Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers- Week 8 Stats: DNP (IR)
You don’t have to read too deep into the teas leaves in Tampa to see that something is awry in their offense. They are the fourth worst rushing team in the league, averaging just a hair over 86 ypg, and their “bellcow” back Doug Martin has been nothing more than a calf. Enter Charles Sims, the third round pick out of West Virginia has yet to play a down for the Buccs, but could become their defacto #1 back as early as week 10 versus the Falcons. He is set to return from the team’s IR list this week and will have to do little more than tie his shoelaces to surpass his completion. Sims could be the type of midseason fantasy lottery ticket owners dream about.
Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots- Week 8 Stats: 17 car, 86 rush yds
Jonas Gray saw a lot of green on Sunday, stampeding for 86 yards, while filling the Ridley role to perfection, in the Pats 51-23 win over the Bears at Gillette Stadium. It’s always a dice roll anytime you start a Patriots back, but Grey should see the majority of the work between the tackles in games they’re expected to win big (ex: every AFC East game for the remainder of the season). I doubt he’ll play much of a factor in what is sure to be a shootout with Denver this weekend, but look for him to bounce back with some big games when New England returns from their bye in week 11.
Josh Brown, WR, Cardinals- Week 8 Stats: 5 rec, 119 rec yds, 1 rec TD
The third round rookie out of Pittsburg State was the unsung hero of Sunday’s come-from-behind win over the Eagles. Brown hauled in a 75 yard score with just over 1:20 to play in the fourth and the team trailing by three points. He was targeted 10 times, catching five of those balls for a career high 119 yards, and has the same amount of targets on the year as Michael Floyd. Having Carson Palmer back increases his value tenfold, though he remains a flex player at best from a fantasy standpoint.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots- Week 8 Stats: 11 rec, 124 rec yds, 1 rec TD
Unlike the Aaron Dobson’s and Kenbrell Thompkins’ of the world, it appears Brandon LaFell will not fade into Patriots wide receiver purgatory. LaFell set his career high in receptions (11) and yards (124) in New England’s 51-23 bashing of the Bears. He’s now surpassed Julian Edelman as the go-to receiver on this high potent offense and you can start him at WR3 with confidence.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers- Week 8 Stats: 5 rec, 83 rec yds, 2 rec TDs
Anytime your quarterback throws 6 touchdowns and passes for more than 500 yards his receivers stats are bound to be inflated. But don’t let Sunday’s once-in-a-season (if you’re lucky) outburst scare for you from dropping some serious waiver budget on Bryant, the rookie out of Clemson. He’s now scored three times in the last two games, emerging as a big time red zone threat. He’ll be no higher than the Steelers third option at best the rest of the way, but definitely an intriguing process who should continue to grow as the season moves on.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts- Week 8 Stats: 7 rec, 113 rec yds, 1 rec TD
Moncrief caught seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown while filling in for the injured Reggie Wayne, and far outperforming the healthy Hakeem Nicks, in the Colts 51-34 loss to the Steelers. This offense has a lot of mouths to feed with their duel-running backs (T-Rich/Bradshaw), duel-tight ends (Allen/Fleener) and T.Y. Hilton, but the upside for Moncrief is definitely there. If Wayne sits out Monday’s game versus the Giants I’d have no problem plugging and playing the talented rook.