Fantasy Football Weekly Recap: Week 8
We had our first major dose of winter weather in Week 8, and it may have thrown some fantasy matchups for a loop. I hope that you weren’t expecting lots of points from any pass-catchers on the Raiders or Browns!
For as long as we’ve got a season, I’ll be here on Sundays to give you some instant stat-based insight into NFL offenses. I try to focus on the numbers, but I’ll also break down some of the significant injuries of the day as well.
As always, check back on Monday morning for my take on the afternoon games and Sunday Night Football!
Story #1: Dalvin Cook scored four touchdowns.
Cook returned from injury in a huge way this Sunday. He powered the Minnesota Vikings to a win over their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, by scoring all four of the team’s touchdowns. Three of them came on running plays, while the last one came on a 50-yard screen.
DALVIN COOK HAS 4 TDS TODAY 🤯
HE IS SPECIAL.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 1, 2020
You didn’t need me to tell you this, but Cook is a high-end RB1 for the rest of the season. With guys like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott lost to injuries (in Zeke’s case, injuries to the players around him), Cook is looking increasingly like a league-winner.
Fantasy managers have to be encouraged by the fact that in his worst performance this year, Cook still scored 15-plus points in half PPR. There’s always a risk that Cook gets hurt again, of course, so make sure to roster Alexander Mattison as insurance.
Story #2: Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdowns.
I don’t usually feature quarterbacks this high up, but Mahomes was spectacular against the New York Jets. Four of his receiving weapons — Tyreek Hill (2), Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, and Travis Kelce all scored in the 35-9 rout of the New York Jets.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 1, 2020
For some perspective, the New York Jets have four passing touchdowns on the season.
Mahomes’ strong showing, like Cook’s, should come as no surprise. Mahomes is an unquestionable QB1 every week, but the upshot of his strong performance this week is that we now know Andy Reid will keep passing deep into games while up multiple scores. That adds to the floor of his weapons, as I’ve frequently been concerned about them letting fantasy managers down due to getting pulled from blowouts.
Stories #3-6: Injuries.
Football is a violent game, and unfortunately, that means we’ll lose players to injury each week. This week was particularly violent; Cameron Dantzler and Adam Humphries both suffered nasty head/neck injuries that remind us how dangerous this sport can be. Aside from Humphries, a few other fantasy-relevant players went down: Darrell Henderson, T.Y. Hilton, and Kenny Golladay all exited their Week 8 matchups.
#3: Humphries suffered a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit late right before halftime, and he did not return to the game. Head coach Mike Vrabel said Humphries was “up and moving around” after the game was over, but he will likely need to clear the league’s concussion protocol before he can suit up again.
Humphries’ absence means more targets for both Corey Davis and A.J. Brown. The two receivers combined for 17 targets (55%) this week, and no other receiver was targeted more than three times. Brown has looked like a low-end WR1 each week, while Davis has played like a consistent WR2. It’ll be even easier for them to maintain that pace if Hump has to miss time.
#4: Henderson suffered a thigh injury on Sunday and was ruled questionable to return, although he did not come back to the ugly loss. Before exiting, Henderson had racked up 47 rushing yards and 11 receiving yards.
With Henderson sidelined, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers saw expanded roles. Brown carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards but did not see a target, while Akers logged nine carries for 35 yards and caught a 19-yard pass.
The Rams have a bye next week, so Henderson will have plenty of time to recover. If he were forced to miss time, Brown and Akers would make great priority waiver pickups for the Rams’ Week 10 tilt with the Seahawks, but we’ll need to wait for more information to come out about Henderson’s injury before we can properly calculate their value.
#5: Hilton went down against the Lions and was quickly ruled out with a groin injury. He had caught both of his targets for nine yards before his exit.
Hilton hasn’t done much for the Colts this season, so his injury isn’t a huge story. In his absence, Zach Pascal led the team in targets with six; Marcus Johnson, Mo Alie-Cox, and Trey Burton all tied for second with four. Rookie Michael Pittman was only targeted once.
Moving forward, if Hilton were forced to miss time, Pascal would be the highest-floor weapon in this offense, although that’s not saying much. Pittman could end up seeing more targets as he gets healthier, and he’s worth holding onto as a stash, but this is not an offense to target in fantasy.
#6: Golladay suffered a hip injury against the Colts and did not return. He caught none of his four targets before departing.
If Golladay were forced to miss time, Amendola proved serviceable without him around earlier in the year; he averaged 6.85 points per game through that stretch. Only Marvin Jones averaged more points (8.9), but he’s likely already rostered in your league. Hall would be an interesting boom-or-bust deep threat behind them both; entering Week 8, his average depth of target (aDOT) ranked second-longest in the league.
Story #7: The Raiders and Browns played through some rough weather.
We knew that the forecast for this week’s game wasn’t good, but some teams had to play in worse conditions than others. A wintry mix and gusty winds forced the Raiders and Browns to keep the ball on the ground.
🥶 FOOTBALL WEATHER IN CLEVELAND 🥶
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 1, 2020
The Raiders attempted 45 rushing plays, and Josh Jacobs got 31 total carries. Derek Carr and Devontae Booker logged at least five rushes as well. The Browns only attempted 22 rushing plays, but they only had the ball for 22 minutes, and they were forced to pass when trailing against the Raiders late.
As we head into the winter months, it will become increasingly important to keep an eye on the weather. You don’t want to start a quarterback, wide receiver, or kicker in a blizzard, but you’ll want to target running backs who find themselves in those conditions.
Story #8: J.K. Dobbins led the Ravens backfield without Mark Ingram.
Both Dobbins and Gus Edwards saw plenty of opportunities against the Steelers, but Dobbins led the way. He was often on the field on passing downs, and while Edwards out-carried him (16-15), he was the only running back to catch a pass.
#Ravens Week 8 RB Usage (no Mark Ingram)
– J.K. Dobbins, 66% snaps, 15 carries, 2 targets (121 yards)
– Gus Edwards, 33% snaps, 16 carries, 1 target (87 yds, TD)
Edwards finished with 14.7 fantasy points, Dobbins with 13.1
— Michael F. Florio (@MichaelFFlorio) November 1, 2020
Edwards was less efficient in getting yards per carry, but unlike Dobbins, he found the end zone. And with the news that Mark Ingram’s ankle sprain is more severe than initially thought, this workload split may have tangible fantasy consequences next week.
The Ravens will play the Colts in Week 9, and they won’t have star left tackle Ronnie Stanley to help them block. That said, Baltimore’s banged-up offensive line played well enough for both Edwards and Dobbins to pop off against a tough Pittsburgh defense, so that may not be the end of the world. Both Dobbins and Edwards look like low-end RB2s/flex options in the matchup if Ingram gets held out again.
Story #9: Jonathan Taylor totaled 31 yards on 13 touches.
Yikes. Not only did Taylor play poorly, but he was also out-touched by Jordan Wilkins, who got 20 carries and one catch. Wilkins’ advantage was clear in the final snap counts, too:
#Colts Running Back Snap Counts
Jordan Wilkins – 38 (51%)
Jonathan Taylor – 25 (33%)
Nyheim Hines – 16 (21%)
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 1, 2020
To be fair, the Colts were up big and could afford to run the clock out late in the game, so I wouldn’t read too much into Wilkins’ success. Taylor isn’t going to get benched behind a fifth-rounder from 2018. There’s a chance Wilkins may see an expanded committee role, but that would limit Taylor’s value more than it would boost Wilkins’.
The bigger story, one that doesn’t require speculation, is that Taylor has struggled in the red zone — and the Colts have looked elsewhere for touchdowns.
Brutal day for Jonathan Taylor managers 😅
Jordan Wilkins: 1 rush TD
Nyheim Hines: 2 rec TDs
Trey Burton: 1 rush TD
Jonathan Taylor: 0 TDs pic.twitter.com/uFp6ALH2IJ
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) November 1, 2020
So while I’m not rushing to add Wilkins on waivers, I’m also not excited about Taylor’s rest-of-season outlook. When a team’s tight end has one fewer rushing touchdown than their starting running back despite having played in three fewer games, they might not trust him near the goal line.
Story #10: Zack Moss scored two touchdowns.
Since returning to the lineup, the rookie’s workload has steadily increased. This week, he repaid patient fantasy managers with a pair of scores, and he led the team in snaps played.
Bills final HB snap count
Zack Moss 31
Devin Singletary 28
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) November 1, 2020
The two-score performance didn’t mean Devin Singletary disappeared. Singletary out-gained Moss 86-81 on the ground, and he caught a six-yard pass; Moss failed to haul in his lone target. That said, Moss is clearly the favored back in the red zone, and he’s the better back to roster moving forward.
Singletary will continue to have low-end RB2/high-end RB3 value alongside Moss, but he lacks much upside.
Story #11: Jared Goff and the Rams imploded.
Yikes. The Rams lost an ugly one to Miami, and most of the blame falls on Goff. He threw two interceptions and fumbled twice; linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel picked up and returned one of those for a touchdown.
.@AndrewVanGinkel WENT ALL THE WAY 😳
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 1, 2020
After going down 28-7, Goff brought the Rams back to an 11-point deficit before the game ended. He completed 57% of his 61 passing attempts, although his late-game completions significantly boosted that number. He completed just 47% of his passes in the first half.
I hope that you aren’t starting Goff in 1QB leagues anymore. I wrote back in Week 1 that he was someone to fade, and he doesn’t have enough floor to be a reliable QB1 — his 16.9 median points per game ranks below streamers like Gardner Minshew (19.84) and Teddy Bridgewater (19.16).
Story #12: Tua Tagovailoa didn’t have to do much in his debut.
Goff pretty much handed this win to the Dolphins, so Tagovailoa only had to attempt 22 passes. He completed 12 of them for 93 yards and a score, which isn’t much to write home about. He turned the ball over once, too, but that’s forgivable since it came against Aaron Donald.
Aaron Donald welcomes Tua to the NFL 😤
AD forces a fumble
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 1, 2020
So we still don’t know much about Tagovailoa at the NFL level. Despite his unremarkable Week 8 performance, Tagovailoa is worth holding onto — he has a pair of fantastic matchups in Weeks 10 (Chargers) and 11 (Broncos), and we’ll get a much better assessment of him then.
Story #13: DeeJay Dallas and D.K. Metcalf scored two touchdowns apiece.
The Seattle Seahawks had to play without starting running back Chris Carson (and backup Carlos Hyde), so Dallas got the start. The fourth-round rookie looked good — he touched the ball 23 times, put up 59 yards, and scored twice — once on a carry, once on a run.
That said, Metcalf’s stat line makes Dallas’ look pedestrian. A week after disappearing against the Cardinals, Metcalf caught 12-of-15 targets for 161 yards and two scores.
DK METCALF IS TOO FAST FOR THE 49ERS 💨
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 1, 2020
If Dallas can assert himself and claim a role in this offense once Carson returns, he could be a solid contributor. The odds of that aren’t very high, though, especially if Rashaad Penny returns soon.
Stories #14-16: Injuries II
A few more players went down after the 1:00 games, although the only fantasy-relevant ones play on the San Francisco 49ers. The team lost Jimmy Garoppolo, Tevin Coleman, and George Kittle to the injury bug.
#14: Garoppolo left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. He re-injured the same ankle that caused him to miss time earlier in the year. Garoppolo wasn’t having a good day before his departure, as he had completed 11-of-16 passes for 84 yards and no scores. He had also thrown an interception.
Nick Mullens looked serviceable in his stead, and the backup threw 238 garbage-time yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers will play the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football, so Garoppolo won’t have much time to get healthy. I would expect another Mullens start in Week 9, and he’s played like a very low-end QB2 in his two starts thus far.
#15: Coleman returned from injury this week only to aggravate the same knee that had sent him to injured reserve. The running back left in the first half, and he tallied 20 yards on three carries before his premature departure.
I strongly doubt that we’ll see Coleman in Week 9. Without him, the 49ers turned mostly to JaMycal Hasty, who touched the ball 13 times and posted 31 yards and a score. It’s still unclear what’s going on with Jerick McKinnon, but he got seven touches for 39 yards and a score — his best result since Week 4. Hasty looks like a low-end RB2/flex option for Week 9’s game against the Packers, although I’d wait to hear what Shanahan has to say about Coleman and McKinnon.
#16: Kittle departed late in the game, but he had only caught two-of-four targets for 39 yards before his exit. That’s not an ideal showing from the top-two tight end.
We already know that Kittle’s X-rays came back negative, but he’ll get an MRI on Monday, and that will dictate his fantasy value moving forward. The good news is that backup Jordan Reed is ready to return from injured reserve, and he’ll be a low-end TE1 if Kittle can’t play.
Story #17: Justin Jackson led the Chargers in rushing.
In another week without Austin Ekeler, Jackson finished with the most fantasy points in this backfield. He carried the ball 17 times for 89 yards, and he added 53 receiving yards on three catches.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) November 1, 2020
Joshua Kelley, Jackson’s primary competition for touches, pretty much disappeared. He carried the ball seven times for 32 yards, and he caught one pass for a loss of seven. Veteran depth option Troymaine Pope got more mileage than Kelley, too — he logged 10 carries for 67 yards and caught five passes for 28 more.
A week and a half ago, head coach Anthony Lynn said that Austin Ekeler would “be back later than sooner.” Until the talented back can return, Jackson will have the most upside in this offense, and Kelley is starting to look droppable.
Story #18: Darnell Mooney finally caught a deep pass from Nick Foles.
Chicago’s longest completion of the season!
50-yard 🚀 to Darnell Mooney
— PFF (@PFF) November 1, 2020
Mooney finished the day with five catches for 69 yards and a score. The fifth-round rookie ran a 96th-percentile 40-yard dash, so it’s not surprising to see him succeeding as a deep threat in this offense.
While the Bears don’t chuck it deep frequently enough for Mooney to be a consistent fantasy starter, he’s worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues, and he’s not the worst touchdown-or-bust dart throw in DFS.
Story #19: Drew Lock threw three touchdowns, but none went to Noah Fant or Jerry Jeudy.
The Broncos were in a smash spot matchup, so this must be frustrating for Jeudy and Fant managers. Backup tight end Albert Okwuegbunam scored on his lone target, while DaeSean Hamilton and K.J. Hamler were responsible for the other two scores.
Despite the scoring weirdness, Jeudy and Fant were clearly the preferred receiving options. Jeudy drew 10 targets, 26% of the team’s total, while Fant got nine (23.5%). Tim Patrick’s absence likely drove up their volume, but it’s nice to see that Lock does favor the more fantasy-relevant options on this roster.
For the record, Hamilton is not worth a waiver request — he only got five targets because Patrick was out. Hamler, the second-round rookie out of Penn State, hasn’t seen enough of a role to be worth adding yet, either.
Story #20: Michael Gallup led the Dallas Cowboys in receiving.
I don’t know if anyone saw this one coming. Gallup had been the forgotten man in this offense, but then Ben DiNucci took over, and the rookie seventh-rounder made Gallup look fantasy-relevant again. He ended the game with 12 targets, seven receptions, and 61 receiving yards — and he led the team in all of those categories.
This offense is a headache. I would avoid starting any Dallas receivers over the next two weeks — they have Pittsburgh in Week 9 and a bye in Week 10 — due to the lack of clarity on target distribution and Andy Dalton’s health.
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