If you relied upon Matt Ryan, Terrance West, or anyone in the Sunday night game, you likely came away disappointed with your Fantasy Football team in week 7. There were some big games from people like Jeremy Hill and A.J. Green for the Cincinnati Bengals. Drew Brees bucked the trend of being average on the road and Julio Jones was Julio Jones.
Anyone who wants to trade Dez (and I pray you're just a vocal minority, and not the majority of Cowboys fans), just look at what Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and A.J. Green did in their respective games and ask yourself if that is an asset you'd like to have against the tougher defenses in the NFL.
Dez is going to make everyone with the Dallas Cowboys offense better. Cole Beasley is going to be better, Ezekiel Elliott is going to be better, and Dak Prescott is going to be better. Dez Bryant is that kind of player.
Week 7 Hot Sauce
Jameis Winston - 21/30, 269 yards passing, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. ON FIRE
Jeremy Hill - 9 carries 168 yards rushing, and 1 TD. 2 receptions for 24 yards. ON FIRE
TJ Yeldon - 6 carries for 24 yards, 1 catch for 4 yards. BURNED
Rashad Jennings - 13 carries for 25 yards, 1 rushing TD. 2 receptions for 24 yards. MILD SAUCE
Torrey Smith - 1 catch for 17 yards. BURNED
Week 7 Weak Sauce
Aaron Rodgers - 39/56 for 326 yards and 3 TDs. BURNED
Todd Gurley - 15 carries for 57 yards, 6 catches for 35 yards. ON FIRE
Melvin Gordon - 22 carries for 68 yards, and 2 TDs rushing. 6 catches for 53 yards, and 1 TD reception. DEEPLY BURNED
Larry Fitzgerald - 9 catches for 70 yards. MILD SAUCE
[table id=102 /]
Week 8 Hot Sauce
Brock Osweiler, QB, Houston Texans vs Detroit Lions
Osweiler has the weapons in DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Miller, Will Fuller, and Jaelen Strong to have been better than his numbers have shown this year. In week eight, I expect we will see an explosive Houston Texans offense.
The Detroit Lions are allowing 273 passing yards per game this season. That is an excellent fantasy day for any quarterback. They've allowed 18 touchdowns (2.57 per game) to only three interceptions in 2016.
Flavorful Forecast: 290 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception.
Matt Jones, RB, Washington @ Cincinnati Bengals
Jones lost a fumble and was ineffective, which led to Thompson seeing more work.
The Bengals are allowing 118.4 yards per game on the ground this season and 4.6 yards per carry.
Look for Jones to have a bounce back game against a Cincinnati Bengals defense who has looked average against the run the last several weeks.
Flavorful Forecast: 20 total touches for 110 yards and 1 TD.
Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Matt Asiata led all Minnesota Vikings running backs in touches in week seven against the Philadelphia Eagles. The bruising tailback turned 12 carries into 55 yards rushing and eight targets into six catches for 25 yards.
He's been a dependable runner his whole career, but has only seen limited work due to his lack of speed.
Chicago is still bad against the run, as was evident by Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ty Montgomery running for five yards per carry (on nine carries) against them.
Asiata is a goal line option for Minnesota and a good flex option for your fantasy football team this week.
Flavorful forecast: 15 total touches for 80 yards and 1 TD.
Ty Montgomery, WR, Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons
I think it's safe to say that Ty Montgomery has taken over the backfield work for the Green Bay Packers.
With Knile Davis and Don Jackson as the only running backs on the roster, Montgomery saw an increased workload in Green Bay's pass first and pass often offense.
The wide receiver turned running back received nine carries, which he turned into 60 yards rushing (even some short yardage work) to go along with 10 catches on 13 targets for 66 yards.
Knile Davis has never really had much productivity when given the opportunity, and Don Jackson is a practice squad player who is suffering from a hand injury.
Start Montgomery this week against an Atlanta Falcons team that was just torched by Melvin Gordon and the San Diego Chargers.
Flavorful Forecast: 8 carries for 50 yards rushing, 7 catches for 68 yards receiving and 1 TD.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Cincinnati Bengals vs Washington
Brandon LaFell hasn't been bad in his role as a secondary receiver in 2016. He's averaged 53 yards per game and has four touchdowns.
In week eight against Washington, LaFell will have an opportunity for a big game.
If Josh Norman plays, odds are they'll use him to shadow AJ Green. If Norman doesn't play, LaFell will likely play against Washington's third corner.
Coming off a game where LaFell had 80+ yards and a score, I'd be willing to plug him in again this week.
Flavorful Forecast: 5 catches for 75 yards, 1 TD.
Week 8 Weak Sauce
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers vs Arizona Cardinals
Cam Newton is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. There's no denying it.
If you watched the Arizona Cardinals play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night, you saw what the Cardinals defense is capable of.
The Arizona Cardinals defense has allowed less than 200 yards per game on average in 2016. They've only given up five passing touchdowns, but have nine interceptions. That's pretty stinking good.
Cam Newton isn't dealing with injuries like Russell Wilson is, which is inhibiting Wilson's ability to run, but the Cardinals aren't going to allow much through the air.
Flavorless Forecast: 178 yards passing, 1 TD, 2 INTs, and 30 yards rushing.
Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
Yes, I got BURNED by Melvin Gordon in the week seven Hot Sauce/Weak Sauce, but we're going back to the well again in week eight.
Gordon has been average on the ground this season but has been scoring a lot of touchdowns from goal line carries. He has the fifth worst yards per carry average of all NFL running backs with at least 50 carries.
The Denver Broncos have allowed 4.0 yards per carry in 2016, but I expect them to bottle up Gordon and the San Diego offense.
Flavorless Forecast: 16 total touches for 60 yards.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns vs New York Jets
In week eight, Crowell and the Cleveland Browns face the New York Jets, who currently rank fourth in the NFL in rushing yards against, allowing only 74 rushing yards per game.
With a passing game that has been inconsistent, the New York Jets will focus on Crowell and the running game.
Flavorless Forecast: 18 touches for 46 yards, 0 TDs.
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings
At the moment, it sounds like Jay Cutler will be back in the lineup for the Chicago Bears. This is not the week that I would want to return, facing the Minnesota Vikings who are third in the NFL in passing yards against, rank 7th in sacks, and third in interceptions.
Alshon Jeffrey is likely going to have to play a lot of his day against standout cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
In six games this season, they have held opposing "Number One" wide receivers to an average of 39.67 yards per game. They held Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. to 23 yards receiving and zero touchdowns in back to back weeks. In week seven, they held Jordan Matthews to 10 receiving yards.
Jeffrey will have a tough time this week, along with the rest of the Chicago Bears.
Flavorless Forecast: 2 catches for 30 yards and 0 TDs.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
As someone who was the beneficiary of Allen Robinson's 2015 season and a heavy investor in 2016, I'm sitting here wondering, "where'd he go?"
The third year wide out has only topped 60 yards receiving in one game this season; the first one. He's averaging 49 yards per game and only has three touchdowns on the year.
I'm not watching many Jacksonville Jaguars games, so I'm not sure what's going on with him, but the whole offense seems to be struggling. The emergence of Marquise Lee and Allen Hurns aren't helping Robinson's cause either.
The Tennessee Titans are allowing 250 yards passing per game, but they have only allowed nine touchdown passes on the year.
With the season Allen Robinson has been having, I might recommend sitting him until he is able to break out of his funk, but with the matchup, I'm definitely recommending a sit.
Flavorless Forecast: 3 catches for 63 yards and 0 TDs.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @john9williams and send me your Sit/Start questions for week 8.
Is Dak Prescott a Player to Avoid in Fantasy Football in 2018?
For the Dallas Cowboys, the plan is to stick with Dak Prescott to hopefully turn him into a successful long-term franchise quarterback. Going into his third year in the league, this could be a season that defines his future on America's Team.
However, after the entire team struggled in 2017 while trying to overcome several key absences (including Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith), Prescott's level of play has been questioned by plenty around the league. Fans, analysts and writers everywhere aren't as sure as they were in 2016 about the quarterback's future.
And now, according to NFL.com, Fantasy Football players should beware of drafting Dak Prescott once their "friendly" (we all know they're anything but friendly) seasons begin.
Earlier this week, NFL.com Fantasy Editor Marcas Grant published an article telling us ten players to avoid for the 2018 Fantasy Football season. Perhaps it may come as a surprise to some that Dak Prescott is in there among names like Ty Montgomery and Jack Doyle. You can read his full article here.
To be honest, I see his point here.
It's more than fair to say that it's not going to be an easy year for Dak. He's got to prove a lot in a year that could have a juicy extension at the end of it. After going through a sort of an expected sophomore slump, Prescott's third year in the NFL should be his best one yet.
There's a big but, though. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are long gone, leaving Dak Prescott with a promising yet unproven set of pass catchers.
Will a dominant running game led by five great offensive linemen and Ezekiel Elliott be enough to help Dak and the rest of the offense? Probably. but how much will Prescott be able to accomplish?
Through a painful 9-7 season in which the Cowboys never seemed to be able to find a steady pace, #4's stats took a hit. Here are his numbers from his two years in the pros:
- 2016: 311 completions, 67.8% completion percentage, 3,667 yards, 23 TDs and 4 INTs.
- 2017: 308 completions, 62.9% completion percentage, 3,324 yards, 22 TDs and 13 INTs.
- He also ran for six touchdowns in each of his two seasons.
Per FantasyData.com, his fantasy points dropped from 286.88 in 2016 to 260.66 in 2017.
Despite his numbers dropping, Dak certainly took huge strides as a passer. From taking command of the offense as a captain to making throws he wouldn't make as a rookie, Prescott was able to demonstrate improvements during a rough sophomore slump.
Even with Dez gone, the receivers the front office brought in throughout the offseason are expected to be Dak-friendly. If the receiving corps actually make his strengths shine, the Cowboys' offense will take a huge step in 2018.
Maybe, as Jason Witten mentioned on Adam Schefter's Podcast, Dez is as good as anyone going up for the football. But that's not what will make Dak shine. This revamped WR room might be just what he needs, though.
At the end of the day, even though I truly believe he'll have a good career in the NFL and that he's the future of the Dallas Cowboys, I doubt he should be marked as an early target in the Fantasy Football world.
As of right now, from a Fantasy Football perspective, I would barely rank him as a Top 15 quarterback for many reasons.
First of all, the Cowboys' game will revolve around Ezekiel Elliott. Secondly, it doesn't matter how much faith we put into these pass catchers, they haven't proved anything yet.
Dak is not a bad player at all. But taking Prescott in the middle or even late rounds of a Fantasy Draft might be the safest way to go right now.
Lastly, I leave you with some "Fantasy Nuggets" from fellow Inside The Star writer and Fantasy Football Guru John Williams:
- Dak failed to score 10 standard format fantasy points only four times last season. He scored 15+ points nine times and 20+ six times in 2017.
- In 2017 - even with a down second half - he finished as the 13th best QB in points per game and as the tenth best in total QB scoring.
- In 2016, he was in the top 10 in both categories mentioned in the previous bullet point.
- His ability to run and score touchdowns on the ground easily make him one of the best 12 QB options for fantasy football.
Fantasy Football Implications of Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension
Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended by the NFL for 6 games for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. This will leave a void in the backfield for the Dallas Cowboys and on many fantasy football rosters around the world. As it is with the real league, it's a next man up philosophy in the world of fantasy football as well.
At the moment, that next man up is Darren McFadden.
Just two years ago, with Dallas still clinging to playoff hopes in the wake of Tony Romo's injury, McFadden rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He finished fifth in the NFL that season despite not seeing more than 10 carries a game until week six. From week 6 until the end of the season, McFadden had 7 games with more than 90 yards rushing.
McFadden's touchdown total from that season leaves a lot to be desired, but let's not forget the quarterbacking chaos that went on that season. Between Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore, defenses weren't worried about being beat in the passing game.
Frankly, it's a miracle that McFadden rushed for 1,000 yards.
Over 11 games from weeks 6-17, McFadden averaged 21.45 touches per game and 108.27 total yards per game. At that pace, stretched over a 16 game season, McFadden would have totaled 1,732 yards, which would have led all running backs in total yards that season.
If you still have to draft, I would take a chance on McFadden around the 7th or 8th round in 10 or 12 team drafts.
As for Alfred Morris, he will get some touches as much as the Dallas Cowboys will look to run the ball. That being said the second half of 2016 showed who the coaches preferred as the backup.
The last time Morris ran for more than 1,000 yards was in 2014. In 2015, if you'll remember, he lost his job to Matt Jones who has since lost his job to UDFA Rob Kelley, who is starting but is being threatened by 2017 draft pick Samaje Perine.
When Morris played last year he was pretty ineffective averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.
With McFadden's injury history, you can take a shot on Alfred Morris late in your fantasy drafts around the second to last or the last round.
How Should You Value Ezekiel Elliott in Upcoming Fantasy Drafts?
That's a difficult question to answer, because a lot will depend on your league settings. My simple answer is, if you can get any discount on Ezekiel Elliott from his average draft position of 3.0, then you're getting a good value for at least the second half of the season.
Just a week ago I wrote to not allow this absence to sway you too much. I stand by that.
Fantasy football is about getting as much value as you can with each draft pick. Elliott is a top 5 value in any setting, even if he has to sit out. I think you can comprise a roster good enough to get into the playoffs, then you'll want Elliott for a playoff run.
Just like the Dallas Cowboys, all you need to do is tread water while he's out. If you can make it through the suspension at or around .500, you will still be in good position to win your fantasy football league.
When Elliott comes back, he will be the starter.
Even if they make him earn it, it won't take long. He's just better than McFadden and Morris. If your league lets Elliott somehow slip outside of the first round, snatch him up and make sure you draft McFadden. You'll thank me for it later.
While many will look at this situation as a detriment to Dak Prescott and may feel deterred from drafting him as the 9th quarterback in your league, I actually see it the opposite. While Dak was very efficient in Dallas' run-first offense, he showed throughout the 2016 season that he could be leaned upon in a shootout or to bring the team back from a large deficit.
In fact, Dak might have played his best game of the season during the playoff loss to Green Bay when the team got down 21-3. Forced to pass, Prescott completed 63% of his passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in nearly leading the team back to victory.
With a full offseason in the Dallas offense and a really good compliment of receivers led by Dez Bryant, I fully anticipate Dak to have an excellent sophomore campaign.
Dallas may lean more on the pass during Elliott's absence, which will make Dak more valuable to me. Remember fantasy football is about acquiring stats and with Elliott out, Dak will have a great chance at putting up even bigger numbers. Especially if the run game is ineffective.
Fantasy Football: Draft Ezekiel Elliott Early, Don’t Be Swayed
Plenty of fantasy football drafts have come and gone, but many still remain as training camp is in full swing. The question has come up in the fantasy football Twitter community; what do you do with Ezekiel Elliott amidst rumors of a suspension? And the short answer is nothing.
Investigations into whether or not Ezekiel Elliott has violated any of the NFL's policies have persisted. Supposedly, those investigations have come to a close. The personal conduct policy, the domestic violence policy, and the substance abuse policy seem to all be in play as the league decides on the appropriate punishment for the Dallas Cowboys' star running back.
You could go the safe route and drop Ezekiel Elliott down your draft boards or you could take a chance at having one of the top scorers in fantasy football on your roster.
Say a suspension does come down. At worst, a drug suspension would be four games.
The domestic violence issue seems to be circumstantial evidence that even the Columbus Police and District Attorney declined to pursue. The NFL's personal conduct policy could apply, but that seems to be more of a threat than anything. So the question is, if Elliott is out for four games, does he lose his value somehow. I'd say no.
We don't have to go back very far to see a similar star running back with a similar suspension. In 2016, Le'Veon Bell was suspended for the first three games of the season and many people slid him down their draft boards. In some mocks, I saw him going outside of the first round.
Sure he missed the first three games of the season, but he finished as fantasy football's No. 3 running back and was there when you needed him most. Playoff time.
Bell only had three games where he failed to score less than 15 standard fantasy points during his 12 game season (didn't play in the season finale). The point being, anyone who drafted Le'Veon Bell in the first round or the top of the second was quite happy with the results.
If Ezekiel Elliott misses time, it will be at the beginning of the season, but like Bell, he will be around at the end of the season when you're trying to put away a championship win.
If you're drafting at the top of the first round, don't let Ezekiel Elliott's consistency and scoring ability get by you because of a threat of suspension. He'll be available to you when you need him most.
The first few weeks of the season are tough matchups for Elliott anyway.
Dallas will face the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams in the first four weeks--all teams with tough defenses. Though Elliott is a guaranteed starter for those four weeks, it's likely you're lowering expectations for him against some of the top run defenses in the NFL.
For me in 2017, the reward of having Ezekiel Elliott on my roster far outweighs the risk of any potential suspension. Draft Zeke and reap the benefits.
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