Welcome back to FY’s weekly top-50 fantasy football flex plays (standard scoring leagues). Week 8 sees six teams (and some top fantasy performers) on bye, so several new faces will be making an appearance in the top 50. But never fear, I am here to answer your burning lineup questions.
The rankings represent the order I would be most comfortable inserting players into my lineup, broken down further into tiers to help establish potential fantasy dominance.
In a cake matchup last week against the Colts, I moved DeMarco Murray to the #1 spot. He didn’t dominate the way fantasy owners would have liked, but ended with a respectable 127 total yards and a score. This week against a Jaguars defense that just lost key run-stuffer Roy Miller, Murray doesn’t stray too far from the top spot.
But no more teasers. Let’s get down to business. Without further ado, here are the top 50 flex plays for week 8.
Top 50 Flex Players For Week 8
Byes: Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York Giants, Miami, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
Player/Team Position (Rank) Opponent
1. D. Johnson/ARI RB(1) @CAR
2. D. Murray/TEN RB(2) JAX
3. E. Elliot/DAL RB(3) PHIL
4. J. Jones/ATL WR(1) GB
5. R. Gronkowski /NE TE(1) @BUF
6. M. Evans/TB WR(2) OAK
7. A. Green /CIN WR(3) WAS
David Johnson moves back into the top spot after being the only offensive bright spot in the Cardinals’ lackluster 6-6 tie against rival Seattle. Toting the rock 33 times, Johnson rushed for 113 yards and added 58 receiving yards against the number one defense in football. This week, he draws a Panthers squad surrendering 371 yards per game. Expect Johnson to continue his dominance with an exclamation point in the endzone.
The usual suspects fill out the rest of Tier 1 with the lone exception of Mike Evans. Evans’ stock elevates this week against a poor Oakland pass defense. The Raiders rank dead-last against the pass and will be prime pickins for the Bucs star receiver. After torching the 49ers for eight catches, 96 yards, and two touchdowns, the 6’5, 231 pound behemoth is looking unstoppable this year, sitting as the WR4. Given how many targets he’s getting – 75 through six games – expect his production to continue, especially with Vincent Jackson on IR.
8. C. Michael/SEA RB(4) @NO
9. M. Gordon/SD RB(5) @DEN
10. L. Miller/HOU RB(6) DET
11. D. Freeman/ATL RB(7) GB
12. S. Ware/KC RB(8) @INDY
13. M. Forte/JETS RB(9) @CLE
14. T. Hilton/INDY WR(4) KC
15. A. Cooper/OAK WR(5) TB
Christine Michael jumps up from 25th overall last week as he draws an embarrassing Saints defense in Week 8. The Saints give up a league-worst 32.5 points per game and, after a defensive slug fest last week, the Seahawk offense will take advantage of all the open field they see in New Orleans.
Houston’s Lamar Miller moves up ten spots this week. He has a bruised shoulder but should be fine for a soft matchup versus a 25th-ranked Detroit Lions defense.
Spencer Ware took full advantage of Jamaal Charles’ swollen knee. Ware accumulated 131 yards and a touchdown against that aforementioned Saints defense. Ware has seized the opportunity to be KC’s bellcow all year and should do so again this week, as it seems Charles will take a little more time before he starts to challenge the powerful (but fumble-prone) Ware.
T.Y. Hilton ranks as the WR3 through seven weeks and has drawn a league-leading 76 targets. Andrew Luck’s go-to guy had a big game last Sunday (133 receiving yards, one TD, 19.3 fantasy points) and will buck his trend of slumping after huge weeks. The Chiefs lack the ability to rush the passer with just eight sacks through their first six games. Andrew should have plenty of time to find Hilton, Indy’s awful O-line notwithstanding.
16. L. Blount/NE RB(10) @BUF
17. J. Rodgers/TB RB(11) OAK
18. B. Cooks/NO WR(6) SEA
19. B. Marshall/JETS WR(7) @CLE
20. D. Hopkins/HOU WR(8) DET
21. L. McCoy/BUF RB(12) NE (if he plays)
22. M. Ingram/NO RB(13) SEA
23. L. Fitzgerald/ARI WR(9) @CAR
24. J. Nelson/GB WR(10) @ATL
25. T. Montgomery WR/RB(11) @ATL
In his last two games, Jacquizz Rodgers has been ridden like a donkey, and the Bucs will continue to ride him into the ground, knowing that Doug Martin and Charles Sims will be back eventually. Owners should do the same. Averaging 28 carries per game in his two starts, the jacked-up smurf (5’6″, 200 pounds) went for 154 yards on the ground last week. Yes, that was against the Niners, but this week he draws Oakland, who aren’t much better on D.
DeAndre Hopkins may be the most fluid player in the top 50 and moves up 22 spots overall this week. Brock Osweiler once again proved incompetent against an elite pass defense in Week 7 against the Broncos, killing Hopkins’ week. But the Texans matchup this Sunday (Detroit) is much easier on the offensive side of the ball. Nuk is a bomb waiting to go off and this may be the game. If only the Texans had of saved$ 72 million and kept Brian Hoyer. Those were the days …
LeSean McCoy was shady in Week 7 with a hamstring injury that made him a game-time decision. His status sounds like it will be similar this weekend heading into a tilt with the Patriots. The Bills will need all hands on deck to have a chance to beat their division foe, but after an eight-carry, 11-yard performance last week against Miami’s 22nd-ranked defense I would seriously consider benching your star running back.
Ty Montgomery has carried the ball 12 times the last two games due to Green Bay’s paper-thin depth at running back. He ran for 60 yards on nine carries last week versus the Bears and added 10 catches for 66 yards. I expect the Packers to stick with more of the quick-game stuff we were seeing in Week 7 and Montgomery will benefit. If he’s touching the ball 15 times in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense, I want him in my line up!
26. F. Gore/INDY RB(14) KC
27. J. Stewart/CAR RB(15) ARI
28. I. Crowell/CLE RB(16) JETS
29. A. Robinson/JAX WR(12) @TEN
30. M. Jones/DET WR(13) HOU
31. J. Edelman/NE WR(14) @BUF
32. M. Crabtree/OAK WR(15) @TB
33. E. Sanders/DEN WR(16) SD
34. D. Thomas/DEN WR(17) SD
35. K. Benjamin/CAR WR(18) ARI
“Mister Consistent” Frank Gore moves up from 49th overall last week. The veteran back has had at least 78 total yards or a touchdown in every game this year. He’s not flashy but he may just be the safest RB2 play in the league, no matter the opponent.
With Blake Bortles continuing to struggle, Allen Robinson is feeling the effects. (He hasn’t helped his own cause with some costly drops, as well.) Hopefully Blake can improve on his 6.6 yards per attempt otherwise this downward trend for the Jags offense may turn Robinson into a Hopkins-esque play, i.e. completely dependent on his QB getting a soft matchup. That would be tough to swallow for Robinson owners since he was being hailed as the next coming of Dez Bryant after a monster 2015 season.
Julian Edelman has been quiet since Tom Brady returned (18 catches, 125 yards, zero TDs in three games). Don’t expect Edelman to go off for big yardage this week as he still seems to be getting his injured foot right. But I do see him scoring his first TD of the year against a stingy Bills defense that loves to blitz.
After a hot start to his 2016 campaign, Kelvin Benjamin has slowed down and then some. He has not put up over 10 fantasy points in a game since Week 2 and has only reached pay-dirt once in his last four games. Coming off a bye week, look for Ron Rivera and Cam Newton to find ways to get Benjamin the ball. I know Newton is not the most accurate passer, but at 6’5” and 245 pounds Benjamin is an imposing target, especially in the red zone. Play him as a high risk/high reward player, compensating with safer options elsewhere on your roster.
36. G. Olsen/CAR TE(2) ARI
37. A. Jeffery/CHI WR(19) MIN
38. L. Murray/OAK RB(17) @TB
39. M. Jones/WAS RB(18) @CIN
40. G. Bernard/CIN RB(19) WAS
41. J. Hill/CIN RB(20) WAS
42. D. Baldwin/SEA WR(20) @NO
43. R. Cobb/GB WR(21) @ATL
44. J. Maclin/KC WR(21) INDY
45. G. Tate/DET WR(22) @HOU
46. R. Mathews/PHIL RB(21) @DAL
47. J. Howard/CHI RB(22) MIN
48. S. Diggs/MIN WR(23) @CHI
49. J. Matthews/PHIL WR(24) @DAL
50. D. Bryant/DAL WR(25) PHIL
Week 7 saw Raiders running back Latavius Murray return to game action after missing two weeks. Murray was not eased back from his turf toe injury, getting 20 touches. He managed only 63 yards but did find the end zone twice. The Raiders have one of the league’s better offensive attacks (averaging 26.4 points per game) and Murray should get plenty more chances to score going forward.
Matt Jones owners should be seriously concerned. His inconsistent performances are becoming a trend. The most reliable part of his game is fumbling. After he basically handed the ball to the Detroit Lions last week, coach Jay Gruden had a melt down on the sidelines. Jones didn’t see the field much after that costly early fumble, but he wasn’t completely banished, either. He will find the pine more often than not if his fumble woes continue.
Randall Cobb finally threw a real party in Chicago last week. With 116 total yards and a touchdown, Cobb should see his high-volume usage continue going forward without a legit NFL running back in the Packers backfield.
Detroit’s Golden Tate found his way off the back of the milk carton. In the last two games, Tate has 14 catches for 258 yards and a TD. Jim Bob Cooter has Matt Stafford looking like a Pro Bowler. Tate should be a solid flex play with upside for the rest of the season, or at least as long as Theo Riddick remains on the shelf.
In the first two starts of his career, Jordan Howard looked like the Matt Forte replacement the Bears have been looking for. Then his next two starts reminded everyone why teammate Jeremy Langford looks so bad at times. Both Howard and Langford are solid players, but neither has the talent to carry an offense on his back for an entire season. With Langford returning from injury, this Bears backfield will revert to an full-on committee. It will be hard to trust either in your lineup.
Dez Bryant is back! He could climb this list quickly or disappear altogether. Back in Week 3, it appeared he and rookie signal caller Dak Prescott were beginning to build some chemistry. If Dez can get going, the Cowboy offense could be down right scary. Already the number one rushing offense in the league, an explosive Bryant would make the unit almost impossible to defend.
Thanks for reading! Good luck this week and, as always, may the injury bug miss us all.