Week 8 Recap: Big Ben Blows Up
October 26, 2014 | Jeff
Week 8 started early on Sunday (yaaaawn) with the Lions and Falcons kicking the day off at 6:30 PT/9:30 ET, making for a long day of fake footballing. The day was full of the usual bright spots and duds, but one performance stood out above the rest as Ben Roethlisberger put up one of the most ridiculous stat lines that fantasy owners will ever see. Large Ben ended the day with 522 passing yards and a six-pack of touchdowns. Yes, SIX touchdown passes. Roethlisberger is quietly having a decent year and will remain a nice borderline QB1/QB2 target with the amazing Antonio Brown at his side. Let’s check in on the rest of Sunday’s action:
Joique Bell / Theo Riddick: The early early game on Sunday ended in exciting fashion while the Falcons coughed up a 21-0 lead to the Detroit Lions in London. Golden Tate was busy going off again with Calvin Johnson out, but it was the Detroit running game that was interesting. With Reggie Bush sitting out, it was Theo Riddick turning in the fantasy stat line owners thought would come from Joique Bell. Bell handled most of the rushing attempts (14) but only ran for 39 yards. Riddick caught a whopping eight passes for 74 yards and a score and is worth checking on this week if Bush doesn’t heal quickly.
Tre Mason: Apparently the Rams weren’t kidding with their “running back rotation” talk this week, as St. Louis went with a disciplined, fair approach with their backs while the Chiefs were busy hanging a 34-7 loss on Jeff Fisher and company. Rookie Tre Mason received eight touches, Zac Stacy handled eight as well, and Benny Cunningham touched the ball five times. Mason is still the guy to own here but it won’t be a pretty situation until they phase Stacy out.
Arian Foster: Foster cranked out another huge game on Sunday, running for 151 yards on 20 carries and finding the end zone twice. Foster has now racked up 100+ yards in six of seven games this year, and is averaging 130 yards per game over his last four outings. Foster is running strong after dealing with early season hammy issues, and is a week winning machine right now.
Lorenzo Taliaferro: It was the rookie Taliaferro who handled the short yardage work for Baltimore after Bernard Pierce was a surprising inactive on Sunday morning. Justin Forsett (20 touches) still led this backfield, but Taliaferro pounded in two touchdowns to go with 69 total yards. Forsett is a weekly start now but it looks like anyone using Taliaferro or Pierce as a bye week filler will need to pay close attention to news out of Baltimore this week.
Denard Robinson: In his second game as Jacksonville’s top running back, Denard Robinson handled 18 carries and spun them into 108 yards on Sunday. That makes 235 yards on 40 carries (5.9 ypc) over the last two weeks for Robinson, who is the unquestioned lead back in Jacksonville.
Jonas Gray: In the second game since Stevan Ridley’s season-ending knee injury, it was rookie Jonas Gray handling the running back work for New England. Gray received 17 carries and ran for 81 yards on the day, with Shane Vereen complimenting the rookie on passing downs. Game scripts won’t always be friendly to Gray but when the Patriots offense is rolling, the goal line back is a very productive spot.
Mark Ingram: With Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson out with injuries, Mark Ingram stepped up and turned in his best game of the season as he rumbled for 172 yards and a touchdown. Ingram is the lead dog in New Orleans on early downs and should get plenty of goal line work down the stretch of the fantasy season. Ingram has looked fantastic since returning from a hand injury and is now a decent weekly option.
Rob Gronkowski: Gronk went bonkers on Sunday, racking up 149 yards on nine catches and scoring not one, not two, but three touchdowns. Gronkowski has looked more comfortable over the last few weeks and this will be just the first of many huge games down the stretch as we head toward the fantasy football playoffs. Denver will have the task defending this beast in Week 9.
Sammy Watkins: The New York Jets were busy benching Geno Smith on Sunday, but there were some encouraging fantasy performances on the other side of the ball from the Buffalo Bills. Watkins turned in his second straight 100+ yard effort as he stacked up 157 yards and a score on just three catches. Kyle Orton has taken a liking to this rookie, who is barging his way into WR2 territory.
Michael Floyd: While teammate Larry Fitzgerald snagged seven passes for 160 yards and a score, Mikey Floyd handed his owners a shiny goose egg on four targets. This was the type of situation we expected with Logan Thomas at quarterback, but not Carson Palmer. Floyd was close on a couple deep passes, but that won’t ease the sting of that zero in the box score. The Cardinals and their young wide receiver will look to turn things around next week against Dallas.
Ben Tate: The Cleveland backfield was a complete mess on Sunday as a recipe of Ben Tate, Terrance West, and Isaiah Crowell was ineffective against Oakland. Tate led the way with 15 carries but looked terrible outside of a late 4th quarter touchdown plunge, and only totaled 26 yards (1.7 ypc). West saw seven carries but did not fair any better, and Crowell was held to just one carry himself. Tate is still the back of choice at the moment but the lead role in this backfield could shift hands at any moment. Make sure Crowell and West are rostered in your leagues just in case.
Donte Moncrief: Get those waiver wire bids ready, because rookie Dont Moncrief has officially arrived. With Reggie Wayne sitting out, Moncrief led Indianapolis in targets (12) and caught seven of those passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Moncrief looked like a pro throughout this game and gave fantasy owners visions of the future after Wayne leaves town. Even with Reggie Wayne expected to return in Week 9, Moncrief is still worthy of a roster spot, as he has blown by Hakeem Nicks on the Colts target ladder.