Through the first eight weeks of football, I do not think we’ve had a more hectic one than what has been encapsulated during this past week. We have witnessed a plethora of crucial injuries to key players such as LaVeon Bell, Matt Forte, Steve Smith, and Keenan Allen. We saw a game between Baylor and TCU (Giants vs. Saints) eclipse 100 total points, in turn, generating some huge fantasy days.
The storylines kept pouring in as the Titans fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt, and the 49ers have elected to start Blane Gabbert over Kaepernick. Also, we will get the pleasure of watching Johnny Manziel start for the Browns on TNF as they take on the undefeated Bengals. Lost in the surfeit amount of headlines was the ever-so-boring day that is the NFL trade deadline. The only notable movement was that of Vernon Davis to the Broncos, as the 49ers are on their way to a top-three draft pick, and the Broncos try to bolster their offense in the wake of Julius Thomas.
Now with all of that out of the way, we can finally break down some focal points of Week 8, and help you make some tough decisions moving forward. There are plenty of players that should be available to help with some of the injuries or bye-weeks you may have. Obviously, we will be targeting wide receivers in this article, but if you have needs at the running back position, I advise you to check out this weeks edition of “Stromme the Way.”
Teams on bye: Cardinals, Ravens, Lions, Texans, Chiefs, Seahawks
Week 8 MVP’s
Anybody from the Giants vs. Saints tilt. I’m not sure if either team got the memo that you can actually send 11 players out on defense, too. Odell Beckham Jr. torched the Saints defense to the tune of 8/130/3. The skeleton of Marques Colston showed up and finished with 8/114/1. Brandin Cooks finally had his break-out game with a 6/88/2 performance, but not sure how much merit can be had here given the circumstances. Finally, Willie Snead continued to reward his owners finishing with 6/70/2.
Alshon Jeffery- For a player who missed several weeks due to injury, he has really made amends to his owners as he now has put up back-to-back performances of at least 100 yards and a touchdown. With the undisclosed timetable of Matt Forte’s MCL injury, this leaves a lot of production for rookie Jeremy Langford to try and replace. Since Langford is yet to be the caliber of player that Forte is, the Bears may be leaning more heavily on their passing attack. You never like to see injuries in the NFL, and it seems people in the fantasy community tend to forget that these are actual people working to support families. With that being said, Jeffery is already Cutler’s main target, and with the passing attempts inclined to see somewhat of an uptick, this bodes well for Alshon. I have Jeffery as a top five receiver the rest of the way, so if you do not own him, try to.
Week 8 Bust
Mike Evans- Its truly disappointing that Evans has showed up on this portion of article rather than the previous segment. It seemed that Evans had an advantageous set-up heading in to Week 8. He was facing off against a beatable Falcons secondary, and Vincent Jackson was not going to play and take away targets from him. Nevertheless, he was only targeted nine times, and inefficiently only turned those into three receptions. This week he will get another juicy matchup as he prepares to take on the Giants, who just gave up seven passing touchdowns to the Saints. The Giants are expected to get Prince Amukamara back this week, which should help patch up the gaping hole that was their secondary last week. Regardless, expect Evans to have a better performance than the 3/48/0 effort he had in Week 8.
Luckily, we did not have many other noteworthy players turn in lackluster performances, so we can keep it moving here.
Stevie Johnson/Malcolm Floyd- These two will be featured again in the waiver wire section of this article, so if these two are on your waivers, go grab them while you can. With the unfortunate lacerated kidney that Keenan Allen suffered on Sunday, that had him designated to the injured reserve, it opened the door for these two WR to see some more targets. The Chargers and Phillip Rivers are passing for a league best 337 yards per game, due to a constant deficit early in games. The Chargers will match up with the Bears on MNF, and their secondary is far from scary. Expect Rivers to have another game throwing the football a ton, especially with the ineffectiveness of their rushing attack. Obviously, Gates will see his allotment of targets from Phil, but expect Stevie and Floyd to have WR2/3 type numbers on Monday night.
Desean Jackson- Barring any setbacks for Jackson prior to their game against New England, he is on schedule to make his first game action since Week 1. Jackson says he feels “great” and has practiced in full so far this week. It could not be better timing for the matchup at hand here, as the Patriots are scoring in bunches, making the opposing teams air it out for the better part of four quarters. Jackson has a propensity to make big plays, and all he needs is to get loose once on a big play to pay off having him in your starting lineup. Pierre Garcon, can also be considered a strong flex play, as Cousins and the Skins offense should be chucking the ball a ton. He just doesn’t have the big play capabilities that Jackson does, so he will have to get it done with volume.
Allen Robinson- I know, I know…it is tough to sit a top-10 fantasy WR, but that’s exactly what you should be sorting through your depth, or scouring the waiver wire for. In Week 9, Revis-island beckons, and that’s not where success has been an often occurrence in 2015. Last week, it was advised to sit Amari Cooper in this matchup, and the prediction came to fruition. When making these decisions there are only about three cornerbacks who put starting a solid WR into question, and Revis is atop that list. To supplement your decision on whether to sit Robinson or not, the waiver segment coming up next will give you players who will equal or better the production of Robinson in Week 9.
Brandin Cooks- A player that finally appeared in the college-like shoot-out that was the Saints vs. Giants. He found the end zone twice, to go along with six receptions and 88 yards. Maybe the arrows are finally starting to point up for Cooks, and last weeks performance was encouraging to say the least. On paper, a matchup against the Titans may seem favorable for the Saints offense, but digging deeper, they are pretty tough against opposing wide-outs. The Titans have allowed only one touchdown this season to opposing teams No. 1 WR. As stated with Robinson, take a look at some of the waiver adds you could make to fill in his spot.
T.Y Hilton- Unfortunately, Hilton finds himself on this list for a second straight week, and if you took the advice to sit him down against Josh Norman and the Panthers, it probably boded well for you. He gets possibly the toughest matchup in all of football against the vaunting Denver defense. I stated last week to sit Randall Cobb as this defense held Steve Smith, Calvin Johnson, Amari Cooper, and Jeremy Maclin all under eight fantasy points, and Cobb followed suit. The aforementioned Josh Norman and Darrell Revis, alongside anybody going up against the Denver defense, are the only matchups that will sway any decision in regards to my WR slots.
Waiver Wire Fire
Stevie Johnson/Malcolm Floyd- read the dissertation above. Team leads the NFL in passing and lost their No. 1 WR in Keenan Allen. With this loss and in conjunction with Gates still dealing with his MCL injury, this opens up a mansion-sized door for these players to produce. If your choosing one right now, I would lean towards Malcolm Floyd as he has more prior chemistry with Rivers.
Kamar Aiken- Another door opened due to Steve Smith tearing his achilles on Sunday. Smith said this season was undoubtedly his last season, but that’s a terrible way of going out, so let’s hope he does not want to end on that note. In any event, when Smith left the game, Kamar Aiken was targeted on half of Flacco’s passing attempts. Aiken is the de facto No. 1 receiver for this team now, as he has 25 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns through eight games. Keep this in mind, however: The Ravens are on a bye in Week 9. Being cliche in that “the early bird gets the worm,” and if you want this Raven grab him now.
I mentioned in last week’s edition to grab Robert Woods and Nate Washington, if they are still available I would advise you to add them as well. So if you need WR help here is the pecking order in which you can view these players: Floyd, Aiken, Johnson, Woods, and Washington.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree both find the end zone, as well as eclipse 100 yards.
Brandon LaFell finally has his big game finishing with 7/125/1.
Dez Bryant shows he can get it done without Romo and ends up with 6/92/1.
In a tough matchup against the Rams, Stefon Diggs continues to flourish with an 8/113/1 line.
If you have any lineups questions, waiver acquisition dilemmas, or trade offers.
Find me on twitter: @zaksauer
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@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.