Dan Wetzel:

Week 8 Rankings


Updated 10/27/2013 at 12:00 PM ET. 

Robert Griffin III is averaging 25.2 fantasy points over his past two games, and coming off his best start of the season after slumping into the Redskins’ Week 5 bye with just 36.4 total points in Weeks 3-4. What’s changed? The competition hasn’t hurt. The Cowboys are allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, while Chicago’s once fearsome defense is a shell of its former self. Alfred Morris and Roy Helu are both rounding into form. But the easy, correct and obvious answer is his increased proclivity to run, and productivity once he commits to it.

Griffin’s 11 rushes for 84 yards were both new season highs on Sunday, but it was his production out of the zone read that really made the difference. Per ESPN Stats and Info, RGIII entered Week 7 with just eight total zone-read rushes for 41 yards on his signature play. He burst out of his shell in a big way against the Bears, gaining 70 yards on eight zone-read runs, both new career highs. Griffin’s total rushing output was “just” the third most of his career, but it’s clear he’s finally regaining trust in his surgically-repaired knee. Griffin gained 23 yards on his very first zone-read run of the game, waiting for FB Darrel Young to set up a lead block before zig-zagging with his unmatched acceleration through the hole, around the edge and down the sideline.

Griffin was having so much success running out of the zone read that the Bears started selling out against it. He responded by making them pay as a passer, including a late third quarter play-action strike where he stuck a 30-yard completion despite two Bears defenders having him dead to rights. Moments later, RGIII had his biggest play of the game on play action out of the Pistol, backpedalling behind a collapsing pocket to find Aldrick Robinson for a 45-yard touchdown. The ball travelled 55 yards in the air. Griffin had more success passing on play action than he did on his true zone-read passes, but it was evident that the Bears’ fear of the zone read was opening up shots down the field, as was so often the case in 2012.    

Two games — Or really, only one. RGIII was far less impressive against Dallas in Week 6 than he was in Week 7. — isn’t quite enough to declare Griffin “back,” but he could take another huge step in Week 8 against the Broncos. Denver is allowing both the most fantasy points to opposing QBs (25.4 per week), and a league-worst 320 yards per game through the air. If Griffin makes mincemeat of Denver in another likely shootout, it will no longer be a question of if he’s back, but if he can build on his historic rookie season. If he can, we won’t just have a QB1 on our hands, but a truly elite one.  

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Week 8 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning vs. WAS Probable (ankle)
2 Drew Brees vs. BUF -
3 Aaron Rodgers at MIN -
4 Matthew Stafford vs. DAL -
5 Tony Romo at DET -
6 Robert Griffin III at DEN -
7 Michael Vick vs. NYG Probable (hamstring)
8 Cam Newton at TB -
9 Russell Wilson at STL -
10 Colin Kaepernick at JAC -
11 Tom Brady vs. MIA Probable (shoulder)
12 Matt Ryan at ARZ -
13 Eli Manning at PHI -
14 Ben Roethlisberger at OAK -
15 Terrelle Pryor vs. PIT -
16 Andy Dalton vs. NYJ -
17 Ryan Tannehill at NE Probable (shoulder)
18 Chad Henne vs. SF -
19 Alex Smith vs. CLE -
20 Carson Palmer vs. ATL -
21 Geno Smith at CIN -
22 Christian Ponder vs. GB -
23 Thad Lewis at NO Probable (foot)
24 Mike Glennon vs. CAR -
25 Jason Campbell at KC -
26 Kellen Clemens vs. SEA -

QB Notes: The good news? Peyton Manning is on pace for a 57:7 TD:INT ratio, and 5,863 yards passing. That would break Drew Brees’ NFL record by 387 yards — or 21 more than Manning is currently averaging. The bad? He was tossing up some wounded doves after Robert Mathis’ second-quarter safety on Sunday. That, of course, didn’t stop Manning from rolling up 386 yards and three scores against his former team, but it’s a troubling reminder of his fragile physical state. More than likely, we won’t see any carry over in this week’s game against the Redskins, but the Manning that showed up Sunday was the Manning who lost to the Ravens in last year’s Divisional Round. If he shows up again, the Broncos and fantasy owners alike are going to be in serious trouble. … Coming off his worst game of the season, Drew Brees is returning to the Superdome after the Saints’ bye and a two-week road trip. How’s he fared at home this season? 371 yards per game, 9.27 yards per attempt and nine touchdowns to two interceptions. Jimmy Graham (foot) or no Jimmy Graham, Brees is not going to face much resistance from the Bills defense, even though it’s been playing well of late.    

Aaron Rodgers is missing three of his top four pass catchers. Typically, this would be a problem. But Rodgers is not your typical quarterback, and Jordy Nelson is not your typical No. 1 receiver. The Vikings — who are allowing 289 yards per game through the air — are not your typical pass defense. No. 3 in quarterback fantasy points per game (25.8) despite three one-touchdown performances, Rodgers is as matchup proof — and circumstance proof — as any player in football. Fire him up without a second thought. … Fantasy’s No. 4 quarterback with 24.9 points per game, Matthew Stafford is just five touchdowns shy of his 2012 total (20) with nine games to go. Allowing the second most fantasy points to enemy quarterbacks, the Cowboys are going to be in for a long afternoon. … Returning from his two-week injury hiatus, Michael Vick gets a Giants team he burned for 184 total yards, including 79 on the ground, in less than two quarters of play in Week 5, and this time he gets them at home. Put aside your negative Vick thoughts — namely that he’ll just get hurt again — and trust in one of fantasy’s top quarterbacks.    

Coming off one of the best two-game stretches of his career, Cam Newton gets a Bucs team coming apart at the seams on a short week. He’s gonna eat. … The league’s most effective play-action quarterback, Russell Wilson enters Week 8 as fantasy’s No. 6 signal caller over the past three weeks. He’s sailed out of the QB2 doldrums on the back of 894 total yards (including 192 rushing) since Week 5, and five touchdowns. Overdue for a rushing score, Wilson should have little trouble immolating the reeling Rams, who are mediocre against the pass, and worse against the run. … How did Matt Ryan respond to the loss of Julio Jones and the absence of Roddy White? By having one of his best games of the season, completing 20-of-26 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers would have been even better had the Falcons not taken the air out of the ball in the second half. Going on the road against one of the league’s feistiest defenses, Ryan is unlikely to fare nearly as well in Week 8, but it’s clear his QB1 obituary was premature. He can still be trusted. … Coming off his second and third best fantasy performances of the season, Colin Kaepernick is finally back in the QB1 ranks. He has his legs and the re-emergence of Vernon Davis to thank. Both should be in for a big day in Jacksonville.   

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Sunday was one of the worst games of Tom Brady’s career, and 2013 is shaping up as his worst season since the dawn of the Patriots’ Star Wars offense in 2007. His eight touchdowns are tied for 16th in the league, while his 5.99 yards per attempt is 30th, and ahead of only Brandon Weeden, Mike Glennon and Josh Freeman. Brady’s 55.4 completion percentage would be a new career-worst by 4.8, and 7.6 lower than any of his post-2007 marks. Granted, his receiver corps has yet to be at full strength, and New England’s 26 drops are the second most in the league. But the way Brady’s played, No. 12 is very generous. Getting Danny Amendola (concussion) back this weekend — and by extension, being at full strength for the first time in 2013 — would be a huge help, but believe Brady is back to locked-in QB1 status when you see it. … Eli Manning didn’t take advantage of an appetizing Week 7 matchup in the Vikings, but did in Week 5 against the Eagles, throwing for 334 yards and two touchdowns (not to mention, three interceptions). Using Manning as a fill-in for Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers or Jay Cutler might leave a bad taste in your mouth, but he should deliver the goods.

The Steelers have taken the air out of the ball in back-to-back defensive slugfests, but Ben Roethlisberger has been a different quarterback since Week 3, posting a QB rating > 90.0 in four straight games while completing 70.3 percent of his passes and posting a 5:3 TD:INT ratio. The TDs obviously leave something to be desired, but Big Ben is back to being one of the league’s best plug-and-play QB2s. … Terrelle Pryor went into the Raiders’ Week 7 bye with a tough matchup in the Chiefs and comes out of with a tough matchup in the Steelers, who are allowing the second fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Pryor continues to have QB1 upside, but the matchup isn’t right against Pittsburgh. … Andy Dalton is coming off the best two-game stretch of his career, but is going to have all sorts of problems trying to make it the best three-game stretch of his career against the Jets, who are holding opposing quarterbacks to 225 yards per game, 6.4 yards per attempt and a 58.8 completion percentage. Plug-and-play Dalton if your QB1 is on bye, but don’t expect him to approach the 355 yards he averaged in Weeks 6-7. … Christian Ponder isn’t worth revisiting as a QB2 against a Packers defense that tormented Brandon Weeden in Week 7. … Jason Campbell and Kellen Clemens: Not worth a second of your time.    

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Week 8 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 LeSean McCoy vs. NYG -
2 Jamaal Charles vs. CLE -
3 Marshawn Lynch at STL Probable (hip)
4 Adrian Peterson vs. GB Probable (hamstring)
5 Frank Gore at JAC Probable (ankle)
6 Reggie Bush vs. DAL Probable (knee)
7 Eddie Lacy at MIN -
8 Knowshon Moreno vs. WAS -
9 Alfred Morris at DEN -
10 Le'Veon Bell at OAK -
11 Darren McFadden vs. PIT -
12 Stevan Ridley vs. MIA -
13 Fred Jackson at NO Probable (knee)
14 Zac Stacy vs. SEA Probable (chest)
15 Steven Jackson at ARZ Probable (hamstring)
16 Mike James vs. CAR -
17 Darren Sproles vs. BUF -
18 Giovani Bernard vs. NYJ -
19 DeAngelo Williams at TB Questionable (quadriceps)
20 Joseph Randle at DET -
21 Maurice Jones-Drew vs. SF -
22 Lamar Miller at NE -
23 Chris Ivory at CIN Probable (-)
24 Andre Ellington vs. ATL -
25 Roy Helu at DEN -
26 Brandon Bolden vs. MIA Questionable (knee)
27 Joique Bell vs. DAL -
28 Mike Tolbert at TB -
29 Pierre Thomas vs. BUF -
30 Tashard Choice at NO -
31 Willis McGahee at KC -
32 Peyton Hillis at PHI -
33 Jacquizz Rodgers at ARZ -
34 BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. NYJ -
35 Bilal Powell at CIN -
36 Daniel Thomas at NE -
37 Michael Cox at PHI -
38 Lance Dunbar at DET Probable (hamstring)
39 Chris Ogbonnaya at KC -
40 Kendall Hunter at JAC -
41 Montee Ball vs. WAS -
42 Stepfan Taylor vs. ATL -
43 Daryl Richardson vs. SEA -
44 Brian Leonard vs. CAR -
45 Bryce Brown vs. NYG -
46 Fozzy Whittaker at KC -
47 James Starks at MIN Probable (knee)
48 Felix Jones at OAK -
49 Robert Turbin at STL -
50 Alfonso Smith vs. ATL -
51 LeGarrette Blount vs. MIA -
52 Rashad Jennings vs. PIT Questionable (hamstring)
53 Anthony Dixon at JAC -
54 Phillip Tanner at DET -

RB Notes: With Michael Vick limited to just one half of duty in Week 5, LeSean McCoy had his worst game of the season against the Giants. With Vick finally back under center — and the zone read back in action — expect McCoy to snap out of his recent mini-slump in a big way against a Giants defense that got off too easy in Week 7 because of Josh Freeman. … Jamaal Charles has both scored a touchdown and cleared 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this season. Throw in his weekly five catches, and you have the most foolproof RB1 recipe on the planet. … The league’s most consistent runner this side of Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch is averaging 108 yards from scrimmage, and has seven total touchdowns. The Rams are going to know what them on Monday, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to stop it. Beast Mode could have his best game of the season. … Coming off his worst game since the week he tore his ACL, Adrian Peterson gets a Packers defense allowing just 79 rushing yards per game, and 3.4 yards per carry. This should be the lowest you ever see him on this list.

No team is allowing more rushing yards per game than the Jaguars. Only four players have more rushing yards than Frank Gore. You do the math. Gore is going to give the people of London something to see. … Coming off his worst rushing performance of the season, Reggie Bush gets a Cowboys defense ranked 25th in yards per carry against (4.3). He’s a good bet to match or surpass the 122 yards from scrimmage he’s averaging every week. … No player has more rushing yards than Eddie Lacy’s 301 over the past three weeks. He’s going to bring the pain against a Vikings defense allowing the second most fantasy points to enemy running backs. Fat Eddie eats a lot more on the field than he does off of it. … Knowshon Moreno leads the league in rushing touchdowns. The Redskins lead the league in rushing touchdowns allowed. Sometimes it’s just that simple. … If you’re an Alfred Morris owner, you could do one of two things: 1. Fret over the three touchdowns Roy Helu vultured in Week 7. 2. Realize you own a player leading running backs in yards per carry (5.2). Of course Helu is a nuisance, but he’s not a true concern as the Redskins’ zone-read attack rises from the ashes. Second only to Adrian Peterson in average yards after contact (2.98, per Pro Football Focus), Morris is a through-and-through RB1.

Averaging 19.6 touches, Le’Veon Bell has the workload every fantasy owner craves. With just two touchdowns, however, he hasn’t shot up the roto ranks the way you’d expect. Out-carrying every other Steelers runner 51-18 since his Week 4 debut, that’s about to change in a big way. … Stevan Ridley is averaging 4.73 yards per carry over his past three games, but has taken the ball only 42 times in the process. It’s indicative of both his skill and precarious place in the Patriots’ chameleon offense. Nevertheless, Ridley has scored three times over his past two games, and ran circles around Brandon Bolden after the Pats moved away from their hurry-up attack in Week 7. Ridley is a stressful fantasy option — there’s no way around it — but he’s still more RB2 than RB3. … Averaging 18.5 touches per game in the four games he’s finished this season, Darren McFadden — for better or worse — is an RB2 for the time being. … Zac Stacy’s Week 8 matchup could scarcely be worse in a Seahawks run defense allowing just 91.6 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. His role could scarcely be better, however, as he’s now the unquestioned focal point of an offense missing Sam Bradford. In line for as many as 25 touches Monday, Stacy’s averages might not be pretty, but he’s one of the league’s stronger bets for a touchdown.         

It appears DeMarco Murray (knee) is going to give it a go against the Lions. Murray is an RB2 any time he takes the field. Check the Rotoworld Player News page for daily updates on his status. … Coming off a five-week layoff, Steven Jackson (hamstring) would be hard to trust even in a good matchup, so the fact that he has an imposing one in Arizona (97.0 YPG, 3.7 YPC) makes him hard to love as a plug-and-play RB2. However, Atlanta’s injury woes — they need Jackson — combined with the league-wide carnage at running back means he’s still a top-15 option. You’ve kept S-Jax around this long. You might as well use him. … Both Fred Jackson (MCL) and C.J. Spiller (ankle) are nursing nagging injuries, but only F-Jax is a guarantee to play against the Saints, a team allowing a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry. With Spiller looking no better than 50-50 to suit up, F-Jax is a legitimate RB2, even at less than 100 percent. … Check out Evan Silva’s Thursday Matchups column for the dope on Bucs RB Mike James. … If DeMarco Murray (knee) sits, Joseph Randle will be on the RB2 borderline against a Lions team allowing 5.1 yards per carry. If Murray plays, however, Randle will be little more than a desperation FLEX.    

DeAngelo Williams is losing steam fast. He failed to take advantage of a plus Week 7 matchup in the Rams, and now has a minus Week 8 matchup in the Bucs. With Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton vulturing all touchdown opportunities and Jonathan Stewart (ankles) waiting in the wings, D-Will is about out of 2013 value. … Lamar Miller is mired in a timeshare with Daniel Thomas, but is still the only Dolphins’ running back worth starting, especially since he’s Miami’s preferred back in passing and comeback modes. Miller’s downside is considerable, but he still has more upside than the Rashard Mendenhalls of the world. … Is Chris Ivory the Jets’ new lead back? The fact that he out-touched Bilal Powell 35-3 in Week 7 certainly suggests so. However, it’s still possible Ivory’s usage outburst was game-plan related, with the Jets wanting to take advantage of the decimated middle of New England’s defense with Ivory's power instead of Powell's finesse. Either way, Ivory is back on the FLEX radar, and it’s kind of hard to trust Powell after he got out-touched 35-3, isn’t it? … Roy Helu’s three Week 7 touchdowns were nice, but he’s still just a change-of-pace option to locked and loaded starter Alfred Morris. Helu is worth a roster spot, but not weekly FLEX consideration. … If you’re starting Peyton Hillis or Willis McGahee, it’s already too late.

Week 8 Receivers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Calvin Johnson vs. DAL Probable (knee)
2 Dez Bryant at DET Probable (hamstring)
3 A.J. Green vs. NYJ -
4 Jordy Nelson at MIN -
5 Demaryius Thomas vs. WAS -
6 Victor Cruz at PHI -
7 Wes Welker vs. WAS Probable (ankle)
8 DeSean Jackson vs. NYG -
9 Eric Decker vs. WAS Probable (toe)
10 Antonio Brown at OAK -
11 Vincent Jackson vs. CAR -
12 Pierre Garcon at DEN -
13 Justin Blackmon vs. SF Probable (hamstring)
14 Larry Fitzgerald vs. ATL Probable (hamstring)
15 Hakeem Nicks at PHI -
16 Josh Gordon at KC -
17 Cecil Shorts vs. SF Probable (clavicle)
18 Steve Smith at TB -
19 Denarius Moore vs. PIT -
20 Marques Colston vs. BUF -
21 Harry Douglas at ARZ -
22 Jarrett Boykin at MIN -
23 Anquan Boldin at JAC -
24 Danny Amendola vs. MIA Questionable (concussion)
25 Mike Wallace at NE -
26 Stevie Johnson at NO Probable (back)
27 Michael Floyd vs. ATL -
28 Terrance Williams at DET -
29 Julian Edelman vs. MIA Questionable (thigh)
30 Rueben Randle at PHI -
31 Brian Hartline at NE -
32 Jeremy Kerley at CIN Questionable (ankle)
33 Golden Tate at STL Probable (shoulder)
34 Greg Jennings vs. GB -
35 Emmanuel Sanders at OAK -
36 Kris Durham vs. DAL -
37 Brandon Gibson at NE Probable (shoulder)
38 Stephen Hill at CIN -
39 Robert Woods at NO -
40 Mike Williams vs. CAR Sidelined (hamstring)
41 Aaron Dobson vs. MIA -
42 Brandon LaFell at TB -
43 Kenbrell Thompkins vs. MIA -
44 Cole Beasley at DET -
45 Dwayne Bowe vs. CLE -
46 Sidney Rice at STL Probable (-)
47 Jerome Simpson vs. GB -
48 Leonard Hankerson at DEN Questionable (foot)
49 Greg Little at KC -
50 Marvin Jones vs. NYJ Probable (shoulder)
51 Tavon Austin vs. SEA -
52 Riley Cooper vs. NYG -
53 Ted Ginn at TB -
54 Chris Givens vs. SEA -
55 Lance Moore vs. BUF -
56 Myles White at MIN -
57 Jerricho Cotchery at OAK -
58 Rod Streater vs. PIT -
59 Jason Avant vs. NYG -
60 David Nelson at CIN -
61 Andre Roberts vs. ATL -
62 Doug Baldwin at STL -
63 Donnie Avery vs. CLE Probable (shoulder)
64 Austin Pettis vs. SEA -
65 Kenny Stills vs. BUF -
66 Santana Moss at DEN -
67 Davone Bess at KC -
68 T.J. Graham at NO -
69 Mohamed Sanu vs. NYJ -
70 Brian Quick vs. SEA -
71 Cordarrelle Patterson vs. GB -
72 Dexter McCluster vs. CLE -
73 Nick Toon vs. BUF -

WR Notes: With last week’s 9/155/2 outburst, Calvin Johnson now has more touchdowns than he did during all of 2012. The Cowboys, who — Nick Foles excepted — have been getting smoked by the pass all year, are not going to have an answer for Megatron on Ford Field’s turf. … The man who would be Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, has now gone two straight games without a touchdown, but isn’t going to face much resistance from a Lions defense allowing the sixth most points to enemy wideouts. Get your popcorn ready for Mega vs. Dez. … Two 6/100/1 games later, A.J. Green’s Weeks 2-5 slump is but a distant memory. However, Andy Dalton is going to have a much harder time moving the ball against the Jets’ stout defense than he did against Detroit and Buffalo. … The league’s most efficient deep threat thus far this season? Jordy Nelson. Aaron Rodgers has targeted his No. 1 wideout on 12 passes of at least 20 yards in length, and the duo has hooked up for eight catches and 277 yards. Per Pro Football Focus, no other qualified receiver has caught more than 54.5 percent of his deep targets.

Demaryius Thomas: Still leading the league in yards after the catch. … Week 7 was the first time Wes Welker didn’t score, so he made up for it by racking up a season-high 96 yards. Welker is fantasy’s No. 5 receiver through the season’s first seven weeks, but his unsustainable touchdown rate makes him a candidate to tumble down the ranks. … DeSean Jackson has been a bit of a feast-or-famine option this season, but reuniting with Michael Vick after a two-week hiatus, he gets a Giants team he feasted on for 7/132/1 in Week 5. D-Jax leads the league with nine receptions of 20-plus yards. … Fantasy’s No. 6 receiver over the past five weeks, Eric Decker is averaging 6.6/99/0.5 since his Week 1 dud. The matchup is right in Washington’s FLEX-N-GATE pass defense. … Vincent Jackson had the Bucs’ Week 5 bye to heal up from his rib injury. In the two weeks since, he’s caught 19 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll continue to be peppered with targets by deep-ball obsessed rookie Mike Glennon.

Yet to be held below five catches or 58 yards this season, Pierre Garcon has made up for his lack of big games with cold, hard consistency. One of these days, he’s going to pop. Denver’s No. 32 pass defense would be an unsurprising place to start. … Hakeem Nicks looked bored in Monday night’s rout of the Vikings, but should perk up against an Eagles team he stung for nine catches and 142 yards in Week 5. … Averaging 8.3 catches for 128 yards, Justin Blackmon is fantasy’s No. 4 receiver since returning from his four-game suspension in Week 5. … To trust Larry Fitzgerald or not to trust Larry Fitzgerald, that is the question. All we know is, he’s practicing in full this week, and facing a Falcons team allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing receivers. … Things aren’t going to be easy for Josh Gordon this weekend. There’s no point in pretending otherwise. But when a player is averaging 90 yards per game and 16.7 yards per catch, you start him no matter the matchup or his quarterback.

Cecil Shorts is a bit of an odd case this season. The third most targeted receiver in the league, he’s nevertheless just 17th in catches (39) and 21st in yards (491). A whopping 48 percent of his yardage (236) has come in the fourth quarter, a period in which the Jaguars have done little (read: no) competing. Nevertheless, the numbers have been there almost every week, and Shorts has been more effective with Chad Henne under center than Blaine Gabbert. He’s a WR2 who will likely eventually settle in as a WR3. … Mike Wallace has finally shown some signs of life the past two weeks, but could be bumped down the ranks if/when it becomes apparent shutdown CB Aqib Talib (hip) will be active for the Patriots. … Harry Douglas had his fun against Darrelle Revis and The Zones in Week 7, but will be dealing with man-to-man maven Patrick Peterson on Sunday. Peterson’s rep as a shutdown corner is a bit overstated, but we’re guessing he’ll be able to do what Greg Schiano couldn’t, and contain a lifelong WR4 posing as Atlanta’s No. 1 receiver.  

Jarrett Boykin has nine catches since injuries forced him into the Packers’ lineup in Week 6. He’s averaged 9.9 yards after each catch, which would lead the NFL if he had enough receptions to qualify. Now someone defenses know they have to take seriously, Boykin might have had a hard time equaling his 8/103/1 Week 7, but is very much someone injury- and bye-ravaged fantasy owners can trust as a WR3 while James Jones (knee) is sidelined. … Despite the injury risk, Danny Amendola (concussion) will be a WR3 if he’s active for Week 8. … Only 18 receivers are averaging more weekly fantasy points than Denarius Moore, though his Week 8 matchup is prohibitive in the Steelers. Nevertheless, Terrelle Pryor’s No. 1 receiver should be in the WR3 ranks to stay. … Terrance Williams has snagged 24-of-28 targets this season, committing just one drop in the process. He’s put his rocky start behind him, and possibly Miles Austin, as well. … Rueben Randle is the only player in the league to commit at least two drops on targets of 20-plus yards. … Dwayne Bowe is averaging 1.08 yards per pass route run, which per Pro Football Focus, is sixth worst in the league.  

Week 8 Tight Ends

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Rob Gronkowski vs. MIA Probable (arm)
2 Vernon Davis at JAC -
3 Tony Gonzalez at ARZ -
4 Julius Thomas vs. WAS -
5 Jason Witten at DET -
6 Jordan Cameron at KC -
7 Jordan Reed at DEN Probable (hip)
8 Heath Miller at OAK -
9 Greg Olsen at TB -
10 Jimmy Graham vs. BUF -
11 Kyle Rudolph vs. GB -
12 Charles Clay at NE -
13 Brandon Pettigrew vs. DAL Probable (hamstring)
14 Jared Cook vs. SEA -
15 Jeff Cumberland at CIN Probable (hamstring)
16 Joseph Fauria vs. DAL -
17 Tyler Eifert vs. NYJ -
18 Anthony Fasano vs. CLE Probable (knee)
19 Zach Miller at STL Probable (hamstring)
20 Jermaine Gresham vs. NYJ -
21 Rob Housler vs. ATL Probable (ankle)
22 Andrew Quarless at MIN -
23 Zach Ertz vs. NYG -
24 Brandon Myers at PHI -
25 Scott Chandler at NO -
26 Tim Wright vs. CAR -
27 Brent Celek vs. NYG -
28 Marcedes Lewis vs. SF Probable (calf)
29 Mychal Rivera vs. PIT -
30 Lance Kendricks vs. SEA -
31 Ben Watson vs. BUF -
32 Brandon Bostick at MIN -
33 Sean McGrath vs. CLE -
34 Vance McDonald at JAC Questionable (ankle)
35 John Carlson vs. GB -
36 Levine Toilolo at ARZ -

TE Notes: Just take Jimmy Graham’s (foot) status day by day. If he plays, fire him up. If he sits, we’ll know by 11:30 AM ET on Sunday morning. … Now that was a return. Looking like the Gronk of old, Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 114 yards on a whopping 17 targets in New England’s Week 7 loss. That’s despite the fact he played just 51-of-79 snaps, and was the victim of a number of Tom Brady overthrows. If you spent Weeks 1-6 stashing Gronk, your No. 1 overall tight end dreams have likely come true, especially if Jimmy Graham can’t stay healthy down the stretch. … Vernon Davis is No. 4 in raw tight end fantasy points despite missing a game with a hamstring injury. He’s got a juicy Week 8 matchup in a Jaguars team allowing the seventh most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. … No team has allowed more fantasy points to rival tight ends than Arizona. That means Tony Gonzalez should bounce back from his two-catch Week 7, even though he’ll remain the subject of more defensive attention than just about any player in the league.   

Week 7 was the same old story with Julius Thomas. He caught just five passes for 41 yards, but found the end zone for the eighth time in 2013. Only Jamaal Charles and teammates Wes Welker and Knowshon Moreno have scored as many touchdowns this season. … On paper, Jordan Cameron’s matchup is imposing in a Chiefs defense that’s allowed the fewest points to opposing tight ends. Dig a little deeper, however, and you will find a unit that’s faced Jason Witten and … no one else. The second best tight end Kansas City has dealt with is somewhere between Delanie Walker and Brandon Myers. Jason Campbell at quarterback is a concern for Cameron, but so was Brandon Weeden. Until the Browns offense goes all the way off the rails, Cameron will remain a TE1. … Jordan Reed’s reward for his Week 7 breakout? A matchup with a Broncos team allowing the most passing yards in the league, and the ninth most fantasy points to enemy tight ends. Fire him up as a TE1. … Living up to his billing as a safe but low-upside TE1, Heath Miller is unlikely to ever rise about the 9-10 area of the weekly ranks.

As expected, Kyle Rudolph’s 9/97/1 Week 6 was but a dream. It’s likely to remain that way with Christian Ponder back under center in the Twin Cities. … Charles Clay was held below 42 yards for the first time this season in Week 7, but managed to score a touchdown for the third consecutive game. He remains near the top of the waiver-wire scrap heap. … Brandon Pettigrew has caught more than four passes just once this season, but has a solid matchup in a Cowboys defense allowing the fourth most points to rival tight ends. … Sam Bradford’s torn ACL should just about close the book on Jared Cook’s low-end TE1 candidacy. … Jeff Cumberland is unlikely to rise above bye-week fill-in status any time soon. … The same is true of Joseph Fauria, though the release of Tony Scheffler was a vote of confidence in the 6-foot-7 rookie. … Tyler Eifert finally has a touchdown, but don’t expect consistency to follow. … With 11 catches in his past two games, Rob Housler is worth at least keeping an eye on.   

Week 8 Kickers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Stephen Gostkowski vs. MIA -
2 Blair Walsh vs. GB Probable (hamstring)
3 Dan Bailey at DET -
4 Matt Prater vs. WAS -
5 Garrett Hartley vs. BUF -
6 David Akers vs. DAL -
7 Matt Bryant at ARZ -
8 Greg Zuerlein vs. SEA -
9 Josh Brown at PHI -
10 Kai Forbath at DEN -
11 Mason Crosby at MIN -
12 Phil Dawson at JAC -
13 Steven Hauschka at STL -
14 Alex Henery vs. NYG -
15 Jay Feely vs. ATL -
16 Shaun Suisham at OAK Probable (hamstring)
17 Sebastian Janikowski vs. PIT -
18 Caleb Sturgis at NE -
19 Dan Carpenter at NO -
20 Nick Folk at CIN -
21 Ryan Succop vs. CLE -
22 Mike Nugent vs. NYJ -
23 Graham Gano at TB -
24 Josh Scobee vs. SF -
25 Billy Cundiff at KC Probable (quadriceps)
26 Rian Lindell vs. CAR -

Week 8 Defense/Special Teams

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Chiefs Def/Spec Team vs. CLE -
2 Seahawks Def/Spec Team at STL -
3 Fortyniners Def/Spec Team at JAC -
4 Bengals Def/Spec Team vs. NYJ -
5 Panthers Def/Spec Team at TB -
6 Patriots Def/Spec Team vs. MIA -
7 Saints Def/Spec Team vs. BUF -
8 Packers Def/Spec Team at MIN -
9 Steelers Def/Spec Team at OAK -
10 Cardinals Def/Spec Team vs. ATL -
11 Eagles Def/Spec Team vs. NYG -
12 Broncos Def/Spec Team vs. WAS -
13 Falcons Def/Spec Team at ARZ -
14 Raiders Def/Spec Team vs. PIT -
15 Jets Def/Spec Team at CIN -
16 Dolphins Def/Spec Team at NE -
17 Lions Def/Spec Team vs. DAL -
18 Rams Def/Spec Team vs. SEA -
19 Browns Def/Spec Team at KC -
20 Buccaneers Def/Spec Team vs. CAR -
21 Giants Def/Spec Team at PHI -
22 Cowboys Def/Spec Team at DET -
23 Bills Def/Spec Team at NO -
24 Vikings Def/Spec Team vs. GB -
25 Jaguars Def/Spec Team vs. SF -
26 Redskins Def/Spec Team at DEN -

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