By Stephen Dolan
There were some big time performances from some unlikely candidates over the weekend. Ryan Tannehill lead the Dolphins to a convincing win over the Houston Texans on Sunday while running back Lamar Miller posted over 200 yards from scrimmage in the first half alone. Dallas running back Darren McFadden rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown against the New York Giants and Raiders receiver Amari Cooper put up 133 receiving yards in Oakland's big win over San Diego. While these guys aren't on the list below, here are your plays and passes for Week 8 right here.
Play: Drew Brees (vs. NYG)
Brees has not thrown for fewer than 255 yards in any game this season. He is coming off another good performance against the Colts in which he threw for 255 yards and a touchdown en route to a Saints victory. Brees is playing a Giants defense that has struggled mightily against the pass, ranking 31st in the league entering the game against New Orleans. Play Brees.
Play: Cam Newton (vs. IND)
Newton is a dual threat under center for the undefeated Panthers as he has posted 1,275 passing yards and 245 rushing yards. He's been nearly automatic in the red zone with nine touchdowns through the air and an additional four on the ground. He struggled against a strong Eagles defense on Monday night, but gets a favorable match-up on Monday night as the Colts rank 30th in the NFL against the pass allowing an average of 286 yards per game.
Other Good Plays: Andy Dalton (vs. PIT) for $8,100, Philip Rivers (vs. BAL) for $8,500, Eli Manning (vs. NO) for $7,300
Pass: Brian Hoyer (vs. TEN)
Hoyer put up good numbers on Sunday, throwing for 273 yards and three touchdowns with one interception in a blowout loss to the Dolphins; but he needed 49 attempts to do so and only completed 46.9 percent of them. The offensive line is struggling in Houston and the running game took a hit with the loss of Arian Foster to an Achilles injury. Combine all of that with Tennessee’s No. 2 ranked pass defense, this makes Hoyer a bad play this week.
Other Passes: Derek Carr (vs. NYJ) for $6,800, Teddy Bridgewater (vs. CHI) for $6,900
Play: Jonathan Stewart (vs. IND)
Stewart had his best game of the season on Sunday night against the stifling Eagles run defense, rushing 24 times for 125 yards. The week prior, he rushed 20 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns against the notorious Seahawks defense. The match-up is good for Stewart as he is facing an Indianapolis rush defense that ranks in the lower third of the league, allowing an average of 122.7 yards on the ground per season. Play Stewart.
Play: Justin Forsett (vs. SD)
Forsett rushed just 12 times for 36 yards, but punched in a touchdown in Monday night's loss to the Cardinals. He was slowed down by a Ravens offense that was forced to take to the air after falling behind the Cardinals. With that said, he is still the eighth highest rusher in the league. Forsett faces a Chargers defense that is allowing a league-worst 5.3 yards per carry and has already allowed 925 rushing yards, only the Cleveland Browns have allowed more. Play Forsett.
Other Good Plays: Chris Johnson (vs. CLE) for $7,300, Mark Ingram (vs. NYG) for $8,000, Todd Gurley (vs. SF) for $8,100
Pass: Latavius Murray (vs. NYJ)
Murray is coming off a big performance Sunday against the Chargers rushing 15 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Prior to that, he only rushed for more than 65 yards once in his first five games of the season. Murray is facing a daunting Jets rush defense that is the top ranked unit in the league and has allowed just 429 rushing yards on the season. Pass on Murray this week.
Other Passes: Doug Martin (vs. ATL) for $7,500, Eddie Lacy (vs. DEN) for $6,700
Play: Brandon Marshall (vs. OAK)
Marshall has been a major weapon in the Jets’ offense this season. He was held to just four catches and 67 yards receiving in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, marking it only the second time this season he was held to fewer than 100 yards. Facing a Raiders defense that has allowed 312.8 receiving yards per game, 32nd in the NFL this season. Play Marshall.
Play: Keenan Allen (vs. BAL)
Allen has set an NFL record through the first seven weeks of the season with 62 receptions, breaking Marvin Harrison and T. J. Houshmandzadeh’s NFL record of 58. Allen caught nine passes for 89 yards on Sunday against Oakland as Philip Rivers’ top option. He gets a favorable match-up against a Ravens defense that has struggled through the air this season. Play Allen.
Play: Antonio Brown (vs. CIN)
Brown had his first big game on Sunday since Ben Roethlisberger’s injury when he caught six passes for 124 yards. Despite the recent drought, Brown still has four games with 108 receiving yards or more. He is facing a Cincinnati secondary that allows an average 261.5 receiving yards per game.
Other Good Plays: Brandin Cooks (vs. NYG) for $6,800, Eric Decker (vs. OAK) for $6,400, Martavis Bryant (vs. CIN) for $7,200
Pass: Dez Bryant (vs. SEA)
Bryant can return at any point now from his broken foot and even paid his own way to New Jersey on Sunday to see the Cowboys take on the Giants. He was warming up before the game and was seen roaming the sideline with no issue. Bryant caught five passes for 48 yards in Week 1’s win over the New York Giants, his only game of the season. Dallas takes on the Seahawks and their Legion of Boom secondary which has only allowed 200 yards receiving, good enough for third in the league. Even if he plays, pass.
Other Passes: Travis Benjamin (vs. ARI) for $6,300, Stefon Diggs (vs. CHI) for $6,700
Play: Greg Olsen (vs. IND)
Olsen is Newton’s favorite target in Carolina, catching 27 passes for 439 yards and three touchdowns on the season. He caught three passes for 65 yards against the Eagles on Sunday night and caught seven passes for 131 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks the week prior. He is facing a porous Colts defense that has allowed 285 receiving yards per game, ranking 29th in the NFL. Play Olsen.
Other Good Plays: Jimmy Graham (vs. DAL) for $6,100, Benjamin Watson (vs. NYG) for $5,400
Pass: Jason Witten (vs. SEA)
Witten caught six passes for 73 yards in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants marking the first time this season he has had more than 65 yards receiving. Witten hasn’t recorded a touchdown since catching a pair in Week 1’s victory over the Giants. It doesn’t get any easier on Sunday as the Cowboys take on the Seahawks, who feature one of the top defensive units in the league.
Other Passes: Coby Fleener (vs. CAR) for $5,000, Heath Miller (vs. CIN) for $5,000
Play: Chandler Catanzaro (vs. CLE) for $5,000
Play: Steven Hauschka (vs. DAL) for $5,100
Play: Connor Barth (vs. ATL) for $4,800
Pass: Adam Vinatieri (vs. CAR) for $4,800
Pass: Brandon McManus (vs. GB) for $5,000
Pass: Kai Forbath (vs. NYG) for $4,600
Play: Cardinals (vs. CLE) for $5,400
Play: Falcons (vs. TB) for $4,800
Play: Rams (vs. SF) for $5,100
Pass: Bengals (vs. PIT) for $4,700
Pass: Broncos (vs. GB) for $4,700
Pass: Cowboys (vs. SEA) for $4,500
QB: Cam Newton (vs. IND)
RB: Justin Forsett (vs. SD)
RB: Jonathan Stewart (vs. IND)
WR: Brandon Marshal (vs. OAK)
WR: Antonio Brown (vs. CIN)
WR: Eric Decker (vs. OAK)
TE: Benjamin Watson (vs. NYG)
K: Connor Barth (vs. ATL)
D/ST: Rams (vs. SF)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph's University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17's Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.
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