Fantasy football Week 8: Start 'em and Sit 'em


Fantasy football Week 8: Start 'em and Sit 'em

The guys were on top of their game in Week 7, so let's see if they can do it again in Week 8.

This week features four teams on a Bye -- Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston -- meaning guys like Ray Rice, Arian Foster, A.J. Green and C.J. Spiller are out of commission for one matchup. So you may have to dig deeper into your bench or the waiver wire to pull out a win this week. Never fear, we're here to help you with those tough decisions on who to start and who to sit.
Just a reminder for those keeping score at home (though we'll do it for you), for players who each analyst starts, these are the points they will receive:
Start 'em:5 points if a player scores 25 points4: 20-243: 15-192: 10-141: 5-90: negative-4
Sit 'em:5 points if a player scores negative points to 4 points4: 5-93: 10-142: 15-191: 20-240: 25
Without further adieu, here are our picks for Week 8. Good luck!
Tony Andracki (Week 7: 19 points; Season total: 67)
I had a really solid week last week with my picks, but nobody had any flashy days like CJ2K did for Scott. Figures. I can't win for losin'.

Joe Flacco has been really disappointing of late, and again, I have to take at least some of the blame as a bad-luck charm. Ever since I traded for him, he's been a mess. Doug Martin and Stevie Johnson were good gut plays and Matt Schaub had a nice day against the Ravens' defense, so at least I'm looking good there. All three guys scored, which is a big plus for standard fantasy matchups.

This week, I'm going with a common theme -- Celebrity girlfriends. Check it out:

Start 'em:
Tony Romo, QB -- DAL (vs. NYG)

Candice Crawford's hubby always plays the Giants well. In 13 career games against New York, Romo has 26 touchdowns and a 104.4 passer rating. This week should prove to be another shootout, with both running games at a standstill. The only question is...why did Romo ever break up with Carrie Underwood? It's mind-bottling.

Eric Decker, WR -- DEN (vs. NO)

If you've ever read one of these StartSit articles, you know how big a fan I am of Decker and his fiance, Jessie James. Look no further than her tweet two weeks ago when Deck fell flat on his face on a sure tuddie. He's had an extra week to think about that thanks to the Bye, and the Peyton Manning-Drew Brees showdown will leave very little time for running the ball. Start Deck with confidence.

Reggie Bush, RB -- MIA (@ NYJ)

I know very little about Bush's current model beau, but his ex, Kim Kardashian, is the celebrity girlfriend of the decade (if only because she's been linked to at least a dozen starts, most of which were athletes). The Jets defense will have to "keep up with" Bush, which has proven to be a tough task this season for Gang Green. The Jets have allowed at least 130 rushing yards in five of their seven games this year.
Sit 'em:
Jay Cutler, QB -- CHI (vs. CAR)

Cutler's celeb fiance, KCavs (Kristin Cavallari), should put him in the "Start" class, but I can't bring myself to do that. Cutler got banged up Monday, courtesy of Ndamukong Suh, and will be playing with some sore ribs at the very least this Sunday. The Bears have rolled over the Panthers on the ground the past two years, racking up 200 yards in each game. Look for more of the same this year, and start Matt Forte or Michael Bush if you have them.

Shonn Greene, RB -- NYJ (vs. MIA)

Alright, not everybody on this list has a celebrity significant other. But Greene's backfield mate, Mark Sanchez, just reportedly ended his relationship with Eva Longoria, so that counts. That strain is the very reason why Greene is a must-sit this week. Well, that and the fact that he's been playing over his head the last two weeks thanks to cushy matchups and this week's defense -- Miami -- is one of the best in the league at limiting fantasy RBs.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB -- NYG (@ DAL)

Again, no celeb beau, but Bradshaw shares a city with Sanchez and will be playing against Romo and I'm sure Victor Cruz will be dating somebody famous before long. The Cowboys boast one of the best rush defenses in the NFL and Bradshaw has been hampered by a foot injury. And like I said before, this will be a pass-first, pass-later, pass-some-more type of game.

Mark Strotman (Week 7: 15 points; Season total: 68)
I had a dreadful Week 7 and need to come back strong. I took a flyer on a few starts (Jermichael Finely, Mike Williams) and neither fared well. I hope I didn't hurt your flex positions too bad.

But this week, I'm going with a couple of players riding hot streaks who I believe will continue to produce. At the same time, I'm looking at players who have busted out in recent weeks but may be more of a mirage in your lineups. Stick with me and we'll go places.

Start 'em:

Shonn Greene, RB -- Jets (vs. MIA)

So this is why he was a secondthird-round pick a year ago. After Weeks 2-5 generated 12 combined points, Greene has strung together points of 34 and 14 points, respectively, the last two weeks. There's reason here to believe he will come back to Earth against a Dolphins' defense that shut him down in Week 3 (19 rushes, 40 yards) but I'm riding the hot hand. He's a good flex play on Sunday.

Alex Green, RB -- Packers (vs. JAC)

This may not seem like a great play, especially after a 35-yard performance last week against the Rams. But I see a breakout performance from Green Bay's only real running back. James Starks still isn't ready, and if the Packers go up early, Green could see heavy carries down the stretch. He's also due to find the end zone sometime soon, something he hasn't done in three weeks since becoming the lead back.

Josh Freeman, QB -- Buccaneers (@ MIN)

Just as I'm riding the hot hand in Greene, I'm doing the same with Freeman. Following a 420-yard performance against the Saints, he has a nice matchup against the Vikings. Doug Martin is finally coming around as a lead running back which should open up the passing game. I'm playing Freeman as a borderline QB1 and surefire QB2.


Matthew Stafford, QB -- Lions (vs. SEA)

Enough is enough. Chances are if you drafted Stafford as your starting quarterback, your team has struggled lately. He scored 20 points against the Eagles and 14 more against the Bears...not awful numbers. But I haven't seen a quarterback look as defeated as Stafford did last week, and while that may mean he rebounds in a big way this Sunday, I'm not betting on him against a great Seattle secondary.

Lance Moore, WR -- Saints (@ DEN)

One of the most consistent boom-or-bust players had 121 receiving yards against the Buccaneers, but that was without Jeremy Graham in the lineup. Graham should be back in Week 8, meaning fewer targets for Moore. He was a nice play if you had him in your lineup, but my gut is telling me to stay away this week. He's a flex at best.

Steven Jackson, RB -- Rams (vs. NE)

Jackson finally found the end zone in Week 7 against the Packers, but at the same time, handcuff Daryl Richardson continues to look more impressive each week. Richardson has received 9, 11 and 8 carries the last three weeks and is a better receiver than Jackson out of the backfield. The Rams will want to pass early and often, which could mean another dud from Jackson. If you have a higher upside RB2, go with him.

Scott Krinch (Week7: 20 points; Season total:68)

Well, I'm back inthe saddle after an absolute "Monster"week, thanks in part to Chris Johnson channeling his CJ2K days with 195 yardson the ground and 2 touchdowns. And like I said, you can't keep a Harvardgraduate down for that long. Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the Titans secondary, butit was enough for the victory since their defense collapsed like VincentJackson did at the 1-yard line on Sunday. Andre Johnson had a decent week, butcouldn't find pay dirt.

I sat Matty Stafford for the secondstraight week and the decision wasn't so bad. Stafford only collected onetouchdown after being stymied by the defense allnight long. Stevan Ridley couldn't find the end zone, which alsohelped me out. My final sit was James Jones, and not the Miami Heat three-pointspecialist. Jones' streak of scoring touchdowns ended against the Rams. SorryMark, at least your Packers got the W though.

This weekend,I've decided to take a few more risks and we'll see how it paysoff.

Start 'em:

BrandonWeeden, QB -- Browns (vs. SD)

Don't sleep onBrandon Weeden. In recent weeks, he's starting to look like a viable fantasyoption at quarterback. With explosive wideouts in Josh Gordon and Greg Littleand running back Trent Richardson in the passing game, Weeden has a full arsenal of weapons.The Chargers defense was lit up in the last two games by Drew Brees and PeytonManning. Weeden is no future Hall of Famer, but I can see the 29-year-oldcarving up San Diego's secondary on Sunday afternoon.

Mikel Leshoure, RB -- Lions (vs. SEA)

The63 yards against the Bears don't really show how good Leshoure looked on Mondaynight. The second-year back averaged 5.3 yards on the ground, but with theLions down, Stafford was forced to pass the ball on almost every down in thesecond half. Last week, the Seahawks allowed 175 rushing yards to the 49ers. Idon't think the "Jersey Leshoure" will reach that total, but I cansee at least 100 total yards with a touchdown or two.

Dez Bryant, WR -- Cowboys (vs.NYG)

Bryant has been overshadowed by Miles Austinthis season, but I think this is the game that the former Oklahoma State starbreaks out. In five career games against the Giants, Bryant has 18 receptionsfor 363 yards and four touchdowns. When he's on, Bryant is a mismatch againstnearly every cornerback in the NFL.


Cam Newton, QB -- Panthers (@CHI)

I'll go with my recent trend of sitting everyquarterback that plays against the Bears. Chicago's defense has been just that goodthis season. Against fantasy QBs, the Bears have 14 interceptions and haveallowed just five touchdowns in six games. I know Cam went off at Soldier Fieldlast season, but I just don't see that being the case this week. The Panthersoffense, well their whole team, is just a complete mess right now.

Ryan Mathews, RB -- Chargers (@CLE)

Oddly, Mathews is fifth this week in ESPN'sfantasy rankings of running backs. I understand the Browns defense hasn't beengreat against the run, but what has Mathews done in 2012 to have that high of aranking? In four games, he's only cracked double-digits once and I don't thinkthis is going to be one of those games. Sit Mathews this week if you knowwhat's good for you.

Mike Wallace, WR -- Steelers(vs. WSH)

Eight catches last week were nice, butthe drops continued for Wallace. He bobbled two would-be touchdowns againstCincinnati and is just way too inconsistent for me to start. Washington'sdefense is brutal against the pass, but I see Ben Roethlisberger lookingAntonio Brown and Heath Miller's way on Sunday.

How Erik Karlsson’s extension with Sharks impacts Blackhawks, Western Conference


How Erik Karlsson’s extension with Sharks impacts Blackhawks, Western Conference

The 2019 NHL free agent class — both restricted and unrestricted — is absolutely loaded. But perhaps the biggest fish of them all has already been taken off the board.

Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks have agreed to an eight-year extension worth $11.5 million per year, according to Cap Friendly, becoming the highest-paid defenseman in league history. It’s a significant move for the Sharks, who are looking to keep the band together and take a few more stabs at a Stanley Cup before their window starts to close — Joe Thornton is 39, Joe Pavelski turns 35 in July, Brent Burns is 34, Marc-Edouard Vlasic is 32 and Logan Couture is 30.

How the Sharks make the math work going forward will be fascinating to monitor. Thornton, if he doesn't decide to hang up the skates, is a UFA. Same with Pavelski, who is coming off one of the most productive seasons of his career. Both of those players have become part of the Sharks identity, but their futures aren't guaranteed. And then there are guys like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier, both of whom are RFAs and due big raises.

So how does the Karlsson extension impact the Blackhawks and the rest of the Western Conference?

For starters, the UFA defensemen class just got thinner and that could lead to overpayment across the board from teams looking for impact-type blue-liners because general managers that are looking to make a splash don’t want to come away empty-handed. The Blackhawks were never going to be in on Karlsson, but his contract set the market for this year's class and the fact the signing came before the NHL Draft now gives teams that would've been in on Karlsson an opportunity to refocus ahead of the negotiating period.

In the bigger picture, the Sharks just solidified themselves as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders for at least the next couple seasons. While the Karlsson contract may not look the greatest on the back half, given his durability issues, the Sharks had no choice but to offer him a blank check. When healthy, he is a game-changer and a two-time Norris Trophy winner who's still in his prime, and if the Sharks win a title in the next couple years then it was well worth it. You don't let players like him walk.

The Blackhawks are expected to be aggressive over the next several weeks, particularly in free agency but also continuing to explore the trade market. We already saw that when they acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins, a move that could only be the first of many this offseason. The West might be top heavy, but this past season proved that any team can turn it around quickly and the Blackhawks need to do everything in their power to make sure they're one of those teams.

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74 Days To Kickoff: Metea Valley

74 Days To Kickoff: Metea Valley preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Metea Valley 

Head coach: John Parpet Jr.

Assistant coaches: Defensive coordinator - Erik Kramer, Asst. coach - Russ Lorenz, Asst. coach - Albert Zika, Asst. coach - Evan Goodman

How they fared in 2018: 1-8 (0-4 DuPage Valley Conference). Metea Valley failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoffs

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs. Wheaton Warrenville South
Sept. 6 @ Lake Park 
Sept. 13 @ Belleville East
Sept. 20 @ Naperville Central
Sept. 27 vs. De Kalb
Oct. 4 @ Naperville North
Oct. 11 vs. Neuqua Valley
Oct. 18 @ Waubonsie Valley  
Oct. 25 vs. Neuqua Valley

[MORE: 93 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East]

Biggest storyline: Can the Mustangs get off to a good start under first year head coach John Parpet Jr.?

Names to watch this season: TE/DE Austin Frederick (Sr.) and TE/LB John Belskis (Sr.) 

Biggest holes to fill: The Mustangs will need to replace seven graduated starters on the defensive side of the football for the 2019 season.

EDGY's Early Take: Metea Valley and first year head coach John Parpet Jr. will look to get the Mustangs program on the winning side of the slate after posting back-to-back 1-8 seasons. They will rely on an experienced core of senior multi-year starters. If the underclassmen group can develop sooner rather than later, this program has the potential for a breakout. The regular season schedule in the DuPage Valley conference is always stacked; they need to get off to a good early start.