Few players have pleasantly surprised on the year as much as Adam Thielen (Minnesota). Last week Thielen joined Charley Hennigan (from the 1961 season) as the only players in NFL history to notch 100 or more receiving yards in seven straight games to open a season. If Thielen can deliver one more time, he’ll be the first to reach eight straight out of the gate (Hennigan had 78 yards in his eighth game) and Thielen would tie Calvin Johnson as the only receiver to have eight games in a row overall with 100-plus receiving yards (Johnson accomplished his over Weeks 8 through 15 in 2012).
It seems likely that Thielen will crack the 100-yard mark again this week. For starters, the Saints allow the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers while Thielen averages 117 yards per game, catching nearly 76 percent of his targets. Thielen faced the Saints last year and totaled 157 yards on nine receptions.
Likewise, Thielen’s quarterback Kirk Cousins (Minnesota) is an elite option this week (particularly for a quarterback / wide receiver hookup). Cousins is the No. 3 fantasy quarterback on the season, and the Saints’ defense allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
Other Play ‘Em
▪ Mitchell Trubisky (Chicago) enters Week 8 on fire, totaling over 300 yards passing and with at least three touchdowns in each of his past three games. Trubisky should again be a Top 10 quarterback this week.
▪ Andy Dalton (Cincinnati) got benched last week but he is in a good spot to rebound, back at home and against a Tampa defense allowing a league-high 32.7 points per week and the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
▪ Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) has re-claimed his spot as fantasy elite, leading the NFL with 311 passing attempts on the season and on pace for 4,453 passing yards and 46 touchdowns.
▪ There are no signs Le’Veon Bell will return this week, keeping James Conner (Pittsburgh) as an elite fantasy starter against the 28th-ranked Cleveland run defense.
▪ With Sony Michel (knee) perhaps out this week or limited, either way James White (New England) is an elite fantasy option this week (White is on pace for 103 receptions, 1,301 total yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns).
▪ Phillip Lindsay (Denver) has been super effective this season averaging 5.8 yards per rushing attempt, and this week he gets a plus match-up against a bottom-ranked rushing defense (and Lindsay should be especially busy with Royce Freeman having injured his ankle last week).
▪ John Brown (Baltimore) has reached must-start status and should be a candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award at this point with Brown on pace for a 1,275 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
▪ With the trade of Amari Cooper to Dallas, Jordy Nelson (Oakland) becomes the No. 1 receiver for the Raiders and as such should have a safe floor in terms of targets.
▪ “Revenge game” matchups don’t always work out though the only other time Chris Hogan (New England) returned to Buffalo (Week 8, 2016) he totaled 91 yards with a score against his former team.
▪ Sterling Shepard (Washington) remains a solid week-in and week-out play, ranking 13th in fantasy points among all receivers over the past four weeks.
▪ O.J. Howard (Tampa Bay) has been a top-five tight end over the past two weeks and he has a good chance for another strong outing this week against a Bengals’ defense ranked 31st in receptions allowed to opposing tight ends.
▪ Matthew Stafford (Stafford) is probably safe enough for his near usual production though high-end performance this week seems unlikely against a Seattle defense that allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Seattle has gone four straight games without allowing multiple touchdown passes.
▪ Isaiah Crowell (NY Jets) should have an increased workload with Bilal Powell placed on injured reserve, though at Chicago is a tough draw this week while Crowell has totaled just 69 yards over the past two weeks.
▪ Just as Marquise Goodwin (San Francisco) pleasantly surprised in Week 6 with 100-plus yards and two touchdowns, he disappointed last week with just 24 yards. Goodwin’s production is too variable to trust.
Alan Satterlee is in his sixth year of writing about fantasy football for The Charlotte Observer. Find him on Twitter at @Speedkills_DFW