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Fantasy Football: Week 8 starts, sits 10.24.14 at 11:35 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 8 starts and sits. With only two teams on their bye weeks, it’s not a tough week to find options at most positions. I’ve done my best to isolate a few options that stand out both on the positive side and the negative side.

If you have questions about any players not listed in this space, head over to my free site, Rotobahn, and dig into my full Week 8 lineup rankings. And don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my buddy Jim Hackett. If you want to keep track of all my fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh content.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Tom Brady, Patriots vs. Bears

Brady is a good play this week. You can throw on the Bears and they have issues at cornerback with Kyle Fuller banged up. The Bears have been a get-well matchup lately, and Brady’s already well. He might just have a big game. Keep him active in all leagues.

Joe Flacco, Ravens at Bengals

The Bengals haven’t stopped much lately, and Flacco is rolling with a healthy array of weapons and a balanced offense. He also gets his starting LT back this week. Things are looking very positive for Flacco. He can help you in any league this week.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Jaguars

Tannehill is a solid option, but it’s a road game and the Jags are looking a little stronger than they did early in the year. This mirrors their 2013 season when HC Gus Bradley’s defense got better as the year progressed. So don’t expect a total demolition here. What you should get is serviceable numbers worthy of a play in most leagues.

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Read More: Blake Bortles, Jerick McKinnon, joe flacco, Ryan Tannehill
Fantasy Football: Week 8 waiver wire 10.21.14 at 11:28 am ET
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It’s an insanely target-rich environment this week on most league waiver wires. There is high-quality talent breaking out all over the place. This is a week to act and I’ve got you covered. Even in most big leagues there is quality talent available this week. Unless you play in a league where Bryce Brown was already rostered, you have some nice options. Players like Jerick McKinnon, Tre Mason and Odell Beckham Jr. simply have to be owned and they are available in a great many leagues based on Yahoo’s statistics.

As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn this afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 42 percent

He’s not a weekly QB1 — even in big leagues, but Palmer is a fine matchup option and he makes a very good QB2 in all formats. Rarely will he lay an egg in a solid matchup. His weapons are too good, and Bruce Arians’ offense is a great platform for a quarterback.

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 63 percent

He has a Week 11 bye, so be mindful of that. Apart from the bye, most of Flacco’s arrows are pointing decidedly up. I like the schedule for the most part, and Gary Kubiak‘s scheme seems to be taking hold at the right time. Flacco can help you in all leagues.

Robert Griffin III, Washington — 31 percent

Do you feel lucky, punk? Griffin’s stock is at an all-time low. I added him in a few leagues last week and I am glad I did. Once he gets back, probably in Week 10, he could be a weekly option as his weapons in Washington are quite strong. He’s the best QB stash out there right now.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — 36 percent

He is past his bye week, so he can help you get through your starter’s bye no matter who that starter is. Tannehill is also playing better football as are his receivers — namely Mike Wallace and rookie Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins starter makes a nice QB2 if you need one.

Eli Manning, Giants — 60 percent

Manning is down the list a bit this week because the Giants are on their bye in Week 8. Still, he has some value after the bye because the Giants have some good remaining matchups and a developing star in Odell Beckham Jr. They also have a few solid tight ends now, and we like the direction that Reuben Randle is heading in as well. Manning can help you as a matchup play in all leagues.

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Read More: Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, joe flacco, Odell Beckham Jr.
Fantasy Football: Week 7 starts, sits 10.17.14 at 1:35 pm ET
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All right, Patriots fans, after Thursday night’s big win, your heads should be clear and ready to focus on your fantasy fortunes. I’ve got the Week 7 recommendations ready for you and there’s more to come. As always, I will be available this Sunday at 11 a.m. to take all your last-minute lineup questions. Get them in early!

If you have questions about any players not listed in this space, head over to my free site, Rotobahn, and dig into my full Week 7 lineup rankings. And don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my buddy Jim Hackett, who will be in a good mood after the Patriots’ third straight victory. If you want to keep track of all my fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh content.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Carson Palmer, Cardinals at Raiders

He’s back and we expect his arm strength to improve week to week. Palmer has a healthy offense around him and he has a nice matchup with Oakland. Start him if you need him in all formats.

Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Falcons

He lit up Tampa last week and he could do the same thing to the Falcons when the Ravens visit Baltimore this weekend. The Ravens receivers are in a groove and so is Flacco. He’s a viable play in all leagues this week.

Matt Ryan, Falcons at Ravens

He’s not screaming “Start me” this week after light output in Week 6, but Ryan has enough weapons in addition to Julio Jones, who is a monster. He should have to throw the ball for most of the day to keep pace with the Ravens. Ryan is playable in all formats.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars vs. Browns

Need an option in a deep league? Bortles can help because he grinds out points with his arm and with his feet. The Browns should get a lead and force the Jaguars to throw and open up the offense. Bortles might throw a pick or two, but the numbers should be there in the end. A good play in big formats if you are in need.

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Read More: Blake Bortles, Carson Palmer, joe flacco, Matt Ryan
Fantasy Football: Week 7 waiver wire 10.14.14 at 10:58 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 7 waiver wire! This is a time to really strike in free agency if some of this week’s options are available in your league. You can do some serious upgrading right now or build some high-quality depth to help get you through the bye weeks, which will be picking up steam soon enough. The time to get ready for Weeks 9-11 is right now. All of those weeks have four or more teams on the bye. Don’t wait. Prepare while you still can.

The ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn this afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 50 percent

He is getting hot and his receivers both are settled in now. No way should he be on the waiver wire. Add Flacco and you have a guy you can play on an as-needed basis the rest of the way.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 30 percent

Palmer was on the field last week and the results were solid. His nerve is on the mend and things should get better from this point forward. Add him in all leagues as a solid QB2.

Kirk Cousins, Washington — 49 percent

He has a solid schedule for the near team, so he is a good asset, but there is the possibility that Robert Griffin III gets back and reclaims the job. This makes Cousins more of a short-term solution, but with long-term potential.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 12 percent

Bortles is getting comfortable now, and his receivers are getting healthy around him. He is a nice QB2 option, and unlike Cousins he should hold the gig all the way through 2014 and beyond. His ability to score fantasy points with his arm and his feet make him consistently dangerous.

Austin Davis, Rams — 14 percent

He’s young and he’ll make mistakes, but they have a deep array of weapons around him, so he’s a viable QB2 in most leagues. The key with Davis is his schedule. Line up your starter’s bye week with his schedule and see if it’s a good fit. For example, he’s got Seattle this week, so he’s not a great fit for Nick Foles owners who are looking for a Week 7 option.

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Read More: Austin Davis, Blake Bortles, Carson Palmer, Jerick McKinnon
Fantasy Football: Week 5 waiver wire 09.30.14 at 10:57 am ET
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Welcome to the morning after, folks. In the words of John Winger, “and then depression set in.” It was a long weekend for Boston fans. First, they had give begrudging respect to Derek Jeter for three days, which is stomach-turning enough. Then there was Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City. Hopefully Gronk’s late touchdown did something for some of you. Hopefully a few of you listened to me and stashed Jerick McKinnon, who saved my bacon in a few leagues. No matter what your weekend was like, Rotobahn’s here to help pick up the pieces. Let’s get to work.

The ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that. If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn Monday afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

There is some good news. The Week 5 byes are not as painful as last week’s losses. Only Oakland and Miami have the week off. Not too many fantasy studs on those two powerhouses. Oakland doesn’t even have a coach right now after mercifully canning Dennis Allen on Monday night. The rumor mill is spitting out Tony Sparano‘s name as a possible replacement. Yikes.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning, Giants — 48 percent

As I said last week, buy Eli now because the Giants have some solid matchups the rest of the way and they should get rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. soon — perhaps this weekend in a sweet home matchup with the porous Falcons defense.

Alex Smith, Chiefs — 42 percent

The Chiefs were searching and grinding for a few weeks — trying to get the new offensive line in sync. It would appear that they’ve turned the corner and are back to taking good care of the ground game and of Alex Smith. Smith can help you in most leagues as a matchup play. He’s got a very interesting matchup at San Francisco this week.

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 39 percent

He’s a guy you can throw in there anytime you need him. The Ravens are throwing the ball well now that Gary Kubiak‘s system is beginning to take hold. Flacco can be your backup in any format.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 18 percent

He’s a foot-points guy. I love those foot points. Bortles also plays for a team that will be throwing in the fourth quarter almost every single week. The game doesn’t seem too big for the rookie and he can help you as a matchup play or QB2. He’s playable this week in a home matchup against the Steelers, who can’t stop much these days and who do not have Ike Taylor at corner for the foreseeable future.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 33 percent

Arizona’s starting quarterback is a viable fantasy play, whether it be Palmer or Drew Stanton. Palmer is the guy worth owning in smaller formats and he could return as soon as this week. HC Bruce Arians has Arizona moving in the right direction. Palmer should be a solid matchup play the rest of the way, though he might not be able to help you this week. His return may be one more week away. We’ll know more once practice reports start coming out.

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Read More: Alex Smith, Blake Bortles, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning
Fantasy Football: Week 3 starts, sits 09.19.14 at 11:22 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 3 starts and sits. Between injuries, suspensions, deactivations and the like, the average fantasy football GM’s head is spinning. I know mine is. As always, I will avoid the easy calls. I’m not here to tell you what to do with players you’d never consider benching.

I’ll be back Sunday morning with my partner in crime, Jim Hackett, for another Fantasy Football Hour. Check it out! We’re on air from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on 93.7 FM. If you sleep in, you can listen right here on WEEI.com. In addition, I’ll be here, as always, with a chat on Sunday starting at 11 a.m. Head on over if you have any lineup questions.

If you are looking for info on players not listed in this article, go to Rotobahn and check out my full Lineup Rankings. I’ll be updating them over the weekend, as always. And, to keep track of all things fantasy football at both Rotobahn and WEEI, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I always tweet links to new articles.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. Broncos

He’ll shine in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. Wilson’s an underrated fantasy QB and he’ll give you some touchdowns this week. He’s playable in all formats.

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers at Cardinals

Kaepernick’s always a solid play and should get it done this weekend in a tough divisional matchup. Yes, he has some injuries to his tight ends, but San Francisco has more offensive depth than in the past. Start Kaepernick if you normally would.

Kirk Cousins, Washington at Eagles

He’s not an ideal option because he’s got injuries to his tight ends and receivers, but he’ll also be playing in a high-scoring game and his team will not be in close-it-out mode at the end. Washington is far more likely to be throwing the football in the fourth quarter. Cousins can help you in deep formats.

Sit

Joe Flacco, Ravens at Browns

He’s playing decent football, but the Browns are looking tough at home and can take his receivers away for much of the game. Flacco is playable, but this is a week to look for other options if you can.

Derek Carr, Raiders at Patriots

It may be tempting to start him in a deep league because he’ll be throwing a lot and playing from behind, but I hate playing rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick defenses. I’d avoid doing so if possible.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Derek Carr, joe flacco, Kirk Cousins
Aqib Talib brushes off health questions: ‘This ain’t my first rodeo’ 12.19.13 at 7:51 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Aqib Talib isn’t hearing any talk about his health being an issue.

‘€œI feel like everybody else,” he said Thursday. “It’€™s Week 16, and there isn’€™t anybody in the NFL who is 100 percent. It’€™s football, man.

“This ain’€™t my first rodeo.’€

Talib, who has struggled with hip problems on and off throughout the season, started strong but has appeared to drop off a bit as of late. There’s no telling how much of his problems are due to the hip issue (he was limited at Thursday’s practice because of the hip), but he knows he’s in for a challenge this week. The Ravens feature some of the better deep threats in the game — the Ravens have 13 pass plays of 40 or more yards this season, good for third-best in the league, trailing only the Eagles (18) and Browns (14). Torrey Smith (59 catches, 1,032 yards, four touchdowns and 17.5 yards per catch), Marlon Brown (40 catches, 443 yards, six touchdowns) and Jacoby Jones (35 catches, 433 yards, two touchdowns) all have an ability to connect with quarterback Joe Flacco when it comes to the deep ball.

Talib had plenty of good things to say about the Baltimore receiving corps, particularly the speed of Smith, who he called “one of” the fastest receivers in the league.

‘€œWe don’€™t even have to talk about that. You know how fast he is. We all know how fast he is,” Talib said. “He’€™s up there. Put him up there with the [Mike] Wallaces and Calvin Johnsons. Man, they’€™re burners.’€

One thing that Patriots coach Bill Belichick indicated earlier in the week was that the Baltimore offense has changed a bit since the return of Dennis Pitta — Belichick said it appears that the Ravens have favored more three-receiver sets since the tight end came back from injury. Pitta, who burned New England on several occasions in last year’s AFC title game, is still ramping back up after spending the bulk of the season sidelined, is still a factor.

‘€œHe’€™s key for them,” Talib said. “[Joe Flacco] goes to him a lot over the middle, in third-down situations. That’€™s one of his go-to guys. He’€™s key for them.’€

Talib and the Patriots (10-4) are looking to close out the regular season on an up note, while the Ravens (8-6) are in must-win mode — currently holding on to the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff race, they have to win to keep their postseason hopes alive.

“It’€™s a big game for the both of us,’ Talib said. “So I’€™m sure they’€™re preparing like we’€™re preparing. It should be a good one.’€

Read More: Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones
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