So what should be the leading story from the weekend? I am having a tough time deciding between a positive note from the games, or injuries. Because I want to be positive to start out, let’s talk about the shootout we saw in New Orleans. Drew Brees and Eli Manning were playing the whole game trying to one up each other it seemed. Now both defenses, if we can even call them that, were absolutely awful. It wasn’t until a pick six by the Giants that I remembered defenses were actually on the field. A crazy game that is exciting for fans of offensive football. Even the finish was great to that game. Maybe that is the game that should be in London. I would think the NFL would have a greater chance of gaining more fans if a game like that is the London game, not a blowout between possibly the worst team in the league, and another one who is well below average as well.
Now for the negative from Sunday. First let’s just say this is a truly terrible way for Steve Smith Sr. to end his career. A torn Achilles is not the way anybody wants to go, but for someone like him who was still a key contributor for his team, it must really pain him. The second injury I want to talk about is probably going to hurt fantasy owners more. Le’Veon Bell left the Steelers game with a knee injury that was a little cringe worthy seeing it happen. Now some optimistic reports have surfaced so far saying that no crucial damage is apparent to the ACl, but an MCL sprain is what they believe it is. Then reports surfaced that they believe there is significant damage to his MCL, which will require season ending surgery. In either case, Bell will be out for awhile, if not the whole season. Hopefully Bell owners kept DeAngelo Williams, but if you didn't, he is your number one priority on the waiver wire.
A little longer of an intro to the top performer article, but the rest will still be the same as the past, and some of the players as well. After going over my thoughts on the top performers at each positon, I will also select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect some similar performances in the future from them or if it was a flash-in-the-pan, and also whether you should be worried about top picks in drafts that put up less than stellar performances. So without rambling on longer in this intro, let’s take a look at those who performed well in week 8.
QB – Drew Brees 511 Passing Yards, 7 TD’s and 1 INT, 46 Fantasy Points
What a game that was. A true shootout, as the combined score was the third highest in NFL history. Brees went out and made you forget he had been mediocre up to this point in the season. Now a lot of this can be chalked up to how awful the Giants defense played, but there may be a little bit here. Now I am not willing to jump him up in my rankings too far, but this is definitely something worth monitoring. This performance may actually used best for a sell high opportunity if one were to arise. If that doesn’t happen, Brees is around the top 12 for me, and if he can have some more consistent games going forward, that ranking can continue to rise. I could see that happening in the next two weeks, as his opponents are the Titans and the Redskins. Those are two defenses who are as bad, or even worse than the Giants. So if you can’t find that sell high opportunity after this game, maybe you can find one in the next couple of weeks.
QB – Eli Manning 350 Passing Yards, 6 TD’s, 38 Fantasy Points
The other side of that shootout. I trust Eli Manning a hell of a lot more than I trust Brees. I wrote last week that I thought Manning was more like the guy we saw from week 2 to week 5, where he averaged over 20 fantasy points a game. Well Manning beat that handedly here in week 8, and should have no problem bringing this momentum going into week 9 against the Bucs. Unlike Brees, I am not looking to sell high on Manning here, even though the Saints defense is bad, Manning has been a more consistent option when Beckham Jr. is fully healthy.
QB – Tom Brady 356 Passing Yards, 4 TD’s, 30 Fantasy Points
So Brady once again goes out and puts up his highest fantasy total for the season here. I can’t find anything new to say about Brady at this point. He is the number 1 QB, and it isn’t even close. Congratulations to those who drafted him.
RB – Todd Gurley 20 Carries for 133 Yards and 1 TD, 3 Catches for 13 Yards, 20 Fantasy Points
Another week, another 125+ yard rushing performance for Gurley. For the second straight week, Gurley has found the endzone, and this time he broke a long one for his score. Don’t read anything into Tre Mason getting 15 carries. Mason is there as his backup, and a nice spell if they want to go run heavy. I imagine the Rams wanting to keep Gurley around 20 carries a game as a max, as more work than that could add undue pressure to his knee. Gurley is a top 3 back the rest of the way, and is shaping up to be one of the best rookie Running Backs we have seen for a long time.
RB – Ronnie Hillman 19 Carries for 60 Yards and 2 TD’s, 1 Catch for -5 Yards, 18 Fantasy Points
We saw the Broncos on Sunday night give the Packers a heavy dose of the run game. Hillman led the way in carries and scores, but C.J. Anderson actually showed up as well, besting him in the yardage category. Hillman looks like the starter going forward, but the timeshare is something like 60-40, with Anderson more trusted in pass protection. Hard to rank both going forward, but Hillman should be a top 20 play next week against the weaker Colts defense.
RB – Charcandrick West 20 Carries for 97 Yards and 1 TD, 4 Catches for 25 Yards, 17 Fantasy Points
West has looked great the last two weeks. With the Chiefs playing in London, it gave me an opportunity to see all of West’s work in this game. My impression of him is even better then what I thought last week. The Lions have a decent run defense, but West made it look worse than it actually is. He also provided a little bit of work in the passing game this week, something we may continue to see going forward. While the Chiefs won’t be in blowouts like this going forward, against most teams he will be in the top 15 each week. Next week is a bye for him, and then after that he has to go up against the tough Broncos defense. That matchup may not bode well for him, but right after he will get back on track against the Chargers.
WR – Odell Beckham Jr. 9 Targets, 8 Receptions for 130 Yards and 3 TD’s, 31 Fantasy Points
When Eli Manning makes this list, you have to know Beckham Jr. is going to follow. I think it is safe to say that he is fully healthy, and will continue on his tear going forward. He is going to be top 5 the rest of the season, and may challenge Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins down the stretch for best fantasy receiver.
WR – Malcom Floyd 6 Targets, 4 Receptions for 92 Yards and 2 TD’s, 21 Fantasy Points
We knew that Philip Rivers would have a great game, but I would have expected Keenan Allen to fill this space, not Malcom Floyd. Floyd is a big play receiver, and did just that on Sunday. He is tough to trust on a weekly basis for that reason solely. He may put up a week like this, or he may put up a statline like week 7, which was 1 reception for 7 yards. He is a deep league WR3 or FLEX option, and even then, you have to know you are either going to look really good for playing him, or you will look like a fool.
WR – Tavon Austin 7 Targets, 4 Receptions for 98 Yards, 3 Rushes for 21 Yards, 2 Total TD’s, 21 Fantasy Points
What a crazy last four games Tavon Austin has had. He has five TD’s over that four game span, and two of those games he has had over 20 fantasy points. I am going to put Austin in a similar class as Malcom Floyd, but he is a little bit more trustworthy going forward. Austin we know should see touches, whether that be from being thrown the ball, or given a few carries a game. He is finally showing that elusiveness he had at West Virginia. Because of that, Austin is the better play going forward compared to Floyd. He may find himself near my top 30 WR rankings next week. Austin is a great DFS play for tournaments because of games like this.
TE – Benjamin Watson 10 Targets, 9 Receptions for 147 Yards and 1 TD, 20 Fantasy Points
Watson is starting to get targeted more in this Saints offense the last few weeks. For the second time in three weeks, Watson went over 125 yards, and scored a TD. With the lack of top end talent at the TE position, Watson is making a great case to be considered in the top 12, making him starter worthy every week. While Brees won’t have games like this ever again, one thing we know is that Watson has been getting more and more involved in this offense.
TE – Rob Gronkowski 9 Targets, 6 Receptions for 113 Yards and 1 TD, 17 Fantasy Points
Just like Brady, we see Gronk listed here again. So far this season, Gronk has had only one game below 10 fantasy points, but other than that he has been as good as they can come. Currently on pace to score 16 TD’s, and have 1477 Receiving yards. That seems like a fair line actually to place him at for the end of the season. Maybe he finishes with slightly less yards, but the TD’s could also increase as well.
TE – Jacob Tamme 12 Targets, 10 Receptions for 103 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
This was Tamme’s first TD on the year. Up until this week, Tamme has been too inconsistent to consider having on your team, let alone starting. I don’t trust this outing and wouldn’t go rush to the waiver wire to pick him up. There will probably be better options on your waiver wire if you are looking for a starter. Tamme is a bye week fill in at best, and you should just leave him to that.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday’s games:
QB – Brian Hoyer 235 Passing Yards, 2 TD’s, 17 Fantasy Points
So Brain Hoyer is consistent now? Who would have thought that would be written with the way the season started out. With Mallett being cut by the Texans, I think the quick pull from games by Bill O’Brien is over. Even if O’Brien still feels that way, Hoyer has been earning his starting spot these last five weeks. Over that span, Hoyer has had at least 2 TD’s in each game, and has thrown for a total of 12 in that span. Hoyer is the perfect bye week fill in, but sadly he has his bye week next week. If you are using a revolving door at QB, you may want to look at Hoyer to hold down the fort in the coming weeks.
RB – Isaiah Crowell 10 Carries for 14 Yards, 1 Catch for 12 Yards, 2 Fantasy Points
When are the Browns going to realize Crowell isn’t the best back on the team? Duke Johnson Jr. is suffering through minimal touches because of the Browns stubbornness to give the ineffective Crowell the ball. This markers the third consecutive week Crowell has had 3 Fantasy Points or less. He hasn’t ran for a TD since week 2, and that was against the Titans. He is unplayable going forward, and Duke Johnson is a PPR play and FLEX option only till we see the Browns wise up and give him the ball more.
WR – Randall Cobb 9 Targets, 6 Receptions for 27 Yards, 1 Rush for 10 Yards, 3 Fantasy Points
It has been frustrating owning Randall Cobb this year. He hasn’t scored a TD since week 3, and hasn’t been a useful fantasy since then as well. Even with some poor performances here, I want you to exercise patience here. Aaron Rodgers had a rough go of it against that pesky Broncos defense. Cobb should still be around the top 15 going forward, but may sway greatly in my week to week WR rankings as he needs to get back on track first, and then he will shoot back up near the top 10.
Want thoughts on a specific player? Leave a comment on who it is, and I will respond with my thoughts on that guy’s performance and where he stands going forward.