Week 8: Bargain Hunter
This past weekend, I hosted the FFToolbox Sunday Morning (11 a.m.) Chat for the first time and let me say, it was great to hear from so many of our loyal readers who love the site and come to us for the answers to your fantasy football questions. You guys and gals are the reason we do this. We all love the game of football and we want to dominate our fantasy leagues, but all of us here at FFToolbox (especially me) are here because we want to share our analysis, our thought process and insight to help you all win your leagues and become the best fantasy football player you can be.
The number one bit of advice that I gave everyone in the chat this past weekend was that nobody can predict the future (if you can, please contact me immediately), so make a decision you can live with when you look in the mirror. At the end of the day, it is your fantasy team. Evaluate all of the data and information at your disposal, think logically about what is most likely to happen given a player's talent, track record/history and role in the offense and make the decision that you believe best helps your fantasy team win.
A great resource to help give yourself the best chance to win is FFToolbox.com. The site has everything, from up to the minute player news throughout the week and on Sunday morning, to weekly rankings that you can customize to your leagues scoring system, to strategy articles (like this one) that are designed to give you an edge in your league. Another great feature that FFToolbox provides is the weekly podcast, which is availble to download on ITunes. With the Tuesday podcast already in the books, be sure to check out the Thursday, Week 8 Preview podcast where myself and Brian Murphy will take an in-depth look at every single Week 8 matchup and give you our sleepers of the week.
If nothing else, follow us on Twitter: @fftoolbox or you can follow me (I promise to be entertaining and answer all fantasy questions) @GeorgeBissell.
This Week 8 Bargain Hunter article -- featuring Brady Quinn, Jonathan Dwyer, Rashad Jennings, Ryan Broyles, Randall Cobb, Chris Givens and Josh Gordon -- is designed to help salary cap owners find the best bargains out there and use them to their advantage when setting their salary cap lineups.
Despite being medically cleared to play, Matt Cassel will not be under center against the Oakland Raiders in Week 8, as the Kansas City Chiefs have made the decision to go with Brady Quinn as their starting quarterback. With an extra week to prepare (thanks to a Week 7 bye), the former Notre Dame product should be in line for a solid performance against the Oakland Raiders, who are ranked 22nd against the pass and have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Quinn is an appealing spot starter for salary cap league owners looking to save money at the quarterback position, because he is the cheapest starting quarterback available in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues, valued at just $3.48. Quinn is not a long-term solution for owners in standard or salary cap formats, but he could be a useful one week fill-in for Week 8.
A major risk/reward for salary cap owners this weekend, Jonathan Dwyer represents one of the best bargains at the running back position, valued at only $4.45 in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues. If the Steelers keep Rashard Mendenhall out (giving his achilles more time to heal) then Dwyer will dominate the carries in the Pittsburgh backfield this weekend against the Washington Redskins, a below average NFL defense.
Dwyer showed for the first time in his young career that he can be an effective starting running back with his performance last weekend, rushing for a career-high 122 yards on 17 carries against the Cincinnati Bengals. Salary cap owners looking to employ Dwyer this week should keep an eye on Mendenhall's status entering the weekend, because if Mendenhall plays, it will significantly limit Dwyer's upside and makes him a less appealing play in any fantasy format.
The good news for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Maurice Jones-Drew owners is that the stud fantasy running back does not have a Lisfranc sprain, which would have required season-ending surgery. However, Jones-Drew will still be out for an "extended period" of time with a sprained foot, which opens up the door for Rashad Jennings to make a major impact for fantasy and salary cap league owners. Jennings' value jumped $2.62 this week alone up to $7.08 in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues, but he still represents a major bargain as one of the cheaper starting running backs in the league.
Jennings will shoulder the large majority of the workload in Jones-Drew's absence as he did last week, rushing for 44 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries against the Oakland Raiders. While the matchups over the next couple of weeks are not extremely favorable -- Green Bay (17th against the run this season), Detroit (16th), Indianapolis (26th) and Houston (5th) -- Jennings should be a useful play for salary cap owners at a bargain price.
An impact player in college at Oklahoma, not many fantasy or salary cap owners know that Ryan Broyles is the NCAA's all-time leading receiver, who reeled in 349 passes over the course of his four-year career. With Nate Burleson, who was averaging over eight targets per game, out for the season with a broken leg, the talented rookie will see his role in the Lions offense increase significantly.
Second-year wide out Titus Young will step up into Burleson's place in the starting lineup, but as a slot receiver, Broyles has a chance to make a major impact, like he did last weekend, catching three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Valued at $7.13 in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues, Broyles isn't a tremendous bargain, but he does have significant upside in a loaded Detroit offense that has to turn it around at some point this season.
Randall Cobb's fantasy stock has gone through the roof in recent weeks and has quickly developed into one of the league's most explosive and deadly weapons as a slot receiver. Cobb, who has been a top-five fantasy wide receiver over the last three weeks, has seen his value in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues take off, rising $3.33 this week alone, up to $9.63 for Week 8. Even at the increased price, Cobb represents a tremendous bargain for salary cap owners.
Even if Greg Jennings comes back, it will likely be James Jones, who see's his playing time decrease, because Jennings plays on the outside, while Cobb has lined up in the slot on 81% of his plays this season, according to Pro Football Focus. The second-year breakout is legitimate for Cobb and fantasy owners should do everything in their power to acquire his services.