By Stephen Dolan
Week 8 in the NFL was the story of games going down to the wire. The New Orleans Saints knocked off the New York Giants on a field goal as time expired and the Baltimore Ravens did the same with the San Diego Chargers. The Seahawks took a one point lead over the Cowboys thanks to a field goal with 1:06 remaining and the Buccaneers needed overtime to take down the Falcons. There were plenty of good fantasy performers last week and we have this week’s lineup of top performers.READ MORE: Vacant Building Partially Collapses In Baltimore
Play: Peyton Manning (vs. IND)
Manning is battling through one of the roughest seasons of his career prompting some to question whether or not the Broncos should bench the future Hall of Fame quarterback. He responded by completing 21 of 29 pass attempts for 340 yards against a stout Packers defense. However, he still continued his streak of throwing an interception in every game this season. Manning gets a good match-up this week facing a Colts defense that entered last week allowing an average of 286 passing yards per game, ranking 30th in the NFL. Play Manning.
Play: Matt Ryan (vs. SF)
The Falcons have lost two of their last three games and will turn to their quarterback to straighten things out Sunday against the 49ers. Ryan had a big game in Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers, completing 82.2 percent of his passes for 397 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan has thrown for 250 or more yards in all eight games this season and faces off against a 49ers defense that has been thrashed by opposing quarterbacks, allowing an average ranking of 100.2 on the year.
Other Good Plays: Jameis Winston (vs. NYG) for $6,700, Ben Roethlisberger (vs. OAK) for $8,300, Derek Carr (vs. PIT) for $7,000
Pass: Andrew Luck (vs. DEN)
Luck has not been the super-sharp quarterback we have come to expect through the first half of the season. He needed a furious rally two weeks back against the Saints to put up 333 passing yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Luck struggled on Monday night against a strong Panthers defense in sub-par conditions for a quarterback throwing three interceptions in the loss. Things don’t get easier on Sunday as Luck and the Colts take on a Broncos defense that is No. 1 against the pass allowing an average of 172 yards per game while allowing just five total touchdowns and picking off nine passes. Pass on Luck.
Other Passes: Blake Bortles (vs. NYJ) for $7,600, Sam Bradford (vs. DAL) for $7,600
Play: LeSean McCoy (vs. MIA)
McCoy has dealt with health issues in his first season with the Buffalo Bills, but looked like he has started to regain the form that made him a special talent in Philadelphia. McCoy rushed 18 times for 68 yards and added two receptions for 36 yards on October 25 against the Jaguars, a performance that came just one week after rushing 17 times for 90 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. McCoy should have room to run against the Dolphins on Sunday as Miami is allowing an average of 124.4 rushing yards per game. Play McCoy.
Play: Devonta Freeman (vs. SF)
The NFL’s leading rusher was splitting carries with a rookie for the first few games of the season but since then Freeman has become a real weapon for the Atlanta offense. He rushed 21 times for 88 yards on Sunday against Tampa which snapped a three-game streak of rushing for at least 100 yards. Freeman is an appealing fantasy option because he is not only getting the job done on the ground, but is also a threat through the air as he has 40 receptions for 353 yards and a touchdown on the season. The 49ers defense ranks 24th against the run and 29th against the pass meaning Freeman could be in for a big game. Play him.
Other Good Plays: Jonathan Stewart (vs. GB) for $6,600, C.J. Anderson (vs. IND) for $6,000, Mark Ingram (vs. TEN) for $7,700
Pass: Lamar Miller (vs. BUF)
Miller entered last week’s action as the hottest running back in the NFL fresh off of a 175-yard rushing performance to go along with 61 yards through the air in a blowout victory over the Houston Texans. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the New England Patriots bottled him up for just 15 yards on nine carries in last Thursday night’s loss. It doesn’t get any easier for Miller on Sunday as he faces a Bills defense that ranks sixth in the NFL allowing just 91.9 rushing yards per game. Pass on Miller.
Other Passes: T.J. Yeldon (vs. NYG) for $6,400, DeAngelo Williams (vs. OAK) for $6,500
Play: Mike Evans (vs. NYG)
Evans caught just three of his nine targets for 48 yards in Sunday’s win over the Falcons, but it is clear that he is beginning to develop a rapport with quarterback Jameis Winston. Just one week ago, Evans hauled in eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins. He gets a great match-up against a New York Giants defense that was absolutely torched by the Saints on Sunday allowing Drew Brees to throw for 511 yards and put up 52 points. Play Evans.
Play: Antonio Brown (vs. OAK)
The return of Ben Roethlisberger to the Pittsburgh Steelers was welcomed news for Brown who has some poor performances while Michael Vick and Landry Jones filled in. Brown caught six passes for 47 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. In Roethlisberger’s three full games this season prior to Sunday, Brown recorded 133, 195 and 108 receiving yards respectively with two touchdowns over that time. He faces a Raiders defense that ranks 27th in the NFL against the pass.
Play: Demaryius Thomas (vs. IND)
Thomas had a monster game on Sunday despite not finding the end zone for the fourth consecutive game. He got on the same page as Manning early and often against Green Bay, catching eight of his 11 targets for 168 yards and that came just one game after catching 10 passes for 111 yards against the Cleveland Browns. The Colts secondary has struggled this season ranking 30th in the NFL against the pass, so Thomas should get his share on Sunday. Play him.
Other Good Plays: Julio Jones (vs. SF) for $9,200, Amari Cooper (vs. PIT) for $7,300, Brandon Marshall (vs. JAC) for $8,100
Pass: T.Y Hilton (vs. DEN)READ MORE: Naval Academy Midshipman Injured In Small Plane Crash In Easton
Hilton had a big game in the Colts’ comeback attempt against the New Orleans Saints as he caught four passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. His production slipped on Monday night thanks to downpours in Carolina with just one catch for 15 yards; and it gets tougher this weekend as Denver has not allowed a pass longer than 47 yards this season and is the No. 1 ranked defense against the pass. Pass on Hilton this week.
Other Passes: Willie Snead (vs. TEN) for $6,100, Allen Robinson (vs. NYJ) for $7,200
Play: Greg Olsen (vs. GB)
Once again Olsen was the leading receiver for the Panthers on Monday night reeling in six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in awful conditions in Carolina. He now has four touchdown receptions over his last five games and two of those games he has posted 130 or more receiving yards. The undefeated Panthers take on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and expect Olsen to get a lot of looks if the Panthers want to remain undefeated.
Other Good Plays: Rob Gronkowski (vs. WAS) for $8,500, Jason Witten (vs. PHI) for $5,600
Pass: Coby Fleener (vs. DEN)
Fleener has not been a vital part of the Indianapolis offense this season. He has just one game this season in which he has had more than 51 receiving yards, but put up a decent game Monday catching seven passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. The score was just Fleener’s second of the season and he continues to struggle in the yards department. Facing a Broncos pass defense that have wreaked havoc on opponents this season, it is not a good match-up for Fleener. Pass on the Colts tight end this week.
Other Passes: Julius Thomas (vs. NYJ) for $5,600, Jared Cook (vs. MIN) for $5,200
Play: Stephen Gostkowski (vs. WAS) for $5,200
Play: Brandon McManus (vs. IND) for $5,000
Play: Connor Barth (vs. NYG) for $4,800
Pass: Caleb Sturgis (vs. DAL) for $5,000
Pass: Mason Crosby (vs. CAR) for $5,000
Pass: Adam Vinatieri (vs. DEN) for $4,800
Play: Patriots (vs. WAS) for $4,900
Play: Broncos (vs. IND) for $5,300
Play: Jets (vs. JAC) for $4,700
Pass: Steelers (vs. OAK) for $4,600
Pass: Packers (vs. CAR) for $4,800
Pass: Dolphins (vs. BUF) for $4,700
QB: Jameis Winston (vs. NYG)
RB: Devonta Freeman (vs. SF)
RB: C.J. Anderson (vs. IND)
WR: Julio Jones (vs. SF)
WR: Mike Evans (vs. NYG)
WR: James Jones (vs. CAR)
TE: Jason Witten (vs. PHI)
K: Brandon McManus (vs. IND)
D/ST: Patriots (vs. WAS)MORE NEWS: Unemployed Workers Union File Class Action Lawsuit To Prevent End Of Federal Benefits
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.