Week 8 Sleeper Starts
With so many options to choose from, sometimes fielding a fantasy lineup can be quite the headache. Obvious are the starts akin to Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck and the games other bigger names. However, it’s the tougher choices – namely the less obvious starts – that will end up winning your league.
Here are a few names you might want to consider:
Alex Smith QB Kansas City – Alex Smith has been just ok so far this year. Like so often when he played in San Francisco, Smith is more of a game manager than a passer. In leagues that play two quarterbacks, this week could be the opportune time to take a chance on Smith as he gets the hapless St. Louis Rams at home – a team whose defense is highly disappointing this season, especially against the pass. Top target Dwayne Bowe hasn’t been exactly lighting it up, but did show his presence in Week 7 against San Diego grabbing 5 catches for 84 yards – a good sign for Smith owners. Let’s not forget that RB Jamaal Charles always has the capability to turn a short catch into a long play. Too many indicators point to Smith being a decent play and solid WR2 for Week 8.
Bryce Brown RB Buffalo – We all know what Bryce Brown is capable of doing in a game. With 564 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in limited game time while filling in for an injured LeSean McCoy in 2012, we got a good taste of the kind of talent Brown has. Brown hasn’t since done very much waiting in the wings behind McCoy before getting moved to Buffalo this season where he has been sitting behind two very serviceable backs in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Now Spiller is out until at least Week 16 with a collarbone injury and a less effective than past Jackson could be out up to four weeks with a groin issue. That leaves Buffalo to rely on Brown. Brown has the opportunity to really show what he can do in the next few weeks and though this week’s matchup at NY Jets isn’t the greatest, he should still put up numbers to qualify him as a decent RB2, especially if he can gain QB Kyle Orton’s confidence early and get targets in the short passing game. Brown has big play ability.
Darren McFadden RB Oakland – McFadden only has 14 carries in each of his last two games but has tallied an above pedestrian 128 rushing yards with a touchdown. This week I suspect will McFadden get more carries and he has a juicy match-up at Cleveland who rank 25 against running backs this season. There is all kinds of potential for McFadden to put up fair numbers this week as neither team is known for slinging the ball around setting the table for a big run game on both ends. McFadden is a fill in option only as a RB3, but don’t be surprised if he exceeds expectations this week.
Mike Wallace WR Miami – Anytime a player goes up against Jacksonville this year, you have to take a close look. This week Wallace gets his chance and he should deliver big numbers. Scoring a touchdown in his last three games, Wallace has gotten fantasy owners double digits in points during that stretch and there is no reason to think he won’t do it again this week. This week would probably also be a good bet for Wallace to finally reach the 100-yard-plus receiving mark, as he has failed to do so far this season. Wallace is a nice WR2 with big WR1 potential.
Eric Decker WR NY Jets – Keep an eye on Decker’s status. He has played with a bum hamstring the past two games but has still managed 10 catches on 17 targets. Now that all purpose wide receiver Percy Harvin enters the fold, Decker could find himself open for QB Geno Smith far more often. Decker should certainly benefit from the surprising acquisition of Harvin and this week’s matchup against Buffalo would have been quite enticing anyway since their defense is ranked 24 against the wide receiver position. Despite a struggling Smith at the helm, Decker could be a decent WR2 in Week 8.
Gavin Escobar TE Dallas – Tightend Jason Witten’s numbers are dwindling while counterpart Gavin Escobar has snagged 3 touchdowns in the past two games. Witten will certainly get more targets moving up and down the field but Escobar has clearly shown his ability to get open in the endzone where a battle-weary Witten may have finally lost a step. There are plenty of decent tightend plays out there for Week 8, but if you are having injury or bye week issues, Escobar could be worth a shot for a touchdown grab or more. Escobar could be a nice fill in option – keep him on your radar.