Fresh off their respective bye weeks, the Denver Broncos host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football in Week 8. It is a matchup that has fans and Fantasy Football fanatics alike excited. Both teams enter the contest undefeated after six games. Both teams also have a number of fantasy-relevant players that could have a major impact on your Week 8 contest.
This season, the Broncos have been led by a powerhouse defense. Their dominance has taken pressure off of the Peyton Manning-led offense. The Packers offense has been as advertised this year, relying on Aaron Rodgers to run a pass-heavy approach. The key matchup will be how the Broncos offense can move the ball against a Packers defense that ranks among the league's best thus far.
Peyton Manning** will look to roll up quality numbers against a Packers unit that is giving up fewer than 17 points per game. Green Bay has put plenty of pressure on opposing QBs with 23 sacks on the season. Manning will continue to lean on standout receiving options Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Manning's classic ability to get rid of the ball quickly will be a great asset for him this week, and he should still receive very strong starting consideration.
On the other side, Aaron Rodgers has delivered the production you would expect from an early-round fantasy pick. While he ranks as the second-highest scoring fantasy QB, the Broncos will be his stiffest test of the season. The Broncos have allowed just 8.51 Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing QBs according to NFL.com. Rodgers has just two interceptions on the season, but does not have more than two touchdowns or 255 yards in any of his last three contests. While he remains a must-start fantasy option, the matchup is daunting.
C.J. Andersonwas a waiver-wire wonder last season, and this season he has been in a timeshare withRonnie Hillman**. For his part, Hillman has been a very effective rusher when called upon. He is coming off of his best game of the season and could be a sneaky fantasy option this week. Hillman seems to be adjusting very well to an expanded role in the offense and is a threat to rip off a big play at any time. That makes him a fine start in leagues that award points for yardage bonuses. Anderson, who has been battling a toe injury, should be healthier following a week off. He is talented enough to deliver a solid performance, especially after his strong late-game performance in the matchup just before the bye. Consider him a flex play or bye-week plugger.
Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have put up identical receiving yardage totals with 527 each through six games. While Thomas has only found the end zone once thus far, we can certainly expect that number to increase in the second half. After all, his reputation in that area precedes himself with three straight seasons of double-digit touchdowns. Sanders enjoyed a breakout season last year and has showed no signs of slowing down in 2015. Expect both wideouts to produce top-15 numbers from here on out. Start them with confidence in what could end up as a high-scoring affair on Sunday night. Both players are must-starts regardless of matchup.
With a misdirection play-action pass near the goal line, Peyton Manning found Owen Daniels in the end zone. Photos by Eric Lars Bakke
Tight end is the least likely position from this game to have an impact on your eantasy matchup. With lesser focus on the passing game, Owen Daniels has been targeted 29 times this season. Still, keep Daniels on your roster as a TE2 for the season going forward. He is always a threat to score in the red zone. Brandon McManus was the top-scoring kicker heading into the bye and should be considered an every-week starter.
While fantasy owners are hoping for offensive fireworks, both defenses have been strong thus far. The Broncos own one of the best fantasy defenses in the league. Even in a tough matchup against an explosive offense, they should not be benched. The Packers defense has 10 takeaways through six games and should be considered a top-12 play this week as well. Whether the offenses light up the scoreboards or the defenses take over, this week's game promises to be an exciting battle with plenty of fantasy implications.