Is Jeremy Hill ready to finally break out?
Anything can happen on any given Sunday, we all know that and the unpredictability of each game is what makes playing fantasy football so fun. But wouldn’t it be nice to look ahead and see what is going to happen in Week 8 of the NFL season?
Let’s dust off the magic crystal ball for this week and see what’s in store for Week 8.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington
Aaron Rodgers Struggles, Throws for Fewer Than 200 Yards
It is becoming more and more apparent that Rodgers and the entire Packers offense really miss Jordy Nelson and his ability to take the top off of defenses. Rodgers has been good, but nowhere near the true elite fantasy quarterback he’s been in the past. Just look at his last three games – Rodgers has scored 16.26, 17.54 and 19.60 fantasy points respectively. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they aren’t the elite numbers that we’re used to seeing from Rodgers and the Green Bay offense. This week Rodgers and company travel to Denver and are in for a real test against the Broncos and their No. 1-ranked defense. The Broncos have given up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and even though Aaron Rodgers is as good as they come, he is going to have a hard time finding an open target in this game.
Jeremy Hill Finally Has a Good Game with More Than 100 Yards Rushing and 2 TDs
Other than Eddie Lacy, has there been a bigger fantasy disappointment this season than Hill? He was being drafted at the tail end of the first or in the early second round of most fantasy drafts and all he’s done is play his way from the unquestioned No. 1 running back in Cincinnati, to a guy who now only sees about 40 percent of the carries. That will change this week, as the Bengals are coming off their bye week and know that moving forward they are going to have to get back to their downhill running scheme that fits Hill perfectly. Pittsburgh does have a good rushing defense, but the Steelers let Charcandarick West run all over them last week (110 yds., TD), proving that there’s holes in the Steel Curtain. Hill will bust out this week and remind everyone of how good he was over the second half of last season.
DeAndre Hopkins Has More Than 200 Yards Receiving Against the Titans
Arian Foster is done for the season with a torn Achilles injury. That means that the Texans now have to turn to a combination of Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes to run the ball. That’s really not a murderer’s row of running backs. So if the Texans can’t run the ball, and they sure can’t stop opposing offenses from scoring, the only chance they have of winning is to let Brian Hoyer throw the ball 50-plus times a game. Luckily for the Texans and Hoyer, they just happen to have one of the best wide receivers in the game today in Hopkins. He already leads the league in targets and that’s not going to change this week.
Big Ben Returns and Throws for More Than 400 Yards and 3 TDs
Steelers fans have been waiting anxiously for Ben Roethlisberger to return and luckily for them, the Steelers are still 4-3 and very much alive in the AFC playoff race. This week against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals is a perfect time for Big Ben to make his triumphant return because a win in this game would be huge. Head coach Mike Tomlin has stated that Roethlisberger is going to play with no limitations and hopefully he can pick up where he left off, as he was off to a strong start before getting hurt. Keep in mind he didn’t have Le’Veon Bell or Martavis Bryant in either of the games he played. Also for you history buffs, Big Ben in his two matchups last year against the Bengals threw for 667 yards and five touchdowns. The Steelers need to win this game and they will win it on the arm of their franchise quarterback.
Devonta Freeman Collects 100 Yards Rushing and 100 Yards Receiving
Freeman has been the best surprise in fantasy football this season and if you were smart enough to draft him in the mid-to-late rounds of your draft, my guess would be you are probably sitting pretty at this point. Freeman has been a beast – he’s leading the league in rushing with 621 yards and he’s third in receiving yards (310) for running backs. Plus he’s scored 10 touchdowns already this season. He’s simply a fantasy monster. Many think that Freeman just isn’t this good and that at some point he’s going to basically fall of a cliff. That’s not going to happen this week, however, as Freeman gets to play against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that will be so worried about trying to stop Julio Jones, that Freeman will have space and opportunities to make plays all over the field. Freeman is in for a huge game on Sunday.
Teddy Bridgewater has Another 300-Yard Passing Game and Throws 3 TDs Too
The Vikings took the training wheels off Bridgewater last week, giving him the opportunity to throw downfield and make plays. Bridgewater sure didn’t disappoint. With his new favorite weapon in Stefon Diggs, Bridgewater had his best game of the year, scoring 18.74 fantasy points thanks to 316 yards passing and two touchdowns. This week he gets a juicy matchup against a Bears defense that has allowed 15 touchdown passes in the past six games, and has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Look for that trend to continue this week, as Bridgewater continues his march towards fantasy QB1 status.
Tyler Eifert has Another 100-Yard, 2-TD Game
We all know that Rob Gronkowski is the king of tight ends. That’s not up for debate. But what is up for debate is who is the NFL’s second-best tight end. It used to be Jimmy Graham, but he might not even be in the top 10 anymore the way Seattle is using him. Is it Travis Kelce or Greg Olsen? Perhaps it’s Gary Barnidge? How about Eifert? The Bengals’ tight end is tied with Gronkowski for the most touchdowns at the position with six and has become a focal point of a potent offensive attack. The Bengals play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week in a game that is sure to be a shootout. That’s good news for Eifert because the Steelers have been generous to opposing tight ends (third-most fantasy points allowed). If Pittsburgh doubles A.J. Green, the field will be wide open for Eifert and he’ll have no problem going over 100 yards. And since Andy Dalton loves throwing his way in the red zone, count on two touchdowns as well.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.