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Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview: Sleepers, Busts and Booms

I hate trying to write "Fantasy Headlines" but I guess that's what draws attention to the masses. Anyways, if you've been with me all year, you know what to expect. My top five lists based on matchups and injuries that could help you to an important week eight victory.

Yes, we are halfway done with the fantasy regular season and technically even an 1-6 team might finish with a winning record. Don't give up!

There's a few good games this weekend and definitely some interesting matchups. Let's get to it.

The Five Sleepers

5. Jerome Simpson versus the Seahawks

He made headlines earlier this year with a huge marijuana bust, but he's also put up some huge numbers on the green from time to time. Simpsons has two games over 100 yards this year, and this week he's facing a Seattle defense that's lost its top two cornerbacks.

The Bengals are also without Cedric Benson because of his one game suspension and I expect Andy Dalton to throw the ball as many as 40 times. Simpson is only 24% owned in Yahoo.

4. Pierre Thomas versus the Rams

The Rams are allowing 183.3 yards per game, last in the league. The Saints just put up 62 points on another winless team, and with Mark Ingram probably out this week, Thomas is going to see an increased workload. Darren Sproles is still the best fantasy option in the Saints backfield, but this could be a very nice week for the once-highly-coveted Thomas.

3. Matt Hasselbeck versus the Colts

Once upon a time, earlier this season, Matty H had put his name back on the fantasy radar with a very nice start. A terrible game against the Texans last week and a so-so game against the Steelers the week before will help you forget that.

But this week he faces a Colts defense that's given up 14 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions in seven games this year. It should be a nice day at home for Matt and the passing offense.

2. Reggie Bush versus the Giants

I've put Bush in this section before with some success, but he hasn't scored since week one. The return of Daniel Thomas from injury has put Bush in the place he should be (change of pace, backup running back) and he hasn't been a huge fantasy play. But Bush, while not a good all-around back, is still a talented athlete and Thomas is banged up again. Bush is too, but they're both expected to play. Bush could still help spell Thomas and the Giants have allowed seven rushing touchdowns in six games.

1. Greg Salas versus the Saints

Deep sleeper right here. The 1 percent owned Salas has been targeted 23 times in four games, and the Saints have allowed 12 passing touchdowns in their seven games. The Rams will be down early and for most of the game (the Rams at home could keep it closer than you think) and A.J. Feeley will be throwing it a lot. Danario Alexander is questionable, and I think Salas could come up with a minimum of five catches for 50 yards and a score. He had 8 catches for 77 yards against the Packers.

The Five That Struggle

5. Bernard Scott versus the Seahawks

When Cedric Bensons three-game suspension was announced, I happily pounced on Scott in EVERY LEAGUE. The Bengals had a couple of great running back matchups coming up and I was going to play Scott and profit. Instead, the league waited weeks to rule on his appeal and then reduced the suspension to one game and against the leagues #1 YPC against in Seattle.

Scott hasn't advanced the way that the fans had hoped when he was drafted and is struggling this season. He'll have an even harder time in the NFL's toughest place to play against the hardest d-line to run against. The Bengals should win the game, but Scott won't be the reason why.

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick versus the Redskins

He had 9 TD passes in his first three games and 3 TD passes in his last three. Now the Bills face a Redskins defense that has only given up 5 TD passes this season.

Fitz and that when-will-it-happen contract extension get more interesting every week. I want nice things to happen for the Bills, and I think they should beat the Skins at home this weekend, in what should be another nice game for Fred Jackson but I'm not sure I believe in Fitzpatrick or the Bills wide receivers.

3. Montario Hardesty versus the 49ers

Peyton Hillis is probably out again this week. Hardesty had a nice fantasy day, albeit with a TD, against the Seahawks last weekend. This week he gets his second start against San Francisco, a team still without a rushing touchdown allowed.

The 49ers are for real and they will win this game too.

2. Larry Fitzgerald versus the Ravens

Once upon a Sunday dreary, Larry wandered weak and weary

Against a defense that lets touchdowns become forgotten lore

Could Fitzgerald, nearly napping, all the sudden start to tapping

on the end zone of Baltimore?

Quoth the Raven, Nevermore.

1. Marshawn Lynch versus the Bengals

Lynch should make his return this weekend and the Seahawks could not be more grateful. I think if Lynch plays against the Browns last week, the Hawks score more than three points and don't lose an absolutely terrible game of football.

This week he faces a Bengals defense however that is allowing only 3.3 yards per carry and 89.5 yards per game. Lynch was progressing nicely before the injury and starting to show his best all-around game in blue and green but this is not a good matchup for him. Wait a week before you play him if you can.

The Five That Boom

5. DeMarco Murray versus the Eagles

He just broke out for 253 yards and I expect a quick followup to be proud of. The Eagles do not have a good rushing defense and the Boys are going to want to find out what they have in Murray.

Philly gives up 123.8 yards and 1 rushing touchdown per game. I really wish I had snatched him up or not dropped him too early in my money leagues. I need a new psychic hotline.

4. Cam Newton versus the Vikings

Minnesota is 29th in the NFL against the pass and has given up 11 passing scores. I have never put Cam Newton in this list and so I guess its about time I fill my "Cam Newton is amazing" quota.

He's obviously been a tremendous rookie and though I admit I had my doubts, the Panthers so far have scored big with their number one pick, something that's not always easy to do. 350 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, and 3 scores for Newton.

3. Hakeem Nicks versus the Dolphins

Miamis passing defense is bad. Nicks is great. I have now revealed my secret formula.

I think Nicks is going to put up a minimum of 150 yards receiving and two scores on the Dolphins sad, sad pass defense. They'll never recover from blowing it against Tim Tebow.

2. Ray Rice versus the Cardinals

The Cardinals rush defense ranks in the middle of the league with 114.2 yards per game, but they've given up eight touchdowns on the ground. Make no mistake about it, Arizona is a bad football team.

Rice didn't have a good game against Jacksonville, but the Jaguars have a good defense. In this game, Rice will rebound for 175 total yards and two scores.

1. Adrian Peterson versus the Panthers

Two huge individual performances in one game I expect. Peterson versus Newton will be in a game of two teams that have combined for three wins, but it might be one of the most exciting early games.

If he wasn't hurt, I would have drafted Arian Foster over Peterson with the #1 pick, but I'd be happy with either one of them at this point. Peterson is the best pure running back in the league and he should have a huge day against Carolina. He honestly looked as good as ever last week against Green Bay.

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  • I'm already late this week, so I better quick hit these as quick as possible
  • Bears, Bucs, Jets, Falcons, Packers, Raiders find themselves on bye. The Raiders need this bye more than anyone. Another week for Carson Palmer to prepare and for Darren McFadden to heal. I won't miss anyone from Tampa, a bye week for Forte will hurt some, don't care about the Jets, the Falcons have a few key players, but most of all its about hoping you face a team that relies heavily on Aaron Rodgers.
  • The Ravens will beat the Cardinals, and Joe Flacco "Good Version" will show up
  • Colts to move to 0-8. Peyton Manning insists he wants to play this year, especially if they're still winless, would he have motivations to block them from getting Andrew Luck?
  • Detroit at Denver should be a good game. The Lions have struggled the last two weeks and the Broncos are on a Rocky Mountain Tebow High. Denver might just pull this one out.
  • Patriots at the Steelers and I didn't mention it once yet. Steelers should win this game, but I'll take a low-scoring guess: 21-17
  • I almost wrote an entire rant about how the Chiefs on Monday night was another bad decision by ESPN, but I convinced myself that it's actually not too bad since the division lead is up for grabs. Kansas City is not a team I particularly like watching, but its better than Jacksonville.