All you really need to know about Calvin Johnson? He was nicknamed Megatron before he set the regulation record with 329 receiving yards in a game. This is a player who has been so good for so long, we stopped believing he was human years ago.
The knee injury that sidelined Johnson for Week 5 and limited him in Week 6 had the football playing universe’s top wideout in an unfamiliar position: Not in the driver’s seat to be fantasy’s No. 1 overall receiver. Johnson entered Week 8 just 20th in raw yards (492), and sixth in raw fantasy points. He exits it No. 1 in both, and 87 yards and 11.9 points ahead of his closest competitors. That’s a leap normal human beings don’t make in one week. Johnson is averaging 117.3 yards per game, which puts him on pace for 1,760 despite missing a game. That would be fourth most all time, behind only his 2012, Jerry Rice’s 1995 and Isaac Bruce’s 1995.
Matchups? They don’t matter for Calvin Johnson. Double coverage? See here. What should and shouldn’t be possible? That matters least of all. In an era of unprecedented film study and opponent game planning — and for a team whose No. 2 receiver is Kris Durham — Johnson continues to give life to the cliché “video-game numbers.” Whatever he does next — "goes down as history’s No. 1 overall wide receiver," "breaks his own single-season receiving record in only 15 games," "scores 20 touchdowns" are just a few possibilities — his opponents might see it coming. But just as we learned in 2012 and then again on Sunday, that doesn’t mean they will be able to stop it. We suspected Johnson was more machine than man when he came into the NFL. Now we know.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 9. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
1. Andy Dalton
Coming off the best two-game stretch of his career, the odds were long that Dalton was going to extend it to the best three-game stretch of his career against a Jets defense allowing 6.4 yards per attempt, 225 passing yards per game and a 58.8 completion percentage. Only the Chiefs and Ravens entered Week 8 with more sacks than Gang Green. Alas, here we are with Dalton coming off not only the best three-game stretch of his career, but the best one-game stretch. Dalton’s five touchdown passes were a new personal best, and give him 11 over his past three starts. Dalton has averaged 345 yards per game since breaking out in Week 6 after entering it averaging just 243. Consistency has long been one of Dalton’s most elusive traits, but maybe, just maybe, he’s finally discovering it. How he fares against the Dolphins’ stingy defense on a short week will be another great measuring stick.
2. Marvin Jones
One of the main reasons Dalton kept rolling Sunday? Jones’ four touchdowns. Not that the end zone has been an unfamiliar place for the Bengals’ emerging No. 2 wideout, who had already found pay dirt three times on just 26 targets heading into Week 8. Now the owner of a 15/250/6 line over his past three games, Jones has left Mohamed Sanu in the dust, and raced to WR3/4 value. How Jones adjusts to the increased defensive attention he’s certain to begin seeing will be key, but he’s a player who needs to be 100 percent owned in competitive fantasy leagues.
3. Andre Ellington
Put this in your snap count and smoke it. Or something like that. Starting in the absence of Rashard Mendenhall (toe), Ellington still wasn’t used like an every-down hammer — he played only 35 snaps — but he sure produced like one, rolling up a preposterous 154 yards on just 15 carries. The highlight was an 80-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Now averaging a mind-blowing 7.74 yards through his first 43 totes, Ellington has erased any doubt that he’s by far Arizona’s best back, but still hasn’t convinced coach Bruce Arians he can handle an every-down pounding. Either way, he’s officially an every-week FLEX option, with room to grow.
1. Matt Ryan
In Week 7, reality set in for Tom Brady (some would argue it did much earlier). In Week 8, it happened to Matt Ryan. Going into the desert without Julio Jones and Roddy White, Ryan got dominated by the Arizona Cardinals for the second time in as many years. With Atlanta having no running game and Arizona bracketing Tony Gonzalez, Ryan averaged a woeful 4.9 yards on his 61 attempts, and generally found life miserable for a team that’s gone in the tank. Unlike Brady, Ryan’s physical attributes haven’t dropped off in any way, shape or form. Also unlike Brady, however, the cavalry isn’t coming. Jones isn’t coming back, and what does come back of White could be a shell of its former self. Ryan is still going to have big games. He’s too talented not to. But they’ll be fewer and farther between, leaving him on the QB1 borderline. Fantasy owners shouldn’t be expecting any miracles in Week 9 (Carolina) or 10 (Seattle).
2. Marques Colston
Colston was already down, but is there a chance he’s out? Expected to see a bump in productivity with the Saints coming off their bye and Jimmy Graham playing through a painful foot injury, Colston instead caught just three passes for 18 yards, leaving his season line at 27/342/1 through seven games. Drawing less separation than ever, it’s fair to wonder if Colston is starting to wind down. Colston’s been resilient before, but he’s beginning to shape up as a Dwayne Bowe-esque WR4 for fantasy purposes.
3. Ryan Tannehill
Miami’s issues — league-worst pass protection, incoherent game-planning, Tannehill’s turnovers — came to a head Sunday, resulting in both the team and player’s worst game of the year, and a whole lot of questions going forward. Making matters worse is the likely loss of chain moving No. 3 receiver Brandon Gibson. The owner of an 11:14 touchdown:turnover ratio, and on pace to absorb 74 sacks, Tannehill’s season is in the gutter, and it’s unclear if either he or OC Mike Sherman have any idea how to salvage it.
Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_FB or @RotoPat on Twitter.