From another impressive receiving performance to a costly error that led to a trade, Week 8 in the NFL had plenty of storylines this past week.
QB Deshaun Watson
After a slow start to the season, Watson has seemed to find his stride. He is connecting with his receivers deep and beginning to look like the MVP candidate he was last year before his season-ending knee injury. A breakout week to the tune of 239 yards and five touchdowns is making his name heard again; and with the addition of Demaryius Thomas at the trade deadline, look for the Texans offense to make even more noise moving forward.
RB James Conner
Conner continues to shine in the absence of Le’veon Bell, making it even easier on the Steelers to let their star running back hold out. With his second two-touchdown performance against the Browns this season, Conner dominated the run game. Combining for 146 yards on 24 touches with those two touchdowns made him a key piece in the Steelers 33-18 victory. As long as Bell holds out, Conner will remain a star on this Steelers team.
WR Adam Thielen
With seven receptions for 103 yards, Thielen tied Calvin Johnson’s record for consecutive games with 100 yards receiving and broke Charley Hennigan’s record of seven to start a season. Outrageous consistent production has made Thielen one of the biggest names in the entire league. The former undrafted free agent also added a touchdown on Sunday night in an eventual loss to the Saints. But kudos to one of the most unlikely stories in the league as he continues to have an incredible season.
TE Travis Kelce
It seems as though everyone in the Kansas City offense is red hot right now. Kelce is no different after a great day at home against Denver on Sunday. Six receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown helped the Chiefs to a 30-23 win and a 7-1 record. Having elite, talented targets is part of the reason Patrick Mahomes is off to such a great start and Kelce has been a key part of that. Kelce has just one game with under five receptions and continually is targeted, look for this connection to have continued success as the season goes on.
QB Jameis Winston
Winston year after year proves that he was not the right choice for Tampa Bay at No. 1 in the 2015 NFL draft. Winston did throw for 276 yards and a touchdown, however, the four interceptions led to a quick hook for his backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. It seems like disappointment has followed Winston’s career on and off the field and another poor performance against the Bengals did not help. For now, Fitzpatrick will take over the starting job and the quarterback carousel in Tampa Bay continues.
RB Ty Montgomery
Montgomery, unsurprisingly, had only two touches for six yards in the Packers loss to the Rams. However, the fact that he was buried on the Packers depth chart is not the real reason he earns a spot on the dud list this week. The decision to not take the touchback cost the Packers the game, and possibly a playoff spot this season.
Reports say Montgomery was told to take a knee in the end zone on a kickoff with two minutes and five seconds left in the fourth quarter. This would have given Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks of all time, a chance to drive down the field and beat the undefeated Rams. Instead, Montgomery took the kick out and fumbled at the 20-yard line. Montgomery’s selfish play led to a trade to the Ravens for a 2020 seventh-round draft pick and rightfully landed him on the duds list this week.
WR Juju Smith Schuster
After multiple weeks of consistent production, Schuster took a dip on Sunday against the Browns. With just four receptions for 33 yards and no touchdowns, Schuster played second fiddle while James Conner took over at home on Sunday. This may be a product of the Steelers relying on different offensive weapons as they have so many, but they will need Schuster to put up numbers in future weeks if they want to seriously compete for an NFC North title against two tough teams in the Ravens and Bengals.
TE Jimmy Graham
Graham has had some nice weeks, but overall his first season in Green Bay has been disappointing. His performance on Sunday was no different and was, in fact, worse than most of the weeks he’s put together this season. With just one reception for 21 yards, Graham played almost no role in a Green Bay offense that came just short against the undefeated Rams. Graham will need to have a big game Sunday night in New England in order to keep Green Bay in the playoff hunt and challenge the Patriots.