Fantasy Football Week 8: The Top Expected Scorers by Position

Stuck this week? Find out why we think this week may be Saints Part II for Jamaal Charles and more.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Bleacher Report for numberFire by Content Editor and Writer Zach Warren. It is being republished here with both Bleacher Report's and the author's permission. Because denying anybody the stats magic is a crying shame.

Week 8: Where the Worry starts to set in.

You know the worry. "My team has a bad schedule for the playoffs!" or "I'm only at 3-4 and need RB help, let me trade Roddy White for Alex Green RIGHT NOW" or "You know, Brandon Weeden really doesn't look like he'd be that bad of a Philip Rivers replacement..."

Stop it. I've been there, and it's not a fun place. But don't worry; there are people who can help.

That's where we come in. We here at numberFire hold the power of Math(!), and we're not afraid to use it. Our weekly projections are among the most accurate in the Wide Wide Internet World, and you get that information Fo' Free. This week, that information could be vital, especially when you see the names that will win you your league this week.

Week 8's Top Expected Scorers by Position

Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers
Projected Stats: 276.95 pass yards, 2.45 pass TDs, 0.57 INTs, 13.24 rush yards, 0.10 rush TDs
Standard League Fantasy Points: 21.26 FP
Week 8 Opponent: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

It's not tough to look at the stats and see how good Rodgers has been over the past two weeks. Compiling 680 yards and nine TDs combined over the past two weeks, against two defenses in the top half of the league according to numberFire's opponent-adjusted power rankings is something I'd take that in a heartbeat.

But to truly know how good Rodgers has been, you need to look at one of numberFire's favorite metrics: Net Expected Points (NEP). The idea behind NEP is simple: how many points do you contribute to your team over an average NFL player?

Well, over the past two weeks, Rodgers has contributed 56.46 NEP to the Packers. To put that in easier terms, that means that if the Packers had an average player instead of Rodgers at QB (say, Matt Hasselbeck), the Packers would have scored more than four touchdowns less per game over the past two weeks.

And against Jacksonville, don't expect any signs of Rodgers slowing down. The Jaguars have allowed at least one passing touchdown and 240 yards in each of their past four games, facing the not-so-murderer's row of Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer.

The Best of the Rest
2. Peyton Manning (vs. NO): 20.72 FP
3. Robert Griffin III (@ PIT): 20.41 FP
4. Drew Brees (@ DEN): 20.08 FP
5. Ben Roethlisberger (vs. WAS): 19.63 FP

Running Backs: Jamaal Charles
Projected Stats: 19.12 rush attempts, 92,25 rush yards, 0.47 rush TDs, 3.60 receptions, 34.10 receiving yards, 0.14 receiving TDs
Standard League Fantasy Points: 15.64 FP
Week 8 Opponent: vs. Oakland Raiders

The case against Charles is strong. Yes, I know that he only had four FP in his last game. You don't have to tell me that he has only put up double-digit points in half of his games this year. And I'm somewhat scared by the Shaun Draughn vulture factor as well.

But look some of the stats numberFire has dug out, and all that fear instantly melts away.

I asked numberFire Chief Analyst Keith Goldner to take a look at the top 10 player/game situations that Charles' matchup against Oakland's No. 21 run defense most closely resembles. In order to keep our projections close to home, all games looked at were from the 2000 season on.

We found that Jamaal Charles compares very favorably to Steven Jackson circa 2008, as well as Justin Fargas 2007. You'll see a lot of them in this list. And the results make you pumped for this week's game.

Name Week/Year Rush Yards Total TDs Fantasy Points Similarity %
S. Jackson Week 7, '08 160 3 35.1 89.93
S. Jackson Week 9, '08 16 0 -0.4 89.85
S. Jackson Week 17, '08 161 2 33.5 89.38
J. Fargas Week 9, '07 104 1 17.9 89.19
S. Jackson Week 14, '08 64 0 8.7 89.06
S. Jackson Week 16, '08 108 0 11.9 88.88
S. Jackson Week 13, '08 94 0 11.0 86.92
J. Fargas Week 13, '07 146 1 20.4 86.40
S. Jackson Week 15, '08 91 1 18.7 86.20
F. Gore Week 11, '06 212 0 21.8 85.64

Look particularly at those FP numbers: only two games were in single-digits; only one game fell below eight FP. A Jamaal Charles breakout could certainly be in the cards against Oakland much like it was for Charles against New Orleans.

The Best of the Rest
2. Adrian Peterson (vs. TB): 14.02 FP
3. LeSean McCoy (vs. ATL): 13.66 FP
4. Alfred Morris (@ PIT): 13.54 FP
5. Marshawn Lynch (@ DET): 13.33 FP

Wide Receivers: Victor Cruz
Projected Stats: 6.83 receptions, 100.78 receiving yards, 0.85 receiving TDs
Standard League Fantasy Points: 15.02 FP
Week 8 Opponent: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Remember last week, when I talked all about how Cruz would take the world by storm? I'd say 131 yards, a touchdown, and 19 Fantasy Points was a solid way to reach that goal.

Even though 77 of his 131 yards came on one late play, I was still greatly encouraged by Cruz's day. And the main reason was those ever-present targets; his 11 looks were first on the Giants and represented 27.5 percent of Eli Manning's throws.

The Salsa Man has now put up double-digit targets in three of his past four games, and he has not had a game with less than eight targets the entire season. I don't expect that to stop against the Cowboys either, as he had 11 looks (34 percent of Eli's throws) against them back in Week 1.

This week, Cruz has the highest yardage projection of any wide receiver and second-highest touchdown projection behind Jordy Nelson. There will be fireworks in Dallas, and there's a good shot Cruz will be the main cause of some.

The Best of the Rest
2. Percy Harvin (vs. TB): 13.81 FP
3. Jordy Nelson (vs. JAC): 13.67 FP
4. Reggie Wayne (@ TEN): 13.32 FP
5. Wes Welker (@ STL): 13.02 FP

Tight Ends: Rob Gronkowski
Projected Stats: 4.70 receptions, 64.78 receiving yards, 0.47 receiving TDs
Standard League Fantasy Points: 9.24 FP
Week 8 Opponent: at St. Louis Rams

Don't worry I know your thought process. Rob Gronkowski at the top of the tight end charts, what a shocker! Next, you're going to tell me that Drew Brees might throw for a touchdown, right?

Hold your horses, Mr. (or Ms.) Sarcastic. It's not that cut and dry. Gronkowski does have a few downsides, most namely a Rams defense that ranks as numberFire's No. 15 opponent-adjusted defensive unit on the season. That same Rams team that only allowed two catches for 31 yards to Jermichael Finley in Week 7.

However, the Gronk is just too good to be denied. Gronkowski led the Patriots with nine targets in against the Jets; that marked his second straight week with at least eight Tom Brady looks. The tight end has gotten five targets in all but one game (Baltimore), and he has led New England three different times this year in that category.

But it's not just the looks that puts Gronkowski above and beyond; it's how well he's able to convert them into big plays. His 68.6 percent catch rate is in the upper tier of tight ends, his 434 yards receiving leads all tight ends, and his five touchdowns puts him tied for the lead in that category as well.

The Best of the Rest
2. Jimmy Graham (@ DEN): 8.83 FP
3. Antonio Gates (@ CLE): 8.40 FP
4. Jason Witten (vs. NYG): 8.25 FP
5. Aaron Hernandez (@ STL): 7.95 FP