Coming off a great week of prognosticating, I am excited for Week 8 - especially with a game across the pond in London.
This week, I will highlight players you should be trying to acquire on the cheap as some owners may be getting frustrated with their nagging injuries and/or lack of production. Calvin Johnson has two issues right now, his knee and Matthew Stafford. He is the best buy-low candidate in fantasy football. Another player to focus on is Darren McFadden, who seems to be facing 14 defenders in the box every time he touches the ball. The Raiders offensive line is horrendous, but relief is coming with a favorable schedule. McFadden faces just one run defense (Tampa Bay) better than 14th ranked against the run in the next nine weeks.
Three other players you should be looking to acquire are Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker as they face New Orleans, Cincinnati and Carolina the next three weeks. In addition, these players face Oakland, the injury ravaged Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland during the playoffs.
Rob Stewart is... The Fantasy Oracle
The Oracle's Top 5 remains unchanged from last week: 1. Atlanta, 2. Houston, 3. Green Bay, 4. Chicago, 5. San Francisco. Cleveland also retains the NFL's worst team distinction through Week 7.
Several injuries have shaken up the fantasy circles, including Maurice Jones-Drew, Nate Burleson (IR) and Aaron Hernandez. All are out this week and MJD's replacement, Rashad Jennings, is a must-add to any team as he will be on the field for 90 percent of the team's offensive plays. Wide receivers Greg Jennings and Pierre Garcon will be out for several weeks. Keep an eye on Jordy Nelson, as he tweaked his hamstring in practice. Players on the rise this week include Titus Young, Santana Moss, Jeremy Kerley and Dustin Keller. In larger leagues, grab and stash Danny Amendola, Vincent Brown and Beanie Wells as they are all getting closer to rejoining their teams; Brown may be out up to four more weeks.
On to the WTO Laid Back League, where the high-scoring Oracles got a much-needed win last week and received a huge boost in their week 8 battle against Jonathan "Foosball" McAfoos when Doug Martin scored them 33.40 points Thursday night.
In other games, league-leading Cody Elms (5-2) battles defending champion Brian Hagberg (5-2); Jon "Houshmanzadeh" Sitler (1-6) has an uphill climb after the Vikings defense put up a negative-3 in his matchup with Jacob "Where's Perryman" (4-3); Allen "Wingnut" Seybert (3-4) faces Josh "The Gambler" Cotton (2-5), and; Mitchell "Living" Wilston (5-2), coming off a low scoring .72 victory over Hagberg, squares off with Brian "Fish" Ferry (4-3).
The feature matchup of the week has the league's two highest-scoring teams, Bob "Big Bossman" Patchen (4-3) facing Derek "Mountain Man" Farr (4-3).
Last week's scores were as follows: Oracles 119.38, Seybert 92.62; Farr 91.20, Cotton 82.00; Patchen 122.48, Ferry 81.88; Wilston 87.62, Hagberg 86.90; McAfoos 110.18, Sitler 107.64; Perryman 112.22, Elms 95.66
ASK ALAINA: Alaina was 3-2 last week (7-3 overall). This week's questions are tough: 1.Peyton Manning or Drew Brees - Manning; 2. Ben Roethlisberger or Robert Griffin III - Roethlisberger; 3. Ryan Mathews or Reggie Bush - Bush; 4. Demaryius Thomas or Marques Colston -Thomas; 5. NY Jets defense or Eagles defense - Jets.
BYE-WEEK TEAMS: Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston.
FANTASY STAR OF THE WEEK: Oracle QB Drew Brees with 37.18 points. The Saints signal-caller threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns as New Orleans won its second in a row.
STEELERS (3-3): The Steelers battle Robert Griffin III and will need to score some points to win this one. Washington ranks dead-last against the pass so expect plenty of Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. The running game may get a boost from the return of Rashard Mendenhall. If not, then Jonathan Dwyer will try to become the first Steeler running back in four years to have back to back 100 yard games. Keep in mind, the Redskin run defense is tough (8th overall), so temper expectations. Pittsburgh 27, Washington 24.
BROWNS (1-6): The Browns continue to play everyone tough, but still haven't learned how to win a tight game. This week they play host to the San Diego Chargers, and I expect this game to be all-San Diego. Look for Ryan Mathews, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates to have good games. San Diego 29, Cleveland 13.
FANTASY BUST: Last week, Dez Bryant was the ultimate bust pick, registering just two catches for 14 yards. This week I put the bust label on Jordy Nelson. Green Bay's touchdown machine is bothered by a bad hamstring and, with lots of other options, my guess is they use him as nothing more than a decoy if he plays. Don't expect much this week.
FANTASY START: Last week we missed on this one - Maurice Jones-Drew got injured on his second carry and Rashard Jennings went on to have the big day. I have waited two years to name Peyton Manning the start of the week, but the time has come. Against a terrible Saints defense, Manning will throw at least three TDs and go over 300 yards.
ELIMINATOR PICK (4-0): Texans, Giants, Falcons and Packers have been used, so now we focus all of our energy towards my Chicago Bears. Playing at home, they will survive a scare from Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.