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FFL: Week 8 | NFL: Week 8

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) walks off the field after the Jacksonville Jaguars intercepted a pass he threw during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars with teammate wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., left, scores a touchdown on a 16-yard pass play in front of Indianapolis Colts defensive end Justin Houston during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)


INDIANANPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts drafted Jonathan Taylor to complement their ground game.

Now he's the starter - and perhaps the finisher, too. On Sunday, the Colts are giving a 21-year-old rookie his chance to play a familiar part: workhorse back.

''Jonathan, I think has been in this mindset of he's been a star and a starter all his life,'' coach Frank Reich said. ''So for him to step into this role I think is a pretty easy transition.''

Taylor is the perfect fit.

At 5-foot-10, 226 pounds, he's powerful enough to be effective inside. His breakaway speed makes him dangerous outside. And in last weekend's pro debut he had six catches for 67 yards. He excelled in the job at Wisconsin, too, where he logged 926 carries and became the first Football Bowl Subdivision player to top 6,000 yards in three seasons.

But with the injured Marlon Mack handing off the starting job, the Colts need Taylor to take on a heavier workload against a Minnesota defense that has typically ranked among the league's best.

The Vikings (0-1) certainly didn't look the part last week.

Minnesota allowed 43 points, the most in coach Mike Zimmer's seven-year tenure, 522 yards, the second most of the Zimmer era. They can't afford to let it happen again or the Vikings could leave town with their first 0-2 start since 2013.

What needs to change?

''I just feel like we came out flat, you know what I mean?'' recently acquired defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said. ''People want to say, I guess, not having fans and things like that, but at the end of the day it's just like playing backyard football. We didn't have any fans back then. We just went out there and had fun.''

The Colts have other problems.

New quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions and Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton dropped the last two passes of the game - a feeling that has gnawed at him all week.

One possible solution is a more balanced offense, with the spotlight shining on Taylor.

''You're excited for Jonathan,'' Reich said. ''This will be a great opportunity for him.''

ROAD TRIP

After last week's strange home opener, the Vikings make their first road trip of the COVID-19 era to Indianapolis, where a crowd of up to 2,500 fans could congregate.

Indy opened the season at Jacksonville, where fans were socially distanced.

''This might be a little bit more `normal' now that we've been through this one time,'' Zimmer said. ''We just have to be focused on our job and what we're going to do, and we can't worry about crowds and protocols and anything like that.''

But the Colts have been inhospitable to Minnesota, which has lost all 11 games played in Baltimore or Indy. The Vikings own at least one road win against the other 30 franchises.

MILESTONE WATCH

Philip Rivers remembers hanging posters of some quarterback greats in his bedroom. This week, he could be joining some and surpassing another.

Rivers needs two touchdown passes and 366 yards to become the sixth member of the 400-TD and 60,000-yard clubs, and 24 completions to pass Hall of Famer Dan Marino (4,967) for fifth in NFL history. If he makes consecutive start No. 226, he'll tie Terrell Suggs for the league's 11th longest streak.

And one more win will give him 124, tying Hall of Famer and former Vikings great Fran Tarkenton for No. 8.

''That's what matters most, finding a way to help lead the team to a win,'' he said. ''If that means 80 yards passing and handing it off 55 times, then let's do that. If it means something different, then let's do that.''

FAMILIAR FOE

The Vikings' last trip to Indy was for Andrew Luck's home debut.

But Ngakoue played at Lucas Oil Stadium four times with Jacksonville before he was traded. In eight career games against the Colts, Ngakoue has 6 1/2 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and one interception. The Colts were eager to get him out of the division - but not happy to see him back so soon.

''He has a relentless motor,'' coach Frank Reich said. ''He's a fierce competitor. That was a very good pickup for the Vikings.''

Ngakoue had only four full practices with the Vikings before his debut last week against Green Bay. He was a nonfactor in the loss and acknowledged this week he was rusty.

REUNITED

Xavier Rhodes spent seven seasons with Minnesota before signing with Indianapolis as a free agent in March. He's not bitter, just excited to hit some old friends.

''When I was practicing against those guys when I was there, we were competing each and every play, so it's going to be the same right there on the field,'' Rhodes said. ''But I'm going to be able to tackle them this time.''

Player Notes
Allen Robinson Oct 31 1:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and is expected to play in Week 8 against the Saints. Robinson missed practice all week, making it seem unlikely on Friday that he would be able to suit up on Sunday. But it looks like fantasy managers can return him to their starting lineups for this weekend. Chicago's offense has been stagnant the last two weeks, though, which has limited A-Rob to nine receptions for 123 yards on 13 targets in that span. The Bears need to make their top receiver a bigger part of the game plan to get back in the win column, but the 27-year-old will be a WR2 for fantasy managers against New Orleans.

From RotoBaller

Scott Miller Oct 31 1:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scotty Miller could have a chance at more targets in Week 8 without Chris Godwin (finger) on the field. Miller has started two games without Godwin, producing a 2-11-0 line in Week 2 and a 5-83-1 line in Week 4. Brady certainly seems to trust him, which bodes well for his outlook. However, the game script might be working against him, as the Giants aren't likely to keep this a close contest. He's a risky WR4 for this game, though he's a player that can be rolled out there if you're up against it with injuries or bye weeks.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Oct 31 12:50pm ET

New York Jets running back Frank Gore (hand) is listed as questionable to play in Week 8 against the Chiefs. Gore was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Friday but sat out on Thursday. You really shouldn't trust anyone in this atrocious Jets offense not named Jamison Crowder, and he's not expected to play this Sunday. The 37-year-old Gore is now dealing with an injury and has been splitting repetitions with rookie La'Mical Perine recently, further cratering his fantasy value. In what will likely be a blowout loss to the defending Super Bowl champions this weekend, trusting any of Gang Green's runners would be foolish. Gore is an RB4/flex that shouldn't be trusted in 12-team leagues if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Oct 31 12:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans should see an increased target share without teammate Chris Godwin (finger) in Week 8. Evans has averaged nine targets per game in three starts without a healthy Godwin and has delivered WR2 numbers or better in all three of those contests. The matchup will be tough this week- he'll go up against a familiar foe in James Bradberry, who has been playing phenomenal football for New York. Still, Evans will get plenty of looks from Brady and has a good chance of finding the end zone in Week 8. Start him as a high-end WR2 this week who could very well finish among the top-12 at his position.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Oct 31 12:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette gets the Giants in Week 8 fresh off of leading his team's backfield in touches. Fournette played a season-high 56 percent of the snaps en route to 97 scrimmage yards on 17 touches back in Week 7. He'll face a Giants Defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing halfbacks, including the fifth-most receiving yards. Tampa Bay is likely to operate with a lead, though Fournette seems to have the trust of the coaching staff as the third-down back. Expect a near-even split in touches with Ronald Jones II, with the former Jaguar handling much of the receiving work. He's a good flex play with RB2 upside, particularly in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Adam Shaheen Oct 31 12:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins tight end Adam Shaheen (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Rams. Shaheen was a limited participant in practice all week, so he has a good shot at playing this Sunday. Just signed to a two-year extension worth up to $7.85 million this week, the 26-year-old has scored in each of his last two games. He had his best performance of the season in Week 6, catching all three of his targets for 51 yards and the score. But Shaheen has just seven targets and five catches for 58 yards in six games this year and remains behind Mike Gesicki in the tight end pecking order in Miami. Shaheen shouldn't be considered for starting fantasy lineups in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Oct 31 12:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II gets a good matchup against the Giants on Monday Night Football. Jones II ran wild in the absence of Leonard Fournette, picking up over 100 yards rushing in three consecutive games while handling at least 20 touches in each contest. However, Fournette returned healthy last week and out-touched Jones II 17-14, as the latter saw a huge dip in his snap percentage. Still, it appears that the 23-year-old will retain his early-down role for the time being, with head coach Bruce Arians referring to Fournette as more of his "nickel" back. With Tampa Bay projected to be in the lead against the Giants, Jones II will likely get his chances on the ground, making him a low-to-mid RB2.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Higbee Oct 31 12:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Dolphins. Higbee was limited in practice all week, so he has a good chance to play this weekend after being a late scratch last in Week 7. Gerald Everett won't be a TE2 streamer if Higbee returns, which is looking more likely. Aside from his five-catch, 54-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 2 against the Eagles, Higbee hasn't done a whole lot for his fantasy managers. He'll be a low-end TE2 if he returns on Sunday against Miami, one of two teams that have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end in 2020.

From RotoBaller

John Ross Oct 31 12:20pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III has made it known that he wants out of Cincinnati. Ross replied bluntly to a local sports reporter on Thursday on his feelings at this point in the season in his fourth NFL campaign. "It's not a secret that I have requested a trade," Ross wrote. "Trade me if this how y'all feel. I'm healthy and eager to play. I know I can be productive. It's hard to love something when your (sic) not actually participating in it. Believe me, its (sic) not football that I don't like." Ross has world-class speed but has struggled through injuries and has caught only 51 passes for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns in three-plus seasons. He played 56 snaps in the season-opener but has since played 29 snaps and was inactive in Week 7 with an illness. The 24-year-old should be on the waiver wire in all single-year formats, but he could find his way back to fantasy relevance if he's traded and lands in a promising situation.

From RotoBaller

Michael Pittman Jr. Oct 31 12:10pm ET

The Indianapolis Colts activated rookie wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (leg) from Injured Reserve on Saturday and waived receiver Daurice Fountain in a corresponding move. Pittman played in three games before suffering his leg injury, which required surgery. The second-round selection out of USC caught nine of his 12 targets for 73 yards in his three games before being sidelined. The 23-year-old is a big-bodied receiver than can succeed on contested catches and in the red zone, and he should immediately return to a role alongside T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal. However, Indy's slow-paced, run-first offense hasn't had the kind of passing volume under quarterback Philip Rivers to make any one receiver particularly attractive in fantasy this year. But Pittman's upside makes him a must-stash in dynasty/keeper leagues, and he's worth a pickup in deeper leagues as well for depth.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Goedert Oct 31 12:00pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to activate tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) from Injured Reserve for the Sunday night game against the division-rival Cowboys, according to sources. It's a bit of a surprise, as most expected Goedert to return closer to Week 10, but apparently he impressed the coaches and medical staff during practice this week. The Eagles could choose to limit his snaps, especially after Richard Rodgers impressed in last week's win over the Giants, but the 25-year-old Goedert should at least be considered a low-end TE1 this weekend against a Cowboys Defense that hasn't really been able to stop much of anything this year. They've given up the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Goedert's return should also make Rodgers a less appealing tight end streamer.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Reagor Oct 31 12:00pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles are activating rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb), offensive lineman Jason Peters, linebacker T.J. Edwards and safety Rudy Ford from Injured Reserve on Saturday. Reagor will return for the Sunday night game against the Cowboys for the first time since suffering a thumb injury in Week 2 that required surgery. The first-round pick should be a starter this weekend, but he'll be a risky flex option in deeper leagues because of the possibility that he has his snaps limited in his first game back. The matchup against Dallas is an excellent one, too, as the Cowboys have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wideouts in 2020. Travis Fulgham still remains Philly's highest-upside pass-catcher, though.

From RotoBaller

Denver Broncos Oct 31 11:50am ET

The Denver Broncos Defense will face a rising young star in Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert in their Week 8 divisional matchup. Herbert has 12 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 108.1 QB rating in five games, and the Broncos D has allowed a QB rating of 92.5 this year. They'll be looking to limit the big play after surrendering six passing plays of at least 16 yards to the Chiefs in Week 7. Entering Week 8, Denver's six takeaways were tied for 24th in the league, their three interceptions tied for 23rd and their minus-eight differential 31st. The Broncos have actually been decent at limiting big plays by their opponents this year despite not having their top playmakers available because of injury, but their lack of turnovers has made them a low-upside streaming unit for fantasy managers. They are tied for eighth in the league with 18 sacks, so perhaps they can get to Herbert early and often and force him into mistakes.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Oct 31 11:40am ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus never had a chance to deliver for fantasy managers in Week 7 against the Chiefs in snowy conditions. A week after being the hero with six made field goals against the Patriots, McManus made one field goal and went 1-for-2 on extra points. In a Broncos offense that has been below-average through six games in 2020, the 29-year-old's six field-goal performance in Week 6 is looking like an outlier. While there should be more opportunities against the division-rival Chargers this Sunday -- the Bolts allow the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing kickers -- McManus is merely a streaming consideration for those in 14-team leagues this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Albert Okwuegbunam Oct 31 11:30am ET

Denver Broncos rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam has emerged in the last two weeks as quarterback Drew Lock's favorite target. Okwuegbunam made his NFL debut in Week 6 when Noah Fant (ankle) was sidelined, and he led the squad in receiving last week, catching all seven of his targets for 60 yards. He has 13 targets the last two weeks, showing the chemistry that he has with Lock from their days at Missouri. However, Fant ran more routes than the rookie last week and is getting closer to full health, which could spell trouble for Albert O. The 22-year-old is certainly intriguing, but the presence of Fant will cap his upside. If receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) doesn't play against the Chargers this Sunday, Okwuegbunam will be an upside TE2.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Oct 31 11:20am ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (ankle) was taken off the final Week 8 injury report and is good to go for Sunday's game against the division-rival Chargers. Fant was limited in practice on Wednesday, but he got in full practices both Thursday and Friday. The second-year tight end missed Week 6 because of the injury, but he returned last weekend and disappointed with a season-low three receptions for 38 yards. The good news is he was tied for the team lead with seven targets, but rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam out-produced him and has become a favorite target of quarterback Drew Lock. That's a concern, but Fant is getting closer to full health and could see a healthy amount of targets if receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) can't play. The Chargers also allow the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, so Fant has clear top-10 tight end upside this week despite the emergence of Albert O.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Oct 31 11:10am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is on a roll heading into a Week 8 matchup with the Giants. After a slow start to the season, Brady has now thrown for 1,454 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and just one interception in his last five contests. The Giants have been a pleasant surprise against opposing quarterbacks for fantasy this year, though they've slipped a bit, allowing at least 250 passing yards and two touchdowns to each of the last two signal-callers they've faced. Brady can be started as a solid QB1 against New York on Monday Night Football.

From RotoBaller

KJ Hamler Oct 31 11:00am ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver K.J. Hamler returned last week after missing a month with a hamstring injury, but he didn't do much in the 43-16 blowout loss to the Chiefs, catching two of his three targets for 24 yards. He also ran the ball once for 10 yards. Hamler saw seven targets in the Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh, but he just hasn't been involved enough in Denver's spotty passing attack to warrant fantasy attention in any single-year fantasy formats. In his four games, the second-round pick has caught eight of his 15 targets for 102 yards. The Penn State alum could find himself in a bigger role this Sunday against the Chargers if Tim Patrick (hamstring) is ruled out, but even then he'd be a desperation dart throw as a flex in deep leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jerry Jeudy Oct 31 10:50am ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy showed up on the team's Week 8 injury report with a shoulder injury, but he practiced in full all week and is good to go for Sunday against the Chargers. An impressive route-runner with very quick feet, Jeudy's potential hasn't manifested itself yet through six games. He's seen only 13 targets in the last three games combined and has just six catches over that span. Jeudy had two grabs for a season-low 20 yards in the blowout loss to Kansas City last week and has seen his fantasy stock drop considerably in recent weeks. The 21-year-old has been tough to trust as a flex in Denver's inconsistent offense, but he has rebound potential this week against the Chargers if Tim Patrick (hamstring) cannot play. Jeudy will be an upside WR3/flex if Patrick is inactive.

From RotoBaller

Giovani Bernard Oct 31 10:40am ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard will once again have an expanded role. With Joe Mixon (foot) out of the equation against the Titans, his second-straight absence, the veteran will serve as the top option out of the backfield against a Tennessee team looking to rebound from its first loss of the year. Bernard filled in admirably in Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns, finishing with 37 yards off 13 carries while also catching all five of his targets for 59 yards and a touchdown. Although Cincy's offensive line is banged up, Bernard should still be considered a starting option on Sunday, especially in PPR formats, as he may get plenty of looks from rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow.

From RotoBaller