Fantasy football Week 8: Start 'em and Sit 'em


Fantasy football Week 8: Start 'em and Sit 'em

The guys were on top of their game in Week 7, so let's see if they can do it again in Week 8.

This week features four teams on a Bye -- Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston -- meaning guys like Ray Rice, Arian Foster, A.J. Green and C.J. Spiller are out of commission for one matchup. So you may have to dig deeper into your bench or the waiver wire to pull out a win this week. Never fear, we're here to help you with those tough decisions on who to start and who to sit.
Just a reminder for those keeping score at home (though we'll do it for you), for players who each analyst starts, these are the points they will receive:
Start 'em:5 points if a player scores 25 points4: 20-243: 15-192: 10-141: 5-90: negative-4
Sit 'em:5 points if a player scores negative points to 4 points4: 5-93: 10-142: 15-191: 20-240: 25
Without further adieu, here are our picks for Week 8. Good luck!
Tony Andracki (Week 7: 19 points; Season total: 67)
I had a really solid week last week with my picks, but nobody had any flashy days like CJ2K did for Scott. Figures. I can't win for losin'.

Joe Flacco has been really disappointing of late, and again, I have to take at least some of the blame as a bad-luck charm. Ever since I traded for him, he's been a mess. Doug Martin and Stevie Johnson were good gut plays and Matt Schaub had a nice day against the Ravens' defense, so at least I'm looking good there. All three guys scored, which is a big plus for standard fantasy matchups.

This week, I'm going with a common theme -- Celebrity girlfriends. Check it out:

Start 'em:
Tony Romo, QB -- DAL (vs. NYG)

Candice Crawford's hubby always plays the Giants well. In 13 career games against New York, Romo has 26 touchdowns and a 104.4 passer rating. This week should prove to be another shootout, with both running games at a standstill. The only question is...why did Romo ever break up with Carrie Underwood? It's mind-bottling.

Eric Decker, WR -- DEN (vs. NO)

If you've ever read one of these StartSit articles, you know how big a fan I am of Decker and his fiance, Jessie James. Look no further than her tweet two weeks ago when Deck fell flat on his face on a sure tuddie. He's had an extra week to think about that thanks to the Bye, and the Peyton Manning-Drew Brees showdown will leave very little time for running the ball. Start Deck with confidence.

Reggie Bush, RB -- MIA (@ NYJ)

I know very little about Bush's current model beau, but his ex, Kim Kardashian, is the celebrity girlfriend of the decade (if only because she's been linked to at least a dozen starts, most of which were athletes). The Jets defense will have to "keep up with" Bush, which has proven to be a tough task this season for Gang Green. The Jets have allowed at least 130 rushing yards in five of their seven games this year.
Sit 'em:
Jay Cutler, QB -- CHI (vs. CAR)

Cutler's celeb fiance, KCavs (Kristin Cavallari), should put him in the "Start" class, but I can't bring myself to do that. Cutler got banged up Monday, courtesy of Ndamukong Suh, and will be playing with some sore ribs at the very least this Sunday. The Bears have rolled over the Panthers on the ground the past two years, racking up 200 yards in each game. Look for more of the same this year, and start Matt Forte or Michael Bush if you have them.

Shonn Greene, RB -- NYJ (vs. MIA)

Alright, not everybody on this list has a celebrity significant other. But Greene's backfield mate, Mark Sanchez, just reportedly ended his relationship with Eva Longoria, so that counts. That strain is the very reason why Greene is a must-sit this week. Well, that and the fact that he's been playing over his head the last two weeks thanks to cushy matchups and this week's defense -- Miami -- is one of the best in the league at limiting fantasy RBs.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB -- NYG (@ DAL)

Again, no celeb beau, but Bradshaw shares a city with Sanchez and will be playing against Romo and I'm sure Victor Cruz will be dating somebody famous before long. The Cowboys boast one of the best rush defenses in the NFL and Bradshaw has been hampered by a foot injury. And like I said before, this will be a pass-first, pass-later, pass-some-more type of game.

Mark Strotman (Week 7: 15 points; Season total: 68)
I had a dreadful Week 7 and need to come back strong. I took a flyer on a few starts (Jermichael Finely, Mike Williams) and neither fared well. I hope I didn't hurt your flex positions too bad.

But this week, I'm going with a couple of players riding hot streaks who I believe will continue to produce. At the same time, I'm looking at players who have busted out in recent weeks but may be more of a mirage in your lineups. Stick with me and we'll go places.

Start 'em:

Shonn Greene, RB -- Jets (vs. MIA)

So this is why he was a secondthird-round pick a year ago. After Weeks 2-5 generated 12 combined points, Greene has strung together points of 34 and 14 points, respectively, the last two weeks. There's reason here to believe he will come back to Earth against a Dolphins' defense that shut him down in Week 3 (19 rushes, 40 yards) but I'm riding the hot hand. He's a good flex play on Sunday.

Alex Green, RB -- Packers (vs. JAC)

This may not seem like a great play, especially after a 35-yard performance last week against the Rams. But I see a breakout performance from Green Bay's only real running back. James Starks still isn't ready, and if the Packers go up early, Green could see heavy carries down the stretch. He's also due to find the end zone sometime soon, something he hasn't done in three weeks since becoming the lead back.

Josh Freeman, QB -- Buccaneers (@ MIN)

Just as I'm riding the hot hand in Greene, I'm doing the same with Freeman. Following a 420-yard performance against the Saints, he has a nice matchup against the Vikings. Doug Martin is finally coming around as a lead running back which should open up the passing game. I'm playing Freeman as a borderline QB1 and surefire QB2.


Matthew Stafford, QB -- Lions (vs. SEA)

Enough is enough. Chances are if you drafted Stafford as your starting quarterback, your team has struggled lately. He scored 20 points against the Eagles and 14 more against the Bears...not awful numbers. But I haven't seen a quarterback look as defeated as Stafford did last week, and while that may mean he rebounds in a big way this Sunday, I'm not betting on him against a great Seattle secondary.

Lance Moore, WR -- Saints (@ DEN)

One of the most consistent boom-or-bust players had 121 receiving yards against the Buccaneers, but that was without Jeremy Graham in the lineup. Graham should be back in Week 8, meaning fewer targets for Moore. He was a nice play if you had him in your lineup, but my gut is telling me to stay away this week. He's a flex at best.

Steven Jackson, RB -- Rams (vs. NE)

Jackson finally found the end zone in Week 7 against the Packers, but at the same time, handcuff Daryl Richardson continues to look more impressive each week. Richardson has received 9, 11 and 8 carries the last three weeks and is a better receiver than Jackson out of the backfield. The Rams will want to pass early and often, which could mean another dud from Jackson. If you have a higher upside RB2, go with him.

Scott Krinch (Week7: 20 points; Season total:68)

Well, I'm back inthe saddle after an absolute "Monster"week, thanks in part to Chris Johnson channeling his CJ2K days with 195 yardson the ground and 2 touchdowns. And like I said, you can't keep a Harvardgraduate down for that long. Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the Titans secondary, butit was enough for the victory since their defense collapsed like VincentJackson did at the 1-yard line on Sunday. Andre Johnson had a decent week, butcouldn't find pay dirt.

I sat Matty Stafford for the secondstraight week and the decision wasn't so bad. Stafford only collected onetouchdown after being stymied by the defense allnight long. Stevan Ridley couldn't find the end zone, which alsohelped me out. My final sit was James Jones, and not the Miami Heat three-pointspecialist. Jones' streak of scoring touchdowns ended against the Rams. SorryMark, at least your Packers got the W though.

This weekend,I've decided to take a few more risks and we'll see how it paysoff.

Start 'em:

BrandonWeeden, QB -- Browns (vs. SD)

Don't sleep onBrandon Weeden. In recent weeks, he's starting to look like a viable fantasyoption at quarterback. With explosive wideouts in Josh Gordon and Greg Littleand running back Trent Richardson in the passing game, Weeden has a full arsenal of weapons.The Chargers defense was lit up in the last two games by Drew Brees and PeytonManning. Weeden is no future Hall of Famer, but I can see the 29-year-oldcarving up San Diego's secondary on Sunday afternoon.

Mikel Leshoure, RB -- Lions (vs. SEA)

The63 yards against the Bears don't really show how good Leshoure looked on Mondaynight. The second-year back averaged 5.3 yards on the ground, but with theLions down, Stafford was forced to pass the ball on almost every down in thesecond half. Last week, the Seahawks allowed 175 rushing yards to the 49ers. Idon't think the "Jersey Leshoure" will reach that total, but I cansee at least 100 total yards with a touchdown or two.

Dez Bryant, WR -- Cowboys (vs.NYG)

Bryant has been overshadowed by Miles Austinthis season, but I think this is the game that the former Oklahoma State starbreaks out. In five career games against the Giants, Bryant has 18 receptionsfor 363 yards and four touchdowns. When he's on, Bryant is a mismatch againstnearly every cornerback in the NFL.


Cam Newton, QB -- Panthers (@CHI)

I'll go with my recent trend of sitting everyquarterback that plays against the Bears. Chicago's defense has been just that goodthis season. Against fantasy QBs, the Bears have 14 interceptions and haveallowed just five touchdowns in six games. I know Cam went off at Soldier Fieldlast season, but I just don't see that being the case this week. The Panthersoffense, well their whole team, is just a complete mess right now.

Ryan Mathews, RB -- Chargers (@CLE)

Oddly, Mathews is fifth this week in ESPN'sfantasy rankings of running backs. I understand the Browns defense hasn't beengreat against the run, but what has Mathews done in 2012 to have that high of aranking? In four games, he's only cracked double-digits once and I don't thinkthis is going to be one of those games. Sit Mathews this week if you knowwhat's good for you.

Mike Wallace, WR -- Steelers(vs. WSH)

Eight catches last week were nice, butthe drops continued for Wallace. He bobbled two would-be touchdowns againstCincinnati and is just way too inconsistent for me to start. Washington'sdefense is brutal against the pass, but I see Ben Roethlisberger lookingAntonio Brown and Heath Miller's way on Sunday.

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

Bobby Howry wasn't aware of the fact he was part of one of the more infamous transactions in White Sox history until a few years after it happened. 

In 1997, with the White Sox only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians, general manager Ron Schueler pulled the trigger on a massive trade that left many around Chicago — including some in the White Sox clubhouse — scratching their heads. Heading to the San Francisco Giants was the team's best starting pitcher (left-hander Wilson Alvarez), a reliable rotation piece (Doug Drabek) and a closer coming off a 1996 All-Star appearance (Roberto Hernandez). In return, the White Sox acquired six minor leaguers: right-handers Howry, Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, left-hander Ken Vining, shortstop Mike Caruso and outfielder Brian Manning. Only Foulke had major league experience, and it wasn't exactly good (an 8.26 ERA in 44 2/3 innings). 

Howry was largely oblivious to the shocking nature of the trade that brought him from the Giants to White Sox until, before the 1999 season, he was featured in a commercial that referenced the "White Flag trade."

"I don't even know if I knew it was called that before then," Howry recalled last weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago at Cubs Convention. 

The trade was a stark signal that youth would be emphasized on 35th and Shields. Both Alvarez and Hernandez were set to become free agents after the 1997 season, and the 40-year-old Darwin wasn't a long-term piece, either. With youngsters like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee rising through the farm system, the move was made with an eye on the future and maximizing the return on players who weren't going to be long-term pieces. 

Sound familiar? 

It's hardly a perfect comparison, but when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in December for four minor leaguers — headlined by top-100 prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech — it was the first rebuilding blockbuster trade the organization had made since the 1997 White Flag deal. Shortly after trading their staff ace at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton — their best position player — to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects featuring two more highly-regarded youngsters in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. 

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

And there still could be more moves on the horizon, too, for Rick Hahn's White Sox (Jose Quintana has been the subject of persistent rumors since the Winter Meetings). But for those looking for an optimistic outlook of the White Sox rebuilding plans, it's worth noting that the club's last youth movement, to an extent, was successful.

Only Howry (3.74 ERA over 294 games) and Foulke (2.87 ERA, 100 saves over 346 games) became significant long-term pieces for the White Sox from those six players brought over in 1997. And it wasn't like Schueler dealt away any of the franchise's cornerstones — like Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura — but with future starters in Lee, Ordonez and Chris Singleton on their way the White Sox were able to go young. A swap of promising youthful players (Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko) proved to be successful a year and a half later. 

And with a couple of shrewd moves — namely, dealing Jamie Navarro and John Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin — the "Kids Can Play" White Sox stormed to an American League Central title in 2000. 

"It was great," Howry said of developing with so many young players in the late 1999's and 2000. "You come in and you feel a lot more comfortable when you got a lot of young guys and you're all coming up together and building together. It's not like you're walking into a primarily veteran clubhouse where you're kind of having to duck and hide all the time. We had a great group of guys and we built together over a couple of years, and putting that together was a lot of fun."

What sparked things in 2000, Howry said, was that ferocious brawl with the Detroit Tigers on April 22 in which 11 players were ejected (the fight left Foulke needing five stitches and former Tigers catcher/first baseman Robert Fick doused in beer). 

"About the time we had that fight with Detroit, that big brawl, all of a sudden after then we just seemed to kind of come together and everything started to click and it took off," Howry said. 

The White Sox went 80-81 in 1998 and slipped to 75-86 in 1999, but their 95-67 record in 2000 was the best in the league — though it only amounted to a three-game sweep at the hands of the wild-card winning Seattle Mariners. 

Still, the White Flag trade had a happy ending two and a half years later. While with the White Sox, Howry didn't feel pressure to perform under the circumstances with which he arrived, which probably helped those young players grow together into eventual division champions. 

"I was 23 years old," Howry said. "At 23 years old, I didn't really — I was just like, okay, I'm still playing, I got a place to play. I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into three veteran guys for six minor leaguers." 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher.   He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.