Can you believe we are already in the second half of the fantasy football regular season? There is still a lot of football to be played, but time is of the essence for many fantasy managers. The path to a playoff berth starts now, so let’s get to it! Below are my Week 8 Flex rankings. I am basing these on half-PPR scoring, so adjust as needed based on your league settings. There is another London game on tap for Sunday, so make sure you lock players from Denver and Jacksonville accordingly. Only two teams have a Week 8 bye, so you should have plenty of players to choose from this week. I have ranked over 300 players to help you with those tough lineup decisions. Choose wisely!
Running Back Notes
The Gus Bus is back on the road! Gus Edwards made his long-awaited return to NFL action last week and made an immediate impact. Edwards scored twice in Baltimore’s victory over Cleveland and finished as last week’s RB8 overall. He is now on tap to face a Tampa defense that was just gashed to the tune of 173 rushing yards by the Christian McCaffrey-less Carolina Panthers. But before we assume Edwards is a must-start, I think fantasy managers should exercise some caution this week. Prior to Sunday, Edwards had not played in an NFL game since 2020. His considerable workload (16 carries) was a bit of a surprise given the long layoff. Entering a short week, I would be even more surprised to see Baltimore give Edwards a similar workload in Week 8.
This is not to say that Edwards cannot contribute given a lighter load. Chuba Hubbard was last week’s RB14 against Tampa Bay, and he handled only 11 touches. Edwards is still the Ravens back I would trust most on Thursday. However, I have him at RB32 in my Week 8 flex rankings, which is a bit outside the range of where I would feel comfortable starting him. As for Baltimore’s other backs, I ranked Justice Hill ahead of Kenyan Drake for this matchup. Drake’s 119-yard outburst in Week 6 is looking like the outlier, as he has totaled just 70 rushing yards in his other four games. Hill has only been used sparingly as a change-of-pace back, but he has averaged at least five yards per carry in his last four games. I think it is more likely Hill breaks a big play than Drake, but both are desperation plays only.
After standout rookie running back Breece Hall suffered a season-ending injury last week, the New York Jets immediately traded for former Jaguar James Robinson to bolster their running back room and complement Michael Carter. Carter is the Jets’ back I prefer, at least in the short term until Robinson familiarizes himself with the playbook. But the schedule is not especially friendly for any Jets running back over the next few weeks. In that span, the Jets face the New England Patriots twice and the Buffalo Bills once sandwiched around a Week 10 bye. Both New England and Buffalo are in the bottom-10 in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. I think Carter gets enough volume to buoy him as a potential Week 8 Flex option, but I do not expect him to replace the production that Hall had provided before his injury.
Last week’s bye week has done nothing to change the situation in Los Angeles with regard to Cam Akers. Akers is still away from the team and it appears he has played his last snap as a Ram. Darrell Henderson Henderson led the way in Week 6 with 12 carries. However, six other Rams (excluding Matt Stafford kneeldowns) garnered rushing attempts. I am very interested to see how Henderson is used this week in a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco has given up just 3.36 yards per carry to opposing running backs and the third-fewest fantasy points to the position this season. As is the case with Carter, I think Henderson sees enough volume to warrant a start this week. Given the question marks at wide receiver (see below), Henderson should at least be a solid Flex choice this week.
Wide Receiver Notes
This feels like one of those weeks where are not a whole lot of inspiring wide receivers to consider as Week 8 Flex plays. I think there is a significant drop-off once you get past the top-25 wideouts this week. I feel as though a lot of the wide receivers I ranked as WR3s and WR4s in 12-team leagues are interchangeable. I will update these flex rankings on Sunday, so perhaps some late-week news will help clear up the picture a bit. In the meantime, Michael Quintero’s wide receiver rankings are a solid resource for fantasy managers.
Cincinnati’s passing attack is humming on all cylinders right now. Joe Burrow has thrown for 781 yards in his last two games, and the Bengals’ receivers are eating. Both Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd are top-five fantasy wideouts since Week 6, while Tee Higgins is the overall WR25. Boyd’s recent play may justify starting him in the Flex spot this week. He is slated to have a rather difficult individual matchup against Cleveland slot corner Greg Newsome, so keep that in mind. Opposing quarterbacks have only targeted Newsome on 13 percent of his coverage snaps, and have completed passes at a 66 percent rate. Newsome compares favorably to most slot corners in both of those metrics. I would probably start Boyd this week depending on your other options, but the ceiling may not be as high as it has been in recent weeks.
The Las Vegas Raiders have run the ball extremely efficiently over the past three weeks. In that stretch, they are 2-1, with their only blemish a one-point loss in Kansas City. The success of their running game has made it difficult for receivers not named Davante Adams to provide quality fantasy numbers. Since Week 3, no Raiders wideout other than Adams has eclipsed four receptions or 55 receiving yards. That makes it difficult for fantasy managers to trust the likes of Hunter Renfrow or Mack Hollins. On paper, this would seem like a good time for one or both to get off the schneid. The New Orleans Saints have allowed the fifth-most points to opposing wide receivers this season. But given their reliance on and success with the run, I cannot recommend either Renfrow or Hollins as a Week 8 Flex play.
The arrow for second-round rookie Wan’Dale Robinson is pointing up. Robinson exited early in Week 1 with a knee injury, and did not see action until Week 6. Since then, he has led the team’s wide receivers in targets in both games he has played. Robinson has caught 9-of-12 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown in that stretch. For a team who is currently is without a receiver in the top-80 in either receptions or receiving yards, Robinson’s recent contributions are a sight for sore eyes. Robinson will face a tough test this week when the Giants travel to Seattle to take on the surprising Seahawks. The good news is that he should face Seattle’s weakest cornerback, Coby Bryant, on most snaps. I currently have Robinson outside my top-40 wide receivers, but I think he has a solid floor considering the lack of receiving threats the Giants have.
Tight End Notes
The Denver Broncos’ offense has been far from unlimited this season. They have the fewest points scored in the NFL and their only top-20 fantasy contributor to this point in the year is kicker Brandon McManus. But rookie tight end Greg Dulcich has now posted consecutive top-12 weekly finishes in his only two appearances of the season. Given how inconsistent scoring has been among the majority of tight ends, you could do worse than continuing to ride the hot hand and well-coiffed mane of the third-round rookie. Denver’s Week 8 opponent, Jacksonville, has been solid against the tight end position this year. However, they did allow Dallas Goedert to catch five passes for 72 yards, so it is not an impossible task by any means. Remember that this game will be played in London, and thus will carry an early start/lock time.
Irv Smith is another intriguing Week 8 tight end play for me. I currently have him outside the top 12 due to his relatively low ceiling. Smith has yet to exceed five catches or 42 yards in any game this season. He enters the week as the overall TE20 in half-PPR formats. But there are few matchups that are better for tight ends than the Arizona Cardinals. Just ask Juwan Johnson, who took over for an injured Adam Trautman and posted last week’s overall TE2 finish. No team has allowed more receptions or receiving touchdowns to opposing tight ends than the Arizona Cardinals. Coming off a Week 7 bye, it is very possible that the Vikings have a plan in place to exploit this matchup. I may very well move Smith up my rankings on Sunday, and I would consider him a solid play this week.
Week 8 Flex Rankings for Fantasy Football
|16||Kenneth Walker III||SEA||RB10||NYG|
|33||Amon-Ra St. Brown||DET||WR15||MIA|
|44||Michael Pittman Jr.||IND||WR24||WAS|
|75||Brian Robinson Jr.||WAS||RB30||@IND|
|78||Melvin Gordon III||DEN||RB31||@JAX|
|95||Allen Robinson II||LA||WR52||SF|
|97||Marvin Jones Jr.||JAX||WR53||DEN|
|121||Irv Smith Jr.||MIN||TE18||ARZ|
|128||Terrace Marshall Jr.||CAR||WR66||@ATL|
|156||Mark Ingram II||NO||RB49||LV|
|157||Equanimeous St. Brown||CHI||WR82||@DAL|
|159||Jeff Wilson Jr.||SF||RB50||@LA|
|172||Richie James Jr.||NYG||WR90||@SEA|
|186||Laviska Shenault Jr.||CAR||WR94||@ATL|
|238||Ray-Ray McCloud III||SF||WR114||@LA|
|283||Velus Jones Jr.||CHI||WR132||@DAL|