Fantasy Football Week 8 Rankings: Top Players, Sleepers and Positional Guide
Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season was heavy on headaches for fantasy football managers.
That was always likely to be the case, as six teams were on a bye, including the league's two highest-scoring offenses (Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings). The headaches only increased as running backs Miles Sanders and Josh Jacobs were lost to injury. Those playing in deep or two-quarterback leagues probably felt the loss of rookie signal-caller Zach Wilson, too.
The good news for Week 8 is only two teams are on a bye, although both the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders have top-10 scoring averages, so you might still feel a sting. The not-so-great news is the injury issues aren't going away and will likely only compound as the campaign progresses.
That makes it crucial to maximize the impact of your starting roster, both by squeezing elite production out of your stars and calling upon the right sleepers. We're here to help with both by providing both rankings and our favorite sleeper at the four offensive positions.
1. Kyler Murray, ARI (vs. GB)
2. Josh Allen, BUF (vs. MIA)
3. Patrick Mahomes, KC (vs. NYG)
4. Jalen Hurts, PHI (at DET)
5. Matthew Stafford, LAR (at HOU)
6. Dak Prescott, DAL (at MIN)
7. Tom Brady, TB (at NO)
8. Justin Herbert, LAC (vs. NE)
9. Kirk Cousins, MIN (vs. DAL)
10. Aaron Rodgers, GB (at ARI)
Sleeper: Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. CAR)
Only 10 quarterbacks have averaged more passing yards per game this season than Ryan's 278, and one of them isn't available this week (Buffalo's Josh Allen). That means an average day at the offense could make Ryan stream-worthy in all but the shallowest of leagues.
Ryan could do better than that, though.
With Russell Gage back in action, Ryan should have a full complement of playmakers around him. He also draws a Carolina Panthers defense that has given up 59 total points over the past two weeks against the Minnesota Vikings (makes sense) and the New York Giants (hmmm).
1. Derrick Henry, TEN (at IND)
2. Dalvin Cook, MIN (vs. DAL)
3. Jonathan Taylor, IND (vs. TEN)
4. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (at MIN)
5. Alvin Kamara, NO (vs. TB)
6. Aaron Jones, GB (at MIN)
7. Darrell Henderson Jr., LAR (at HOU)
8. Nick Chubb, CLE (vs. PIT)
9. Joe Mixon, CIN (at NYJ)
10. Damien Harris, NE (at LAC)
11. Najee harris, PIT (at CLE)
12. Austin Ekeler, LAC (vs. NE)
13. D'Andre Swift, DET (vs. PHI)
14. James Robinson, JAC (at SEA)
15. Leonard Fournette, TB (at NO)
16. Darrel Williams, KC (vs. NYG)
17. Elijah Mitchell, SF (at CHI)
18. Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL (vs. CAR)
19. Antonio Gibson, WAS (at DEN)
20. Chuba Hubbard, CAR (at ATL)
Sleeper: Kenneth Gainwell, PHI (at DET)
Philadelphia Eagles starting running back Miles Sanders was carted off the field Sunday with an ankle injury that has him facing a week-to-week recovery period. Assuming he doesn't make it back in time for this contest, Gainwell could slide into a featured role right ahead of a drool-worthy matchup.
To be clear, the Eagles could split touches between Gainwell and veteran Boston Scott, but the former has been the preferred choice so far this season. Scott has only played twice, totaling seven carries and three receptions for 34 scrimmage yards and a score. Gainwell, meanwhile, has appeared in all seven contests, tallying 284 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns on 26 rushes and 19 receptions.
If Gainwell gets the bulk of the opportunities, he could feast on a Detroit Lions defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to the running back position, per NFL.com.
1. Tyreek Hill, KC (vs. NYG)
2. Cooper Kupp, LAR (at HOU)
3. Justin Jefferson, MIN (vs. DAL)
4. Ja'Marr Chase, CIN (at NYJ)
5. Stefon Diggs, BUF (vs. MIA)
6. DeAndre Hopkins, ARI (vs. GB)
7. A.J. Brown, TEN (at IND)
8. Deebo Samuel, SF (at CHI)
9. CeeDee Lamb, DAL (at MIN)
10. Mike Williams, LAC (vs. NE)
11. D.J. Moore, CAR (at ATL)
12. Mike Evans, TB (at NO)
13. Calvin Ridley, ATL (vs. CAR)
14. Terry McLaurin, WAS (at DEN)
15. Adam Thielen, MIN (vs. DAL)
16. Chris Godwin, TB (at NO)
17. D.K. Metcalf, SEA (vs. JAC)
18. Michael Pittman Jr., IND (vs. TEN)
19. Amari Cooper, DAL (at MIN)
20. Diontae Johnson, PIT (at CLE)
Sleeper: Jerry Jeudy, DEN (vs. WAS)
The 15th overall pick of the 2020 draft, Jeudy caught 52 passes for 856 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. He seemed ready to build on that production when he opened his sophomore season with six receptions for 72 yards in Week 1, but he left that game with a sprained ankle and hasn't been seen since.
Fantasy managers who stuck with him are about to have their patience rewarded. NFL Network's James Palmer reported Jeudy will return for Sunday's matchup with Washington.
It's about as good as of a matchup as a receiver can have, as Washington has allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position.
1. Travis Kelce, KC (vs. NYG)
2. Kyle Pitts, ATL (vs. CAR)
3. T.J. Hockenson, DET (vs. PHI)
4. Dallas Goedert, PHI (at DET)
5. Noah Fant, DEN (vs. WAS)
6. Dalton Schultz, DAL (at MIN)
7. Hunter Henry, NE (at LAC)
8. Mike Gesicki MIA (at BUF)
9. C.J. Uzomah, CIN (at NYJ)
10. Tyler Higbee, LAR (at HOU)
Sleeper: Robert Tonyan, GB (at ARI)
It's been a mostly awful season for Tonyan, who has topped 10 receiving yards only twice in seven games. But one of those contests was this past Sunday, when he hit season-highs in catches (four) and receiving yards (63) while scoring just his second touchdown of the campaign.
His season-long numbers are forgettable, but he is trending up.
That's not the reason for his sleeper status in Week 8, though. With both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard on the COVID-19 list, the Packers are suddenly woefully short on pass-catchers. Expect Aaron Rodgers to look Tonyan's direction early and often in this potential Thursday night shootout.