I have a sneaking suspicion that the Giants / Saints game was actually a Madden NFL video game that was projected onto the field as holograms. The defenses were turned off and the offenses were in pass-only mode all day and a ridiculous 52-49 shootout resulted with 13 TD passes between the two teams. The NFL may actually want to invest in hologram technology as we had a disturbingly high number of injuries to key players that will continue to shape the league this year. Of particular note, I'd like to give a shout to one of my favorite players to watch - Steve Smith Sr. No one wants to end their career being carted off the field and I wonder if this injury will somehow motivate Smith to return for a 16th season. Whatever he chooses to do, I wish him the best of luck. Pro football is truly a war of attrition and so can your fantasy rosters. The games go on so let's get into it.
- Drew Brees threw for 511 yards, 7 TDs and an interception. That's a ridiculous amount of fantasy points (66 in my league's scoring system) and he was commonly found on the bench as he's struggled for numbers up to this point. I think it's safe to say that Brees' shoulder if feeling better. If you played a Brees-led team and won, please discuss below.
- On the other side of that game, Eli Manning threw for 350 yards and 6 scores. You know it's a crazy day when no one is talking about you throwing for 6 TDs. Eli can do this sort of thing from time to time but he'll also put up a clunker or two (like Week 6 and Week 7) to make sure you don't start him on days like this. Just know that you'll have high variance with Eli going forward.
- I think it's time to welcome Derek Carr into your hearts and minds as a relevant QB for real football and for fantasy purposes. Dropping 333 yards and 4 scores against the Jets secondary is a banner day. Carr has a few good matchups on the horizon so if you're looking for a QB2 or maybe even QB1, Carr might be your guy.
- For a guy who only threw for 145 yards, Alex Smith came through as my Shotgun Longshot of the week, buoyed by 78 yards and a TD on the ground. It may not have been pretty, but Smith and the Chiefs don't care. Smith can now be dropped back into the FA pool for the bye week as no one should touch him week 10 against the Broncos.
- Let's start with the bad news. Le'Veon Bell tore his MCL and is lost for the year. Tough news for Bell as he battled back from knee injury suffered at the end of last season. Best of luck in rehab, Le'Veon. In our world, the show goes on. DeAngello Williams, welcome back to the party.
- Matt Forte suffered an MCL issue of his own, but luckily for us, it is "only" a sprain. Expect Forte to miss some time as there is no need to rush back for a 2-5 squad with a capable backup. Yes, I would add Jeremy Langford where I could but don't go crazy. He may be useful against the Chargers this Monday but he won't be of much use against the Rams or Broncos.
- While I don't want this to turn into a Todd Gurley man-crush column, I have to mention the top back of the week. Once again, Gurley ran wild, gaining 133 yards and a score while chipping in 3 catches for 13 yards. Gurley has 4 starts on his resume for 575 yards. He's currently ranked 5th in rushing in the league and it's not at all far-fetched to believe that he'll finish the year with the rushing title. He's 134 yards behind Devonta Freeman for the lead. Freeman has had a remarkable year on his own and might be the only guy more valuable right now. I, for one, am cheering for Gurley to take the rushing title. We will see him up close and personal in Week 10.
- Just an overall comment on the RB leaderboard in fantasy. Devonta Freeman, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Doug Martin, Chris Johnson, and Todd Gurley join Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte as the top scoring backs. I imagine that the key to a championship team this year will be taking WRs early and hitting the right backs later on. That's not true every year, and any strategy is the correct one if you pick the right players, but this looks like the right strategy for 2015.
- Odell Beckham Jr., the Madden NFL cover boy, of course went crazy in that video game down in New Orleans. Beckham caught 8 for 130 and 3 scores. You already know that his ceiling is as high as anyone in the league. Surprisingly, he's shown a low floor this year too, but games like this are what you drafted him for.
- Julio Jones had a monster game himself, catching 12 of 13 targets for 162 and a score. After the hot start, Julio had cooled off a bit, so this was nice to see a big game again. Julio is no longer on pace for 2,000 yards receiving, but he could find himself back on track after playing the San Francisco 49ers this weekend.
- My apologies for recommending Stevie Johnson this week when obviously, Malcom Floyd was the secondary Chargers receiver that was going to go off. Floyd caught 4 balls for 92 yards and 2 scores. With Keenan Allen out for the rest of the year with a kidney issue (yikes), Floyd may be relevant again this week against our Bears.
- A note on one of those Raiders receivers, Michael Crabtree, who pulled in 7 balls for 102 yards and a score against the Jets. I wouldn't expect those numbers every game as Cooper is still the top dog in the passing tree and the Raiders won't see another dominant corner like Revis until Week 14 against the Broncos. Still, Crabtree projects as a useful WR3 so go get him if he's still out there.
- Vernon Davis got traded to the Broncos. Think about that for a second - you get traded from a dumpster fire to a team that is 7-0 and you get the shell of Peyton Manning to throw you passes for the rest of the year. I don't know what dark ritualistic voodoo Davis performed for this to happen, but I'm excited to see if he becomes fantasy relevant again.
- I don't know that I understand the Benjamin Watson usage spike. I'm going to write it off as a product of opposing defenses saying "Benjamin Watson? Nah, that can't be real." I wouldn't expect that again but I said that two weeks ago.
- The Tight End overall rankings start off predictably enough with Rob Gronkowski far and away the top dog. Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, and Travis Kelce, not surprisingly, hold into the top 5. Then there's this Gary Barnidge guy who has 6 scores in his last 6 games and is actually the #2 TE. I still think he sounds like a dentist.
- Matt Forte - As mentioned above, Forte injured his MCL and will likely miss some time. Keep your eye on the injury reports for the next few weeks but I wouldn't expect him back before the Packers game. Rest up, Matt.
- Jeremy Langford - Langford rushed for 46 yards, most of that coming after Forte exited with his injury. Again, don't expect much from Langford for the rest of the year, but he could be useful this week playing the Chargers. You could do worse than relying on the rookie this Monday night as he will be the primary back for carries. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets 25 touches.
- Alshon Jeffery - In what is probably the best news for the Bears right now, Alshon Jeffery is really good. Alshon converted 15 targets into 10 grabs for 116 and a very pretty score. Jeffery is locked in as a mid-range WR1 and could be a force down the stretch.
- Martellus Bennett - Bennett caught 3 of 5 targets for 32 yards and no scores. The Vikings aren't exactly great against the tight end position, so his lack of productivity was disappointing. Bennett had been getting a lot of targets recently so it will be interesting to see what happens this Monday against the Chargers.
- Jay Cutler - Maybe the most surprising thing in fantasy is just how consistent Jay Cutler has been. 22 of 33 for 211 yards and a TD toss plus another TD on the ground, Cutler once again puts up respectable, usable numbers. I would expect a lot more volatility in both directions from Jay but he's settled in as a reliable guy.
What do you make of Week 8? Did you run into the buzz saw that was the Giants / Saints game? Did you get hit by the injury bug?