me a total of -37.2 points.
Runner-up: Reggie Bush – Bush claimed to be near 100% going into the game, but he tweaked his injury early in the game and looked far from healthy even before that point. He was extremely disappointing against his former team and lost a total of 18.4 points.
Now, on to this week's picks ...
The Chiefs travel to St. Louis to take on a Rams team that ranks last in the league in defensive efficiency against the pass, and just gave up 40 points to the aforementioned Russell Wilson. Smith is no Wilson, but he can be a productive fantasy QB in the right matchup and is always a threat to gain some yards on the ground to buoy his numbers. Smith would be a good streaming option this week for QB-needy teams.
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
FantasyPros ECR – 13
Newton is finally starting to get his mobility back, posting back-to-back weeks of solid rushing numbers. While he did struggle through the air last week, Green Bay is unexpectedly in the upper echelon of passing defenses. The script flips a little this week. Seattle isn’t the same defense they were last season, they are vulnerable in the passing game due to a number of injuries to their No. 2 and No. 3 CBs. Ranking 22nd in defensive passing efficiency, Seattle doesn’t represent the terrifying matchup they used to. With Newton starting to get things going and Seattle in a slump, I think Newton posts solid QB1 numbers this week.
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Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 21
Ingram was wholly unimpressive in his return from injury last week, posting a 1.6 YPC over 10 totes. However, I believe that had a lot to do with getting re-acclimated to live game action and facing the best run defense in the league. I expected the Saints to ease him back in, but believed he would eventually earn the lead back role after he looked to have finally realized his potential early in the season. Well, Pierre Thomas’ injury may accelerate that timeline. While Thomas was the primary passing down back, he still managed more than a handful of carries each week. He leaves a lot of touches on the table. Ingram is by the far the most well-rounded back left in the Saints backfield and is perfectly capable of handling more passing-down work in addition to his ground game. Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson will be involved, but I think Ingram gets the majority of the touches this week.
The Saints play a must-win game against the Packers this week. While New Orleans will never be a run-first team under Payton, his game plans do typically focus on exposing a defense's weakness. This is usually the reason Saints players can be so inconsistent in fantasy each week. Well, if Payton stays true to that mold, the Saints will have a greater focus on the run game as the Packers D ranks in the bottom third on the ground. In addition, the Saints offensive line is one of the best in terms of run blocking, while the Packers D-line is below average. Given how poorly the Saints D has been, and in a must-win situation, their best option is to exploit the Packers defensive weakness while simultaneously limiting Aaron Rodgers' possessions.
Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts
FantasyPros ECR – 14
If Trent Richardson ends up playing his typical role, consider this null and void. I like Bradshaw this week regardless of if T-Rich plays, but his current ranking is in line with his usual role. What excites me about Bradshaw this week is the opportunity to handle a full workload for the first time this season. Extrapolate his stats across more touches and you have the production of a high end RB1. Did I mention that the Steelers are nothing more than a middling run defense that can be exposed, especially behind the Colts top 10 run blocking o-line?
Terrance Williams – Dallas Cowboys
FantasyPros ECR - 32
There isn’t a whole to say here other than the Cowboys are playing the Redskins this week. The same Redskins who rank 20th in pass efficiency, 22nd in fantasy points allowed, and have given up at least 27 points in all but three games this season.
James Jones – Oakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 39
Jones has had at least five targets in every game since Week 2, and has had at least 7.3 points in every game this season. Those numbers don’t blow anyone away, but there is something to be said for consistency. What’s interesting is that production has come against four of the best pass defenses in the league. With a great matchup on deck against the Browns, who rank 29th against WR1's, Jones is a good candidate to have a very solid game, likely something in the 13-16 point range. Not bad for a WR3.
Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts
FantasyPros ECR - 8
Allen is one of my favorite picks this week. The Steelers are one of the worst defenses against TEs – 24th in FPA and 29th in efficiency. Luck spreads the ball around and takes advantage of the defense’s weakness. Allen has been very involved in the offense in all but Week 2 and I don’t see any reason that doesn’t continue. I think Allen is a top-6 TE this week.
Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 8! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.