Calvin Johnson's epic game could have been even better, big numbers from Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees and Andy Dalton, while Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson struggle; Marvin Jones, Jordan Reed, Golden Tate and more in Scott Cullen's 50 Points on NFL Week Eight.
1. Lions WR Calvin Johnson (14 REC, 329 YDS, 1 TD, 1 fumble, 16 targets) had a game for the ages against Dallas. True to form, he was tackled or knocked out of bounds four times inside the Dallas five-yard line.
2. Lions QB Matthew Stafford (33-for-48, 488 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT) was the one getting the ball to Calvin Johnson. He ranks second in passing yardage this season (2,617) as well as second since the start of the 2011 season (12,622 YDS; 315.6 per game).
3. Saints QB Drew Brees (26-for-34, 332 YDS, 5 TD) is on a roll. Since the start of the 2011 season, Brees has thrown a league-high 108 touchdowns. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, with 99, is only other quarterback within 25 touchdown passes of Brees over that two-and-a-half year span.
4. Bengals QB Andy Dalton (19-for-30, 325 YDS, 5 TD, 1 INT) has thrown for 300-plus yards in each of the last three games, passing for 11 touchdowns in the process. He's tied for fourth with 16 touchdown passes and ranks fourth with 2.249 passing yards. Given those numbers, and ranks, it's hard to say he doesn't belong as a fantasy starter.
5. Panthers QB Cam Newton (23-for-32, 221 YDS, 2 TD; 50 YDS, 1 TD, 11 carries) continues to roll up fantasy value. He ranks sixth among quarterbacks in fantasy value this season. He's competed a career-high 64.9% of his passes and his touchdown-interception ratio (12:5) is the best of his three-year NFL career.
6. After questions arose late in the week about the status of Lions RB Reggie Bush (122 YDS, 1 TD, 1 fumble, 29 touches) he not only played, but had a season-high 29 touches and ranks third among running backs with 853 yards from scrimmage.
7. There was significant doubt, as late as Sunday morning, over whether Saints TE Jimmy Graham (3 REC, 37 YDS, 2 TD, 3 targets) would even play against Buffalo, as he's dealing with a foot injury, but even in a limited role, Graham turned in a productive performance.
8. Patriots QB Tom Brady (13-for-22, 116 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT) is having a horrific season. Sunday's 116-yard effort was his lowest passing yardage total since Decembe, 2009. His average of 228.0 yards per game -- in an increasingly pas-happy NFL -- is his lowest since 2006 and his touchdown to interception ratio (9:6) matches his first season as a starter, 2001, when he threw 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Every year in between has produced a better ratio, including last year when he threw 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
9. After Tom Brady locked in on him constantly in Week Seven, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (2 REC, 27 YDS, 5 targets) was barely used in Week Eight. For those, like me, thinking that Gronkowski's return could salvage Brady's season, well, it may not be as simple as that.
10. Broncos QB Peyton Manning (30-for-44, 354 YDS, 4 TD, 3 INT, 1 lost fumble) put up yardage in the win over Washington, but his four turnovers showed just how the tide has turned. Manning didn't throw any interceptions in the first four games of the year, then one in each of the next three, before Washington picked him off three times in Week Eight. Time to take care of that pigskin.
11. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (83 YDS, 1 TD, 16 touches) has obviously gone through a devastating time, following the death of his son, but has only 44 touches over the last three weeks, since his last three games of the 2011 season, which included an injury-shortened appearance in Week 10.
12. Washington TE Jordan Reed (8 REC, 90 YDS, 14 targets) has quickly gone from interesting option to must-start. In the last two weeks, Reed has 17 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown.
13. Second-year Bengals WR Marvin Jones (8 REC, 122 YDS, 4 TD, 8 targets) has been pulling ahead of Mohamed Sanu as the best option across from No. 1 wideout A.J. Green, but his four-touchdown effort against the Jets should pretty much seal that competition. Jones has 250 receiving yards and six touchdowns over the last three games.
14. Before we forget about Bengals WR A.J. Green (3 REC, 115 YDS, 7 targets), though, it's worth nothing that his 734 receiving yards ranks second, behind only Calvin Johnson.
15. Packers WR Jordy Nelson (7 REC, 123 YDS, 2 TD, 8 targets) and Jarrett Boykin (5 REC, 89 YDS, 6 targets) had productive games against Minnesota. WR Myles White (5 REC, 35 YDS, 7 targets) could be one to watch, as the Packers' No. 3 receiver, for as long as James Jones remains sidelined.
16. Seahawks WR Golden Tate (5 REC, 93 YDS, 2 TD, 7 targets) had the most productive game of his career, including a dozen rushing yards, against St. Louis and with WR Sidney Rice suffering a torn ACL, Tate is sure to be a big part of the Seahawks offence, even when Percy Harvin makes his return to the lineup.
17. Browns WR Josh Gordon (5 REC, 132 YDS, 1 TD, 10 targets) has been a big-time performer since missing the first two games of the year due to suspension. His average of 97.0 receiving yards per game currently ranks fourth among wide receivers.
18. Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (5 REC, 79 YDS, 13 targets) and TE/WR Tim Wright (5 REC, 48 YDS, 1 TD, 8 targets) had moderately productive games. The Bucs don't have a lot of options, and WR Mike Williams is now on IR, so Jackson and Wright figure to get a lot of looks for the rest of the season.
19. Falcons WR Harry Douglas (12 REC, 121 YDS, 18 targets) continues to build his resume as a starting receiver in the absence of Julio Jones and Roddy White. Drew Davis (5 REC, 77 YDS, 1 TD, 7 targets) had a productive game against Arizona too.
20. Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (120 YDS, 23 touches) pulled into the lead in yards from scrimmage, up to 1,018 yards in eight games, one yard ahead of Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.
21. Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno (133 YDS, 1 TD, 20 touches) is considered a giant surprise this year, since Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman were getting taken earlier in fantasy drafts, but his 744 yards from scrimmage through eight games is only slightly ahead of the 692 yards he puts up in eight games last season. The difference for Moreno is that he has a league-leading nine touchdowns this season.
22. Packers RB Eddie Lacy (112 YDS, 1 TD, 33 touches) isn't necessarily the most efficient, but he's getting a ton of touches -- 108 over the last four games -- and it's increasing because he's taking more of a part, however small, in the Green Bay passing game, with nine catches over the last two games.
23. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew (122 YDS, 25 touches) had his most productive game of the season. As bad as the Jaguars have been, it's stunning that this was the first time Jones-Drew had 25 touches. Two years ago, when he led the league in rushing, Jones-Drew had at least 25 touches in eight games though, to be fair, six of those games came after Week Eight.
24. Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (65 YDS, 19 touches) is starting to feel the effects of Philadelphia's inconsistent quarterback play. The last two weeks are the first two weeks of the season in which McCoy has been held under 90 yards from scrimmage and without a touchdown.
25. Raiders RB Darren McFadden (82 YDS, 2 TD, 26 touches) was reasonably effective. He ranks 17th among running backs in total fantasy points despite getting injured in Week Four, when he was limited to five carries, and missing Week Five.
26. 49ers RB Frank Gore (77 YDS, 2 TD, 20 touches) quietly went about his business against Jacksonville before backup Kendall Hunter (84 YDS, 9 carries) got turned loose on the downtrodden Jags.
27. Patriots RB Stevan Ridley (79 YDS, 1 TD, 14 carries) was inexplicably left out of the gameplan in the first quarter against Miami, recording no touches in the first 15 minutes, but it was the second-most productive game of the year for Ridley and the third straight game in which he scored a touchdown.
28. Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (162 YDS, 1 TD, 17 touches) has been sharing time with Rashard Mendenhall in the Arizona backfield but, with Mendenhall out against Atlanta, Ellington showed that probably is a sub-optimal way to distribute touches in the Cardinals' offence. They're on a bye in Week Nine, but beyond that, Ellington really should see more carries.
29. Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (112 YDS, 21 touches) had his best game of the season, against New England, pulling further ahead of Daniel Thomas (52 YDS, 10 touches) in the Dolphins' backfield.
30. With C.J. Spiller on the sidelines, Bills RB Fred Jackson (53 YDS, 1 TD, 17 touches) handled the bulk of the work against New Orleans, with Tashard Choice (35 YDS, 7 carries) coming off the bench. Jackson has been the Bills' best back this year, but the Saints weren't an easy matchup.
31. Saints RB Pierre Thomas (94 YDS, 17 touches) continues to produce for the Saints. Even though the season started with a three-pronged running attack, Thomas still ranks 25th among running backs with 477 yards from scrimmage, just ahead of Stevan Ridley, Darren McFadden and C.J. Spiller.
32. Rams RB Zak Stacy (134 YDS, 26 carries) suffered a sprained ankle late against Seattle Monday nigh, but it was a career-best performance, solidifying his place at the top of the Rams' depth chart, when he's healthy.
33. Giants RB Peyton Hillis (85 YDS, 23 touches) continued to run the rock. While Hillis isn't all that efficient, and could be usurped by Andre Brown around Week 10, Hillis has gained 166 yards from scrimmage in two games with the Giants.
34. Buccaneers RB Mike James (64 YDS, 14 touches) didn't get a lot of opportunities against Carolina, but enough that he's likely to see more action over the rest of the season.
35. Jets RB Bilal Powell (30 YDS, 14 touches) barely re-established his lead in the Jets backfield ahead of Chris Ivory (11 YDS, 6 carries) as both Jets runners were bottled up against Cincinnati.
36. Saints WR Kenny Still (3 REC, 129 YDS, 2 TD, 4 targets) had the big day for New Orleans receivers against Buffalo, while Lance Moore (3 REC, 34 YDS, 1 TD, 4 targets) returned to the lineup with a score too. Marques Colston (3 REC, 18 YDS, 6 targets) is practically in free-fall -- he has a total of six catches for 44 yards in the last three games.
37. Panthers WR Ted Ginn (5 REC, 80 YDS, 6 targets) has largely been a disappointment in his career, but he's become a threat for Carolina. Week Eight's 80 receiving yards was his most in a game since December, 2009.
38. Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster (8 REC, 67 YDS, 1 TD, 10 targets) has been under-used for much of the season, but does have 11 catches for 137 yards over the last two weeks as he takes on a bigger role. McCluster's emergence stands in stark contrast with WR Dwayne Bowe (1 REC, 7 YDS, 2 targets), who has been nothing more than a spare part in the Chiefs' offence this season. Bowe did have a season-high five catches for 66 yards in Week Seven before falling to season-lows in Week Eight.
39. While WR Jeremy Kerley has been the best bet among Jets receivers, David Nelson (8 REC, 80 YDS, 12 targets) has emerged as a more viable threat, catching a dozen passes for 160 yards over the past two games.
40. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (10-for-16, 164 YDS, 1 TD; 54 YDS, 2 TD, 7 carries) is starting to play better after a dismal stretch from Week Two through Week Five. His passing totals are still modest but, combined with rushing yards and touchdowns, Kaepernick is returning to fantasy relevance.
41. Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor (10-for-19, 88 YDS, 2 INT; 106 YDS, 1 TD, 9 carries) got a win against Pittsburgh and his 106 rushing yards were his second-most in a game this season, but passing for 88 yards and two interceptions isn't a sustainable way to win games. The last two games, against Kansas City and Pittsburgh, Pryor's completion percentage is way down (52.8% compared to 68.3% previously)
42. Browns QB Jason Campbell (22-for-36, 293 YDS, 2 TD) had a strong enough game against Kansas City that he's going to start again next week. So long as Campbell is passing like that, Brows receivers have fantasy value.
43. Eagles third-string QB Matt Barkley (17-for-26, 158 YDS, 1 INT, 1 lost fumble) struggled in relief of an injured Michael Vick. With Vick expected to miss more time with a hamstring injury, it's important that Nick Foles is healthy enough to play because there's little evidence that Barkley is ready to face NFL defences.
44. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (10-for-18, 139 YDS, 2 TD) could use some receiving stability because he's had three games this season with fewer than 150 passing yards. He had three such games all of last season.
45. Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson suffered a torn patella tendon and has been placed on IR. Not that the Dolphins passing game is outstanding, but have an eye on second-year WR Rishard Matthews, who will take over Gibson's slot receiver role.
46. Giants WR Rueben Randle (0 REC, 1 target) was somehow ignored in the Giants' win over Philadelphia. When the two teams met in Week Five, Randle had six catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns, so the matchup should have been favourable.
47. The non-quarterback, non-running back worth most in fantasy leagues through eight weeks has been Saints TE Jimmy Graham (15.4 points per game), followed by Packers WR Jordy Nelson (15.0) and Lions WR Calvin Johnson (14.8).
48. Rams DE Robert Quinn (5 tackles, 3 sacks) and Chris Long (4 tackles, 3 sacks) took advantage of a depleted Seahawks offensive line Monday. They are one of the best end combinations in the game, combining for 15.5 sacks.
49. Seahawks OLB Bruce Irvin (9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) had a monster game against St. Louis.
50. Other defensive players to have big weeks: Cowboys ILB Sean Lee (10 tackles, 2 INT), Browns OLB Craig Robertson (11 tackles, 1 sack), Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson (12 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 PD), Saints OLB Junior Galette (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FR), Giants CB Terrell Thomas (11 tackles, 1 sack), Eagles OLB Mychal Kendricks (12 tackles, 1 TFL), Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), Steelers FS Ryan Clark (12 tackles, 1 TFL), Steelers SS Troy Polamalu (3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), Broncos CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (5 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD), Cardinals ILB Daryl Washington (6 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD), Cardinals FS Tyrann Mathieu (7 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PD), Vikings MLB Erin Henderson (14 tackles, 2 TFL), Buccaneers OLB Lavonte David (12 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL).
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.