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Ups and Downs of Managing a Fantasy Football Team

nfl_fantasy_football_banner-e1411153923397Fantasy football is an incredible thing. You have to ability to create a literal football fantasy; a team that’s comprised of whoever you want, players you like, players you hate, players you don’t know or players you know everything about. It’s the opportunity to have complete free range on your team. You’re the coach the owner, and the manager. But, sometimes being the boss can bring some unpleasant tidings. Along with creating your own team, you have to keep up with that team. You have to watch players day to day, week to week. You have to watch their injuries. You have to see what practice they’ve participated in, where they’ve been limited, and where they’ve been sitting. You have to watch their behavior, which in today’s game can apparently mean anything from drug abuse to domestic abuse. Being the owner of your own football team can be tiring, and sometimes downright frustrating. Rookies that have been looked on to bring a team back from the dead end up being complete busts. Veterans that have been carrying their position for years suddenly drop from the number one spot to the number 30 spot in weekly rankings. A receiver that has put up an average of 20 points a game for four games suddenly gets shut out and barely manages two points. Predicting the future in fantasy football is one of the most difficult aspects of the game, and can be an extremely high risk, high reward situation. In my personal experience, Jimmy Graham began this season as a monstrosity, topping tight end rankings for the first few weeks without any problems whatsoever. But soon he fell off, he began to drop down in the rankings and was being outplayed by some backup tight ends around the league. Putting your faith in one player or team can prove to be extremely fruitful, but in some cases can ruin your playoff contention possibility from the second game of the season. So exercise extreme caution when putting all of your eggs in one basket, and prepare yourself for the biggest emotional roller coaster of your life before joining a fantasy football league. But then again, sometimes following your favorite actual team can be the biggest emotional roller coaster of your life (yeah I’m a Saints fan).
QBs I like in Week 8:
1. Kyle Orton, Buffalo Bills (@New York Jets): This may be just a bit of a risky pick, but the Jets have given up an average of 20 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season; the most in the league. Also, Sammy Watkins has been having a great time receiving for the veteran QB, and put up 24 points against the Vikings last week, whose secondary is easily comparable to that of the Jets. In addition, Orton has put up a 68.5% completion rate in his three starts this year, which is not something to overlook. I would definitely consider picking up Orton and putting him in, especially if you don’t already have a solid choice.
2. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. St Louis Rams): Smith has been performing fairly well this season, and it’s definitely been under the radar. Aside from his blowout against the New England Patriots, the QB has been fairly overlooked so far this season. This week he’s pitted up against the St. Louis Rams, who have allowed an average of 234 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks per game this season, along with an average of 20.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2014 (3rd most in the league). If you don’t have a surefire pick this week like an Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning, I would give Smith a second look.
RBs I like in Week 8:
1. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (@Atlanta Falcons): The Falcons have given up an unheard amount of fantasy points to opposing backs this season, topping the list with a stunning average of 26 points per game. Plus, Reggie Bush is questionable for this week, and according to local Detroit sources, missed Thursday’s practice. Bell has been carrying the load pretty well this season, and did the same last season when Bush couldn’t do so. With the way the Falcons defense has been letting opposing backs through, Bell should be a pretty solid RB1 choice.
2. Demarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Redskins): Demarco Murray has been quite the workhorse for the Dallas Cowboys, as the team tops the list so far in 2014 for most rushing first downs per game with an average of 8.3. Murray has average 20.4 fantasy points per game this season, and although the Redskins have allowed the 12th fewest rushing yards this season, I still expect Murray to continue to put up solid numbers.
WRs I like in Week 8:
1. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (@New York Jets): The reasons are pretty similar to why I recommend Kyle Orton for this week: the Jets secondary sucks. Against the Vikings last week, Watkins put up 122 yards on nine receptions with two touchdowns. The Vikings secondary is arguably just a little better than the Jets, so I’m pretty confident in Watkins this week. If nothing else, throw him in the flex position, or maybe even WR2. He should definitely put up some pretty acceptable numbers this week.
2. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins (@Jacksonville Jaguars): Mike Wallace hasn’t necessarily been putting up incredible numbers every game this season, but he’s definitely been one of the most consistent receivers in the game. The Jaguars have given up an average of 21 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers this season, and Wallace has put up an average of 11 points per game this season. Not anything to write home about, but solid enough for a WR2 position this week.
TEs I like in Week 8:
1. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (vs. Seattle Seahawks): Olsen has been staying in the shadows this season. It’s hard to make yourself well known when the media covers no one but Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Julius Thomas. But Olsen has been as consistent as anyone this season, averaging about 11 fantasy points per game this season. In week five, Olsen put up 19 points against the Chicago Bears, who have only allowed an average of 8 points per game to opposing tight ends this season. With Jimmy Graham underperforming and disappointing owners everywhere, it’s good to have a second option. Olsen is a great choice this week.
2. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts (@Pittsburgh Steelers): Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener have shared the tight end spotlight this season, but Allen has taken somewhat of a lead. The Steelers have allowed the 9th most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this year (an average of 9.1). In week six, they allowed the Browns’ Jordan Cameron 102 yards on three receptions and one touchdown. If Andrew Luck has any intention of continuing to prove himself as one of the most lucrative rookie quarterbacks the league has ever seen, I would expect Allen to put up at least double digits this week.
–Taylor Lust, contributor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at tdlust@go.olemiss.edu

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