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Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 8 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment as well.

Editor's Note: When you get any of our full-season NFL Premium and DFS Passes, and you also get our full-season NBA Premium and DFS Pass for free! Take advantage of one of our best offers all year, and get an edge on your competition. Sign Up Now!

 

Week 8 Risers

Josh Gordon (WR, NE)

Four catches for 100 yards is good, but not necessarily something to write home about. The real reason for optimism surrounding Josh Gordon is his obvious growing rapport with Tom Brady. Gordon played a season-high 81% of the snaps last week and his integration into a full-fledged member of this offense is nearly complete. With Rob Gronkowski always banged up and Julian Edelman purely an underneath guy, the Patriots have a need for someone with Gordon's skill set. I think the explosion is coming. It is only a matter of time.

Marlon Mack (RB, IND)

It is rare that a player gets to be featured here two weeks in a row, but Marlon Mack earned it. Here is what I said about Mack last week: "Finally healthy, Marlon Mack returned to play 35% of the snaps, which may seem discouraging, until you realize he led the team with 13 touches. Mack is the best RB the Colts have and after he was able to make it through a full game with no setbacks, the Colts are set to increase his workload. This is going to be about an even split between Mack and Nyheim Hines. Mack will be the one in on early downs and likely at the goal line. He's also not too shabby of a pass catcher. If he was dropped in your league, go get him."

This week, Mack took things to another level with 159 total yards and two touchdowns. He has established himself as the primary back in Indianapolis, rendering both Hines and Jordan Wilkins afterthoughts. Mack is obviously not this good, but he needs to be respected as a legitimate RB2, which is not something people were saying last week.

Phillip Lindsay (RB, DEN)

I have no idea why Devontae Booker is still seeing significant snaps, but Phillip Lindsay won't have to worry much about Royce Freeman anymore. Freeman suffered an ankle injury and is likely to miss some time, which firmly establishes Lindsay as the lead back in Denver. With the opportunity for goal-line touches now on the table, the Broncos' most dynamic back has a chance to elevate his game even more.

James White (RB, NE)

It is difficult to imagine James White's fantasy value becoming even greater, but Sony Michel's knee injury did just that. White is going to see more usage simply because he's a better option than Kenjon Barner. The Patriots may just throw to White in lieu of a running game. White's 14.1 fantasy points back in Week 3 are his season low. The man is an RB1, folks.

O.J. Howard (TE, TB)

One of the biggest concerns surrounding O.J. Howard was the fact that Jameis Winston appeared to favor Cameron Brate. In Howard's second game back from his sprained MCL that actually only cost him half a game, Winston put those concerns to rest, peppering the talented Howard with nine targets compared to just four for Brate. It is clear that Howard is being used as he should and fantasy owners can trust Howard as an every week TE1 for the foreseeable future.

 

Week 8 Fallers

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it isn't true. Deshaun Watson was a mainstay in just about every overvalued list you could find this summer. The idea that a seven-game sample size of unsustainable efficiency warranted Watson going as the second or third QB off the board was ludicrous to just about everyone. Sure enough, Watson enters Week 8 firmly outside of the top 12 QBs and is now coming off back to back duds, failing to reach 11 fantasy points in either contest. With two of the next three weeks being at Denver and a bye, Watson is legitimately not a must-own given the depth of the QB position.

Chester Rogers (WR, IND)

The decision as to whether you should care about Chester Rogers is simple. Is T.Y. Hilton playing? Hilton returned last week, which relegated Rogers to the third option in the passing game behind Hilton and Eric Ebron. Rogers saw just four targets, which is what he was averaging before Hilton went down with a hamstring injury. Rogers could pop up again if something happens to Hilton, but he has no fantasy value if he's not forced targets.

Marvin Jones (WR, DET)

Kenny Golladay is the clear WR1 for this team and Golden Tate's role is unaffected in the slot. Marvin Jones does what Golladay does, except he doesn't do it as well. Why throw to Jones when you can just throw to Golladay? Jones has just four targets in each of his last two games and has posted an Amari Cooper-like 37 combined yards on four receptions. Jones is bordering on droppable.

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

One week after appearing on the risers portion of this column, Sony Michel now finds himself in the wrong part of town. It's not his fault. He was well on his way to justify the praise, but then he sustained a knee injury of unknown severity. He's going to miss at least a couple weeks, which really puts a damper on his breakout. He should be back to provide value to fantasy owners later in the season, but for right now, it's just an unfortunate circumstance.

Jordan Reed (TE, WAS)

I'm not sure if it's over for Jordan Reed, but it certainly looks like 2018 will not be his year. Reed has yet to surpass 65 receiving yards and hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1. His targets over the past three games: four, nine, and two. Reed has name value, but he has no fantasy value. Even with TE being a (::cliché alert::) dumpster fire, Reed has now spent six games proving he does not deserve to be started by fantasy owners over what you can find streaming. He still has the talent to get it going, but I am not optimistic based upon what I've seen from this Redskins offense.

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