The AMERICAN Football Column: Week 8

Hi, hello and welcome to everybody’s favorite column about everybody’s favorite sport! To say it’s been a rough season for me would be an understatement. Bengals are in the toilet. Most of my fantasy teams are in the toilet. The games are pretty blah for the most part. 2017 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for football so far.

But that’s going to change. You know why?

THE PATRIOTS ARE BACK, BABY! We thought they might be vulnerable for a couple of weeks there, but now that they ran over Atlanta we know everything is A-OK in New England. Bill has everything under control. Tom will play until he’s 50. Everything is right with the world again.

Now we can play our fantasy football & gamble in peace. First, the National Anthem as sung by Marvin Gaye.

Fave 5

Carson Wentz

This one’s pretty self explanatory. Booker T was doing the Fave 5 gimmick back when the Ocho was starting up, so we figured it only made sense to make it part of our fantasy football podcast over at offtheteam.com. These are five guys that are going to have tremendous weeks and lead your team to fantasy glory. And maybe even lead their actual team to glory, but we’re not worried about that too much here.

Carson Wentz: People are telling me that Wentz is the best quarterback in the NFC. I don’t know about that, but I do know that the kid is on a roll and facing the absolutely pathetic 49ers this week. Should be another huge week for the future of the NFL. I agree with Rich Eisen, by the way. The people at the Browns that thought Wentz wouldn’t be a top-twenty QB should hand in their resignations.

Tyreek Hill: The Denver Broncos have one of the best defenses in football. Hill made them look silly in two games last season. Four touchdowns, 100 yards rushing & receiving, punt return touchdown…just a bad time for Denver all around. I think it continues this week on MNF.

Matt Forte: Remember when Bilal Powell was going to be the Jets’ RB1? My fantasy teams sure do! It hasn’t happened, Powell has been snake-bit by injuries while Forte has taken advantage of what he’s gotten. The Falcons never stop anybody, I think Forte turns back the clock this week.

Hunter Henry: Hunter Hearst Henry has established himself as the right end of record in Los Angeles. The torch has been passed from Antonio Gates. Henry has gotten over 70 yards the last 4 weeks and it’ll continue against a Patriots defense that doesn’t stop much.

Kyle Rudolph: The Cleveland Browns are dreadful against tight ends. Remember when Tyler Croft scored two touchdowns against them? Rudolph has been solid lately and serves as a great safety valve for Case Keenum. He’ll put up some points in wacky old England.

Last Week’s Fave 5 Record: 3-2 (Dak Prescott, Julio Jones & Jimmy Graham over, Adrian Peterson & Davante Adams under)

Fearful 4

dcarr

These are four people that you’re probably going to have to start, but you’re not going to be very happy about it. I’ve actually been doing well in this section lately, mostly because offenses have been disappointing thus far.

Derek Carr: Carr and the Raiders finally got back on track last Thursday night against the Chiefs. They get a little extra rest, but I don’t think it will help. The Bills gave up some points to Jameis Winston last week but I don’t see Carr putting up top-notch numbers this week.

DeAndre Hopkins: D-Hop has excelled since Deshaun Watson took over at quarterback for the Texans. He won’t this week since he’s going to be looking across the field from Richard Sherman. Sorry dude, it happens to all the best WRs. They all go against Sherman, and they all become sorry ass receivers. Its the way of the world.

Doug Martin: The Muscle Hamster has looked pretty good since his comeback from suspension. Hasn’t gone under 8 points yet. He will this week. The Panthers are a stout run defense and will be PISSED OFF after losing to the Bears, so it’ll be a long day for the Hamster.

Terrelle Pryor Sr.: I told everybody this guy was a ridiculous second round pick in fantasy leagues. But no, people really thought Pryor was going to be a thing this season. Jay Gruden has already given up on him and so should you. Dallas is a pretty good matchup, but he won’t be able to take advantage of it.

Last Week’s Fearful 4 Record: 3-1 (Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, Buck Allen/Alex Collins under, Jameis Winston over)

3 Sleepers

lafell

A lot of the fantasy experts out there love to give you their sleeper picks. It’s not a bad idea. The flaw in the execution is they’re typically not highlighting people you can pick up. I saw a column this week suggesting that Joe Mixon was an excellent sleeper pick this week. Well, sure. Good luck picking him up.

So what we’ve been doing on the Ocho for the past five seasons is highlighting some sleepers that are actually Off The Team. They’re owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues, just sitting on the wire waiting for you to pick them up.

Brandon LaFell (3%): He was the most targeted wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals last week. Whether that’s a wise idea or not, it’s something to keep in mind going forward, especially this week against the sorry, no-account Indianapolis Colts. If the Bengals don’t want to use their best players we might as well take advantage of it.

O.J. Howard (29%): The Buccaneers tight end was doing more blocking than anything else until last week when he exploded for 21 points. There’s a reason they drafted him in the first round of the NFL Draft, folks. Big boy can scoot.

Theo Riddick (38%): Up until last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers had been pretty weak against running backs. For whatever reason, the Bengals decided not to exploit this weakness and decided to throw the ball to inept wide receivers instead. I doubt the Detroit Lions will make that same mistake. Riddick is a solid #2 in the timeshare these days, but he still gets plenty of run.

Patriotic Interlude

When I think America, I think the American Males!

Picks Against The Spread

Miami at Baltimore (-3): I don’t think the Dolphins are good at all, but they keep winning games somehow. Mostly due to playing bad teams like the Ravens.

Minnesota (-9.5) vs. Cleveland: Vikings win 10-0 in wacky old England.

Chicago at New Orleans (-9): The Bears were able to get some big turnovers on the Panthers last week in Chicago. I can’t see it happening in the SuperDome, nor can I see the Bears offense keeping pace with the Saints.

Atlanta (-4.5) at NY Jets: The Jets are always in close games. They don’t win them very often, but they always seem to be close.

Carolina at Tampa Bay (-2): I figured there was a good chance the Panthers would blow a game last week against a sorry team. This week they can come back strong against a division rival. Seems to make sense, right?

San Francisco at Philadelphia (-13): Fly Eagles Fly

Oakland at Buffalo (-2.5): The Raiders got a big win last week against Kansas City, but now get to travel across the country and play in the cold against a tough Bills team. I’m not big on their chances of keeping the momentum going.

Indianapolis at Cincinnati (-10.5): This feels like the kind of game that the Bengals win handily so the local media can try to talk people into thinking they can make the playoffs. They can’t. Indy is just that bad.

LA Chargers at New England (-7): The Patriots have things on track now. Everybody better watch out.

Houston at Seattle (-5.5): DeShaun Watson is getting his first real test this week in Seattle. I don’t think he’ll have a great game, but I don’t think he’ll completely implode either. The Texans’ defense should be able to keep it somewhat close.

Dallas (-2.5) at Washington: I think Zeke is playing this week. Stay tuned though. If they manage to get him suspended, the Rs just might have a chance here.

Pittsburgh (-3) at Detroit: The NFL loves the Steelers. They don’t love the Lions. Hell, they even let Jerome Bettis take all the hometown buzz from Detroit back in the day. Now Detroit hates everybody.

Denver at Kansas City (-7): The Chiefs have been tailing off a bit lately while the Broncos got humiliated last week and will be looking to take their frustrations out on somebody. Should be a nose-busting rip-snorting kind of game.

slip

Week 7 Record: 6-7-2

2017 Season Record: 45-58-3

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