Fantasy Football Fun: Week 8

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In a fantasy league where the average player is putting up roughly 10 points per game, selecting a 30-point scorer can provide a big boost.

The league leader has picked three players that topped 30 points over the last two weeks – the reason he's the league leader. Josh Klein of the Riot Report extended his overall lead last week with a lineup powered by Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. Their 63.5 combined points in the NFL.com scoring system virtually matched the 64.1 points that the average six-player lineup has mustered over the first seven weeks of the season. Panthers and WBT announcer Jim Szoke slid ahead of me into second place overall on the strength of taking Hunt.

Klein declined an interview request for this story. OK, actually he requested that I interview him. I declined.

About three quarterbacks (and about one running back) have reached 30 points in an average week. Quarterback clearly is a valuable fantasy position, but a lot of quarterback score a lot of points, so the difference between the top QBs can be negligible over the course of the season. But in this format, where you can only pick non-Panthers once (you can pick Cam Newton up to three times), successfully targeting someone like Trubisky in the right week can be invaluable. He in fact was the only QB among the top nine Week 7 scorers that any of our panel picked.

Bryan Strickland
Max Henson
Bill Voth
Jordan Gross
Jim Szoke
Total Pts (rank) 557.60 (3rd) 524.68 (8th) 528.34 (6th) 538.64 (5th) 571.48 (2nd)
Last week 75.44 (3rd) 73.20 (4th) 58.06 (9th) 72.66 (5th) 100.16 (2nd)
QB J. Winston A. Dalton K. Cousins M. Trubisky T. Brady
RB T. Gurley T. Gurley J. Conner J. Mixon K. Johnson
RB M. Mack P. Lindsay K. Johnson P. Lindsay N. Chubb
WR A.J. Green D. Funchess C. Samuel T. Smith T. Hill
WR E. Sanders W. Fuller A. Thielen R. Woods T.Y. Hilton
TE G. Olsen V. McDonald R. Gronkowski O.J. Howard G. Olsen
Jourdan Rodrigue
Mike Solarte
Kelsey Riggs
Josh Klein
John Halpin
Total Pts (rank) 494.56 (10th) 499.02 (9th) 549.80 (4th) 595.36 (1st) 526.26 (7th)
Last week 66.06 (7th) 63.26 (8th) 71.16 (6th) 108.82 (1st) 51.22 (10th)
QB C. Newton C. Newton K. Cousins A. Rodgers J. Goff
RB M. Mack A. Peterson K. Hunt J. Mixon L. Miller
RB N. Chubb T. Cohen L. Miller M. Mack J. White
WR M. Thomas M. Thomas J. Edelman D. Funchess S. Diggs
WR J. Brown Smith-Schuster R. Woods J. Nelson R. Woods
TE D. Njoku T. Kelce G. Olsen T. Burton G. Olsen

This week, I'm taking my midseason fantasy MVP – who was my MVP at the conclusion of the 2017 season as well. Rams running back Todd Gurley was the only non-quarterback to finish in the top 12 of scoring last season, at No. 2 overall at that. While last year's No. 1 – Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson – has slipped to No. 29 this year (with 19 QBs ahead of him), Gurley is the model of consistency. He's second overall again this year with no non-QB company in the top 10, and this week he sets his sights on a Packers defense that has been pretty good against the run. Gurley has simply been better.

But in the world of fantasy football, Gurley could easily get outscored by my other back pick – Marlon Mack of the Colts. Mack has emerged big-time the last two weeks, racking up 215 yards on the ground, and now he gets the Raiders and looks to be a good daily fantasy target.

At the quarterback and receiver spots, I'm going with players staring at possible shootouts: Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston (vs. Bengals), Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green and Denver receiver Emmanuel Sanders (vs. Chiefs). My Panther has a tough matchup – tight end Greg Olsen against the Ravens – but he's the most popular Panther pick this week, perhaps because the matchup is a tall order and most panelists don't want to use the valuable quarterback position here. But that could provide an opportunity for the two panelists currently at the bottom of the standings – Spectrum News sports director Mike Solarte and Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer – to make a move as the only two to take Newton this week.

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