Welcome to the Fantasy Football Rundown: a weekly article written by yours truly in which I give at least one sentence on every single fantasy relevant player for Week 8. Starts, sits, sleepers, busts, you name it, I talk about it here. Be warned, this is a beast of a piece. If you’re looking for a specific player, I recommend using your web browser’s search function to head straight to said player. Otherwise, enjoy reading!
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets
Over/Under Points Scored: 43
QB Joe Burrow — Head coach Zac Taylor has continued to ask more of Burrow and the second-year signal caller progresses through his knee-injury rehabilitation process and the results have been a beauty. Burrow tees off against the 22nd ranked PDNEFF Jets pass defense unit. Locked-in top-12 fantasy QB.
WR Ja’Marr Chase — Chase’s 2nd ranked .5PPR point total of 128.7 is commensurate with his Rest of Season (ROS) ranking. He’s an elite WR1, no questions asked. A weekly check-in on his Faustian share of the Bengals’ air yards: 43.87%, 3rd most in the league. The Jets’ are allowing explosive pass plays on 12% of their opponent’s attempts (T-4th most) and Chase’s 15.2 average air yards per target mark ranks 7th in the league. Perfect match.
WRs Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd
Higgins’ usage was particularly indicative of how the team wants to use him. #RuleTheJungle had better positional match-ups to exploit but still funneled 7 1st quarter targets Higgins’ way. He’s their X-receiver — & Chase may be the most dominant Z-receiver in football right now. https://t.co/PU5MnKzgCa
— Nic Bodiford (@Ginger__Nic) October 25, 2021
Higgins finished with a team-leading 15 targets last week. He’s a high-end WR3. Boyd is just a middling WR4/5.
TE C.J. Uzomah — Higgins’ return from injury knocked both Boyd and Uzomah down a peg but Uzomah has still been reliable in the right match-up. We’ve called them correctly here for the most part this year.
— Nic Bodiford (@Ginger__Nic) October 24, 2021
Week 8 should be another fruitful outing for him. The Jets’ lost stud SS Lamarcus Joyner earlier this year (Injured Reserve) and they’ve allowed 13.3 .5PPR TE PPG (8th most) as a result. He’s a mid-to-high TE1 for now.
RBs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine — The RB duo finished with 12 touches apiece but Perine saw 8 of his in the 4th quarter when the victory was safely in hand and the backups were starting to take over. That said, this week could offer a similar game script. It’s worth noting the Jets are allowing a league-high 8.7 RB receptions per game. Mixon is a high-end RB2 and Perine is an RB3.
New York Jets
QB Mike White — 20 of White’s 32 passes went to WR Corey Davis and RBs Michael Carter and Ty Johnson. He’s either looking for the team’s best receiver or checking the hell down. The Bengals’ edge rushers Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard, coupled with blitz-happy slot CB Mike Hilton should make for an RB-centric passing script in NY this week. White’s a high-floor, yet low-end QB2.
WR Corey Davis — Davis can handle CIN’s CBs and he should see ample targets from White. The potential inaccuracy of said targets drops Davis to the mid-to-low WR3 range though.
WRs Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole, and Elijah Moore — The team got creative with Moore’s usage last week but none of these guys can be trusted in redraft. Stash Moore for Joe Flacco’s Week 9 debut.
TE Ryan Griffin — Not a fantasy factor.
RBs Michael Carter and Ty Johnson — Carter and Johnson were separating from Tevin Coleman even before Coleman suffered a hamstring injury. Last week was great though, especially with White at QB. Carter had 11 carries and 9 targets while Johnson was given 5 carries and 7 targets. Just 7 of their combined 32 intended touches came before Zach Wilson left in the 2nd-quarter. The NYJ RB duo should get all the work it can handle this week; an eerily similar quirk, the Bengals trail only the Jets in RB receptions allowed per game with 7.9. Carter is a back-end RB2. Johnson is a borderline RB3/4.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Over/Under Points Scored: 50.5
QB Ryan Tannehill — Indy’s defense is getting healthier but there should be points aplenty here. Tannehill is a mid-to-high QB2 with 20+ fantasy point upside here.
WR A.J. Brown — The No. 3 .5PPR WR over the last two weeks. Brown is an elite WR1 from here on out, enhanced Julio’s ailing hamstring.
WRs Julio Jones, Josh Reynolds, and Marcus Johnson — Tennessee shuffled the WR deck again last week. Johnson ran as the the primary Julio backup as we expected but Reynolds replaced Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as the starting slot receiver in Chester Rogers’ absence (groin). Should that be the case again this week, Julio would maintain volatile WR3 respect, while Reynolds is a borderline top-48 WR play and Johnson takes on volatile WR6 status.
Update 10/29/21: Julio Jones is Out. Johnson should fully replace him in the starting lineup. Johnson moves up to the position’s top-50.
TEs Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt — Firkser is the primary pass catching TE but Pruitt looks to be establishing himself as a scoring-position threat. Neither one can be used in redraft.
RBs Derrick Henry, Jeremy McNichols, and Darrynton Evans
— Nic Bodiford (@Ginger__Nic) October 24, 2021
Henry is the No. 1 RB in fantasy from here on out. In two games against Indianapolis last year, Henry compiled 46 carries for 281 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, and caught 3-of-6 targets for 13 yards…
Evans supplanted McNichols as the primary bellcow backup in his return from injury last week. He’s a must-roster backup.
Update 10/29/21: Evans is now out with a season-ending knee injury. McNichols will factor in as a passing game piece. He’s also one of the league’s premier primary bellcow backups.
QB Carson Wentz — Wentz has two passing touchdowns in four straight games and he’s got a great shot at keeping the streak alive against Tennessee’s flaccid CB group this week. He’s a back-end QB1.
WR Michael Pittman Jr. — Pittman’s target share leaves some to be desired but the Titans are allowing 39.8 .5PPR WR PPG, the most in the NFL, and he’s hot off a 4-of-4 for 105 yards and 1 touchdown performance. He’s a high-end WR1.
WRs T.Y. Hilton, Ashton Dulin, and Zach Pascal — Hilton (quad) is trending towards playing this week and hopefully the coaching staff learned their lesson when they rushed him back too quickly last time. Volatile WR5. Dulin is Hilton’s direct backup. Pascal is a high-floor WR4 with matchup-based DFS appeal.
TE Mo Alie-Cox — MAC is carving out a role in scoring position. TE is always dicey but he’s on the TE1 streaming radar right now.
RBs Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, and Marlon Mack — Taylor’s a top-5 back in one of the highest totaled games on the Week 8 slate. Hines looks like he’s beginning to steal work back from Mack as the trade deadline approaches and Mack remains on the team. Hines is an RB4. Mack is not fantasy relevant.
Los Angeles Rams at Houston Texans
Over/Under Points Scored: 47.5
Los Angeles Rams
QB Matthew Stafford — Biggest thing working against Stafford here is game script. LAR should blow HOU out. Stafford’s gonna be a big part of that happening though. Mid-to-low QB1.
WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods — Kupp’s 162.4 .5PPR WR points lead the position by a margin of 33.7. He’s the No. 1 ranked WR in fantasy until otherwise posted. Woods has crushed it for four weeks straight, either scoring a touchdown or producing ample yardage/catch totals. Locked-in WR2.
Van Jefferson Jr. and DeSean Jackson — D-Jax played just four snaps last week. LAR is priming for a deep playoff run and will continue to preserve him when they can. A game against hapless Houston is absolutely one of those moments. Jefferson is a high-end WR4. Do not start Jackson in redraft.
Tyler Higbee — Houston’s 15.8 .5PPR TE PPG allowed are 2nd most in the NFL. If you have Higbee rostered, this is the type of matchup where you should expect TE1 results.
RBs Darrell Henderson Jr. and Sony Michel — Henderson has proven his durability. He’s a weekly 20-touch, dual threat back in a high-octane offense. The Texans’ run defense ranks 31st in our NEFF rating and they’re currently allowing 24.7 .5PPR RB PPG, 7th most in the NFL. Henderson is a mid-tier RB1. This is the type of game where Michel should see fourth-quarter action. That’s a rough prospect to bank on for real value though. He’s an RB4.
QB Tyrod Taylor — Taylor is expected to resume starter duties this week. Expect a low-volume, relatively risk-free passing outcome from him. Taylor was a beast on the ground in his Weeks 1 and 2 starts though; 4-for-40 in the first and 1-for-15-yards and a touchdown in the second.
Update 10/29/31: Houston announced that underwhelming rookie Davis Mills will get the start again this week. The only Texan you should consider starting this week is Brandin Cooks. He’s just a low-end WR4 though.
WR Brandin Cooks — Cooks’ 64 targets lead the rest of the team by a margin of 40(!). 21 of them came in Taylor’s 2 starts. LAR’s CB group is great but Cooks’ expected volume is unholy. Elevate him back to the low-end WR2 ranks.
WRs Nico Collins, Chris Moore, and Danny Amendola — Collins’ combination of youth, talent, and team-investment puts him ahead of the other two. He’s just a low-end WR5 this week but should be added speculatively to fantasy rosters that have room to burn.
TEs Pharaoh Brown and Jordan Akins — Brown was the clear-cut preferred TE option for Taylor at the beginning of the year. If you need a TE2, role with Brown over Akins.
RBs David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, and Rex Burkhead — LAR’s pass-centric defensive scheme allows for decent opponent rushing totals. Their 47.5% NEFF run defense rating is T-19th in the NFL. With Mark Ingram traded to NOLA, one could fire up Lindsay as the likely lead/rush-centric back but it’s ugly. DJ is just a pass catching back. No one here is truly worth rostering outside of exceptionally deep leagues—likely on a Zero RB roster.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Over/Under Points Scored: 42
QB Ben Roethlisberger — Cleveland’s pass rush owns the 2nd highest QB pressure rate on the year, 29.8%, and has to players, Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, individually in the top-10 in total QB pressures (29 and 19, respectively). This could be Roethlisberger’s worst game of the year. He’s a borderline QB2/3.
WRs Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool — PIT is coming off a bye week and Claypool was still limited with a hamstring injury on Wednesday. “Limited” puts him on track to play but it’s a bad sign that the bye week didn’t get him fully healthy. Hammies are finicky. Johnson is a sure thing for 10 or more floppy targets. He’s a high-floor WR2. Claypool is a volatile WR3.
WR Ray-Ray McCloud III and James Washington — McCloud is the starting slot receiver with JuJu out but he’s not very good. Low-end WR5. Washington is running cardio on the perimeter.
TEs Pat Freiermuth — Eric Ebron popped up with a hamstring injury on Thursday’s practice report which leaves Freiermuth alone at the top for Week 8. Cleveland’s defense is unfriendly to the position but Freiermuth could push for five or more targets here, landing him on the DFS/TE1 streaming radar this week. He’s a talented kid.
RBs Najee Harris and Anthony McFarland Jr. — Harris is the second most targeted running back in the NFL including data from Pittsburgh’s Week 7 bye. It’s a tough match-up but Harris has the workload to remain in the position’s top-12. McFarland is back from IR and the most likely candidate to operate as a full-on bellcow should Harris miss time.
QB Baker Mayfield — Mayfield’s non-throwing shoulder injuries are extensive. He’s in-line to play this week but one tackle could take him out of the game—and we’re not even considering the negative lifelong effects he might suffer. Volatile, low-end QB2.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. — Beckham is evidently dealing with injuries in both shoulders, at least one of which is a Grade 3 AC joint sprain, meaning all three ligaments connecting his clavicle to his shoulder have been rupture. How anyone could start him—including an NFL team—is beyond me. He’s a highly volatile WR5. Also:
I have no doubt the #Browns would take any call on OBJ right now. The problem is no other team is going to look at him right now and waste salary cap space it could roll into next season. He’s dead money.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) October 22, 2021
WR Jarvis Landry — Landry suffered a knee injury last Thursday that is unrelated to the MCL sprain that landed him on IR earlier this year. He returned to practice on Thursday of this week and should be good to go as CLE’s No. 1 WR. PIT has failed to replace the now-Bengal Mike Hilton who manned the slot for them last year. Landry’s a high-floor WR3 this week.
WR Anthony Schwartz — Schwartz replaced Donovan Peoples-Jones in the lineup last week after DPJ suffered groin injury during warm-ups. DPJ has back-to-back DNPs to start the week, indicating it’ll be another day of Schwartz on Sunday. He’s speedy and could get loose downfield with Beckham severely ailing. Volatile WR5 with DFS appeal.
TEs Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant — Hooper and Njoku are low-end DFS dart throws.
RBs Nick Chubb, D’Ernest Johnson, and Demetric Felton — Johnson stole our hearts last week but that fling has run its course. Chubb (calf) is expected to return this week. Kareem Hunt joined Cleveland’s roster in 2019 and was suspended for the first eight games of the season. During that span, Chubb averaged 4 targets, 3.12 receptions, and 20.12 receiving yards per game. Through the remaining 8 games, those numbers dropped to 2.12 targets, 1.37 receptions, and 14.62 receiving yards. Head coach Kevin Stefanski was hired in 2020 and Chubb’s per game numbers dropped even further to 1.5 targets, 1.3 receptions, and 12.5 receiving yards that year and are down to 1 target, 1 reception, and 7.6 receiving yards per game this year. The Browns were without both Chubb and Hunt in Week 7. Usage went as follows:
|Player (Wk 7)||TeamSnap%||ATT-YDS-TD||RZ ATT/Inside-5 ATT||Routes||REC/TGT-YDS-TD||RZ TGT/EZ TGT||Pass/Run Block|
Felton’s ran a hair fewer routes but saw one more target—he’s a better receiver than Johnson. They clearly trusted Johnson in pass pro more though. Regardless, it was good to see a north/south rusher like Johnson get involved in the passing game as he’s the direct replacement for Chubb, who we can now bank on seeing a significant number of dual threat touches in Week 8. Felton is the better bet for a receiving role than Johnson but his lack of pass blocking ability limits his overall snap potential. Chubb is this week’s No. 2 ranked RB. Felton is a mid-to-low RB4 and Johnson is an RB5.
Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions
Over/Under Points Scored: 48
QB Jalen Hurts — Hurts continues to play his way into our fantasy hearts and out of a real life starting job. His 51.6 QB rushing yards per game are 2nd in the league and he leads all QBs in non-passing fantasy points per game. The Lions’ pass defense is 30th in the league in NEFF pass defense rating. Hurts remains an elite QB1 play in fantasy.
WR DeVonta Smith — The Lions’ secondary doesn’t have anyone who can hang with Smith. The rookie WR is a high-end WR3.
WRs Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor — Slot receiver Watkins out-targeted Reagor for the second consecutive weeks and looks to have firmly supplanted him as the No. 2 WR in the pecking order. Fire up Watkins as a sneaky WR4 but keep DPI King Reagor in fantasy free agency.
TE Dallas Goedert — Goedert faced zero positional target competition with Zach Ertz out the door, catching 3-of-5 passes for 70 yards and a 2-point conversion. He’s a mid-to-high TE1 on a weekly basis from here on out.
RB Kenneth Gainwell — Miles Sanders is week-to-week (ankle/foot) right now so the Eagles’ backfield committee just got murkier. Gainwell last week saw 5 carries for 20 yards but unfortunately lost a fumble. He ripped up the Raiders via the air though, going 4-of-8 for 41-yards and 1 touchdown. Fantasy managers should expect a 12+ touch outing for Gainwell, with as much as half of his work helpfully coming in the passing game. Gainwell is a back-end RB2.
RBs Boston Scott, and Jordan Howard — Scott saw his first rushing work of the season, leading the non-Sanders’ crowd with 7 carries for 24 yards and 1 touchdown. He caught one of his two passes for a five-yard gain. It’s possible the team brings touchdown-vulture Howard up from the practice squad but for now, Scott will lead the charge on the ground but would be most impacted by Howard playing spoiler. Scott led the team, per PFF.com, in red zone carries (three) and carries inside the five-yard line (two). Detroit’s friendly front-seven should help these guys produce above their pay-grade as the Lions are currently allowing 26.9 .5PPR RB PPG, 4th most in the NFL, and their NEFF run defense rating of 47.2% ranks a lacking 20th. Scott and Howard are nebulous RB4s.
Update 10/29/21: Howard has taken 1st-team reps and is likely to poach Scott’s red zone role.
QB Jared Goff — Goff and his league-low average intended air yards mark of 6.3 yards may actually result in a high-end QB2 outing. Philly’s defense is currently allowing top-10 numbers in the RB receptions (7)/receiving yards (49.7) game. This suits Goff’s style of play well.
WRs Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown — Raymond’s the only perimeter receiver with decent talent here but an impending duel with frequent Darius Slay coverage limits his fantasy outlook to the WR4/5 range this week. St. Brown was predictably stonewalled by now-slot frequenter CB Jalen Ramsey last week. Unfortunately he’s got another tough outing on tap this week as he squares off against breakout fourth-year slot CB Avonte Maddox. He’s in the same realm as Raymond.
WRs Geronimo Allison and KhaDarel Hodge — Allison and Hodge are not fantasy relevant.
TE T.J. Hockenson Jr. — Hock’s been on the injury report with ankle and knee injuries for a few weeks but he’s racked up 20 targets over the last two weeks. He’s as healthy as any football player is at this point and he’s a mid-to-high TE1. His Week 8 cause is aided by the Eagles who intentionally do not invest in their linebacker/safety corps.
RBs D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams — The 0-7 Lions can’t get out of pass-happy game scripts as they’re constantly losing. Contrary to their intended clock-killing ways, Detroit is 12th in the league in offensive plays per game (65.4) which helped Swift rack up the most RB routes run in the league (198, PFF.com). As mentioned above, Philly’s front-seven is very friendly to RBs in the passing game. The rush-centric Williams actually has a shot at a decent outcome this week as well—Philadelphia’s 117.1 RB rushing yards per game are 3rd most in the NFL and their 1.0 RB rushing scores are T-6th. Swift is a top-12 RB play this week and Williams is a mid-range RB3. Note: Williams is on the injury report with a mid-week thigh issue but we don’t yet know the extent.
Update 10/31/21: Jamaal Williams is Out. D’Andre Swift is now a mid-tier RB1. Jermar Jefferson can be added in very deep leagues and should be rostered (and perhaps started) in dynasty formats.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears
Over/Under Points Scored: 39.5
San Francisco 49ers
QBs Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance — Kyle Shanahan recently announced Garoppolo as the Week 8 starter but:
Hands down the most uncertain answer Kyle Shanahan has given this year in response to the “who the hell is your starting QB this week?” question. https://t.co/fgMGwZuEgv
— Nic Bodiford (@Ginger__Nic) October 25, 2021
For now, Jimmy G is a mid-tier QB2.
WRs Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk — Samuel registered a DNP on Wednesday with a calf injury on Wednesday. He returned to practice in some capacity on Thursday but what we don’t yet know is if it was a contusion or impact injury of some sort or a strain. If it’s a strain, an in-game aggravation is firmly on the table. If active, it would be tough not to start him as the fantasy WR1 that he is. Aiyuk would likely be thrust into action if Samuel were inactive on Sunday and would make for a risky WR3. TE George Kittle is still on IR so the team would be hurting for pass catchers.
TEs Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner — They’re splitting reps. Ignore both.
RBs Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty — Week 7 not only told us that Mitchell is the clear-cut lead back in SF (18 carries, 107 rushing yards, and 1 touchdown), it also proved that Hasty has a standalone pass catching role (6 targets, 3 catches, and 15 receiving yards)—a role so large that Trey Sermon didn’t record a single snap and do-it-all FB Kyle Juszczyk didn’t get see a target, nor a carry! Hasty’s box score results were hardly indicative of his intended usage, which means he’s likely available in a league near you. The Bears’ front-seven has been ravaged by injury and ailment—Khalil Mack (foot), Akiem Hicks (groin), and Robert Quinn (COVID-19). The status of all three players is in question, although Hicks is trending in the right direction. Mitchell is the premier RB2 of the week, while Hasty takes the same spot among the RB4s.
Update 10/29/21: Khalil Mack is Out. Robert Quinn has been activated from the COVID-19/Reserve List.
QB Justin Fields — Matt Nagy is asking Fields to operate as a pocket passer and the rookie QB who was not given sufficient training camp reps with the first-team offense is failing at every turn. He is outside of the top-24 at the position until further notice.
WRs Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson — Mooney is operating in the volatile downfield WR role while Robinson limps through an ankle injury. The pair should be nebulously considered in the WR48-60 range.
TE Cole Kmet — Kmet has seen an uptick in usage over the last two weeks. He’s unlikely to reliably be more than a fantasy TE2 but teams in need should add him. SF SS Jaquiski Tartt suffered a knee injury last week and is looking like he’ll sit this one out. Kmet has a chance, if a small one, to make some noise in the box score as a result.
RBs Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams — Herbert is the first RB to rush for 100 yards against Tampa Bay this year. Williams is his pure backup. Herbert’s ranked as a mid-tier RB2 this week but has top-12 upside given his unquestioned bellcow status. It’s possible Chicago keeps cycling him in even when David Montgomery returns.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Over/Under Points Scored: 47
QB Sam Darnold — Now the most volatile QB in fantasy. Treat him as a frightening QB2.
WR D.J. Moore — Moore’s been drug down to Darnold’s level in recent weeks. He’s got a good matchup on tap here though so Moore remains a top-15 play.
WR Robby Anderson — Anderson has caught 13 balls for 101 yards and 1 touchdown over the last four weeks… on 38 targets. That’s the seventh largest target count in the NFL during that span. Buy-low if you can afford to stash him but he’s an understandable fade for most. Volatile WR4.
WR Keith Kirkwood — Long-time preseason baller Kirkwood filled in for slot receiver Terrace Marshall last week and looks like he’ll do the same again in Week 8 with Marshall unable to get cleared for Sunday. Falcons backup safety Richie Grant has manned the slot for ATL over the last three weeks with Isaiah Oliver on IR and has looked awful doing so. Kirkwood is a WR5 with single-game DFS appeal.
TE Tommy Tremble — Just a fantasy TE3.
RBs Chuba Hubbard and Royce Freeman — Freeman’s getting some run in the passing game, but it’s mostly literal run. He’s seen just two targets over the last two weeks. Hubbard’s operating as the full-on bellcow right now and Atlanta’s 40.6% NEFF run defense rating is T-27th in the league right now. Hubbard is a mid-to-high RB2 while Freeman is just a bench stash.
Related: Best NFL Player Prop Bets for Week 8
QB Matt Ryan — The post-Week 6-bye Falcons were a different team than what we saw through the first five games. Ryan had been dinking and dunking his way to a 6.9 average depth of target (aDot) but Arthur Smith cranked that up to a 9.5 in Week 7, and that was against Miami’s vaunted secondary. Carolina’s secondary may be getting newcomer Stephon Gilmore on the field this week but the ATL’s passing game components are the real deal and he’s using them properly now. Ryan is a mid-to-high QB2 for Week 8.
WR Calvin Ridley — Locked-in fantasy WR2 with top-12 upside as soon as this offense really starts humming.
Update 10/31/21: Calvin Ridley is Out due personal reasons. The sky is no literally the limit for Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage is a high-end WR4.
WR Russell Gage — Gage separated from the remaining ATL WRs with a strong return from injury last week. Still, he’s fourth in the passing game order at best. Just a fantasy WR5.
TE Kyle Pitts — Pitts is lining up either in the slot or outside around 87% of the time per PFF.com. That’s exactly the kind of usage we want for him. He’s an elite TE1 from here on out and should be considered a member of the Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, T.J. Hockenson group.
RBs Cordarrelle Patterson and Mike Davis — ATL’s post-bye plan is for C-Patt to operate as the No. 1, dual threat RB while Davis sprinkles in for a few carries and pass pro snaps. Patterson is a locked-in RB2. Davis is droppable.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Over/Under Points Scored: 48.5
QB Tua Tagovailoa — Even though these teams have stout pass defense units, it’s going to be a shootout, if a lopsided one:
The NFL's most pass-heavy teams regardless of game script:
Trail = down by four or more
Close = within three points
Lead = ahead by four or more pic.twitter.com/lOxqId0Xw8
— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) October 27, 2021
Tua is a mid-tier QB2 with top-15 upside.
WR Jaylen Waddle and TE Mike Gesicki — Like a pair of dueling banjos, Waddle and Gesicki continue cycling through slot reps and hoarding targets as the league’s most unique slot WR/TE combo. CB Taron Johnson and S Micah Hyde offer stiff competition but volume is king. Waddle is a high-floor WR3. Gesicki a high-end TE1.
WR DeVante Parker — Parker looks like he’s ready to return and has played well against Buffalo as of late. Over their last 3 meetings, he’s caught 5-of-8 targets for 53 yards and 1 touchdown, 7-of-14 targets for 116 yards, and 5-of-9 for 42 yards. Consider Parker a borderline WR3/4 this week.
RBs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed — Gaskin handled lead back duties in last week’s shootout and that should remain the case this week against Buffalo. It’s a much tougher defensive-front that ATL has to offer though so he’s an RB3 in the ranks this week. Ahmed is not expected to be fantasy-relevant.
QB Josh Allen — Elite QB1 every week.
WRs Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders — Diggs is a set-it-and-forget-it fantasy WR1. Sanders is playing like he’s 10-year younger and can be treated as a weekly WR3 in .5PPR formats.
WR Cole Beasley — This is likely to be more of a down week for Beasley because Miami’s defensive scheme skews towards man coverage as opposed to zone. Beasley is oftentimes a featured part of the game plan when BUF faces zone-heavy schemes but plays a sidekick role vs. man.
WR Gabe Davis — Davis is one of the rare WR bench stashes who would explode if a WR above him were to miss time.
TE Tommy Sweeney — Miami’s defense de-prioritizes slowing tight ends and the position has produced because of it. The Dolphins’ 15.2 .5PPR TE PPG allowed is T-4th most in the NFL. Sweeny is a fine TE1 streaming option this week as Dawson Knox wrests his healing hand.
RBs Zack Moss and Devin Singletary — It’s a nightmare of a fantasy committee. Moss is the lead back, and had a fantasy-unfriendly workload the last time these squads faced in Week 2—eight carries and two targets. Of course, he turned those touches into 2 catches, 34 yards from scrimmage and… 2 touchdowns. Singletary continues to see enough work to cap Moss’ upside on a weekly basis. The matchup is there—Miami’s NEFF run defense rating of 44.7% ranks 21 in the league, but this backfield is as wonky as ever. Moss is a back-end RB3. Singletary is an RB4.
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers
Over/Under Points Scored: 49
New England Patriots
QB Mac Jones — The Chargers might be able to force Jones into a pass-heavy game script but NE will do it’s best to stay balanced. High-floor QB2 respectable high-end QB2 upside.
WRs Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor — Meyers continues to comfortably lead this team in targets — now up to a margin of 23. He’s a high-floor WR4 who should see an influx of receiving TDs at some point. Bourne and Agholor are volatile WR5s.
TEs Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith — Henry has a touchdown in four straight games and Smith injured his shoulder last week. The latter may play but Henry is the fantasy TE1 option here.
RBs Damien Harris and Brandon Bolden — J.J. Taylor did score twice last week but didn’t start seeing significant work until the 4th-quarter, when New England had a 28-point lead on the Jets. Harris is the lead back and Bolden is the passing game specialist. There were some indications that rookie Rhamondre Stevenson could be relegating Bolden back to special teams but Bolden comfortably paced the backfield in both routes run and targets last week. The Chargers’ 34.4% NEFF run defense rating ranks dead last in the league so Harris a top-15 RB this week while Bolden can be trusted as a high-floor RB4.
Los Angeles Chargers
QB Justin Herbert — Elite QB1 on a weekly basis.
WRs Mike Williams and Keenan Allen — Williams (knee) is practicing in full this week. Williams returns to locked-in fantasy WR1 status and Allen can be started as a high-floor WR2.
WRs Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer — Palmer saw a big jump in snap share in the week before the bye. Fantasy managers shouldn’t start either of these players but they should pay attention to Palmer’s snap share. Week 6’s happenings may be a sign that the rookie’s time has come.
TEs Jared Cook and Donald Parham — Parham had been trending in the right direction but then LAC fed Cook seven targets in Week 6. Both are too risky to start this week. Their post-bye debut will be telling.
RBs Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, and Larry Rountree — If active, Ekeler is his normal RB1-self. He popped up on the injury report with a hip issue on Thursday though and registered a DNP. That’s bad. Should he miss Week 8’s contest, Kelley is likely to handle 12+ carries and should be sidekicked by Jackson as a passing game operator. Rountree really doesn’t belong in this bunch but he’s on the roster and could be used in scoring position.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks
Over/Under Points Scored: 44
QB Trevor Lawrence — Lawrence deserves fringe QB1 respect in this one. Seattle’s defense is really only decent at slowing runs up the gut. Other than that, it’s the offense’s “dealer’s choice”.
WR Marvin Jones Jr. — Jones is the only Jags’ WR who’s playing a role that fits him. He’s a safe top-36 play with easy top-24 upside.
WRs Laviska Shenault and Jamal Agnew — Shenault is extremely talented but he is slow. Urban Meyer doesn’t know how to coach so he needs to infuse his offense with speed. Enter: 4.34 speedster/former college DB Agnew. Agnew now gets to play Shenault’s slot receiver role while Shenault is kicked to the perimeter to replace D.J. Chark (IR). Shenault will continue to see a decent helping of targets but he can’t be trusted as anything more than a volatile WR4. Agnew should be able to rip off a few chunk gains against Seattle’s lackluster slot DB Ugo Amadi. He’s a high-floor WR4 with game-breaking upside.
TE Dan Arnold — High-floor top-15 TE.
RBs James Robinson and Carlos Hyde — Robinsons has achieved dual threat, bellcow status at this point and should be trusted to return RB1 value against Seattle. Hyde is just an unsexy bench stash.
QB Geno Smith — Smith’s single handedly ended two via turnover this year. He’s only played in three. Borderline QB2/3 even in a good match-up.
WRs D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Freddie Swain — Metcalf is a talent-based fantasy WR2. Swain is now operating as the team’s primary slot receiver and Smith isn’t interested in looking Lockett’s way all that much because of it. Lockett still has some hope—he’s cycling between the interior and the perimeter—but the pair makes for unappetizing WR4s.
TE Gerald Everett — Will Dissly didn’t see a single target last week while Everett got three targets and a carry. Jacksonville is giving up 15.6 .5PPR TE PPG, 3rd most in the NFL, which keeps Everett on the TE1 streaming radar.
RBs Alex Collins, Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas, and Travis Homer — Clearly playing injured, Collins (groin) hobbled his way to a 2.2 yards per carry average on 16 scoreless carries last week. The fact that they kept Collins out there despite having a supposedly healthy Penny ready to go is extremely telling. Collins’ Week 8 status is up in the air at this point though. He was a limited practice participant on Wednesday before being downgraded to DNP on Thursday.
He’s the only back on this team that’s of interest at the moment.
Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos
Over/Under Points Scored: 44.5
Washington Football Team
QB Taylor Heinicke — Denver’s defense is extremely well coached but it’s very banged up. Edge rusher Bradley Chubb remains on IR and fellow edge player Von Miller is dealing with an ankle injury and has been unable to practice through the week’s first two days. DL Mike Purcell (thumb) has also registered consecutive DNPs and ILB Alexander Johnson, one of the league’s best run defenders, went on IR last week. You all saw what D’Ernest Johnson was able to do as a result. Washington’s big armed, scrambling QB should produce another low-end QB1 outing this week against Denver’s depleted front.
WR Terry McLaurin — Top-12 fantasy WR.
WRs Adam Humphries and Dax Milne — Dyami Brown returned from his knee injury too quickly and is now out for Week 8. Humphries is WR6-viable if that’s of interest.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones — He’s pushing J.D. McKissic for No. 2 passing game weapon honors. An every-week TE1.
RBs J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson — The WFT is keeping Gibson active, despite what we’ve heard is a growing fracture in one of his shins. As mentioned above (and last week), this is about as good of a running back matchup as one could dream up. Both backs are top-36 options, with Gibson far more volatile—both in the good way and the bad way.
QB Teddy Bridgewater — WFT’s NEFF pass defense rating of 37.7% is 28th in the NFL and they’re currently allowing the most QB FPPG (27.2). Stud slot receiver Jerry Jeudy’s also making his return. Bridgewater is a back-end QB1.
WRs Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick — Sutton’s box score potential takes a hit with Jeudy back but this isn’t the matchup to be concerned about that. Sutton is a fantasy WR2 this week, as is Jeudy, who was Dr. Edwin Porras’ Week 8 must-start on this week’s episode of Nerding Out. Patrick becomes the odd man out here and he can only be considered a fantasy WR4.
TE Noah Fant — Fant’s had decent results with both Jeudy and Albert Okwuegbunam out but he failed to reliably produce as a TE1. He’s a borderline TE1/2 with Jeudy back in the lineup.
RBs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams — Neither man found much room to run last week but they both got the job done through the air. Williams’s touchdown reception came from 10-yards out while Gordon’s came from the 8. Blocking duties have begun ebbing and flowing and both are seeing healthy totals of routes run, with Gordon typically maintaining a slight edge in that department. Williams is getting more targets on a weekly basis though. The Denver duo are high-end RB3s this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Over/Under Points Scored: 50
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Tom Brady — Elite QB1 every week.
WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin — As discussed with Dr. Edwin Porras on Nerding Out this week, Antonio Brown is dealing with a strange ankle (heel?) injury right now and could be out for an extended period of time. Evans and Godwin are locked-in WR1s:
Exp. half PPR with vs. w/o Antonio Brown:
Mike Evans: 11.9 vs. 17.1
Chris Godwin: 12.9 vs. 15.1 https://t.co/oAhN1e7CO4
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) October 27, 2021
WR Tyler Johnson — WR5 with weekly DFS appeal.
TE Rob Gronkowski — Gronk’s back! No brainer fantasy TE1.
RBs Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, and Gio Bernard — Jones, Bernard, and even Ke’Shawn Vaughn go in on the fun last week as TB blew out the Bears. Fournette should return to full-on bellcow action this week though. He’s a mid-tier RB2. The rest belong on the bench.
New Orleans Saints
QB Jameis Winston — Extremely volatile prospects here. It’s a revenge game but Winston barely has anyone to throw to. Nebulous QB2 for redraft but should absolutely be in a few DFS lineups.
WRs Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Kenny Stills, and Tre’Quan Smith — All three have downfield skill sets and none of them are all that great. Smith even had Winston yelling at him on the sidelines last week. For redraft, Callaway is the highest ranked Saint WR but he’s just barely a top-50 play.
TEs Juwan Johnson and Adam Trautman — DFS-only.
RBs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram — The band’s back together but it’s anyone’s guess as to what role the washed Ingram will play. New Orleans is dealing with a number of offensive line injuries which means Kamara is going to get all of the checkdown work he can handle. Tampa Bay’s pass rush is as good as it gets. Ingram is a wait-and-see bench stash. Kamara is a mid-tier RB1.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
Over/Under Points Scored: 53.5
QB Dak Prescott — Prescott’s dealing with a calf injury that is likely to keep him limited as a rusher. They’ve got the firepower to keep him firmly locked into the QB1 ranks though.
Update 10/29/21: Prescott showed up to Dallas’ facility on Friday and was reportedly dealing with soreness in his calf. It is not looking like he’s going to play. Cooper Rush is Dallas’ QB2. He’s a mid-to-low QB2 with a trapdoor floor. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are now highly volatile WR2s. Gallup remains a WR5. TE Dalton Schultz should operate as a consistent safety valve. RBs Elliott and Pollard will be featured.
WRs Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup — Dallas has been killing the clock via the run game, as has Minnesota, but both offenses are so loaded that the pace is likely to be pushed. Gallup‘s a volatile WR5 in his initial return from a long term calf injury but Lamb should be ranked circa WR12 and Cooper near WR19.
TE Dalton Schultz — Schultz has relegated Blake Jarwin to fantasy irrelevancy and must be considered as a mid-tier TE1 until we see Dallas treat him otherwise.
RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard — Both backs have roles in this offense; Zeke’s the unquestioned 20-touch bellcow, Pollard is the frequently utilized change of pace back. Minnesota is likely to again be without stud DT Michael Pierce (elbow) which is a big blow to their run defense. Zeke’s a mid-tier RB1 and Pollard’s an RB3.
QB Kirk Cousins — Cousins has been slinging it this year. Although Dallas’ D appears to the real deal, this game has shootout written all over it.
WRs Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen — The duo is likely to face CB Trevon Diggs from time to time but he can’t cover both of them at once. Both can be started on the low-end WR1/high-end WR2 spectrum.
WR K.J. Osborn — Dede Westbrook is trending towards Out with an ankle injury. Osborn therefore gets to tee off against struggling slot CB Jourdan Lewis all day, making the Vikings’ receiver a viable fantasy WR4.
TE Tyler Conklin — A fantasy TE2.
RB Dalvin Cook — Coming off the bye, Cook might be the healthiest he’s been since Week 1. He’s a top-5 fantasy RB. Alexander Mattison should be rostered in all formats.