The NFL kicks off each week with a Thursday night game, giving fantasy football players a chance to grab an early lead over their opponents days before Sunday's games even begin. Week Eight began with a Thursday matchup featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings, teams that include several impact fantasy players.
Below are a few fantasy football notes from the Week Eight Thursday night game.
Martin led the Bucs to a 36-17 victory on the road, rushing for 135 yards, catching three passes for 79 yards and scoring two times. Although he faced a tough defensive matchup, Martin set career highs in rushing yards and receiving yards. The game marked the fourth time that Martin has gained more than 100 total yards, and he is beginning to break out as a top fantasy back.
Freeman had a great fantasy day, throwing for 262 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The emergence of Martin as a rusher has helped Freeman this year. The quarterback now has 14 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He has 10 touchdowns in his last four games and has topped 250 yards in each of those.
It looks like Williams and Vincent Jackson could take turns leading the team each week, and Williams was the better receiver against the Vikings. He had six receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown, and he will likely benefit from defenses focusing a little more on Jackson.
Although he didn't score in this game, it was good to see Clark get three catches for 40 yards. After a big game against New Orleans last week, Clark remained a part of the offense in Week Eight.
Peterson rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings. Although he did lose a fumble, it was his sixth consecutive game with more than 100 total yards. Peterson is healthy and looks great running the ball.
Harvin led the Vikings once again with seven catches, 90 yards and a touchdown. He has 22 receptions in his last three contests, even as quarterback Christian Ponder has not been at the top of his game. Harvin now has 60 catches through half of the season.
Ponder was better than last week, throwing for 251 yards and connecting with Harvin for a score. He still is not consistent enough to use as a fantasy starter.
Rudolph looked like a promising young fantasy tight end earlier this year. However, after posting no fantasy stats last week, he managed just two catches and 17 yards against the Bucs in Week Eight.
Mike Patton is a co-host on the Deep Sleeper Fantasy Football Podcast. He has been a fantasy enthusiast since 1997 and has won championships in baseball, football, basketball, hockey and pick 'em leagues.
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