Joyner: Top Week 8 receiver matchups
My grading charts for this week indicate this could be a very good week for a lot of wide receivers. As such, I am going to pick four starts and two sits this week.
Chris Chambers, Chargers: Chambers was in a fantasy slump during his final three games with Miami. He totaled only 10 points in those starts, in spite of the Dolphins throwing him 19 passes in the Cleveland game. The good news for Chambers is that he is facing Demarcus Faggins this week. Faggins has been the target of just about every offense Houston has faced this season, and I have him rated as an F-plus in coverage. Chambers should see a lot of passes and has a very good chance of reaching double-digit fantasy points.
Kevin Curtis, Eagles: Curtis has been the ultimate hit-or-miss fantasy wide receiver this season, but if ever a matchup had "hit" written all over it, this is it. The Minnesota run defense is so strong that in Week 7, Dallas passed on 38 of its first 55 plays until it took a 24-14 lead and salted away the game in the fourth quarter. The Vikings' secondary also has plenty of weaknesses, since the safeties aren't very good in coverage and the cornerbacks are average. Curtis' lineup matchup is Cedric Griffin, whom I have rated as a C. Griffin likely won't be able to keep up with Curtis, so expect one of those "hit" games for the Eagles' No. 80.
Muhsin Muhammad, Bears: The Bears' passing game has been coming to life of late, as evidenced by the 703 passing yards Brian Griese has posted the past two games. Detroit has had its struggles against good passing offenses this year. So both of those facts bode well for a good game for Muhammad.
Another good omen is that he is due to face Stanley Wilson. Wilson was a good nickel cornerback in 2006, but he has regressed as a starter in 2007. An experienced pro like Muhammad should be able to give Wilson another tough lesson, so find a spot for him in your lineup.
Darrell Jackson, 49ers: Jackson has been a fantasy dud all year long, and the most fantasy points he has put up in a game is six. Nevertheless, this week's matchup with Jason Craft is extremely favorable. Craft has rated out as one of the worst cornerbacks the past few years (I have him rated as a D), so Jackson's percentages for having a solid game are quite good.
Brandon Marshall, Broncos: Marshall has been a very solid fantasy starter this season. He is averaging nine fantasy points per game and has posted at least seven points in all of his starts. That would put him near the top of most fantasy coaches' radar screens for their No. 3 wide receiver spot, but his matchup against Charles Woodson should quickly remove him from consideration. Woodson is playing at a Pro Bowl level this season (I have him rated as an A), and I am not sold that Marshall can handle a player of Woodson's caliber.
Donald Driver, Packers: Driver has not been producing at his typical fantasy level the past few weeks, and he has had only 13 points in his past three starts. Part of that is due to teams focusing their coverages on stopping Driver, but another reason is that Brett Favre is spreading the ball around more often to the Packers' quickly developing receiving corps.
Also, Driver is due to face Champ Bailey, and Bailey certainly is capable of making Favre throw elsewhere. The only caveat I would make is that Bailey is coming off of an injury and currently is listed as questionable. If Bailey doesn't play, Driver should be seen as a decent start candidate. If Bailey does play, Driver should be on your bench.
Ike Hilliard, Buccaneers: Hilliard has, very quietly, put up 36 fantasy points in the past four games. These points haven't been on just short passes, either, since Hilliard has catches of 16, 28 and 38 yards in this period. I have his matchup against Rashean Mathis rated as a push, but given the amount of passes Hilliard is seeing each week (he has 28 receptions in the past four weeks), he is a solid sleeper in yardage leagues and a very strong one in point-per-reception leagues.
David Patten, Saints: Patten makes this list for two reasons. First, he has been seeing the ball at a fairly regular pace of late (five pass attempts in Sunday's game against Atlanta). Second, he is due to face off against Shawntae Spencer, a cornerback I have rated as an F-plus. Patten should have at least one opportunity to hit a big play against Spencer.
KC Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, is a regular contributor to ESPN Insider.