Are mounting injuries and a voluminous bye week wreaking havoc on your fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 8? Well, you will not be the only one.
With major injuries to Doug Martin, Reggie Wayne, Jermichael Finley, Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler and others (not to mention previous injuries like DeMarco Murray, Jimmy Graham and Steven Jackson), Week 8 will clearly be the battle of the fittest.
In this slideshow I will break down every major fantasy spot and give the top 20 options at each position/unit.
So, let’s dive right in and break down the matchups and trends in this week’s position rankings.
Disclaimer: These lists are just for this week and do not reflect any seasonal value.
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos—After a tough loss in his homecoming to Indianapolis, expect Manning to regroup and unload on the Redskins this week.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints—After a full week of rest, Brees should have little trouble delivering vs. the Bills at home.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers—Rodgers should have no trouble gearing up for rivals in the Vikings this week.
- Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys—While he had a good chance to rack up the fantasy points the last few weeks, a trip to Detroit is not that daunting and Romo should get back on track.
- Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions—A high scoring affair might await Stafford and the Lions when they take on the Cowboys at home this week.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins—Expect a lot of points for Griffin III and the Redskins this week when they pay a visit to Denver.
- Tom Brady, New England Patriots—After an unlikely rough outing vs. the Jets, Brady should rebound with a home date with the Dolphins this week.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons—Ryan did great in his first test without both Julio Jones and Roddy White and he should do just fine in Arizona this Sunday.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers—A trip to London to face the hapless Jags should get Kaepernick going in the right direction.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers—Although it will be a short turnaround, Newton should make enough plays on Thursday in Tampa Bay to be a solid start.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks—A contest at St. Louis on Monday night should allow Wilson to bring his A-game.
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders—Fresh off a bye, Pryor should be well rested, but he won’t have it easy vs. the Steelers this week.
Nick Foles, Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles—This is a very fluid situation as both Foles (concussion) and Vick (hamstring) are banged up, but if either plays, they would make for an excellent play against the Giants. If it’s Matt Barkley, then pass.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals—Dalton is starting to get into a groove (709 passing yards and six touchdowns in his last two games) and he’s a recommended start this week, even against a tough Jets squad.
- Eli Manning, New York Giants—While Manning is making his mistakes, he should be able to exploit a weak Eagles secondary this week (he did throw for 334 yards and two touchdowns vs. Philadelphia back in Week 5).
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers—Roethlisberger didn’t have a great outing (160 passing yards) this past weekend against the Ravens, but a trip to Oakland could get him back on track.
- Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals—A home game against a vulnerable Falcons’ pass defense should allow Palmer to make for a low-end option this week.
- Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars—The matchup is tough (vs. San Francisco in London), but you know it’s likely Henne will be trying to play catch-up, and he could rack up the garbage-time points.
- Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs—With a lot of quarterbacks on byes, and several more banged up, Smith is a solid choice this week vs. Cleveland.
- Geno Smith, New York Jets—With the bye weeks wreaking havoc, Smith is a suitable replacement for when he and the Jets take on the Bengals this week.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs—Against a team in the Browns, who have given up a league-leading nine rushing touchdowns (tied with two other teams), Charles should bust loose in this affair.
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks—After 11 days of rest and facing a terrible run defense in the Rams, Lynch will be as solid as gold.
- LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles—McCoy didn’t have a great outing (just 81 total yards and no touchdowns) against the Cowboys, but he should make up for it when he and the Eagles host the Giants this week.
- Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers—The reliable Gore could have a field day when he faces off against the Jaguars and their league-worst rush defense in London.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings—Peterson will be amped to face the Packers on Sunday night. After all, he ran for 409 yards and scored three total touchdowns against Green Bay last year.
- Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos—Moreno is really running away with the job as lead back in Denver, and a matchup with Washington at home this week should not pose much of a problem.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers—Lacy is starting to heat up and with the passing game suffering from various injuries, Lacy will have an even bigger role going forward, and he should do just fine against the Vikings on Sunday night.
- Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions—Bush’s versatility will be put to good use this week when the Lions host the Cowboys.
- Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills—Assuming that he is healthy, and he should be, Jackson is taking command of the Bills backfield, and he may do enough damage in New Orleans this week to make for a good No. 2 running back option.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots—Ridley is back in a groove, and he is a solid start for when the Patriots host the Dolphins this week.
- Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys—As long as DeMarco Murray is out, Randle should have a solid day against the Lions in Detroit. If somehow Murray is cleared, he therefore makes for an obvious start over Randle.
Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints—Back after the bye, Sproles may take on a bigger role if Jimmy Graham is out. As it is, a matchup with the Bills at home makes Sproles a dependable No.2 running back
- Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers—After rushing for 93 yards vs. the Ravens this past week, Bell could possibly do even better this upcoming week with a trip to Oakland.
- Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons—Rodger’s all-purpose versatility is being put on full display with the injuries to Julio Jones and Roddy White. Expect more of that going forward. As long as Steven Jackson does not return this week, Rodgers is an excellent start vs. the Cardinals this week.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins—Sure, Morris lost some touchdown glory to Roy Helu this week, but he is still the bell cow back in Washington. Still, a matchup in Denver is not ideal.
- Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints—Both Thomas and Darren Sproles should make good plays this week with the Bills coming to town.
- Chris Ivory—Ivory’s ranking here is dependent on if he will remain the starter over Bilal Powell. After the Jets fed Ivory 34 times for 104 yards, Ivory should get another crack at getting the lion’s share of carries this week against the Bengals.
- Zac Stacy, St. Louis—Sure, the matchup on Monday night vs. Seattle is daunting, but between the injury to Sam Bradford and Stacy clearly becoming the go-to-guy in the Rams backfield, Stacy may be the only weapon the Rams have this week.
- Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati—The matchup vs. the Jets isn’t great, but Bernard’s athleticism and role in the Bengals offense still makes him a decent option this week.
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins—While he has underachieved for the most part this season, you should give Miller one more week to impress, as this week he’ll take on a Patriots team that allows 127.1 rushing yards per game (31st in the NFL).
- Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions—After a few bumpy weeks while overcoming a knee injury, Johnson returned to his lofty perch (recording nine catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns vs. Cincinnati), and he should stay there going forward.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys—In a game against Calvin Johnson, you’ll know Bryant will want to have a great day to show he’s just as elite as Johnson. In a game that could become a shootout, Bryant should go off.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos—On Sunday night vs. the Colts, Thomas got off a mini slide, while hauling in four receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown. A home game vs. Washington should keep him at elite status.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers—With more injuries for the Packers to contend with, expect Aaron Rodgers to target Nelson a ton in their game against the Vikings on Sunday night.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles—After a dismal outing (three receptions for 21 yards) vs. the Cowboys this past Sunday, Jackson should rebound with the Giants coming to Philadelphia.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals—Green has put together two very good back-to-back weeks, but the Jets might present a slight challenge this week.
Wes Welker, Denver Broncos—Amazingly enough, Sunday night’s game vs. Indianapolis was the first time Welker did not reach the end zone. However, that could all change with the Redskins next up on the schedule.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants—Cruz has been a Giants constant all season, and he should get loose for a few big plays in Philadelphia.
Eric Decker, Denver Broncos—All Broncos’ receivers should be active in their game against the Redskins, and Decker will always make for a high-end receiver.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals—Fitzgerald has a great chance to break out against a weakened Falcons secondary this Sunday.
- Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars—More was expected out of Blackmon on Sunday vs. San Diego, but he reeled in only six catches for 58 yards. With their game in London against San Francisco expected to be a lopsided affair in favor of the 49ers, Blackmon could once again dazzle in garbage time.
Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins—When you play the Broncos (the Redskins' Week 8 opponent) you will likely be chasing points and passing a whole bunch in the game. Expect to see Robert Griffin III target Garcon a whole lot this Sunday.
- Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints—After a week off, Colston should go right back to being a solid No. 2 wide receiver for most owners, as the Saints take on the Bills this week.
- Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—With new Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon lacking many weapons, he’ll lean on Jackson a lot, and that will certainly be the case Thursday night vs. the Panthers.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers—As Ben Roethlisberger’s main man in the passing game, look for Brown to have an effective day in Oakland on Sunday.
- Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys—Now that he has scored in three straight games to go with 249 receiving yards during that stretch, Williams is someone Tony Romo clearly loves throwing to. A matchup against a shaky Lions pass defense makes Williams a nice sleeper pick this week.
- Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns—Gordon had a miserable day (two receptions for 21 yards) in Green Bay and he might be in for another rough afternoon with a trip to Kansas City up next. Still, Gordon is too talented to sit.
- Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons—Minus Julio Jones and Roddy White, Douglas stepped up big time against the Buccaneers on Sunday, recording seven catches for 149 receiving yards and a touchdown. Arizona should offer little resistance against Douglas and the Falcons this week.
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants—Although he didn’t have a good night on Monday (two catches for 28 yards), Nicks could get back on track in Philadelphia this week. Remember, back in Week 5 Nicks registered nine catches for 142 vs. Philadelphia.
- Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers—Depending on the health of James Jones, Boykin could continue to enjoy his breakout after he registered eight receptions (on 10 targets) for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Browns. This week the Packers take on a terrible Vikings pass defense, and Boykin definitely makes for a solid start. If Jones returns, slide Boykin down a few pegs.
- Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints—We’ll rank Graham here out of courtesy and the fact that if by chance he suits up, he’ll no doubt excel in his game vs. Buffalo. Nonetheless, Graham will have to be monitored closely as he has a legit foot injury.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots—Gronkowski emphatically announced his return this past week, hauling in eight receptions for 114 yards against the Jets. Gronkowski is firmly back, and he is a no-brainer stud tight end to rely on when the Patriots host the Dolphins this week.
- Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos—Thomas scored yet again this past week vs. the Colts and as long as Peyton Manning remains this hot, Thomas will be a good bet to go off every week. The Redskins should be no match this week.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers—Davis has another awesome matchup (vs. Jacksonville in London) to be a top tight end option this week.
- Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons—Expected to do more vs. Tampa, Gonzalez had only two catches for 30 yards. With the team down Julio Jones and Roddy White, Gonzalez should be heavily involved when the Falcons visit Arizona on Sunday.
- Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys—The Cowboys game in Detroit this week could be a shootout, and expect Witten to be more involved this week.
- Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns—While the rest of the Browns struggled against the Packers, Cameron shined with seven catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. The sledding will get tougher for Cameron, though, as the Browns head to Kansas City this week.
- Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins—Coming off a very impressive game (nine receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown), Reed is clearly becoming a favorite target for Robert Griffin III. Reed is a fine start for when the Redskins travel to Denver this week.
- Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers—After scoring another touchdown this week against the Ravens, Miller is finally starting to settle in. He should be more of a factor in the Steelers game at Oakland this week.
- Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins—Although he didn’t rack up the yardage, Clay did score against the Bills on Sunday. He’ll once again be a solid start when the Dolphins travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.
- Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers—Olsen will always be a solid low-end No.1 option, and he’ll be just that when the Panthers travel to Tampa for a Thursday night affair.
- Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles—Celek is a mix-and–match starter, and as a player who constantly burns the Giants (three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown in Week 5), he is a reliable start this week.
- Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals—Eifert finally scored a touchdown this past weekend after going seven weeks without one. However, expecting an encore will be tough with the Jets next up on the schedule.
- Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings—He didn’t have a great night on Monday vs. the Giants (three receptions for 27 yards), but as Josh Freeman adapts to his new surroundings, expect Freeman to rely more on Rudolph this week when the Packers come to Minnesota.
- Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks—The Seahawks don’t have a lot of weapons in the passing game, but on occasion Russell Wilson will lean on Miller, as he did Thursday night when Miller recorded five receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown vs. the Cardinals. With so many key players on a bye, Miller is a decent option when the Seahawks play at St. Louis this Monday night.
- Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets—Cumberland is someone Geno Smith likes to rely on; expect that trend to continue in Cincinnati this week.
- Timothy Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Wright didn’t follow up his solid Week 7 performance in Atlanta this week (two receptions for 15 yards), but Mike Glennon is slowly building a rapport with Wright. However, Wright is only a low-end option this week when the Buccaneers take on the Panthers at home on Thursday night.
- Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions—Pettigrew finally recorded a touchdown this past week (against the Bengals) and as the club’s more consistent receiving threat at tight end, Pettigrew has more value over Joseph Fauria going forward. Pettigrew is a decent streaming option this week with Dallas coming to town.
- Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills—Chandler is usually a boom-or-bust tight end, and he went bust this past week with only two catches for 18 yards. However, new Bills quarterback Thad Lewis may target Chandler more this week in New Orleans.
- Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams—New Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens might have to rely on his tight ends as he adjusts to his new role, and he may connect with Cook more than Sam Bradford did in the last few weeks. However, the matchup vs. Seattle on Monday night is rather rough.
- Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks—Tied with Nick Folk for the second-most field goals made in the league (16), Hauschka should have no trouble building on that number in St. Louis on Monday night.
- Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots—Gostkowski is always one of the best options to rely on at kicker, and he should have his chances vs. Miami this week.
- Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys—As long as the Cowboys are moving the ball, Bailey will be an effective kicker, and Dallas should do plenty of that this week in Detroit.
- David Akers, Detroit Lions—What was said about Bailey can be applied to Akers here. Expect a shootout between Dallas and Detroit.
- Matt Prater, Denver Broncos—In a game against the Redskins, the scoreboard operator should be just as busy as Prater.
- Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers—An away game indoors against the Vikings should yield a lot of points for Crosby and the Packers this week. Realize that Josh Brown of the Giants just nailed three field goals against Minnesota.
- Nick Folk, New York Jets—The surprising 4-3 Jets rely on Folk to end a lot of drives with his legs and that will likely be the case again this week in Cincinnati.
- Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles—Henery has been a top-10 option all year and with the Giants coming to Philadelphia, Henery should be primed and ready to go.
- Garrett Hartley, New Orleans Saints—Back at home after a bye, Hartley should be a busy kicker with Buffalo and their shoddy defense up next on the schedule.
- Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers—The 49ers should score at will on the Jaguars in London this week, and that makes Dawson a recommended start.
- Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons—The chances for points should be there this week in Arizona for Bryant and Atlanta.
- Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs—The Chiefs should have their way with the Browns this week, and Succop should get his opportunities.
- Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals—The Jets are stingy defensively, and they may limit the drives Cincinnati puts together, and as a result Nugent could have his number called more than usual in this game.
- Kai Forbath, Washington Redskins—The Broncos (the Redskins' Week 8 opponent) can be scored on, and Forbath might see a lot of the field this Sunday.
- Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers—While the Steelers’ offense has been erratic, Suisham should be busier than usual this week in Oakland.
- Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins—Sturgis has been a steady option most of the season, but he’s just a low-end option this week for his game in New England.
- Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers—Gano is coming off a game in which he nailed three field goals vs. St. Louis and with Tampa Bay (the Panthers' Week 8 opponent) a mess, Gano might be active in Thursday night’s contest.
- Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals—The Falcons (the Cardinals' Week 8 opponent) are no defensive juggernaut, so Feely should play a role in this affair.
- Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders—He hasn’t been getting the opportunities he’s had in the past, but Janikowski could be in line for a few chances this week when the Steelers come to town.
- Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings—Walsh is suddenly a declining option at kicker, and he’s just a low-end choice this week when the Vikings take on the Packers at home.
- San Francisco 49ers—The 49ers should absolutely maul the Jags this week in London.
- Seattle Seahawks—With Sam Bradford out for the year, the Seahawks should have their way with the Rams this week.
- Kansas City Chiefs—The Chiefs are 7-0, and it’s mostly because of their awesome defense and they’ll be at it again with the Browns up next.
- Carolina Panthers—Facing a banged-up Bucs team on a short turnaround, the Panthers are a high-end option this week.
- New Orleans Saints—Under the radar for most of the season, the Saints defense has really come alive this year, and New Orleans should force Thad Lewis into some mistakes this week.
- Green Bay Packers—With the Vikings in total disarray on offense, the Packers should feast on Josh Freeman and company this Sunday night.
- Cincinnati Bengals—The Jets are by no means an offensive machine, and the Bengals are certainly a good play this week.
- New England Patriots—The Patriots have one of the more underrated defensive units in the league, and they will be a great option to rely on this week when playing the Dolphins at home.
- New York Jets—The Jets have been getting it done with defense this year. This week they should make enough plays against the Bengals to make for a starting unit.
- Pittsburgh Steelers—The Steelers are starting to get it in gear, and they should be able to contain the Raiders this week.
- Cleveland Browns—The Browns have hit a rough patch of late, but to their credit they have played two high-scoring teams the last couple of weeks (vs. Detroit, @Green Bay). The Chiefs are not a dangerous offense, so the Browns could be a solid play this week.
- Oakland Raiders—The Raiders are not that bad a defensive unit, and they could be a stealth play this week against an unpredictable Steelers’ offense.
- Miami Dolphins—The Dolphins are not a terrible defense by any means, but relying on them this week in New England is very risky.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers—If the Bucs can do a decent job of limiting Newton, they could be a serviceable unit on Thursday night.
- Atlanta Falcons—The Cardinals are certainly not one of the league’s most explosive offenses, and Atlanta may just do well enough to make them a decent start this week.
- Denver Broncos—They don't have the steadiest defense, but with so many good defenses off this week, the Broncos could be worth a flier when they play Washington.
- Arizona Cardinals—The Cardinals could possibly put forth a nice effort against the Falcons this week.
- Dallas Cowboys—Not the most solid selection this week against the Lions, but the Cowboys did limit a high-scoring Eagles squad to just three points this past week.
- Detroit Lions—With six teams on a bye, you’d still have to take a leap of faith to trust the Lions when they play Dallas.
- Philadelphia Eagles—Although the Giants (the Eagles' Week 8 opponent) won on Monday night, they clearly still have trouble moving the ball, and the Eagles might just do enough to be serviceable this week.
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