Yet another player projected to be one of this year’s top fantasy football performers is done for the season, as Arian Foster tore his Achilles on Sunday. Fantasy owners had been waiting all year for Foster to live up to his expectations, and the injury will only make it more challenging when selecting a weekly lineup.
A look at the NFL’s top rushers heading into Week 8 is not what many would have predicted before the season started. Devonta Freeman finished Atlanta’s Week 7 game as the league’s leader with 621 rushing yards, totaling at least 130 yards from scrimmage for the fifth consecutive week. Seeing Doug Martin rank among the top rushers is a surprise, while veterans like Frank Gore and Chris Johnson have been more productive than what many experts had projected.
Weekly fantasy sports allows owners who didn’t expect big years out of players like Freeman and Martin to benefit from the numbers they continue to put up. Freeman’s hot start was not only unexpected, but it’s also been historic. He’s the fourth player 23 years old or younger to have 600 or more yards and nine touchdowns in his team’s first seven games, and the running back only totaled 43 rushing yards in the first two weeks of the season.
A look at our Week 8 rankings indicates that owners in weekly leagues will have plenty of options at running back. The league’s top rushers are playing in Week 8, as are all of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.
Here’s our full breakdown of players to target in Week 8, broken down by position and their favorable matchups.
Week 8 byes: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington
Key players on byes: LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills; DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles; Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles; Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins; Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, WRs, Jaguars; T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars; Blake Bortles, QB; Jaguars
1.Tom Brady, Patriots
2.Aaron Rodgers, Packers
3.Carson Palmer, Cardinals
4.Eli Manning, Giants
5.Philip Rivers, Chargers
Rodgers is facing possibly the NFL’s best defense in the Denver Broncos, so Brady is the easy choice for the No.1 spot in Week 8. Even in a blowout win, the Dolphins surrendered three touchdown passes in Week 7, and Brady could throw for as many scores on Thursday night. Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer are top MVP candidates, and there’s little reason to believe they won’t have big games on Sunday. Eli Manning could have a big day against the Saints, who rank 28th in opponents’ passer rating and 27th in passing touchdowns allowed.
1.Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
2.Todd Gurley, Rams
3.Devonta Freeman, Falcons
4.Adrian Peterson, Vikings
5.Mark Ingram, Saints
Bell continues to be incredibly productive totaling at least 127 yards from scrimmage in four of five games. Gurley is clearly the NFL’s next star running back, averaging 144.3 yards per game since becoming the Rams’ top rusher, and he had a good matchup against San Francisco’s No.20 ranked run defense. Peterson and Freeman are two of the NFL’s top three rushers, and Ingram faces a Giants’ defense that has allowed 385 rushing yards in the last two weeks.
1.Julio Jones, Falcons
2.DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
3.Alshon Jeffery, Bears
4.Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
5.Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Jones, the NFL’s No.2 receiver, gets the edge over league-leading receiver Hopkins because the Falcons are hosting the Buccaneers. Only one team has allowed more passing touchdowns than the Buccaneers, and they’ve let Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota all lead their teams to at least 30-point games. Alshon Jeffery was terrific in his return from injury before Chicago’s bye in Week 7. Beckham faces a Saints defense that has allowed 14 passing touchdowns, and they’ve allowed an average of 110.8 yards to opposing teams' leading receivers over the last five weeks.
1.Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2.Greg Olsen, Panthers
3.Tyler Eifert, Bengals
4.Travis Kelce, Chiefs
5.Jimmy Graham, Seahawks
There is no greater difference between the No.1 player and the No.2 player at a position than there is at tight end. Gronkowski has at least one touchdown in four of his six games, and he caught four passes for 101 yards in one of the games that he was held out of the end zone. Olsen is Cam Newton’s No.1 target, and he’s going up against the NFL’s No.28 pass defense. Eifert has a touchdown in four of six games, and Kelce makes the list as the No.23 receiver in the NFL.
1.Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens
2.Chris Ivory, RB, Jets
3.Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders
4.Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
5.Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Forsett has rushed for less than 70 yards in four of his six games, but he rushed for 271 yards from Week 4-5, and he’s facing San Diego’s 31st-ranked run defense in Week 8. Ivory should bounce back after a rough game, once he has another week to rest, and he’s still averaging 100 rushing yards per game. Keenan Allen has followed up three of his performances of less than 100 receiving yards with at least 133 yards in the next game, and he could be due for a big game against Baltimore’s poor pass defense.
The Rams defense is rounding into form, having allowed 16 points per game in their last four contests. They should have another big week against the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick, who has thrown for 160 yards or fewer in three of his last five games. After throwing three interceptions in his first start with Dallas, the Cowboys’ passing attack won’t be able to do much against Seattle’s “Legion of Boom.” Carolina should get plenty of points against the turnover-prone Andrew Luck, and the Panthers are one of just two teams with at least nine interceptions and 18 sacks.