Top Week 8 Fantasy Football Performers: Todd Gurley is Selfish, the Chiefs Offense is Unstoppable, and More
Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30).
- Quarterback Patrick Mahomes continues to put up video game numbers with the Chiefs offense.
- Backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick brought back the magic to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a losing effort.
- Running back Todd Gurley crushed the hopes of bettors and fantasy owners across the sports world in Week 8.
The American dream is different for everybody, but 12-plus hours of NFL action in a single Sunday is pretty hard to beat.
This week’s action featured statement wins from the Panthers and Seahawks over the Ravens and Lions, respectively; multiple touchdowns through the air from Marvin Jones, Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown and Josh Reynolds (!!!); and more 30-points performances from the Bengals, Bucs, Panthers, Steelers, Texans, Chiefs, Colts and Saints offenses.
The following four players were the brightest Week 8 stars at their respective positions.
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Fantasy Quarterback of the Day: Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes threw for 303 yards and four scores Sunday against the Broncos’ second-ranked defense in pass DVOA. The Chiefs’ franchise quarterback already finds himself in elite company after just eight weeks of action:
Mahomes has thrown for 300-plus yards in seven consecutive games dating back to Week 2, which ties Peyton Manning for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. The Chiefs have scored at least 27 points in all eight of his career starts, giving credence to the notion that they’re the league’s best overall offense.
Mahomes & Co. will have more chances to rewrite record books next week in Cleveland when they take on the Browns’ reeling defense.
Fantasy Running Back of the Day: James Conner
Conner would have a very real case as the league’s MVP if the Steelers played the Browns every week.
- Week 8: 24 carries | 146 rush yards | 2 rush TDs | 5 catches | 66 receiving yards
- Week 1: 31 carries | 135 rush yards | 2 rush TDs | 5 catches | 57 receiving yards
The Steelers’ No. 1 back already has more games with at least 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground this season (four) than Le’Veon Bell has in his career (three). Even if Conner doesn’t offer the same threat as a pure receiver, the team’s average of 29.1 points per game is hardly anything to worry about.
Up next for the Steelers is a must-win matchup against a Ravens team that held Conner to 44 scoreless yards on 12 touches back in Week 4 (and the Steelers accordingly scored a season-low 14 points).
Fantasy Wide Receivers of the Day: Marvin Jones
Jones was the Detroit offense’s de facto No. 1 receiver Sunday, as he caught seven of his 10 targets for 117 yards and two touchdowns during the Lions’ 14-point loss to the Seahawks.
The Lions are a rare example of a pass offense capable of enabling three fantasy-relevant receivers on a near-weekly basis. Overall, each of Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay and Jones boast top-50 target and air-yard market shares among all wide receivers this season.
Matthew Stafford’s willingness to feed Jones bunches of targets comes and goes, but Sunday’s performance demonstrates the upside of the receiver’s big-play role.
Jones (14) joins A.J. Green (14), Tyreek Hill (14), Davante Adams (16), Antonio Brown (17) and DeAndre Hopkins (19) atop the receiving touchdown leaderboard among all wide receivers since the beginning of last season.
Fantasy Tight End of the Day: Jack Doyle
The Colts welcomed back their starting tight end with great success Sunday, as Doyle (rules!) caught six of his seven targets for 70 yards and a go-ahead 10-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Eric Ebron also found the end zone and remained somewhat involved, but Doyle was clearly the No. 1 tight end:
Luck has enabled two fantasy-relevant tight ends dating back to the days with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, but Doyle certainly seems to be the tight end to own in the Colts’ suddenly dangerous offense.
Last season’s overall PPR TE7 has a Week 9 bye before the Colts take on a Jaguars defense that ranked just 19th in DVOA vs. tight ends entering Sunday.
FitzMagic is BACK (for now)
The Buccaneers benched a starting quarterback again this season. This time it was Jameis Winston, who forced head coach Dirk Koetter’s hand after he threw four interceptions in fewer than three quarters on Sunday.
Enter, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 35-year-old cultural icon completed 11-of-15 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns — and even helped the Bucs tie the Bengals at 34-34 with just 1:05 remaining in the game (it was 34-16 Bengals late in the third when he took over).
FitzMagic’s heroics ultimately couldn’t help the Buccaneers’ porous defense get a stop when it mattered most, but he again made a strong case for QB1 duties.
The Buccaneers declined to name a Week 9 starter after the game, but whoever winds up under center is set up well against the Panthers’ 26th-ranked defense in pass DVOA.
Track meet in Oakland
Only the Buccaneers-Bengals’ matchup (71) had more points than the Colts-Raiders’ high-scoring affair, which ended in a 42-28 victory for Captain Andrew Luck & Co. Luck has now thrown for at least three touchdowns in a career-high five consecutive games, and the Colts have scored at least 34 points in three straight.
However, Derek Carr and the Raiders’ Amari Cooper-less offense didn’t go down without a fight. The Raiders’ much-maligned signal caller completed 21-of-28 passes for 244 yards (8.7 yards per attempt) with three scores through the air and another on the ground.
Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last high-scoring game we see from either team. The Colts’ league-high neutral situation pace has led to plenty of opportunities for both their own and their opponents’ offense throughout the season, while the Raiders’ 31st-ranked defense in pass DVOA hasn’t managed to slow down anybody all season.
Adrian Peterson’s Throwback Performance
The Redskins’ ageless monster of a running back just keeps producing. Peterson has now gained at least 90 rushing yards in five of his seven games this season and racked up 149 yards on 26 carries (5.7 yards per rush) against the Giants’ overmatched run defense.
AP’s game-clinching 64-yard sprint to the end zone was his longest run since Nov. 15, 2015:
Space back Chris Thompson had a season-low five touches and was out-snapped 41-26 by the Redskins’ bell-cow back. The matchup’s Peterson-friendly game flow, as well as Thompson’s lingering rib injury, likely had something to do with Thompson’s reduced usage, but All Day clearly still has gas in his tank.
Next week’s matchup against the Falcons might just be the time to play both running backs considering Atlanta has allowed a league-high 37.9 DraftKings points per game to opposing running back units.
What Did John Elway Ever Do to Travis Kelce?
It’s safe to say at this point that Kelce owns the Broncos.
- Sunday: 6 receptions-79 yards-1 TD (10 targets)
- 2018 Week 4: 7-78-1 (12)
- 2017 Week 8: 7-133-1 (10)
- 2016 Week 16: 11-160-1 (12)
- 2016 Week 12: 8-101-0 (15)
Mahomes has fed Kelce a career-high 8.8 targets per game through the season’s halfway point. Only Eric Ebron (14), Zach Ertz (13) and Jared Cook (11) had more targets inside the red zone than Kelce (10) entering Sunday.
You could even make an argument that Kelce is the Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver: His 69 targets are more than both Tyreek Hill (64) and Sammy Watkins (49).
The Chiefs could have to lean on their stud tight end even more than usual in upcoming weeks, as head coach Andy Reid confirmed Hill suffered a groin strain during their 30-23 victory.
Todd Gurley is the Most Selfish (Fantasy) Player in America
Yes, Gurley gained 195 total yards and caught a touchdown during the Rams’ 29-27 victory over the Packers on Sunday.
Also yes, he ripped the hearts out of fantasy investors and bettors everywhere by choosing not to score what would’ve been a “meaningless” touchdown with hardly any time remaining:
Rams -7.5 bettors were assuredly not amused. Gurley and the undefeated Rams could find themselves in another high-scoring affair in Week 9 when they travel to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the Saints.
Hurt in Battle and Returning Soldiers
Week 8 presented plenty of key injuries on both sides of the ball. We won’t know more about Week 9 availability until later in the week, but the following skill-position players will certainly be worth monitoring:
- Mike Evans (leg)
- Tyreek Hill (groin)
- Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder)
- Ronald Jones (hamstring)
- C.J. Uzomah (shoulder)