Fantasy Football Week 8 Rankings: Final Outlook for Sunday's Flex, PPR Players

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistNovember 1, 2015

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) and running back Khiry Robinson (29) take the field before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

This is the last week an early London game will ruin fantasy football managers' Sunday routine.

The Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs conclude 2015's International Series with a game kicking off at 9:30 a.m. ET. Given this article's 9 a.m. publishing time, it's probably too late to talk about Charcandrick West's outlook and Golden Tate's flex appeal. As a result, they're excluded from this final batch of Week 8 rankings.

If not, Golden Tate would have received praise as a bye-week replacement against a defense that has allowed an NFL-high 108 receptions to wideouts this year, per ESPN.com. Unless he fizzled, in which case everyone should have left the slumping receiver on the bench.

Week 8 Flex Rankings
1Le'Veon Bell, RB, PITLe'Veon Bell, RB, PIT
2Devonta Freeman, RB, ATLJulio Jones, WR, ATL
3Todd Gurley, RB, STLDevonta Freeman, RB, ATL
4Julio Jones, WR, ATLAntonio Brown, WR, PIT
5Adrian Peterson, RB, MINDeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU
6DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOUKeenan Allen, WR, SD
7Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEATodd Gurley, RB, STL
8Matt Forte, RB, CHIMatt Forte, RB, CHI
9Doug Martin, RB, TBOdell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG
10Justin Forsett, RB, BALAdrian Peterson, RB, MIN
11Mark Ingram, RB, NOBrandon Marshall, WR, NYJ
12Antonio Brown, WR, PITLarry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
13Keenan Allen, WR, SDJustin Forsett, RB, BAL
14Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYGMarshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
15Chris Ivory, RB, NYJDoug Martin, RB, TB
16Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJA.J. Green, WR, CIN
17Chris Johnson, RB, ARIDemaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
18A.J. Green, WR, CINRandall Cobb, WR, GB
19Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARIMark Ingram, RB, NO
20Demaryius Thomas, WR, DENEmmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN
21Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHIAlshon Jeffery, WR, CHI
22Jonathan Stewart, RB, CARDanny Woodhead, RB, SD
23Randall Cobb, WR, GBMike Evans, WR, TB
24Frank Gore, RB, INDStefon Diggs, WR, MIN
25Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DENChris Ivory, RB, NYJ
26Mike Evans, WR, TBT.Y. Hilton, WR, IND
27T.Y. Hilton, WR, INDChris Johnson, RB, ARI
28Danny Woodhead, RB, SDSteve Smith Sr., WR, BAL
29Martavis Bryant, WR, PITAmari Cooper, WR, OAK
30Giovani Bernard, RB, CINGreg Olsen, TE, CAR
31Latavius Murray, RB, OAKEric Decker, WR, NYJ
32Tyler Eifert, TE, CINGiovani Bernard, RB, CIN
33Stefon Diggs, WR, MINBrandin Cooks, WR, NO
34Amari Cooper, WR, OAKMartavis Bryant, WR, PIT
35Darren McFadden, RB, DALJonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
36Steve Smith Sr., WR, BALFrank Gore, RB, IND
37Eric Decker, WR, NYJTyler Eifert, TE, CIN
38Ronnie Hillman, RB, DENDonte Moncrief, WR, IND
39Eddie Lacy, RB, GBLatavius Murray, RB, OAK
40Jeremy Hill, RB, CINWillie Snead, WR, NO
41Greg Olsen, TE, CARTravis Kelce, TE, KC
42Brandin Cooks, WR, NODarren McFadden, RB, DAL
43Travis Kelce, TE, KCMarvin Jones, WR, CIN
44Alfred Blue, RB, HOUDuke Johnson Jr., RB, CLE
45Donte Moncrief, WR, INDRonnie Hillman, RB, DEN
46Marvin Jones, WR, CINMartellus Bennett, TE, CHI
47Willie Snead, WR, NOJohn Brown, WR, ARI
48Antonio Andrews, RB, TENEddie Lacy, RB, GB
49John Brown, WR, ARIKendall Wright, WR, TEN
50Dez Bryant, WR, DALJason Witten, TE, DAL
Author's Rankings

Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

A point-per-reception standout, Danny Woodhead is commanding more attention across the board.

The 30-year-old running back is averaging 85 total yards per game, with a majority coming as a pass-catcher. Outside of his old stomping grounds in Foxborough, there's no better place for him than the San Diego Chargers, who have completed an NFL-high 220 passes this season.

Last weekend, 12 of Philip Rivers' 58 throws went to Woodhead, who corralled 11 receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Those scores, his first end-zone visits since opening the season with a pair of Week 1 touchdowns, may look like a mere fluke. Don't be so quick to write them off.

Melvin Gordon, who has lost three fumbles this season, has received just seven carries in each of the past two weeks. Rather than trusting this year's first-round pick, the Chargers are relying on the 5'8" veteran inside the red zone. ESPN.com's Eric Williams noted their current usage:

In particular, expect Woodhead to continue to receive the lion’s share of the touches in the red zone for the Chargers. Woodhead has 14 touches for four total touchdowns inside the 20-yard line so far this season, compared to Melvin Gordon’s three touches and no touchdowns in the red zone through seven games

The Baltimore Ravens rank No. 28 in pass defense and No. 11 against the run, so San Diego will continue to air it out regularly on Sunday. This bodes well for Woodhead, a strong start in all leagues.

Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Brad Penner/Associated Press

Before news broke earlier this week of Joseph Randle facing a possible suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, the Dallas Cowboys had already declared Darren McFadden their Week 8 starter, per DallasCowboys.com's David Helman.

“I’ve just been wanting to go out there and show it to everybody on the field, because I know what I can do and I know what I’m capable of doing,” McFadden told Helman. “My big thing is just going out there and being able to show it.”

Against a New York Giants defense ranked No. 1 against the run earlier this season, McFadden translated 29 carries into 152 yards and a touchdown. For all the chatter of Christine Michael stealing the spotlight, the newcomer received just five handoffs.

These Cowboys fed DeMarco Murray 392 times last season, and now they have even more reason to run with Matt Cassel under center. If McFadden keeps the gig, he's a sturdy No. 2 back going forward. However, Week 8 won't prove to be an easy matchup.

The Seattle Seahawks limit opposing running backs to 3.7 yards per rush and 10.3 ESPN.com fantasy points per game, the second-lowest rate behind the New York Jets. A game with blowout potential could also silence Dallas' running game during the second half.

McFadden isn't a must-start on Sunday, but the safety net of opportunity makes him a solid flex play, particularly in leagues using standard scoring.

Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

For all the preseason buzz, Brandin Cooks' sophomore season feels like a colossal letdown. Yet the 22-year-old wide receiver is averaging five catches and 63.4 receiving yards per game, putting him on pace for a 1,000-yard tally.

After the luster faded, he has quietly excelled over the last three games, including a 100-yard, one-touchdown display against the Philadelphia Eagles and a season-high 13 targets last weekend.

Brandin Cooks' Last Three Games
5@ PHI591071
7@ IND613810

Cooks, who started the season lined up against star corners Patrick Peterson and Josh Norman, believes the emergence of Willie Snead and Benjamin Watson have shifted the attention from him in the New Orleans Saints' egalitarian offense.

"Now defenses are seeing that we've got guys like Snead making plays, Watson, [Marques] Colston," Cooks told ESPN.com's Mike Triplett. "But at the same time, we have such a great coach, he's getting me into space, he's getting me into position where essentially I can't be double-teamed."

New Orleans will host the New York Giants' No. 30 passing defense inside the Superdome, presenting a golden opportunity for the offense to explode.