Week 8 begins Thursday night, as the resurgent Dolphins travel to New England to take on the 6-0 Patriots. Miami has looked like a different team their last two games under Dan Campbell and will look to make it a three-game winning streak against their division rivals. The key to Miami’s success is Lamar Miller, who has amassed 354 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns over the last two games. The Dolphins are giving him volume (19 and 14 carries), allowing him to get into a rhythm and be more productive (8.7 yards per carry). New England has not been good against the run, yielding 4.5 yards per carry and is an area Miami can exploit in this game.
Pick: Lamar Miller will record at least 1 rushing touchdown.
Will Ben Roethlisberger return this week in time to face the 6-0 Bengals? If he does, this could turn into the most fantasy-friendly game of the week. Andy Dalton has looked like an elite quarterback, and for the first time ever in his career his weapons have stayed relatively healthy. There’s an argument that Tyler Eifert is becoming the best receiving tight end in the league (not named Gronkowski) and A.J. Green has continued to be one of the leagues’ best wide outs. Big Ben’s return may be rushed after the Steelers lost to the Chiefs in Kansas City, and it would mark the first time he’s played with Martavis Bryant this season. Bryant found the end zone for a second consecutive game since returning and looks like he’s the perfect complement to Antonio Brown playing opposite of him.
Pick: Martavis Bryant will record at least 1 total touchdown.
In a game matching the second and third place teams in the NFC North, Minnesota will take on Chicago at Solider Field Sunday afternoon. The Vikings’ offense has been energized by the emergence of rookie Stefon Diggs, who has three straight productive games and has become Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target. Diggs runs crisp routes, has good hands and has the speed to get behind the defense, as he did Sunday catching a long touchdown from Bridgewater. On the other side of the ball Chicago’s offense got a boost with the return of Alshon Jeffery Week 6 who looked 100 percent healthy and finished with an 8-147-1 line. Jeffery looks like a top-5 wide receiver the rest of the way. Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson both have plus matchups here as the Vikings (4.5 yards per carry) and Bears (4.5 yards per carry) struggle to stop the run.
Pick: Adrian Peterson will record at least 100 yards rushing.
The marquee game of the week will take place Sunday night in Denver, as the 6-0 Packers head to Colorado to take on the 6-0 Broncos. Something has to give, as the Broncos boast one of the best defenses in the league, while Green Bay has one of the best offenses in the league. Peyton Manning has shown signs of aging this season, having tossed more interceptions (10) than touchdown Since (7). Consequently, Denver could be forced to lean on the run in this game. Though C.J. Anderson has struggled out of the gate, Ronnie Hillman has emerged as the more effective runner in the Broncos’ backfield.
Pick: Ronnie Hillman will record at least 70 rushing yards.
The final game of Week 8 pits Chuck Pagano and the Colts against a perfect 6-0 Carolina squad. The Colts found themselves down 27-0 at home this week, and weren’t able to mount a successful comeback. They have to be considered one of the biggest disappointments in the league, considering many picked them as a dark horse to go all the way this season. Andrew Luck doesn’t appear healthy, which is too bad because he has two potent weapons in Donte Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton. On the other side of this matchup, Carolina has one of the better defenses in the league, led by shutdown corner Josh Norman. On the offensive side of the ball, Cam Newton has things clicking despite few good receiving options past Greg Olsen. Jonathan Stewart has had at least 50 rushing yards in every game this season and is coming off his two best fantasy games. Prospects look good for him going against a Colts defense that gave up 183 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to the Saints ground game.
Pick: Jonathan Stewart will record at least 80 rushing yards.