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Fantasy Football Week 8 Takeaways, Surprises & Disappointments (2023)

Fantasy Football Week 8 Takeaways, Surprises & Disappointments (2023)

The eye-catching fantasy football performances began Thursday night, with two young pass-catchers turning heads. One of the teased pass-catchers and another young tight end had performances that might have a lasting impact at the position.

In a week filled with many quarterback happenings, a rookie had a brilliant performance. Carolina had their first win of the season, but did anything change with their new play-caller? Finally, a second-year quarterback did something this week he’s never done before.

Fantasy Football Week 8 Takeaways

Surprises

A No. 3 Wideout Emerged for the Bills
Khalil Shakir had a career-best game on Thursday night. The second-year pro had career highs for targets (six), receptions (six) and receiving yards (92) against the Buccaneers in Week 8. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), Shakir ran a season-high 33 routes as well.

Since Week 7, Shakir is fourth on the Bills in routes (53). Before his stellar showing in Week 8, he had an encouraging performance in Week 7, securing all four of his targets for 35 receiving yards on 20 routes.

Dawson Knox was placed on Injured Reserve (IR) last week and will miss at least three more games. Buffalo used more three-wideout sets last week than in previous contests, and Shakir thrived in the slot with the enhanced role. He’s a priority waiver addition this week.

Youth is Raising the Tide for Tight Ends
Dalton Kincaid was also sensational on Thursday night. He ran 39 routes on 40 passing snaps and had seven targets, five receptions, 65 receiving yards and one touchdown reception. Of note, per PFF, Kincaid played a season-high 13 passing snaps aligned inline.

First, Kincaid’s unchallenged spot atop Buffalo’s depth chart, as long as Knox is out, is the most crucial development for the rookie. However, second, more snaps inline could allow him to have more favorable matchups against linebackers. Kincaid had 13 receptions, 140 receiving yards and one touchdown in the previous two weeks. He’s now cemented firmly inside the top 10 fantasy options at tight end.

Trey McBride‘s stock is also skyrocketing. The second-year tight end had 14 targets, 10 receptions, 95 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Ravens. Per PFF, McBride ran 36 routes, and Geoff Swaim and Elijah Higgins combined for only 11. McBride benefited immensely from Zach Ertz being placed on the IR, and he’s a starting option in fantasy leagues as shallow as 12-team formats.

The Titans Might Have an Answer at the Quarterback Position
Will Levis was a trainwreck in the preseason. Yet, his showing in his first NFL start reminded everyone the preseason means essentially nothing. He completed 19 of 29 pass attempts for 238 yards and four touchdowns. Equally important, he didn’t turn the ball over and took only two sacks.

The strong-armed rookie directed six of his 29 passes to DeAndre Hopkins, resulting in four receptions for 128 yards and three touchdowns. Hopkins’ fantasy value might not crater if he remains on the Titans after Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Circling back to Levis’s showing, he wasn’t a box-score stud who succeeded with smoke and mirrors. As the following cut-up of the rookie quarterback’s throws shows, he has a cannon and is willing to throw 50/50 balls.

The rookie quarterback might breathe life into Tennessee’s offense, even if he’ll almost assuredly endure some rookie hiccups.

Disappointments

The QB Carousel is Spinning Out of Control
Levis deserved a separate write-up since his performance on Sunday was superb, but the other quarterback happenings were largely unfortunate. The injury bug was hungry on Sunday, feasting on quarterbacks.

Kirk Cousins‘s injury was the most significant, as it appeared he tore his Achilles. Matthew Stafford was shown on the sideline tending to a thumb issue after hitting it on a defender’s helmet. Kenny Pickett‘s status is up in the air for Thursday night until more is known about his rib injury.

Tyrod Taylor spent the night in the hospital after hurting his ribs. Finally, Desmond Ridder was checked for a concussion. However, he reportedly cleared the evaluation, meaning the second-year quarterback might have been benched for Taylor Heinicke. Gamers must monitor all the injuries at quarterback as the fantasy repercussions for their offenses could be widespread.

Thomas Brown’s First Game Calling Plays Wasn’t a Massive Success
The Panthers were on a bye in Week 7 and changed play-callers during the break. Head coach Frank Reich ceded the responsibility to his offensive coordinator, Thomas Brown. Carolina won their first contest of the 2023 campaign, but it was continued pathetic play from their offense. Bryce Young was sacked six times, and Carolina’s running backs toted the rock 20 times for 33 yards.

There was a significant shift in the backfield playing time. Per PFF, Chuba Hubbard played 45 snaps, Miles Sanders played 12 and Raheem Blackshear played 10. Hubbard has convincingly cleared Sanders on the depth chart. The third-year pro is inefficient, but he’s an acceptable emergency RB2 during bye weeks.

Adam Thielen is still the focal point of the passing game and the only exciting, relatively speaking, option on the Panthers. He had 11 targets, eight receptions and 72 receiving yards. Although, Jonathan Mingo is an intriguing bench option. The rookie wideout had five targets, four receptions and a season-high 62 receiving yards against the Texans. Carolina’s second-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft was tied for the team-high in routes (39).

Young must play better to support multiple fantasy players, but he could improve as he continues to acclimate himself to the professional level. Mingo’s first game after Carolina’s bye was an encouraging data point for a post-bye rookie bump.

Miscellaneous Note

Sack Watch Was Quiet in Washington
Sam Howell was sacked once in Week 8. He’s taken at least four sacks in every other game this year, and Howell was sacked three times in his only start last season. The second-year quarterback also had career-highs for pass attempts (52), completions (39), passing yards (397) and touchdown passes (four).

Unsurprisingly, Howell got the ball out faster. The following table has Howell’s time to throw per week via NFL Next Gen Stats.

If Howell continues to get the ball out quickly, he can elevate his floor. He might have something cooking.

Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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