Week 8 fantasy football rankings

Photo via: Rams/Facebook

These are my very early ranks, so keep in mind I post these on Thursday. Make sure you check the injury report on Sunday for players that have missed practice. If it doesn't look like a player will play this week, I typically won't rank him. Keep in mind, these are PPR rankings, and don't forget to set your lineup for Thursday Night Football.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

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QB

Mike Nowak/Chargers.com

1 Deshaun Watson

2 Russell Wilson

3 Tom Brady

4 Jared Goff

5 Aaron Rodgers

6 Matthew Stafford

7 Josh Allen

8 Kirk Cousins

9 Carson Wentz

10 Jacoby Brissett

11 Ryan Tannehill

12 Kyler Murray

13 Gardner Minshew

14 Philip Rivers

15 Andy Dalton

RB

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

1 Saquon Barkley

2 Dalvin Cook

3 Leonard Fournette

4 James Conner

5 Christian McCaffrey

6 Le'Veon Bell

7 Chris Carson

8 Aaron Jones

9 Todd Gurley

10 Nick Chubb

11 James White

12 Latavius Murray

13 Josh Jacobs

14 Austin Ekeler

15 Sony Michel

16 Derrick Henry

17 Marlon Mack

18 Devonta Freeman

19 Carlos Hyde

20 Tevin Coleman

21 LeSean McCoy

22 Melvin Gordon

23 Phillip Lindsay

24 Ty Johnson

25 Royce Freeman

26 Jamaal Williams

27 Chase Edmonds

28 David Johnson

29 Miles Sanders

30 Joe Mixon

WR

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

1 DeAndre Hopkins

2 Cooper Kupp

3 Stefon Diggs

4 Chris Godwin

5 Michael Thomas

6 Julian Edelman

7 T.Y. Hilton

8 Tyreek Hill

9 Tyler Lockett

10 Julio Jones

11 Kenny Golladay

12 Allen Robinson

13 Mike Evans

14 Courtland Sutton

15 John Brown

16 Robert Woods

17 Golden Tate

18 JuJu Smith-Schuster

19 Keenan Allen

20 Brandin Cooks

21 D.J. Chark

22 Corey Davis

23 Marvin Jones

24 Odell Beckham Jr

25 Kenny Stills

26 Larry Fitzgerald

27 Terry McLaurin

28 Tyler Boyd

29 Emmanuel Sanders

30 Dede Westbrook

31 Calvin Ridley

32 Robby Anderson

33 D.K. Metcalf

34 D.J. Moore

35 Alshon Jeffery

36 Phillip Dorsett

TE

Photo via: Chiefs/Facebook

1 Travis Kelce

2 George Kittle

3 Hunter Henry

4 Darren Waller

5 Austin Hooper

6 Evan Engram

7 Zach Ertz

8 Jimmy Graham

9 Gerald Everett

10 Greg Olsen

11 T.J. Hockenson

12 Jared Cook

13 Eric Ebron

14 Vance McDonald

15 Darren Fells

Defense/ST

1 Patriots

2 Steelers

3 Jaguars

4 Vikings

5 Rams

6 Saints

7 49ers

8 Lions

9 Packers

10 Bears

11 Bills

12 Seahawks

13 Colts

14 Chargers

15 Titans

Kicker

1Greg Zuerlein

2Wil Lutz

3Robbie Gould

4Chris Boswell

5Mason Crosby

6Matt Prater

7Mike Nugent

8Josh Lambo

9Ka'imi Fairbairn

10Zane Gonzalez

11Joey Slye

12Cody Parkey

13Harrison Butker

14Jason Myers

15Dan Bailey

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Good news for Jose Altuve. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

One never knows how things will play out but of the known General Manager candidates, Jim Crane nailed it in hiring Dana Brown out of the Atlanta Braves' organization where he was Vice President of Scouting. The 55-year-old Brown's scouting and development pedigree is stellar. The Braves have been a talent-producing machine in recent years. Obviously all the credit isn't Brown's but his four years with the Braves preceded by a productive pipeline he was part of in Toronto speak highly of him. Not that it was or should have been the guiding principle to Crane's decision-making, but the Astros now have the only African-American General Manager in Major League Baseball (Ken Williams is Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox).

Brad Ausmus is a super-smart guy, but if had he gotten the GM gig it would have been in large part because he was teammate besties with Jeff Bagwell. While “It's not what you know it's who you know” plays a role in many, many hires, it would have been a poor rationale for tabbing Ausmus. Maybe Ausmus would have done a great job. Maybe Brown does a lousy job. Brown was the much more strongly credentialed candidate. While Bagwell has moved way up Crane's confidante list, Brown played college baseball with Craig Biggio at Seton Hall.

Speaking of Halls…

If I could tell you as absolute fact that exactly two members of the 2023 Houston Astros will someday make the Baseball Hall of Fame, who are you picking? Jose Altuve isn’t a lock just yet but he is obvious pick number one. So for the second spot are you going with Alex Bregman or Yordan Alvarez? We’ll get back to this a couple of paragraphs down.

As was basically a given, former Astro (and Phillie, Met, Red Sox, and Brave) Billy Wagner was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, but as I suggested last week the voting returns were very favorable toward Wagner making the Hall next year, or if not next year in his final year of eligibility on the Baseball Writers Association ballot for the Class of 2025. “Wags” in the Class of ’24 is looking good. Wagner jumped from 51 percent to 68 percent “put him in” votes. The only guy this year to get the necessary 75 percent for election is worthy third baseman Scott Rolen. Two years ago Rolen got 53 percent of the votes needed, last year 63 percent, before getting the call to Cooperstown with 76.5 percent this year. Wagner going from 51 to 68 to 75-plus looks likely. Of course it’s not as if Wagner can pad his case with a good 2023 season, but this is how the process works. The other ballot returnee well positioned to make it next year is former Colorado first baseman Todd Helton. Unlike this year there’s a sure-fire first time ballot guy going in next year. Third baseman Adrian Beltre will undoubtedly wear a Texas Rangers cap on his plaque.

As expected Carlos Beltran didn’t come close to election in his first year of eligibility, but drawing 46 percent of the votes sets him up well to eventually get the Cooperstown call. Beltran was a fabulous player and his Hall credentials are solid. However, no one reasonable would argue that Carlos Beltran was as good or better than Barry Bonds. In his first year of eligibility back in 2013 Bonds garnered 36 percent of the vote. There has been some turnover in the voter pool over the last decade, but it's clear that Beltran’s central role in the Astros’ sign stealing scheme was not held against him to the extent that PED use (actual and/or suspected) was held against Bonds and Roger Clemens. And Alex Rodriguez. And Sammy Sosa. And Manny Ramirez. And others. Foremost right now that’s encouraging for Beltran, but it’s also encouraging down the line for fellow Astros of 2017-18.

What does this mean for Jose Altuve?

If Jose Altuve retired today (perish the thought!) he’d have a good case for the Hall. He had superstar seasons in 2016, 2017, and 2022, and has five other seasons that while not in the realm of his three best certainly rate as excellent. If you judge a player by his five best seasons, there aren’t 10 second basemen in the history of the sport who’d rank ahead of Altuve. Among those who clearly would: Joe Morgan, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, and Nap Lajoie. Among those four only Morgan played more recently than 1937. Then there’s a group of arguable guys like Jackie Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, and yes Craig Biggio. Altuve has had the prime of a Hall of Famer. What sort of final numbers will he accrue? In late May or early June he should reach the 2000 hit plateau. How many more prime years does Altuve have left before inevitable decline? His career batting average is .307. Four years ago it was .316. Will Altuve retire a .300 hitter?

Bregman or Alvarez? Bregman gets extra points for being an everyday third baseman as opposed to a left fielder-designated hitter, but by age alone Yordan is the better play. Bregman turns 29 on opening day this year. Yordan doesn’t turn 26 until late June. When Bregman was 25 (2019 season) he put up a season more valuable than Alvarez’s tremendous 2022. In the three years since Bregman hasn’t approached that level, though his big second half last season could be a springboard back to that stratosphere. Yordan is in that stratosphere and figures to stay there for a while if his health holds up.

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