5 Interesting Tidbits for Week 8 (2019 Fantasy Football)
Injuries to high-profile players continue to rack up, especially at quarterback. The year of the backup quarterback continues, with Matt Moore starting this week in Kansas City in place of the injured Patrick Mahomes. It’s great to hear that the injury wasn’t severe or season-ending, but from a fantasy point of view, this is almost worse. Now, the Mahomes owner is planning for roughly a month without their MVP QB, which could sink the ship. When he is close to returning, there will be question marks about the specific return date. Then, there will be even more about when he first steps out on the field, especially behind that offensive line. Simply put, there are more headaches down the road.
We also saw injuries to Will Fuller and Kerryon Johnson, who are two fantasy-relevant players that will be missing extended time. Luckily, there are only two teams on bye this week, with the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys off. Still, there are a lot of fantasy starters on those two teams, so teams with bye-week players and newly injured ones could have some difficult decisions to make.
My hope with this article is to give you five interesting tidbits for Week 8 that will offer some clarity. These tidbits can be useful for projecting value, which will help with lineup construction for both season-long and daily fantasy. All ranks that are given will take half PPR scoring into account.
Todd Gurley is in line to have a get-right week against the poor Cincinnati Bengals defense.
Many were hesitant to play Gurley in his return from injury last week in fear of a managed workload. Luckily for us, this did not seem to be the case against Atlanta. While he played just 60 percent of the offensive snaps, Gurley still ran the football 18 times and ran 22 routes. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that the old Gurley is back or that he is an elite start this week. Simply, I’m just saying not to be afraid.
Gurley still did not run the football well, averaging just 2.3 yards carry against Atlanta. However, he faces a Bengals defense that gives up a league-high 5.2 yards per rush. The 22 routes run is also encouraging to see for Gurley, as he’s facing a defense that gives up the second-most receiving yards to RBs. He caught just one pass last week, but it was for a touchdown. Look for him to be a solid contributor this week against the worst run defense that also has given up nine rushing touchdowns.
Will the Detroit Lions make a move to sign a more experienced running back? Probably, but they are running out of time to do so for Week 8, so let’s take advantage of that fact. Kerryon Johnson went out after just 11 plays last game. J.D. McKissic did not see any increase in snaps since the small, change-of-pace running back isn’t going to shoulder a big load. Instead, it’s Ty Johnson who slides into the lead spot.
Ty Johnson did a little of everything in his 49 snaps (65.3 percent) last week. He ran the football 11 times and ran 33 routes, seeing as the Lions were playing from behind. This shows that Detroit views him as an every-down type of player, and now he faces a Giants defense that gave up 150 yards and three touchdowns to Chase Edmonds last week. Ty Johnson has immediate RB2 value for this week, and even if he is chalk in DFS, you may just have to roll with it.
There is a lot that points to another solid week of production from the top tight end in fantasy. To start, let’s just assume Ryan plays. The Falcons face the Seattle Seahawks, who give up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Ryan clearly loves passing to Hooper, and that is a matchup Atlanta will be able to exploit. On top of that, the Falcons just traded Mohamed Sanu out of town, which frees up six targets per game.
If Ryan is unable to go, the veteran Matt Schaub will start. It’s been a while since Schaub has seen significant time, but let’s take a trip back to 2012, which was the last full season he was the starter in Houston. His second-favorite receiver was Owen Daniels, a big-bodied tight end who is very similar to Hooper. He ended up finishing with over 100 targets and totaled 716 yards and six touchdowns. I tell you this to prove that Schaub is not only okay with throwing to his tight ends; he specifically looks for them.
Kenny Golladay is in for a big day against the New York Giants.
At this point, we all know that the Giants secondary is no good. They have given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, which would be a lot higher if their offense kept them in games. The Giants’ defense has given up 30 plays of over 20-plus yards through the air (second-most) and seven plays of 40-plus yards (tied for third-most). Golladay is the deep threat for this Detroit offense, and he will be used often on Sunday, especially after a quiet performance in Week 7.
Golladay has been targeted past 20 yards 15 times this season. Lining up on the left side over half of the time, he will be facing Deandre Baker, who isn’t very good, for most of the day. Golladay has a five-inch, 33-pound advantage over Baker. He has the biggest wide receiver advantage of the week, of 34 percent, according to PFF. Baker has given up a 72.7 catch percentage, 17 yards per catch and three touchdowns this season, and quarterbacks have a 144.6 QB rating when targeting him. Start Golladay.
DeAndre Hopkins is going to see a monster target share against the Oakland Raiders.
I’m not sure if you heard, but Aaron Rodgers passed for five touchdowns against this secondary last week. Now, they face Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. Last week, Will Fuller suffered an injury that will cause him to miss time. This will only lead to more targets for Hopkins against this bad defense. Last season, Hopkins saw a 29 percent target share with Fuller in the lineup, which is the same as this season (second in NFL). With Fuller out, Hopkins’ target share rose to 33 percent. Play him everywhere against the defense that gives up the second-most fantasy points to WRs.
This increase of opportunity available should also help Kenny Stills, who can be the new deep threat for Houston. He saw five targets last week that resulted in over 100 yards, which included a 45-yard catch. Oakland is giving up 5.3 catches of over 20 yards per game, which is the most in the NFL.
Zach Brunner is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Zach, follow him @fantasyflurry.