Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/30/11

By just glancing at the list of bye teams below, you can already begin to feel the pain of a number of fantasy owners. Elite quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends are all sitting this week out, and a once lush waiver wire is now as lean as Kyle Orton’s chances of starting again in Denver. But this week is not as bleak as it appears on first glance. Here are my rankings and some sneaky plays for week 8.

Teams on bye week: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, New York B, Oakland, Tampa Bay



Could Impress: Matt Hasselbeck. It wasn’t the performance we expected last week, when Hasselbeck threw for just 104 yards against the Texans. But the Colts are just hemorrhaging points to quarterbacks this season, allowing more touchdowns than anyone to fantasy quarterbacks.

Could Disappoint: Kevin Kolb. The Ravens can make a lot of fantasy quarterbacks look mediocre, but Kolb has spent the last four weeks riding the mediocre train. He’s had 9 turnovers in that span, and could be without Beanie Wells, meaning there is little to keep the defense honest. Avoid this matchup.

Keep an eye on: Christian Ponder. Even against the defending Super Bowl champs, Ponder never looked rattled this past Sunday. He’s a rookie, and there will be bumps in the road, but there is fantasy upside here.

Injury Replacement: Andy Dalton. Speaking of fantasy rookies, Dalton has put together a streak of three games with more than 13 fantasy points. He’s got another good matchup this week against Seattle. I like quarterbacks coming off a bye, and it shouldn’t hurt that Dalton had more time to study up on the Seahawks D.

QB Rankings

1. Drew Brees NO (@ St. Louis)

2. Tom Brady NE (@ Pittsburgh)

3. Michael Vick PHI (vs. Dallas)

4. Ben Roethlisberger PIT (vs. New England)

5. Cam Newton CAR (vs. Minnesota)

6. Matthew Stafford DET (@ Denver)

7. Eli Manning NYG (vs. Miami)

8. Tony Romo DAL (@ Philadelphia)

9. Matt Schaub HOU (vs. Jacksonville)

10. Philip Rivers SD (@ Kansas City)

11. Joe Flacco BAL (vs. Arizona)

12. Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF (vs. Washington)

13. Tim Tebow DEN (vs. Detroit)

14. Matt Hasselbeck TEN (vs. Indianapolis)

15. Andy Dalton CIN (@ Seattle)

16. Matt Cassel KC (vs. San Diego)

17. Kevin Kolb AZ (@ Baltimore)

18. Christian Ponder MIN (@ Carolina)

19. Alex Smith SF (vs. Cleveland)

20. Colt McCoy CLE (@ San Francisco)

21. Curtis Painter IND (@ Tennessee)

22. John Beck WAS (@ Buffalo)

23. Tarvaris Jackson SEA (vs. Cincinnati)

24. Blaine Gabbert JAX (@ Houston)

25. Matt Moore MIA (@ New York Giants)


Is it time to move on CJ2K?

Running Backs

Could Impress: Jackie Battle. Despite putting up 5 yards a carry, Battle lost his goalline opportunities to fantasy vultures. Still, he has a great matchup in San Diego, the 26th worst team against the run. Battle has provided balance to this surprising Chiefs squad, and should be in line for another good game.

Could Disappoint: Bernard Scott. This week’s hot waiver wire pickup appears to have a good matchup on paper in Seattle. But for all the Seahawks deficiencies, Pete Carroll’s squad can actually defend the run pretty well. They are the 3rd ranked run defense and are playing at home. Scott’s a one-week starter in Cincy, but I’m not sure he should even get the chance for your team.

Keep an eye on: Chris Johnson. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s been a fantasy gem before, but I think it’s time to pull the trigger on a trade for CJ2K. His struggles this year have been well documented, but a guy with his talent is going to bounce back. His stock is at an all-time low, and he’s got New Orleans, Indy, Jacksonville and Houston to end the season. Not exactly stellar run defenses during the fantasy playoffs.

Injury Replacement: Maurice Morris. Assuming your waiver wire is as devoid of talent as most leagues, Morris is a good play this week. He’ll split carries with Keiland Williams again, but he’ll be in for most passing downs. If you’re desperate, you could do worse.

RB Rankings

1. Arian Foster HOU (vs. Jacksonville)

2. Adrian Peterson MIN (@ Carolina)

3. LeSean McCoy PHI (vs. Dallas)

4. Frank Gore SF (vs. Cleveland)

5. Fred Jackson BUF (vs. Washington)

6. Ryan Mathews SD (@ Kansas City)

7. Maurice Jones-Drew JAX (@ Houston)

8. Ray Rice BAL (vs. Arizona)

9. Rashard Mendenhall PIT (vs. New England)

10. DeMarco Murray DAL (@ Philadelphia)

11. Chris Johnson TEN (vs. Indianapolis)

12. Ahmad Bradshaw NYG (vs. Miami)

13. Darren Sproles NO (@ St. Louis)

14. Steven Jackson STL (vs. New Orleans)

15. Daniel Thomas MIA (@ New York Giants)

16. BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE (@ Pittsburgh)

17. Mark Ingram NO (@ St. Louis) **ruled out of Sunday’s game

18. Jackie Battle KC (vs. San Diego)

19. Bernard Scott CIN (@Seattle)

20. Knowshon Moreno DEN (vs. Detroit)

21. Ryan Torain WAS (@ Buffalo)

22. Mike Tolbert SD (@ Kansas City)

23. Montario Hardesty CLE (@ San Francisco)

24. Delone Carter IND (@ Tennessee)

25. Jonathan Stewart CAR (vs. Minnesota)

26. Roy Helu WAS (@ Buffalo)

27. Peyton Hillis CLE (@ San Francisco)

28. DeAngelo Williams CAR (vs. Minnesota)

29. Alfonso Smith AZ (@ Baltimore)

30. Maurice Morris DET (@ Denver)

31. Pierre Thomas NO (@ St. Louis)

32. Leon Washington SEA (vs. Cincinnati)

33. Ben Tate HOU (vs. Jacksonville)

34. Keiland Williams DET (@ Denver)

35. Reggie Bush MIA (@ New York Giants)

36. Brandon Jacobs NYG (vs. Miami)

37. Brian Leonard CIN (@ Seattle)

38. Justin Forsett SEA (vs. Cincinnati)

39. Donald Brown IND (@ Tennessee)

40. Ricky Williams BAL (vs. Arizona)

41. Kendall Hunter SF (vs. Cleveland)

42. Danny Woodhead NE (@ Pittsburgh)

43. Thomas Jones KC (vs. San Diego)

44. Stevan Ridley NE (@ Pittsburgh)

45. LaRod Stephens-Howling AZ (@ Baltimore)

46. Phillip Tanner DAL (@ Philadelphia)

47. Javon Ringer TEN (vs. Indianapolis)

48. Lance Ball DEN (vs. Detroit)

49. Isaac Redman PIT (vs. New England)

50. Joseph Addai IND (@ Tennessee)


Stephen Kelley is a contributor at The Sports Bank where he covers Fantasy Sports and Pro Drafts. You can follow him on Twitter @stephen_tsb.

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