Before we get to the rankings for the wide receiver position for Week 8 of the Fantasy Football season, I went to Twitter Monday afternoon to ask for the biggest questions from our audience. Here are my thoughts on some of the toughest and most interesting WR questions heading into Week 8: 

I think it's worth noting that DeVonta Smith and Drake London have the exact same number of points in PPR scoring, so it's not exactly outlandish to default to the guy who was ranked considerably higher in the consensus coming into the season. As for Sutton: Smith has more catches and yards (though it's closer than I would have bet coming into the season, obviously), with Sutton's scoring buoyed by three extra touchdowns. Seeing as Smith plays in the significantly better offense, I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect Smith to have the edge moving forward.

  • Week 8 rankings: TE | QB | RB

But I'll grant the larger point: Smith has been a massive disappointment to even be in the same conversation as guys like London and Sutton. He's sporting a career-low 7.7 yards per target and career-low 12.0 yards per catch, despite his average depth of target jumping from 9.6 to 12.5 over last season. Now, predictably, he's seeing fewer targets and catching them less often than he did last season, which makes sense; downfield targets tend to happen less frequently, and they tend to be caught less frequently. That makes sense. The problem is, he's not making up for it on the other end with more big plays. We're getting all of the downsides with that tradeoff and none of the positives, or at least not enough to make it worthwhile. 

Of course, we're also just a few weeks removed from a lot of people asking whether Smith had overtaken A.J. Brown as the Eagles' top option in the passing game. Remember, he had at least eight targets in each of his final nine games last season, plus two of three playoff games, something he's done just twice since Week 1 this season. Brown, meanwhile, has done it in five straight, with more than 125 yards in each of those games. 

I do think Brown is the better receiver of the two, so I'm not surprised that he's earned more targets. However, I also think this is, to at least some extent, a cyclical thing, and Smith is likely to benefit from how utterly dominant Brown has been of late. That's not to say Smith is going to be the No. 1 option here anytime soon. But I do think Smith is going to start breaking those big plays that have been missing more often, and he's going to be that strong WR2 you expected. I'm really not all that worried. 

Ridley has been arguably the biggest disappointment at the wide receiver position since his massive Week 1, with just one game of more than 40 yards over his past six weeks, culminating in his one-catch showing in Week 7. To a certain extent, I think what we might be seeing is that it's really tough to miss effectively two seasons of NFL games and just come right back as a must-start Fantasy option. It was asking a lot of Ridley, and maybe all those training camp highlights couldn't be repeated once the games started to matter.

That's a reasonable hypothesis, and one I mostly subscribe to. But I do want to give Ridley some credit, courtesy of our pal Jacob Gibbs from SportsLine. Ridley has faced a pretty tough schedule of defenses so far, especially in one key area:

Basically, Ridley just may not be well suited to overcome especially physical, press coverage on the outsides. And the Jaguars are just lining him up on the outside and telling him to go win, with only 48 of his 380 snaps coming from the slot this season. That works for the Jaguars, who are perfectly comfortable letting Trevor Lawrence take what the defense gives him. 

Some weeks, that might not be Ridley, and that means he's not the matchup-proof WR1 you hoped you were getting. But it doesn't mean he can't still be a very, very useful Fantasy option. The Steelers, Ridley's Week 8 opponent, runs the 10th-lowest share of zone coverage, so Ridley might be more like a touchdown-or-bust WR3 for this one, but against some other matchups in the future, we could still see some big games from him. It's frustrating he's not the superstar we hoped he could be in his return, but that doesn't mean he can't still be useful -- and I would start him ahead of Rashee Rice this week, at least. 

It's funny, I was looking back at something I wrote in the preseason, and I found where I mentioned that Thielen's robust role in the preseason could make him a Fantasy sleeper this season. But, I don't want it to seem like I'm patting myself on the back here, because my generally positive writeup featured this exact phrase: "I don't think Thielen has a ton of upside ..."

I point that out to note that, even as someone who was higher than most on Thielen, I didn't think anything like what he's done so far was possible. I mean, how could I have? Thielen is a 33-year-old in his 10th NFL season, and he has 47 catches over his past five games, tied for the third-best five-game stretch of his career. That he had two catches for 12 yards in the opener only adds to the legitimate shock of what he's doing.

To a certain extent, I think Thielen's usage is a reflection of the Panthers' overall offensive issues. They've struggled to protect Bryce Young, and Young has struggled to push the ball down the field, leaving him to rely on the kind of short routes Thielen is specializing in as the team's slot receiver. If Young were playing better, or he had more reliable options who could win on the outside, Thielen probably wouldn't be seeing such a tremendous volume of targets.

Which means there's some risk that Young comes out of the bye playing at a higher level and it hurts Thielen, paradoxically. But the problem with selling Thielen is, if even someone who came into the season with higher expectations for him than most is skeptical he can keep this up, what is anyone else going to give you? If you can get a top-15 type wide receiver for Thielen, I'd say go for it. But I'm not sure I'd rather have someone like Ridley over Thielen right now, for instance. Your best bet might just be to ride it out as long as he remains viable. It might just last all season. 

As I wrote in my Week 7 Winners and Losers newsletter Monday morning, Rice is absolutely on the right trajectory. Rice entered Sunday with a season-high snap share of 51%, but it was up to 59% in Week 7, and his route share was also a season-high 64%. Now, you'll note he isn't a full-time player yet, but given how often the Chiefs drop back to pass, that could still come out to 25-30 routes per game even if he doesn't grow from here.

But the momentum is hard to ignore. He's been the best playmaker in the Chiefs wide receiver group, posting strong per-route numbers since Week 1, and then he went out in Week 7 with a larger role and continued to produce. That's exactly the kind of growth you want to see from a young wide receiver.

It's worth noting that the production still isn't elite yet -- he has a season high of five catches twice, with just one game of more than 60 yards. Which is to say, he's still got work to do to be more than just a WR3. He's a fine one if that's all you need him for, and I would start him ahead of Dell this week, though not Downs. But he's someone who does need to be rostered in all leagues at this point because this could just be the start.  

Here are my full rankings for Week 8 at wide receiver for PPR leagues: 

Week 8 Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Tyreek Hill vs. NE
  2. Cooper Kupp @DAL
  3. Ja'Marr Chase @SF
  4. A.J. Brown @WAS
  5. Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. LV
  6. Keenan Allen vs. CHI
  7. Puka Nacua @DAL
  8. Davante Adams @DET
  9. Adam Thielen vs. HOU
  10. CeeDee Lamb vs. LAR
  11. Chris Olave @IND
  12. Jaylen Waddle vs. NE
  13. Zay Flowers @ARI
  14. Garrett Wilson @NYG
  15. Michael Pittman vs. NO
  16. Brandon Aiyuk vs. CIN
  17. Jordan Addison @GB
  18. Devonta Smith @WAS
  19. Christian Kirk @PIT
  20. Nico Collins @CAR
  21. Marquise Brown vs. BAL
  22. Drake London @TEN
  23. Jakobi Meyers @DET
  24. Tee Higgins @SF
  25. D.J. Moore @LAC
  26. George Pickens vs. JAX
  27. Terry McLaurin vs. PHI
  28. Amari Cooper @SEA
  29. Tyler Lockett vs. CLE
  30. Calvin Ridley @PIT
  31. DK Metcalf vs. CLE
  32. Josh Palmer vs. CHI
  33. Diontae Johnson vs. JAX
  34. DeAndre Hopkins vs. ATL
  35. Josh Downs vs. NO
  36. Tank Dell @CAR
  37. Christian Watson vs. MIN
  38. Courtland Sutton vs. KC
  39. Rashee Rice @DEN
  40. Michael Thomas @IND
  41. KJ Osborn @GB
  42. Kendrick Bourne @MIA
  43. Wan'Dale Robinson vs. NYJ
  44. Jaxon Smith-Njigba vs. CLE
  45. Jerry Jeudy vs. KC
  46. Elijah Moore @SEA
  47. Romeo Doubs vs. MIN
  48. Curtis Samuel vs. PHI
  49. Brandin Cooks vs. LAR
  50. Tyler Boyd @SF
  51. D.J. Chark vs. HOU
  52. Rashid Shaheed @IND
  53. Jahan Dotson vs. PHI
  54. Jonathan Mingo vs. HOU
  55. Rondale Moore vs. BAL
  56. Treylon Burks vs. ATL
  57. DeVante Parker @MIA
  58. Josh Reynolds vs. LV
  59. JuJu Smith-Schuster @MIA
  60. Darius Slayton vs. NYJ
  61. Mack Hollins @TEN
  62. Tutu Atwell @DAL
  63. Mecole Hardman @DEN
  64. Marquez Valdes-Scantling @DEN
  65. Jameson Williams vs. LV
  66. Michael Gallup vs. LAR
  67. Odell Beckham @ARI
  68. Jayden Reed vs. MIN
  69. Alec Pierce vs. NO
  70. Jalin Hyatt vs. NYJ
  71. Jake Bobo vs. CLE
  72. Darnell Mooney @LAC
  73. Jauan Jennings vs. CIN
  74. Donovan Peoples-Jones @SEA
  75. Braxton Berrios vs. NE