Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 8 Rankings

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Updated 10/27/2013 at 12:00 PM ET. 

Robert Griffin III is averaging 25.2 fantasy points over his past two games, and coming off his best start of the season after slumping into the Redskins’ Week 5 bye with just 36.4 total points in Weeks 3-4. What’s changed? The competition hasn’t hurt. The Cowboys are allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, while Chicago’s once fearsome defense is a shell of its former self. Alfred Morris and Roy Helu are both rounding into form. But the easy, correct and obvious answer is his increased proclivity to run, and productivity once he commits to it.

Griffin’s 11 rushes for 84 yards were both new season highs on Sunday, but it was his production out of the zone read that really made the difference. Per ESPN Stats and Info, RGIII entered Week 7 with just eight total zone-read rushes for 41 yards on his signature play. He burst out of his shell in a big way against the Bears, gaining 70 yards on eight zone-read runs, both new career highs. Griffin’s total rushing output was “just” the third most of his career, but it’s clear he’s finally regaining trust in his surgically-repaired knee. Griffin gained 23 yards on his very first zone-read run of the game, waiting for FB Darrel Young to set up a lead block before zig-zagging with his unmatched acceleration through the hole, around the edge and down the sideline.

Griffin was having so much success running out of the zone read that the Bears started selling out against it. He responded by making them pay as a passer, including a late third quarter play-action strike where he stuck a 30-yard completion despite two Bears defenders having him dead to rights. Moments later, RGIII had his biggest play of the game on play action out of the Pistol, backpedalling behind a collapsing pocket to find Aldrick Robinson for a 45-yard touchdown. The ball travelled 55 yards in the air. Griffin had more success passing on play action than he did on his true zone-read passes, but it was evident that the Bears’ fear of the zone read was opening up shots down the field, as was so often the case in 2012.    

Two games — Or really, only one. RGIII was far less impressive against Dallas in Week 6 than he was in Week 7. — isn’t quite enough to declare Griffin “back,” but he could take another huge step in Week 8 against the Broncos. Denver is allowing both the most fantasy points to opposing QBs (25.4 per week), and a league-worst 320 yards per game through the air. If Griffin makes mincemeat of Denver in another likely shootout, it will no longer be a question of if he’s back, but if he can build on his historic rookie season. If he can, we won’t just have a QB1 on our hands, but a truly elite one.  

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $5,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 8. It's just $5 to join and first prize is $1,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Week 8 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning vs. WAS Probable (ankle)
2 Drew Brees vs. BUF -
3 Aaron Rodgers at MIN -
4 Matthew Stafford vs. DAL -
5 Tony Romo at DET -
6 Robert Griffin III at DEN -
7 Michael Vick vs. NYG Probable (hamstring)
8 Cam Newton at TB -
9 Russell Wilson at STL -
10 Colin Kaepernick at JAC -
11 Tom Brady vs. MIA Probable (shoulder)
12 Matt Ryan at ARZ -
13 Eli Manning at PHI -
14 Ben Roethlisberger at OAK -
15 Terrelle Pryor vs. PIT -
16 Andy Dalton vs. NYJ -
17 Ryan Tannehill at NE Probable (shoulder)
18 Chad Henne vs. SF -
19 Alex Smith vs. CLE -
20 Carson Palmer vs. ATL -
21 Geno Smith at CIN -
22 Christian Ponder vs. GB -
23 Thad Lewis at NO Probable (foot)
24 Mike Glennon vs. CAR -
25 Jason Campbell at KC -
26 Kellen Clemens vs. SEA -

QB Notes: The good news? Peyton Manning is on pace for a 57:7 TD:INT ratio, and 5,863 yards passing. That would break Drew Brees’ NFL record by 387 yards — or 21 more than Manning is currently averaging. The bad? He was tossing up some wounded doves after Robert Mathis’ second-quarter safety on Sunday. That, of course, didn’t stop Manning from rolling up 386 yards and three scores against his former team, but it’s a troubling reminder of his fragile physical state. More than likely, we won’t see any carry over in this week’s game against the Redskins, but the Manning that showed up Sunday was the Manning who lost to the Ravens in last year’s Divisional Round. If he shows up again, the Broncos and fantasy owners alike are going to be in serious trouble. … Coming off his worst game of the season, Drew Brees is returning to the Superdome after the Saints’ bye and a two-week road trip. How’s he fared at home this season? 371 yards per game, 9.27 yards per attempt and nine touchdowns to two interceptions. Jimmy Graham (foot) or no Jimmy Graham, Brees is not going to face much resistance from the Bills defense, even though it’s been playing well of late.    

Aaron Rodgers is missing three of his top four pass catchers. Typically, this would be a problem. But Rodgers is not your typical quarterback, and Jordy Nelson is not your typical No. 1 receiver. The Vikings — who are allowing 289 yards per game through the air — are not your typical pass defense. No. 3 in quarterback fantasy points per game (25.8) despite three one-touchdown performances, Rodgers is as matchup proof — and circumstance proof — as any player in football. Fire him up without a second thought. … Fantasy’s No. 4 quarterback with 24.9 points per game, Matthew Stafford is just five touchdowns shy of his 2012 total (20) with nine games to go. Allowing the second most fantasy points to enemy quarterbacks, the Cowboys are going to be in for a long afternoon. … Returning from his two-week injury hiatus, Michael Vick gets a Giants team he burned for 184 total yards, including 79 on the ground, in less than two quarters of play in Week 5, and this time he gets them at home. Put aside your negative Vick thoughts — namely that he’ll just get hurt again — and trust in one of fantasy’s top quarterbacks.    

Coming off one of the best two-game stretches of his career, Cam Newton gets a Bucs team coming apart at the seams on a short week. He’s gonna eat. … The league’s most effective play-action quarterback, Russell Wilson enters Week 8 as fantasy’s No. 6 signal caller over the past three weeks. He’s sailed out of the QB2 doldrums on the back of 894 total yards (including 192 rushing) since Week 5, and five touchdowns. Overdue for a rushing score, Wilson should have little trouble immolating the reeling Rams, who are mediocre against the pass, and worse against the run. … How did Matt Ryan respond to the loss of Julio Jones and the absence of Roddy White? By having one of his best games of the season, completing 20-of-26 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers would have been even better had the Falcons not taken the air out of the ball in the second half. Going on the road against one of the league’s feistiest defenses, Ryan is unlikely to fare nearly as well in Week 8, but it’s clear his QB1 obituary was premature. He can still be trusted. … Coming off his second and third best fantasy performances of the season, Colin Kaepernick is finally back in the QB1 ranks. He has his legs and the re-emergence of Vernon Davis to thank. Both should be in for a big day in Jacksonville.   


There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Sunday was one of the worst games of Tom Brady’s career, and 2013 is shaping up as his worst season since the dawn of the Patriots’ Star Wars offense in 2007. His eight touchdowns are tied for 16th in the league, while his 5.99 yards per attempt is 30th, and ahead of only Brandon Weeden, Mike Glennon and Josh Freeman. Brady’s 55.4 completion percentage would be a new career-worst by 4.8, and 7.6 lower than any of his post-2007 marks. Granted, his receiver corps has yet to be at full strength, and New England’s 26 drops are the second most in the league. But the way Brady’s played, No. 12 is very generous. Getting Danny Amendola (concussion) back this weekend — and by extension, being at full strength for the first time in 2013 — would be a huge help, but believe Brady is back to locked-in QB1 status when you see it. … Eli Manning didn’t take advantage of an appetizing Week 7 matchup in the Vikings, but did in Week 5 against the Eagles, throwing for 334 yards and two touchdowns (not to mention, three interceptions). Using Manning as a fill-in for Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers or Jay Cutler might leave a bad taste in your mouth, but he should deliver the goods.

The Steelers have taken the air out of the ball in back-to-back defensive slugfests, but Ben Roethlisberger has been a different quarterback since Week 3, posting a QB rating > 90.0 in four straight games while completing 70.3 percent of his passes and posting a 5:3 TD:INT ratio. The TDs obviously leave something to be desired, but Big Ben is back to being one of the league’s best plug-and-play QB2s. … Terrelle Pryor went into the Raiders’ Week 7 bye with a tough matchup in the Chiefs and comes out of with a tough matchup in the Steelers, who are allowing the second fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Pryor continues to have QB1 upside, but the matchup isn’t right against Pittsburgh. … Andy Dalton is coming off the best two-game stretch of his career, but is going to have all sorts of problems trying to make it the best three-game stretch of his career against the Jets, who are holding opposing quarterbacks to 225 yards per game, 6.4 yards per attempt and a 58.8 completion percentage. Plug-and-play Dalton if your QB1 is on bye, but don’t expect him to approach the 355 yards he averaged in Weeks 6-7. … Christian Ponder isn’t worth revisiting as a QB2 against a Packers defense that tormented Brandon Weeden in Week 7. … Jason Campbell and Kellen Clemens: Not worth a second of your time.    

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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