Well, we’re past the halfway point in the fantasy season. Did you lose some key players on Sunday (or maybe two)? Do you need run off some victories to get back into playoff contention? Fear not – we're here to help.
Now, you're not going to find "start Russell Wilson" here. If you drafted a player in the first five rounds, chances are those are your go-to players, so we'll try to give you some less-than-obvious choices to bolster your lineup every week.
On that note, here we go for week 8:
Doug Baldwin, Seattle wide receiver at Carolina
Baldwin was a hot pickup right after Percy Harvin was traded, so congrats to you if you grabbed him as an immediate plug-and-play last week. Considering his words prior to the game, you knew Russell Wilson was going to feed him the ball. And, he produced (7 catches, 123 yards, TD). He should remain hot this week against a terrible Panthers defense that saw Green Bay receivers running around free all day on Sunday. It’s hard to top a 123-yard day, but Baldwin should get about 10 targets and will likely score again.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami quarterback at Jacksonville
Talk about riding a hot streak – you might get lucky here with Tannehill as the Dolphins head to Jacksonville. Despite shutting down Brian Hoyer last week, the Jaguards are typically awful against the pass (giving up the fifth most fantasy points) and Tannehill seems to have found a groove. He’s thrown two touchdowns in each of the last three games and has been adding yards on the ground. Of the available quarterbacks, he’s one that has high upside this week.
Last week: Jonathan Stewart (55 rush yards, 2 targets, 1 catch, 12 yards); Seattle defense (28 points allowed).
Bryce Brown, Buffalo running back at New York Jets
Brown is the other hot name in fantasy football this week after injuries to Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller – and while you should try to pick him up – I wouldn’t start him. First, the Bills’ backs haven’t been producing much anyway, and remember – Brown hasn’t gotten a single carry yet this year. So he’s not better than Jackson and Spiller in the coach’s eyes. Now, he’s going up against a Jets defense that is eighth-best in the league against the run. It wouldn’t be a good matchup for even two healthy starters. And one other thing – Brown is going to split time with Anthony Dixon. Make a play for him on the waiver wire, but don’t start him if you get him.
Denard Robinson, Jacksonville running back vs. Miami
You can see a trend this week – "hot" waiver wire pickups. Robinson came out of nowhere and rushed for 127 yards on 22 carries against a decent Cleveland defense. But now, he’s on film, and the Jaguars will face a Dolphins unit that has held Eddie Lacy (40 rush yards, 0 TD) and Matt Forte (49 rush yards, TD) in check the last two weeks. Both of those backs are better than Robinson, and their quarterbacks are far better than Blake Bortles. Like Brown, maybe grab Robinson and stash him to see how his role truly shakes out in the coming weeks, but don’t start him if you get him.
Last week: Andre Holmes (5 targets, 3 catches, 34 yards); Andre Williams (51 rush yards).
Benny Cunningham, St. Louis running back at Kansas City
This seems odd the surface, but it’s because Cunningham’s raw stats aren’t great. But, in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues, he’s turned into a dual threat back and has now strung together three straight weeks of high fantasy production. But, considering he’s been touchdown-reliant, I still consider him a sleeper play this week, because he only has 71 total rushing yards in the last three weeks. But, he has 10 catches for an additional 82 yards in that time. The Chiefs are 18th against the run in real life, but in fantasy football they’re pretty stout against running backs. But if you’re in dire need of running back help and in a PPR league, Cunningham might be a sneaky play.
Last week: Allen Robinson (7 targets, 4 catches, 60 yards, TD).
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.