Brandon Lloyd and Randy Moss. Two NFL receivers who had a “score” to settle in Week 8 against former teams. Except, two very different results.
Emphasis on the very.
What happened and how does it affect the rest of the season? A quick look back at Week 8, game by game:
Niners/Broncos: Lloyd put on a clinic against his old team, catching seven passes for 169 yards and a TD. He’s been having an amazing season in Denver when so many of us expected Jabar Gaffney or Eddie Royal or even Damaryius Thomas to fill Brandon Marshall’s shoes. Meanwhile, Troy Smith was decent for the Niners, helping Michael Crabtree put up respectable numbers thanks to a 28-yard TD pass. Take away that one play, however, and Crabtree would have posted just two catches for 25 yards.
Jaguars/Cowboys: The struggles continue for Dallas, as Jon Kitna threw a ton, was picked off four times and the Cowboys lost again. Cowboys receivers all fared well. Jason Witten seemed to benefit the most from Kitna’s presence. However, the Cowboys continue to neglect the running game, which doesn’t bode well for Felix Jones or Marion Barber. Maurice Jones-Drew finally looked explosive as a fantasy option and David Garrard chucked four TD passes. Mike Sims-Walker should be happy with the results.
Lions/Redskins: Welcome back, Matthew Stafford. If the young QB can stay healthy, every option in the Lions passing game has to be happy. However, the thing to note for Detroit … Jahvid Best shared carried with Kevin Smith. In fact, they both had 12 carries each – and Smith had three more yards on the ground than Jahvid. What’s that mean? Not sure. The Redskins was totally stumped on the ground, which is surprising against the Lions defense. Part of the problem was having to abandon the run in a passing catchup game. Not that the Redskins had great receiving numbers from a fantasy standpoint.
Packers/Jets: A great football game to watch from a chess match/strategy standpoint. A tear-jerker for fantasy folk. Not a single TD was scored and so many players seemed to disappear stats-wise. Account most of that to the two great defenses on the field, and don’t panic moving forward. Although, Aaron Rodgers continues to not seem himself this season.
Rams/Panthers: Jonathan Stewart had his chance to come up big with DeAngelo Williams out via injury. Stewart owners were pumped with the opportunity, until Stewart totally bombed his job interview. Fourteen carries for 30 yards? This isn’t the run-dominant Panthers teams we grew to love in years past, and DeAngelo owners have to be breathing a sigh of relief … as long as Williams can get himself back on the field soon. Meanwhile, Steven Jackson was held to just 59 yards rushing, but the Rams pulled off the win thanks to Sam Bradford and a resurgent receiving game. Brandon Gibson was the leading receiver, and could be worth adding in dynasty or keeper leagues if you can snag him.
Dolphins/Bengals: Terrell Owens continues to thrive for the Bengals at the expense of Chad Ochocinco. Owens had two TDs and 65 yards on five catches. He’s starting to look like a viable weekly start in most formats. Davone Bess has been silently scoring nice totals in PPR leagues, out producing Brandon Marshall most of the season and again in Week 8 with seven catches and 53 yards. A favorable schedule on the horizon bodes well for Bess moving forward. Where exactly has the running game gone for Miami?
Chiefs/Bills: His 5-for-37 and a TD line wasn’t awe-inspiring, but Steve Johnson continues to be the main focal point of the Bills’ passing game, and Buffalo will continue to air it out playing from behind. Jamaal Charles had a big day on the ground, running for 177 yards on just 21 carries. Wonder how many more he would have added if Thomas Jones didn’t usurp 19 carries of his own.
Chargers/Titans: It is time to look past rookie Ryan Mathews as a weekly fantasy option if you haven’t already done so. The Chargers continue to pass first and ask questions later, and Mike Tolbert has taken over a larger role in the ground attack, out-producing Mathews in yardage and snagging a TD. Chris Johnson continues to be erratic at best this season, although his cause was helped a little in PPR formats with five catches. Kenny Britt sustained what appears to be a serious hammy injury, and Justin Gage continues to not get on the field, so suddenly, Nate Washington looks to be a potential breakout option. He had four catches for 117 yards Sunday and should see plenty more receptions moving forward after the Week 9 bye.
Patriots/Vikings: Randy Moss’ one catch was the hair that broke the camel’s back for many. I decided after the game to bench him fantasy-wise for the foreseeable future. The Vikings must have been channeling my inner thoughts, taking it to the next level by dumping Moss altogether after Moss bad-mouthed the organization after the game. He’ll wind up somewhere soon … just not sure where and what he’ll provide for the new squad outside of an on and off-the-field headache. Brandon Tate flashed some big-play potential with a 65-yard TD catch. I plugged BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a situational plug-and-play back during some sweet matchups earlier in the season. This wasn’t an easy match-up, but Green-Ellis didn’t show it with 112 yards and two TDs. He outplayed Adrian Peterson. Wonder what he’ll do for an encore next week against Cleveland?
Raiders/Seahawks: Darren McFadden not only looks like he’s finally channeled his inner fantasy beast, but he has to be considered a mid-season MVP considering how little love he received in fantasy drafts this summer. He exploded once again Sunday, this time against a Seahawks defense that was pretty effective against the run in previous weeks. Seattle’s whole team looked horrific, the defense, passing game and running game combined. Don’t expect any consistency out of this bunch moving forward.
Buccaneers/Cardinals: A score-fest for both teams, but beyond the final score, it was obvious to see how horrible the Cardinals passing game continues to be. Larry Fitzgerald had a big game, and if you’re smart, you’re thinking trade scenarios as you read this. LeGarrette Blount didn’t disappoint those of us who were touting him highly coming into this contest, and he’s a guy you should ride while hot moving forward.
Colts/Texans: If only Arian Foster could play the Colts every week. He didn’t turn in another record-setting performance Monday night, but he did run for over 100 yards and a TD while adding nine receptions in the passing game. His emergence in the passing game is what has helped make him an elite weekly option regardless of the matchup. With so many injuries, we all wondered what would emerge from the Indy receiving corps. Pierre Garcon was the main option with seven catches and 70-plus yards. Anthony Gonzalez did OK, as well. The big news however, was tight end Jacob Tamme’s solid performance, scoring 18 fantasy points in standard PPR formats. Grab him now if still available.
Steelers/Saints: Pittsburgh could have rallied the troops if not for silly turnovers late in the game. Big Ben looked mortal at times with costly mistakes, but he still is a solid fantasy option moving forward. Rashard Mendenhall owners were saved by a large TD run, but outside of that play, he looked pretty pedestrian. The Saints running game is a total mess at the moment … and now there’s news that Chris Ivory is banged up. Marques Colston had another decent game for the Saints, although one has to wonder if he’ll be bypassed by a Lance Moore, Devery Henderson or Robert Meachem next week. There are just so many weapons to spread the ball out to.
What were your observations of Week 8 games?