Fantasy Football: Week 8 Startability Index

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Time to stop whining about your savaged roster or those six – yes SIX – teams on bye this week. After all, you have a fantasy win ripe for the taking. Let me help you.

As always the Startability Index focuses on players at the margins, the ones who will generally be the difference between victory and defeat.  Most players listed come from reader requests (so gets yours in next week via Twitter or Facebook). Others are additional players that seem to be Week 8’s biggest conundrum causers.

Quarterbacks

Colin Kaepernick at Jacksonville (5): Maybe you’ve turn to Kaepernick as a bye/injury replacement. Don’t expect much. Kap has thrown for under 200 yards in five games this season, yet has suddenly reverted back into a read option machine. But given the increasingly fragile state of the quarterback position I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim Harbaugh reins him in, especially against the Jags.

Geno Smith at Cincinnati (4+): Not a huge fan of Geno this week on the road. He’ll likely be pressured all game and make a few mistakes, something his typical Mendoza Line passing yardage total won’t compensate for.

Ryan Tannehill vs. New England (5+): Tannehill has games all over the map this season but typically he’s about a 1-2 touchdown, 250 yards, 1 interception guy. Look for the same Sunday.

Running Backs

Le’Veon Bell at Oakland (7): Bell has seen a slight increase in carries and last week rewarded his team with 93 yards. Look for that trend to continue – the Steelers know they need to keep Bell on all cylinders to compete.

Chris Ivory at Cincinnati (6-): Coming off 34 carries last week Ivory should get the majority of work against the Bengals. As Rex Ryan said, Ivory is the man with the hot hand which probably means another quiet day for Bilal Powell. Ivory is ranked as such because the Bengals boast a Top 10 run defense and have only allowed three touchdowns on the ground this season.

Mike James vs. Carolina (5): James is a starting running back in the NFL, so there’s that. So was Doug Martin who did very little prior to his injury. James could be a surprise as he’s a complete unknown but will have a tough first test against the Panthers who have significantly improved their run defense.

Jacquizz Rodgers at Arizona (5+): Rodgers has four touchdowns in his last two games, although with few supporting points in the yardage department. (Of course PPRers were quite pleased with his eight receptions last week). But Arizona has only allowed three rushing touchdowns on the season. Perhaps Rodgers can snag a score via the air but I wouldn’t expect an explosive day.

Zac Stacy vs. Seattle (5): Stacy is a reasonable all-purpose option, probably good for 50-70 yards on the ground and 20-40 in the air. His load may increase Sunday with Kellen Clemens under center but could be offset by a Seahawks front that has allowed exactly one 100-yard rusher on the season. (Arian Foster with 102) 

Wide Receivers

Justin Blackmon vs. San Francisco (7): The Niners secondary had been rather fierce, except these last two weeks when they’ve allowed an opposing receiver to finish with at least 98 yards. Blackmon is over 100 yards in two of three games and has generally looked like a stud. And there is a minor chance that the Jags will be playing catch up in this one.

Josh Gordon at Kansas City (5+): For the most part Gordon has been studly since his return from suspension. But with Jason Campbell under the helm, presumably not confortable throwing into tight windows, it could be a quiet day for Gordon.

Hakeem Nicks vs. Philadelphia (5-): Hicks did muster 142 yards in New York’s Week 5 tilt against the Eagles. But since then he has fallen behind Rueben Randle via a series of drops and poor play. Even Tom Coughlin has called him out.

Austin Pettis vs. Seattle (3): Pettis hasn’t scored or put up over 17 yards since Week 5. And Kellen Clemens versus Seattle’s secondary isn’t changing that,

Cecil Shorts vs. San Francisco (5): Shorts’ shoulder should not be an issue Sunday but the presence of Blackmon is. Shorts does come off a career-high eight reception game but hasn’t have a 100-yard performance since Week 3

Jerome Simpson vs. Green Bay (6-): Lucky for Simpson owners, Josh Freeman’s “concussion” paves the way for Christian Ponder, who did find Simpson for 140 yards earlier this season.  Ponder will hand the ball off to AP plenty but he’s also trying to prove his worth in the air which should be to Simpson’s benefit.

Kenbrell Thompkins vs. Miami (4):  Sure, Thompkins was a hero two weeks ago but he’s also only garnered 16 yards in two of the last three games. Just too much of a risk.

Terrance Williams at Detroit (7+):  Williams has scored in three straight. He’s the beneficiary of extreme coverage on Dez Bryant, but has also made some fabulous catches to garner Tony Romo’s confidence. Hard to envision Detroit’s 28th ranked pass defense slowing him down.

Tight Ends

Jordan Cameron at Kansas City (6): Through multiple quarterbacks Cameron has been a model of consistency, averaging about 6 catches and 70 yards. New Browns “starter” Jason Campbell is a question mark, although logic would lead you to conclude Cameron will be negatively affected.

Charles Clay at New England (7): Clay has scored in each of last three games and has a good chance to make it four-in-a-row Sunday.  He is clearly a red zone favorite of Tannehill’s

Jermaine Gresham vs. New York Jets (5): Gresham has weeks with decent targets and yardage totals but owners anxiously await that elusive first touchdown on the season.

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Melissa Jacobs

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