Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 8
Welp, I sure picked an awful week to fade the Packers’ passing game. Aaron Rodgers, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Jimmy Graham clearly took it personally that I labeled them as “overvalued” for Week 7, as they each delivered their best fantasy performance of the season. On a brighter note, my skepticism of Joe Mixon proved to be entirely warranted, while my sneaky flex options at RB (Mark Walton) and WR (Cole Beasley) paid off for fantasy owners who entrusted them.
As usual, my Week 8 choices for overvalued and undervalued fantasy options are based on FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) for 0.5 PPR formats. As last week demonstrated, I am hardly infallible, so let this column help inform your decisions but don’t let it dictate them. If you’re still on the fence about any particularly sticky decisions, reach out to me on Twitter @andrew_seifter, and I’ll try my best to help.
Overvalued: Carson Wentz (PHI)
My Rank: QB19
There are probably a lot of fantasy managers out there who drafted Wentz to be their every-week starter, and they aren’t even considering putting him on the bench this week. But if you’re one of those managers, I’d kindly suggest that you reconsider that stance. Wentz is merely the QB12 on the year, and he’s been especially average of late, tossing just four touchdowns over his last three games and failing to top 200 passing yards in three of his last four. Granted, those numbers came against relatively tough opponents, but this week’s matchup with Buffalo is decidedly worse. The Bills have as many interceptions (six) as touchdowns allowed to quarterbacks this season, and they are permitting opposing passers to throw for just 215 yards and 0.67 passing touchdowns per game.
Undervalued: Derek Carr (OAK)
My Rank: QB14
Truth be told, I’m a little hesitant to give a ringing endorsement of Carr, a middling QB who I will have ranked in the 20s most weeks. I’m also a lot higher than consensus on Matthew Stafford, so if he’s available, start him instead!
That said, there are several factors that I believe make Carr an appealing streaming candidate this week in deeper leagues and in two-QB/Superflex formats. Let’s start with the matchup. The Texans have given up a whopping 11 touchdowns (passing or rushing) to quarterbacks over the last three weeks. While those did come against a relative murderer’s row of Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes, and Jacoby Brissett, you’d think Carr could at least manage two touchdowns, something he’s done in three of his last four games. The game’s 51.5 over/under is the second-highest on the Week 8 slate, and with the Texans as 6.5 point favorites and Oakland running back Josh Jacobs banged up, Carr may need to throw more than usual. Plus, it’s looking increasingly likely that he will get his number one wide receiver, Tyrell Williams, back after a two-game absence due to plantar fasciitis.
Overvalued: Derrick Henry (TEN)
My Rank: RB15
Henry is a player I’ve picked on before due to his lack of involvement in the passing game, where he’s currently averaging a single catch per game. His heavy workload and nose for the end zone make it hard to justify dropping him lower than RB15 in any given week, so that’s precisely where I’ll put him this week for just about the worst possible matchup he could have.
The Buccaneers have given up the fewest rushing yards in football, have surrendered just three rushing touchdowns to running backs, and have yet to allow any RB to top 62 rushing yards. And that’s despite facing what’s likely the most impressive lineup of running backs of any team this year: Tevin Coleman/Matt Breida, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray, and McCaffrey again. Some of those backs had a little more success as pass-catchers, but that isn’t Henry’s game. You probably can’t afford to bench him in season-long leagues, but your expectations for him should be kept in check.
Undervalued: Mark Walton (MIA)
My Rank: RB32
I must really be drinking the Kool-Aid on Walton because this is the second straight week where he finds himself as my pick for undervalued running back. Walton’s snaps have steadily risen as Kalen Ballage’s snaps have plummeted, and he also surpassed Kenyan Drake to play the majority of the snaps for the first time last week. Walton’s 14 carries for 66 yards didn’t stand out, but he quietly finished as the RB32 for the week despite a rough matchup at Buffalo. So it shouldn’t seem like a major leap of faith for me to rank Walton as my RB32 this week in a somewhat more favorable matchup with the Steelers, who are in the bottom half of the league in terms of both rushing and receiving yards allowed to running backs. There’s no doubt that playing for Miami limits any player’s statistical upside, but the Dolphins looked a bit better with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center last week, and Walton can be approached as an RB3/flex with a fairly high floor this week.
Overvalued: Robby Anderson (NYJ)
My Rank: WR40
My colleagues across the fantasy industry are sticking with Anderson as a mid-range WR3 this week, but I’m out. Until proven otherwise, I see Anderson as a boom-or-bust option who is more likely to fizzle than explode. This is a player who has failed to top a meager 23 receiving yards in four of his six games this year, and while a lot of that occurred with Luke Falk under center, Sam Darnold didn’t exactly inspire confidence with his dreadful performance against New England last week. Meanwhile, Demaryius Thomas has played well enough over the last couple weeks to cast some doubt on whether Anderson will still be an every-down player in games with a normal game script. This week, Anderson travels to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars, who no longer have Jalen Ramsey but do still have A.J. Bouye. It’s not a favorable matchup for a receiver (and overall passing game) that is struggling with consistency.
Undervalued: Corey Davis (TEN)
My Rank: WR24
It’s amazing what a quarterback change can do for an offense, even when the new quarterback is Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is quite unlikely to be a long-term savior for the Titans, but he can absolutely provide some short-term juice to a passing game that was going nowhere with Marcus Mariota. And if that’s the case, Davis will be the biggest beneficiary from a fantasy perspective, as he is the team’s clear-cut number one receiver. Davis’ talent has never been in question, and the quarterback switch could be exactly what he needs to deliver on his potential. With six catches for 80 yards and a score last week, the early returns are certainly promising. Now he gets a Bucs D that completely shuts down the run but is laughably bad against the pass. Tampa has allowed 10 different receivers to produce 70+ yards through their first six games, and Davis has a great shot to be the 11th. He’s a borderline WR2 for me this week.
Overvalued: Darren Waller (OAK)
My Rank: TE6
Waller is coming off of a massive game (126 yards, two scores), but I’m not quite ready to rank him ahead of the likes of Travis Kelce, Evan Engram, and Hunter Henry. As I mentioned earlier, I do like Derek Carr to have a nice game against Houston, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of that production is going to go Waller’s direction. Tyrell Williams looks likely to return this week to compete for Carr’s attention, while backup tight end Foster Moreau is suddenly playing more snaps and has vultured two touchdowns over the last three games. The Texans have also been fairly stingy against opposing tight ends, holding Kelce, Austin Hooper, and Greg Olsen in check and allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to TEs overall. Waller is an every-week play in season-long leagues at a thin position, but he could be overvalued in DFS.
Undervalued: Hunter Henry (LAC)
My Rank: TE1
Although he’s only played three games, Henry leads all tight ends in fantasy points per game. Since he returned to the lineup in Week 6, he leads all tight ends in targets, catches, and receiving yards. With Mike Williams perennially banged up and Keenan Allen suddenly dealing with a hamstring ailment, there’s a good chance that Henry serves as the focal point of the Chargers’ passing game this weekend in Chicago. The Bears are obviously a solid defense, but they’re actually a little below average in terms of defending tight ends, so this is hardly a shy-away matchup. Henry’s emergence also coincides with the other top tight ends dealing with quarterback injuries (Travis Kelce and Austin Hooper), quarterback inconsistency (George Kittle, Evan Engram, and Darren Waller) or usage concerns (Zach Ertz). As my number one tight end this week, I am playing Henry over Kittle in one league and not looking back.