Week 8 Heat Index: Michael Carter, Justin Fields, Pat Freiermuth (2021 Fantasy Football)
Week 8 has come and gone and taken Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) and Jameis Winston (QB – NO) with it. But some good things happened on the field as several players broke out in a big way whom we did not expect. We’ll address these players below and rank their prospects moving forward on a scale of 🔥-to-🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥. In addition, we list each player’s stat-line and positional rank for the week (based on half-point PPR scoring through Sunday’s games) along with some context to their Heat Index.
Mike White (QB – NYJ)
Stat-line: 37-45 passing for 405 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs
QB Rank: 2
Analysis: If anyone tells you they saw this coming, they are probably lying. White’s ECR heading into Week 8 was 29th out of 30 starting QB’s. However, the Jets’ addition of Joe Flacco (QB – NYJ) earlier in the week made it seem like this may be White’s only start. His performance, however, guarantees at least one more as Head Coach Robert Saleh has already confirmed he’ll be under center again Thursday night vs. the Colts. With Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ) out for a few more weeks, you could consider streaming White this week vs. Indy or in Week 11 vs. Miami. You’d have to be in a pretty deep league or pretty desperate to take that chance, though, given his short track record of success.
Heat Index: 🔥
Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
Stat-line: 19-27 passing for 175 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 103 yards rushing and 1 TD
QB Rank: 5
Analysis: The Justin Fields we had all hoped for finally showed up on Sunday, doing a ton of damage with his legs. He was the dual-threat QB that we anticipated back in August. Was it a coincidence that Coach Nagy was not at the game due to Covid-19 protocols? Perhaps, but probably not. Fields rushing attempts have been ticking up the past few weeks, so this was not entirely unexpected – albeit good to see. However, his passing game is still a work in progress, and his schedule for the rest of the season includes several tough matchups. He could become fantasy relevant if he can establish a floor with his legs, but we need to see more before being convinced.
Heat Index: 🔥🔥
Cedrick Wilson Jr. (WR – DAL)
Stat-line: 3 catches on three targets for 84 yards and a TD; 1-1 passing for 35 yards
WR Rank: 10
Analysis: How many players can say they hauled in a 73-yard touchdown pass and threw a 35-yard completion this week? Yet, that’s just what Wilson did in his best game of the year. He’s a talented player, but there are just too many mouths to feed in the Cowboys’ offense for him to provide any consistent fantasy value. In addition, Michael Gallup (WR – DAL) could be back as soon as this week, which would presumably come at Wilson’s expense to a large degree.
Heat Index: 🔥
Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)
Stat-line: 5 catches on eight targets for 69 yards and a TD
WR Rank: 12
Analysis: Boyd is hardly an unknown, but he’d been pretty irrelevant for fantasy before Sunday since Tee Higgins (WR – CIN) came back from injury Week 5. During Weeks 6 – 8, Boyd had a total of 9 catches for 70 yards with no TDs and 11.5 fantasy points (half-point PPR scoring). As a consequence, many fantasy managers dropped him despite his talent. On Sunday, however, he was back in the mix, leading the Bengals pass-catchers in fantasy points. So can he be trusted going forward? Maybe. The Bengals schedule isn’t great, but if opposing defenses gear up to slow down rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN), it could open up the middle of the field for Boyd, who runs almost exclusively out of the slot. As a result, his production will likely be a bit up and down, but he will probably put forth more solid efforts in the coming weeks.
Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
Michael Carter (RB – NYJ)
Stat-line: 77 yards rushing on 15 attempts and a TD, nine catches on 14 targets for 95 yards
RB Rank: 1
Analysis: Mike White wasn’t the only Jets player to impress in their upset win over the Bengals on Sunday. Michael Carter was magnificent in both the running and passing game. The break-through had been building for a few weeks now as Carter’s touches and snap counts have been on the rise, especially the past two games following the Jets Week 6 bye. Over that time, Carter has been on the field for 103 plays with 26 carries and 17 receptions on 23 targets. It’s looking less and less like a backfield committee with the Jets. Carter is still available in over 30% of leagues. If he’s still out there in yours – pick him up!
Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Boston Scott (RB – PHI) & Jordan Howard (RB – PHI)
Scott Stat-line: 60 yards rushing on 12 attempts with 2 TDs
Howard Stat-line: 57 yards rushing on 12 attempts with 2 TDs
Scott RB Rank: 9
Howard RB Rank: 10
Analysis: We lumped these two Eagles together due to their remarkably similar stat-lines in Sunday’s blowout win over the Lions. The first game without the injured Miles Sanders (RB – PHI) was odd. Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI) and Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI) were expected to benefit the most from Sanders’ absence, yet neither did much in the fantasy game. Gainwell had the most carries of the RB trio but did very little with them. Meanwhile, Scott and Howard punched in 4 TDs between them. So what did we learn about the Eagles backfield with Sanders? Unfortunately, not much.
Heat Index: 🔥🔥 for Scott, 🔥 for Howard
Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT)
Stat-line: 4 catches on seven targets for 44 yards and a TD
TE Rank: 2
Analysis: With Eric Ebron (TE – PIT) sidelined with a hamstring injury, Freiermuth saw his snap count increase on Sunday and made the most of it. In the two full games since the Steelers lost JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT) for the season, Freiermuth had 14 targets. It appears his role is expanding, making him a tight end to watch for the rest of the season.
Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
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