NFL Studs and Duds for Week 8
Like usual, our fantasy football matchups were the most important contests in the NFL's most recent week of games. I mean, the real games don't mean anything, right?
In any given week, an under-the-radar player can bust out and carry a team. This week Doug Martin did it, as did several others.
But, along with those who carried their teams, were some who sunk theirs. Just which names fall in both categories for Week 8?
Stud: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
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With over 350 yards and four touchdowns, Matthew Stafford finally busted out of his season-long slump. At this point, many Stafford owners are impatient, even benching the young quarterback.
If you were one of the owners to stick with Stafford, you were rewarded with a huge performance. In fact, it just might have won you your game.
Dud: Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
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Two catches for 23 yards. That's all Victor Cruz did against Dallas' defense as the Giants nearly blew a dominating lead.
Cruz was drafted much too high in most leagues to disappoint so severely, and his owners were left with almost no production from his slot. His play certainly led to many owners losing their Week 8 contests.
Stud: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
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St. Louis' defense had actually been solid on the year, but to Tom Brady, it was apparently a sieve. His 304 passing yards and four touchdowns makes that quite clear.
Most owners expect big performances from Brady, but his Week 8 production was still enough to carry many fantasy teams. The star quarterback came up big here.
Dud: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
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2012 has been an especially disappointing year for Jeremy Maclin. Many expected him to put up upper-end wide receiver production, but he has struggled all year.
Maclin's six catches for 33 yards is an abysmal performance. Anyone starting the Philadelphia wideout was left sorely disappointed.
Stud: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
After getting off to a disappointing start to the season, Rob Gronkowski is starting to rebound a bit. The star tight end caught eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams.
A game like this at the tight end spot is key. At wide receiver, it's still great to have, but at tight end, it can make a game almost impossible to lose.
Dud: Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
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One of fantasy football's top-drafted wide receivers, Roddy White was noticeably unproductive against the Eagles in Week 8. Three catches for 38 yards doesn't cut it for any wideout, much less one of White's caliber and draft status.
Many owners were likely expecting another big week from White and were left hanging. This certainly cost an abundance of White owners to lose their contests.
Stud: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
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Once again, Peyton Manning has proven that he's still better than almost any quarterback in the NFL. At this point in the season, 305 yards and three touchdowns isn't even extraordinary for him.
Not many drafted Manning early, but those who did take the risk have benefited. His production has been elite at quarterback as he continues to dominate.
Dud: Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins
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With 65 total yards and zero touchdowns, Reggie Bush simply wasn't very productive. Granted, he was going up against the Jets' defense, but there was still a disturbing lack of fantasy points this week.
Bush has had a decent season and wasn't expected to be a star; however, he needs to produce more than this. I'm sure his countless fantasy owners would agree.
Stud: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
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Matt Ryan wasn't really considered a must-draft quarterback, but he has been one of fantasy football's best players in 2012. Ryan's 262 yards and three touchdowns in Week 8 wasn't even a special performance.
The Atlanta quarterback has continually put up elite production in 2012, and he has certainly led his many owners to numerous wins throughout the season. He wasn't quite that dominant this week, but he wasn't far off either.
Dud: Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
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For some unexplainable reason, Jamaal Charles got just five carries against Oakland. So his lack of production wasn't his fault, but the reasoning doesn't matter to fantasy owners.
Charles' 10 total yards came up well short of expectations against a less-than-stellar defense. No doubt, owners across the country were left disappointed with the Kansas City star's production.
Stud: Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Odds are not many owners are starting Josh Freeman. Those who are, though, were met with a treat in Week 8 when he threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns.
Freeman certainly wasn't a high draft pick in any league, and his play this week comes from an unexpected spot. In other words, he is the perfect pleasant surprise, putting up well-above-average numbers at quarterback this week.
Dud: Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
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Even as the Giants won in what somehow ended up as a nail-biter, Eli Manning struggled. His 192 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception aren't winning any fantasy matchups—except for maybe the other team.
Anyone starting Manning was left with almost no production at quarterback. His play may have cost many owners their games.
Stud: Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions
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Prior to the 2012 season, many had Titus Young pegged as a sleeper, but he hadn't really met the expectations. In Week 8, though, Young busted out with nine catches, 100 yards and two touchdowns.
If you were actually starting Young, you received incredible production from an unexpected source. Often, that's enough to push a team over the edge to victory.
Dud: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants
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Ahmad Bradshaw touched the ball plenty in Week 8, picking up 22 carries. He just couldn't do much with them, gaining only 78 yards with no touchdowns.
Few owners are relying on Bradshaw for huge games, but he is a solid starter across many different leagues. Against the Cowboys, though, Bradshaw was anything but solid for fantasy purposes.
Stud: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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In Week 8, Doug Martin was the NFL's most valuable fantasy football player. His 214 total yards and two touchdowns ensured that.
Against the Vikings, Martin wasn't expected to bust out like this at all, but he undoubtedly carried many teams this week. A team with an otherwise horrible week could have still won with Martin's performance.
Dud: DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
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Many owners drafted DeSean Jackson early, expecting the explosive wideout to rejuvenate his career under a new contract. This simply has not been the case.
Jackson caught just five passes for 59 yards in Week 8. In other words, he held back quite a few fantasy owners looking for a big week against an average-at-best Atlanta secondary.
Stud: Dolphins D/ST
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The Dolphins defense isn't exactly who I would have expected to make this list, but, then again, the team was playing the Jets. And, as we know, New York's offense can make any defense look elite.
Miami forced two fumbles and an interception while also blocking a punt for a touchdown and allowing just nine points. Those factors combined makes for a superb week in fantasy football.
Dud: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
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The top-drafted wideout in fantasy football, Calvin Johnson caught just three passes for 46 yards against the Seahawks. That's not even close to the expected level of production for Johnson.
When an owner drafts a wide receiver as high as Johnson, he expects huge production week in, week out. In Week 8, though, Johnson let down all of his owners.
Stud: Lawrence Tynes, K, New York Giants
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For the first time this year, a kicker makes the list. Lawrence Tynes booted five field goals and two extra points with a 100 percent accuracy rate.
Big points from a kicker can often make a huge difference in a fantasy football matchup. Kickers aren't expected to produce much, so when they do, it's especially huge.
Dud: Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
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With just seven carries for 23 yards, Steven Jackson was essentially useless in Week 8. He hasn't been great throughout the year, but this was an especially horrific performance.
Any owner playing Jackson received essentially negligible points from him. He was bad enough to significantly set back a team.