Week 8 of the NFL season appeared to be haunted. Most top fantasy players struggled, Derrick Henry suffered a season ending injury, and the New York Jets won without their starting QB. So far in the 2021 season, nothing is guaranteed. So even if you think your fantasy team is out of it, you still have the opportunity to turn it around. To make a late playoff push, you must stay active on the waivers and make some trades before the deadline. First, you need to know who to target and who to avoid.
Last Week Recap:
As I said earlier, Week 8 was a tough week for many people, including me. The two players I hyped up last week were Leonard Fournette and Zach Ertz. Fournette finished with a cool 8 rushes for 26 yards and 3 receptions for 17 yards. Ertz was able to slightly outperform Fournette, notching 4 receptions for 42 yards. Even though these players both had off weeks, my opinion on both of them remains the same. Last week the Bucs were in a rare situation where they weren’t playing half the game with a 20 point lead and therefore Fournette did not see nearly as much volume. I expect the Bucs to return to playing with big leads, and Fournette to go back to seeing 15+ carries per game. As for Zach Ertz, he is in a new system and it is clear that he and Kyler Murray are not yet completely in sync. Additionally, Ertz played 4 games in 18 days, so it makes sense that he might not be playing his best. I am willing to give Ertz a few more weeks before I start to get worried about him. In all likelihood, they will find their rhythm together very soon.
On the bright side, Devonta Smith, whose hype I did not buy into, somehow only had 1 reception for 15 yards in the Eagles 44-6 victory over the Lions. I believe Smith saw such little volume because the Eagles finally realized that if they run the ball they will score. While I do think Smith will see much more than 1 reception in the coming games, he remains a “do not start” in fantasy. I am staying away from Smith until the Eagles can show me a successful passing offense.
Buy Into The Hype: Michael Carter
In most fantasy drafts this year, I saw Michael Carter getting drafted in the 8th or 9th round behind some defenses and backup quarterbacks. This baffled me because usually any rookie running back that is poised to start is gone by the fifth round. However, people kept saying that no matter how good Carter is, he won’t be successful on the Jets offense. Many people don’t realize that players can put up good numbers on bad offenses. Just look at D’Andre Swift or Brandin Cooks. So far, Carter has been proving everyone wrong. Carter finished last week’s game with 15 rushes for 77 yards and a TD along with 9 receptions for 95 yards. He has scored a touchdown in 3 of his last 4 games and has 17 receptions in his past 2 games. Carter is becoming a PPR monster and is looking like the steal of the draft. His value is only going to go up from here and it is essential to acquire him while you can.
Don’t Buy Into The Hype: Adrian Peterson
Once the Henry injury was announced, every fantasy owner immediately went to the waiver wire to see who his backup would be. The Titans chose to sign the one and only Adrian Peterson. Now let’s get one thing straight, if you think Peterson’s 36-year-old body can handle anything close to the level of volume Henry was seeing, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, I would be surprised if he had any more fantasy production than Jeremy McNichols. It’s good to see Peterson play in the NFL one last time, but he is hardly worth picking up, never mind starting. Unless you are absolutely desperate for a running back, I would recommend avoiding Peterson entirely. Expect the Titans to transition to a more pass heavy offense. Which brings me to my next player:
Buy Into The Hype: AJ Brown
As I was saying, now that Henry is out for the season the Titans will be forced to throw the ball much more. The good news is, in the past few games the Titans have really started to improve their passing game. This has been particularly beneficial to AJ Brown, who has seen 29 targets in his past 3 games. At the start of the season, Brown did not see a lot of volume because the offense was so centered around Henry. Now that Ryan Tannehill is finally throwing it to Brown, and he couldn’t even rely on Henry if he wanted to, expect Brown to thrive. Many people forget that Brown is one of the most physically gifted receivers in the league, and is capable of having fantasy game winning performances. While his inconsistencies may be frustrating for fantasy owners, he is well worth his current value. Expect AJ Brown to approach WR1 territory in the next few weeks.
As fantasy owners recover from what was probably the worst week of the NFL season, it is essential to stay active on the waiver wire. Every single team has injury problems, and if you are able to spot who the next man up is, you can win your league. Now is the time to go out there, make a big trade, and see what happens. Let’s hope we see way less injuries in the coming weeks. And as always, good luck!