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Week Eight Fantasy Outlook
Authored by Martin Barna - 26th October, 2005 - 5:43 pm

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As any coach or manager would gladly tell you, sometimes you?ve got to shake things up a bit before an underachieving team starts to get the ball rolling. Not surprisingly, the same principle applies to fantasy football ? in many cases, a few decisive adds and drops can inject new life into a stagnant squad and give them the push they need to start climbing up your league standings.

Before you dive headfirst into the bargain bin or cut a late bloomer one week too early though, you?ve got to make sure the benefit of such a move exceeds the incurred cost. In other words, the value of the addition must have a realistic chance to exceed that of the player that is being dropped. Its one thing to let go of a Muhsin Muhammed, its quite another if the man taking his roster spot is Dennis Northcutt.

So with all that in mind, here are some of the best adds and drops for week eight fantasy competition:

ADDS:

Byron Leftwich (@ STL) ? Leftwich has thrown for a quiet 1205 passing yards and eight scores in his first six outings. With the Rams secondary giving up fourteen passing touchdowns on the year, the Leftwich-Jimmy Smith connection is a sure bet for a big afternoon.

Jake Delhomme (vs. MIN) ? Stephen Davis has been carrying the load on offense, but Delhomme has been solid all year with well over 1300 yards and ten touchdown strikes on the year. With Steve Smith running circles around a Viking secondary that?s giving up two scores a week, expect Delhomme to post about 230 yards and a pair of six point hook-ups.

Antowain Smith (vs. MIA) ? The Dolphins aren?t the greatest team to run against, but with the Saints returning to their home state for the first time, I?m expecting big things. With Aaron Stecker and Joe Horn limited by injuries, I see Smith getting thirty carries, reaching the century mark, and scoring at least once.

Reuben Droughns (@ HOU) ? If ever there was a time to give him a shot, its right now. Droughns chalked up 100 yards this past Sunday, and should do even better against a Texans defense that?s giving up 166 ground yards per game. With Lee Suggs out for two more weeks, Droughns will see twenty carries, and I think its safe to say that he?ll pass the pylons at least once.

Tony Fisher (@ CIN) ? A bit of a sneaky play here, but the Bengals have allowed 521 rushing yards in their last three games. With both Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport out for the year, Fisher has the opportunity to step up and make some noise. Give the kid a surprising pair of scores and 90 yards on the ground in a losing effort.

Reche Caldwell (vs. KC) ? Outside of defensive end, Jared Allen, the Chiefs defense has shown little improvement from seasons past. Allowing nearly 265 yards through the air per game, look for Drew Brees to light them up on Sunday. Patrick Surtain and Sammy Knight should be able to get a decent handle on Keenan McCardell, but look for Caldwell and Antonio Gates to run wild. I like Caldwell for 80 yards and at least one score.

Marcus Robinson (@ CAR) ? Daunte Culpepper is heating up, and though he may not have a great outing against a stingy Panther secondary, I think he and Robinson are starting to develop some chemistry. Robinson may be able to haul in a Culpepper TD strike on Sunday, but consider this pick-up as more of a future investment, as Minnesota is looking forward to several soft divisional match-ups in the upcoming weeks.

Eric Moulds (@ NE) ? Moulds has been playing well recently, and though he lines up against the defending champs, the Patriots have allowed twelve touchdowns and managed only one interception on the year. True, Kelly Holcomb is under center, but I see Moulds as a safety blanket on Sunday. Look for 80 yards and one trop to the end zone.

Chris Cooley (@ NYG) ? Along with fullback Mike Sellers, Cooley has become a great check-down option for the new and improved Mark Brunell. Cooley has 300 receiving yards on the year and is likely to have another big day in New York, as the Giants give up 295.8 passing yards per game.

Alex Smith (@SF) ?We all know how bad the Niners are this year, but with a young Chris Simms leading the Tampa offense, expect him to rely heavily on rookie tight end Smith. Smith has two touchdowns on the year (both in away games) and could be a big factor against a San Francisco secondary that?s allowed 15 passing touchdowns and nearly 330 aerial yards per contest. So in a match-up of Alex Smiths, it looks like the lesser-known Alex will likely come out on top.

Detroit Defense (vs. CHI) ? The Lions are already keeping opponents to an average of 17.7 points per game with 18 takeaways on the year. With a woeful Bears? offense coming to Ford Field on Sunday this is the perfect week to stick them into the rotation ? if they?re still available.

Cleveland Defense (@ HOU) ? Unless you?re in a league with a Brownie fan, the Cleveland defense is probably still up for grabs. They?ve allowed just over 17 points per outing and next travel down to Houston to take on an anemic Texans offense. Look for a couple turnovers, sacks-a-plenty, and more than your fair share of punts. Just don?t expect me to watch it.

DROPS:

Marc Bulger (vs. JAX) ? Bulger likely won?t even start this week, and with a bye in week nine, he won?t be generating any fantasy points for quite some time. What?s more, with the Rams in complete disarray from injuries and other front office health issues, don?t expect Bulger to post many big games once he gets back either. Trust me, unless your league has a ten-man bench, you can probably do better.

Aaron Brooks (vs. MIA) ? If for some reason, you?re still hanging on to this perennial disappointment, do yourself a favor and let go. Joe Horn hasn?t been himself all year, and with the Deuce McCallister threat gone for the rest of the year, Brooks could be hooking up with more Dolphins than Saints on Sunday.

Kevan Barlow (vs. TB) ? Barlow wasn?t playing all that well to start with, and now that Alex Smith has proven his inability to move the offense, the Niner offense gets to look forward to eight in the box on first and second down. Bad news for Barlow - especially with a vicious Buccaneer defense coming to town this weekend.

Fred Taylor (@STL) ? You?re not going to believe this, but Fred Taylor?s action is once again being limited by injury. Taylor?s ankle has been acting up lately, but he should be able to play this weekend in St. Louis. Nevertheless, the Jaguar tailback has just one score and 400 yards on the year. Might be time to look elsewhere.

J.J. Arrington (@ DAL) ? Like his team, Arrington was widely regarded as one of the league?s top sleepers. Unfortunately for owners such as myself that burned a middle round pick on the former Cal standout, it looks like he hit the snooze button on 2005. With just 71 rushing yards on the year, the time to let go was probably right around week two.

Brandon Lloyd (vs. TB) ? The Lloyd frenzy came and went after his three touchdowns in the first three weeks. Lloyd may be a budding star, but with a developing Alex Smith in the backfield, he?s worthless for the rest of the 2005 campaign.

Laverneus Coles (BYE) ? The Jets have the week off, but face the Chargers, Broncos, and Panthers in their next three games. Vinny Testeverde has made it clear that he?s not the same passer he was 50 years ago, and Coles (385 yds, 1 TD) has suffered as a result. I?m sorry if you wasted a high pick on him, but after watching him in Washington last year, I could?ve saved you the trouble.

Roy Williams (vs. CHI) ? Williams was considered a steal in the fourth round of many fantasy drafts, but with issues at quarterback and quadriceps issues, it looks like the ninth or tenth round might?ve been more appropriate. Even if Williams is able to make the start with Jeff Garcia under center on Sunday, he?ll be frustrated by a stellar Bears defense. You can hold out if you want to, but I?m kicking him to the curb.

Tony Gonzalez (@ SD) ? I hate to do it, but I?ve got to include Gonzo on this list. With just 209 receiving yards and no touchdowns through six games, I?ve lost my patience. I will, however, implore you to make sure you?re not just dropping him for the sake of dropping him ? if you?re not picking up a solid bet and have room on the roster, save him a warm bench spot.
Daniel Graham (vs. BUF) ? Never really was big on the guy, but a lot of folks seemed to think he could post decent numbers as Tom Brady?s safety valve. Not surprisingly though, Brady?s equitable pass distribution has left Graham with just 142 yards and a pair of scores on the year. I?m not impressed.

Buffalo Defense (@ NE) ? This formerly ferocious unit has allowed 136 points in six outings ? good for 25th in the league. With but with New England, Kansas City, and San Diego as their next three opponents, dropping the Bills might be a good way to create an extra roster spot.

New England Defense (vs. BUF) ? The Pats have allowed 158 points and have generated just three turnovers through six games. Buffalo is no offensive juggernaut, but with Indianapolis on deck, you?d be wise to hedge your bets elsewhere ? even if Teddy Bruschi does make his impending miraculous comeback.

That?s all for now. Good luck on Sunday!

Thinking about starting a deep sleeper? Need advice on a tough trade? Ask RealGM?s fantasy football experts via e-mail at FantasySports@RealGM.com.