This week I’m going to bring you guys something a little different. I’m going to provide you a list with some of the best starts in fantasy football for the entire week. I’m going to try and provide a wide variety of every position, excluding kickers. So let’s take a look at who I think are the best starts for this week eight of fantasy football.
Must Start Players:
Quarterbacks: Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions and Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
On this first one I’m going with a single matchup, that’s destined to have some big time fantasy implications for this week. Sure we have some player like Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, but I want to focus on the quarterbacks. Both Romo and Stafford are having excellent fantasy seasons, and have been great to their owner, but this might be a huge week for both, as the defense involved, believe it or not, tend not to play a lot of defense. Right now the Lions are 28th in the league versus the pass, and the Cowboys are 30th versus the pass. Yikes. Romo and Stafford are both major gunslingers, and will be looking to air it out all day long, especially to big time receivers like Johnson and Bryant, both capable of hitting the home run ball whenever they are on the field. Right now I would give the advantage to Romo, just because he’s less likely to run the ball with Murray still hurt, and he also has a more complete set of weapons with Witten, Williams and Austin behind Bryant, while Stafford relies a bit too much on Johnson for the most part. Both are primed for big weeks, so make sure they’re in your lineups come game time.
Running Backs: Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers and Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Starting with Frank Gore, he’s going to have an absolute field day this week versus the worst rushing defense in football, and punching bag, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have already given up over 1000 yards rushing through their first seven games of the season, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be giving up a lot of yards to the fourth leading rusher in the NFL. I expect the 49ers to get out to a big lead, and not look back, and by halftime the game should probably be over, meaning it’s Gore time. Lots of carries in the second half, Gore will pile up the yards, and should also have a couple of goaline opportunities, which is fantasy gold.
The second player I want to cover is Knowshon Moreno, surprisingly the fifth leading point getter among running backs, and is also ready for a big day against the Redskins. Peyton Manning will be coming out in what I like to call “Pissed Off” mode, and I think will run right over the poor Redskins defense. How does this effect Moreno? Second half blowout touchdowns, and plenty of redzone chances. If Manning is going to go god mode like I think he might against them, then Moreno is ready to grab a touchdown, and plenty of carries, and maybe even carry you to a fantasy win.
Wide Receivers: Victor Cruz, New York Giants and Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons
The New York Giants take on the Philadelphia Eagles this week, and this could be a big bounce back game for Victor Cruz. The Philadelphia Eagles have trouble defending anything, and the pass just happens to be what they deal with the worst. They also don’t have a shutdown cornerback that can take other great wide receivers out of the game, or at least hold them in check. Cruz has had an up and down season, but at least the Giants have some momentum rolling with a win against the Vikings, and even though Eli Manning has been an interception machine, he’s capable of putting up some big numbers, and loves throwing that deep ball. Cruz is the guy who loves getting down field and making the big play, and with how weak the Eagles secondary is, I would expect some fireworks this game from him.
The second receiver I’d like to talk about is Harry Douglas. This guy had a career game last week for the Falcons, who were missing both Julio Jones and Roddy White. Matt Ryan has had Douglas around for a few years now, but with Gonzalez, White and Jones in front of him, was never really given enough time to show what he can do. Well we all saw it, and I wouldn’t expect Matt Ryan to slow down much, as they showed they aren’t really changing their offense despite these losses. He might not have as good of a game, but a very good one nonetheless.
Tight Ends: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots and Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
It’s been a rather rough year for tight ends, as the drop off from the elite four, Graham, Thomas, Cameron and Davis, is fairly large, but fear not! The best tight end in football returned last week for the Patriots, and Tom Brady spammed him over and over again, all day long. Rob Gronkowski showed that he wasn’t really that rusty as he put up some fantastic numbers, and was targeted an astonishing 17 times on the day! If that doesn’t scream desperation for Brady, I don’t know what it is. Amendola might return this week, but that shouldn’t hurt Gronk in the slightest. He’ll get closer and closer to full speed as the season continues, so expect Gronk to only get better and better. He’s back to being full time starting in your lineup.
The other tight end I’d like to cover is one of the those four elite, high scoring tight ends, Vernon Davis. While he’s a top four tight end this year, he hasn’t exactly shown that all season. Most of his points came in two games, about 53 of his 82 to be precise, but I think he’s primed for a big week again. He’s facing the Jaguars. Not enough? Well he’s Kaepernick’s favorite target, and security blanket, so he’ll get a ton of looks all day, and is always a deep threat over the middle.
Defenses: Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers
The Kansas City Chiefs may seem like a no brainer at this point, but the crazy thing is, the highest scoring defense in fantasy football is still only owned in under 90% of leagues. These guys have been great this year, picking of some passes here and there, but the real value lies in their monstrous sack numbers. They’ve already tallied 35 sacks on the year, ten ahead of the next closest team, and are primed to kick the crap out of a reeling Browns team. The Browns line isn’t exactly top quality, and the Chiefs are able to get great pressure on any line in the league, and having Jason Campbell back at quarterback should also help. Start the Chiefs people, and if you’re lucky enough to still have them on the waiver wire, PICK THEM UP!
The other defense here is the Carolina Panthers, another very solid defense that’s putting up big time fantasy points, and is ranked fourth in fantasy points, and is only owned in 39% of leagues! They get to go up against a very shaky Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, that just lost their offense in Doug Martin. The Panthers should be able to pressure Mike Glennon pretty easily, and make his life miserable. This should make your life fantastic, if you start the Panther defense against this winless team.
I asked Musket Fire staff writer JT McGrath about some of his must starts for the week, and here’s what he was able to give me: