Now that all but the Monday night game has been played, it is time for a weekly look at the top performers from the games on Sunday, and on Thursday. After going over my thoughts, I will 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 similar performances in the future. If you can’t though, I will detail what you should do with that player, and what the expectations are going forward. Let’s get right into the top performers from week 8.
QB - Derek Carr 513 Passing Yards, 4 TD’s, 13 Rushing Yards, 1 Fumble Lost, 35 Fantasy Points
Well you have to love playing with an extra 13 minutes don’t you. Granted the way Carr played was already great in regulation, but the overtime is what really put him over the top here. Carr was already a top 10 QB entering the week, so the question becomes has he taken the next step? I don’t believe he has quite yet, but that is more about the competition being tough for him to move up the rankings. Next week is a tough test against the Broncos, so he may have another one of those games where he goes for only 12 Fantasy Points.
QB - Aaron Rodgers 246 Passing Yards, 4 TD’s, 60 Rushing Yards, 1 Two Point Conversion, 33 Fantasy Points
To prove that week 7 against the Bears wasn’t a fluke, Rodgers went out and had his best game yet. With practically no run game to speak of, Rodgers went out and tried to control the offense himself, even electing to run more than any other game so far. He was always viewed as a top 5 guy, but I can’t go as far as to put him top 3 yet though.
QB - Tom Brady 315 Passing Yards, 4 TD’s, 15 Rushing Yards, 29 Fantasy Points
Well this is nothing new for Brady. All he has done since returning is put up big numbers. This performance tied his season high of 29 points. His owners will have to put up next week without him, as the Patriots have a bye. Starting back up in week 10 though, Brady comes back as the number one QB for the rest of the season.
RB - Jonathan Stewart 25 Carries for 95 Yards and 2 TD’s, 1 Reception for 25 Yards, 1 Fumble Lost, 25 Fantasy Points
Well Stewart certainly has made his mark in the two games since returning from his injury. While in week 6 he went against a pitiful Saints defense, this week he did his damage against a more stout Cardinals defense. Just like last season, the Panthers are committed to giving Stewart 20 carries or more every game. For as long as this continues, he is a surefire top 10 option barring health.
RB - Matt Forte 25 Carries for 82 Yards and 2 TD’s, 2 Receptions for 16 Yards, 25 Fantasy Points
I said it last week, and I will say it again. Forte doesn’t look good, he merely has inflated numbers do to the insane workload. Just like in the first two weeks, the Jets have forcefed Forte the ball, having him accumulate over 60 touches in a two game span. Even with it though, he is merely averaging 3.45 yards per carry this year. If you can still sell him for a top 10 back, I would jump on it immediately. There is no way this can keep up.
WR - Amari Cooper 15 Targets, 12 Receptions for 173 Yards and 1 TD, 23 Fantasy Points
Cooper looked great again this week, asserting himself as a near top 5 option each week now. Derek Carr after not involving Cooper much through the first 4 weeks has really increased the throws to him. This now marks his third game in the last four with over 125 receiving yards. We are seeing what many thought could happen this year. With the disappointment of other top receivers, Cooper has risen as the production has been there.
WR - J.J. Nelson 12 Targets, 8 Receptions for 79 Yards and 2 TD’s, 19 Fantasy Points
Who is ready for another week of Cardinal receiver roulette? This week we have the wildcard winner in J.J. Nelson as the top guy. While I would normally write off this performance, I am intrigued based on his skill set. He is a burner who has already shown that he has improved his route running in a short amount of time. With both Michael Floyd and John Brown playing poor so far, Nelson has stepped up and not squandered his opportunities. These are the types of games that get you even more playing time moving forward. Nelson is a smart speculative add this week off the waiver wire as he could pay off big time if he keeps the number 2 receiver role in Arizona.
WR - Jamison Crowder 13 Targets, 9 Receptions for 107 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
This now marks the fourth straight week Crowder has 9 or more fantasy points. Clearly there are only two constants in the passing game, and those are Jordan Reed when healthy, and Jamison Crowder. While he did benefit greatly from the additional 15 minutes of action, most of his damage was during regulation. As always, Crowder is a safe WR3 or FLEX option you can use. During the bye weeks though he moves up to a top 24 option at receiver.
TE - Rob Gronkowski 7 Targets, 5 Receptions for 109 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
More of the same from Gronk. He plays and he scores with over 100 yards receiving too.
TE - Tyler Eifert 12 Targets, 9 Receptions for 102 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
I didn’t expect Eifert to be fully involved in the offense as quick as he was. All signs pointed to him getting limited but more work than the previous week as they would gear up to fully unleash him after the week 9 bye week. Well I was proven wrong, as they went and used Eifert like he was last season. This vaults him up to the top 5 right away, only behind Gronk, Olsen, and Reed at this point.
TE - Travis Kelce 10 Targets, 7 Receptions for 101 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
Why must you always tease us Kelce? I already know how this story goes. I say that it looks like you may be rounding into form, and then you go quiet for two or three weeks. So let’s just skip that and just say what this is. You are the big play TE who can’t seem to be trusted as a top 5 TE until we see a fundamental change in their offense or QB. Being top 10 isn’t bad, but he has the skills to be so much more.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday’s games:
QB - Blake Bortles 337 Passing Yards, 3 TD’s, 22 Rushing Yards, 1 Two Point Conversion, 29 Fantasy Points
While he actually tied Brady for the week to finish top 3, the performance that Bortles gave did not warrant him being listed up top. Instead he needed to be singled out down here. While the overall statline is great, the way he got it wasn’t. He was unable to do anything for most of the game. It wasn’t until the game was safely out of hand that Bortles put up his stats. I am worried going forward not only about Bortles being able to be a top 12 guy, but Allen Robinson being able to be a top 15 option either.
RB - Latavius Murray 11 Carries for 48 Yards, 5 Receptions for 23 Yards, 6 Fantasy Points
While Murray showed some great skills two years ago, we simply aren’t seeing that player. This version we have seen of Murray for the last two seasons has been a plodder who can’t give you production without a large volume of work. Even with all of the injuries that have happened to other RB’s, I can’t quite put Murray higher then a borderline top 20 guy for the rest of the year. He only has a good game if he has a redzone TD, otherwise he is virtually worthless. The volume of carries just aren’t there this year.
WR - Donte Moncrief 9 Targets, 4 Receptions for 41 Yards and 1 TD, 10 Fantasy Points
In his first return to action since week 2, Moncrief only went out and scored a TD. This now marks the 7th time out of the last 10 games that he has played with Luck with a TD. With news coming out about T.Y. Hilton’s hamstring injury, there is a possibility that Moncrief could be the number one receiver next week against the Packers. If that is the case, he almost immediately becomes a top 15 guy. Assuming Hilton is healthy though, he would drop down to being a low-end WR2 who is just inside the top 25.