SBNation Minnesota's week eight fantasy football projections and rankings

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota's defense could get fantasy owners off to a good start on Thursday night.

'Tis the season for fantasy trades. Often I have people ask me about proposed deals and I spend hours myself trying to think of appropriate deals to offer fellow members of my league.

There are a few key factors to consider when pondering a trade offered to you or attempting to present to another player:

  • Are you improving at a position of need? Sometimes, it can actually be OK to accept just a little less talent coming back to you in a trade versus what you are giving up if you are addressing a big need, especially if you are trading away a position of depth on your team. Feel free to give up Kenny Britt for Alex Green, even if you think Britt is the better play, if you already have solid starting receivers and desperately need running backs. Having a great bench can only get you so far. To win a fantasy championship, you need to be solid at all positions.

  • Look at each player's upcoming schedule in the deal. As we all know, matchups rule this cyber game. Don't trade for a quarterback that faces Chicago and Seattle in the next four weeks. At this point in the season, you probably can't afford two miserable weeks coming down the stretch. Also, even if a running back has struggled, they may be worth trading for if you see teams like New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Buffalo coming up in their schedules (Darren McFadden).

  • Do not give away important pieces of your team for injured players. It may seem like a risk worth taking, but it is just too risky to predict when a player will return from an injury or what type of condition that player will be in when they do come back. Andre Johnson was "just a few weeks away" throughout the entire season last year and he was not effective again until the playoffs. The only time to trade for an injured player is if you absolutely do not need the player you are giving away and there is significant value in who you are receiving. For instance, I would never trade Michael Turner for Greg Jennings. Never give away a consistent contributor to your team for an unknown, rarely does it pay off.
  • Understand that your players may not be as good as you think they are. Maybe you drafted Matthew Stafford in the first round, but that is not where his value is right now. People won't even begin to negotiate with a guy that wants Ray Rice for Matthew Stafford just because they were both first round picks. Understand how much your players are worth to someone else and try to get similar value. If you like a guy so much that you won't give him up for less than the world, then don't try to trade him. You will never be able to get what you think he is worth. There is nothing wrong with that either, no one ever said fantasy football is an unbiased game.

  • Finally, don't be afraid to pull the trigger on a deal. If you think you find a trade that you and another player are willing to do and you think it will help your team, do it. Don't worry about the guys you are giving away exploding a week after you trade them. This is a game of risks. If the trade makes you look dumb at the end of the season, so be it. It is often a good trade that can be the difference between who does and doesn't make the playoffs or, more importantly, who takes home a championship.

Best of luck to you all in your trading endeavors this year.

Here are my week eight LIKES and DISLIKES:

Quarterbacks

LIKE ‘EM

Michael Vick

Make no mistake, the matchup shouldn’t be considered that great. Atlanta’s secondary has been solid this season. However, Carson Palmer did throw for 353 yards in the Falcons’ last game, the game is in Philly, Andy Reid’s squads have never lost coming off of a bye week and the Eagles should have to throw. No one wants to get that Eagles’ ship turned around more than Vick. He is in my top 10 this week.

Projection: 18 points

Andrew Luck

Luck has accumulated 18 fantasy points or more in four of his last five games. Couple that with his matchup against a Titans’ defense that hasn’t given up less than 16 fantasy points in a game to opposing quarterbacks this season and Luck finds himself as a top 10 QB.

Projection: 22 points

Phillip Rivers

The Browns have allowed over 20 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in four of their seven games. The other three games: 19, 19 and 18.

Projection: 21 points

Sleeper: Matt Hasselbeck has been serviceable in his starting stint with the Titans. He should continue to be so this week at home against an average Colts’ secondary with help from his healthy weapons such as Nate Washington, Kenny Britt and a reemerging Chris Johnson.

DISLIKE ‘EM

Cam Newton

I want to apologize for putting Newton on this list time and time again... But he makes it so hard for me not to. Now the Panthers face the best defense in the league when they head to Chicago Sunday. Good luck, Cam.

Projection: 11 points

Matthew Stafford

It doesn’t get much tougher for a quarterback than facing Chicago and Seattle in back-to-back games. Stafford enters the back-end of that string Sunday when the Seahawks come to town. The Seahawk secondary has given up double-digit fantasy performances to just two opposing quarterbacks this season. Their names: Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

Projection: 10 points

Josh Freeman

If you have Freeman on your team, now would be a good time to sell high. The same can be said for his number one target, Vincent Jackson. The Tampa duo did a nice job taking advantage of a favorable fantasy schedule the last few weeks, but the "Buc" (pun intended) stops in Minnesota Thursday night. The Vikings’ defense should bring Freeman back to earth.

Projection: 11 points

RUNNING BACKS

LIKE ‘EM

Chris Johnson

I was just as stunned as the next guy to find CJ2K in my top 10 this week, but he has produced solid performances in three of his last four outings (including his 31-point blow-up last week) and this week he faces an Indy D that gave up 34 points to Shonn Greene two weeks ago.. Johnson is a must play this week.

Projection: 18 points

Willis McGahee

If you get anything out of this article this week I hope it’s this: play any and all Saints and Broncos you own this week. Both offenses are great, both defenses are suspect and this game should be the definition of a shootout. I would be shocked to see McGahee not score at least once.

Projection: 19 points

Darren Sproles

Read the McGahee post. I also like Sproles’ chances of scoring.

Projection: 14 points

Sleepers: A lot of people may write off LaRod Stephens-Howling this week due to his matchup with the 49ers, but I’m not one of them. Howling made the Vikings’ vaunted run defense look pedestrian last week and I expect the Cardinal defense to keep the game close enough where Arizona will have the option to run. Howling is a sneaky flex play this week. Also, Jamie Harper is turning into quite the touchdown vulture in Tennessee. He should get a few more chances this week against the Colts.

DISLIKE ‘EM

Doug Martin

Stephens-Howling ran all over Minnesota last week. I don’t expect that to become a habit. The Vikings should handle Martin coming out of the backfield. Martin’s true value this week should be in the passing game, but the Vikings are too good of a tackling team to give him too much there either. Martin is on the very edge of my top 20 this week.

Projection: 8 points

Stevan Ridley

Ridley appears to have fallen into a three-man timeshare in New England, which greatly hurts his value. He was on the field for less than half the Patriots’ snaps against the Jets, ESPN reported. He has a difficult matchup this week against a good Rams’ defense and I do not consider him a good RB2 option in 10-team leagues.

Projection: 7 points

Mikel LeShoure

I question the Lions’ coaching staff.. Kevin Smith sure looked a lot better than LeShoure or Joique Bell have thus far this season.

Projection: 6 points

WIDE RECEIVERS

LIKE ‘EM

Demaryius Thomas / Eric Decker

In the Saints’ six games, they have allowed double-digit fantasy performances

to nine different receivers. There should be plenty to go around for both of these two and possibly even Brandon Stokely on Sunday night.

Decker Projection: 14 points

Thomas Projection: 18 points

Lance Moore

With Champ Bailey on Colston all night, Moore could be in line for a lot of targets in Denver.

Projection: 13 points

Jeremy Kerley

Kerley scored in the Jets’ week three matchup with the Dolphins. This time around, his relationship with quarterback Mark Sanchez appears to be blossoming and the New England secondary had no answers for Kerley last week.

Projection: 14 points

Sleeper: I’m a Josh Gordon believer. Not only has he scored four touchdowns in his last three games, but Gordon was targeted 10 times last Sunday in Indy and appears to be the clear number one in Cleveland. This week the Browns take on a Charger secondary that has been friendly to opposing wideouts of late.

DISLIKE ‘EM

Steve Smith

Charles Tillman is playing out of this world at corner for Chicago right now. He held Calvin Johnson to just 34 yards on Monday night.. Do you really expect Steve Smith to fare much better?

Projection: 5 points

Vincent Jackson

Minnesota’s secondary has done well against the NFL’s elite receivers thus far, holding Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to meager totals of five and two fantasy points, respectively. I don’t see Jackson doing much better.

Projection: 7 points

Wes Welker

I’m assuming Welker will be matched up with Rams’ corner Cortland Finnegan. If he isn’t, Welker will be just fine. If he is, Finnegan’s physical style could give the smaller Welker a headache. He is just outside of my top 10 this week. Still, you probably have to play him.

Projection: 7 points

TIGHT ENDS

LIKE ‘EM

Kyle Rudolph

I liked him last week and he came through with all of ZERO receptions. I’m willing to put the blame for that one on Christian Ponder’s shoulders. This week, Minnesota’s passing game should have more success against Tampa Bay’s so-so secondary. I’m giving Rudolph another chance, because everyone deserves one (Yeah, I provide life lessons too. Feel free to tweet your questions about the Universe to @SpaceJace27 as well).

Projection: 10 points

Heath Miller

Rule of fives is applied here. Miller has five touchdowns in six games this year. Washington has allowed five touchdowns to tight ends in seven games this season. 5+5= 1 great play.

Projection: 13 points

Sleeper: Dustin Keller appears to finally be back to full health for the Jets. The Dolphins’ defense hasn’t given up a touchdown to a tight end yet this season, but the best one they have faced is Owen Daniels and they have given up an average of 57 yards a game to the position. Keller should solid at worst this week.

DISLIKE ‘EM

Vernon Davis

What’s the problem with Davis this week? I don’t trust Alex Smith to move the ball against the Cardinals’ stingy defense. Davis could be Smith’s number one target Monday night.. I just don’t think that will even amount to much.

Projection: 8 points

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

LIKE ‘EM

Green Bay

Going up against a Jacksonville squad featuring an injured Blaine Gabbert and no Maurice Jones-Drew may be one of the best matchups you will see all year for any defense.

Projection: 15 points

Minnesota

Tampa Bay’s offense is respectable, but Minnesota understands the importance of winning this game to get to 6-2 and the primetime home crowd should give the defense an important advantage.

Projection: 15 points

DISLIKE ‘EM

St. Louis

You should have dropped them before they played Green Bay last week, but if you didn’t, do so now. Tom Brady and the Pats’ offense is never something you want your fantasy defense going up against. However, after this week, pick the Rams’ defense back up because their next four or five matchups are favorable.

Projection: 5 points

Remember, you can always tweet any additional questions or concerns regarding your fantasy football team to Frederick at@SpaceJace27.

Week 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks

1

Aaron Rodgers

2

Drew Brees

3

Tom Brady

4

Robert Griffin III

5

Peyton Manning

6

Matt Ryan

7

Ben Roethlisberger

8

Eli Manning

9

Michael Vick

10

Andrew Luck

11

Cam Newton

12

Matthew Stafford

13

Tony Romo

14

Jay Cutler

15

Phillip Rivers

16

Josh Freeman

17

Matt Hasselbeck

18

Carson Palmer

19

Sam Bradford

20

Brandon Weeden

21

Ryan Tannehill

22

Christian Ponder

23

Russell Wilson

24

Mark Sanchez

25

Alex Smith

Running Backs

1

Adrian Peterson

2

Jamaal Charles

3

Alfred Morris

4

Marshawn Lynch

5

Matt Forte

6

LeSean McCoy

7

Ryan Mathews

8

Trent Richardson

9

Willis McGahee

10

Chris Johnson

11

Frank Gore

12

Darren McFadden

13

Ahmad Bradshaw

14

Darren Sproles

15

Reggie Bush

16

Shonn Greene

17

Michael Turner

18

Rashard Mendenhall

19

Rashad Jennings

20

Doug Martin

21

Stevan Ridley

22

Mikel LeShoure

23

Felix Jones

24

Vick Ballard

25

Alex Green

26

LaRod Stephens-Howling

27

Michael Bush

28

Jonathon Stewart

29

Pierre Thomas

30

Daryl Richardson

31

Steven Jackson

32

Jackie Battle

33

Jamie Harper

34

Jonathon Dwyer

35

Shane Vereen

36

Andre Brown

37

Daniel Thomas

38

Joique Bell

39

Shaun Draughn

40

Jacquizz Rodgers

Wide Receivers

1

Brandon Marshall

2

Jordy Nelson

3

Calvin Johnson

4

Roddy White

5

Victor Cruz

6

Marques Colston

7

Percy Harvin

8

Demaryius Thomas

9

Larry Fitzgerald

10

Julio Jones

11

Wes Welker

12

Mike Wallace

13

Eric Decker

14

Hakeem Nicks

15

Vincent Jackson

16

Reggie Wayne

17

Dez Bryant

18

James Jones

19

Miles Austin

20

Dwayne Bowe

21

Jeremy Kerley

22

DeSean Jackson

23

Antonio Brown

24

Brandon Lloyd

25

Lance Moore

26

Randall Cobb

27

Kenny Britt

28

Denarius Moore

29

Steve Smith

30

Malcom Floyd

31

Brian Hartline

32

Josh Gordon

33

Nate Washington

34

Santana Moss

35

Andre Roberts

36

Mike Williams

37

Jeremy Maclin

38

Brandon Gibson

39

Brandon LaFell

40

Cecil Shorts

Tight Ends

1

Rob Gronkowski

2

Jimmy Graham

3

Tony Gonzalez

4

Antonio Gates

5

Aaron Hernandez

6

Vernon Davis

7

Heath Miller

8

Jason Witten

9

Kyle Rudolph

10

Martellius Bennett

11

Brandon Pettigrew

12

Jermichael Finley

13

Jacob Tamme

14

Jared Cook

15

Dustin Keller

16

Anthony Fasano

17

Brandon Meyers

18

Dallas Clark

19

Marcedes Lewis

20

Coby Fleener

Defense/Special Teams

1

Chicago

2

San Francisco

3

Seattle

4

Minnesota

5

Atlanta

6

Green Bay

7

Arizona

8

New England

9

San Diego

10

Miami

11

New York (A)

12

Tampa Bay

13

Cleveland

14

New York (N)

15

St. Louis

16

Carolina

17

Dallas

18

Oakland

19

Washington

20

Pittsburgh

*You might notice some projections do not match up with the rankings (Rudolph is three spots behind Davis, yet I have Rudolph projected for two more points). Projections indicate how I believe the players will perform, while rankings indicate who I would start at the position (Davis may not outscore Rudolph this week, but I would still start Davis over Rudolph based solely off upside).

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