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Fantasy: Seahawks set for Stafford
Following the Week 15 game against the Los Angeles Rams, Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll told the team to "stay focused" and "control what they can control" as the Seahawks start to look towards next week's game. Watch
When you looked at the Week 8 road matchup with the Lions in the preseason, you may have figured that the Seahawks defense was in for a tough matchup. Now, it’s apparent that Matthew Stafford is the one who has the true challenge facing him. Stafford has unfortunately not lived up to the expectations for Fantasy owners, while the Seahawks defense has continued to play like a top unit.
In terms of total production, Stafford ranks 15th overall at quarterback for cumulative season points on NFL.com. While you do have to cut him a bit of slack when you consider some other more higher-ranked players have not yet had their bye weeks, there is no doubt Stafford was expected to place much better than most other passers overall in the preseason. He was drafted as early as the late part of the first round of most leagues.
By association, the top-ranked wide receiver coming into the year, Calvin Johnson, has been a disappointment as well. Johnson ranks 16th among WRs on NFL.com, and has only one TD reception, which hasn’t even been from Stafford. Johnson’s yardage totals have been nothing to get frustrated about, but Fantasy players drafted him very early because of his expected outstanding TD totals.
This is certainly not the week to expect a major Stafford/Johnson boost. The Seahawks have tall, physical cornerbacks that will relish the opportunity to clash with “Megatron.” You can’t bench Johnson if you have him, but he could be held out of the end zone again, and very possibly under 100 yards. Stafford has to be focused on being more consistent rather than explosive, and it’s not crazy at all to reserve him for a QB that may be of lower stature, yet has a better matchup.
The Seahawks defense has become a must-start unit regardless of matchup, and this current Lions offense is struggling to maintain consistency and is not the major threat it was predicted to be. Former Seahawk Nate Burleson is done for the year with a broken leg, and promising young WRs Titus Young and Ryan Broyles will have to wait to make their splash, because the Seattle secondary is not about to let them bust loose for breakthrough games. MLB Bobby Wagner is starting to gain more deserved attention and will keep RB Mikel Leshoure in check.
The Lions pass defense has instantly improved recently with the return of FS Louis Delmas, but Russell Wilson has been making sound decisions with the ball and should avoid turnovers. He is worth rolling out in a two quarterback league. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate should also get strong consideration as replacements if one of your best WRs is on a bye.
Marshawn Lynch proved again that he was “matchup proof” with an impressive outing against San Francisco last week. Lynch will of course, be the key for the Seahawks in terms of game planning, as a lot of work for him means Seattle can control time of possession and keep Stafford and Co. off the field as much as possible. Lynch has been super steady for Fantasy purposes and more TDs should come down the stretch as defenses gain increased respect for an improving Seahawks passing game.
As we consider other options around the league for Week 8, Andrew Luck is a Top 10 QB option against a very vulnerable Tennessee defense. Ben Roethlisberger is a terrific start, as he faces a very shaky Washington secondary. Philip Rivers should post at least respectable totals against the Browns.
At running back, expect another big week for Chris Johnson, as he takes on the Colts. Willis McGahee should get in the end zone at least once as the Broncos get point-happy against a downtrodden New Orleans defense. Rashad Jennings gets the start for Jacksonville against Green Bay in place of the injured Maurice Jones-Drew, yet should only be used as a flex option until he proves he can effectively handle an expanded role.
Demaryius Thomas should be one of the top WRs of the week as Peyton Manning rolls up big numbers against the Saints. Eric Decker, of course, is also a prime WR option this week. Hakeem Nicks appears to be getting back into better form health-wise and should be locked into your lineups. Dez Bryant will perform well for PPR league purposes as Dallas raises their intensity level for a home date with the Giants.
Staying with the Denver theme, TE Joel Dreessen is a great bet to score, as Manning looks for him frequently in the red zone. Defensively, Miami and the New York Jets oppose each other, and sacks and turnovers could be plentiful on both sides of the ball.
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