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Fantasy football rankings, Week 8: Tight ends

What do you do with a banged-up superstar? Check out SB Nation's staff tight end rankings.

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Some weeks, the storylines are easy. Week 8 is one of those. Sure, some owners have to deal with replacing Vernon Davis or Larry Donnell on byes, and what we can expect out of unpredictable players like Jordan Cameron and Travis Kelce will continue to vex, but the question of tight ends in Week 8 is an obvious one:

Jimmy Graham.

Graham wasn't supposed to play last week until, what, Sunday? He was dealing with a Week 5 shoulder injury, until late-week upgrades had him active. So Graham owners were faced with a dilemma: Use him and risk a no-show? Or bench him and risk Graham being himself without any benefit?

We've run into this question a couple of times this season. Arian Foster was a just-barely play in Week 4 and responded with 6 yards on eight carries (to be fair, he did have 55 receiving yards). Calvin Johnson did the same in Weeks 4 and 5, with 19 combined yards.

In years past -- heck, in weeks past -- the advice has always been that, when a superstar is on the field, a superstar is in your lineup. Heck, just last year, Graham entered Week 8 as a question mark, but was active. He caught only three passes for 37 yards, but two of those catches were touchdowns, meaning a far-below-his-peak Graham still accounted for 15 fantasy points.

So is it that simple? You run the big guys out there and eat the downside?

You know what, kinda, yeah.

That Week 8 line from Graham's 2013 sticks in my head. Graham, a perpetual red zone threat, can always put up his point total. Even Sunday, when he was held catchless, Graham played on 30 of the team's 75 offensive snaps. That doesn't sound like a lot, but consider that the team ran only a small number of snaps in the red zone -- by my count, only five snaps that mattered, excepting spikes and field goals. Graham was active to be a red zone threat, and he didn't have the opportunity to do that.

Fantasy Rankings: QB RB WR TE D/ST

It's early in the week yet, and we don't know for sure that Graham will be active again. But right now, odds certainly point that way. He won't be ranked at the top of the tight end lists as he normally would be, sure. But the guys ranked ahead of Graham this week are elite -- there aren't going to be many teams with Graham and Julius Thomas, or Graham and Greg Olsen.

Keep an eye on Graham's reports as the week goes on. But ultimately, so long as he's active Sunday, he's probably in your lineup. Put him in the lineup and hope.

Now, for our Week 8 rankings:

Tight end rankings, Week 8

(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; SK: Scott Kaliska; John Daigle has the week off)

Rank Consensus Team Opponent DK DC SK
1 Julius Thomas DEN SD 1 1 2
2 Rob Gronkowski NE CHI 2 2 1
3 Greg Olsen CAR SEA 3 3 3
4 Jimmy Graham NO GB 5 4 5
5 Antonio Gates SD @DEN 6 6 4
6 Martellus Bennett CHI @NE 4 10 7
7 Jordan Reed WAS @DAL 11 5 6
8 Dwayne Allen IND @PIT 7 7 10
9 Jordan Cameron CLE OAK 9 8 8
10 Travis Kelce KAN STL 10 9 9
11 Zach Ertz PHI @ARI 8 12 11
12 Delanie Walker TEN HOU 12 11 12
13 Owen Daniels BAL @CIN 13 13 13
14 Jason Witten DAL WAS 15 17 14
15 Charles Clay MIA @JAC 20 14 15
16 Jared Cook STL @KAN 17 16 16
17 Scott Chandler BUF @NYJ 16 18 19
18 Coby Fleener IND @PIT 14 22 18
19 Heath Miller PIT IND 22 15 17
20 Jace Amaro NYJ BUF 19 19 21
21 Clay Harbor JAC MIA 21 21 20
22 Gavin Escobar DAL WAS 23 20 23
23 Ladarius Green SD @DEN 18 -- --
24 Jermaine Gresham CIN BAL -- -- 22
25 Andrew Quarless GB @NO -- 23 25
-- Austin Seferian-Jenkins TAM MIN 24 25 --
-- Zach Miller SEA @CAR 25 24 --
-- Tim Wright NE CHI -- -- 24