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DFS Fantasy Football Recommendations – Week 8: Stack Tony Romo and Dez Bryant Versus Washington Redskins

We are near the halfway point in the fantasy football season, and hopefully you’ve built up a solid bankroll by now. Teams on Week 8 bye are San Francisco and New York Giants. In Week 7, we saw C.J Spiller go out down for the season due to injury, Fred Jackson is out for a few weeks, Zac Stacy is being phased out in St. Louis, and Denard Robinson ran all over the place for Jacksonville. There are a lot of new names out there this week, but should you put them in your DFS lineups?

Quarterback

Elite, Expensive: Ryan Tannehill, MIA (Week 8 @ Jacksonville)
Tannehill is on fire the past three weeks. He has at least two touchdowns and OVER 35 rushing yards in each of the past three games. He now faces a Jacksonville team that is banged up on defense with their stud linebacker Paul Posluszny out for the season due to injury. Look for Tannehill to continue to roll in Week 8.

Middle of the Road: Tony Romo, DAL (Week 8 vs Washington)
The Dallas Cowboys and Romo are quite a surprise; they are arguably the best team in the league. With their amazing running game, it opens up the passing game for Romo and the wide receivers. Romo is facing the division rival Washington Redskins, who rank in the top five for most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Romo should get a lot of consideration this week.

Cheap, High Upside: Kyle Orton, BUF (Week 8 vs New York Jets)
This pick is more about the matchup than it is the quarterback. The Jets are allowing the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this year. Buffalo Bills just lost their two starting running backs, so they may be forced to lean more on the arm of Orton. Orton has been fairly production the past three weeks, and he could have a good game against this weak defense.

Running Back

Elite, Expensive: Marshawn Lynch, SEA (Week 8 @ Carolina)
Seattle is coming off a disappointing road loss, which makes it two losses in a row for the Super Bowl Champions. We know Seattle is a different team at home versus on the road. In Week 8, they take the trip from West to East to play Carolina, who allow the third most points to running backs. Seattle should lean on Lynch to control the clock and keep the ball out of the hands of the dangerous Cam Newton.

Middle of the Road: Lamar Miller, MIA (Week 8 @ Jacksonville)
As part of the “dark horse” Miami Dolphins, Miller seems to be running with a chip on his shoulder. He has four touchdowns over the last three games. As mentioned above, with Jacksonville having to adjust for injuries on their defense, Miller should be able to capitalize.

Cheap, High Upside: Trent Richardson, IND (Week 8 @ Pittsburgh)
Don’t look now but Richardson is starting to produce effectively for fantasy teams. He did have a small injury in Week 7, but is expected to be fine. He will continue to split time with Ahmad Bradshaw, but Richardson is starting to prove he is a good runner. Richardson is averaging just over 3.87 yards per rush attempt the past three weeks. He is also becoming a small threat in the passing game. Arian Foster just ripped through the Pittsburgh defense, so Richardson could be a solid play this week.

Wide Receiver

Elite, Expensive: Dez Bryant, DAL (Week 8 vs Washington)
In Week 7, Bryant showed once again why he is considered an elite talent finishing with 9 receptions for 151 yards. With Dallas clicking on all cylinders, Bryant should continue to thrive, especially in Week 8 against the Redskins. Stacking Romo-Dez could pay dividends for owners.

Middle of the Road: DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (Week 8 @ Tennessee)
Hopkins is coming off a huge bounce back game in Week 7. He finished the Monday night game with 6 receptions for 108 yards. He continues to provide decent fantasy games for owners. Playing opposite big name receiver Andre Johnson allows Hopkins to have single coverage and run deeper routes for Ryan Fitzpatrick to connect with him. I expect Hopkins to end his three-game touchdown-less slump and find the end zone in Week 8.

Cheap, High Upside: Doug Baldwin, SEA (Week 8 @ Carolina)
Following the Percy Harvin trade, Baldwin slides up the depth chart as the number one wide receiver and he did not disappoint in Week 7 with his new role. He finished with 11 targets, 7 receptions, 123 yards, and one touchdown. He now strolls into Carolina, who ranks in the top five for most points allowed to wide receivers. I expect this to be a close, high scoring game in which Baldwin continues to shine.

Tight End

Elite, Expensive: Julius Thomas, DEN (Week 8 vs San Diego)
We know Thomas is the best tight end in the league right now. When Thomas does not have a great game he tends to follow it up the next week with an amazing game. I expect Thomas to get back on track Week 8 with a touchdown or two.

Middle of the Road: Owen Daniels, BAL (Week 8 @ Cincinnati)
Daniels is playing Cincinnati who allows the most fantasy points to tight ends. His chances for scoring this week are high. I’d plug him in with confidence.

Cheap, High Upside: Jordan Reed, WAS (Week 8 @ Dallas)
Just like the Daniels matchup, Reed has a great matchup. Dallas allows the second most fantasy points to tight ends. Since coming back from injury, Reed has 17 targets, 13 catches and 146 yards. With the news that Colt McCoy may start if Robert Griffin III cannot play, McCoy might look for a safety valve and Reed will be that check-down man. I expect Reed to get a lot of targets and a score this week.

Defense

Miami Dolphins (Week 8 @ Jacksonville)
Miami’s defense is fully healthy and playing at a high level. They nearly shut down Aaron Rodgers two weeks ago and definitely took advantage of Jay Cutler last week. This week they take on Jacksonville coming off their first win of the season. I expect Miami to bring Jacksonville back down to earth.

Dallas Cowboys (Week 8 vs Washington)
Dallas seems to be one of the best defenses in the league (quite a surprise from the pre-season). Week 8 brings in Washington who is a mess at quarterback, likely starting Colt McCoy. Plug in Dallas and reap the benefits.

Moving Up, Moving Down: Week 8 – Peyton Manning Up-per Echelon Quarterback

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andre Caldwell during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, December 12, 2013, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver; Photographer: Christian Murdock/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

While Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning can’t technically move higher than the consensus number one rank he already holds, out of respect for his latest milestone, he gets the Moving Up treatment. Photo: Icon Sportswire

QUARTERBACKS

MOVING UP

Peyton Manning, Broncos
When you break the NFL record for most passing touchdowns in a career, you get the Moving Up treatment. After six games, Manning is on pace to throw for 4,928 yards with 51 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Experts claimed he couldn’t possibly repeat last season. Well…

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
While I’m not ready to anoint Tannehill as a fantasy starter at this point, he does have three straight multiple touchdown games and has 799 passing yards to go along with 132 yards on the ground in those games. Not bad if you’re looking for a bye week fill in. The Dolphins had theirs in Week 5.

MOVING DOWN

Kirk Cousins, Redskins
Officially not the Redskins starting quarterback of the future. With nine interceptions in 204 passing attempts to go along with a pair of lost fumbles, Cousins’ ball protection issues may cause him to lose his starting gig to Colt McCoy in Week 8.

Matt Ryan, Falcons
After throwing for 1,263 yards and ten touchdowns in his first four games, Ryan has just three touchdowns and 815 passing yards in his last three managing just 40 points in those games. While Ryan’s fantasy owners were hoping for top five production this season, the Atlanta offense is clearly trending downward.

RUNNING BACKS

MOVING UP

Bryce Brown, Bills
Although Brown has yet to garner a single carry in 2014, he figures to get plenty of them soon with both C.J. Spiller (broken collarbone) and Fred Jackson (groin) suffering injuries that will keep them out of the lineup in Week 8 and beyond. Brown put together some big games during his first two years in the league and rates as a RB2 until Jackson returns. With Spiller out for an extended period, Brown should emerge as a solid flex option even after Jackson is back.

Denard Robinson, Jaguars
In what was easily the best performance by a Jaguars running back this season, Robinson totalled 127 yards and a score on 22 carries in Jacksonville’s home win over the Browns. Let’s go ahead and make the assumption the Toby Gerhart era is over in Jacksonville.

Tre Mason, Rams
Tre Mason has big play ability. Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham do not. Mason owners who held tight figure to be rewarded in future weeks. While the Rams schedule isn’t pretty, Mason is looking like a solid flex play or RB3 the rest of the way.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings
While he has yet to find the end zone this season, McKinnon is emerging as a solid duel threat out of the Vikings backfield with 309 yards on 60 carries and 93 yards on 16 receptions. Over the last two weeks, he has out touched Matt Asiata 38 to 10, solidifying his role as Minnesota’s starter over the balance of the season. He rates as a high-end RB3 with upside and a player with solid appeal in dynasty formats.

MOVING DOWN

Zac Stacy, Rams
We told you last week that everything that Stacy accomplished as a rookie when he ran for nearly 1,000 yards was based on volume. The Rams apparently agreed with Stacy not seeing a single touch this week. He appears to be stuck behind rookie Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham on the depth chart.

Khiry Robinson, Saints
Although Robinson played well when Mark Ingram was out of the lineup, he was out touched by Ingram 12 to three this week. Not helping matters was that he also lost a fumble.

WIDE RECEIVERS

MOVING UP

Percy Harvin, Jets
Moving Down last week as a Seahawk. Moving Up this week as a Jet. Hey, it was clear the Seahawks either didn’t know how to properly employ Harvin or they weren’t willing to make him a major component of their offense. That shouldn’t be a problem in New York where the Jets lack explosiveness at the skill positions. He rates as an intriguing upper tier WR3 with upside in 12 team leagues.

Golden Tate, Lions
Full disclosure. I am not a Golden Tate fan but I am warming up to him lately. With Calvin Johnson struggling with injuries, Tate has filled in nicely in the Detroit offense, topping 100 receiving yards in three of his last four games and scoring twice in those games. He is earning quarterback Mathew Stafford’s trust (completion to target percentage of 73.9%) and is now on pace to finish the season with 110 receptions for 1,483 yards and five touchdowns.

Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
Hey, it’s always a lukewarm endorsement when a Seahawks wide receiver gets the Moving Up treatment but with Harvin having left town, Baldwin is the team’s new number one wide receiver. While he just might be the worst top wide receiver on any team in the league, he should see plenty of targets the rest of the way as evidence by the 11 he received this week (catching seven for 123 yards and a score against the Rams).

Allen Robinson, Jaguars
The rookie 2nd round pick has been an absolute target machine over the past five weeks. With an assortment of injuries at wide receiver, Robinson has been targeted 50 times since Week 2. The Jaguars aren’t going to worry about high pass attempts for their rookie QB Blake Bortles while he learns on the job with a low emphasis on wins and losses this season, so expect the rookie-to-rookie connection to continue.

MOVING DOWN

Michael Crabtree, 49ers
While San Francisco is making use of all of their wide receivers, Crabtree is still seeing a fair share of targets (7.3 per game) but just isn’t making many plays with 13 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown in his last four games. I am undecided if this is a buy low opportunity or whether Crabtree should be downgraded to a low end WR3 over the balance of the season. Tough call.

Brian Quick, Rams
After a hot start to the season (21 receptions for 322 yards and three touchdowns in four games), Quick has been targeted just six times in the Rams last two games, hauling in three passes for 43 yards. While this week’s dud can be explained away because he played the Seahawks, Quick owners shouldn’t be afraid to sit him when he is facing a team with a solid secondary. He just isn’t a true number one wide receiver.

TIGHT ENDS

MOVING UP

Dwayne Allen, Colts
With his three reception, 52 yard, one touchdown performance this week, Allen now has 167 receiving yards in his last three games to go along with touchdowns in four of his last five games (five in total on the season). While he is clearly touchdown dependent, the Colts seem to be scoring quite a few of them this season and Allen is clearly an in vogue red zone target for quarterback Andrew Luck.

MOVING DOWN

Jason Witten, Cowboys
Sure, it was a fluke that Gavin Escobar was the leading point getter at tight end this week after he scored touchdowns on two of his three targets but Witten has become a bit player in the Cowboys offense in 2014. After being targeted just twice this week, Witten is now averaging five targets a game and has just 23 receptions for 266 yards and a touchdown.

Delanie Walker, Titans
After a hot start to the season with 317 receiving yards and three touchdowns in four games, Walker has cooled considerably with just nine receptions for 121 yards and no trips to the end zone in the last three weeks.

In the NOT CONVINCED JUST YET category, we present:

Kenny Stills, Saints – it helps that Jimmy Graham is playing hurt but Stills’ inconsistency makes it easy to discount his 100 yard, one touchdown performance this week.

DFS Fantasy Football Recommendations – Week 7: Great Matchup for Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson Versus Panthers

WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

The Carolina Panthers defense is a far cry from a year ago, and this week QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson get to take advantage. DFS players should build their Week 7 lineups around these guys. Photo: Icon Sportswire

The injury monster struck again in Week 6. We lost a few more key players including Stevan Ridley, Knowshon Moreno and Victor Cruz. We also expect Darren Sproles to miss a few weeks and Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham are unlikely to play this week. Those are some big names off the board. On bye this week are the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The impact of the injuries creates a lot of uncertainty this week, but let’s pull up our boots and get to it.

Quarterbacks

Elite, Expensive: Aaron Rodgers, GB (Week 7 vs Carolina)
Any time Rodgers is at home, he is a solid start. Defensively, the Carolina Panthers are not nearly as fierce as they were last season. They allowed 323 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions to Andy Dalton last week, who, particularly without A.J. Green, didn’t have nearly as many weapons as Rodgers and the Packers. Carolina has the ability and play makers to force a close game offensively against the Packers defense. I expect Rodgers to take the game into his hands and put up big points.

Middle of the Road: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (Week 7 vs Houston)
Roethlisberger put up a major dud in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. However, that follows a trend that he has had this season: 1 great game, 2 bad games, 1 great game, 2 bad games. Following that trend, guess what he is due for…that’s right, a great game! For his price this week and all the negative pub on the Steelers and OC Todd Haley, Roethlisberger is definitely worth the risk. He’ll have a low percentage of ownership in GPP play.

Cheap, High Upside: Carson Palmer, ARI (Week 7 @ Oakland)
Palmer, in a bit of a surprise start, finally returned in Week 6 from his shoulder injury and he had a good “welcome back” game of 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even better, as of right now, he came away from the game with no setbacks. Week 7 the Cardinals face the Raiders in Oakland, who are improving their competitiveness in games recently, so this could be a close battle. If that’s the case, Palmer might be forced to throw the ball more than otherwise expected.

Running Backs

Elite, Expensive: Matt Forte, CHI (Week 7 vs Miami)
Forte is rolling right now, making his traditional fantasy football league owners extremely pleased they “settled” for him after Adrian Peterson or LeSean McCoy. In Week 6, Forte faced the worst run-defense statistically and finished with 80 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns and 10 receptions for 77 yards. Forte is second among running backs for fantasy points and first overall for receptions. Ride the hot hand with Forte in Week 7 facing the Miami Dolphins at home.

Middle of the Road: Andre Ellington, ARI (Week 7 @ Oakland)
Ellington is the primary back in Arizona and with Palmer back, it will open up the field more for Ellington. He also is a great threat in the passing game. Oakland just allowed over 100 yards rushing to Brandon Oliver and 23 yards receiving. Ellington is a better back than Oliver, so I expect similar, if not better stats from Ellington this week.

Cheap, High Upside: Justin Forsett, BAL (Week 7 vs Atlanta)
Atlanta Falcons have the worst run defense in the league and now they face a hot running back in Forsett. He just posted 111 yards rushing against another weak run defense, the Buccaneers. Look for Forsett to continue this pace against the Falcons.

Wide Receivers

Elite, Expensive: Jordy Nelson, GB (Week 7 vs Carolina)
Carolina allows the seventh most fantasy points per game against wide receivers. As I stated above, I love Rodgers this week, so why would I not love his number one option of Nelson? Nelson is narrowly the second best wide receiver in the league. All signs point to “GO” for Nelson this week.

Middle of the Road: T.Y. Hilton, IND (Week 7 vs Cincinnati)
Hilton is coming off a career game in Week 6, making 9 receptions for 223 yards and 1 touchdown. Hilton leads the Colts in targets and receptions. While not official, he may have stepped past Reggie Wayne as the number one receiver for Andrew Luck. Cincinnati’s defense has struggled the past two weeks allowing 576 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Hilton has a great opportunity this week.

Cheap, High Upside: Torrey Smith, BAL (Week 7 vs Atlanta)
Smith is coming off his best game of the year with 4 receptions, 51 yards and 2 touchdowns. Atlanta is having a hard time stopping teams on defense, so Smith has a good chance to find the end zone again this week.

Tight Ends

Elite, Expensive: Julius Thomas, DEN (Week 7 vs San Francisco)
Thomas is the best tight end so far this year by a landslide. San Francisco just allowed 96 receiving yards and 1 touchdown to the St. Louis Rams tight ends. Losing Patrick Willis midgame likely did not help matters for the 49ers, and Willis is expected to be inactive this week. In a primetime game between two Super Bowl contenders, I expect both teams to be pumped up, and for Peyton Manning to lean on his top red zone target.

Middle of the Road: Jordan Cameron, CLE (Week 7 @ Jacksonville)
Cameron had a great game Week 6, earning 102 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. He is the best receiving option Brian Hoyer and the Browns have right now. Cameron has another great matchup Week 7 against Jacksonville, who rank fourth worst in fantasy points allowed to tight ends.

Cheap, High Upside: Clay Harbor, JAC (Week 7 vs Cleveland)
Since Blake Bortles has taken over at quarterback, Harbor has 14 receptions, 183 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. It is obvious Harbor is Bortles’ safety valve. For his price, he has great value. I expect Bortles to lean on Harbor again this week as Cleveland has a good defense.

Defense

Buffalo Bills (Week 7 vs Minnesota)
Buffalo is home and playing the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota struggled last week with Teddy Bridgewater under center, trying to figure out what kind of football they want to play. Buffalo has a good defense that should take advantage of the Vikings woes.

Cleveland Browns (Week 7 @ Jacksonville)
Cleveland is playing some of its best football right now, on both sides of the ball. Factor in the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are just not very good, and Cleveland should be able to get the win while creating some chaos (sacks, turnovers) for the Jaguars offense along the way.