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The San Diego Chargers dropped a tough overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, but they may have created the next great fantasy football waiver wire candidate. Every week, at least one player on very few fantasy football rosters puts together a monster performance on Sunday or Monday. Two days later, when waiver wires are processing across the country, everybody places a claim on that player.
Given the injuries Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert are dealing with, Curtis Brinkley will be that guy on the week nine waiver wire. Brinkley took over for Mathews on Monday and put together 43 rushing yards and a touchdown on ten carries with an additional 24 receiving yards. It was not enough to get the victory, but it was enough to put fantasy owners on high alert.
If you have space to add a guy like Brinkley, there likely is some value to it. He is not a great long term answer this season because Mathews will be the main guy. The issue for Mathews is that he has struggle staying healthy. Given that, Brinkley is a decent guy to have on hand. If you have Mathews I would recommend Brinkley as a handcuff. If you don't have Mathews but can afford to drop a guy, there is some upside there.
First, the good news: Philip Rivers connected on 26-of-41 passes for 369 yards against the Chiefs. Now, the bad news: Rivers failed to find the end zone once and turned the ball over three times -- including a fumble in the red zone during the final minutes of regulation when the Chargers were killing the clock in preparation for a potentially game-winning field-goal.
As Rivers' lofty passing total proves, San Diego certainly has the components needed for a devastating aerial attack, including two big and athletic wide receivers in the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Vincent Jackson and similarly-sized Malcom Floyd, and a matchup nightmare in tight end Antonio Gates.
He's now averaging just a shade under 300 yards per game, but he has 11 interceptions to just seven touchdowns in seven games to show for it. It's hard to give up on a guy producing these yards, but his constant mistakes and inability to find the end zone are killing his fantasy owners.
Antonio Gates was his usual solid self during Monday's loss to the Chiefs, finishing as San Diego's second-leading receiver with 73 yards on four catches. He found the end zone in the second quarter after making a 17-yard reception ... but the pass was called back after he was flagged for offensive interference. Replays showed that he extended his arm in the direction of his defender, but any actual contact was slight and certainly didn't give Gates much of an advantage. Nevertheless, that's how it was called.
Incidentally, San Diego ended up getting nothing out of that drive -- Philip Rivers was sacked on the next play, and the Chargers were flagged for offensive holding on the play after that. On fourth-and-22, Nick Novak was wide right on his 52-yard field-goal attempt. Considering the Chargers eventually lost in overtime, Gates' missed opportunity was basically the game.
Gates returned last week after missing three games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, picking up where he left off with five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. He'll likely continue to battle lingering soreness in his foot all season -- it's the same injury that plagued him in 2010 -- but it's just impossible to take him out of your fantasy lineup when he's healthy enough to play.
Dwayne Bowe was relatively quiet during Monday's win over the Chargers, finishing the game with four catches for 62 yards. Considering San Diego lost starting cornerback Quentin Jammer to cramps late in the game, Bowe seemed destined to add to his modest fantasy line, but that's when Kansas City's rushing game finally started to click, allowing the Chiefs to keep the ball on the ground.
Bowe hauled in six passes for 76 yards last week in Kansas City's win over the Oakland Raiders. He remains Cassel's top target by a wide margin -- he has 558 yards on the season, with Steve Breaston (335 yards) and Jonathan Baldwin (96) a distant second and third, respectively. But on Monday, it was Baldwin who led all KC receivers with 82 yards, catching Cassel's lone touchdown.
San Diego slowed Bowe down in Week 3 but couldn't stop him completely. He caught four balls for 67 yards and a touchdown. Bowe continues to be ranked in the top ten among wide receivers across the league in fantasy stats and it would be crazy to sit him any week.
The Chiefs struggled to get anything going on the ground for most of Monday's win over the Chargers, but things started to click late in the game. Jackie Battle finished the game with 70 yards, 50 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime. Battle's lone touchdown also came in the fourth, turning a relative modest fantasy performance into a very solid one.
Battle has carried the rushing load for the Kansas City Chiefs the last three games. The big, strong running back now has 308 yards on 64 attempts so far this season. Last week against the Raiders, he picked up 76 yards on 16 carries, while Javier Arenas and Le'Ron McClain scored rushing touchdowns for the Chiefs, who have now won four straight games.
In Week 3, Kansas City was limited to 80 yards and no scores on 26 carries from four backs. However, Battle did not see much action in that game.
Ryan Mathews can't catch a break. With Mike Tolbert sidelined with a hamstring injury, Monday was supposed to be Mathews' night to shine. Instead, he left early with a groin injury. He still managed to rack up 112 yards from scrimmage (57 rushing, 55 receiving) but lost a fumble and didn't score.
Once he left, little-used backup Curtis Brinkley entered the game and scored his first career touchdown, not to mention the ensuing two-point conversion. Brinkley finished with 10 carries for 43 yards and three catches for 24 yards.
Mathews came into Monday night's game against Kansas City Chiefs as probable after dealing with a minor thumb issue. Mathews briefly left the Chargers' game against the Jets last Sunday and sported a bandage on the area earlier this week. However, he was a full participant in practice throughout the week.
In six games, Mathews has 509 yards on 112 carries with 3 touchdowns. He previously ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries while adding four catches for 51 yards when the Chiefs faced San Diego earlier this season.
Vincent Jackson was an afterthought in San Diego's offense during Monday's loss to the Chiefs. Philip Rivers threw for 369 yards, but he hooked up with Jackson only three times for 49 yards. Instead, Malcom Floyd led all receivers with 107 yards on five catches, with tight end Antonio Gates ranking second for the Chargers with 73 yards on four catches. Six different San Diego receivers finished with at least three catches, which probably helps team chemistry but does little for fantasy owners.
Jackson has been a "feast of famine" fantasy option all year. In Week 2, he tallied 172 yards and two touchdowns, and in Week 4, he tallied 108 yards with one touchdown. Those are the only two games all year that he's either passed the century mark or found the end zone, leaving his fantasy owners hungry more often than not. The possibility for a huge game always exists, which makes taking him out of the lineup as potentially frustrating as starting him, but it may be time to look for more consistent options.
New York Giants wide receiver bounced back from a subpar pre-bye performance and helped the Giants to victory with 99 receiving yards and a touchdown. Cruz has exploded on the scene in his second season, putting together four performances of 9.8 fantasy points or higher. His latest effort would have been good for 15.9 points in most leagues.
Victor Cruz broke out in week three as he hauled in three catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He and Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith were two of the hottest waiver wire pickups for that week. Since then, Cruz has put together a string of solid performances, with one stinker mixed in. Week six against the Buffalo Bills he was held to two catches for 12 yards and there was some criticism from the coaching staff. However, he bounced back big against the Dolphins.
The Giants travel to face the New England Patriots next week in what could be their best passing matchup of the season. The Patriots secondary is abysmal and this should bode well for Cruz and the rest of the Giants receivers. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is having a hamstring injury checked out and if he has to sit, it could benefit Cruz and Mario Manningham with more targets. Cruz will be a strong start against the Patriots in week nine.
The Carolina Panthers have struggled to string wins together, but they remain one of the most entertaining teams week in and week out due primarily to Cam Newton. While Newton has been making plays, wide receiver Steve Smith has stepped into the rejuvenation machine and knocked the clock back a few years. Smith continued his resurgent 2011 campaign with 100 receiving yards, a touchdown and 12 rushing yards.
It is easy to forget how awful the quarterbacks really were in recent years for Steve Smith. When Jimmy Clausen, Matt Moore and Jake Delhomme are high on that list, it is not a pretty sight. Some thought Smith had lost a step or two, but Cam Newton has brought it all back. Whether Smith never lost a step, or has simply found a renewed energy with Cam Newton, Smith has skyrocketed back into top five receiver status.
The Panthers have a bye this week and then host the Tennessee Titans in week ten. The Titans have been incredibly inconsistent this season and have struggled a bit against the pass. This could prove to be a particularly juice fantasy matchup for Steve Smith, Cam Newton and the Panthers.
The Carolina Panthers came up on the short end of the stick Sunday afternoon as they lost 24-21 to the Minnesota Vikings. A highly questionable holding call and a missed field goal did in a Panthers squad that has shown a ton of line but has been unable to close the deal much of this season. Amidst all the losses, we still get exciting football from Cam Newton.
It is really no longer shocking to see Cam Newton play quality football, but he has become arguably the most exciting quarterback in the NFL this season. He has stiff competition for that title, but his combination of size, speed and general QB skills has been spectacular.
In losing to the Vikings, Newton completed 22 of 35 passes for 290 yards with a career high three touchdowns. And of course, Newton added in 53 rushing yards just for good measure. I'd say when will we see him line up at receiver, but the Panthers are smart enough to keep the ball in his hands as frequently as possible.
Newton is struggling a bit with interceptions as he has thrown nine to date, but these things happen with rookie quarterbacks. For fantasy purposes, his rushing skills are able to at least cancel out the interceptions. Additionally, six of those interceptions came in two games, so it is not exactly a prolific problem.
Unfortunately for Cam Newton fantasy football owners, the Carolina Panthers are on a bye in week nine. Newton has become a must-start quarterback, so teams will have to find an alternative. Of course, most teams that drafted Newton or grabbed him off waivers likely have a decent backup option already. If not, begin perusing the waiver wire.
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson put together his best performance of the 2011 season on Sunday as he led the Rams to a stunning upset of the New Orleans Saints. Jackson rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in four catches for 32 yards. It was the kind of retro performance Jackson owners have come to know and love over the years.
Jackson has struggled right along with the St. Louis Rams compiling 341 total yards of offense and three touchdowns in the previous six games. He has remained a first or second pick but owners have waited for the big day from Jackson. It finally came in what is a monster win for the struggling Rams.
Steven Jackson's status as one of the elite fantasy football running backs has been teetering this year, but gets a temporary reprieve with that performance. The Rams get a bit of a schedule reprieve over the next four weeks as they get two games with the Arizona Cardinals, a road game against the Cleveland Browns and a home game against the Seattle Seahawks. These provide a wealth of opportunity for Jackson to build on Sunday's strong performance.
Seattle Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson made an unexpected appearance on Sunday as he came off the bench to replace Charlie Whitehurst in the Seahawks loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Seahawks lost 34-12, but Jackson threw for a career high 323 yards in defeat. He had one interception and no touchdowns, but the yardage total was impressive nonetheless.
Given that Jackson came off the bench, nobody will benefit from the start. However, Jackson is quietly emerging as a possible bye week candidate here and there. He is not a great option, but with some decent wheels and the ability to throw up some decent passing totals on occasion, TJax might not be an awful choice if you are short a quarterback in the coming weeks.
Jackson did not start as the Seahawks were hoping to get him one more week of rest. Charlie Whitehurst's struggles forced the Seahawks hand and they reinserted Jackson into the starting lineup. The Seahawks travel to face the Dallas Cowboys in week nine before heading home for a date with the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson is not exactly a great option in those weeks, but if you're desperate, you're desperate.
The Dallas Cowboys struggled mightily against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Unfortunately for the Miles Austin fantasy owners out there, that almost meant an underwhelming performance for one of Tony Romo's top targets.
Romo completed 18 passes, but for less than 200 yards -- and only three of his 35 attempts had Austin as the intended target. The wide receiver caught all three passes, but he ended up with just 27 yards and no touchdowns. Instead it was Laurent Robinson who seemed to be the quarterback's top receiving option.
In two games against the Eagles last season, Austin had four receptions for 84 yards which was probably some foreshadowing on Sunday night. The Eagles ranked 10th in the NFL against the pass heading into their game against the Cowboys, too, so that stingy defense definitely did not work in the Cowboys' favor.
For more on Austin and the Cowboys, check out SB Nation's Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys.
The Philadelphia Eagles offense ran on all cylinders in the first half of their game with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Luckily for Jeremy Maclin's fantasy football owners, that meant a touchdown for one of Michael Vick's top options.
Maclin was targeted just three times in the Eagles victory over the Cowboys, but he managed to haul in all three passes for a total of 54 yards and a touchdown. With Michael Vick and Andy Reid coming off a bye week, their leading receiver was poised for another huge week.
After a slow performance in the opening week of the regular season, Maclin had recorded five or more catches in every game leading up to Sunday night's affair. He's used his speed more effectively in his route running than he has in years past.
DeMarco Murray looked nearly as good against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football as he did in his breakout game for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7. Unfortunately he didn't get nearly as many opportunities to show his talent, however, as Murray had just eight rushing opportunities as the Cowboys fell behind early.
Murray picked up 74 yards on those eight attempts for a decent average, which was good, but nothing like last week. The brave few who included DeMarco Murray in their fantasy lineup last week were richly rewarded thanks to his record-breaking performance against the St. Louis Rams. Prior to that game, Murray had no touchdowns and his best effort of the season was 34 yards on 11 carries the week before.
Now, Murray is the main running back for Dallas, at least until Felix Jones returns to action. Jones was ruled out for week 8 on Friday, and the oft-injured Tashard Choice got a pink slip from Jerry Jones.
Heading into this game, Murray had 324 yards on 49 carries and a touchdown to go with it. He is ranked as the 12th best running back this week according to Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy site.
Tony Romo didn't have a good night for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, either in real life or for fantasy football purproses. The Cowboys quarterback completed 18 of his 35 passing attempts for a touchdown and an interception in a 34-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Romo was unable to really get anything going against the Eagles. He was sacked twice on the team's opening drive and never really looked like he was comfortable, eventually culminating in the Cowboys trailing 24-0 at halftime. It did seem he found a new favorite receiver, however, as Laurent Robinson caught five passes for 103 yards and the only touchdown of the game.
For more on Romo and his matchup with the Eagles, check out Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys, and our Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
DeSean Jackson played on one of the best offenses of the week, but unfortunately Michael Vick has enough other targets on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night that Jackson wasn't given too many opportunities. The speedster finished with just three receptions for 31 yards as Brent Celek and Jeremy Maclin caught touchdown passes while fellow receiver Jason Avant had five receptions for 74 yards.
Jackson went into Sunday's game against the Cowboys with a pretty solid track record. In five games against the Eagles' NFC East rival, Jackson had averaged 88.4 yards per game. The last time they played, he had one of his best games of his career, catching for balls for 210 yards.
This year, he had been averaging 76.0 yards per game, but had scored just two touchdowns. His season has been a bit up and down so far, recording three solid games and three disappointing ones. He had gone over 100 yards twice and 30 or less twice. But that's kind of the life of a Jackson owner, isn't it?
Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles are off to an excellent start on Sunday Night Football, both as far as winning the game and fantasy football purposes are concerned. Vick ended the first half with 187 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 45 additional yards.
Vick hasn't been the fantasy force in 2011 many forecast as a continuance of his outstanding 2010. He seemed to have been getting on track in Week 6, and with a bye week in Week 7, and was likely rested — which is key for the injury-riddled QB — and prepared to face DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas Cowboys pass rush.
DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and LeSean McCoy are also all healthy, which means Vick has, again, the best weapons around him, helping him to what should end up being a huge fantasy performance in Week 8.
For more on Vick and his matchup with the Cowboys, check out Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation, and our Cowboys blog, Blogging the Boys. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace had seven catches for 70 yards against the New England Patriots today. His longest reception of the day was 16 yards, sort of a shock for a guy known as a deep threat. He did not find the end zone for the first week since week 4.
The NFL's ultimate deep threat, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Wallace, had the NFL's ultimate vulnerable pass defense, the New England Patriots, in Week 8. The Patriots entered the game giving up 322 yards a game through the air alone, and, with Hines Ward officially out for the game, Wallace was primed for a big afternoon.
Wallace has been great for leagues that reward stuff like yards and touchdowns. He's averaging more than 20 yards per catch and has five touchdowns through seven games. He should continue to be an elite option going forward, especially against the Patriots.
For more on Wallace and his matchup with the Patriots, check out Steelers blog, Behind The Steel Curtain, and our Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Though the San Fransisco 49ers run defense is very good, Montario Hardesty seemed like a good fantasy play. Peyton Hillis was out and Colt McCoy hasn't been great, so Hardesty was set to get a lot of carries. Unfortunately for Hardesty, the Browns, and fantasy owners, the Browns' backup RB was injured early, coming out after just two carries for six yards.
The Browns didn't expect Hillis to play entering their Week 8 matchup, so Hardesty got the pleasure of facing the 49ers' terrifying run defense. Entering Sunday's game, they were giving up an average of 74.7 rushing yards a game, good for second in the NFL, and hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2009.
Briefly Hardesty, then Chris Ogbonnaya also had to deal with a Niners defense that was stacking the box, because McCoy has been poor recently. It's probably not a good fantasy move to play a running back when Patrick Willis just knows he's going to be running. That's a bad situation.
For more on Hardesty and his matchup with the 49ers, check out Browns blog, Dawgs By Nature, and our Niners blog, Niners Nation. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Marshawn Lynch didn't have a good game against the Cincinnati Bengals by any stretch of the imagination, but if you started him in your fantasy league, you got bailed out. Despite the fact that the Seattle Seahawks RB managed just 24 yards on his 16 carries, he also took in one of those rushes for a touchdown.
The Seahawks were without Lynch in Week 7 and they struggled to put points on the board against a sorry Cleveland Browns team. In Week 8, Lynch was active, but the Seahawks had a much tougher test in the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lynch hasn't set the world on fire this year, but he scored two touchdowns and averaged 4.1 yards per carry coming into this game. It's hard to set anything on fire when you've been given only 58 carries in five games. When he's received his biggest workload, against the Giants, he blew up for 98 yards, though he lost a fumble.
Ron Gronkowski put up some fantastic numbers for the New England Patriots on Sunday - good enough that most fantasy owners will be happy with the production out of their TE slot - but he couldn't get into the endzone as the Patriots lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gronkowski's seven receptions for 94 yards is an impressive enough line, but without a score, many fantasy owners are going to be a bit disappointed.
Theoretically, Rob Gronkowski couldn't have asked for a better opponent coming off the team's bye week. The Patriots had won five of their last six at Heinz Field prior to this game. On a personal note, Gronkowski had one of the best games of his career against the Steelers during their last meeting; he had three touchdown receptions.
Gronkowski had five touchdown receptions this season coming into this matchup, one behind team leader Wes Welker. The Steelers, however, had allowed only eight touchdown receptions coming into this game and give up only 171.9 passing yards per game, best in the NFL.
For more on Gronkowski and the Patriots, check out SB Nation's Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit.
This week was not a great one for Wes Welker. The New England Patriots receiver has been a fantasy owners' delight this season with his fantastic statistics, but the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to keep him in check on Sunday. He managed just six catches for 39 yards and did not score a touchdown.
Last week, Welker had the week off. Without a doubt, he and his teammates appreciated the chance to rest after a hot start in which the Patriots offense looks as potent as it ever has. Coming into this game, Welker led the NFL with 51 receptions. He had the second most receiving yards with 785, and only Detroit's Calvin Johnson had scored more than Welker's six receiving touchdowns.
Welker has been Tom Brady's go-to guy this season. Against Buffalo in Week 3, Welker became the only receiver this season to top 200 yards receiving in a single game.
Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy site, ranked Welker as their third best receiver for week 8.
For more on Welker and the Patriots, head over to Pats Pulpit.
Following their win over the New England Patriots and the production of Rashard Mendenhall, the Pittsburgh Steelers' coaching staff will be happy with their running back's performance. Unfortunately, Mendenhall's fantasy owners will be left wishing they got a few more points out of him. He recorded 13 rushes for 70 yards, as well as three catches for 22 yards, but couldn't find the end zone.
Mendenhall was the tenth ranked running back for Week 8, according to SB Nation's fantasy site Fake Teams. Mendenhall was a forgotten man in the Steelers' win over the Cardinals last week, but that was more the result of Pittsburgh choosing to exploit a particularly weak secondary. The week before that he rushed for 146 yards and one touchdown.
New England was allowing 101 rushing yards per game prior to today.
For the season, Mendenhall had 351 rushing yards on 93 carries with three touchdowns prior to today's game against the Patriots.
While people can fuss and fight all they want about Tim Tebow's merits as a real-world quarterback, let's be honest: you don't care about that at all. What you care about is fake football. Well...Tebow isn't necessarily great in that realm either. Tebow was able to connect with Eric Decker for a late garbage time touchdown at the end of the Broncos' terrible loss to the Detroit Lions, but it didn't help his stats much. He finished 18-39 for 172 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
In the Detroit Lions in Week 8, Tebow faced a team known for a fearsome pass rush that feasts on quarterbacks like starved real-life lions on antelopes with knee issues. Luckily for his health, Tebow is mobile. He ran 10 times for 63 yards, but was also sacked seven times. He's unharmed, because he is the size of a moose.
For more on Tebow and his matchup with the Lions, check out Broncos blog, Mile High Report, and our Lions blog, Pride of Detroit. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
If you had Lance Kendricks on your fantasy team this week, you are probably not a happy camper. Despite the fact that the St. Louis Rams offense played well even without Sam Bradford at QB, most of their offense went through others. The rookie tight end is obviously a great talent and is having a solid rookie year, but on Sunday against the Saints, he managed just one catch for two yards.
Kendricks had 173 receiving yards on the season with zero touchdowns entering Week 8. Kendricks was averaging 29 yards receiving per game. Kendricks has been struggling during the regular season after having a great preseason.
Kendricks was not ranked with the tight ends according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the New Orleans Saints.
Running back Frank Gore once helped the San Francisco 49ers earn their sixth win of the season. Gore rushed for 134 yards on 31 carries and scored a touchdown today. This was Gore's fourth consecutive game with more than 100 rushing yards.
Frank Gore has been one of the best backs in fantasy football lately, with at least 125 yards rushing and a touchdown in each of his previous three outings. His reemergence has spurred the 49ers on to four straight victories prior to Sunday's game, and has allowed Alex Smith to concern himself with taking care of the football instead of winning games on his own.
Considering that Gore's recent production came against the likes of Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Detroit, he should be a safe bet to produce going forward. Just keep in mind the big "if" that is his health.
It was another week of quality game management for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. He completed 15 of 24 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown as the 49ers collected their sixth win of the season.
Smith has come around this season for an upstart 49ers squad. Even factoring in a 'meh' performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 6, he is still averaging a decent 6.9 yards per pass attempt with an 8-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
His numbers aren't eye-popping, however. While Smith's consistent play has been a significant improvement over years past, that doesn't mean he's a weekly fantasy starter. Yahoo! Sports pegged Smith as the 22nd best quarterback in a week with an inordinate number of players on byes, making him a bench player even in two-quarterback leagues.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his worst outing of the season in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers today. Brady threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns, completing 24 of 35 passes. Brady was also chased out of bounds in the end zone, giving the Steelers another two points on a safety. It was the first game this season that Brady did not pass for more than 200 yards.
Tom Brady, fantasy's second-best quarterback through the season's first seven weeks, had a tough matchup in Week 8 against a Steelers defense that has gotten better and better against the pass.
For more on Brady and his matchup with the Steelers, check out Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit, and our Steelers blog, Behind the Steel Curtain. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed 50 times against the New England Patriots today. He completed 36 of those passes for 365 yards. He also tacked on two touchdowns as the Steelers scored 25 points in a win today. Big Ben was intercepted once.
Ben Roethlisberger is having maybe his best fantasy season yet, and he was only expected to improve upon it in Week 8, going up against arguably the league's worst pass defense in the New England Patriots. With deep threat Mike Wallace blooming into a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver, the health of Hines Ward and/or Health Miller hasn't made too much difference in Big Ben's performance from week-to-week.
For more on Roethlisberger and his matchup with the Patriots, check out Steelers blog, Behind The Steel Curtain, and our Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
It was another big day for Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. With three minutes left to play and Detroit leading the Denver Broncos by a score of 45-10, Johnson had caught six passes for 125 yards and one touchdown.
Only once this season has Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson not scored a touchdown; that came in week 6 against the 49ers. Megatron has ten touchdowns through seven games. He is on pace for more than 22 touchdowns this season. The record for receiving touchdowns in a single season is 23, set by Randy Moss in 2007.
Last week against Atlanta, Johnson scored once and caught five passes for 115 yards. It was his third consecutive game with more than 100 receiving yards.
Johnson entered this week with 41 catches and 679 yards to go with his ten scores. He averages 97 yards per game. Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy site, has Johnson ranked as their top receiver for week 8.
For more on Johnson and the Lions, check out Pride of Detroit.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Vincent Shiancoe caught three passes for 37 yards. He did not score a touchdown in the Vikings win over the Carolina Panthers today. Those numbers were the Vikings' tight end's worst since catching just one pass against Arizona in week 5. Shiancoe trailed Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin for catches and receiving yards in today's game. Minnesota scored just one receiving touchdown today.
Schiancoe had 204 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns entering Week 8. Shianco was averaging 29 yards receiving per game. Schianco's receiving yards per game was down nearly 5 yards per game from last season.
Shianco was ranked as the 14th ranked tight end according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen scored his fourth touchdown of the season today. Olsen scored on a 39-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Cam Newton in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings today. Olsen finished the game with four catches for 73 yards. It was his best game since the opening week of the season, and he continues to play a key role in the Newton-led Panthers' offense.
Olsen had 286 receiving yards on the season with 3 touchdowns entering Week 8. Olsen was averaging 41 yards receiving per game. Olsen's receiving yards per game was up nearly 15 yards per game from last season.
Olsen was ranked as the 12th ranked tight end according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Minnesota Vikings.
Despite signing a hefty free agent deal to remain in Carolina, Panthers' running back DeAngelo Williams continues to be a disappointment for the Panthers. In a narrow loss to the Vikings today, Williams ran for just 26 yards on a meager seven carries. He added 13 receiving yards on receptions, but it was an otherwise forgettable day. Jonathan Stewart led the Panthers with 13 rushing attempts.
Williams had 337 rushing yards and 48 receiving yards on the season with 1 touchdown on the ground and zero in the air. Williams was averaging 48 yards rushing and 7 yards receiving per game. Williams' rushing yards were down nearly 12 yards per game from last season.
Williams was ranked as the 29th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Minnesota Vikings.
Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson rushed for more than 100 yards for the third consecutive game. Jackson ran for 120 yards on 26 carries in a lopsided win over the Washington Redskins this week. Despite not scoring a touchdown, Jackson made his fantasy owners happy by adding 74 receiving yards today.
Jackson has been among the best fantasy backs in the NFL in most formats, not bad for a guy that was overlooked until after the first round in most leagues. He has now had a rushing touchdown in five straight games, and at least five receptions in his last four, making him a great option in PPR leagues as well.
With nasty weather coming in Buffalo, Jackson should receive even more emphasis within the Bills' offense. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been gradually de-emphasized throughout the season anyway. He hasn't thrown more than 34 times in a game since Week 3 coming off a hot start to the season, giving Jackson even more touches.
Drew Brees did not have the same kind of game he had last week against the Colts. In an upset loss to the St. Louis Rams, Brees was picked off twice and threw just one touchdown pass. He had 269 passing yards for the day.
Brees is on pace for a career year, with 2,477 passing yards and 18 touchdown passes through seven games leading up to Sunday's matchup with the St. Louis Rams. He was ranked No. 3 in this week's quarterback rankings provided by Yahoo!, and for good reason.
Brees is one of the most reliable starting option in fantasy football. No matter the matchup, you can expect the Saints to air out the ball, and Brees to produce. In Week 7, owners laughed all the way to the win column behind a near-perfect performance from Brees in a 62-7 thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts, throwing for 325 yards and five touchdowns in less than three quarters of work.
Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels caught four passes for 60 yards as the Texans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars for their fifth win of the season. Daniels did not score a touchdown, and has yet to find the end zone since week 4 this season. Daniels was second on his team for receiving. The Texans passing game has struggled with Andre Johnson out of action for a few weeks now.
Daniels had 355 receiving yards on the season with 3 touchdowns in the air. Daniels was averaging 51 receiving per game. Daniels rushing yards was up nearly 10 yards per game from last season.
Daniels was ranked as the 7th ranked tight end according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham caught four passes for 39 yards in the Saints' week 8 loss to the St. Louis Rams. He did not score a touchdown, after scoring twice against the Colts last week. It might have been one of the most disappointing fantasy performances of the year, and many fantasy football general managers were likely counting on a big day from Graham against the Rams.
Graham had 674 receiving yards on the season with 5 touchdowns entering Week 8. Graham was averaging 96 yards receiving per game. Graham receiving yards per game are down nearly 80 yards per game from last season.
Graham was ranked as the top ranked tight end according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the St. Louis Rams.
Acquired at the NFL trade deadline for a late-round draft pick, the St. Louis Rams newest wide receiver, Brandon Lloyd, led his team in receiving for the second week in a row, exactly what he was supposed to do for a team starved for talent at the position. Lloyd caught six passes for 53 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' upset of the New Orleans Saints.
Lloyd had 357 receiving yards on the season with zero touchdowns entering Week 8. Lloyd was averaging 70 yards receiving per game. Lloyd receiving yards per game are down nearly 20 yards per game from last season.
Lloyd was ranked as the 19th ranked wide receiver according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the New Orleans Saints.
The New Orleans Saints offense uncharacteristically struggled today against the St. Louis Rams. After putting up 62 points on the Indianapolis Colts last week, many figured this to be a big day for the Saints' many fantasy football producers. That was not the case as the Saints lost 21-31 to the Rams. Marques Colston caught three passes for 50 yards in the game.
Colston had 374 receiving yards on the season with 3 touchdowns entering Week 8. Colston was averaging 75 yards receiving per game. Colston receiving yards per game are up nearly 10 yards per game from last season.
Colston was ranked as the 7th ranked wide receiver according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the St. Louis Rams.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy has struggled through three quarters of play against a tough San Francisco defense. McCoy has completed 13 of 22 passes through three quarters. He has one interception and no touchdowns.
The Browns faced the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8, meaning sophomore Colt McCoy, who had been struggling for all of 2012, needed to try to turn his season around against one of the league's toughest defenses.
McCoy has just 8 passing touchdowns in six games, and is averaging a paltry 5.5 yards per attempt. He quarterbacked the Browns to a zero-touchdown performance in Week 7 against the Seahawks, known for being a stingy run-defense, not a pass defense. With no talented receivers to speak of, against the Niners' staunch defense, let's hop you weren't running with McCoy.
For more on McCoy and his matchup with the 49ers, check out Browns blog, Dawgs By Nature, and our Niners blog, Niners Nation. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8action.
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas led his team in rushing today, but it was a far cry from what most would have expected against a St. Louis Rams defense prone to giving running backs big days. Thomas rushed for just 23 yards on seven carries. He did score a touchdown in the upset loss to the Rams.
Thomas had 222 rushing yards and 206 receiving yards on the season with zero touchdowns on the ground and 1 touchdown in the air. Thomas was averaging 32 yards rushing and 29 yards receiving per game. Thomas rushing yards per game are down nearly 15 yards per game from last season.
Thomas was ranked as the 16th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the St. Louis Rams.
The Houston Texans defense could not keep Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew off the board today. Jones-Drew scored one of two Jacksonville touchdowns in their 14-24 loss to the Texans. Jones-Drew rushed for 63 yards on 18 carries. He caught one pass for 11 yards.
Jones-Drew had 677 rushing yards and 74 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns on the ground and zero in the air. Jones-Drew was averaging 97 yards rushing and 11 yards receiving per game. Jones-Drew rushing yards was up nearly 2 yards per game from last season.
Jones-Drew was ranked as the 9th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Houston Texans.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford looked iffy for this week's game against the Denver Broncos earlier the week. He suited up, and the Lions could not be happier. Through the first two quarters of play, Stafford has 191 yards and two touchdowns. He has completed 16 of 22 passes as Detroit leads a laugher 24-3.
If Matthew Stafford could stay healthy long enough to play in the Lions' game against the Denver Broncos, he was ready for a tasty matchup with Calvin Johnson against a struggling secondary.
The Broncos are ranked 19th in the league against the pass, and, other than dominating the Dolphins' Matt Moore last week, have been carved up by the likes of Philip Rivers, Jason Campbell and Matt Hasselbeck, with whom Stafford is certainly on par, if not superior. The only question remained, would he play, or would Shaun Hill benefit from the matchup?
For more on Stafford and his matchup with the Broncos, check out Lions blog, Pride of Detroit, and our Broncos blog, Mile High Report. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Detroit Lions running back Maurice Morris is capitalizing on the chance to play a relatively weak Denver defense.
Ed Dickson is not a fantasy football threat, and that's for a reason. But he did have an above-average game on Sunday. The Ravens tight end caught six passes for 46 yards against the Cardinals. He did not catch a touchdown pass, but neither did anyone on for Baltimore.
Running back Ray Rice had all three of the Ravens touchdowns on the ground in a 30-27 win against Arizona.
Dickson had 223 receiving yards on the season with 1 touchdown entering Week 8. Dickson was averaging 37 yards receiving per game. Dickson's receiving yards per game was up nearly 30 yards per game from last season.
Dickson was ranked as the 15th ranked tight end according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Arizona Cardinals.
Torrey Smith had a big game for the Ravens in terms of getting the win, but not a huge game in terms of fantasy football stats. Smith caught three passes for 57 yards but also had a problem dropping the football. He did not score a touchdown (Ravens running back Ray Rice did the bulk of the TD-scoring for Baltimore).
Smith had 269 receiving yards on the season with 3 touchdowns entering Week 8. Smith was averaging 45 yards receiving per game. Smith is having a nice rookie season and has shown he can be an explosive addition in the passing game.
Smith was ranked as the 27th ranked wide receiver according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Arizona Cardinals.
Larry Fitzgerald caught three passes from Kevin Kolb, including one that went for 66 yards, didn't have a huge fantasy football impact. He finished with 98 yards receiving and did not score a touchdown in the Cardinals near-upset of the Ravens, a 30-27 loss.
Kolb only threw for 153 yards on the day, meaning Fitzgerald accounted for about 2/3 of the Cardinals pass attack. But Early Doucet caught the lone TD pass from Kolb.
Fitzgerald had 505 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns entering Week 8. Fitzgerald was averaging 84 yards receiving per game. Fitzgerald receiving yards per game are up nearly 15 yards per game from last season.
Fitzgerald was ranked as the 19th ranked wide receiver according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Baltimore Ravens.
John Beck has been less than impressive leading a bruised and battered Washington offense missing a fair number of its starters. Through the first half, Beck has completed eight of 13 passes for 66 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions.
John Beck has
totally and completely resurrected the Redskins been a competent fantasy player in the game and a half he's quarterbacked the Washington Redskins, and a serviceable option in Week 8 against a so/so Buffalo Bills pass defense if your starting quarterback is on a bye.
Beck's greatest fantasy asset is his feet. He's scored a rushing touchdown in the past two games, and against a Bills defense that will be missing Shawne Merriman, he should be able to get into the second level if he's forced to scramble.
For more on Beck and his matchup with the Bills, check out Redskins blog, Hogs Haven, and our Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Kevin Kolb almost orchestrated an upset win against the Ravens on Sunday, but he didn't do too much in the realm of fantasy stats. The Cardinals quarterback threw for 153 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw a pick and completed less than 50 percent of his passes.
Kolb's biggest play of the game came when he connected with Larry Fitzgerald for a 66-yard pass. He found the Cardinals receiver three times and Fitzgerald finished with 98 yards receiving.
Kolb had 1,553 passing yards on the season with 7 touchdowns in the air and 7 interceptions. Kolb was averaging 258 yards passing per game. Kolb's passing yards were up nearly 100 yards per game from last season.
Kolb was ranked as the 20th ranked quarterback according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Baltimore Ravens.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Fitzpatrick had a shiny, new, $59 million contract entering Week 8 against the Redskins, coming off a bye week, but having struggled in two of his last three games.
Against the Giants in Week 6, Fitzpatrick struggled with turnovers, throwing two interceptions against a Giants secondary that's been vulnerable all season. Fitzpatrick went up against the Redskins, playing at full strength but in the midst of a depressing two-game losing streak that saw Cam Newton carve them up for 256 yards and two total touchdowns. Start Fitzpatrick comfortably in most leagues.
For more on Fitzpatrick and his matchup with the Redskins, check out Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings, and our Redskins blog, Hogs Haven. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Joe Flacco rebounded from a terrible start to put up decent stats in Week 8. Flacco threw for 336 yards in a 30-27 win against the Cardinals, but he pass for any touchdowns with running back Ray Rice hogging the scores, and fantasy points.
Coming off an abysmal performance against the Jaguars in Week 7, Joe Flacco drew a favorable fantasy matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, missing ballhawking safety Kerry Rhodes and the offseason trade departure of CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Flacco has more weapons this year than he's had in years past, with Anquan Boldin performing at a higher level than last year, a legitimate deep threat in rookie Torrey Smith and two reliable pass-catching tight ends in Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. How he uses them in Week 8 will be the real story.
For more on Flacco and his matchup with the Cardinals, check out Ravens blog, Baltimore Beat Down, and our Cardinals blog, Revenge of the Birds. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Jonathan Stewart turned in another frustrating day for the Carolina Panthers, rushing 13 times for 49 yards and catching two passes for 10 yards on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. In a season in which Steward has been anything but reliable, this was yet another example of why relying on his production is a recipe for fantasy disaster.
Stewart had 278 rushing yards and 210 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns on the ground and zero in the air. Stewart was averaging 40 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving per game. Stewart's rushing yards were down nearly 15 yards per game from last season.
Stewart was ranked as the 24th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Minnesota Vikings.
If Christian Ponder is your starting fantasy quarterback, you're probably pretty happy with his performance on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Ponder threw for 236 yards and a touchdown on 18 of 28 passing. Not a great day, but nothing to be too worried about either.
With the team struggling with Donovan McNabb under center, the Minnesota Vikings turned to Ponder as their full-time starter in Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers. In his limited appearances he has looked just like a rookie quarterback should, going 22-for-49 passing for 318 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Anybody considering Ponder for fantasy purposes must be in a deep two-QB league. Otherwise there really isn't any reason that an unproven rookie should be on your radar. Look for the Vikings to emphasize the running game while Ponder gets his feet wet.
Hakeem Nicks had six catches for 67 yards against the Dolphins on Sunday, but the bigger fantasy news was that the Giants wide receiver left the game late in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. He did not catch a touchdown.
The Giants (and fantasy owners) need Nicks to be back next week against the Patriots.
The New York Giants face an advantageous game when they host the winless Miami Dolphins Sunday. For Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, he hopes that he will continue his hot streak against AFC opponents. Nicks had 23 catches for 282 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games against AFC teams. Nicks has never played the Dolphins, but they don't factor to be a challenge for the 4-2 Giants.
Nicks had 32 receptions for 508 yards and three touchdowns this season and 18 catches, 323 yards and and two touchdowns have come in October. The Dolphins rank 21st in the NFL in passing defense, allowing 259 yards per game through the air. It seems that Nicks and the Giants have a favorable match-up Sunday.
For more on Nicks and the Giants, check out SB Nation's Giants blog, Big Blue View.
You probably aren't expecting much out of Delone Carter, and as long as your expectations are in order, you can't be too disappointed with his performance on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. The Indianapolis Colts running back rushed for 46 yards on nine carries. Clearly, those aren't huge numbers, but they are in line with what he's been doing this year.
Carter had 259 rushing yards and 12 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns on the ground and zero in the air. Carter was averaging 37 yards rushing and 1 yard receiving per game. Carter is pushing for playing time over Joseph Addai in his rookie season.
Carter was ranked as the 26th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Tennessee Titans.
Ahmad Bradshaw put up below-average stats on Sunday, his fantasy value suffering from a foot injury he suffered against the Dolphins. The Giants running back carried the ball 13 times for 50 yards, but had to leave the game and get X-Rays in the locker room.
Bradshaw returned to the game, but his status will be something to keep an eye on for next week.
Bradshaw has had mixed results throughout the season. His 104-yard performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 was his first 100-plus game of the season. He should still be considered one of the best RB2/Flex options available however, especially with Brandon Jacobs a constant injury threat.
Bradshaw came in 12th in this week's Yahoo! Sports fantasy running back rankings heading into Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. With 19 catches on the year, he's a decent option in PPR leagues as well.
When you're quarterback is Curtis Painter, there's just so much you can expect from your wide receivers. Once again, Reggie Wayne had a solid, but underwhelming fantasy performance. Against the Tennessee Titans, Wayne had five catches for 61 yards without a touchdown.
The longest play for the Indianapolis Colts wide receiver was a 23-yard catch. But other than that it was a pretty quiet afternoon for a player of whom much was expected this year.
Wayne had 426 receiving yards on the season with 1 touchdown in the air. Wayne was averaging 61 receiving per game. Wayne rushing yards was down nearly 25 yards per game from last season.
Wayne was ranked as the 29th ranked wide receiver according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Tennessee Titans.
Eli Manning was up against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, so the maddeningly inconsistent quarterback had a great matchup to exploit. When Manning has been on this season, he's been on. He has 11 touchdowns in six games, averaging nearly 300 yards a game.
The Dolphins' defense made Tim Tebow look completely incompetent for 90 percent of last week's game, but more telling of their ability was Mark Sanchez's Week 6 performance, when he struggled early, but once he got rolling, the Dolphins gave him more holes than swiss cheese, never more evident than Santonio Holmes' too-easy 38-yard touchdown. They struggle with coverage, and once a receiver catches a ball, they can't tackle.
For more on Manning and his matchup with the Dolphins, check out Giants blog, Big Blue View, and our Dolphins blog, The Phinsider. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Reggie Bush had a breakout game for the Dolphins, rushing for 103 yards on 15 carries in a 20-17 loss to the Giants. It was just the second time Bush has recorded a 100-yard game in his five-year career.
It was a vindicating performance for Bush, as well as for that fantasy football owner who traded a delicious Pizza Hut pizzafor the Dolphins running back. It was the most productive day on the ground for the 2nd pick in the 2006 NFL Draft since he ran for 126 yards in Week 16 of his rookie season, also against the Giants.
Bush got to 100 yards on his first 12 carries, before the fourth quarter. The Dolphins had to abandon the run when the Giants took a late lead.
Bush has struggled this season, his first in Miami after leaving New Orleans. He entered Week 8 averaging 38.7 yards per game, and with just one game where he had more than 50 yards.
Curtis Painter really shouldn't be anyone's idea of a fantasy starting quarterback. Heck, he's barely an NFL starting quarterback and they need 32 of them. Once again, he showed that he's a perfectly forgettable fantasy performing, turning in 250 yards on 26 of 49 passing. Not horrible numbers, granted, but toss in his two interceptions and that's not the kind of thing you're going to get many points from.
Despite the Indianapolis Colts' horrid, winless start to the season, backup quarterback Painter has not been a colossal failure. His chemistry with Pierre Garcon has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners, and if you're starting quarterback is in a bye week, Painter's not a terrible play.
After feasting on weaker defenses like the Bucaneers and Chiefs, Painter has a touchdown and two picks in his last two games. This week he's facing the Titans' 15th-ranked pass defense, so don't expect big things.
For more on Painter and his matchup with the Titans, check out Colts blog, Stampede Blue, and our Titans blog, Music City Miracles. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Chris Johnson had another frustrating afternoon on Sunday even though the Tennessee Titans beat the Indianapolis Colts. Not only did he register just 34 rushing yards, but he split carries with Javon Ringer. By the end of the game, it looked like Ringer was the primary ball carrier, with Johnson only coming in when Ringer needed a break.
Johnson had 268 rushing yards and 143 receiving yards on the season with 1 touchdown on the ground and zero in the air. Johnson was averaging 45 yards rushing and 24 yards receiving per game. Johnson's rushing yards were up nearly 5 yards per game from last season.
Johnson was ranked as the 10th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Indianapolis Colts.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster rushed for 112 yards on 33 carries as the Texans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 24-14. Foster was responsible for one of the Texans' three touchdowns in the game, a four-yard, fourth quarter touchdown. He also caught one pass for 12 yards.
This was the second week in a row that Foster topped the 100-yard mark.
Foster had 420 rushing yards and 305 receiving yards on the season with 3 touchdowns on the ground and one in the air. Foster was averaging 84 yards rushing and 61 yards receiving per game. Foster rushing yards was down nearly 20 yards per game from last season.
Foster was ranked as the 2nd ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Cam Newton has found adjusting to the NFL remarkably easy, it seems, as he posted another solid performance on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. The Carolina Panthers quarterback tossed three touchdowns with 290 yards passing, although it wasn't enough in a 24-21 loss.
Newton is the prohibitive favorite to take home rookie-of-the-year honors at season's end. He's the biggest reason Panthers fans have to tune in every week despite another ugly start, with over 2,100 yards passing through seven games.
It's Newton's running ability that makes him an especially valuable fantasy commodity, however. He has had at least one rushing touchdowns in all but one game this year, which in standard scoring leagues should be worth a couple more points than the passing variety. Newton was ranked No. 2 in Yahoo! Sports' fantasy quarterback rankings this week, going up against a soft Minnesota secondary.
Another day, another monster fantasy performance from Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota Vikings running back scored a pair of touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing, and picked up more than 160 all-purpose yards. Peterson ended up rushing for 86 yards, which he supplemented with 76 receiving yards on five catches.
Peterson had 712 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards on the season with 8 touchdowns on the ground and zero in the air. Peterson was averaging 102 yards rushing and 7 yards receiving per game. Peterson's rushing yards were up nearly 20 yards per game from last season.
Peterson was ranked as the top ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Carolina Panthers.
Anquan Boldin really hasn't been the same player he once was for a couple years now. Facing his former team, though, seems to have been just what he needed. The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver has 145 yards receiving on seven catches as the game approaches the end of the third quarter.
Chances are you weren't expecting much from Boldin, as he was mostly a fantasy afterthought this year. Fake Teams had him ranked as the 23rd best wide receiver at the start of the season. Heading into Sunday's game, he had been a nice surprise, averaging 65.7 yards per game. That's roughly what he averaged two years ago when he was still a reasonable fantasy option. He was also averaging 14.6 yard per catch, more than he's ever averaged over the course of an entire season.
Boldin was, of course, playing against the Cardinals back then. This was his first game playing against his old team.
The Houston Texans have found it difficult to get much going against the Jacksonville Jaguars defense today. Quarterback Matt Schaub, despite a fumble, did get his team on the board with a two-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. After halftime, Schaub threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreesen to give the Texans a 14-7 lead.
Schaub is coming off a great game in Week 7 without star wide receiver Andre Johnson. In Week 8, the Texans expected to welcome Johnson back into the fold, which only could mean good things for Schaub and the offense. Without his favorite target, Schaub has been adequate, but he's infinitely more dangerous with arguably the league's best receiver catching passes.
For more on Schaub and his matchup with the Jaguars, check out Texnas blog, Battle Red Blog, and our Jaguars blog, Big Cat Country. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action
It has been a rough first half for Darren Sproles and the New Orleans Saints. Down 17-0 to the St. Louis Rams at the half, Sproles has lost one yard on two carries. This against a Rams defense that allowed DeMarco Murray of the Cowboys to rush for 253 yards last week, a franchise record.
Sproles had 289 rushing yards and 329 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns on the ground and in the air. Sproles was averaging 41 yards rushing and 47 yards receiving per game. Sproles rushing yards were up nearly 30 yards per game from last season.
Sproles was ranked as the 8th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the St. Louis Rams.
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson is off to a solid start as his team improbably leads the New Orleans Saints by a score of 17-0 at the half. Jackson scored the Rams' first touchdown, and he has 69 yards on 13 carries so far. He also has two receptions for 22 yards.
Jackson had 290 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns on the ground and 1 touchdown in the air. Jackson was averaging 58 yards rushing and 10 yards receiving per game. Jackson rushing yards is down nearly 20 yards per game from last season.
Jackson was ranked as the 13th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the New Orleans Saints.
By all appearances, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is healthy. Yet, in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts, he has received just eight carries and picked up 14 yards. Meanwhile, third-year running back Javon Ringer has gotten five carries for 16 yards. Ringer also has four catches for 27 yards.
It would seem more than a little counter-intuitive for Ringer to supplant Johnson as the primary ball carrier for the Titans, but that could be what we're seeing. Johnson has rushed for more than 4,500 yards over the past three seasons, but had just 268 yards heading into Sunday's game. Even more concerning is the fact that he's averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and scored only one touchdown.
Johnson, who had 503 receiving yards two years ago when he also rushed for more than 2,000 yards, has just 143 receiving yards this year.
The good news for Johnson owners is that Ringer isn't exactly tearing it up either. Ringer had just 62 yards on 20 carries heading into this game.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has gotten off to a solid start against the Colts. Hasselbeck has thrown for 151 yards on 15 of 21 passing. He has yet to throw a touchdown, though, and with the Titans leading 20-0 at the half, there appears to be little hope that he can really beef up his fantasy numbers.
Hasselbeck had an abysmal performance in Week 7 against the Texans, and tried to rebound against the Indianapolis Colts defense that allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to rack up 62 points. Hasselbeck has struggled to find any consistency this year, especially without Kenny Britt, and his two top targets, Nate Washington and Jared Cook, have been inconsistent at best.
For more on Hasselbeck and his matchup with the Colts, check out Titans blog, Music City Miracles, and our Colts blog, Stampede Blue. Also be sure to check out all of our fantasy football news and video highlights of the best Week 8 action.
Ray Rice went nuts in the second half, scoring three touchdowns to bring Baltimore back in a 30-27 win against the Cardinals. The Ravens running back finished with just 63 yards (only 16 in the second half) but he was a beast around the goal line.
The Ravens was offense comatose in the first half against the Cardinals, but Rice still managed to amass 47 yards on 11 carries. In the second half, he traded yards for scores (and lots of fantasy football points).
The Ravens trail 24-6 at half, so they might have to air it out in the second half to keep up, but if Rice can get Baltimore in the end zone he's looking like the only offensive player on the Ravens would could salvage a decent fantasy outing.
Rice had 426 rushing yards and 337 receiving yards on the season with 2 touchdowns on the ground and 2 in the air. Rice was averaging 71 yards rushing and 56 yards receiving per game. Rice's rushing yards were up nearly 5 yards per game from last season.
Rice was ranked as the 4th ranked running back according to Yahoo! heading into his match up with the Arizona Cardinals.
We break down the fantasy implications of Tim Tebow being the Denver Broncos starting QB moving forward. For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
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