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NFL fantasy football: Week 8 sleepers

We took a big hit on quarterbacks during the bye in Week 7. Now in Week 8, we're looking at the NFL b-squad of quarterbacks sitting out, with Red Dalton, Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub and Ryan Fitzpatrick sitting out. Those guys are like the mid-card guys who surround the ring during a WWE lumberjack match. (I'll have more on that in Like/dislike this week.)

But if you have a need for a quarterback, or you're simply frustrated with Cam Newton or Matthew Stafford, you should consider Carson Palmer this week. The Raiders face the Chiefs, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. And yes, Palmer struggled (to put it mildly) against the Chiefs last year, but this is a new season so I have some confidence in Palmer.

Do you start him over Newton? Well, those are questions you need to answer yourself. But if you're going for a straight matchup, Palmer is your top sleeper for the week.

Now, let's take a look at the rest of Rank's 11 for Week 8. But first, a big shout out to esteemed stats guru, Bill "Sudsy" Sudell who is doing the fantasy lord's work on the statistics.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Congratulations, you added Jennings off the waiver wire, but do you play him? The matchup isn't bad against the Packers, who aren't particularly great on defense. The big fear is the Packers jump out to an early lead and force the Jags to abandon the running game. And that's a fair point. But there aren't a lot of true No. 1 running backs out there, and Jennings figures to get all of the attempts. Montell Owens is listed as the next available running back on the depth chart, unless the team signs a free-agent.

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Alex Green, RB, Green Bay Packers: Green didn't do much against St. Louis, which should have been expected. It's hard to run against St. Louis in the dome. But the good news is, Green didn't give way to Jimmy Starks, which should be encouraging. The Jaguars allow the third-most points to fantasy running backs this season, so Green is a nice sleeper this week because of it. And if the Packers do get out in front (as stated above), Green could be the beneficiary in the second half.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns: While Robert Griffin III and Andy Luck continue to generate headlines as rookie quarterbacks, Weeden is quietly putting together a pretty nice run as a fantasy option. Hopefully you can get him off the waiver wire considering he is owned in four percent of NFL.com leagues. Yes, I was being sarcastic. If you're hurting for a quarterback, he's an interesting play against the Chargers. But a word of caution, the Chargers are going to come out of this bye in one of two extremes: Mail-in the season mode, or AFC title contender mode. And I'm sure that didn't help you at all.

Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis FC: The Patriots have allowed the seventh-most points to fantasy receivers this season, so both wideouts are great options this week. Gibson has been the steady, high-target guy. Givens has had at least 50 yards in four consecutive games, and more than 150 yards in the past two. If forced to choose between the two, I'm leaning Givens. But both are excellent plays.

Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis FC: Now, the Patriots have given up a lot of yards in the air, but have been pretty good against teams on the ground. In fact, the Patriots have allowed the seventh-fewest points to fantasy running backs this season. So you see that and you might think it's a giant stop sign. But realize teams aren't running on the Patriots because they can throw on them. So I wouldn't overanalyze it too much. Plus, in a week without Ray Rice, Arian Foster, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the Bills backs, you might be hurting for running backs, so Richardson makes a lot of sense. And if Steven Jackson didn't vulture a touchdown last week (and yes, it's come to the point where Jackson should be considered the vulture), Richardson would be a top fantasy add right now.

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Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets: Quarterback Mark Sanchez called Kerley a special player, but that could just be the breakup talking. (He was dumped by Eva Longoria if you're wondering.) Kerley had a career-high 11 targets against the Patriots last week, and 26 targets in the last three games. He doesn't score a lot of touchdown, as he hasn't scored in the last four games. But if you need a guy who will have the opportunity, Kerley is a good option.

Phillip Tanner, RB, Dallas Cowboys: The Giants aren't a great matchup this week, but if you have an elite running back on a bye, quietly slip Tanner on to your roster. There are some injury concerns with DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones. If those guys can't go, Tanner and Lance Dunbar will be the guys. But if Jones can play this week, then you might drop Tanner by Friday. But this is an early sleeper pick.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: He's been a constant fixture on "That Helps No One," but it's time to start paying attention to Shorts, who has become a go-to target in Jacksonville. Probably the way the team wanted Justin Blackmon to play. But if the Jags get into a shootout with the Packers, Shorts figures to have the opportunities to score.

Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets: You probably don't want to trust Kyle Rudolph on Thursday night. Thursday night has been a killer to guys like Dennis Pitta and Vernon Davis (though Martellus Bennett did well earlier this season), plus the Bucs are tough against tight ends. If you're like me, you have Jimmy Graham going, so you don't want to play Rudolph or Dallas Clark on Thursday in case Graham can go. So if you need a handcuff or if you are simply looking for a guy, Keller is a nice option.

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