Evan’s Week 8 Spotlight
The Guy I Like: Jackie Battle, Kansas City Chiefs
After an atrocious start to the year, the Kansas City Chiefs have started playing well. After leading the league in rushing last season, after Jamaal Charles went down for the season in Week 2 with a torn ACL, many people expected the Chiefs to struggle running the ball in 2011. Instead of abandoning the run after the Charles injury, the Chiefs seem just as committed to running the ball this season, and Jackie Battle has emerged as the guy who will receive the majority of the carries in the Kansas City offense. Despite several games with solid rushing yard numbers, Battle has yet to reach the endzone in 2011. Expect that drought to end when the San Diego Chargers visit Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night.
The Chargers have been nowhere near as effective stopping the run in 2011 as they were in 2010, when they led the league in rushing defense, allowing over 120 yards per game to opposing rushing attacks. Although several backs will get carries for the Chiefs including Dexter McCluster, Thomas Jones, LeRon McClain in the game, expect 20 touches for Battle since the Chiefs will not put a huge burden on the inconsistent Matt Cassel. Battle should eclipse 90 total yards in the game and has a very realistic shot to break 100. Also, even though McClain is getting most of the goal line carries, Battle should break a big run for a touchdown against a Chargers defense that has already given up 6 runs of 20+ yards this season.
The Guy I do not Like: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been outstanding throughout the years, but someone has forgot to inform Tom Brady of that fact. Brady has been incredible against the Steelers in his career, and there is little reason to think that 2011 will be any different when the Patriots visit Pittsburgh in Week 8. Who will suffer from Brady attacking the vaunted Steelers defense through the air this week? BenJarvus Green-Ellis is who. Green-Ellis has been solid for fantasy owners so far this season, finding the endzone 5 times already including twice in a 136 yard performance against the New York Jets in Week 5.
With the Steelers defense missing James Harrison this week and struggling against the run this season (107 yards per game), it would appear that Green-Ellis should be poised for a good week. On the contrary, I fully expect Brady to look to throw early and often, especially to his tight ends who will force Pittsburgh’s blitzing linebackers to try to cover them.
I do not see Green-Ellis getting more than 15 touches in the game which will result in him gaining no more than 70 total yards for the game. Additionally, I do not see Green-Ellis finding the endzone this week making him a guy who you probably want to keep on your bench until Week 9.
Frank’s Week 8 Spotlight
The Guy I Like: Mario Manningham, New York Giants
It’s been a tough year for Mario Manningham. He hasn’t topped 56 yards receiving all year and in week 2 he gave himself a concussion when he failed to catch a ball cleanly while going down the sideline for a sure touchdown. Couple those issues with the fact that Victor Cruz has emerged as a legitimate threat and taken some of his targets away and Manningham’s fantasy value has taken a dip. So why on earth do I like him this week?
Two reasons. One, he is going up against a woeful Dolphins pass defense that has given up 12 touchdown passes and allowed opposing QBs to post a 102.3 rating. Lastly, Eli has been looking for Manningham more often in recent weeks especially down the field and in the red zone. This is the week that Manningham finally finds the end zone and probably gets close to 90 yards.
The Guy I Don’t Like: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s tough not to like Jones-Drew every week. Therefore, I am not telling you sit MJD. However, there are several factors that will lead to a less than productive week for Pocket Hercules.
The first thing is Jones-Drew is coming off of a short week, the second thing is the Jaguars offense is a little one dimensional, and lastly the Texans are only giving 99 yards a game on the ground.
When you add it all up it looks like around 65 yards for Jones-Drew. Feel free to start him, but you’ve been warned.