Goin’ deep: Don’t be fooled by a player’s reputation going into week eight

After a crazy week seven in the NFL that saw back-up Bengals running back Kenny Watson rush for 130 yards and three touchdowns and Miami running back Ronnie Brown go down with a season-ending knee injury, it’s time for us to help you set your lineups for week eight.

As usual, you won’t find any no-brainers in this bunch. However, you will find guys who can help you out during those bye-week woes and some whom you should avoid if you want to win this week.


Kevin Curtis, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

The Minnesota Vikings have the NFL’s worst pass defense, giving up nearly 300 yards per game through the air. With Minnesota’s stout run defense, look for Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb to beat the Vikings through the air in the Eagles’ desperate attempt to keep from falling to 2-5. With Curtis being the best wide receiver in Philly, he should shred the secondary for at least one score.

Kevin Jones, RB, Detroit Lions

Let’s face it: the Chicago Bears’ defense is not even close to what it was last year. Two weeks ago, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson torched the Bears run defense for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Jones is starting again for the Lions and has pronounced himself healthy after a foot injury that hindered him earlier this season. This matchup should leave fantasy owners chomping at the bit to get him back in their lineups.


Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

Smith hasn’t been horrible this season, but well below the pace he set last season as far as statistics go. Also, the fact that the Panthers are playing musical chairs at quarterback doesn’t help either. With starter Jake Delhomme and possibly David Carr sidelined with injuries, Carolina will turn to 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde to try and win. Need more reason? The Panthers are going up against the Indianapolis Colts, who have the league’s No. 1 passing defense.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

We hope we’re not the only one who saw Monday night’s game against the Colts. Jaguars starting quarterback David Garrard went down with a high ankle sprain and will be out for up to a month. His backup, Quinn Gray, simply isn’t very good. Without an efficient air attack the Jaguars will be forced to run the ball and the Tampa Bay defense can key in on Jones-Drew on Sunday.


Chad Pennington, QB, New York Jets

We know what you’re thinking. Chad Pennington? Well, hear us out. Buffalo has the second-to-last ranked pass defense in the NFL and is dealing with a banged-up secondary. Pennington will be at home, coming off a 272-yard, three-touchdown performance in a loss to Cincinnati and he knows that head coach Eric Mangini has him on a short leash. With all of that taken into account, Pennington should light up the sky on Sunday.

LenDale White, RB, Tennessee Titans

White isn’t the type of running back that is going to bust off a 50-yard run on his way to the end zone. But he will get you touchdowns near the goal line.

He is tied with five others for seventh among NFL running backs with four touchdowns this season. His longest run of the year: 28 yards. On Sunday, the Titans play an Oakland team that has given up nine rushing touchdowns this season – a number that is good for second worst in the league.

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