With 6 teams on bye we had a little less action than usual but the NFL Week 8 games did not disappoint. We had statement games, a game across the pond, payback games and your season is officially over games. In the spirit of Halloween, some players rose from the dead to put up huge numbers (thanks for waiting until 40% of owners dropped you to have a big game, Sims-Walker) while others made Hook’s landmines and grenade lists (someone please decipher Randy Moss). We’re halfway through the NFL season and it’s time to break it down.
The Green Bay Packer defense made a statement at the Meadowlands shutting out a very talented New York Jets team. The Pack stacked 8 guys in the box all afternoon keeping the run in check, forcing the Sanchize to make plays. Unfortunately for Jets fans, Dirty #6 just isn’t there yet. His recognition of open receivers is delayed. None of his 38 throws showed anticipation of where his receivers or the defense were going to be. To make matters worse, the Jets (a self proclaimed run-first team) ran the ball only 29/67 plays, their biggest run being a ballsy fake punt that failed to reach the first down marker. The Jets D did their job in this defensive battle keeping Green Bay from reaching the endzone, but it wasn’t enough. Mason Crosby’s 3 FGs was the difference in this one as both teams (at least their defenses) seem very strong. Look for both squads to be in the playoffs 9 weeks from now.
The Broncos and the 49ers faced off in Wembley Stadium, London as Roger Goodell tries to give the game more international exposure. As Scott and I discussed in last week’s podcast, the miserable weather in England resulted in a 3 quarter suck-off only rivaled by Snooki and a jar of pickles. With former Heisman winner Troy Smith making his 3rd career NFL start, I expected the 49ers to start off slow. Orton threw the ball around once again, tallying 369 total yards connecting with fantasy superstar (yea I said it) Brandon Lloyd 7 times for 169 yards and a score. The tea and crumpets San Francisco had a halftime kicked in a few minutes into the 4th quarter as T Smith threw 2 TDs and Frank Gore rushed another for a San Fran W. At 2-6, you’d think the season would be over yet the 49ers sit 2 ½ games back of the division lead with 8 more games to play. Only in the NFC West would this be possible.
The rest of Sunday’s games had implications a plenty. With a 35-17 loss to JAX, the Cowboys season is over and can legally be pronounced dead. Kitna piled up a ton of yards, but also had 4 INTs in his first start in a long time. As expected, Jason Witten was his safety blanket having his best game of the season and his 2nd solid performance in a row. On the other side of the pigskin, David Garrard, MJD and Mike Sims-Zombie had monster days. 5 total TDs for Garrard, 135 yards for MJD and a huge 8 receptions 153 yards 1 TD for Sims-Walker. Marcedes Lewis also had 2 TDs and is now 4th in the league in total TD receptions. Impressive game by the Jags, but let’s be real. Neither of these teams is going anywhere this season.
Monday was full of NFL drama. After Randy Moss popped off at the mouf during the post-game news conference on Sunday, Minnesota announced that they were putting him on waivers Monday. This means any team in the NFL has the option of picking up his current contract, starting with the last place Buffalo Bills on up in order of entitlement. If he clears waivers, the Vikings are stuck footing the bill for the remainder of his contract while Moss is free to sign with another team. While it isn’t clear where the future Hall of Famer will end up, fantasy owners are left in limbo hoping he miraculously reunites with Tom Brady and the Patriots (so dumb). As the Pats are 32nd in the pecking order, it would be more likely to find the Lincoln Park rapist without his t-shirt, fingerprints and a catchy tune blazing up the itunes charts. If he is claimed off of waivers, I see moss landing in San Francisco, Denver, Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City or Atlanta. Otherwise, it’s anyone’s guess.
With the Moss drama (Dang, Moss!) taking all the Monday headlines, the Colts vs Texans game was put on the backburner. The Texans methodically beat down the Colts in Week 1 with Arian Foster making the opposing defensive line look like a Pee-Wee football team. Week 8 was payback time. Coming fresh off a bye week, the Colts were still a little banged up but Peyton seemed ready from the get-go. After a Jacob Tamme (Hook’s Week 7 player to keep an eye on) TD and a pick 6, the Colts got ahead early forcing the Texans to air it out. Andre 3k went for 106 yards and a score and Arian Foster managed 102 yards 1 TD (on only 15 carries) but it wasn’t enough. Manning controlled the game well, didn’t turn the ball over and Indianapolis rolled to a 30-17 win.
As for your fantasy squads, Week 8 had plenty of studs that went off for monster games. Calvin Johnson (who I tried to trade for in several leagues with the return of Matt Stafford) reconnected with his boy for 101 yards and 3 TDs. The Lawfirm BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 112 yards 2 TDs. Garrard’s 5 TDs was awesome if for some reason you play waiver-wire quarterbacks. Jamaal Charles (Total Sports Blog’s double down start of the week) produced as predicted with 238 total yards. Brandon Lloyd, Foster and Sims-Walker had awesome games. Antonio Gates continues to be awesome with 123 yards 1 TD. Larry Fitz managed to grab 2 TDs and Frank Gore went for 118 yards 1 TD and a spot of tea. Waiver-wire fodder Darrius Heyward-Bey had 5 rec 105 yards 1 TD. And finally, Week 8’s f^%# you for putting me on the drop list, Hook! LeGarrette Blount punched his way to 120 yards 2 TDs on 22 carries for Tampa Bay. My bad, yo. Pick this guy up immediately (available in 64% of yahoo! leagues).
Week 8’s grenades and landmines was lead by QBs yet again. Jets D held Aaron Rodgers (Hook’s QB sit of the week… listen to the pooood caaaast) in check. Ben Roethlisberger had less than 200 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. Matt Schaub was mediocre on Monday night with 201 yards 1 TD 1 INT. As for the position players, Jonathan Stewart was a popular start who failed to produce. A full-time back only tallying 30 yards is a fantasy killer. Wes Welker has struggled since being the top guy in New England as he only managed 3 rec 24 yards. Kenny Britt left his hamstring on the field in the 1st quarter, recording no stats and sidelining him indefinitely. Mike Wallace struggled his way to 43 yards and Tim Hightower (Hook’s sit of the week) touched the ball twice. TSB’s atomic bomb that only MacGruber can possibly decipher, Randy Moss had 1 catch for 8 yards.
That’s it for Week 8 of the NFL season. Peep Hook’s Must Adds, Must Drops, and other players to keep an eye on going into Week 9
Must Add: LeGarrette Blount (RB TB, again I’m sorry), Mike Sims-Walker (WR JAX, I still hate you), Jacob Tamme (TE IND, he’s the guy)
Must Drop: Christopher Ivory (RB NO), Dexter McCluster (WR/RB KC), CJ Spiller (RB BUF, hes just wasting a roster spot right now)
Keep an Eye on: David Garrard (QB JAX), Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR OAK), Daniel Fels (TE STL)