Let’s dive right into it, because it’s Wednesday, and you’re already thinking about Week 9. There were some interesting names back at the top of their positional leaderboards.

Elite (Week) Eight Winners

Deshaun Watson bounced back from two terrible performances to lead the league in PPR scoring in Week 8 (from my bench). He tossed 5 TDs on just 16 completions, but along the way he lost Will Fuller to a torn ACL. That’s big news, as Watson’s splits with and without Fuller are pretty big, mentioned here in last week’s buy/sell article… Look for him in my “Sell High” list later this week as I expand on my initial thoughts.

James Conner gave Le’Veon Bell a reason to stay home. Well, 38 PPR reasons actually. Tallying 146 rushing yards, 5 catches for 66 yards, and 2 total TDs, Conner put up big numbers with his 30 touches/targets. Over 1.25 PPR points per opportunity. Yum. Only Todd Gurley saw more opportunities this week. Conner is the new Bell.

Then there’s Sammy Watkins. The #1 WR looked the part of a top-5 draft pick for the first time this season, flashing for 107 yards on 8 catches, while scoring twice. The nine targets is Watkins’ most this season. A sign of things to come? Or a flash in the pan? I’m guessing more of the latter, as Sammy the Hammy has seen 4+ targets in all but one game, yet he’s only topped 15 PPR points in three of those eight games. Too many mouths to feed to be consistent, in my opinion.

From there – let’s look at each group of players:

Quarterbacks

Of the quarterbacks, the top of the board doesn’t look too off the norm — with the exception of Derek Carr here at #3.
1. Deshaun Watson
2. Patrick Mahomes continues to be awesome. He tossed it around for 303 yards & 4 TDs en route to another top-2 fantasy week.
3. Derek Carr took advantage of the great match-up and delivered for me in DFS. His 244 yards and 3 passing TDs are nice. That QB sneak TD is a glorious bonus.
4. Cam Newton rushed for a TD and threw for two. He also added 52 ground yards and 200+ in the air. That’s exactly the type of stat line you expect from the monstrous QB.
5. Jared Goff found the end zone three times, though he was five yards short of that lofty 300-yard mark. Still good for a top-5 finish.
6. Andrew Luck tossed for 239 yards and 3 TDs, plus a two-point conversion.
7. Russell Wilson also had 3 TDs, but only 248 yards. And no conversions.
8. Carson Wentz tied Wilson’s stat line, but only in PPR, thanks to his 4-yard catch. He also had 3 TDs and 286 yards.
9. Mitchell Trubisky fell out of the top couple, but stayed in the top ten thanks to another 50+ rushing yards.
10. Andy Dalton continues his nice stretch of games with a top-10 thanks to 2 TDs and 280 yards.

Running Backs

What can we say about the top three guys that you don’t already know? They’re workhorses and they’ll continue to win games, (and likely championships) for their owners.
1. James Conner – 200+ yards, 2 TDs.
2. Todd Gurley – He’s never not on this list. He went for an absurd 114 yards rushing and 81 yards receiving, tallying just one TD (but adding a 2 PC, as well). Oh, and he pulled a Brian Westbrook and finished off the Packers like a true MVP, rather than a stat-padder, (just kidding, it will be a QB).
3. Joe Mixon ran for 123 yards and two scores, and it all felt like first half production. Imagine what he could do for you in a full game/season?!
4. Marlon Mack is a beast. 132 yards on 25 carries, and 2 TDs. Is he a “Sell High”? I don’t think so. I’m holding onto him, and I’m riding him to fantasy glory. I expect to write about him in this column several more times.
5. Alvin Kamara is back, you fools. The young kid can do it in the air or on the ground, as he scored both offensive TDs for the Saints. He also had over 20 touches/targets, which is the opportunity you want for him.
6. Adrian Peterson. I have to eat crow here. I didn’t think the 33-year-old runner could do it this year. He can. And he’s done it repeatedly. This week, he went off for over 150 yards and scored both receiving and rushing TDs.
7. James White was the lone Monday night performer to crack a top 10 at his respective position, logging 10 snags for 79 yards, and rushing eight times for 15 yards and a score. He’s a PPR beast.
8. Kenyan Drake is returning on those investments — those trading investments for week 4 buyers — as he scored two TDs and had just under 100 yards total.
9. Christian McCaffrey also scored twice. But like Drake, he was limited in yards – only 56 combined.
10. Lamar Miller is another back-to-back stud, gaining 133 yards with a score.
11. Kareem Hunt caught one of Mahomes’ TDs and added 86 yards, just barely missing the top 10.
12. Chris Carson tied Hunt with 20 PPR points, so he’s gotta make this list (25-105-1; 2-19).
Outside the top ten: Latavius Murray, Tarik Cohen, Saquon Barkley, Phillip Lindsay, Aaron Jones, T.J. Yeldon, Jordan Howard, Wendell Smallwood, and David Johnson.

Wide Receivers

After only nine receivers topped 20 PPR points in Week 8, we jumped to 14 such performances, each highlighted below.
1. Sammy Watkins – 8-107-2 is a nice line. If you can get a guy like Kenyan Drake or Phillip Lindsay or Aaron Jones for the Hammy this week, do it.
2. Marvin Jones was dropped in many a league last week — to owners’ pain. He went off for 117 yards and two scores on 10 targets, catching seven of them. He’ll be back above 95% ownership after the Golden Tate trade.
3. Mike Evans said hello to Ryan Fitzmagic, and welcome back! His late TD on a broken play lost me a week and put another game out of reach, so I wasn’t thrilled. Alas, his owners will be! Buy now. TB is going to be chucking it all season.
4. Tyler Boyd continues his third-year breakout campaign with his biggest game of the season. He finished with nine catches, 138 yards and a score.
5. Larry Fitzgerald is enjoying the new OC Byron Leftwich. His eight catches for 102 yards is the most all year, and one score to boot.
6. DeAndre Hopkins found the end zone twice, despite only seven targets (on just 20 Watson passes). He should also benefit from the trading flurry, as Demaryius Thomas is no slouch.
7. Stefon Diggs got back on track — the only receiver to snag double-digit balls this week. His 10 catches for 119 yards and a score were a sight for sore eyes.
8. Antonio Brown also scored twice, although he failed to crack the century mark. 6-74-2.
9. Will Fuller ends his season with a top 10 performance. Alas, his torn ACL makes this 5-124-1 line a sad ending.
10. Adam Thielen still made it into the top 10, but this “weak-sauce” performance is definitely short of his standards — albeit another 100 yard day. 7-103-1.
11. Julian Edelman almost made it into the top ten, but he fell just short. His 104 yards on nine catches were nice though.
12. Odell Beckham Jr. snagged eight balls for 136 yards. No scores though.
Josh Reynolds & David Moore also crested the 20 point mark, but studs like AJ Green and Davante Adams were on the outside looking in.

Tight Ends

A look at the top 10 TEs reveals just 70% caught TDs, which is pretty standard for the position.
1. Travis Kelce finally found the end zone, tallying 79 yards and 6 catches on his 10 targets.
2. Jack Doyle is back, and he’s taking all the snaps. See my Buy/Sell article on Thursday/Friday this week to see what to do about the Colts TEs. Doyle finished with a 6-70-1 line on seven targets.
3. Jordan Thomas is a Texan. He caught 2 TDs. Feel free to ignore this output.
4. Jared Cook went for 74 yards and a score. Good for TE4.
5. O.J. Howard went for 68 and a score.
6. Greg Olsen went for 56 yards and a score.
7. Ed Dickson caught a blown coverage TD, ending with a 2-54-1 line.
8. Zach Ertz went for 4-26-1. A weak line for him, but nothing that killed your team.
9. Eric Ebron still caught a TD.
10. Evan Engram was targeted nine times, snagging 5 for 25 yards and a score.
11. Jordan Reed missed the top 10, but had 12 targets and caught seven of them.

And the Losers!

So many bad performances this week, especially from your key signal callers.

Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Jameis Winston, and Matthew Stafford were all disappointing gunslingers this week. You can do better than to start the latter two the rest of this season. I fully expect better things from the first three.

For ball carriers, a few guys were started in leagues I’m in that really under-performed. This includes Ty Montgomery, Matt Breida (who faced the best match-up of the week), Carlos Hyde (the whole Jags team looked woeful), and Duke Johnson, who all bummed out their owners.

Of the pass catchers, Allen Robinson showed why he should be on your bench, Geronimo Allison looked like he wasn’t healthy, Kenny Stills disappeared like he so often does, Jordy Nelson showed he needs a true #1 to take away coverage, Doug Baldwin didn’t tap his toes for an easy score, and Kenny Golladay couldn’t gain Stafford’s eyes, netting just one target. Oh, and David Njoku laid a bagel — worse than Jimmy Graham’s near-bagel. Last but not least, those darned Ravens brought on the negatives, netting you -4 if you started them in ESPN standard leagues.

If you need better players, the trade is my favorite way to go. Check out my Week 8 Trade Targets, or pay attention for the list coming out later this week.

Let me know your thoughts; who did I miss? Who else won you a week? Who let you down? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Twitter machine: @MillerBadger. And as always, tell your friends… or don’t.

About The Author Steven Miller

Steven Miller graduated in 2012 from UW-Madison's School of Journalism and has been on the marketing side of things for the past decade. Making his first appearance since a brief stint with Thought Catalog, Miller is excited to bring his insights and hot takes for fantasy football fans looking to wheel and deal. His weekly series, Swapping for Success, looks at buy low targets, sell high players, and types of moves you can make throughout the year.