Players to Cut: Week 8 (2020 Fantasy Football)
Injuries continue to define the 2020 NFL season, as several big fantasy assets went down. The Cleveland Browns were able to win their fifth game, but it came at the cost of losing Odell Beckham Jr. for the season. His injury was the most serious to a player that is rostered in almost every league. Fantasy owners are going to be scrambling to fill the void left by his injury on the waiver wire.
Several running backs suffered injuries that could keep them out for multiple weeks. The San Francisco 49ers looked like they had found something with Jeff Wilson Jr. and his three rushing touchdowns on Sunday, but he will now likely miss multiple games with a high ankle sprain. Kenyan Drake was coming off his best game of the season in Week 6, but he hurt his ankle in Week 7. He is probably not going to be available for multiple weeks, even with the Cardinals on bye in Week 8. The Denver Broncos were just starting to have some of their key offensive players return to health when Phillip Lindsay suffered a concussion. He could miss at least one game, depending on his ability to clear concussion protocol. They have not been able to field that entire offense this season due to a rash of injuries to skill position players.
At quarterback, the Dallas Cowboys offense was a major disappointment with backup Andy Dalton under center, and he suffered a nasty concussion in Week 7 on a cheap shot by Jon Bostic. Ben DiNucci was forced to finish that game, and he may be making starts going forward until Dalton can clear the concussion protocol. That is going to affect everyone on the offense, especially Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. It will also allow teams to stack the box more against Ezekiel Elliott. He was not unable to do anything on Sunday, with 12 rushing attempts for 45 yards.
That means that many fantasy owners may be looking to acquire players more this week than cut players. There are four teams on bye, and with that many injuries, releasing players may not be the best way to improve your roster. For fantasy managers looking to shred some dead fantasy weight, here are some options for Week 8.
Cam Newton (QB – NE)
If the head coach has to clarify whether a player is still the starter, that usually means things are not going well. The Patriots have lost three straight games and have scored just 28 points in them. Newton was not starting for one of those games, which is probably what is keeping him in the lineup for another week. There is not a better option between Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, as we saw them both struggle against Kansas City in Week 4.
That said, Newton has thrown for 162, 157, and 97 yards in his last three starts. He has only one touchdown and six interceptions in those three appearances. He salvaged his fantasy day with 10 rushing attempts for 76 yards and one touchdown against Denver. In the Las Vegas and San Francisco games, he failed to top 30 yards rushing or score a touchdown.
It doesn’t make sense to hold onto Newton in his current state. Unfortunately, he contracted COVID-19, and it threw their schedule into a state of flux, but he is not the same player he was the first two weeks of the season, and his floor is so low that it is hard to justify streaming him. He has road games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets before coming home to face the Baltimore Ravens. Other than the Jets, there is nothing there that screams you need to stream him. The way he is playing, I would have a hard time streaming him against the Jets. Fantasy managers need to look for safer options at this point.
Cam Newton’s Last Three Games
|Las Vegas Raiders||17||28||162||1||1||73.8||27||0||12.18|
|San Francisco 49ers||9||15||98||0||3||39.7||19||0||2.822|
Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – SF)
When I look at whether I should stream a quarterback, one of the things I look for is a consistent floor. Everyone wants a big game from a streamer, but the more important thing is to guarantee 15-20 fantasy points and hope the other team’s player does not go off that week. Garoppolo doesn’t have that safe floor, as he has been all over the map. In Week 5 against the Dolphins, he tallied 1.08 fantasy points. In Week 6, he exploded against the Los Angeles Rams with 23.52 fantasy points. In Week 7, he plummeted to 9.48 fantasy points.
There is no rhyme or reason to which opponent he will play well against and which one he will crash and burn against. Since I can’t hit him up on game day and ask how he’s doing, I think it’s just best to leave him on the waiver wire. His low games are abysmal performances that make it almost impossible to trust him in fantasy. He is a streamer that can give you a monster game as easily as he can sink your week, and the poor performances seem to come more frequently than the great games.
Mark Ingram II (RB – BAL)
Last week, people finally started to take out their frustrations on Ingram. His rostership plummeted by 17 percent during the bye week in Yahoo leagues and 15.6 percent on ESPN leagues. Now he comes back to face the Pittsburgh Steelers at home and the Indianapolis Colts on the road the next two weeks. The Steelers are second against fantasy backs, and the Colts are fourth. Ingram is hard to figure out at this point. He has a mid to high ankle sprain the Ravens are hoping he can play through. When he was healthy, his season-high was 11 carries in a game, and he has scored only two touchdowns in six games.
The Ravens are on pace to have 482.6 rushing attempts split between four players. Jackson and Ingram are on pace for 133 carries each, Gus Edwards is on pace for 128 carries, and J.K. Dobbins is on pace for 62 carries. It is one of the most absurd timeshares I have ever seen, and considering the ankle injury and the matchups going forward, I am not sure it makes sense for fantasy owners to continue to invest in the Ravens backfield. Ingram seems to have the least upside of any of their running backs given his ankle injury.
Damien Harris (RB – NE)
I am kind of in a purge mode when it comes to the New England offense this week. Fantasy owners will have to decide what is right for them. In deeper leagues, Harris seeing 10 carries maybe enough to tolerate the poor production to see if New England turns their offense around. Harris has not built on his 17 carries for 100 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. He had six carries for 19 yards the week after, and he followed that game up with 10 carries for 58 yards. He has not found the end zone in three games.
He is not much different than Mark Ingram at this point. He feels like a back that will see about 10 carries per game for between 30 to 50 yards rushing. You are hoping he can find the end zone to salvage the fantasy day at that point. The only difference is that Ingram’s team usually finds the end zone with someone else, while the Patriots just don’t find the end zone at all. Either way, it is very underwhelming fantasy production, and Harris is not doing enough to keep Sony Michel on the pine when he returns. That is further going to dilute the carries and make it harder to justify rostering Harris.
Cam Akers (RB – LAR)
Akers played only a few snaps on Monday Night Football, and he did not log a carry for a second straight week (his one attempt was negated by penalty). Darrell Henderson led the way with 17 touches, and Malcolm Brown was second with 10. I had thought that after Akers had nine rushes for 61 yards against Washington, Brown would be the back to get phased out. Instead, Akers has not seen a carry in the two games since then. It is a little puzzling why he isn’t getting used, but bench spots are extremely valuable in bye weeks, and you cannot play Akers if you cannot rely on him to log a carry, much less score a fantasy point. Fantasy managers who want to stash him and hope for a breakout later in the year may be rewarded, but fantasy managers desperate for wins and bye week replacements cannot waste the investment on a player not seeing carries at this point.
Julian Edelman (WR – NE)
I wrote about Edelman last week, and he responded with three targets, one reception, and 13 yards receiving. We are now talking about a player with no touchdowns and no 40-yard receiving games in the last four weeks. Cam Newton is not long for the starting job if he keeps playing as he did on Sunday, and Jarrett Stidham doesn’t look ready for prime time either. It’s a good idea to purge Edelman from fantasy rosters.
Michael Gallup (WR – DAL)
The Dallas offense is a dumpster fire right now. Dak Prescott was lost for the year with an ankle injury, and Andy Dalton has been largely ineffective. Dalton suffered a brutal hit on Sunday and was concussed. It is conceivable that he misses a game or two and that Ben DiNucci will end up starting. It’s also possible that the Cowboys trade for a veteran quarterback.
Regardless, Gallup has not been setting the world on fire. Aside from a Week 3 shootout with Seattle, he has failed to top 75-yards receiving or tally a touchdown in any other game. He has eight targets, two receptions, 23 yards receiving, and no touchdowns over the last two games. Prescott being injured changes the dynamics of this offense. It does not look like an offense that can support more than one fantasy wide receiver most weeks, much less three receivers. Gallup does not appear worth holding onto based on the last two weeks and the trajectory of the Cowboys offense.
Mike Williams (WR – LAC)
I had hoped that Williams’ breakout against the New Orleans Saints, in which he earned eight targets, five receptions, 129 yards, and two touchdowns, would be the start of him turning around his season. But the bye week did nothing to keep him involved in the offense, and he reverted to three targets, one reception, and four yards in a 39-29 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Williams has played four games with Justin Herbert. That is not a huge sample, but that is enough of a body of work to make some snap judgments. Other than that one outlier against the Saints, Williams has eight targets, four receptions, 35 yards, and no touchdowns in the other three games.
There is such a thing as the boom/bust WR3, but Williams is taking that to new heights. It is really hard to play a player that can either score 30 fantasy points or three fantasy points. The ceiling is undeniable, and some fantasy managers will want to chase that. Others are not going to tolerate a three-point floor 75 percent of the time. Fantasy managers will need to decide if Williams is right for them. Personally, I want nothing to do with a player that is unusable 75 percent of the time.
Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL)
Schultz has 12 targets, seven receptions, 63 yards, and no touchdowns in his last three games. It is really hard to stream a tight end in a Dallas offense that has scored 13 points in its last two games. Schultz has little chance to find the end zone, and he does not produce enough yards to be a streamer with little touchdown appeal. I would look for other options in the streaming tight end department.
Greg Olsen (TE – SEA)
There are not a lot of tight ends to write about this week, as Olsen is rostered in only 19 percent of Yahoo leagues and 24.7 percent of ESPN leagues. I think the temptation can be there to play Olsen when he is paired with a quarterback like Russell Wilson, who is having a historic season. Keep in mind that Olsen has four targets, three receptions, and 38 yards in his last two games. He had a brief stint where he flirted with fantasy viability when he had 13 targets, 10 receptions, and 96 yards in Week 3 and Week 4, but he has crashed since those two games. I would not keep hoping that Olsen finds his Carolina form in Seattle.
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