Matt Ryan – ATL vs. TB
After allowing the Redskins’ largest comeback in franchise history this past Sunday (24 points), it’s safe to say the days of Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brooks and company feel like a distant memory. This Buccaneers defense is flat-out atrocious and a visit to Atlanta with Matt Ryan and the 6-1 Falcons isn’t going to stop the bleeding. Playing on the road the previous two weeks and managing only four TDs in Ryan’s last four games, a stop back at the Georgia Dome is just what the doctor ordered. It speaks volumes that over that same four-game span Julio Jones hasn’t topped the 100 yard mark in receiving, which bodes well for the chances of an imminent explosion from this high-powered passing attack. I expect Matty Ice to throw for 250+ yards and multiple scores in what should be a route of the hapless Bucs.
Cam Newton – CAR vs. IND
Coming off a season-worst performance against the Eagles on Sunday Night, Cam Newton and the Panthers look towards an impending matchup against the Colts to get things back on track on Monday night. Despite three Interceptions, Newton still managed to get 17 fantasy points in a lackluster effort. As a run-first oriented offense and Jonathan Stewart on the heels of a 125-yard performance vs. Philly, expect the Colts to try and stop the run-first. Combine that defensive game plan with a Colts secondary allowing 286 yards a game through the air and it’s a safe bet that Cam will improve on his 197 passing yards and one passing touchdown performance from last week.
Eli Manning – NYG @ NO
In what will be a homecoming of sorts for Louisiana natives Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle, Sunday has all of the fixings for a successful reunion in the Bayou. After averaging 22 fantasy points in weeks 2 – 5, Eli scuffled in weeks 6 and 7 against divisional foes Philly and Dallas. This week Eli is primed to right the ship against a New Orleans secondary, which has allowed a whopping 276 passing yards per game. With the Giants running-back carousel still in limbo, and a Saints defense that has allowed at least 20 + points in all seven games this season, fantasy owners can expect fireworks from the Giants passing game this week.
Eight days after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had guaranteed immunity for his pair of coordinators, both suffered demotions on Tuesday. The Cowboys promoted their defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, to defensive coordinator in the wake of demoting Monte Kiffin to an assistant head coaching role. Marinelli excelled in the role under Lovie Smith in Chicago from 2010-2012, as the Bears were one of the most efficient defensive units during that span. However, Marinelli will have a more difficult time in Dallas without the services of guys like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, and Charles Tillman.
As for the other side of the ball, the merry go ’round of offensive play callers has a new horse: Scott Linehan. Linehan served as Matthew Stafford’s liason from 2009-2013 and wasn’t shy about letting ‘Staff air it out, as Stafford compiled an average of 4,885 yards and 675 pass attempts over the last three seasons. While that may be good news for Tony Romo’s fantasy ceiling, it doesn’t exactly add up to getting the Cowboys out of the basement, where they have missed the playoffs each of the last four years.
Last year’s offensive coordinator, Bill Callahan, suffers a demotion to the offensive line after just one year as OC. Need I say that’s typical Jerry Jones-Cowboys culture. Callahan is obviously not pleased and is reportedly set to seek work elsewhere.
Think of the Cowboys franchise like a game of Jenga. They both begin by stacking piece by piece, while the rest of those watching can’t help but brace for the inevitable collapse.
The only real difference between a game of Jenga and the Cowboys is that in a game of jenga you use wood blocks to build a foundation, whereas the Cowboys seemingly use weightless objects that float away into the wind after the pieces crumble.
Coming into fantasy drafts this year, Texans RB Arian Foster was one of the most controversial 1st round picks. Combine his heavy workload over the last few years with his injury situation in training camp and Foster’s status as a first-round pick was far from a guarantee. Now Foster’s season has come to an end, just 10 weeks in, after he sustained a back injury in last week’s game that will require season-ending injury.
It’ll be hard to imagine Foster regaining his elite fantasy status moving forward as his tires continue to accumulate wear and tear. There was some speculation that the Texans would let Ben Tate walk next off-season, but that notion is surely to be second-guessed with Foster’s health in question. With the uncertainty at the QB and RB positions heading into the future, the Texans will be hard-pressed to duplicate their dominance from recent years.
On the heels of a big win over the divisional rival Patriots, there are many candidates for Jets player of the game. Geno Smith, Antonio Allen, Jeremy Kerley; the official who made a pivotal 15-yard penalty call on the Patriots in overtime. But of all the people who were on the premises at MetLife stadium for yesterday’s game, it’s pretty clear who notched the “douchebag of the game” award.
As a Hofstra alumnus, it’s disappointing to see the idiot in this video wearing the jersey of Wayne Chrebet, who is a fellow Hofstra graduate. This is one of the most deplorable acts for a “man” to do and I really hope he ended up behind bars in New Jersey last night.
The long and arduous recovery process for Rob Gronkowski appears to be over. According to Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, Gronk has been cleared by all of his doctors (the last being Dr. James Andrew) to return to game action this Sunday vs. the Jets. While you can probably expect Gronk to be on a snap count, he’s immediately a top-of-the line TE1 this week, even more so with Jimmy Graham on the bye. After enduring four surgeries to his left forearm along with back surgery, the Patriots have expressed extreme caution with their star tight end, which led to conflicting reports on Gronk’s timetable to return. With Gronkowski receiving clearance for this weekend, Patriots fans and fantasy owners alike can look forward to the season debut for one of the game’s most dynamic players.
After sitting out last week vs. the Packers, Calvin Johnson’s status coming into this week was extremely hazy. However, as the week drags on and an impending matchup with the Browns draws near, the Lions are hopeful for a Megatron return. While it was reported earlier in the day that Johnson wouldn’t practice at all leading up to Sunday, reports came out around Noon today, citing that Johnson was on the practice field sporting a knee brace.
Johnson was only partaking in individual position drills, but the fact he was able to practice at all remains a good sign. Continue to monitor his status leading up to game time on Sunday, as there should be more updates regarding his status. If there’s a silver lining with Megatron’s knee issues, it’s that the Lions play at 1 p.m. on Sunday, which will allow owners to figure out if he is active/inactive before Sunday’s games kick-off.