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Don’t Start Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Trent Richardson, Dallas Defense in Week 8

Fewer teams are on bye in Week 8 than last, meaning the player pool is deeper for this week. That still doesn’t mean there aren’t those who should probably be left on your bench this week. Here are a few names I am not that crazy about in Week 8.

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City vs. Oakland
As bad as Matt Cassel has been this season, there’s no guarantee new starter Brady Quinn will fare any better. Quinn threw for just 180 yards and two interceptions in his first start in Week 6 against Tampa Bay, but he will get another shot this Sunday at home against Oakland. Coming off of the bye week, the Chiefs decided to stick with Quinn rather than going back to Cassel. As of right now, the safest fantasy bet in KC is probably Jamaal Charles. After that it’s play-at-your-own-risk when it comes to the Chiefs and that includes Bowe, their No. 1 wide receiver. Bowe’s numbers weren’t spectacular with Cassel under center, but two weeks ago with Quinn pulling the trigger he had just three catches (on nine targets) for only 25 yards. Prior to that game, Bowe was averaging 13.6 yards per reception. Bowe is more of a vertical threat than a possession-type of receiver, and Quinn’s 4.7 ypc average, which is what he produced against Tampa Bay, does not bode well for the wideout’s fantasy outlook.

Brian Hartline, WR, Miami at New York Jets
It was only about a month ago when Hartline was one of football’s best early surprises after his 12-catch, 253-yard performance against Arizona. In his two games since, he’s caught a total of four passes and all of those came in Week 5 against Cincinnati. Whether it’s defenses paying more attention to him or the ups and downs that come with relying on a rookie quarterback (Ryan Tannehill), Hartline’s production has plummeted. He didn’t catch a single pass in Miami’s last game against St. Louis, and this week faces a Jets’ defense that’s allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. This includes a Week 3 game against the Jets in which Hartline had one catch for 41 yards. Darrelle Revis may not be playing, but the Jets’ secondary hasn’t missed a beat, which is why it may be in your team's best interests to see that Hartline "misses" this Sunday's game.

Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland vs. San Diego
On paper, the conditions seemed right for Richardson to have his first breakout game as a rookie last week against Indianapolis. Or at least that’s what I thought. After all, he was getting his shot at a Colts’ defense that had been gashed by the Jets, particularly Shonn Greene, the week prior. Instead of a breakout, however, what everyone saw was pretty much a breakdown, as Richardson’s rib injury was worse than he let on and he was held to a measly eight yards rushing on as many carries. It got so bad that Richardson ended up getting benched for the second half as Montario Hardesty (7 att., 28 yds.) took over and finished the game. The coaching staff is concerned about Richardson’s ribs, so there’s a chance he may not even see the field this Sunday. Plus considering San Diego is allowing the fewest rushing yards per game in the league, this is shaping up to be a good week to leave the rookie on your bench.

Dallas, DST, vs. New York Giants
The Cowboys are fourth overall in total defense, third in pass defense, 15th against the run, and 14th in points allowed. Statistically, there are no glaring weaknesses on this defense. Unfortunately, Dallas’ on-field performance has not translated into fantasy success. The Cowboys’ DST is currently tied for 26th in fantasy scoring, behind the likes of Tennessee and Buffalo, who are currently 30th and 31st in total defense. Why is this? It’s mainly because the Cowboys have only generated 12 sacks, six turnovers (2 INTs, 4 fumble recoveries), and have yet to score a defensive or special teams touchdown. In some leagues, yards allowed and three and outs and other categories count too, but in standard leagues a DST’s value really comes down to sacks, turnovers and touchdowns. As good as the Cowboys’ defense has played on the field, the unit simply isn’t scoring enough to merit fantasy consideration right now.

Week 8 Positional Rankings

Week 8 Waiver Wire

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 25, 2012