Fantasy Football's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 8
It's Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season, and this week's action brought with it a little of everything—from a coming-out party in Minnesota to a British beatdown and a couple of prominent quarterbacks having a contest to see who could suck more.
The first week of the second half of the fantasy football campaign brought with it some fantastic performances and some others that stank to high heaven. And bearing that in mind, here's a look at some of fantasy's biggest winners and losers from Week 8.
Winner: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
The NFL's annual game in London has often times been a sloppy and low-scoring affair, as two jet-lagged offenses stumble around and trade punts before one team or the other kicks a late field goal to win it.
Someone forgot to tell that to the New England Patriots.
New England absolutely jackstomped the St. Louis Rams, 45-7, at Wembley Stadium, spurred on by a ruthlessly efficient afternoon by quarterback Tom Brady, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
Loser: Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
At the opposite end of the spectrum from Tom Brady, we have Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. And while the Bears managed to squeak out a win over the Carolina Panthers, I seriously doubt that makes Cutler's fantasy owners feel any better.
The seventh-year pro failed to top 200 yards passing and turned the ball over three times, and it took a late touchdown pass to Kellen Davis for Cutler to pull out positive fantasy-point total in many scoring systems.
Winner: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into Minneapolis Thursday night and took it to the 5-2 Minnesota Vikings, serving a message to the rest of the National Football League that rookie running back Doug Martin is the real deal.
The former Boise State standout gained 135 yards and scored a touchdown on 29 carries, but Martin's big day on the ground was only half the story.
Martin also pitched in another 74 yards on three receptions, including a 64-yard score on a screen pass that highlighted the youngster's speed.
Loser: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
After head coach Ron Rivera announced earlier this week that the team would move away from their backfield-by-committee approach and that Jonathan Stewart would get his second straight start, many fantasy experts (myself included) thought that the fifth-year pro would see a big uptick in fantasy value.
Then again, maybe not.
Granted, the matchup with a very tough Chicago Bears defense was far from favorable from a fantasy perspective, and Stewart's 38 receiving yards on four catches helped salvage an OK day in PPR leagues, but 41 yards on 17 carries does not an uptick make.
Winner: Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions
With Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson now out for the rest of the season with a broken leg, second-year pro Titus Young will need to step up his play. And if the victory over the Seattle Seahawks is any indication, the "Young"-ster is more than up to the task.
The 23-year-old had his way at home in Week 8 against a formidable and physical Seahawks secondary, hauling in nine passes for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Loser: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
Of course, the problem with Young's big day is that it left the wide receiver in Detroit that we expect big games from out in the cold, much to the chagrin of his fantasy owners.
For the second straight game, Calvin Johnson was held without a catch in the first half, and the 27-year-old Johnson managed only three catches for 46 yards in the win over Seattle.
Honestly, at this point, I wonder how any NFL player in his right mind would agree to appear on the cover of Madden.
It's just bad juju.
Winner: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are the lone undefeated team remaining in the National Football League thanks in large part to a potent offense, but so far this season, wide receiver Julio Jones has been something of a disappointment from a fantasy perspective given all the hype surrounding the second-year pro entering 2012.
With that said, Jones lived up to that hype in the Falcons' win over the Philadelphia Eagles, reeling in five catches for well over 100 yards, including a 63-yard scoring strike from quarterback Matt Ryan.
Loser: Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley has been another huge disappointment from a fantasy perspective this year, but with both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson sidelined by injury, the table seemed to be set for the fifth-year pro to see an increase in targets against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8.
The Packers downed the Jaguars 24-15, but the entire offense looked out of sync for much of the day.
That most definitely included Finley, who managed all of 24 yards on two catches versus the struggling Jags.
Winner: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Given how good a day Tom Brady had in the Patriots' demolition of the Rams, it's no wonder that one of his receivers had a big game as well. Nor is it surprising that it was tight end Rob Gronkowski who blew up.
But boy, did he blow up.
Gronkowski was far and away the top fantasy producer at the tight end position on the day, torching the Rams for 146 yards on eight catches with two TDs.
Loser: Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
When you're a 1-5 team with quite possibly the worst quarterback situation in the league it would only reason that you would heavily lean on the electric running back who has averaged nearly 100 yards a game this year on the ground.
Unless you're the Kansas City Chiefs.
Running back Jamaal Charles was a complete non-factor in Kansas City's loss to the Oakland Raiders, carrying the ball all of five times for four yards.
Winner: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys just couldn't get out of their own way on Sunday, turning the ball over six times before an incredible Hail-Mary-esque play came up just short at the end of a loss to the New York Giants.
However, blame can't be laid at the feet of tight end Jason Witten, who had a career day in the loss.
The 10th-year vet hauled in a career-high 18 passes for 167 yards against New York, setting a team record in the process.
Loser: Eli Manning, QB New York Giants
Eli Manning had by far his worst game of the season in the New York Giants' dramatic win against the Dallas Cowboys, completing fewer than half of his passes for less than 200 yards and no touchdowns with an interception.
A victory for the Giants, but a likely loss for many of Manning's fantasy owners.