Week 8: Player Outlooks

 
 
 
 
Football > Week 08 > Player Outlooks

Week 8: Player Outlooks

A companion article to our weekly podcast, we cover Jonathan Stewart, DeMarco Murray, Jahvid Best, Marques Colston, Alfonso Smith and others.

Can we finally admit that at least for this season (though I would say regardless), Jonathan Stewart is the Panthers' top running back? On talent alone I would make the call, but since the Daily Show is picking up the goal line carries (Cam Newton does not vulture), his current 2011 weekly fantasy value exceeds DeAngelo Williams'...

That was an awesome display of breakaway ability by the Cowboys' starting running back. Everyone has been telling me for seemingly ever that Felix Jones is the man and I guess I just did not believe, but after what he did Sunday, wow...Oh, wait, that was not Felix Jones? DeMarco Murray, really? Wait, did the Cowboys change their entire offensive line this week, one that was apparently not opening holes for the former Arkansas Razorback? No, hmmm. Sure, anyone reading this might be able to ramble for a four yards per carry against the Rams soft run defense, but still...It is only one week and many a runner has shined brightly one week and been eclipse the next, but Felix owners should be a touch scared. Especially since Murray next faces the Eagles' soft run defense...

Jahvid Best is hardly a grind-it-out style of running back. His all-or-nothing ways can be a hindrance when it comes to consistently moving the chains. However, the big play upside is significant and Best is a threat in the passing game, the combination of which forces defenses to pay attention to his scat back ways. Not so much with the pedestrian stylings of Mo Morris or Keiland Williams, the Lions backup choices with Best on the concussion mend. What was looking like a diverse, potent offense has turned into a "Calvin Johnson better break a long one or we will not score" attack. Give some blame to Matthew Stafford's regression following a hot start to the season, perhaps because the strong-armed passer has relied on the god-given skills over basic throwing fundamentals. Considering Shaun Hill's solid work last season in relief, I am less concerned about a short-term QB swap (should Stafford's leg injury warrant one) than a Lions offense without the threat of Best...

Am I wrong to think Marques Colston, a receiver with a history of unsteady weeks playing on a team with deep passing game options, is a great sell-high candidate?

Assuming the obvious running backs that received a bump in value -- Michael Bush, Ryan Torain, Bernard Scott, Pierre Thomas -- already live in someone's roster, I'll say Redskins rookie Roy Helu is the free agent back to grab. We are not ready to cash in on Helu's lottery ticket potential (potential that stems from elusive running style and him playing behind two injury prone players), but it is certainly conceivable his role increases dramatically with Tim Hightower out of the equation. Helu is no better than a bye-week flyer for now; Torain figures to be the lead runner (especially in short yardage scenarios) for as long as he can remain healthy. In addition, between the quarterback play and injuries along the line, the offense is hardly running at max capacity. Finally, every fantasy owner fears being tangled up with a Mike Shanahan running back. With all that said, the Redskins' backfield options have dwindled to two and the path for both appears clearer. Maybe, who knows, but Helu has a sincere chance to shine...

Too bad for Alfonso Smith. The undrafted runner (and likely replacement if Beanie Wells sits out this week) might be getting his one shot at a start. This is his opportunity to show the Cardinals and potential employers what he looks like as the lead runner. Fantasy owners in a pinch also would take notice...and the schedule gods have the Cardinals traveling to Baltimore to face a pissed off Ravens squad coming of an embarrassing Monday night loss. Good luck Mr. Smith. Wells owners should roster him considering Beanie's injury history, but it is hard to imagine wanting to start Smith in this match-up.