Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Week 8 Start ‘Em / Sit ‘Em – Thursday Edition


Well, I had originally intended to get this article done last night, but Game 1 of the World Series had better plans for me! What a game! I would have never guessed that Wainwright would have had such a bad defense behind him…and then to top it off, he joined the party by blowing an easy pop fly all on his own later in the game. The biggest “error” in the game was the blown call at 2nd base, though, and I’m glad the umpires got together and corrected the original “out” call. Things will obviously be “easier” to revert without a rebuttal argument from the manager that got screwed when Instant Replay is expanded next season, but for now, the right call was made after the umpire conference, and it was great to see the Cardinals get smacked around by the Bo-Sox!  Speaking of making the right call, let’s cut the baseball talk and get to some Fantasy Football talk!

Tonight, the 3-3 Carolina Panthers face off against their win-less divisional rival, the Tampa Bay Bucs.  Tampa will not only be without Doug Martin (RB – TB), but they are facing a Panthers D/ST that has the 3rd-ranked passing defense, the 2nd-ranked rushing defense, and is 1st overall in Total Defense. It looks to be a fairly lopsided game, but let’s see if my “Start ‘Em / Sit ‘Em” recommendations hold true to that thought!

Start ‘Em: Thursday Night
Cam Newton (QB – CAR) – Newton has been pretty good this year, and currently sits just outside the Top-10 QB’s at 12th overall. But, I feel like his stats should be even better than they actually are at this point. He hasn’t really faced too many difficult challenges yet this year, at least based on the cumulative records of the teams he’s played not named the Seattle Seahawks (11-23), so one would think he should easily be a Top-5 guy right now. Enter the 0-6 Buccaneers D/ST, who currently ranks 21st against opposing QB’s! Yet another cupcake opponent on paper means that I’m looking for Newton to have a fairly easy night commanding the Carolina offense. I expect to see at least 2-3 TD’s out of “Superman” tonight, so if you’ve got him, you’re starting him!

Vincent Jackson (WR – TB) – Even though Tampa Bay has been kept out of the win column so far this season, V-Jax has been a very reliable point producer for his fantasy owners. He is coming off of back-to-back 100+ yard, 2 TD performances, and is clearly a favorite target of Mike Glennon‘s (QB – TB). As stated above, he’ll have a tough task facing off against the Carolina D/ST, but with the Panthers’ penchant for opening up big first half leads on their opponents, I can see Tampa Bay needing to play catch-up for most of this game. The fact that Doug Martin is also out means a more pass-heavy look from Tampa’s offense tonight, too, so keep the mojo rollin’ with Mr. Jackson.

Carolina D/ST – As if it hasn’t already been made pretty clear that I’m “all-in” on this squad, I’m making it known here! This defense is nasty, and has only allowed 15 points or less in four of their six games this season. Tampa Bay’s offense is going to have their hands full tonight, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carolina get a defensive or special teams score in this game.

Sit ‘Em: Thursday Night

Mike James (RB – TB) – James was immediately added to rosters this week once news spread about Doug Martin’s “potential” season-ending injury. The jury is still out on whether or not Martin will be able to return this year, but James should get the lion’s share of the carries in his absence. That being said, I don’t really like James’s first test tonight against the stingy Panthers Defense, and I’m weary about starting him if I have him. I think the carries will be there, and there’s always the notion that if he keeps pounding the rock, he’ll eventually be able to break through and get a nice gain here and there. I also could see a goal line TD or two, assuming Tampa Bay can actually get to the goal line. Overall, I’d temper expectations this week for James, but if Martin is out for good, James has potential to be a solid RB2/FLEX play for your team.

Greg Olsen (TE – CAR) – Olsen, a fellow Miami Hurricane like James, is also on my “beware” list for tonight. Overall, Olsen hasn’t been a huge part of the Carolina passing attack, notching only 1 TD so far on the season along with only two games over 56 yards receiving. Tampa Bay is also somewhat decent against opposing tight ends, especially over the past four games where they’ve allowed no more than 33 yards in each contest. If you have to play Olsen, then be sure not to expect much more than what he’s been doing.

Check back later this weekend for my Sunday Edition of “Start ‘Em / Sit ‘Em” here on!


About A.J. Applegarth

A.J. has been in the fantasy sports game for so long, that the first fantasy team he ever managed used football box scores from newspapers to calculate points. Since those days, A.J. has taken home numerous fantasy football and baseball championship titles. He has also taken his talents to a few fantasy basketball leagues and countless DFS games in more recent years. A.J. would openly admit that “luck” has been a factor in his two-plus decade-long success in fantasy sports, but he will also be the first one to tell you, “You can’t teach luck!” Catch A.J.’s witty banter and "Beer of the Week" picks on The Fantasy Six Pack Hour Podcast, and follow him on the Twitter-space @AppleGarthAlgar.

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