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Redskins-Cowboys to decide Week 8 fantasy matchups

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It's been one heck of week for fantasy owners. From Rob Gronkowski's 3-touchdown day to another amazing outing from Arian Foster. By now you've probably come to terms with the fact that you won't make your league's playoffs. Or maybe you're sitting pretty and trying to build some depth for later in the season. You could also be trying to squeeze out every possible fantasy point you can to work your way up the standings for a late-season comeback. After the Monday night game between the Redskins and the Cowboys, Week 8 will be in the books and if you're sitting on DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant or DeSean Jackson, you probably feel like your chances of avoiding a Monday Nightmare are pretty decent. Here's what you can expect from some of the fantasy-relevant players in the Week 8 finale.

Redskins:


Alfred Morris, RB

The third-year back has not had 100 rushing yards in 14 straight games dating back to last season which is the longest drought of his career. He's only posted two double-digit fantasy point totals this year, and hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 4. He's still in line to get early down carries for Washington, but Roy Helu could start seeing more work if Morris continues to play so poorly. Morris' owners can't feel great if they need a big night out of him against the Cowboys on Monday night, especially if Dallas gets an early lead.

Pierre Garcon, WR

Garcon is coming off a nice Week 7 performance in which he put up 87 yards on five receptions and added a touchdown, his third of the season. He now has scores in back-to-back games so his fantasy owners are loving his recent production. In five career games against the Cowboys, Garcon has averaged 6.4 receptions per game, 80.2 receiving yards per game and totaled three touchdowns. Not too shabby if you ask me. Are you asking me? I'm confused now. The quarterback issues in Washington are a bit concerning, and since Garcon only has one 100-yard game on the season, it's understandable if you're looking elsewhere in an attempt to avoid a Monday Nightmare this week.

DeSean Jackson, WR || Watch: Fantasy Stat Alert -- DeSean Jackson

Jackson has more fantasy points than Garcon this season even though they have the same amount of touchdowns. After two straight games of putting up more than 100 yards and a touchdown, last week wasn't stellar as he finished with just three catches for 49 yards marking his fourth game of the season with three or fewer receptions -- the markings of a true boom-or-bust fantasy player. If you're looking for a stat to get you excited about deploying Jackson on Monday night it's this: In nine career MNF games, Jackson averages 82.2 yards per game and has five total touchdowns.

Jordan Reed, TE || Watch: Michael Fabiano says start Jordan Reed

Since returning to action after a hamstring injury kept him out for the early part of the season, Reed hasn't put up the numbers many expected he might. He has 14 receptions and 150 total yards on the season and has yet to get into the end zone. He looked great on the five receptions he had last week, and was running with good power after the catch. With the tight end position so decimated, Reed remains a high-upside option on a weekly basis so fantasy owners should stick with him this week.

Niles Paul, TE

Paul's fantasy value is much lower now that Jordan Reed is back in the mix. He only caught two passes last week, but made the most of his opportunity taking one of the receptions for 50 yards. Still, he remains the second option at tight end for Washington, so unless Reed gets injured again, Paul can't be trusted as a fantasy option.

Roy Helu, RB

Helu has had a few outings this season worth a start in PPR leagues, but hasn't produced in recent weeks. Serving as the third-down passing back behind Alfred Morris, Helu's fantasy numbers will be limited as long as Morris is healthy. There's a chance that Jay Gruden starts giving Helu more opportunities though, as Morris has been struggling of late. Interestingly, Helu played on 49 percent of the Redskins offensive snaps last week, while Morris was in on 51 percent, so even in close games he's getting snaps. For now, Helu is definitely worth stash in deeper leagues as a handcuff to Morris, but shouldn't be started in fantasy until he has a bigger role.

Colt McCoy, QB

Its likely McCoy gets the start against Dallas on Monday night, but there's not much to analyze from a fantasy perspective other than the fact that you shouldn't start him.

Robert Griffin III, QB

Apparently, there's a chance Griffin plays in Week 8 but it's extremely unlikely, we won't know for sure until Monday but fantasy owners can't take that chance. He's definitely worth a stash for the brutal bye week coming up in Week 9 with six teams not playing.

Cowboys:


DeMarco Murray, RB

Like you really need me to tell you that Murray is the best around in terms of fantasy running backs this season. But to satisfy your greedy needs, here are some ridiculous stats to chew on. He has more rushing yards (913) than every other NFL team except for the Jets, Seahawks and Ravens. WHAT!? He also has more first down rushing yards (686) than any other player has total this season. WHAT!? Murray leads the league in each of the following categories: Offensive touches (209), rushes (187), rushing yards (913), rushes of over ten yards (28) and rushing touchdowns (7).

Tony Romo, QB || Watch: Michael Fabiano says start Tony Romo

Romo seems to be getting hotter as the season goes on and has no fewer than two touchdown passes in each of his last five games. It doesn't get much better than a matchup against Washington's defense which has allowed six touchdowns to opposing signal callers in the last three games. With Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and DeMarco Murray to target, this could be a huge game for Romo even if he does throw a pick or two.

Dez Bryant, WR

After four straight games with touchdowns, Bryant's been held out of the end zone for his last two contests. But that didn't stop him from posting big fantasy numbers last week as he totaled 151 receiving yards on nine receptions against the Giants. Bryant has yet to have a huge game, but if there's any matchup that might allow him to explode, it's this one.

Terrance Williams, WR || Watch: Fantasy Stat Alert -- Terrance Williams

He got into the end zone again in Week 7, even though he only caught one pass the entire game. Williams now has six scores on the season, but has a total of just five receptions in his last three contests, which is concerning. You can't really rely on him in standard leagues as a solid flex because of the lack of opportunities, but in deeper leagues he's a must-start for his touchdown potential. As is the case with Bryant, Monday night presents a juicy matchup for all of the Dallas pass-catchers.

Jason Witten, TE || Watch: Fantasy Spotlight -- Jason Witten

It surely seems like Witten is being surpassed by Gavin Escobar as Romo's big red zone target. But in terms of playing time, Witten has been on the field for 100 percent of the Cowboys' offensive snaps this season. Still, the veteran tight end's best has yet to total more than 61 yards in a game and has just one touchdown. If you have other options at the position, strongly consider them over Witten in Week 8.

Gavin Escobar, TE

His scoring looks are promising, but as we like to say, don't go chasing fantasy points. Escobar has a total of seven receptions through seven games this season and didn't even play as many as half of the Cowboys offensive snaps last week. He's not a viable option at tight end until he's on the field more. A lot more.


Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @m_franciscovich.

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