Ramon Mejia, Kaleel Weatherly and Mitchell Westall, staff writers
Week 8 Disappointments
Le’Veon Bell (PIT, RB) – Bell’s MCL injury was quite serious, so here’s hoping he will be back to playing 100 percent next season. As of now, there are only three top-tier running backs going into next season: Devontae Freemanm, Todd Gurley and Bell, assuming he heals in time. So, good luck to Bell owners! If you have a lower priority in your league, you should be okay by adding Deangelo Williams off of waivers, but he is a hot commodity.
Aaron Rodgers (GB, QB) – This Denver Broncos defense is no joke. They held Mr. Rodgers to 77 passing yards in Sunday’s game, which ended in a 10-29 loss for the Packers. This was an all-time low for former MVP and Super Bowl champion Rodgers, who was able to gain 31 rushing yards. It could have been much worse for fantasy owners if he had not gotten those extra 3.1 points, but 6.18 is not what owners want out of the first or second QB off the board in every draft.
Dez Bryant (DAL, WR) – This weekend saw the highly anticipated return of Dez Bryant. Unfortunately, he had the pleasure of facing the Legion of Boom when Seattle came to town. It also didn’t help that his quarterback is a backup at best on an NFL roster. Bryant owners got a 1.2 point game from Dez. It’s a good sign that Romo is back at practice this week after breaking his collarbone again. As soon as Romo is Bryant’s signal caller again, Bryant will be a top receiver in fantasy football once more.
Week 8 Surprise Performance
Derek Carr (OAK, QB) – The second-year quarterback has quietly continued to put together a solid 2015 campaign. Perhaps being on the Raiders has something to do with him flying under the radar most of the season. Carr’s performance in Sunday’s matchup against the Jets’ elite defense earned him a spot on NFL Fantasy Lives’ “sit’em” column for the week. Carr is still considered a matchup-based starter, so his face-off with the stingy Jets defense seemed unappealing to most fantasy experts.
Fortunately, the game is played between the hash marks—not on paper. Carr’s performance on Sunday proved many analysts wrong. He finished the day with 23 completions, 333 yards and four touchdowns. A state line such as the one posted by Carr this past Sunday against an elite caliber defense will certainly garner the attention of many fantasy owners. With six teams on bye in Week 9, Carr is certainly worth a waiver wire claim this week and will be viable option moving forward.
Malcolm Floyd (SD, WR) – The “next man-up” mentality came to life during the Chargers’ showdown with the Ravens. Following fellow wide out Keenan Allen’s injury, Floyd was among the players asked to step in to fill the void. He hauled in four receptions for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns. One of Floyd’s touchdowns came on a 70-yard bomb from Philip Rivers, giving Floyd the opportunity to stretch the field and score. With Allen’s season ending injury looming, Floyd will once again be thrust into a pivotal role in San Diego’s offense. Moving forward, Floyd should be the beneficiary of an increase in targets. He remains a free agent in a majority of leagues and would be a worthy addition to your rosters as a solid WR2-3 and/or flex for the rest of the season.
Willie Snead (NO, WR) – It is amazing what a three-game winning streak can do for a team, especially in the fantasy realm. Prior to Week 6’s upset over the then-undefeated Falcons, it seemed as though the New Orleans Saints offense had fallen from fantasy relevance. Three weeks later, analysts and fantasy owners alike are once again at ease with the Saints’ offense.
The resurgence of Drew Brees has played a pivotal role in the emergence of Snead. The shootout in the bayou against the Giants on Sunday left no shortage of fantasy points on the table. Snead racked in six receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns. With his first double-digit touchdown performance now in the books, expect Snead to continue to establish himself as one of Brees’s favorite targets. In order to avoid the bye week blues, we would advise putting in a waiver claim for Snead immediately.
Potential Fantasy Studs for Week 9
Peyton Manning (QB, DEN) vs. the Indianapolis Colts’ defense – Peyton Manning returns to his old stomping grounds this Sunday when he will be going up against a Colts’ defense that ranks twenty-eighth in the NFL. The Colts’ defense let Cam Newton put up 19.02 fantasy points last week in their game against the Panthers, so look for Manning to post up to 30.00 fantasy points in this week’s game. Don’t forget that Manning also has a new tight end to throw to: Vernon Davis. With Davis, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas playing with Manning, the Colts should just look on to Week 10. They have no shot at stopping Manning this week.
Giovani Bernard (RB, CIN) vs. the Cleveland Browns’ defense – Bernard has to be pretty excited about this game. This week, he will be going up against a Browns’ defense that is ranked dead last in the league in rushing defense. Bernard will register at least 20.00 fantasy points this week.
Doug Martin (RB, TB) vs. the New York Giants’ defense – The Giants’ defense is the same as the Browns’—minus the different team colors. Martin will wreak havoc against this defense that is ranked twenty-fourth in the league in rushing defense. Last week against Atlanta, Martin only posted 7.80 fantasy points. He will not do the same this week. Look for Martin to register at least 25.00 fantasy points against this Giants’ defense.
Antonio Brown (WR, PIT) vs. the Oakland Raiders’ defense – Brown is expected to have a great weekend. It’s that simple. This Raiders’ defense is ranked twenty-sixth in the league in passing defense. Brown is one of the best receivers in football. While he only posted 10.70 fantasy points against the Bengals last week, Sunday’s game against the Steelers will be an entirely different story. Look for Brown to post at least 27.00 fantasy points this week.
All statistics and facts were compiled with the help of espn.com, Yahoo Sports, nfl.com, NFL Fantasy Live, and ESPN Fantasy Football Now.