Carolina Panthers vs Chicago Bears
What exactly happened to Newton in the offseason? His on field stats are nothing compared to his rookie season and even his off the field antics are raising eyebrows. It's as though RG3 stole Newton's magic binkie, leaving him crying like a toddler. Whatever the issue may be, he needs to getover it quickly or he'll face a huge drop-off in value for not only the rest of this season but 2013 as well.
Things could be getting a lot worse in Carolina very quickly as the owner is making brash decisions and changing the team dynamic. Part of the team dynamic will be what do they do moving ahead? One player that directly effects is Steve Smith. Smith isn't going to be elite much longer. It's rare for a quarterback to have such a talent at his disposal and the window is closing. With new moves under way and the desire to move in a different direction, Smith could be sent packing at season's end. Newton has to prove that the team is still competitive enough to be in a win now situation to avoid a complete remodeling. If you think Newton's stats are bad this season what do you think they'd look like without their leading receiver?
San Diego Chargers vs Cleveland Browns
Gordon is now the receiver that many thought fellow teammate Greg Little would be. Saying that the rookie receiver has been the home run option for Weeden would be an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that Gordon has been Albert Pujols-like in the home run category over the past few weeks.
The long touchdowns continue to add up as defenses are having a difficult time matching up against his speed. As always, with newly established players though, owners want to see more production before they fully trust these new commodities. If Gordon can continue his big play ways against the Chargers, his stock would continue to rise.
The Browns could have a very young, but talented, offense on their hands that could really turn into something dynamic moving forward. Gordon will be asked to play a large role in establishing that dynamic and could answer the call again here in Week 8. The Browns are always playing from behind which bodes well for speedy receivers with big play ability.
Seattle Seahawks vs Detroit Lions
It's nothing short of mindboggling that Megatron has one lone touchdown on the year. Given his size, speed, and flat out monster talent, Johnson should have seven times that amount at this point. While it's true that Matthew Stafford has regressed in a big way in 2012, it's also true that we had Johnson labeled as being quarterback-proof. The Lions' big weapon has put up top tier numbers with the likes of Shaun Hill, Jon Kitna, and Drew Stanton at quarterback.
Stafford is certainly a far superior talent than those aforementioned names by leaps and bounds, yet he can't connect with the stud receiver this year. Defenses are keying on Megatron in a big way as they don't fear the run or Stafford's ability to locate alternate receivers. And to make things worse, Nate Burleson is now done for the season with a broken leg, lessening defensive attention on the secondary receiving options even further.
Targets from Stafford will clearly be on the way up but so will coverage. Is Calvin Johnson the end all, be all, best receiver in the NFL? If so, he'll be able to break that coverage and pile up stats with what should be the heaviest receiver workload in the league. We're about to find out just how elite Calvin Johnson is.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Green Bay Packers
This could have more long-term implications than short-term. Maurice Jones-Drew is set to miss several weeks but he should be back before season's end to reclaim his spot. In the time that it takes MJD to get back on the field, Jennings will have the chance to prove he's capable of being the starter.
Jones-Drew had a very lengthy, much publicized, holdout to begin the year. Even in their current downtrodden state, the Jaguars front office wouldn't budge on a new deal. If Jennings can put on a show for the next few weeks in the same manner as, say, DeMarco Murray did in 2012, MJD could actually become expendable. The Jaguars would be able to reel in a ton of draft picks via trade and avoid over-paying for past production.
It's a far-fetched idea, but a possibility none-the-less. If you have Jones-Drew in a dynasty format you should be paying very close attention to the next four or five games.
Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets
Outside of Shonn Greene, Keller may be the only viable Jets' option in fantasy. With the receivers struggling to get open, Sanchez could turn to Keller as a crutch. Now that he's completely healthy and ready to roll, as evidenced against New England, he makes for a great tight end play in all formats. He could turn out to be one of the better options through the second half of the year given all the struggles the Jets are set to endure. With injuries to players like Fred Davis and others underperforming, like Brandon Pettigrew, Keller could be set to climb the rankings higher than anticipated.
Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles runner was the complete package in 2012. This year though, he seems to be missing a piece of his game. While he has remained solid and consistent with his production, he has seemingly lost the explosiveness of his 2012 season. Owners are still waiting for the big blow-up game where McCoy almost single handedly pulls in a win.
Being a top three draft pick, expectations are set extremely high and patience is set extremely low. While he has been good, he hasn't been great and frustration is beginning to set in for owners. It's time for McCoy to cash in, in his typical fashion, going over the century mark and finding the end zone multiple times in one game. If not, his stock will slip a bit and his consensus billing as a top three pick could be in jeopardy for 2013.
Washington Redskins vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 8 Short and Sweet:
He needs to find the end zone. He only scored twice on offense last season and through seven weeks this year he only has just one. Brown has to figure out how to score now or his value will plane out.
New England Patriots vs St. Louis Rams
Just when you thought you could trust the Patriots' backfield, Bill Belichick surprises once again. After weeks of being a highly productive lead back, Ridley was temporarily sidelined in the Week 7 game against the Jets as Shane Vereen got the start. Stevan still ended up with the most carries and production but it serves as a warning. The Patriots will go with whatever player they believe gives them the best advantage in all situations. That may mean Vereen, Danny Woodhead, or Ridley depending on the scenario.
It's clear that Ridley is the best option out of the three but that doesn't mean that we'll see him used in the same manner week-to-week. Pay attention to the carries as Ridley should continue to see the majority of the load. But also be sure to pay attention to red zone carries as Woodhead has received ample work and Vereen could now be threatening. Ridley and the Patriots have to reestablish some trust with us here after the confusion they created last week.
Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans
Is it safe to say that he's back yet? It's as though when we are ready to call it quits on CJ2K he blows up and when we are actually confident he folds up shop. This week you'll find that almost everyone is in on the Titans' back. And why shouldn't we be, given last week's dominant performance? The matchup is in his favor and he looks to be himself once again, so why not?
But this is has to be it, right? Enough is enough. We can't afford to get comfortable in starting him with confidence only to be burned again. Johnson has to keep the pace going or his value will fall just as quickly as it's risen. Expect a big day here, but do so nervously.
Oakland Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs
Question of the Week:
How much will Brady Quinn's presence in the offense negatively impact Charles' value? Last week wasn't pretty against a Tampa defense that is usually beaten up on the ground. With Quinn struggling, defenses will load up the box to take the best player for the Chiefs out of the game.
It appears as though Cassel is set to play but the Chiefs' coaches are still going with Quinn. We could be in for a few weeks out of the backup, perhaps even the rest of year, so any negative impact would be a sign of things to come.
New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
This is going to be a back-and-forth offensive attack which will feature some of the best receivers in the entire league. Austin is one those receivers and should be set to ring up great yardage and at least one score against the Giants' poor pass defense. Miles has been a rock solid receiving option in fantasy, posting good yardage and bringing in four touchdowns.
This is a chance for him to reassert himself among the dominate options and move up the boards. This could be a 100-plus yard, multi-touchdown day reminiscent of his breakout year. Green Bay Packers' receiver Greg Jennings was a consensus top ten option to start the season. Given the recent news of his groin injury, he is set to slide out of that spot. With a position open in the top ten, Austin has the chance to return to his former ranking.
New Orleans Saints vs Denver Broncos
With receivers like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Julio Jones struggling, many players have the chance to move up the boards. Guys like Victor Cruz, AJ Green, and Demaryius Thomas have crept up to begin the year and could find themselves in the top spot sooner rather than later. With Green on a bye and Cruz's match-up against the tough Cowboys' secondary, the best Week 8 opportunity to claim the top spot favors Thomas.