Every week there are top fantasy players who perform below expectations and potentially spoil your fantasy fortunes.
This column is here to prevent that letdown from happening. The “No-Start Team” is meant to warn you of some typical fantasy studs who might be duds in their respective matchups.
The decision is up to you. But, you can’t say you weren’t warned. Here’s the Week 8 “No-Start Team.”
Click here if you want to see how the Week 7 No-Start Team fared.
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford
If not for Matt Ryan’s resurgence, Stafford would be the clear front-runner as the most pleasant surprise through the midway point of the season. But Houston’s secondary has been awfully stingy even without premier pass rusher J.J. Watt. The Texans rank second in the NFL with an average of 185 passing yards allowed per game and have only surrendered 5 touchown passes this season. Houston is also undefeated at home and allowing an average of 17.3 points per game at NRG Stadium.
Running back: Jonathan Stewart
Stewart returned from his injury in style, rushing for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns two weeks ago against New Orleans. In case you’ve missed the last three seasons, the Saints defense is typically atrocious. Stewart will find much less room to run against a Cardinals run defense that has allowed an average of 96.6 yards per game. That stat doesn’t even tell the entire story, however. The Cardinals have allowed only one team to rush for more than 81 yards in a game this season and that came in Week 3 against Buffalo. The Jets and Cardinals could only muster 83 combined rushing yards the past two weeks against this unit.
Running back: Jordan Howard
There isn’t much to love about Howard this week. His workload has diminised over time and Howard carried the ball only seven times last week while ceding some touches to Ka’Deem Carey. Now, Jeremy Langford is practicing and could play this week, making Chicago’s backfield even more muddled. To top it off, Howard will go up against a Vikings defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher and ranks third in the league against the run. The Howard honeymoon appears to be over after a decent run.
Running back: Isaiah Crowell
Crowell has slowed down the past few weeks after a torrid start to the season. He scored his first touchdown since Week 4 last weekend against Cincinnati, but faces a tough matchup against a strong Jets run defense. The Jets are the second-best team in the league against the run, allowing an average of 74.9 rushing yards per game. Throw out David Johnson’s 150 yards and three touchdowns and the Jets have allowed an average of 56.6 rushing yards per game and only one touchdown all season. Factor in Kevin Hogan’s inexperience at quarterback and this spells disaster for Crowell. Pass-catching back Duke Johnson could be a valuable commodity this week, but avoid Crowell if you can.
Wide receiver: Alshon Jeffery
Jay Cutler is back under center, but Jeffery didn’t catch a touchdown pass with him either. Jeffery has been an immense disappointment this season. He hasn’t had a 100-yard outing since the season opener and doesn’t have a touchdown catch. That probably won’t change Monday night against a Vikings secondary that has rendered star receivers useless. Here are what some star receivers have done against Minnesota this season.
- Jordy Nelson – 4 receptions, 73 yards, TD
- Kelvin Benjamin – No receptions
- Odell Beckham Jr. – 3 receptions, 23 yards
- DeAndre Hopkins – 5 receptions, 56 yards, TD
Those are four pretty darn good receivers who have all had generally the same amount of succcess going up against Minnesota. A touchdown can’t be ruled out, but it also can’t be counted on when making a start/sit decision. The Bears could take it slow with Cutler as he reacclimates himself to game action and Minnesota should be motivated coming off of an embarrassing loss to Philadelphia.
Wide receiver: Marvin Jones
Marvin Jones has gone from fantasy darling to disappearing act. If not for a couple of touchdowns, Jones’ last four games would be somewhat unimpressive. He’s caught only 15 passes the past four weeks after hauling in 18 receptions during thefirst three weeks of the season. Jones goes up against a Texans defense that hasn’t been kind to wide receivers this season. Plus, the sudden emergence of Golden Tate muddles Jones’ value. His recent touchdown dependency should provide plenty of cause for concern.
Tight end: Coby Fleener
Fleener’s status as a top 10 tight end is a mirage. Thirteen of his 21 receptions this season have come in his two best games, as have his two touchdowns. Fleener is inconsistent and unreliable and facing a Seahawks defense that has allowed 20 receptions to opposing tight ends all season. It’s important to note that Fleener’s two best games have come inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but that doesn’t warrant a start. Find an option with better upside at tight end this week.