NFL

5 Up-and-Coming NFL Players Who Could Break Out in Week 8

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Who Will Break Into NFL Spotlight During Week 8?

Who Will Break Into NFL Spotlight During Week 8?
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY SPORTS

A ridiculous number of injuries during Week 7 of the NFL has opened the door for many backup players to step in and show their worth, giving them quality opportunities to break into the NFL spotlight.

One player most definitely did that in Week 7. Washington Redskins rookie tight end Jordan Reed had the best game of his young NFL career against the Chicago Bears. Reed recorded game-highs by hauling in nine passes for 134 yards and added a touchdown. His eye-opening game against the Bears on Sunday will change the way the Redskins conduct their offense. His heightened production could revamp the Redskins’ offense, and even possibly save their season from heading down the drain.

Expect more of that type of performance as injuries to Doug Martin, Jermichael Finley, James Jones and Sam Bradford have changed the way various teams will run their offensive schemes this week. These injuries may be bad to both the respective player and his team in an overall sense, but it will give players who didn’t think they’d see so much playing time a shot.

Even 11-year veteran Josh McCown will get a chance to play due to Jay Cutler’s groin injury. McCown has been in the league too long to call this weekend a chance at a breakout, but he will gladly step in for his 10th career NFL start.

Take a look at the following list because it could help your fantasy football teams as well. If any of these players are still available in your league after Wednesday’s waiver wire expired, I would snatch them up quickly. Here are five players that are poised to have breakout games this weekend.

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5. Michael Cox, New York Giants, RB

5. Michael Cox, New York Giants, RB
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY SPORTS

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin announced that Michael Cox will be the team’s starting running back for its Sunday game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Fellow running back Peyton Hills received more carries in the Giants’ win on Monday night, but he admitted to experiencing “Jello legs” after the game. It’s clear Hillis is a fatigued veterans, so Cox will be the featured back in this Sunday’s contest. The Eagles allow the 12th-least yards to opposing rushing attacks, so that leaves some wiggle room for Cox to break out in Week 8.

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4. Mike Brown, Jacksonville Jaguars, WR

4. Mike Brown, Jacksonville Jaguars, WR
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The San Francisco 49ers don’t exactly have the best crew of defensive backs in the NFL, so Mike Brown will have an opportunity to have a big game this Sunday in London. He recorded his first career 100-yard game last week against the San Diego Chargers, and this week he’ll line up against the 49ers’ No. 3 CB Perrish Cox or Nnamdi Asomugha, if he’s healthy. Jacksonville will start Chad Henne with Blaine Gabbert out with injury. Henne is on an upswing after having a solid game against the Chargers, completing 23 of 36 passes for 318 yards.

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3. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams, RB

3. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams, RB
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SPORTS

With Sam Bradford out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, the Rams have very limited options through the air. With this in mind, look for Zac Stacy to have a break out game in Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks. Stacy was able to capture 53 yards on the ground last week against the Carolina Panthers. Look for that number to rise a bit now that he’s the one of the team’s best options on offense.

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2. Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers, WR

2. Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers, WR
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY SPORTS

The Green Bay Packers are experiencing a severe problem on offense at the moment. They are undoubtedly a pass-first team, but their receivers are beginning to drop like flies. Tight end Jermichael Finley bruised his spinal cord last week, Randall Cobb is on injured reserve, and James Jones may miss another game this Sunday. Opposing defenses will likely double-team the Packers’ next best option in Jordy Nelson, placing a lot of weight on the shoulders of two-year man Jarrett Boykin. He stepped up last week against the Cleveland Browns with 103 yards on 10 catches. Many considered that to be a break out performance, but this weekend could yield and even stronger day for Boykin when Green Bay faces the 1-5 Minnesota Vikings.

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1. Mike James, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, RB

1. Mike James, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, RB
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SPORTS

Tampa Bay's star running back Doug Martin could be out for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury. Rookie Mike James steps in to take Martin’s place this weekend for his first career start, and he’s receiving much praise and support from head coach Greg Schiano. James will be one of the most featured players on offense as Tampa Bay takes on the Carolina Panthers this weekend. He contributed 57 rushing yards last weekend, but this weekend could provide a true coming out party for James.