Fantasy

33 Fantasy Takeaways from Week 8

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I provided slightly more than 33 fantasy takeaways from Week 8 (but really, who is counting?) based on advanced player usage data. My goal is to distill these findings into easy-to-consume nuggets that save you from needing to conduct in-depth research yourself. The games are presented in chronological order for Week 8.

Ravens at Buccaneers (27 – 22)

  • Gus Edwards suffered a “minor” hamstring injury on Thursday, and likely misses Week 9. The Ravens’ backfield ended up being a fairly ugly (for fantasy) committee against Tampa Bay. I’d make sure Kenyan Drake is not available on your waiver wire in case Gus Edwards misses time. You can see from their Week 8 stats below, Drake is ahead of Justice Hill for third down and pass game reps.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Gus Edwards 16 11 2 0 65 6.5
Kenyan Drake 42 7 (2) 23 4 67 16.7
Justice Hill 16 4 (2) 7 0 28 2.8
  • Talks of Leonard Fournette losing significant work to Rachaad White were overblown. Fournette out-snapped him 47-15, carried nine times to White’s four, and ran 36 routes to White’s seven. Fournette had all three red zone carries, and two of those came within five yards of the end zone. Week 7’s surprise blowout loss to CAR saw a more even split, but in a close game, Brady clearly preferred to have Fournette by his side.

Broncos at Jaguars (21 – 17)

  • Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray are in a very even committee for fantasy purposes. Gordon has an edge in the pass game, while Murray has an edge in the red zone. Their average per game stats from the past two games appear below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Melvin Gordon 37 10 (1/1) 24 4 51 10.6
Latavius Murray 28 11 (2/1) 13 2.5 41 11.6
  • For the second straight week (the only two times this season), Jerry Jeudy out-targeted Courtland Sutton. Jeudy seems like a perfect fit for what the Packers are looking for at WR, and I do think DEN has made a conscious effort to feature him these past two games.
  • Rookie TE Greg Dulcich, after catching six of nine targets for 51 yards in Week 7, reeled in four of five targets in Week 8 for a career-high 87 yards. Dulcich had an average target depth of 22.8 yards in this contest, which you normally only see with players like Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Dulcich is a mid-range TE1 moving forward each week, who has the athleticism and the ability to command targets down the field.
  • Trevor Lawrence had his worst performance of the season (by far), and it negatively affected all JAX pass-catchers outside Evan Engram, who caught the lone TD. Lawrence averaged just 4.3 yards per pass attempt, when his prior season low was 6.1 yards per attempt. Christian Kirk was the target leader as usual (25% target share), but Engram was the only receiver above seven fantasy points in this contest.
  • Travis Etienne handled 24 of 28 RB carries, rushing for 156 yards and a TD. All six red zone carries (four goal line carries) went to Etienne, too. He ran 21 routes to JaMycal Hasty’s 10, and was targeted three times. Hasty received four targets, though based on the routes run, I’d expect Etienne to lead this backfield in targets moving forward. He’s a Top-10 option each week with this type of usage, coupled with his borderline generational acceleration.

Dolphins at Lions (31 – 27)

  • Tua Tagovailoa completed 81% of his passes for 382 passing yards and three TDs. His 10.6 yards per attempt was a season high, and he continues to lead the NFL in this category. Both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are going to have massive fantasy days when Tua is on point, as this is the most consolidated pass attack in the NFL. The two combined for 68% of Tua’s targets in Week 8. Both are Top-12 WRs each week, and in cake matchups like Week 8 against DET, both are Top-8 options.
Player Routes Targets Rec Yards Air Yards PPR
Tyreek Hill 32 14 12 188 222 31.5
Jaylen Waddle 34 9 8 106 89 30.6
  • Many fantasy managers are panicking about D’Andre Swift, and while Week 8 was far from ideal, I’m not particularly concerned. This was Swift’s first game back from injury, and Swift had even mentioned that his shoulder is still causing him some discomfort. Until he’s 100%, it makes sense for DET to give the most violent carries near the goal line to Jamaal Williams. Swift was the preferred receiving back throughout, and he’s still a top-12 RB rest of season, as his workload should continue to ramp up over the next couple weeks. Williams is an RB2-type, as he’s going to get 10-15 touches in most games behind an elite offensive line, on an offense that can put up a lot of points. Their Week 8 usage is presented below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ) Routes Targets (RZ) Total Yards PPR
D’Andre Swift 29 5 21 5 (2) 33 14.3
Jamaal Williams 22 10 (3/2) 12 3 76 22.6

Panthers at Falcons (34 – 37)

  • D’Onta Foreman is the perfect fantasy sell. He was in an even committee with Chuba Hubbard, prior to Hubbard’s ankle injury in Week 7. Hubbard likely returns in Week 9, and once his return date is announced, Foreman’s value will plummet. Foreman carried 26 times in Week 8, racking up 118 rushing yards, and he scored three times, thanks to nine red zone carries (three goal line). Foreman also ran 21 routes, getting targeted once. This type of usage is surely an outlier, and while I think Foreman is a fringe RB2/RB3 option when Hubbard returns, you can likely fetch more than that in trades right now.
  • With the WR room cleared out in CAR, Terrace Marshall had a breakout performance. He was an every down WR in Week 7, but only brought in two of three targets for 31 yards. In Week 8 against ATL, Marshall brought in four of nine targets for 87 yards. He had two red zone (three end zone) targets in Week 8, showcasing the mouth-watering fantasy usage that many of us (myself included) hoped he would get at the NFL level, after scoring TDs at an absurd rate in college.
  • The Falcons finally passed the ball, with Mariota attempting 28 passes in Week 8, after 14 or fewer in the prior two games. Kyle Pitts was the primary beneficiary on Sunday, with a team-leading nine targets (32% share, two end zone targets), bringing in five for 80 yards and a TD.

Cardinals at Vikings (26 – 34)

  • Kyler Murray had his best game of the season, setting season highs in passing yards (326) and yards per attempt (7.4). DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Zach Ertz all had solid fantasy days, and no other ARI pass-catcher ran more than 20 routes in this contest. Their Week 8 usage/stats are below.
Player Routes Targets (RZ/EZ) Rec Yards Air Yards PPR
DeAndre Hopkins 52 13 (1/1) 12 159 162 33.9
Rondale Moore 51 8 (1/0) 7 92 10 23.4
Zach Ertz 49 5 (2/0) 4 34 27 13.4
  • Robbie Anderson ran only six routes, fewer than Hopkins, Rondale, Ertz, A.J. Green (20), Greg Dortch (17), and Trey McBridge (10). Anderson is droppable in all formats.
  • Dalvin Cook continues to have elite usage in 2022, and despite Alexander Mattison finding the end zone in Week 8 (and frustrating many fantasy managers), Mattison is not a threat to Cook’s actual NFL workload. Their Week 8 stats below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets (RZ) Total Yards PPR
Dalvin Cook 52 20 (3/1) 23 6 141 25.1
Alexander Mattison 16 5 (1/0) 8 0 40 10

Bears at Cowboys (29 – 49)

  • Justin Fields has at least 17 fantasy points in four straight games, with at least 24 in back-to-back games. He’s firmly in Top-12 fantasy QB territory moving forward, as CHI has increased its pass volume, while still preserving Fields’ 8+ rush attempts per game.
  • We now have two games where the Bears deployed the “hot hand” approach at RB. Khalil Herbert’s workload is fast approaching David Montgomery’s, and Herbert is an every-week flex play moving forward. Their per-game averages over the past two weeks are shown below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
David Montgomery 44 15 (3.5/1) 16 1.5 69 11.3
Khalil Herbert 25 14 (1.5/0) 7 1 93 15.8
  • Tony Pollard had 14 carries for 131 yards and three TDs with Ezekiel Elliott OUT. He had three carries of at least 15 yards (including a 50-yard TD run), as well as a 16-yard reception. Pollard’s explosiveness is undeniable to everyone but the Cowboys’ coaching staff, and I’m skeptical that this performance leads to Zeke ceding significant snaps to Pollard when he returns. Pollard’s underlying usage was not great, as he only handled 14 of 22 RB carries, and ran 11 of 16 RB routes. However, DAL was up by multiple scores against CHI all game, so that likely contributed to the split. The Cowboys are one of six teams with a Week 9 bye, so it’s probable that Zeke returns in Week 10.

Raiders at Saints (0 – 24)

  • The Raiders were blanked by a Saints’ defense that had struggled all season. Foster Moreau tied for the team lead with 40 routes run, and led the team in targets with nine. He caught six of them for 31 yards. He’s a top-12 fantasy option any time Darren Waller is out, as he has a similar role, just without Waller’s elite speed.
  • Andy Dalton now has over 7.5 yards per attempt in four of five games this season. Chris Olave has done well playing with Dalton, contrary to public perception of Jameis Winston being much more fantasy friendly to wideouts. Olave is averaging 8.5 targets, five receptions, 70 receiving yards, 106 air yards, and 15 PPR points per game with Dalton in 2022.

Steelers at Eagles (13 – 35)

  • Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren is starting to turn into an Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard situation, where Warren/Pollard have been far more efficient than Najee/Zeke. Their per game averages over the past four games are shown below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Najee Harris 44 12.5 (1.5) 22 4.2 56 10.6
Jaylen Warren 24 3.8 (0.2) 16 2.5 41 6.4
  • A.J. Brown accounted for 37% of the team’s targets, 55% of the team’s receiving yardage, 60% of Jalen Hurts’ air yards, and 75% of the team’s receiving TDs against PIT. Don’t forget about DeVonta Smith, though, who is an excellent trade target. Smith has a target share of 22% or higher in six of eight games this season, including a 27% figure in Week 8.

Patriots at Jets (22 – 17)

  • I ranked Rhamondre as a top-20 fantasy option in Week 8, but I was worried about Damien Harris’ workload ramping up in his second game back from injury. Rhamondre was more efficient than Harris in all phases of the game, and even though the usage split was fairly close, Rhamondre’s pass game efficiency (caught seven of eight targets for 72 yards) was encouraging. Their Week 8 stats are presented below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Rhamondre Stevenson 46 16 (2/1) 23 8 143 21.3
Damien Harris 32 11 (1/0) 17 2 52 7.2
  • I thought NYJ would lean on the pass more in Week 8, with Breece Hall OUT for the season with an ACL tear he suffered in Week 7. However, the shift was more extreme than expected, as Zach Wilson dropped back 43 times in Week 8, while the RBs handled only 14 total carries. The RB room smells like a three-way committee moving forward, which is tough for fantasy in general — and then we factor in that the NYJ offense is below average. With Corey Davis OUT, and Elijah Moore either in the doghouse or being preserved for a trade, Tyler Conklin and Garrett Wilson cashed in. Conklin had a team-high ten targets, catching six for 79 yards and two TDs. Four of his targets were in the end zone. Wilson caught six of seven for 115 yards, pacing the team in yards in Week 8.

Titans at Texans (17 – 10)

  • Malik Willis is clearly not trusted by TEN’s coaching staff, as he only attempted ten passes in Week 8, while running just five times for 12 yards. It was an incredibly disappointing fantasy performance, and clearly indicates TEN views Ryan Tannehill as its guy for at least the remainder of the 2022 season. Tannehill likely returns in Week 9, after missing Week 8 with an ankle injury.
  • Derrick Henry was the entire offense in this contest, as he ran for 219 yards on 32 carries, scoring twice.
  • Dameon Pierce once again had elite RB usage, tasked with all 15 HOU RB carries, and running 20 routes to Rex Burkhead’s eight, receiving five targets to Burkhead’s one.

Giants at Seahawks (13 – 27)

  • Saquon Barkley had his worst yardage and fantasy output since Week 2, but he still translated his 20 carries and five targets into 15.2 PPR points. His floor and ceiling continue to be elite every week despite a lackluster NYG offense.
  • Filling in for the injured Daniel Bellinger at TE, Tanner Hudson ran a route on 79% of Daniel Jones’ dropbacks, catching three of five targets for 58 yards. He is nowhere near the athlete that Bellinger is, but Hudson should be on your radar in TE-premium leagues.
  • DK Metcalf suffered a patella tendon injury in Week 7 that usually comes with a multi-week recovery. He may be an alien, as he had a team-high ten targets in Week 8, bringing in six for 55 yards and a TD. In eight games this season, there have only been three individual occurrences (out of 16) where either Metcalf or Tyler Lockett commanded under 20% of the team’s targets. Both continue to be weekly top-24 fantasy options.

Commanders at Colts (17 – 16)

  • After Brian Robinson Jr. had dominated the touches in Week 6 and Week 7, the fantasy usage flipped in Antonio Gibson’s favor in Week 8. Gibson out-snapped Robinson 22-15, and had seven carries to Robinson’s eight. Gibson had seven targets to Robinson’s zero, and Gibson caught them all for 58 receiving yards and a score. I’m still unsure what the split will be rest of season, but right now I lean Gibson rest of season.
  • After Curtis Samuel out-targeted Terry McLaurin each of the first six games of 2022, McLaurin has out-targeted him in both of Taylor Heinicke’s starts this season. Samuel is no longer an every-week starter, as he needs the massive target volume given his low average depth of target.
  • In Sam Ehlinger’s first career start he was serviceable, throwing for 201 yards and averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. The pass volume was very low (23 attempts), and he’ll need to throw more if any IND WRs are to be highly fantasy relevant rest of season. Pittman had a 39% target share in Ehlinger’s first start, and is the only IND WR I’d feel comfortable starting in fantasy moving forward.

49ers at Rams (31 – 14)

  • I was skeptical that Christian McCaffrey to SF would boost his fantasy value, as I struggled to see how he would consistently command massive volume with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle in the fold. Deebo Samuel was OUT with a hamstring injury in Week 8, so I will not take the complete L on CMC. However, I will say that I now have roughly 75% confidence that I was wrong on the situation, given his outrageous involvement in Week 8. McCaffrey handled 18 carries and had nine targets (35% target share), while also getting the TD hat trick (passing, rushing, receiving). Jeff Wilson only had four carries and two targets in this contest.
  • Once again, the Rams’ backfield was an absolute mess for fantasy purposes, and I’ll be avoiding every option in fantasy moving forward. The three-way committee usage from Week 8 is presented below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Ronnie Rivers 21 8 (1/0) 12 4 36 7.6
Malcolm Brown 11 5 (2/2) 2 0 10 1
Darrell Henderson 24 4 13 2 30 5

Packers at Bills (17 – 27)

  • Romeo Doubs paced all GB WRs in targets (seven), receptions (four), and yards (62). No other WR had more than four targets, one catch, or 37 receiving yards. Doubs likely redeemed himself after a couple frustrating weeks with drops, as he caught an impressive TD in this contest, which had Rodgers noticeably smiling. He’s likely on waivers in your fantasy league, and is worth around 10% of your FAAB if you need WR help.
  • Devin Singletary continues to have crazy usage splits depending on the game flow. Buffalo was favored by about ten points in this contest, and won by ten. As a result, Singletary only had two targets on 20 routes, while he has at least five targets in every close game BUF has played this season.
  • Gabe Davis didn’t get it done for fantasy in Week 8, with only two catches for 35 yards. However, the usage was encouraging, as he had season-highs in targets (seven) and target share (28%). He remains a top-20 weekly option as the clear #2 pass game option in arguably the best offense in the NFL.

We hope you enjoyed reading through these fantasy takeaways from Week 8.

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