I took a one-week hiatus from my preview column last week. And what happened? Fantasy Fireworks! Coincidence? Perhaps I’m a fantasy jinx.
Week 8 of the 2014 NFL season is complete. And a historic week it was. Christmas came early for fake football nerds everywhere, as we were treated with touchdowns, tons of yardage, throwing the ball out of the proverbial yard, scoring … and LOTS of it.
A mind-boggling six—count ‘em, SIX—players topped the 30-point mark in fantasy football last week, in standard scoring. And if you lean PPR variety, that number reaches EIGHT. Over the first seven weeks of the this season, there’s been an average of less than TWO players topping 30 points, so it’s a significant leap.
What caused the jump this week? I read somewhere it’s the culmination of the cyclical, yet uncertain odds of an individual’s performance capacity … combined with the abstract nature of negative physiological human probability … combined with air-circulated global, ozone patterns … combined with the incessant, colloquial coach-speak—and Mad Chucky faces—thrown out by Jon Gruden on a weekly basis. Granted, I wrote it down earlier, then I read it back to myself. But, technically, I DID read it somewhere.
Whatever the case, let’s recap Week 8.
Some Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm
- QB: The quarterback formerly known as The Neckbeard, Kyle Orton, finished as the #4 scoring QB of the week.
Just four weeks removed from backing up EJ Manuel, this week he outscored every QB not named Big Ben, Tom Terrific and Amish Andrew Luck.
- QB Part Deux: In his two series of play, Brandon Weeden (6.3)—oh, Twitter was gushing with stupendous Weeden material Monday night, continue reading for stellar samplings—outscored both Cam Newton (5.2) and Joe Flacco (5.0).
- RB: Backup Lorenzo Taliaferro (18.9) scored more than LeSean McCoy (9.7) and Marshawn Lynch (6.4) combined.
- RB Part Deux: Mark Ingram, who had essentially not played since Week 2, returned to a suddenly bare New Orleans backfield to outscore every RB other than Foster, Forte and Charles. Fantasy owners surely fantasize as to his value if he owned the Saints backfield. Weekly bonanza?
- WR: In a game where Andrew Luck threw 45 times, had 400 yards and completed 26 of those passes, and the 1A WR was out (Reggie Wayne), the depth-chart #3 WR in Indy had one catch for 27 points. Ya think Hakeem Nicks has lost a step? I even thought I saw him playing DE for the Saints. Oh wait, that’s Akiem Hicks.
- WR Part Deux: See the Young Guns point below, but … three of the Top 9 WRs this week are rookies.
- TE: Coming into the week as the #2 fantasy TE, averaging 11.3 per game, Greg Olsen finished the week with 1.6 points, or good for #36. Among TEs. Yikes.
- Gotta Be the Uggs: Since many in the fantasy community left Tom Brady for dead after the first four weeks of the season, Tom Terrific put on his big-boy-boots (Uggs, of course). Over the past four weeks, he’s put on quite the clinic, leading all fantasy quarterbacks in scoring in Weeks 5-8.
I’m very thankful, since I handpicked Brady as my QB bounce-back, sleeper candidate this preseason. I just figured he’d be looking at Peyton’s historic 2013 season and not want to be out-headlined. Speaking of … Week 9’s Peyton-versus-Tom matchup could be as juicy as they come.
- Young Guns. Or Is That Young’Uns? Former NFL coach Brian Billick and NFL.com contributor said, “Wide receiver has become one of the toughest positions for rookies to adapt to in the pros,” and explains further here. Well, Week 8 just chewed that theory up and spit out out. Check out these cray cray numbers from a handful of young WR brethren.
And, other than Benjamin, all finished in the Top 16 of fantasy WRs this week. Keep it up, diaper dandies; keep it up.
- Bye Week Blues: Week 9 sees six teams sitting out on the bye week, as Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee rest. Plan accordingly; some big-time fantasy names will be stuck on your bench. QBs like Rodgers, Cutler and Stafford. RBs include Forte and Lacy. And WRs of note are Julio, Sammy Watkins, the Bears boys, as well as Jordy and Cobb. [NOTE: As many of you know, I live just outside of Nashville, where the Titans play. Did you notice I didn’t include any Titans on this list of bye week sits? There’s a reason, peeps.] It should be implied here, but roster manipulation and waiver claims this week are likely as important as any week this year. Follow Brady’s lead and put on YOUR big-boy-boots.
- Twitter. On. Fire. As I referenced, Twitter was nothing short of gold, during Monday Night Football, when we were treated to—for at least part of the 4th quarter—a quarterback showdown between former Cleveland castoffs, Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. Here’s just a sampling of the twitter magic you may have missed:
Never change, #FantasyTwitter. It was almost more entertaining than the solid MNF game.
All right, everyone, enjoy your post-fireworks week, get your waiver claims in and stay strong, show kindness and have NO RAGRETS.
Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.