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Week 8 Fantasy Football Recap: Surprises, Disappointments, Key Stats & Takeaways (2021)

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Nov 1, 2021
A.J. Brown

Week 8 certainly had no shortage of drama, especially in the early slate. And there were plenty of important takeaways from a fantasy football perspective. So crack open some Halloween candy and buckle up for this week’s recap:

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Surprises 

The New York Jets have an offense! 

Look out world! The New York Jets lit up the scoreboard like Trick or Treaters lit up my candy supply. The main story was no-name QB Mike White, who threw for 405 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 34-31 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Aside from the two turnovers, White was legitimately good. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur called a great game as well. Without Zach Wilson and Corey Davis, New York’s offense actually looked good.

Another star of the day was Michael Carter, who enters Sunday night as the top-scoring tailback in PPR leagues. Carter had a monster day, rushing for 77 yards, catching nine passes for 95 yards and scoring a touchdown.

What do we do from here? White is slated to start Thursday night against a woeful Colts secondary. While it’s hard to tell if this was performance was just an anomaly, I was impressed enough by White to recommend using him in 2QB leagues if you need help at QB. Carter is entering weekly starter territory, as he’s put up double-digit fantasy outputs in PPR leagues in each of his last four games. Carter is an RB3 with plenty of upside moving forward.

Justin Fields takes major step forward

What a coincidence. Bears head coach Matt Nagy wasn’t on the sidelines after testing positive for COVID-19 (best wishes, of course), and Justin Fields happens to have his best game as a pro? Weird. But the Bears finally used Fields as a dual-threat QB, and he delivered with a big performance. Fields rushed for 103 yards, threw for 175 yards, and scored a pair of touchdowns. He enters Sunday night as the QB4.

What do we do from here? I need to see Fields put up consistent efforts before I can entrust him as a weekly fantasy starter. While this was definitely a step in the right direction, Fields is more of a stash-and-see.

AFC South receivers ball out 

A.J. Brown and Michael Pittman put on a receiving clinic Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both receivers caught 10 passes. Brown racked up 155 yards and a score. Pittman put up 86 yards and two touchdowns. They finished the afternoon as the top two receivers in fantasy. Brown is a proven beast, but Pittman might be an emerging WR1.

What do we do from here? Any concerns over Brown after a sluggish start to the season are over, and I hope you were able to buy him low. He’s a weekly fixture as a WR1. Pittman has moved into WR2 territory and might still be relatively cheap to acquire in trades.

Seahawks passing game eases concerns 

Geno Smith did just enough against a horrible Jaguars defense to make both of his pass-catchers fantasy relevant. Tyler Lockett caught 12 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, while D.K Metcalf reeled in six passes for 43 yards and two scores. Both players finished as top 7 receivers.

What do we do from here? You’re starting Metcalf and Lockett in most scenarios. Hopefully, their performances ease any stress over starting them with Smith under center. It might require soft matchups, but this proved that Metcalf and Lockett are still fantasy-relevant options.

Disappointments

Justin Herbert still experiencing growing pains 

Justin Herbert stunk today. He was wildly inaccurate at times and completed just 18-of-35 passes. His day might’ve been saved by a late touchdown pass in garbage time to Josh Palmer on a ball that should’ve never been thrown. That might sum things up properly. Herbert was out of sorts all day.

What do we do from here? Herbert is still a QB1, but he’s learning. Keep starting him confidently.

Eagles win big, Jalen Hurts comes up small, and where’s Kenny G?

The Philadelphia Eagles put up 44 points today on the Detroit Lions. That must mean Jalen Hurts had a massive fantasy day, right? Nope. In fact, Hurts had his worst fantasy game of the season, putting up just 11 fantasy points. He had 103 passing yards and 71 rushing yards. That’s it. He didn’t score any of Philly’s touchdowns. He was disappointing in a dominant outing.

You know who else was disappointing? Kenny Gainwell. He had 13 carries for 27 yards and didn’t catch a single pass. Meanwhile, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard (ugh, him again) rushed for two scores apiece.

What do we do from here? Hurts was maybe due for some regression, and I’m still not sold he’s a valid franchise QB going forward. Perhaps the Eagles are concerned too, as Hurts had just 14 pass attempts. Hurts’ rushing ability gives him elite upside, so he’s still worth starting with caution. As for Gainwell and the Eagles’ tailbacks, it’s safe to say none of them can be viewed as trustworthy starters right now. This feels like a full-fledged committee without Miles Sanders.

Antonio Gibson lets us down again

I received a lot of questions this week about Antonio Gibson. And depending on the alternatives, I would say I was pretty split in my opinions on whether to start or sit Gibson. But I made the decision during Sunday’s game that I’m done trusting Gibson until he’s off the injury report. That may not happen this season, and that’s fine. But Gibson clearly isn’t right, as he rushed for just 34 yards and caught three passes for 20 yards. J.D. McKissic was already getting a lot of snaps, and now Jaret Patterson is getting more touches, as he had 11 carries in the loss to Denver.

What do we do from here? I’m sitting Gibson until I see him reclaim his role as Washington’s lead back. Right now, Gibson’s shin injury is clearly impacting him, and he probably shouldn’t be playing through it. At this point, I’m moving on from Gibson as a fantasy starter.

Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, and D’Andre Swift falter

It’s been rare, but Derrick Henry was disappointing from a fantasy standpoint, rushing for just 68 yards. Henry also came out of the game briefly with what looked to be a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, the path was paved for Chubb and Swift to have big days, with Kareem Hunt and Jamaal Williams both inactive. But Chubb rushed for just 61 yards, and Swift had just 51 total yards.

What do we do from here? Obviously, all three of these guys are fixtures in your lineup. As for Chubb and Swift, perhaps they offer buy-low opportunities after these weak results.

Week 8 By the Numbers 

19: Jonathan Taylor‘s touches in Week 8, which is far too low. Why, you ask? Because…

51: Carson Wentz‘s pass attempts in Week 8, which includes a pick-six and a back-breaking interception in overtime. Taylor is one of the best tailbacks in the NFL, but Frank Reich continues to put way too much faith in Wentz. He started great, then collapsed. And while I appreciate Reich’s willingness to preserve his star running back, there’s no excuse for so much to be on Wentz’s plate. The more you ask Wentz to do, the faster he crumbles.

115: Cooper Kupp‘s receiving yards in Week 8. Can you say fantasy football midseason MVP?

171: Deebo Samuel‘s receiving yards in Week 8. DeeboMania might be here to stay.

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato

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