Week 8 fantasy football rankings: The old Gronk is back, baby!

Steven Psihogios
·17 min read

Week 8, ah yes. The start of the second half of the fantasy football season for most with playoffs starting in Week 14 or 15.

You’re in one of two spots by this point. You’re either confident that the team you’re putting out there is going to crush it, or you’re confident you’re going to need some sorcery in order to squeak into a playoff spot.

Well hey, it’s Halloween week. If there was ever a time for a little bit of sorcery, it’s right now.

Here are my half-point PPR fantasy football rankings for Week 8.

QB

1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets)

2) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

3) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

4) Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (at Cincinnati Bengals)

Seven weeks into the season, Tannehill ranks as QB9 in fantasy football in points per game. In Week 8, the former first-round pick battles the Bengals. Cincinnati is tied for allowing the 15th-most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, but its most recent efforts have been even worse. They’ve allowed top-8 weekly performances in each of the past two weeks to Philip Rivers and Baker Mayfield, This is partly due to Bengals DB William Jackson (concussion) missing Week 7.

5) Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

6) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (vs. New England Patriots)

Allen hasn’t been the fantasy performer we saw light up the league to start the season over the past few weeks. The Bills’ gunslinger has 25 passes of 20+ yards this season, but just four of those have occurred since Week 5. Part of that is tied to WR John Brown’s absence, and part of it is due to the league adjusting. The matchup in Week 8 is less than ideal against DB Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots’ defense. New England is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing passers.

7) Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

8) Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (at Denver Broncos)

9) Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Giants)

10) Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Tennessee Titans)

Burrow’s shown that he belongs in the NFL, even behind a horrendous offensive line. The Tiger King currently ranks No. 11 in fantasy points amongst QBs, and his average depth of target also ranks 11th amongst passers with at least 50 attempts. Perhaps the most commendable part of his game has been his accuracy, as his completion percentage above expectation currently ranks third amongst all QBs.

11) Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers (vs. Atlanta Falcons) - Played on Thursday*

12) Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (at Seattle Seahawks)

Garoppolo is not typically one of the best fantasy football QBs, but in a matchup against the Seahawks, there’s some streamer appeal. Seattle is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to QBs this season. Only once has an opposing passer finished with less than 23 fantasy points against the Seahawks. Even though WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) won’t be active, I still have him ranked as a low-end QB1.

13) Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

14) Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (at Cleveland Browns)

15) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers)

15) Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

16) Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

17) Drew Lock, Denver Broncos (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

I’m willing to cut Lock a little bit of slack in his two efforts since his return. He’s faced off against a pair of defenses in the Patriots and Chiefs that rank in the top-10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. His schedule takes a turn for the better as he gets the Chargers, Falcons and Raiders in the upcoming weeks — all rank in the top-5 amongst teams allowing the most fantasy points to passers. If he can’t get it done against these units, the Broncos will be looking for a new QB entering 2021.

18) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens)

19) Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (at Miami Dolphins)

20) Cam Newton, New England Patriots (at Buffalo Bills)

21) Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (at Green Bay Packers)

22) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at Chicago Bears)

23) Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

It’s Tua time! Tagovailoa will be making his first NFL start in Week 8, but there will be no easing him into action. The rookie QB gets to face Aaron Donald and the Rams. Los Angeles is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing passers, so nothing will come easy for Tagovailoa.

24) Nick Foles, Chicago Bears (vs. New Orleans Saints)

25) Sam Darnold, New York Jets (at Kansas City Chiefs)

26) Daniel Jones, New York Giants (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

27) Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts (at Detroit Lions)

28) Ben DiNucci, Dallas Cowboys (at Philadelphia Eagles)

RB

1) Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (at Chicago Bears)

2) Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (at Cincinnati Bengals)

3) Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

4) Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (at Green Bay Packers)

5) Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (at Detroit Lions)

6) Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers (vs. Atlanta Falcons) - Played on Thursday*

7) Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers) - Played on Thursday*

Gurley’s last-minute accidental touchdown in Week 7 brought much joy to fantasy managers, but clear heartbreak to him and his team. Much to my surprise, Gurley now ranks eighth in fantasy points amongst RBs and has topped 14 fantasy points in four of his last five games. His Week 8 matchup, the Panthers, are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to RB. Gurley has settled in as a low-end RB1.

8) Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (at Cleveland Browns)

9) James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens)

10) Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

11) Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (at Philadelphia Eagles)

I am extremely low on Ezekiel Elliott moving forward, and no, it’s not all Ben DiNucci’s fault. Elliott himself has not been playing well. Two weeks ago, he fumbled twice against the Cardinals, and although he didn’t last week, he did bobble a pass that was intercepted. The Cowboys’ offensive line is also in shambles and I don’t see Elliott having a great week against the Eagles, who are allowing the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs.

12) Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets)

13) Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Tennessee Titans)

14) Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

15) D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

16) Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

17) Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Giants)

Welcome back Fournette!

In his first real game back from an ankle injury, Fournette was clearly the Buccaneers’ top running back. He looked better than RB Ronald Jones both rushing and receiving. Moving forward, I view Fournette as the 1A and passing-down back while Jones is the 1B. Up next for the Bucs are the Giants. New York is allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to RB’s this season.

18) Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams (at Miami Dolphins)

19) David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (vs. New Orleans Saints)

20) Carlos Hyde/Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

Any one of Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde or Travis Homer may start this week as all are dealing with ailments. RB DeeJay Dallas figures to make an impact on passing downs as well. The game has a 4:25 PM EST kickoff, so things could get a little messy for fantasy managers.

21) Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets)

The revenge game isn’t something fantasy managers should always subscribe to, but I think there’s something to it in this instance. Bell was clearly displeased with the Jets organization prior to his departure and in just his second game with the Chiefs, he gets his chance to exact vengeance. Bell only played during 33% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps in Week 7, but he played well, rushing six times for 39 yards. I expect he and Edwards-Helaire, who had nine touches in Week 7, will see similar usage moving forward, but the team may be willing to let Bell savour this matchup just a little more.

22) Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

23) Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills (vs. New England Patriots)

If you can add Moss to your fantasy football team, now is the time to buy low. With Moss hampered by a toe injury for most of the first-half of the season, RB Devin Singletary had a chance to firmly entrench himself as the No.1 back. That hasn’t been the case, as Singletary has topped four yards per carry in just two games this season. Moss has topped four yards per carry in a game twice already this season, but he’s only made four appearances opposed to Singletary’s seven. Moss also looked better as a pass catcher in Week 7, corralling all three of his targets for 25 yards, where Singletary caught just two of his five targets for 18 yards. It wouldn’t shock me if Moss becomes the focal point of Buffalo’s rushing attack now that he’s healthy.

24) Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Giants)

25) JaMycal Hasty, San Francisco 49ers (at Seattle Seahawks)

26) Damien Harris, New England Patriots (at Buffalo Bills)

27) Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (at New England Patriots)

28) La’Mical Perine, New York Jets (at Kansas City Chiefs)

The Jets aren’t a team I typically recommend fantasy football managers target, but Perine is available in 68% of Yahoo leagues when that shouldn’t be the case. In Week 7, Perine handled 70% of the Jets’ offensive snaps, toted 11 carries for 40 yards while adding two receptions for 16 yards. It seems that head coach Adam Gase is willing to turn the backfield over to the rookie, and even on the Jets, a lead back is worth rostering in most fantasy football leagues.

29) Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers (at Denver Broncos)

30) J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

WR

1) Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

2) Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets)

3) D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

4) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers) - Played on Thursday*

5) A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (at Cincinnati Bengals)

WR12, WR5 and WR4. Those are the weekly finishes Brown has compiled since returning from injury. Although they’ve been against weaker secondaries, he has dominated and that’s all you can ask for. The good matchups keep on coming as he draws the Bengals in Week 8. The Bengals could be without DB William Jackson as he missed Week 7 with a concussion.

6) D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (vs. Atlanta Falcons) - Played on Thursday*

7) Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers) - Played on Thursday*

8) Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

9) Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (vs. Atlanta Falcons) - Played on Thursday*

10) Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (vs. New England Patriots)

11) Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (at Denver Broncos)

12) Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

13) Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (at Green Bay Packers)

14) Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (at Green Bay Packers)

15) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Giants)

Frustrated by Evans in fantasy football? You’re definitely not alone. After being a touchdown scoring machine to start the season, the rise of TE Rob Gronkowski has sapped away all of his red zone targets, as Gronk has outdone Evans 5-0 in that department over the past two weeks. This week, Evans figures to be more involved in the offense with WR Chris Godwin (finger) out. He’ll likely draw Giants DB James Bradberry in coverage, but Evans has historically been somewhat successful in that matchup.

16) Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (at Seattle Seahawks)

With WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) out in Week 8, Aiyuk will assume the role as the 49ers’ No.1 wide receiver. Aiyuk was solid for San Francisco in Week 7 against New England, securing six receptions for 115 yards. He draws Seattle in Week 8, which has been the best matchup for opposing WRs this season. He’s a strong start in this spot.

17) Diontae Johnson. Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens)

If only we could leave a game without having to worry about Johnson’s health! Johnson has played 143 less snaps than teammate WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, but has only drawn one less target. When he’s on the field, he is QB Ben Roethlisberger’s top target. He missed practice on Wednesday with a toe injury, so we’ll see what his status is later in the week. If he plays, you’re likely starting him confidently.

18) Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Tennessee Titans)

19) Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (at Philadelphia Eagles)

20) Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

21) Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Tennessee Titans)

22) CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (at Philadelphia Eagles)

23) Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (at Miami Dolphins)

24) Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

25) Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (vs. New Orleans Saints)

26) Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

WR Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in Week 7 and will miss the remainder of the season. Although his absence will likely do more to benefit the production of teammate WR Rashard Higgins, I think Landry will see a target bump, too. Landry, who underwent hip surgery in the offseason, hasn’t looked like himself. In a soft matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing WRs, Landry makes for a nice flex/WR3 play.

27) Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

28) JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens)

29) DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

30) Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders (at Cleveland Browns)

TE

1) George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (at Seattle Seahawks)

At first glance, the Seahawks appear to be a tough matchup against TEs, as they’ve allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. When looking a little closer, you can see this has more to do with the TEs they’ve played than the unit’s overall strength. Arguably, the best TE they’ve faced this season is Mike Gesicki. Seattle has one of the most exploitable secondaries, and with WR Deebo Samuel out, Kittle figures to play a massive role in the 49ers’ passing attack this week. He’s the best player at the position this week.

2) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets)

3) Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (at Cleveland Browns)

4) Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

5) Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (at Cincinnati Bengals)

Through his first four games, fantasy managers thought they had a surefire starter in Smith at TE. Given the position's lack of production, you likely still think that, but nonetheless, Smith has been disappointing over the past two weeks. He’s totalled just two receptions for 22 yards while seeing just six targets. Some of this has to do with WR A.J. Brown’s return, and part of this deals with his ankle injury. He was cleared off the injury report last week and it doesn’t seem like he suffered any setbacks in Week 7. Against the Bengals, who are surrendering the second-most fantasy points per game to TE this season, Smith is still a TE1.

6) Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Giants)

The old Gronk is back! The football-spiking TE we all know has accumulated 16 targets over the past two games and has turned into a focal point of this offense. Five of those targets have come in the red zone, trailing only T.J. Hockenson amongst TEs during that span. With WR Chris Godwin out, Gronkowski figures to be a heavily relied upon member of the Buccaneers’ passing attack against the Giants.

7) T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

8) Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (at Denver Broncos)

9) Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

10) Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

11) Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

12) Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

13) Harrison Bryant, Cleveland Browns (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

Bryant, the Browns’ 2020 fourth-round pick, looked really good against the Bengals last week, corralling four receptions for 56 yards and two touchdowns. The Florida Atlantic University product led all tight ends in college football last season with 65 receptions, 1,004 receiving yards and seven touchdowns while bringing home the 2019 John Mackey Award as college football’s best tight end. With Odell Beckham Jr. out for the remainder of the year, Bryant could also see a target bump moving forward.

14) Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (at Chicago Bears)

15) Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears (vs. New Orleans Saints)

16) Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers)

17) Evan Engram, New York Giants (vs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

18) Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (at Philadelphia Eagles)

19) Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts (at Detroit Lions)

20) Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings (at Green Bay Packers)

DEF

1) Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets)

2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Giants)

3) Buffalo Bills (vs. New England Patriots)

4) New Orleans Saints (at Chicago Bears)

5) Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

6) Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

7) Los Angeles Rams (at Miami Dolphins)

8) Chicago Bears (vs. New Orleans Saints)

9) Indianapolis Colts (at Detroit Lions)

10) Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens)

11) Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

12) Detroit Lions (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

13) Tennessee Titans (at Cincinnati Bengals)

14) Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Denver Broncos)

15) New England Patriots (at Buffalo Bills)

16) Denver Broncos (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

17) Cleveland Browns (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

18) Las Vegas Raiders (at Cleveland Browns)

19) Carolina Panthers (vs. Atlanta Falcons)

20) Miami Dolphins (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

K

1) Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

2) Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets)

3) Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts (at Detroit Lions)

4) Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers)

5) Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings) - Played on Thursday*

6) Matt Prater, Detroit Lions (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

7) Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints (at Chicago Bears)

8) Joey Slye, Carolina Panthers (vs. Atlanta Falcons) - Played on Thursday*

9) Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Giants)

10) Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

11) Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

12) Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

13) Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers (at Seattle Seahawks)

14) Randy Bullock, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Tennessee Titans)

15) Stephen Gostkowski, Tennessee Titans (at Cincinnati Bengals)

16) Michael Badgley, Los Angeles Chargers (at Denver Broncos)

17) Daniel Carlson, Las Vegas Raiders (at Cleveland Browns)

18) Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills (vs. New England Patriots)

19) Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

20) Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens)

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