What a terrible week in the NFL, and likewise fantasy, for injuries. Just take a look at these names — Le’Veon Bell, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Steve Smith Sr. — all got hurt and weren’t able to finish their game.
Bell (MCL) and Smith (Achilles) are both done for the year, the severity of Forte’s knee injury isn’t know, and Keenan Allen, one of the NFL’s leading wide receivers thus far, is out indefinitely because of a kidney injury. Bell and Forte will join Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster as elite running backs that are now relegated to the sidelines. That’s crazy.
Anyways, now onto the business at hand. Let’s take a look at Week 8’s studs and duds and as always I hope you had more of the former rather than the latter.
Drew Brees, NO (vs. NYG) – 47.54 fantasy points
As if there was any doubt and hopefully you didn’t play against Brees this week. Eli Manning had one heck of a game too, but anytime a quarterback ties the NFL record for touchdown passes in a single game with seven, they’re a stud. Brees had the game of his life, throwing for 511 yards and those seven scores. That’s unbelievable.
Todd Gurley, STL (vs. SF) – 20.60 FP
It seems like Gurley is going to be on this list every week. He’s now had 100 yards rushing or more in four straight games and it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down or that Jeff Fisher is going to stop giving him the ball and it doesn’t matter what the game script says. He had another 133 yards and a touchdown this week against the 49ers.
Charcandarick West, KC (vs. DET) – 18.2 FP
It looks like all those lucky folks who blew their FAAB budget on West might have been on to something. For the second week in a row West had a huge game. This time he ran for 97 yards and a score and added four catches for 25 yards out of the backfield. Moving forward it appears that West is creeping his way into the RB1 discussion.
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (vs. NO) – 31 FP
Finally Beckham had the game that his fantasy owners has been waiting all season for. He caught eight of nine targets for 130 yards and an outstanding three touchdowns. This comes after a week where Beckham had only four catches for 25 yards against the Cowboys. If Eli Manning can stay hot, Beckham could challenge Julio Jones to be fantasy’s No. 1 wide receiver by year’s end.
Tavon Austin, STL (vs. SF) – 21.9 FP
Never in my life did I ever think that I would write Austin’s name in the stud section, but here he is. With defenses doing everything they can (and failing) to stop Todd Gurley, there is plenty of room out there for Austin to use his out-of-this world athleticism. It was on full display this week as he had 98 receiving yards and a touchdown, plus 21 rushing yards and another touchdown. It will be interesting to see if he can keep this up moving forward.
Benjamin Watson, NO (vs. NYG) – 20.7 FP
For the second time in three weeks, Watson looked like he might be able to replace Jimmy Graham in the Saints’ offense. Watson caught eight of nine targets for 147 yards and a touchdown. Now you can’t expect Drew Brees to throw for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns every game, but it is looking more and more like Watson is becoming one of Brees’ favorite targets, especially at home.
Aaron Rodgers, GB (vs. DEN) – 6.18 FP
We all knew that Denver’s defense was good, but who knew they would completely shut down Rodgers? You might have to read this twice, but Rodgers only threw for 77 total yards in the entire game. Sometimes he does that in less than five minutes. Rodgers was so bad that even Colin Kaepernick, who has been benched and replaced by Blaine Gabbert, had more fantasy points this week. Enough said.
Ameer Abdullah, DET (vs. KC) – 0.30 FP
It looks like all that preseason hype surrounding Abdullah was for not. He rushed the ball once for three yards and failed to bring in either of his two targets. He didn’t see a snap on the first offensive drive and played sparingly the rest of the game. If Abdullah isn’t in the doghouse in Detroit, I don’t know where the doghouse is.
Chris Ivory, NYJ (at OAK) – 4.1 FP
It appears that not only does Oakland have an underrated offense; the Raiders have a very underrated defensive line too. Ivory was only able to gain 17 yards on 15 carries and basically ruined any chance you had of winning this week if you started him, unless you also had Drew Brees of course.
James Jones, GB (vs. DEN) – 0.2 FP
See what happens when Jones doesn’t score a touchdown? It’s not as if Jones has been a target monster anyways, but he has scored a touchdown in five of his seven games this season. Not this week. He caught one ball for two yards and watched as Davante Adams returned from injury and started as Green Bay’s WR2. It should be interesting to see where Jones fits in Green Bay’s offense moving forward.
Dez Bryant, DAL (vs. SEA) – 1.2 FP
I debated whether or not to include Bryant as a dud seeing that he was just coming off of injury and that he was playing against the Seahawks, which meant that he should have stayed on your bench this week. But in talking to several people, they were pissed at how Bryant “screwed” them this week. So thanks to Bryant’s two catches on six targets and a whopping 12 receiving yards, he’s a dud this week.
Jason Witten, DAL (vs. SEA) – 1.6 FP
Heading into this week it looked like Witten was going to have his best game of the season since Dez Bryant was going to be back to force defenses to shade his way and the fact that Seattle had given up the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. I guess Matt Cassel didn’t know that as he only targeted Witten four times. Witten caught two of those passes for 16 yards. A lot more was expected of Witten this week.
— 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.