We’re almost halfway through the season as we head into week eight. Here are the guys you want to start this week.
Rashad Jennings (Jaguars RB) – Maurice Jones-Drew will miss multiple weeks due to his ankle injury, and a more than capable Jennings is in line to take over the workload. The Jaguars face a Packers defense that is right in the middle of the pack (no pun intended), giving up the 14th most fantasy points to running backs. With the passing game in Jacksonville a complete mess, look for Jennings to put up some points in the coming weeks until MJD’s return.
Vick Ballard (Colts RB) – Ballard rushed for 84 yards and had 19 receiving yards last week against Cleveland, and finally got something going for the first time since Donald Brown’s absence. Going up against Tennessee this week, fourth worst against the run, should make Ballard a great bye week running back this week.
Jeremy Kerley (Jets WR) – He’s shown that he’s the best Jets receiver, and against a number four run defense in Miami, the Jets should have to throw the ball plenty. The Dolphins have also given up the 10th most fantasy points to wideouts this year.
Cecil Shorts (Jaguars WR) – Shorts has been sporadic thus far this season, but last week he drew the start for the first time and scored 11 fantasy points. As the best Jaguars receiver, now given the starting job, it should be interesting to see what will happen against a young Packers secondary that has given up the 11th most fantasy points to wideouts. Charles Woodson is gone for six weeks with a broken collarbone. Shorts is my sleeper for this week.
Andrew Luck (Colts QB) – Luck plays Tennessee this week, who gives up the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. He could be an interesting guy to bank on for the rest of the season, with an extremely easy schedule going forward. Miami, Buffalo, Jacksonville, New England, Detroit, Tennessee, Houston, Kansas City are all of the remaining teams that Luck will have to toy with. If you have a top tier quarterback with Luck on your bench, it may be time to think about assessing other needs and trading away a Brady or Manning.
Now, some guys that can sit the bench this week.
Mikel LeShoure (Lions RB) – I love this guy to death, but against the Seahawks, there are slim chances of getting a running game going. It should be a defensive game, where the Lions will have more success airing it out.
Stevan Ridley (Patriots RB) – Ridley exploded onto the scene early, but over the past two weeks has really faltered. He was only on the field for 32 of 80 snaps against the Jets, as Woodhead and Vereen stole plenty of carries. There is also a good chance that Brandon Bolden gets back in the action this week after missing the Jets game due to a minor knee injury. Things are seeming to get back the Patriot’s running game that we’re used to, giving the ball to many different backs that can get the job done.
Brandon Lloyd (Patriots WR) – This is sad to say, as Lloyd was one of my favorite fantasy wideouts coming into the season, but the last few weeks have been miserable. One catch for six yards last week and a few bad drops makes me need to wait for him to get back on track. Antonio Cromartie covered him during the majority of last game, and Courtland Finnegan of the Rams will likely cover him this week. The Patriots having many other targets to go to is also a big reason for Lloyd’s lack of success consistently. The Rams have given up the 21st most fantasy points to wideouts, and there are plenty of options better than Lloyd this week.
Vernon Davis (49ers TE) – After three fantasy points two weeks ago, Davis wasn’t even targeted last week against Seattle. That’s scary, considering that he’s one of the best targets in the league. Alex Smith has been playing lackluster as well, and Arizona is fourth best against the pass. You just need to shake your head and sit him on the bench this week.