Regular readers of this column may remember my feelings toward playing NFL games abroad: Don’t do it.
I wrote a column saying just that before the Giants-Dolphins game in London last season. A few weeks later, I found myself on a British Airways flight to London, which gave me a chance to talk to some genuine Brits about their feelings regarding the NFL in Europe. Mostly the reaction was, “They played a game over here?” followed by, “Why?”
The NFL made a few dollars off the people who did find their way to the game last year, but one would reason the novelty of it that drew them. Don’t get me wrong, there are followers over there, just not enough to make a legitimate fan base.
Take David Beckham as an example. He just signed a loan deal to play for AC Milan, which means two seasons into his deal with the Galaxy, he might be realizing soccer doesn’t work in the U.S. So maybe next year the NFL will realize there can’t be two footballs in Europe.
But before we get into this week’s stuff, here are my thoughts for the week:
1. L.T. will be OK. His toe has given him a large amount of trouble, but he bounced back from last year’s slow start and he will do it again this year.
2. The Cowboys may not be OK, but taking away responsibility from Brian Stewart so Wade Phillips can do what he was brought here to do, field a dominating defense, is a good start. Stewart’s side of the ball has been a disgrace.
And now the main event: This week’s top three waiver wire adds and the matchups to keep an eye on.
Waver Wire Adds
Donnie Avery (WR-STL): He made Dallas’ defense look silly last week and is really starting to make strides in his rookie season. For the past two games, he has nine receptions for 138 yards and a TD. He has become a solid option for Marc Bulger playing opposite Torry Holt.
Mike Furrey (WR-DET): In the aftermath of Calvin Johnson being drafted and Roy Williams being dealt, it has been easy to overlook a fantasy upstart from a few seasons ago. But Furrey made a statement against the Texans last week in Williams’ absence catching six passes for 89 yards. He could be a useful safety valve for inexperienced Dan Orlovsky and therefore a useful receiver for you in PPR leagues.
Deuce McAllister (RB-Hou): Reggie Bush is down and could be out for quite a while. Over the past few weeks McAllister has reasserted himself as a force in this offense and his role is only going to increase. If he’s not available, look in to Pierre Thomas. He was New Orleans’ battering ram at the season’s outset and should also reap carries from Bush’s injury.
Week 8 Matchups
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles: Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been impressive this season and have a swagger walking in to the Linc this week. But the Eagles’ bye week couldn’t have come at a better time, allowing them to get healthy for this game. Michael Turner has had a problem against teams with good run defenses, but he is too good not to start. This should be a close game yielding good stats for the major players on both sides.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys: Marion Barber remains the only surefire starter on this Dallas squad right now. Meanwhile, Jeff Garcia and Antonio Bryant are making it happen for the Bucs, but they both should have fantasy owners holding their breath due to their inconsistencies over the years. Earnest Graham is a true team player opting for more snaps at full back due to the injuries Tampa Bay has suffered at that position, but it leaves fantasy players unnerved. For the moment, however, both he and Warrick Dunn are reliable starters and could have big games against the tissue paper that is the Dallas defense.
New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers: Plaxico Burress should play this week despite being hobbled by finger, shoulder and neck issues. This is good news for fantasy owners because no matter the matchup, or the amount he practices, he always delivers. Willie Parker should return this week, but Mewelde Moore should have at least one more good week in him. As goes the Steelers’ offensive line, so goes this game. If they can protect Big Ben, which I have my doubts about, then Hines Ward should help Pittsburgh win this game, but if they can’t, New York’s defense will be a must-start against a team that gave up nine sacks against Philadelphia.