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Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide receivers for Week 8

Ranking the best wide receivers by matchup and opportunity for Week 8 of the 2018 NFL Season.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Usually, I use this space to talk about what happened last week. It’s mostly just a paragraph or two of venting, as I discuss how the shoo-ins for big games didn’t show up and fringe roster guys exploded for multiple touchdowns. But this week, I need to take some time out to discuss one of the biggest teases in fantasy football history: Julio Jones.

Jones is a top five wide receiver in the NFL. He has it all; 4.39 speed, a 6-3, 220 frame, insane route-running ability and stickum on his hands. Jones has gone over 1,400 receiving yards in each of the last four seasons and is on pace to make it five in a row this year. He has also caught an absurd 102.8 catches per year over the last four seasons and will probably exceed that mark in 2018. Despite all of this, having him on your fantasy team is a pain and a burden. Why? Because he doesn’t score touchdowns.

All throughout the fantasy draft season, everyone’s argument against Jones was that he can’t score touchdowns. I dismissed those reservations. I pointed to the 10-touchdown season he had in 2012 and his suboptimal usage in the red zone. I figured Jones would see more efficient looks and that his reception and yardage totals would more than make up for his relatively low number of scores. And I might still be right about his touchdowns not mattering all that much, but it’s incredibly frustrating and downright laughable at this point.

The Alabama product has scored four touchdowns over his last 25 games, including the playoffs. On Monday Night Football, Marvin (freaking) Hall scored a long touchdown. Hall has two touchdowns over the last two regular seasons. Jones has three. And it’s not like it’s all the offense and Matt Ryan’s fault; Jones has had his fair share of miscues on potential touchdowns, whether it be a flat-out drop or being unable to get his feet inbounds.

Julio is great and eventually he’ll blow up like he always does, but it’s fair to be upset at his inability to put the ball in the end zone. Rant over.

WR Rankings - Week 8

Rank Player Team Opponent Notes
Rank Player Team Opponent Notes
1 Adam Thielen MIN NO Smoked NO (9/157) in W1 last year and went 6/74 in the playoffs. Now being used more outside and NO gives up the most fantasy points to WRs.
2 Antonio Brown PIT CLE Tagged CLE for 9/93/1 in W1, is coming off a bye and went over 100 yards and 3 total TDs over last two games.
3 A.J. Green CIN TB Has 36 targets over the last 3 games and caught 20 passes for 314 yards (0 TDs). TB is the 2nd-worst secondary in the league. TDs are coming.
4 Davante Adams GB @LAR He's been unstoppable, scoring 6 TDs in 5 games and going for 8/81 in the other. LAR's secondary had fallen apart before Beathard happened.
5 DeAndre Hopkins HOU MIA Has scored a TD and gone over 50 yards 4 times, while going for 8/78, 6/86, 9/151 in his scoreless games. Xavien Howard doesn't pose a threat.
6 Michael Thomas NO @MIN In last year's playoff game, Thomas racked up 7/85/2. Rhodes will try to gut through an ankle sprain, which further enhances Thomas' outlook.
7 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT CLE Went 5/119 in W1 against CLE. Leads the league in RZ targets despite having his bye week.
8 Tyreek Hill KC DEN DEN ranks in the middle in terms of WR catches/yards/TDs, but Roby has been burned plenty this year and Tyreek is uncoverable.
9 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG WAS A matchup against Norman used to be scary, but Norman has been average this year (21/322/3 given up).
10 T.Y. Hilton IND @OAK OAK awoke dormant WR Doug Baldwin before the bye week and Hilton is used in similar ways. Hilton is also tied for 5th in targets inside the 10.
11 Stefon Diggs MIN NO He's been inconsistent and Lattimore is back to shutdown ways, but Diggs demolished NO last year in 2 matchups: 7/93/2 and 6/137/1.
12 Brandin Cooks LAR GB GB coughed up two massive plays to Marquise Goodwin in W6 and Cooks has the speed and explosiveness to repeat those plays.
13 Emmanuel Sanders DEN @KC KC continues to improve on defense, but AJG did just go for 117 yards against them. Sanders has gone over 100 yards and a TD the past 2 weeks.
14 John Brown BAL @CAR Was an efficient 7/134/1 on 7 targets last week. CAR has been beaten by speed guys (OBJ/Ridley/P-Rich). Alshon got open deep last week.
15 Doug Baldwin SEA @DET DET hasn't given up many fantasy points to WRs because they haven't faced many good ones. Baldwin will be healthy and take over WR1 duties.
16 Tyler Boyd CIN TB Should bounce back this week at home against the 2nd-worst secondary in fantasy football.
17 Robert Woods LAR GB GB hasn't given up a lot of yardage to WRs, but they have allowed the 3rd-most TDs to the position. Woods is a better RZ WR than Cooks.
18 Jarvis Landry CLE @PIT CLE will likely have to throw the ball a lot and PIT has been the 4th-most forgiving defense to WRs. Landry has the 5th-most RZ targets among WRs.
19 Mike Evans TB @CIN CIN has given up 4 100-yard games and 4 TDs to WRs over the past 4 weeks, but Evans will have the toughest matchup against William Jackson.
20 Alshon Jeffery PHI @JAX Looks to be in the best shape of his life and has scored 4 TDs in 4 games. JAX's defense is struggling, but the matchup is still a concern.
21 Sterling Shepard NYG WAS His 12 RZ targets rank in the top 10 at the position. The return of Evan Engram did nothing to diminish his workload.
22 Julian Edelman NE @BUF BUF is most exposable on the interior. Edelman has yet to go over 57 yards, but has scored twice and caught 7 passes in the other game.
23 Golden Tate DET SEA Slot guys have easily had the most success against SEA's secondary, making this a perfect script for Tate.
24 Allen Robinson CHI NYJ Will be one more week removed from the groin injury. Should be deployed often in the slot, where NYJ is most vulnerable.
25 Will Fuller HOU MIA With Coutee out, Fuller should see 8+ targets against MIA's lesser CBs.
26 Chris Godwin TB @CIN Owns the 3rd-most targets inside the 10 yard line in the NFL. Played 23 more snaps than D-Jax last week.
27 Kenny Golladay DET SEA Got just 2 targets last week, but should bounce back against a defense that has tightened up its rush defense and still has questions in the secondary.
28 Josh Gordon NE @BUF Played 95 percent of the snaps last week and has accumulated 16 targets over the past 2 games. A matchup with Tre White dampens his outlook.
29 Christian Kirk ARI SF Kirk got loose for a 75-yard TD against SF a few weeks back. The firing of OC Mike McCoy should only help Kirk get better looks.
30 Demaryius Thomas DEN @KC DT has been really hit-or-miss, but with DEN likely to be chasing points all game, he can turn in a solid performance.
31 Jordy Nelson OAK IND Amari's departure can only help, although his floor is still 0 with Derek Carr at QB and Jon Gruden running the show.
32 Michael Crabtree BAL @CAR Crabtree has 8+ targets in all but one game and has gone over 60 yards in 4 of his last 5. CAR is a middling secondary.
33 Danny Amendola MIA @HOU Has taken advantage of #Brocktober and picked up 18 targets over the last 2 weeks, going 8/59 and 6/84/1 with MIA's WRs banged up.
34 Marvin Jones DET SEA The only thing you can bank on with him is RZ looks, 6 of which have come inside the 10 yard line (tied for 5th in the NFL).
35 Robby Anderson NYJ @CHI NYJ's WR corps is decimated and Anderson benefited with 10 targets last week, though he didn't do much. CHI has quietly been bad against WRs.
36 Tyler Lockett SEA @DET He has scored a TD in all but one game. He hasn't had more than 7 targets or gone over 100 yards in any game. Regression is going to hit hard.
37 Sammy Watkins KC DEN He's painfully incosistent and is now the #4 option in the passing game behind Hill/Kelce/Hunt.
38 Devin Funchess CAR BAL Funchess has 3 TDs in his last 4 games and 7+ targets in all but one game this season. BAL gave up 7/69/1 to Mike Thomas, who is built similarly.
39 Geronimo Allison GB @LAR Expected back and should resume his role as a deep-threat on the outside. LAR had given up 10 TDs to WRs over 4 weeks prior to SF's debacle.
40 Taylor Gabriel CHI NYJ Came crashing back down to Earth and now has just 9 targets over the past two weeks. He's essentially DeSean Jackson.
41 DeSean Jackson TB @CIN Was outsnapped by Godwin and Humphries and drew just 5 targets last week.
42 Tre'Quan Smith NO @MIN With Ginn on IR, Smith will slot into his role. Without Ginn, Smith has converted 9 targets into 6/155/2.
43 Kelvin Benjamin BUF NE Went 4/71 last week in a blowout and this one will likely get out of hand quickly. Someone has to catch the ball and Kelvin is getting opportunities.
44 Martavis Bryant OAK IND Had been trending slightly up before Gruden started giving Seth Roberts more looks. Martavis should slide right into Amari's previous role.
45 Randall Cobb GB @LAR We'll see what his role is coming back from an injury and with Valdez-Scantling outplaying him in his absence.
46 Larry Fitzgerald ARI SF The TD last week was cool, but he accumulated just 40 yards, his highest total since W1. Even against a bad secondary, Fitz went 2/35 against SF.
47 Chris Hogan NE @BUF Has had a mini-breakout over the last two weeks, but with Gordon now a full-time player and Gronk returning, it might be short-lived.
48 Jakeem Grant MIA @HOU Stills is out, Wilson is going on IR, Parker is out of favor. Grant might very well be the Dolphins' #1 outside WR on TNF.
49 Courtland Sutton DEN @KC Continues to make plays, but just isn't seeing enough volume in a below-average passing offense.
50 Willie Snead BAL @CAR After being so consistent all year, Snead had his worst game of the year against the worst secondary in the league. Should return to 5/50 this week.