Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings: Projecting Top Players at Every Position

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IOctober 25, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 13: Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs drives down the field against the Oakland Raiders defense in the third quarter October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Every week in the NFL presents new challenges and new opportunities for fantasy football owners across the nation. 

Trying to predict which players will score the most points can be frustrating, however—especially if you have to choose between a couple of top players (you lucky son of a gun). 

Thankfully, the answers to your questions in Week 8 are forthcoming. These rankings will assuage your decision-making process and help you take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to your fantasy lineup.



Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: Quarterbacks
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Peyton ManningDenver BroncosWashington Redskins30
2Aaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings26
3Drew BreesNew Orleans SaintsBuffalo Bills25
4Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersTampa Bay Buccaneers23
5Matt StaffordDetroit LionsDallas Cowboys22
6Colin KaepernickSan Francisco 49ersJacksonville Jaguars20
7Robert Griffin IIIWashington RedskinsDenver Broncos19
8Michael VickPhiladelphia EaglesNew York Giants18
9Tony RomoDallas CowboysDetroit Lions17
10Russell WilsonSeattle SeahawksSt. Louis Rams15

At this point, we might as well offer Peyton Manning permanent residence at the top spot of these rankings. He's been the top scorer of the season at any position, and he has another juicy matchup this weekend that will make fantasy owners happy. 

Washington is one of the league's worst fantasy defenses against opposing quarterbacks, allowing 18.3 points per game. Aaron Rodgers went off for 480 yards and four touchdowns earlier this season against this team, and Manning should similarly have a huge game at home this Sunday.

/Getty Images

Speaking of Rodgers, he's got a tasty matchup this weekend, too, against the pathetic Minnesota Vikings. The emergence of Jarrett Boykin and Eddie Lacy have greatly improved Green Bay's offense and have helped Rodgers continue to shine even without a few of his top weapons.

Colin Kaepernick is a sleeper breakout stud this Sunday in London against Jacksonville. He has been more inclined to take off and run of late, and he finally scored his first rushing touchdown of the season last weekend against Tennessee. 


Running Backs

Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: Running Backs
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsCleveland Browns24
2LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia EaglesNew York Giants23
3Marshawn LynchSeattle SeahawksSt. Louis Rams22
4Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsGreen Bay Packers21
5Reggie BushDetroit LionsDallas Cowboys20
6Alfred MorrisWashington RedskinsDenver Broncos19
7Knowshon MorenoDenver BroncosWashington Redskins18
8Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings17
9Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ersJacksonville Jaguars15
10Stevan RidleyNew England PatriotsMiami Dolphins14

/Getty Images

Fun fact of the day: Jamaal Charles is the only player in the entire league with 100-plus yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in each of his first seven games, as NFLN_Playbook noted:

The Cleveland Browns aren't horrible against the run, but Charles is just as dangerous as a passer, and he's highly featured in Kansas City's dink-and-dunk offense. 

/Getty Images

Look for LeSean McCoy to bounce back from a poor performance last weekend against the New York Giants. He struggled to find running lanes the first time these teams met up, but he'll touch the ball plenty, and volume equals production when it comes to McCoy and fantasy football. 

A big sleeper for this weekend is one of the other running backs in the Philly/New York game. Peyton Hillis has good hands for a big running back, and Eli Manning has already shown a willingness to get him the ball with regularity. He touched the ball 23 times last weekend.


Wide Receivers

Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: Wide Receiver
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsDallas Cowboys24
2Victor CruzNew York GiantsPhiladelphia Eagles22
3Jordy NelsonGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings20
4Dez BryantDallas CowboysDetroit Lions19
5Demaryius ThomasDenver BroncosWashington Redskins17
6Harry DouglasAtlanta FalconsArizona Cardinals16
7DeSean JacksonPhiladelphia EaglesNew York Giants16
8A.J. GreenCincinnati BengalsNew York Jets15
9Wes WelkerDenver BroncosWashington14
10Antonio BrownPittsburgh SteelersOakland Raiders13

First of all, any receiver wearing a Denver Broncos uniform this weekend has a good chance of scoring in the double digits against Washington. With that out of the way, there are a couple of other intriguing matchups that heavily favor a top receiver this weekend. 

Victor Cruz has been quiet for the past three weeks, but he has an ideal matchup this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, which features the worst fantasy defense in the league this year against opposing receivers. 

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA;  New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If Hillis can pound out some decent yardage on the ground for the Giants, then Cruz should break out with a huge game, thanks to the bit of extra time a competent running game gives to quarterbacks. 

Jordy Nelson also has a highly favorable matchup this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota's offense is a sinking ship right now, and its defense hasn't been good against the pass all year. Aaron Rodgers will find Nelson for a few big plays deep downfield as the Vikings' secondary breaks down.


Tight Ends

Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: Tight Ends
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsMiami Dolphins19
2Tony GonzalezAtlanta FalconsArizona Cardinals18
3Julius ThomasDenver BroncosWashington Redskins16
4Vernon DavisSan Francisco 49ersJacksonville Jaguars16
5Jason WittenDallas CowboysDetroit Lions14
6Jordan CameronCleveland BrownsKansas City Chiefs13
7Jordan ReedWashington RedskinsDenver Broncos11
8*Jimmy Graham*New Orleans SaintsBuffalo Bills11
9Heath MillerPittsburgh SteelersOakland Raiders10
10Greg OlsenCarolina PanthersTampa Bay Buccaneers9
** denotes check injury report

Holy Gronkowski, what an entrance the previously injured tight end made last weekend against the New York Jets. He caught eight passes for 114 yards in his first action of the season, looking very much like the guy who torched the league for two-plus years before his broken forearm took him out.

He's got a killer matchup this weekend, too, as the Miami Dolphins have allowed opposing tight ends to feast this year to the tune of 12 points per game. 

Oct 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs past Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) after a catch in the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TOD

Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez should also have a monster game, going up against the league's worst fantasy defense against tight ends. The Arizona Cardinals allow 16.3 points per game to tight ends, and Gonzalez has become a focal point for Atlanta since Julio Jones was injured.

Be cautious about starting Jimmy Graham. He's questionable to play with his foot injury, as noted by CBS Fantasy Football, and was limited in practice on Friday:



Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: Defenses
RankTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Kansas City ChiefsCleveland Browns19
2San Francisco 49ersJacksonville Jaguars17
3Seattle SeahawksSt. Louis Rams16
4New England PatriotsMiami Dolphins15
5Cincinnati BengalsNew York Jets13
6Pittsburgh SteelersOakland Raiders12
7Carolina PanthersTampa Bay Buccaneers11
8Green Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings10
9New York JetsCincinnati Bengals10
10Dallas CowboysDetroit Lions9

As usual, Kansas City is a no-brainer against Cleveland. The Browns are rolling with veteran quarterback Jason Campbell this Sunday, but Cleveland's offense will still struggle to move the ball against the Chiefs, no matter who lines up behind center.

Another easy play is San Francisco in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Oct 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie (63) intercepts a pass from Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (not pictured) during the third quarter at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Ho

No team in the league scores less than the Jags, and the 49ers have been ramping up efforts on defense the past few games, forcing turnovers and tallying sacks at a high level. 



Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: Kickers
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Matt PraterDenver BroncosWashington Redskins16
2Steven HauschkaSeattle SeahawksSt. Louis Rams15
3Mason CrosbyGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings14
4Garrett HartleyNew Orleans SaintsBuffalo Bills15
5Stephen GostkowskiNew England PatriotsMiami Dolphins14
6Shaun SuishamPittsburgh SteelersOakland Raiders13
7Alex HeneryPhiladelphia EaglesNew York Giants12
8Dan CarpenterBuffalo BillsNew Orleans Saints11
9Phil DawsonSan Francisco 49ersJacksonville Jaguars10
10Nick FolkNew York JetsCincinnati Bengals10

You can never go wrong with Matt Prater as your kicker. No team scores more often than Denver, and the trend isn't likely to change this weekend against Washington.

Aug 17, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) kicks a 34 yard field goal against the St. Louis Rams in the first quarter at Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Crosby should also get in a nice bit of work on Sunday for the Packers against Minnesota, which made New York's offense look sort of decent on Monday Night Football in Week 7. 

Super-deep sleeper alert: New York Jets kicker Nick Folk could have a big game against Cincinnati. The Jets are doing a better job on offense of late, which means more scoring opportunities for the kicker. 


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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