Week 7 vs. Week 8 Fantasy Football Expectations and Downfalls

Mitchell Westall & Ramon Mejia, staff writers

Biggest Disappointments

Deandre Hopkins (HOU, WR) – This season, Hopkins has enjoyed the breakout performance the entire world saw coming. Even though the Houston quarterback’s situation is forever in flux, he has been a rock for the team. Unfortunately, in Week 7 he posted a mere 5.0 points. In a game where Miami demoralized Houston, Hopkins was just a part of the mess. Look for him to bounce back next week against the Tennessee Titans.

Brandon Marshall (NYJ, WR) – Brandon Marshall posted his lowest score of the season in last Sunday’s game against the Patriots. After failing to find his way into the end zone for the second time this season, Marshall posted a mere 6.7 points. Hopefully he will bounce back in this weekend’s game against Oakland, but it won’t be easy since the Raiders boast a Top 10 defense against fantasy wide receivers.

Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ, WR) – This was supposed to be the season Larry Fitzgerald became completely irrelevant in fantasy football. But Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald have been working together all season, allowing Fitzgerald to post numbers similar to what he posted in his prime. Still, Fitzgerald’s 3.9 point total in Week 7, which he earned in last weekend’s matchup against a suspect Baltimore secondary, was by far his worst performance.

Still, things are sure to pick up this week when Fitzgerald takes on the Cleveland Browns, who were ranked nineteenth among teams who lose points to opposing wide receivers. Fitzgerald has proven to be a top option as a fantasy receiver once again this season, so he should not have any problems.

Surprise Performance

Lamar Miller (MIA, RB) – Welcome back, Lamar Miller! Going into the season, Miller was a highly coveted draft pick and considered a Top 15 running back. After a disappointing start to the season, however, owners began to trade or possibly even drop Miller onto the waiver wire. But after a change in the coaching regime, Miller has managed to revitalize his fantasy value. In last Sunday’s game against the Texans, Miller carried the ball 14 times for 175 yards and a touchdown and added three receptions for 61 yards and another touchdown.

Under new interim head coach, Dan Campbell, look for the Dolphins to continue to utilize Miller on a weekly basis. Fantasy owners are loving Campbell right now, and the sentiment won’t be fading anytime soon. Over the past two games, the Dolphins have returned to running form and have reestablished Miller’s presence within their game plan. Do yourself a favor and scoop him up immediately.

Jarvis Landry (MIA, WR) – Miller isn’t the only player in South Florida reaping the benefits of the new coaching regime: Landry also exploded back onto the scene in Sunday’s matchup against the Dolphins. Under Dan Campbell, the blueprint seems simple enough: give the ball to the best players. Landry finished the game with five receptions, 83 yards and two touchdowns. Over the past couple of weeks, Landry has been quiet, which is probably a reflection of the team’s overall struggles. But his performance on Sunday reminded fantasy owners of why they spent a high draft pick on him. Landry is an extremely versatile player with explosive playmaking ability. He is also another worthy trade candidate to keep on your radar, again if the price is right.

T.J. Yeldon (JAX, RB) –  While the Jaguars are not considered to be one of the NFL’s perennial franchises in terms of success, they have a slew of playmakers when it comes to fantasy. On paper, the matchup between T.J. Yeldon and the Bills’ stout defense appeared lopsided. But once the game started, Yeldon proved that stats could be misleading. He finished with a solid outing, carrying the ball 20 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. This performance against a solid defense has certainly garnered the attention of fantasy owners across all leagues.

This is Yeldon’s second time topping over 100 rushing yards this season, and the trend should continue. Yeldon looks promising halfway into his rookie year, displaying all the intangibles one looks for in a three down back. He could prove to be a vital asset in making your playoff push.

Potential Studs for Week 8

Peyton Manning (DEN, QB) – Peyton Manning has had a rough season. However, Sunday’s matchup against the Packers, who are also undefeated, is just what Peyton needs to get back on track. Coming off of his bye week, he should be well-rested and healed of any small dings and dents. Look for Manning to find his groove in Sunday’s match-up against another top quarterback.

Charcandrick West (KC, RB) – Last week, West had a breakout performance in the absence of Jamaal Charles. He posted 18.9 points and should be in your starting lineup, especially if you lost Charles. His matchup against Detroit is favorable since the team ranks eighth among teams who give up points to opposing running backs. West is dealing with a minor pectoral injury but has practiced fully this week, so it would be a surprise to see him on this week’s injury report.

Johnathan Stewart (CAR, RB) – Everyone should be starting Stewart this week, since he has finally begun to show signs of fantasy life. He has posted a combined 33.1 points over the past two weeks, and owners should expect this positive trend to continue against a struggling Colts defense. In his four previous outings, Stewart’s best performance was in Week 1 against the Jaguars, where he posted 8.1 points. Owners should continue to start him if the matchup is a favorable one. This week is no different.

All Statistics gathered from NFL.com and ESPN Fantasy Football.