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Fantasy football week 8

Posted by Ed Ryan October 23, 2008 05:55 AM

With every team in the NFL seemingly capable of finishing with seven to nine wins (exceptions: Kansas City, Detroit, and Cincinnati), performances have been fluctuating like the stock market, and there are a host of fantasy issues worth examining as we get closer to the season’s midpoint.

Steven Jackson owners are undoubtedly walking with an extra bounce in their step this week. Jackson finally seems to be living up to the expectations that come with being a first-round fantasy pick (he was taken sixth in my draft).

Jackson, like the Rams, started slow, but two of his last three performances have been exceptional, particularly last weekend’s 160-yard, three-touchdown gem against Dallas. The Rams are playing inspired football under new coach Jim Haslett, and local fans will get to see Jackson (right) up close this weekend when the Rams visit the Patriots, whose run defense is nothing special.

I had a decision to make last weekend regarding which of my defenses to play, and I screwed it up. I have San Diego and Buffalo, and they played each other. I decided that Buffalo’s defense was too banged up and went with San Diego. A bad move that cost me 11 points: the Bills’ defense put up 11, while the Chargers actually scored out to a zero — the ultimate indignity.

Tennessee running backs LenDale White and Chris Johnson are a rarity for teammates: Both are worthy fantasy starters. White has fewer carries (80) but has eight touchdowns — tied for the league lead. Johnson has rushed for 549 yards and is also the Titans’ second-leading receiver (14 catches). Owners should not hesitate to start either on Monday night against Indianapolis, which allows 153.5 rushing yards per game, fourth worst in the NFL.

While watching the Jets-Raiders last weekend, I felt JaMarcus Russell had improved — almost — to the point in which he could be a fair fantasy backup. He seemed confident, but his receivers are terrible and constantly dropping his throws. This is not the weekend to consider playing him, even if your quarterback is on a bye, because the Raiders face Baltimore’s punishing defense.

What do Roddy White, Lee Evans, and Bernard Berrian have in common? They are all in the top 10 in scoring among wide receivers in my league.

With Reggie Bush likely to miss two games with a knee injury, anyone who picked up Deuce McAllister a few weeks ago when he returned from his own knee troubles is about to get rewarded. McAllister carried nine times for 47 yards when Bush went down, and is likely to see increased action during the next two weeks.

Ed Ryan writes about fantasy sports and betting for OT and can be reached 
at ed_ryan@globe.com

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