Fantasy Football Week 8: Picking the Top Performers

Keegan FergusonCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 8: Picking the Top Performers

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    While Fantasy football conventional wisdom suggests that you should a take running back with your first pick, this seasons top four fantasy performers are all quarterbacks.

    Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Kyle Orton have shone early in the season, while some of last years stars have struggled more than expected.

    Heading into the meat of the season, with injuries and bye weeks, it's more important than ever to recognize favorable matchups and play certain players.

    Let's take a look at who will shine in week eight.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Steve Johnson, Lee Evans

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    Now, it usually doesn't make sense to start a quarterback who is winless.  But this week, if you don't have a guy like Rivers, Rodgers, or Manning, think about playing Fitzpatrick.

    In his last two games, Fitzpatrick has connected with his receivers for 594 yards and seven scores. 

    His two main targets, Lee Evans and Steve Johnson, have caught all seven of those throws.  Look for the Bills passing attack to remain prolific this week against a Kansas City Chiefs defense ranked 25th against the pass.

Arian Foster

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    At this point, starting Arian Foster is a no-brainer.  He is the fifth most productive fantasy player in the league, however his production has dipped in his last two outings.

    Expect him to reverse that trend this week.  Foster burst onto the scene in week one, running roughshod over the Colts' defense.  He racked up 231 yards and three scores.  This week, he faces that same Colts run defense.

    Will he duplicate that performance, no, but he will certainly be productive.  The Colts are typically able to hide their poor run defense because they play from the lead.  Their offense forces teams to throw the ball.  But with Austin Collie and Dallas Clark out, the Colts offense will likely be less prolific than usual.  If the Texans' defense is able to contain Manning, then Foster will get plenty of carries.  Look for him to shine this week.

Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles

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    The two Kansas City running backs have provided the spark for the Chiefs surprising 4-2 start.  This week, expect both to get rolling against the leagues worst rushing defense.

    Generally, owning a running back who competes with another back is frustrating.  Last week Jones ran for 70 yards on a carry only to have Charles get a chance to punch in the score. 

    But, against the Bills, who are giving up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing running backs, both players should start. 

    Jones and Charles are both averaging more than 4 YPC and should maintain that number in this game.  One or both of them will rush for 100 yards and I expect both to score.

Carson Palmer, T.O., Chad Ochocinco and Jordan Shipley

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    That's right, I said Jordan Shipley.

    The rookie from Texas had a breakout game Sunday.  He caught 6 passes for 131 yards and a score.  He won't replicate those numbers but he may have earned Carson Palmer's trust.  Look for him at a flex spot if you are decimated by injury or bye weeks.

    Carson Palmer finally put a mistake free football game together against the Falcons and will look to build on that at home against the Dolphins.  The Dolphins pass defense is not particularly good and Palmer will feast.

    His two favorite targets are Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco.  Owens is enjoying a career resurgence in Cincinnati after a disappointing season in Buffalo.  Look for his dominance to continue this week.  Ochocinco has struggled for much of the season but got on track against Atlanta.  Look for both of these guys to abuse Miami's corners.

Calvin Johnson

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    You start Calvin Johnson all the time, no matter what.  But this week, look for him to be particularly productive.  The Lions are coming off a bye week and are easing Matt Stafford back into the lineup.  The second-year quarterback will get a chance to play the 31st ranked pass defense in the league.

    Last week DeAngelo Hall reeled in four interceptions and he will be asked to cover Calvin Johnson this week.  Don't expect Hall to repeat that performance.  Johnson is big and physical, he can break tackles and turn short throws into big plays.  He can also go over the top and catch the deep ball.  If Stafford his sharp in his first week back, Johnson can have a huge day.