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Week 8 fantasy winners and losers: Brees shines, Dalton struggles

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Winners

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: The Giants entered the week allowing 288.3 passing yards per game, so you knew there was a chance Brees could have a great fantasy day. But even the most optimistic of owners couldn't have anticipated Brees' explosion on Sunday. He threw for 300 yards, four touchdowns and scored 28 fantasy points in the first half. He finished with a record-tying 7 TDs and scored 46 points. According to ESPN Fantasy Senior Writer Tristan H. Cockcroft, that's tied for the fourth-best fantasy game by a quarterback since 1960.

Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams: What an incredible start to Gurley's career. The rookie now has four consecutive 100-yard games after going for 133 against the 49ers. Seventy-one of those came on a blurring touchdown run in the second quarter. His 20 points on Sunday bring his average over the past four games to 19.3.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Manning had scored just 14 points over the past two weeks, throwing just one touchdown. To say that changed on Sunday would be a major understatement. Against the Saints on Sunday, Eli tossed six scores and scored a career-high 38 points.

Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: West proved his 18-point performance last week was no fluke. He totaled 122 yards and a touchdown against the Lions in London, scoring 17 fantasy points. Perhaps best of all, it's clear West is the Chiefs No. 1 option at RB. Backup Knile Davis got just four carries on Sunday, compared to 20 for West.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: Beckham was matched up against up-and-coming Saints CB Delvin Breaux, but the Giants were able to get their star WR free with some nifty play calls. Beckham scored a pair of first-half touchdowns on nearly identical pick routes from near the goal line. He totaled 31 fantasy points, rewarding patient owners after a poor outing last week (three points).

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: Smith threw for just 145 yards against the Lions, but he made up for it with terrific production on the ground. An underrated runner, Smith racked up 78 rushing yards and a touchdown, helping boost his fantasy total to 26 points.

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton looked Green's way 17 times on Sunday against the Steelers. That's the fourth-highest total of Green's prolific career. He parlayed his opportunities into 17 fantasy points (11 catches, 118 yards and a touchdown). It breaks a mini-slump for Green, in which he had scored 18 points total over his previous three games.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones has been one of the most consistent fantasy wide receivers all season, scoring at least nine points in all but one of his games. On Sunday against the Bucs, he put up 20 points behind 12 catches, 162 yards and a touchdown.

Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore Ravens: Tucker became the third kicker this year to score 20 fantasy points in a single game. His 5-for-5 effort lifted the Ravens to a three-point win over the Chargers.

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders: Entering Week 8, the Jets were allowing just 12 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (tied for second overall). Someone apparently forgot to tell Carr that, as the second-year QB torched New York for 333 yards, four touchdowns and a career-high 29 fantasy points.

Losers

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton has been a fantasy stud so far this season, entering Week 8 second to only Tom Brady in points per game among QBs (22.2). He stumbled on Sunday against the Steelers' defense, throwing for 231 yards and scoring nine points. It was by far Dalton's worst performance of 2015 (his previous low was 17).

Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: Woodhead put up a career-high 21 points last week against the Raiders. He wasn't able to match that effort against the Ravens, as he got just five total touches and scored three points.

Chris Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Johnson entered this week ranked as the 14th-best fantasy running back. A big reason for his success has been a steady diet of carries (at least 14 in six of eight games). His workload remained steady against the Browns (30 rushes), but his efficiency suffered (just 3.6 yards per carry). He scored six total points, due to getting docked for two fumbles.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Owners hoping for a big game from Big Ben in his return to the field were sorely disappointed on Sunday. He put up a respectable yardage total (262), but was plagued by turnovers (3 INTs), which dragged down his fantasy total to just eight points.

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: A big reason Bernard had put up three consecutive weeks of double-digit fantasy points was because he has been getting plenty of opportunities in the run game. That changed on Sunday, as Bernard got just one carry. He scored just three points on the day, his lowest total this season.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The rollercoaster with Evans continued on Sunday. Coming off a 22-point outburst last week, the second-year WR managed just four points against the Falcons.

Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets: You won't find many unhappy Ivory owners. The veteran RB ranked as fantasy's No. 2 RB entering this week in terms of points scored per game (16.8). Ivory's momentum stalled a bit against the Raiders (three points). In fairness to Ivory, game flow was not working in his favor, as the Jets trailed by as many as 18 points.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: Coming off his best game as a pro so far, Cooper met Revis Island on Sunday and couldn't get much going against the Jets (five catches, 46 yards). It's the third time Cooper has been held below five points during his up-and-down rookie season.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: Wilson has been a bust so far this season, ranking as fantasy's No. 17 quarterback entering this week (15.3 points per game). A big reason for the disappointing production? Wilson has just one multi-touchdown game all season (Week 2 vs. Green Bay). That trend continued against Dallas, as Wilson managed just 13 fantasy points.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers: How rare was Rodgers' six-point performance on Sunday night against the Broncos? Since 2011, he's had just four other single-digit fantasy outputs -- and one of those came in a 2013 game against the Bears which he left early due to an injury. Rodgers' 77 yards passing was his lowest output of his career in a game that he played start to finish.

James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers: The honeymoon is over for Jones owners. He entered this week as the No. 10 overall WR (12.5 points per game), thanks to three outings of 17 points or more. On Sunday against Denver, all he could manage was one catch for two yards.