I had a terrible week seven after topping 100 points in each of the first six weeks. My trades for Maurice Jones Drew and Emmanuel Sanders didn't help matters, reminding me that sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make. We get one great fantasy team (New Orleans) back this weekend and one not so great (Oakland). Week eight brings the largest numbers of teams on bye so far this season with six taking the week off. Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego and Tennessee with a bye this week, obviously effecting fantasy lineups in a big way. The Thursday night game this week features the Tampa Bay Bucaneers hosting the Carolina Panthers.
The NFL Network is in the windy city on Thursday night for the Giants and Bears. New York will be without David Wilson, but some would say the GIants have been playing without him all season. Atlanta and Miami are on bye this week, the Falcons are expecting Stephen Jackson back in week seven while the Dolphins running back situation is something I am thankful I have no stake in. Pittsburgh, Washington, Minnesota and Tampa Bay return after taking a break with bye's in week five. Fantasy nation very pleased to get Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris, Le'Veon Bell and Doug Martin back in their respective lineups. Not much relief at the tight end position though, with the possible exception of Kyle Rudolph.
How important is it to have a running back that is a part of his team's passing game? In today's game, it is becoming more imporant, especially in fantasy. I have had Marshawn Lynch for several seasons and while I can't complain, it sure would be nice for him to be move involved on third down. The league awaits Rob Gronkowski's return, but for now its Jimmy Graham and Jordan Cameron at the top of the position. Green Bay and Carolina are on bye, so DeAngelo Williams and Greg Olsen get the week off. The Packers try to sort out their running back situation and Jermichael Finley gets a chance to bounce back from concussion issues.
Are you happy with your tight end? I ended up with Antonio Gates and almost cut him after week 1, now am glad I have him. With tight ends I think you have to be patient with the veterans. There are a few new stars emerging like Jordan Cameron, but for the most part it's the same guys from last year that are reliable scorers. Running backs are another story, other than Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles, how many are three down backs? Hopefully by tracking how much they are targeted week to week can help you get a handle on the situation.
It's playoff time in most fantasy leagues across the nation and time to get back that investment. We continue to see a lack of running backs targeted, at the very least inconsistency. Last season's All-World tight ends aren't bringing in the fantasy bacon as they did a year ago, looking more like tight end's than the wide receiver numbers at the position in 2011. Receiving yards at running back are more icing this season, certainly not something you can count on- so focus on the backs that carry the rock. At tight end, we have a finite list of contributors, we are long past any new breakout players.
Why don't teams throw to running backs? I know I have been harping on this all season, but when only seven backs are averaging more than four targets a game, the numbers are down. Making matters worst, Darren McFadden and LeSean McCoy aren't avaialble and Darren Sproles is just working his way back. At tight end, All-World Rob Gronkowski is gone till December and Jimmy Graham's numbers have been tempered a bit. Jason Witten owners are happy that his spleen hasn't impacted his league leading numbers.
Finally, the dreaded bye weeks are behind us. It's time for the home stretch and in week 12, fantasy owners applaud the return of Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Tight end's returning from bye include Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. While the bye weeks are behind us, keep an eye on multiple Thursday games, Saturday games coming soon and the usual Sunday and Monday prime time action.
Is Demarco Murray on your fantasy squad? How about Darren McFadden or Doug Martin? They, along with Mikel Leshoure return from by this weekend. With Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay completing their bye weeks, Carolina, Chicago Jacksonville and New Orleans take their turn this week. Take proper precautions if you have Matt Forte, Maurice Jones- Drew or running backs in Carolina or New Orleans.