Sink or Swim: Week 8 Edition

By Sal Leto (@letosal)

Wow, that was a rough week of football and I would say last week's article was largely a sink. When I look back and see names like TJ Yeldon, Kenny Stills and Deonte Thompson atop the weekly leader board I just say sometimes you're going sink and sometimes you’re gonna swim. Let’s get back to swimming. Don’t forget there are six teams on the bye this week.

Quarterbacks

Swim

Andy Dalton vs Indianapolis Colts

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The Colts surrendered their third straight 300+ yard game a week ago to Blake Bortles and the fifth in seven games this season. It has been an up and down season so far from Andy but this one has success written all over it. You heard me voice my displeasure with how the run game is being handled and so did Joe Mixon. That resulted in Marvin Lewis scolding Mixon in the media. All the more reason to believe the Bengals will rely on the pass this week.

Sink

Matt Moore @ Baltimore Ravens

Yes, he sparked the offense when he came in last Sunday and helped lead the Dolphins to a big comeback win. The Ravens are pretty ugly to watch at times but aside from a brain freeze in London a month ago they have been hell on quarterbacks. This game will be in Baltimore where, on the season, the Ravens have given up 629 yards (157 average) three TDs and five interceptions in four games. I think the Dolphins would be smart to let Moore continue to play but I think it would be dumb for you to start him this week.

Running Backs

Swim

 Wendell Smallwood vs San Francisco 49ers

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I know it’s tough to trust an Eagles running back. This is a shallow week and you’re going to have to trust me. The 49ers are BAD on all facets of defense and have started to release veterans and turn to youth. San Fran is giving up 33.2 PPR points to running backs on average.  That’s four more than the next closest team. After seven games they hold the distinction of giving up the most receptions (46), receiving yards (526) and touchdowns receiving (4) to running backs. They’re even worse in rushing yards at 799 and have given up five more touchdowns on the ground. Smallwood returned from injury last week after missing two games and just about split snap percentage with Blount. If you have either back I could see playing them but I feel Smallwood has the bigger game.

Jay Ajayi @ Baltimore Ravens

I do feel the Dolphins are a better team than the Ravens. As I mentioned, I think Moore is a bad play this week. So how else will they win this game? Run run run. The Ravens are fifth worst against running backs over the last five weeks giving up 774 yards rushing, 150 more than any other team, and five rushing touchdowns. Latavius Murray put up 118 and a TD a week ago against these Ravens.  Ajayi is going to feast on this defense.

Sink

 Duke Johnson Jr/Isaiah Crowell vs Minnesota Vikings (London)

I’m done relying on guys playing in London. It’s a mess every time. On top of being in London the Vikings own the second best running back defense in the league and are actually first over the last five weeks. The Cleveland Browns backfield should be avoided this week. The two backs are basically splitting snaps and neither has been carrying your team or their team.

Jalen Richard vs Buffalo Bills

Some people have been stashing him while others rushed to the waiver wire to grab him on Tuesday. With Marshawn picking up a one game suspension and Richard looking mostly better than him this season anyway, now is the time right? Ahhhhhhh, nope. Fifth best at stopping running backs on the season the Bills have contained the position quite well. They have been specifically good stopping pass catching backs which is where Jalen often times will dazzle.

Wide Receivers

 Swim

 Demaryius Thomas @ Kansas City Chiefs

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Yes I’m recommending a receiver who had two catches for nine yards a week ago. The AFC West battles continue again this week.  After seeing Amari Cooper torch the Chiefs for 210 yards and two touchdowns a week ago Thomas should be in for a big game. The Chiefs are second worst vs wide receivers in 2017. They have given up 13 wide receiver touchdowns and nine of those came in the last three weeks.

Kelvin Benjamin @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

He hasn’t exactly been what we thought he would be after looking solid in the preseason. With only one touchdown in seven games he’s been good not great. The Bucs are always good to cure those ills. We have spoken here about how bad Tampa is vs wide receivers and continue to give up a league average worst 44.7 PPR points. Last Sunday they gave up over 100 receiving yards to Deonte Thompson, a guy who was not in the NFL four days earlier. Kelvin should have his best game of the year in this one.

Sink

 Will Fuller @ Seattle Seahawks

All Fuller has done in his three games since returning from injury is score five touchdowns.  So why in the world would he be here? I don’t know, man, there’s a lot of teams on a bye this week. But he is playing the Seahawks and they have been pretty solid against wide receivers. Second best in touchdowns given up (3) it will be tough for him to keep the streak up this week.

Tyreek Hill vs Denver Broncos

It would appear I’ve lost my mind this week with my “Sink” wide receivers. Hill checks in as PPR wide receiver eleven on the season. A closer look shows that damage was done in three games. In the others 43, 35, 68 and 34 yards. True, Hill can break one at any time but the Bronco defense is second best against the position over their last four games. They have really stiffened over the last two weeks allowing just seven receptions for 116 yards and zero touchdowns.

 Tight Ends

Swim

 Jason Witten @ Washington Redskins

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Yup, he was on the sink list a week ago and shut me up. This week he gets the bad Washington TE defense who have given up chunks of yardage to the position. Four TEs have gone for 89 yards or more in the six games played.

 Sink

 Zach Miller @ New Orleans Saints

In recent past the Saints have been a turnstile for tight end points. It’s been a bit different this season. After starting off with a TD given up in each of the first two games they have since given up 89 TOTAL yards to TEs over the last four games and one touchdown.