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Week 8 Fantasy Fact Sheet

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Every week I will give you facts that you need to know about every matchup in the NFL to help you set your lineup for the highest probability of winning. Six teams are off this week, so we will have to dig deep to find some bye week fill-ins for your teams. We have a lot to get to, so let's get right into the facts.

Giants at Eagles, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

Eli Manning threw for 334 yards with two scores and three picks in his last meeting with the Eagles. Manning has just two scores and three picks in his two games since then, despite having favorable matchups with Chicago and Minnesota. He has thrown for multiple scores in six of his last seven games against the Eagles, with 20 touchdown passes total. Four quarterbacks have produced 22-plus points against the Eagles this year, but they did hold Tony Romo to just 14 Fantasy points in Week 7.
• The Eagles have allowed just 64.3 yards rushing per game to running backs the last three weeks on just 3.4 yards per carry. A running back has scored in four of the last five against the Eagles including David Wilson back in Week 5, but the G-Men were held to 51 yards on 17 carries. If Brandon Jacobs is back, this is a situation to avoid. If he is out, you can take a look at Peyton Hillis as a flex option. Hillis ran for 36 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries (yuck), but showed his real value as a pass catcher with five catches for 45 yards.
Rueben Randle has scored in three straight games (including Week 5 against the Eagles) and will look to score again this week against a secondary that has allowed nine receiver touchdowns over their last four games. The opposing No. 3 receiver has scored a league-high seven times against the Eagles in 2014.
Hakeem Nicks, who is still looking for his first touchdown this year, had nine catches for 142 yards in the Week 5 game against the Eagles.
Victor Cruz has been held below 70 yards and without a touchdown in four of his last five games. He has been held to 50 or fewer yards in three of them, including Week 5 against the Eagles (five catches for 48 yards).
• The Eagles have the wide receiver hat trick in 2013: They allow the league-high in terms yards (226), touchdowns (2.0) and Fantasy points (34.0) per game.
• Outside of the Josh Freeman debacle on Monday, every quarterback who has faced the Giants has thrown multiple passing touchdowns and has produced at least 20 Fantasy points. Vick had 105 yards passing and 79 yards rushing in just under a half against the Giants in Week 5.
LeSean McCoy averaged 117 yards per game with Vick under center for the first four games, but netted just 75.7 over the last three weeks with Nick Foles as the primary quarterback.
DeSean Jackson has four games with 16-plus points this year, most in the NFL. In his other three games, he has eight catches for 115 yards and no touchdowns combined. He had seven for 132 and a score against the Giants back in Week 7.
Riley Cooper had 10 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in the two full games started by Foles. He had eight catches for 91 yards and one score in the four full games quarterbacked by Vick.

49ers at Jaguars, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

Colin Kaepernick scored his first rushing touchdown of the year in Week 7 and had 68 yards rushing (his second-best total of the year), but failed to produce 20 Fantasy points for the sixth straight week. The Jags have held both Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers to 17 Fantasy points in their last two games and I worry that 'Kap will throw it enough to get back to 20. Still, four of the last five quarterbacks to face the Jags have thrown for multiple touchdowns, so he is a borderline Top 12 option again.
Frank Gore has at least 80 total yards and 10-plus Fantasy points in five straight games and is coming off of a game of 104 total yards and two scores in Week 7. Ryan Mathews just torched the Jags for 110 yards and a touchdown last week.
• Jacksonville has given up five running back rushing scores in their last two games alone and three backs have produced 12 Fantasy points against them. Backs are averaging 31.5 Fantasy points per game over the last two weeks and Kendall Hunter, who has a score in three of his last five games, is a solid desperation Bye Week Broski.
• Jacksonville is giving up 126 yards rushing -- most in the NFL -- on a league-high 4.6 yards per carry and backs are scoring 21.7 points per game, fourth most.
• The Jags have allowed 10 receiver touchdowns this year, but only one has gone to the opposing No. 1 receiver. Still, Anquan Boldin is the only receiver in town for Kaepernick and you have to hope he builds on his 74 yards from Week 7. Boldin has one touchdown in his last six games and has produced fewer than eight Fantasy points in five of them.
• Jacksonville has allowed five tight end touchdowns in their last five games and are giving up 10.3 points per game to the position for the season, seventh most. Tight ends have at least 76 yards receiving in four of the last five games as well. Vernon Davis is the most efficient tight end in the NFL this year and leads all tight ends at 10.8 yards and 1.92 Fantasy points per target this year.
Chad Henne has thrown for 300 yards in each of the last two games, but has not thrown a single touchdown.
• Running backs have at least 122 total yards and at least one back has produced 11 Fantasy points in three straight games against the 49ers. Maurice Jones-Drew seems to produce in the most unexpected scnearios, so maybe he shocks the world again in Week 8.
• Wide receivers have 30 catches for 417 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games against the 49ers and those numbers came from the receiving corps of the Cardinals and Titans.
Justin Blackmon did not score or reach 100 yards last week, but he still caught six passes for 58 yards. He is averaging 8.3 catches for 128 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game this year.
• In his last five full games, Cecil Shorts is averaging 13.6 targets, 7.1 receptions and 90 yards per game. He had 13 targets, eight catches and 80 yards in Week 7.
• Keep an eye on Mike Brown, who had five catches for 120 yards in the Jags Week 7 loss. He ran 40 of the team's 45 routes and saw eight targets in Week 7 and has at least four catches in each of the last two games. If the Jags continue to predominantly operate out of a three-receiver set, he will find himself in many favorable matchups, which means he has some bye week, fill-in appeal.

Cowboys at Lions, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

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Tony Romo has disappointed against the vulnerable pass defenses of Washington and Philadelphia the last two weeks, but he is catching Detroit at the right time. Andy Dalton just roasted them for 372 yards, three touchdowns and 31 Fantasy points in Week 7 and the Lions have allowed multiple touchdowns and 20-plus Fantasy points in three of their last four games (Dalton, Jay Cutler and Brandon Weeden). Detroit is allowing 314 yards, two touchdowns and 22 Fantasy points passing per game over their last four.
• Detroit is giving up just 70 yards rushing and 12 Fantasy points per game to backs over the last three games. They have not allowed a single running back rushing score and only Chris Ogbonnaya (who had 12 points as a pass catcher) has reached 10 Fantasy points against them during that span. Joseph Randle had a solid 93 total yards on 22 touches last week and is worth a flex again if he is the starter given his workload. It should be noted, however, that Randle did lose a goal line touchdown to Philip Tanner, which helped nobody.
DeMarco Murray, who has four games of 10-plus Fantasy points, would be a solid start if he were healthy enough to return in Week 8.
• A total of 10 receivers have already scored 10-plus points against the Lions this year and an outside receiver has topped 100 yards in four straight games with a touchdown in three of them. A.J. Green just went for 155 yards and a score against the Lions, so look for Dez Bryant to get back on track.
• Receivers have at least 25 Fantasy points in four straight games against the Lions and they have at least 35 Fantasy points in three of them. The Lions have allowed six receiver touchdowns during that span and the opposing No. 2 receiver has scored in every game, so look for Terrance Williams, who has scored in three straight games himself, to extend his streak to four. Also it should be noted that Williams is starting and ran 45 of the team's 52 routes. Williams caught six of his seven targets in this game and now has caught 19 of his 21 targets for 320 yards and three scores over the last four games. The kid is a stud.
• If you are desperate in a PPR league, give Cole Beasley a look this week. With Miles Austin potentially shut down, Beasley is the slot receiver for the 'Boys and caught six of his seven targets for 53 yards against the Eagles in Week 7. Beasley has at least four catches in three straight games and is averaging 11 PPR points per game during that span.
Jason Witten has only one touchdown and one game of more than six Fantasy points in his last six starts. Tyler Eifert became the first tight end to score on the Lions in Week 7 and Detroit is giving up 9.2 points per game to the position in their last five games.
• The Cowboys have not allowed a passing touchdown in two straight games and held Robert Griffin III and the Eagles quarterbacks to 16 combined Fantasy points. Matthew Stafford enters this game red hot with 605 yards passing, seven touchdowns and 63 Fantasy points in his last two games alone.
• Three of the last four running back groups to face the Cowboys have produced at least 23 Fantasy points, due in large part to their struggles with receiving backs. Dallas is giving up seven catches (second most), 57.6 yards (third) and a league-high 0.43 touchdowns receiving to running backs each week. Reggie Bush has 18 or more points in three of his six games this year and it seems to happen on an every-other-week basis. Well, this is his "due" week and the matchup is great given the deficiencies of Dallas in coverage.
Kris Durham saw eight targets even with Megatron (nine catches for 155 yards and two scores) back to form and had five catches for 41 yards last week. He is still heavily involved and ran 45 of the team's 53 routes, so he definitely has value against weaker pass defenses. Dallas however, has allowed a receiver to score in only one of their last four games.
Joseph Fauria ran 25 routes and saw four targets in Week 7, both career highs. He was targeted twice in the red zone and it marked the first game in which he saw a target and failed to score. With the release of Tony Scheffler you have to think it paves the way for more Fauria. Believe it or not, Fauria is tied for sixth among all tight ends with eight red zone targets and is third with four red zone scores. He leads all tight ends with four goal line targets and three scores.
Brandon Pettigrew caught his first touchdown of the season in Week 7 and Dallas has not allowed 60 yards or a tight end touchdown in either of their last two games.

Dolphins at Patriots, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

Ryan Tannehill threw for a season-high three touchdowns in Week 7 against the Bills, but failed to produce 20 Fantasy points for the first time this year thanks to three turnovers. A repeat of the hat trick is unlikely against the Patriots, who kept Tannehill out of the end zone in 2012. Only two of the last six quarterbacks to face the Pats have thrown for multiple touchdowns, but three of the last four -- including Geno Smith -- have produced 20-plus Fantasy points against them.
Daniel Thomas took 12 carries for 60 yards, while Lamar Miller handled only nine for 43 yards, in a Fantasy-killing RBBC. Without Vince Wilfork, the Patriots have allowed over 120 yards rushing to backs in three straight games (with a touchdown in two of them), but it is tough to bet on either Miami back in this time-share.
Brandon Gibson scored his first two touchdowns of the year in Week 7, but has been a solid contributor of late with 70 yards or a score in three straight games. He is averaging five catches per game during that span and has 10-plus PPR points in four straight and five of six games this year.
• The Patriots have allowed only four receiver scores this year, fourth fewest in the NFL. Mike Wallace only has two games of 10-plus points with the 'Fins, but has produced 15 catches for 206 yards and two scores in two career games against the Pats. If Aqib Talib is out, he can have a solid game a La Jeremy Kerley last week, but if Talib plays, keep in mind that only Julio Jones has reached 10 Fantasy points against this defense since Week 1 with Talib on the field.
Charles Clay has a touchdown in three straight games and four of his last five. He even scored against a Bills defense that had allowed one such score prior to Week 7, which is impressive even if it was his only catch. Only Tony Gonzalez has scored against the Pats and if you take out his monster game, opposing tight ends are averaging just 3.5 Fantasy points per game.
• Despite getting Gronk back in Week 7, Tom Brady failed to throw a single touchdown pass for the second time in three weeks. He has been a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback or produced 20 Fantasy points in just one of his first seven games. Drew Brees is the only quarterback to reach 20 points against the 'Fins this year, but they are allowing 286 yards passing per game so if he can get in the end zone, he will be fine.
Stevan Ridley scored for the second straight game and is a good start in Week 8. He had 70 yards and a touchdown against them in both meetings last year and is facing a Miami defense that has allowed at least 17 running back points and a running back touchdown in five straight games.
• Miami is allowing 152 total yards, 1.16 touchdowns and 21.3 Fantasy points per game to running backs, fifth most in the NFL. Brandon Bolden, who led the Pats backs with 49 snaps played and scored his first touchdown in Week 7, is a Bye Week Broski option as well.
• Miami is the only team in the NFL that has not allowed a single receiver to score this year.
Rob Gronkowski was targeted on 17 of his 39 routes run (the team ran 52) as he worked his way back into action. He caught eight of them for 117 yards and is clearly an every-week must start once again. Miami has allowed six tight end touchdowns this year, second most in the NFL.
Kenbrell Thompkins has 15 targets, eight catches and 77 yards with one score in his last three games combined.

Bills at Saints, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

Fred Jackson once again dominated the snaps (41 to 14) and touches (15 to nine) over the clearly injured C.J. Spiller. Jackson netted 85 total yards (Spiller had seven total yards) and a score in Week 7 and now has 10-plus Fantasy points in six of the seven games this year, tied for second in the NFL.
• The Saints have allowed four running back touchdowns in their last four games and Jackson has four in his last four. The Saints have allowed one running back to produce at least 11 Fantasy points in three straight games and Stevan Ridley beat them up for 96 yards and two scores (22 points) in their last game before the bye week.
Steve Johnson returned to action in Week 7 and was targeted 13 times. He caught six for 61 yards and is the best bet in the Buffalo passing attack this week. The Saints have allowed three receiver touchdowns in their last two games and are giving up 31 points per game to the position in those contests. It should be pointed out, however, that the Saints had allowed only two receiver scores and an average of 15.7 points per game to the position in their first four games.
• When the Bills are on the road, every Fantasy defense has at least 10 Fantasy points, and are averaging 14 per game. The Saints have at least 11 Fantasy points in each of their three home games and are averaging 15 points per game.
• Andy Dalton and Ryan Tannehill have thrown for six touchdowns against the Bills the last two weeks and the Bills have allowed multiple passing scores in six games already this year. Brees has nine touchdowns in three home games and has thrown for at least 342 yards in every single one of them.
Darren Sproles has 10-plus Fantasy points in two of the Saints three home games this year and is averaging 12.3 points per game in the Superdome. Giovanni Bernard had six catches for 72 yards and a touchdown against this Bills defense just two weeks ago.
• Buffalo has allowed less than 15 Fantasy points to backs in three of its last four games and is giving up just 13.4 for the year, ninth fewest. Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson and potentially Mark Ingram are all in the mix along with Sproles, so the pass catching turf specialist is really the only Saints back to totally trust this week.
Marques Colston has not scored since Week 1 and has just three catches for 26 yards in his last two games combined. Believe it or not, he is catching 70.6 percent of his targets, averaging 9.5 yards and 1.13 Fantasy points per target, which are excellent numbers. The biggest problem is that he is averaging only 5.7 targets per game and is not amongst the 60 most targeted receivers in the NFL.
• Colston does most of his work out of the slot and slot receiver Brandon Gibson just scored twice on the Bills in Week 7, so hopefully Colston can break out. After all, Colston, Kenny Stills and even Lance Moore (if he returns) is worth a look against the Bills, who have allowed 12 receiver scores this year, second most in the NFL.
• A receiver has scored in every game against Buffalo and the Bills are allowing 221 yards (second most), 1.7 touchdowns (second) and 32.3 Fantasy points (you guessed it, also second) per game to the position. Six receiver groups have produced at least 24 points against Buffalo and five have produced 31 or more.
Jimmy Graham is questionable for this week and is a must start if he goes. If he does not, Ben Watson, who had 61 yards receiving in Week 6 against the Pats, is worth a look. Keep in mind however, that only one tight end all year has topped six Fantasy points against Buffalo, who is allowing just 32 yards and 4.7 Fantasy points per game to tight ends, both second fewest in the league.

Browns at Chiefs, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• The only Browns to even consider this week are Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.
• Gordon is coming off of a season-low two catches for 21 yards on six targets against the Packers in Week 7. Dez Bryant is the only opposing No. 1 outside receiver to score or produce 10 Fantasy points on the Chiefs with Brandon Flowers healthy in 2013. Gordon should get his chances, but this could be a tough week for him and I see him as more of a No. 3 receiver for the tough matchup.
• Cameron got back into the end zone in Week 7 and he finished with seven catches for 55 yards and the score. It was Cameron's first score since Week 4 and getting another will be tough this week. No tight end has scored or reached 45 yards against the Chiefs all season, who are allowing just 29 yards and 2.0 Fantasy points per game to the position, both league lows.
• Start the Chiefs defense in what could be a Fantasy bonanza.
Alex Smith has not thrown a touchdown pass in four of his last five games but is taking on a beleaguered Cleveland pass defense that has allowed seven touchdowns the last two weeks. To be fair, the Browns were thrown by Matt Stafford and Aaron Rodgers, but the economic Smith is not a recommended Fantasy option due to his low volume of production.
Jamaal Charles is the only back in the NFL with 100 total yards and a touchdown in every game. He has been a Top 12 Fantasy back in all seven games and a Top 6 back five times. The Browns have allowed five running back scores and an average of 25.7 points per game to the position in their last three games.
• Stay away from Dwayne Bowe against Joe Haden, who did give up a score to Jordy Nelson but even limited him to just 42 yards receiving. It was nice to see Bowe receive nine targets in Week 7. Opposing receivers are averaging 35 yards per game against Haden.
• In the deepest of leagues, Anthony Fasano could be a great Week 8 bye-week fill in. The Browns have given up four tight end scores the last two weeks and have surrendered at least 70 yards receiving to the position in three of the last four games. Tight ends are averaging 19 points per game over the last two weeks against Cleveland and Fasano played 67 of the team's 71 snaps and ran 27 of the 37 routes in Week 7.

Steelers at Raiders, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET

Ben Roethlisberger has only one game with 20 points or multiple touchdowns all year. Only one of the last three quarterbacks to face the Raiders (Philip Rivers) threw for multiple touchdowns or produced 20 Fantasy points. Quarterbacks are averaging 15 Fantasy points per game during that span against the Raiders.
Le'Veon Bell had an impressive 99 total yards (93 rushing) on 20 total touches against the Ravens in Week 7. Things will get easier against the Raiders in Week 8. Oakland has allowed a running back to score in four straight games and three running back groups have produced at least 21 Fantasy points in that run. Backs are averaging 146 total yards, 1.25 touchdowns and 19.75 Fantasy points per game over the last four and the opposing primary ball carrier has at least 10 points in every game.
• The opposing No. 1 receiver has 90 yards or a touchdown in five of six games against the Raiders this year, so Antonio Brown, who has six-plus catches in four straight games, is a great start.
Heath Miller has a touchdown or 70-plus yards receiving in each of the last three games. Oakland has allowed a tight end to score or post 70 yards in four of their six games this year.
• The Steelers defense has one game of 10-plus Fantasy points in their last five. Only the Chiefs -- in Arrowhead -- have produced more than 10 Fantasy points against the Raiders with Terrelle Pryor at quarterback this year.
• I love Pryor, who has 20-plus points in four of his six career starts, but the Steelers can shut down Fantasy quarterbacks. Pittsburgh is giving up 204 yards (second fewest), 0.83 touchdowns (league-low) and 12.3 Fantasy points per game (third fewest) to quarterbacks this year.
• Since returning from their bye week, the Steelers have not allowed a running back touchdown and are giving up just 71.5 yards rushing (3.5 yards per carry) and 9.5 points per game to the position. Darren McFadden has three games of 10-plus Fantasy points and one game of eight in his four full games this year. Those numbers have been very touchdown dependent however, as he has rushed for more than 55 yards just once.
Denarius Moore has scored in three straight games with Pryor at quarterback and in five of their six starts together. No opposing No. 1 receiver has scored against the Steelers this year, so something has to give in Week 8. It should also be noted that the Steelers have held Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green and Torrey Smith to 154 yards combined. Moore is currently fourth among the 50 most targeted receivers in the NFL with a 1.45 Fantasy points per target average.
• The Raiders Fantasy defense has scored 11-plus points in three straight games and are averaging 16 points per game in their three home games. The Steelers have produced 11 or more Fantasy points for the opposing defense in five of their six games this season and are allowing 13.7 for the year, fourth most. As a result, the Raiders have some nice bye-week fill-in potential.

Jets at Bengals, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET

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Geno Smith has 22-plus Fantasy points in three of his last five games and takes on a Cincy secondary that has given up 20-plus in back-to-back games and in three of their last four. Two of the three were Brian Hoyer and Thad Lewis, so if you are desperate you can give Geno a look against a Cincy secondary that will be without top corner Leon Hall.
• To be fair, the Bengals have allowed all four of their 20-point games this year on the road, and at home they have held Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady to an average of 10.7 Fantasy points per game.
Chris Ivory came out of nowhere to run the ball 34 times for 104 yards in the Jets overtime win against the Patriots. He played 55 snaps to just 22 for Bilal Powell, who took only three carries for six yards. It is tough to trust this backfield, but keep an eye on how things go down in Week 8. You probably want to stay away for Fantasy purposes, however, as the Bengals have not allowed a running back to score or produce 10 Fantasy points against them in three straight games.
Jeremy Kerley produced his second game of double-digit Fantasy points (out of the last three) when he hauled in eight of his 10 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown in Week 7. His targets have increased in each of the last three weeks and he has become a go-to guy for Smith in the red zone, with two such targets last week. Kerley ran a team-high 40 routes and is definitely worth a look as Smith is leaning on his slot receiver.
• The Bengals have allowed a tight end to score in back-to-back games and in two of the last three. Jeff Cumberland saw seven targets (second on the team) in Week 7 and caught three for 41 yards. He has a score in two of his last four games and has been the Jets leading receiver in two of the last three.
• Call him "The Streaker!" Andy Dalton has thrown for more than 330 yards with three touchdowns to produce at least 30 Fantasy points in each of his last two games. Last year, he had two separate three-game streaks of 25-plus Fantasy points and he will look for his first of 2013 in Week 8 against the Jets. The Jets have allowed only one passing score in their last two games and only two quarterbacks have thrown for multiple scores against them this year. Still, when Dalton gets hot, he gets hot and is worth a look as a starter as a result.
• The Patriots backs ran for 90 yards and two scores against the Jets, both the season-highs allowed by Gang Green. The Jets are giving up just 68 yards rushing on 3.1 yards per carry this year, both second fewest in the NFL. They are allowing a total of 12.9 Fantasy points per game to backs for the season, sixth fewest.
Giovanni Bernard has not rushed for a touchdown in four straight games and has not rushed for 30 yards in either of the two pass happy games for the Bengals in Weeks 6 and 7. He has topped six Fantasy points in just one of the last four and needed 13 receiving points against the Bills in Week 6 in his only game with 10-plus.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is totally dependent on his rushing totals for his Fantasy points as has two catches for nine yards all year. He has been held below 30 yards rushing in four of his team's seven games and has just one rushing score in the last four games.
Marvin Jones scored for the second straight game in Week 7 and now has a touchdown in three of his last five games. He is still inexplicably trailing the unproductive Mohammed Sanu in terms of snaps and routes run, however. Jones ran 19 of the team's 48 routes in Week 6 and was up to 18 out of 38 last week. He should be on the radar and if his playing time continues to increase, Jones could become a No. 3 receiver sleeper.
Tyler Eifert scored his first NFL touchdown in Week 7 as he caught three of his four targets for 45 yards and the score. He continues to be a situational player (33 of the 60 snaps and 18 of the 38 routes), but will take on a Jets team that has allowed a tight end to score or top 80 yards receiving in five straight games (11.2 points per game during that span).

Falcons at Cardinals, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET

• No Julio Jones or Roddy White, no problem for Matt Ryan. He completed 20 of his 26 passes for 273 yards and three scores in Week 7 against the Bucs. Ryan has at least two passing scores in every single game this year and will face an Arizona team that has given up multiple passing touchdowns in each of their last two games and in five of the seven this year.
Jacquizz Rodgers has scored twice in each of his last two games and has at least eight Fantasy points in three straight games with Steven Jackson out of the lineup. He is averaging 70 total yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game in that three-game run.
• If Jackson is able to make his return, expect Rodgers to still play a role, but Jackson would be the main man. Running backs have rushed for more than 100 yards and scored on the ground against the Cardinals in each of the last two games against the 49ers and Seahawks. The Cards do have 10 days to recover from last Thursday night's physically taxing loss against Seattle.
• Tip of the cap to Harry Douglas, who caught all six of his targets for 149 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs in Week 7. He now has three games of 10-plus points in 16 career games with at least six targets. If he draws Patrick Peterson, he could have a tough time in Week 8, as only Calvin Johnson has gotten to 10 Fantasy points against PP this year. Peterson will follow the opposing top receiver (which could also be White if he is back) unlike Darrelle Revis, who is playing a lot of zone in Tampa.
• Only two receivers have reached double-digit Fantasy points against the Cardinals this year, the aforementioned Calvin Johnson and Sidney Rice (11) last week. The Cardinals are giving up 16.7 Fantasy points per game to receivers this year (sixth fewest in the NFL) and have allowed only one receiver score in the last three games.
• The Cardinals lead the league in yards allowed (102.4), touchdowns (1.14) and Fantasy points per game (16.7) to tight ends. Yep, they have the "triple crown," so look for Tony Gonzalez (season-low two targets last week) to get back on track this week against a defense that has allowed four tight end scores and 48 Fantasy points in the last two weeks alone.
Carson Palmer has thrown two or more interceptions in five straight games and it is no surprise that opposing Fantasy defenses have 10-plus in every game against the Cards this year. During his pick-fest, defenses have produced 15-plus Fantasy points in four of the five games.
• Every quarterback to face Atlanta this year has thrown multiple touchdowns and five of the six have produced at least 21 Fantasy points (four at 24). No quarterback has been held below 17 and Atlanta is allowing 286 yards, a league-high 2.3 passing touchdowns and 24.3 Fantasy points (second most) per game to the position.
• Atlanta has allowed a wide receiver score in every game this year and is providing 28 Fantasy points per game to the position, third most. Larry Fitzgerald has scored in every game in which he has received six targets this year and the Falcons just gave up over 100 yards and two scores to Vincent Jackson last week.
Michael Floyd has at least five receptions in four straight games and is averaging 8.25 targets per game during that span. The Falcons have given up four touchdowns to opposing No. 2 receivers, third most in the NFL.
Andre Ellington played 32 snaps in Week 7, his third straight week with between 30 and 32, so don't let his lack of production against Seattle (13 total yards on five touches) scare you away. Ellington had 80-plus total yards in Week 5 and Week 6, so he is still very much worth a look. This week could be tough, however, as the Falcons are allowing just 10.5 points per game and no scores to backs the last two weeks and just 14 per game for the year, ninth fewest in the NFL.

Redskins at Broncos, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET

Robert Griffin III is back and it was on full display against the Bears in Week 7. He ran for a season-high 84 yards (161 the last two weeks combined) and completed 18 of his 29 passes for 298 yards and two scores as he led the 'Skins to 38 offensive points against the Bears. Over the last three weeks, the Broncos have given up 1,037 yards, eight passing scores, one rushing score and 93 Fantasy points to quarterbacks. Look for RG3 to light it up and I'd trade for him now if you can, because he will be a stat machine given how bad the Washington defense is.
Roy Helu played his usual 35 snaps in Week 7 and has been between 35 and 41 in five of the first six games. What was unusual was that he saw 11 carries, the most in any game that Alfred Morris did not leave with an injury, and ran for 41 yards and three scores. Helu took three red zone carries to Alf's one and scored on all three of them, as the 'Skins went with their shotgun passing formation near the stripe on multiple occasions. Helu does have at least seven Fantasy points in three straight games and 14-plus in two of them.
• Morris took a season-high 19 carries in Week 7 and ran for 95 total yards, his second best total this year. With a touchdown or two, it would have been a great Fantasy performance, so do not panic yet and keep in mind that Denver has allowed a rushing touchdown in six of their first seven games.
• For the year, Morris has received nine red zone chances (one touchdown) while Helu has gotten seven (four touchdowns).
Pierre Garcon has at least five catches in every game, but has just one touchdown in his last four games and has not reached 75 yards receiving in any of them. Hopefully that will change against the Broncos, who are giving up 213 yards and 27.9 points per game to receivers, fourth most. Four receivers have 100 yards receiving and 18-plus points in their last five games.
Jordan Reed is becoming a star and set a career high in receiving for the third straight game in Week 7. He caught all nine of his targets for 134 yards and a touchdown against the Bears and will look to stay hot against the Broncos. Denver has allowed at least 10 Fantasy points to the tight end position in all five games against teams that feature a pass catching tight end. Tight ends have 100-plus yards receiving or a touchdown in four of their last five games against Denver. Reed is averaging a solid 10 yards and 1.4 Fantasy points per target and I really think he will be a Top 12 tight end the rest of the way. I also like that the 'Skins are not afraid to flex him out like a receiver, which they did in the red zone for his touchdown in Week 7.
• Start Peyton Manning (NFL leader with 25 passing touchdowns), Wes Welker (NFL leader with eight receiving touchdowns), Julius Thomas (tied with Welker with eight scores), Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.
• The Ronnie Hillman fumble should cement Knowshon Moreno (who scored on Indy and should have already been cemented) as the only goal line back for the Broncos. Moreno leads all runners with eight rushing touchdowns this year and has scored 12 touchdowns while producing 10 or more Fantasy points in 10 of his last 12 games. The 'Skins have allowed five running back rushing scores and 23.5 Fantasy points per game to the position over the last two weeks alone!

Packers at Vikings, Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET

Eddie Lacy has touched the ball at least 24 times in three straight games and has 97-plus total yards in each game. He rushed for 120 in Week 6 against the Ravens and totaled 108 yards with a score in Week 7 against the Browns. The Vikings have allowed five running back scores in the last three games and if you watched Monday night, you know that Green Bay will have plenty of scoring chances in this one.
Jarrett Boykin caught eight of his 10 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown in his first career start and looked just as good as his stat line in doing so. The Vikings have allowed six receiver touchdowns in the last five games and are giving up 23.3 points per game to the position (10th most).
Jordy Nelson has at least eight Fantasy points in every game this year and has produced 17 Fantasy points three times. He became the first receiver to score on Joe Haden in 2013 and is best among the 50 most targeted receivers in the NFL in both yards (11.4) and Fantasy points per target (1.8). Nelson had 87 yards and a score in his last trip to Minnesota.
• Among the 60 most targeted receivers in the league, James Jones is No. 1 at 12 yards per target and just trails Jordy at 1.62 Fantasy points per target. Jones has 100 yards or a score in each of his last three full games and scored in his last trip to Minnesota.
• The Packers D has at least 11 Fantasy points in four straight games and is averaging 15 per game during that run. You saw Monday night, so you know this is a favorable matchup against a Vikes team that just provided 17 Fantasy points to the Giants. Five of the six defenses to play the Vikes have scored at least 13 Fantasy points.
Adrian Peterson has just 90 yards rushing the last two games on 23 carries total. He needs the Vikes to be a little more competitive so he can get more carries like the 23 he had back in Week 4 when he rushed for 140 yards and two scores. Peterson ran for 508 yards and had three total scores in his three games against the Pack last year. Green Bay has not allowed a running back to 45 yards or seven Fantasy points in three straight games.
Cordarrelle Patterson played a season-high 25 snaps and ran a season-high 18 routes in Week 7.
Greg Jennings, who saw a team-high 10 targets in Week 7, will want to show up against the Packers in Week 8, but if Green Bay decides to take him away it could be very tough. The Pack have held Torrey Smith and Josh Gordon to 36 yards combined over the last two weeks. That last stat could potentially spell more doom for Jerome Simpson (nine targets) than Jennings, but I am sure the Pack wants to keep Jennings out of the end zone after some of his offseason comments.
Kyle Rudolph had only three catches for 27 yards in Week 7, but he was the target of nine passes from Freeman. He will continue to be heavily involved (ran 42 pass routes, third most on the team), so don't give up on him yet after the slow start. Green Bay has allowed at least nine Fantasy points to tight ends in five of its six games this year. The Pack has also allowed a tight end to score in each of the last two games.

Seahawks at Rams, Mon. 8:30 p.m. ET

Russell Wilson has 25-plus Fantasy points in three of his last five games and could get Percy Harvin back as soon as this week. Yes, I like him as a buy target right now, but keep in mind that no quarterback has reached 20 Fantasy points in four straight against St. Louis including Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick.
Marshawn Lynch flipped his sideline off when they didn't run the ball near the goal line against Arizona, so I bet he has four-touchdown potential this week against the Rams. After all, the Rams are allowing 160 total yards (second most), 1.14 touchdowns and 22.6 Fantasy points per game to running backs (most in the NFL).
• The opposing No. 1 receiver has a touchdown in six of the seven games against the Rams this year with Andre Johnson (seven catches for 88 yards) being the lone exception. It worked for Steve Smith last week and it is the main reason why Golden Tate is worth a flier this week. Tate been targeted 25 times over the last three games and has 14 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Sidney Rice has exceeded 50 yards receiving in only one game all year, so even if he scores this week it is tough to get too excited about his upside.
Sam Bradford is out for the year, which means Kellen Clemens is expected to start in Week 8. Clemens has never thrown for two touchdowns in a game and averaged 226.5 yards and one touchdown passing in two starts for the Rams back in 2011.
Zac Stacy caught a touchdown against the Panthers and became the first Rams running back to top 10 points in a game all year. The Rams still do not have a rushing touchdown this season and I would be nervous to start Stacy against the 'Hawks. Seattle has allowed just 58 yards rushing to backs in the last two games combined and are allowing just 64 yards rushing to backs on 3.2 yards per carry (both second lowest in the NFL). Keep in mind that Stacy had just 53 yards on 17 carries against Carolina to go along with his receiving touchdown.
• Do not start anyone in the Rams passing game. Seattle is No. 2 against quarterbacks (11.7 points per game), No. 7 against receivers (16.7 points per game) and No. 3 against tight ends (4.9 points per game).
• The one thing to watch in this game is if Clemens picks a favorite among the receivers, especially if it is Chris Givens or Tavon Austin (who had a long touchdown called back due to a penalty). Neither of those two were clicking with Sam Bradford in the early going. Both of the scores thrown by Clemens were to receivers in his last two starts.

Panthers at Buccaneers, Thu., 8:30 p.m. ET

• The once stout Tampa Bay pass defense has allowed three passing touchdowns in each of the last two games. Nick Foles (35) and Matt Ryan (28) both lit up the Bucs and Ryan did so without either Julio Jones or Roddy White. Newton has 10 total touchdowns in his last four games against the Bucs and is worth a look on Thursday night.
• Tampa Bay has not allowed a single running back rushing touchdown this year, but the Bucs have allowed a back to 14-plus points in each of the last two games. LeSean McCoy ran for 116 yards and added 55 as a pass catcher in Week 6 and Jacquizz Rodgers had eight catches for 46 yards and two touchdowns in Week 7.
DeAngelo Williams does not have a single touchdown this year because Mike Tolbert (who scored again last week and has nine touchdowns in his last nine games) is the goal line back. Williams was held to 59 total yards on 16 touches against the Rams and could struggle this week.
Steve Smith has scored in back-to-back games and the opposing No. 1 receiver has at least 18 Fantasy points in each of the last two against Tampa. The opposing No. 1 receiver has a touchdown and at least 12 Fantasy points against the Bucs in three straight as Darrelle Revis has not shadowed anyone and is playing a lot of zone coverage in 2013.
• Tampa Bay has allowed at least 24 Fantasy points to receivers in four straight games and are giving up an average of 183 yards, 1.8 touchdowns and 28.3 Fantasy points per game to the position during that span. Over the last two weeks alone, three receivers have 18-plus Fantasy points and are averaging 32 points per game.
Greg Olsen has not scored in four straight games and has just 66 yards receiving the last two weeks since injuring his foot.
• The Carolina defense is averaging 18.5 Fantasy points per game over the last four weeks and the opposing defense has 11-plus points in five of six against the Bucs this year.
• Stay away from the Tampa Bay pass attack this week. The Panthers have not allowed multiple passing touchdowns or 17 Fantasy points to a quarterback all year. They are No. 1 in terms of Fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks at just 10.3 per game.
• No receiver has scored and only one has reached six Fantasy points in four straight games against Carolina. Receivers are averaging 9.2 points per game as a group during that span. Yes, you can still start Vincent Jackson -- who had an NFL-high 22 targets last week -- as the big man has 100 yards and two scores in each of his last two starts with Mike Glennon. Yes, Glennon threw 50 percent of his passes to Jackson last week.
Doug Martin had not scored since Week 1 and was averaging just 5.7 Fantasy points per game over the last three weeks. He is believed to be out for the year with a shoulder injury and Mike James will take over alongside Brian Leonard. Post-injury, James took 14 carries and ran for 45 yards against the Falcons. He also caught three passes for eight yards, while Leonard had three touches for 15 yards.
• Carolina has allowed only one running back group to 100 yards this year and is giving up just 67 yards rushing on 3.9 yards per carry over the last four games.
• For those wondering, Timothy Wright ran 36 of the team's 55 routes last week, so he was still involved, but saw only three targets and had two catches for 15 yards.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @nathanzegura .

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Player News
Redskins DE Jason Hatcher might be done for the season
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:59 pm ET) Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher told the Washington Post there's "a big possibility" he won't play again this season. Hatcher missed Week 15 with inflammation in his right knee, and the 32-year-old remained out of practice Thursday.

"It's progressing, but not like I want it to be," he told the paper.

Hatcher registered 25 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 13 games.


Titans place RB Dexter McCluster on IR
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:53 pm ET) What was expected is now official - the Titans have placed running back Dexter McCluster on season-ending injured reserve.

McCluster is dealing with a knee injury sustained in Week 15 against the Jets. He finishes the year with 328 total yards.


Ron Rivera: QB Cam Newton 'on target' to start Sunday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:45 pm ET) Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters that quarterback Cam Newton did every drill in Thursday's practice and is "on target" to start Sunday against the Browns. Rivera indicated Newton probably will start but said he did not want to get ahead of himself and noted there's still a lot of time until kickoff.

Newton sustained two small fractures in his back when he was involved in a car crash nine days ago. On Wednesday he split reps with Derek Anderson, and on Thursday, Newton handled the bulk of the first-team snaps.

Newton has accounted for 19 touchdowns and 16 turnovers in 12 games. With Newton now fully expected to play, the Panthers have been installed as 3-point favorites at most Vegas sportsbooks.


Philip Rivers practices, expected to play Saturday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:27 pm ET) Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (back, chest) returned to a full practice Thursday and is expected to play Saturday against the 49ers, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Rivers "didn't do cartwheels out there," the paper said, but he stood in the pocket and made throws.

Rivers has thrown one or zero touchdowns in five of his past six games. The Chargers are 1-point underdogs at San Francisco.


Ravens DE Canty gets thumbs-down again Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:23 pm ET) An ankle problem sidelined Ravens defensive end Chris Canty for the second straight practice Thursday. He has started each of the last six games, but it remains to be seen if he's available Sunday at Houston.

Canty has contributed to 30 tackles and has just a half-sack this year.


Chargers RB Ryan Mathews could miss last two games
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:13 pm ET) Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (ankle) missed his second straight practice Thursday ahead of Saturday's visit to San Francisco. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, it's unclear if Mathews will return during the regular season.

Running backs Branden Oliver and Donald Brown will carry the load against the 49ers, assuming Mathews sits out. Mathews has played in just six games this year.


Cam Newton: 'I'm fine either way it goes'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:03 pm ET) Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he's experienced no pain while practicing the past two days, but wouldn't say whether he expects to start Sunday against the Browns, reports the Associated Press. "I'm fine either way it goes," he said. "I don't want to be a distraction."

Newton suffered two small fractures in his lower back in a car crash nine days ago. He took most of the first-team reps Thursday, ahead of Derek Anderson. The Panthers likely won't announce a starter until Friday at the earliest.

"The truth of the matter is, whoever gets the start, the team is going to back 100 percent," Newton said.


Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray practices, but how much?
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:51 pm ET) Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray participated in the early part of practice for the second straight day Thursday, but it wasn't yet clear if he joined team drills after watching those Wednesday, reports the Dallas Morning News. Murray's left hand was wrapped.

He had surgery Monday to fix a broken bone in his hand. If Murray can't play Sunday against the Colts, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar would share backfield duties.

The Cowboys are 3-point favorites over the AFC South champs.


Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman returns Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:50 pm ET) Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman was back at practice Thursday after missing the last five games with a foot injury. He looked good running pass routes early in the session, per ESPN.

It remains to be seen if Hillman is healthy enough to play Monday night at Cincinnati.


Cam Newton dominates first-team reps Thursday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:33 pm ET) After splitting reps with Derek Anderson on Wednesday, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton dominated the first-team snaps at practice Thursday, reports NFL.com. The Associated Press said Newton "did not appear to have any problems throwing the ball and moved around well."

A car accident nine days ago left Newton with two fractures in his lower back. He sat out Week 15 and watched Anderson throw for 277 yards and a touchdown in a win over Tampa Bay.

Newton will address the media later on Thursday. Coach Ron Rivera has said he hopes to name a starter Friday for Sunday's game against Cleveland.


 
 
 
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