Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 8 (2020)
Watching the injury report like a hawk has always been a big part of fantasy football, but this year it’s gone to another level.
This uncertainty makes it very difficult to get a sense of waiver priorities by Tuesday night, which is when many leagues process waiver moves. Last week, we saw Jamaal Williams, Gio Bernard, and Boston Scott all go from lightly-rostered backups to top-10 fantasy running backs, and at least with Williams and Bernard, it wasn’t clear they would start until very late in the week.
This week, the forecast is once again particularly cloudy at running back, where no less than nine teams (Green Bay, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, Baltimore, San Francisco, and the Giants) have at least one key running back dealing with an injury heading into Week 8. The Panthers would have also made the list, but thankfully, we got clarity on Christian McCaffrey’s status early because that game was played on Thursday night.
As fantasy managers, we should strive to be as proactive with these situations as possible, but we have to work within roster limitations. Unless you’re in must-win territory, you probably don’t want to drop a player who can help you for the rest of the season to pick up a guy who has a 50-50 shot of being a one-week, plug-and-play RB2. That’s why I am a firm believer in dropping your kicker and using the extra roster spot to stash a backup RB while we wait for updates on injured starters.
Week 7 sadly ended my streak of back-to-back top-10 accuracy finishes, but it was still another good one for my overvalued/undervalued picks. My hits included urging caution on Ben Roethlisberger, Allen Robinson, and Dalton Schultz; I also hyped up Teddy Bridgewater and Melvin Gordon. Jared Cook ended up in between my ranking and the expert consensus. My biggest miss was Robby Anderson, who had a fine day (six catches for 74 yards) but didn’t break his touchdown-less streak as I was hoping he would. I also underrated D’Andre Swift in this space, but I amended that ranking before kickoff when it was reported that he would have an expanded role.
As is the case each week, my Week 8 picks come against FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for 0.5 PPR formats. If you have a lineup question for me or just want to debate my rankings, give me a shout on Twitter @andrew_seifter. And make sure to check out my fantasy sports show MFSN’s The Hub on YouTube. We break down the waiver wire every Tuesday, and our Saturday show features weekly player picks and deep-dive strategies like the kicker maneuver I was talking about above.
Overvalued: Kirk Cousins (MIN)
My Rank: QB22
It’s tough to call a quarterback “overvalued” when he’s merely ranked as the QB19, but if you play in a 2QB/superflex league, I’d try to use somebody other than Cousins as your QB2 this week. Nobody will mistake Cousins for an elite option at the position, but I do get the sense that he may be somewhat overrated due to the quality of his top-two receivers, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. The reality is that while Thielen and Jefferson are both putting up WR1 numbers, Cousins is way down at 25th among QBs in fantasy points per game. That kind of discrepancy can happen when a team funnels the vast majority of its passing game production through just two players, especially when the signal-caller in question offers nothing as a rusher and is tied for the league lead in interceptions. Cousins can still be a viable streamer in the right matchup — he was a good one just two weeks ago — but I want nothing to do with him against a Green Bay defense that ranks in the top-10 against the pass.
Undervalued: Derek Carr (LV)
My Rank: QB10
I’m not sure what else Carr needs to do to get fantasy analysts to view him as a viable starter in 10- and 12-team leagues. All he’s done to date is rank eighth in the league in passing yards per game (287.7) and touchdowns per game (2.17) while throwing interceptions at a lower rate than every signal-caller not named Patrick Mahomes. It’s translated to Carr being the QB14 in fantasy points per game despite facing above-average pass defenses in five of his first six games (Carolina, New England, Buffalo, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay) with a receiving corps decimated by injuries. This week, Carr has a much more favorable matchup with a Browns defense that has given up the third-most passing yards per game. Clearly displaying a mastery of Jon Gruden’s offense this season, Carr is a worthy QB1 this week.
Overvalued: Ronald Jones (TB)
My Rank: RB23
We’ve seen what RoJo can do with 20-25 touches in the Bucs’ star-studded offense, and to quote Borat, “it’s very nice.” The problem is Jones only had 14 touches last week, which wasn’t so nice. Leonard Fournette returned from a three-game absence to lead the backfield in snaps and scrimmage yards by a healthy margin. Head coach Bruce Arians maintains that Fournette’s edge in snaps is largely due to his role as the preferred back in “hurry-up” situations, but Fournette was used heavily from the get-go in a game the Bucs won comfortably. As I learned the hard way when Arians suggested Mike Evans would see 10-plus targets most weeks, trusting the Bucs’ coach on playing time/usage is no more fruitful than trusting Pete Carroll on injury optimism.
Simply put, there is plenty of reason to doubt that Jones will be the workhorse he was when Fournette was out, and I can’t rank him as a top-15 back when he could easily end up on the short side of a committee once again. Plus, while his matchup with the Giants might seem favorable at first glance, New York has actually allowed the eighth-fewest rushing yards per game (105.0) and fifth-lowest yards per carry (3.7).
Undervalued: Zack Moss (BUF)
My Rank: RB24
After missing three weeks with a toe injury, Moss was eased into action in Week 6, but he fought his way back into a near-even timeshare with Devin Singletary in Week 7. Moss was the more productive player, as he turned 10 touches into 72 yards while Singletary gained just 47 yards on his 10 touches. Given the Bills’ overall offensive struggles last week against the Jets, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the backfield further shift in the third-round rookie’s direction. Moss is a capable pass-catcher and was the team’s clear goal-line back to begin the season, so even a 60-40 split in his favor could be enough to put him on the RB2 radar in what should continue to be an above-average offense.
This week, he should see plenty of opportunities with the Bills home favorites against a struggling Patriots defense that has been gashed for over 100 rushing yards by Phillip Lindsay and Jeff Wilson Jr. over the last two games.
Overvalued: DeVante Parker (MIA)
My Rank: WR36
Everything seemed to go right for Parker in 2019 in his exceedingly rare fifth-year breakout. But Parker has come back down to Earth this year as he’s battled through ankle and groin injuries. It’s unclear if he’s fully healthy even after the Dolphins’ Week 7 bye, and there are other reasons to be wary of Parker, too.
First and foremost, the quarterback who fueled Parker’s 2019 breakthrough, Ryan Fitzpatrick, will now be holding a clipboard on the sideline. The sky is the limit for Tua Tagovailoa in the long run, but this will be his first career start, and we have no idea what kind of chemistry he’ll have with Parker. Then there’s the matchup, which comes against the Rams and shut-down corner Jalen Ramsey, who allow the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Parker enters Week 8 as the WR36 in fantasy points per game, and given the added challenges he’ll face, it almost feels generous to rank him as the WR36 for this week.
Undervalued: Jalen Reagor (PHI)
My Rank: WR38
I’m sure Reagor’s ECR will continue to rise now that it’s confirmed that he will return to action this week, but regardless, the rookie merits attention as the kind of viable WR3/flex option that you can pluck off the waiver wire and insert directly into your fantasy lineup to get through the bye weeks. We haven’t had the chance to see much from the speedy first-round pick out of TCU, but he did post 96 receiving yards through the first two weeks before suffering a thumb injury that required surgery. Now healthy, Reagor walks into a lot of opportunity and a plus matchup against a Cowboys defense that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
After a rough start to the season, Carson Wentz has been playing very well of late, tossing multiple touchdowns in three straight games and coming off his first 300-yards passing day of the year. Travis Fulgham has become the top receiver in Philly, but you should look for Reagor to now play the DeSean Jackson role in the offense.
Overvalued: Hunter Henry (LAC)
My Rank: TE12
Justin Herbert has been nothing short of a revelation since becoming the Chargers’ starting quarterback, but it hasn’t resulted in a big production boost for his number one tight end. Quite the opposite, actually. While Herbert has averaged 308.4 passing yards and thrown 12 touchdowns over his five starts, Henry has averaged just 43.6 yards per game and caught only one of those touchdowns. He hasn’t even topped 39 yards since Week 3.
Henry is continuing to see a decent number of targets, so perhaps a turnaround is coming soon. But I’m not so sure it happens this week against a Broncos defense that has held Jonnu Smith, Eric Ebron, Rob Gronkowski, and Travis Kelce each below 50 yards and hasn’t permitted a touchdown to a tight end since Week 1.
Undervalued: Irv Smith (MIN)
My Rank: TE15
I know, I just got finished trashing Kirk Cousins, but that won’t stop me from remaining an Irv Smith truther. Even with Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson hogging more than half of Cousins’ targets, there is still enough to go around for the athletic second-year tight end out of Alabama.
Smith hauled in eight catches for 119 yards over the two games leading into Minnesota’s bye week, including several very tough grabs in traffic over the middle of the field. Second-string wideouts Bisi Johnson and Chad Beebe have combined for only 18 targets all season, and Kyle Rudolph is also just a role player at this stage of his career, which is allowing Smith to emerge as the third weapon in this passing game. Green Bay is not an easy matchup, but the Packers have given up solid numbers to Rob Gronkowski (5-78-1), Hayden Hurst (4-51), and T.J. Hockenson (4-62). If you’re scrambling for a tight end — a common occurrence these days — you could do worse than betting on Smith’s upside.
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