Week 8 Fantasy Intel Report

Included this week: Dalvin’s monster game, Davante Adams catches All The Touchdowns, DK Metcalf gets even scarier, the euphoria that comes with having Alvin Kamara on your fantasy squad, Cam Newton’s fumble, the Cowboys sad offense, and much more.

  • It was a perfect storm in Green Bay for Dalvin Cook. The conditions were cold and very windy, so Cousins only attempted 14 passes on the day, which meant a heavy dose of Dalvin. He finished with a whopping 30 carries, which he turned into 163 yards and 3 TDs. Any concerns about his groin injury were sufficiently alleviated, I’d say. He also added 2 receptions on 3 targets for 63 yards and a TD, including a 50 yard catch-and-run he took all the way to the endzone. He finished as the top overall scorer in fantasy on Sunday with 48.6 PPR points and probably won a lot of fantasy owners their matchups.
  • Beyond Cook on that Vikings offense, a lot of people might be worried about Adam Thielen (3 catches on 4 targets for 27 yards) and Justin Jefferson (3 catches on 4 targets for 26 yards), but remember that Cousins only attempted 14 passes, completing 10 of them, for 160 yards (50 of which came on the Cook TD). It was really windy in Green Bay, which meant fewer passes, and add on the fact that the Vikings took a 14-point lead with 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter and went run-heavy from that point on, and it was just not in the cards for the Vikings’ pass catchers. I would not be worried about Thielen and Jefferson.
  • As for the Packers, Davantae Adams is hogging all the TDs. He finished with 3 in the game, all from within the 10, and finished with 7 catches on 12 targets for 53 yards. 30.3 PPR points. This comes on the heels of his 13 catch, 196 yard, 2 TD performance the week prior against Houston. The man is ballin’ out right now, but some of that has to do with Aaron Jones missing both games.
  • It was DK Metcalf‘s turn to EAT this week after Tyler Lockett‘s 53-burger last week. He was involved early on, finishing with 12 catches on 15 targets for 161 yards and 2 TDs. What really should make Metcalf owners excited is that it seems like Seattle is only scratching the surface of his potential. Up until the Vikings game where he caught the game-winning TD in the end zone from inside the 5, he was highly reliant on the deep ball. In other words, he was technically a low-floor boom-or-bust guy, but nobody realized it because he boomed in pretty much every game. But now they’re trusting him more down near the goal line. That was how he scored his second TD yesterday. But his first TD was even better: he ran a slant route, caught the ball about 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, and then ran about 30 yards for a TD. His 4.3 speed enabled him to outrun multiple defenders, get around a corner and then head for the endzone. Up til this point we had never really seen what he could do in the open field with the ball in his hands, and as suspected, he made an incredible play. He’s showing that he can score in multiple ways, and it makes him even more lethal. Just imagine when they start throwing fade routes in the end zone to him. It’s crazy to think about because he’s been so good this season, but he’s getting better with each passing week.
  • Alvin Kamara is just awesome to own. He’s the one guy in fantasy you literally do not have to worry about (other than injuries, obviously). His floor this season has been 20 points a game and yet only has 1 total TD in his past four games (Week 5 vs. Detroit). Doesn’t matter. He gets fantasy points on virtually every drive the Saints have. Drew just dumps it off to him so frequently. In Michael Thomas‘ absence Drew Brees has become the Dump Off King as opposed to the Slant King, and Kamara is the main beneficiary of that. He ranks 12th in the league in passing targets, and, incredibly, 2nd in the league in receptions with 55. Not 2nd among running backs; 2nd in the whole league. He’s only 2 behind the league-leader in receptions, DeAndre Hopkins, who has 57. Without a TD, Kamara is still a lock to be a top-3 RB. With a TD, he’s basically going to win you your week. Now, I think Kamara’s receiving floor will be lower when Thomas comes back, as there will be fewer plays where nobody gets open and Brees is forced to dump it off. But Thomas can also benefit Kamara with his ability to move the chains and keep drives alive. Thomas’ return may mean fewer dump offs, but it will also mean fewer stacked boxes, and more first downs for the offense, which translates into more opportunities for Kamara. It’s always nice to own a guy like Kamara who basically is the entire offense, but it’s also nice to own a guy on an offense that can consistently stay on the field and sustain drives.
  • As for the Bears, David Montgomery is right on the cusp of being a high-quality fantasy option. Yet again he was stuffed on a goal line carry that, if he would’ve converted, would have taken his fantasy day from “okay” to RB1 territory. Two weeks ago against Carolina, he was tackled on basically the one inch line on a play that was initially ruled a TD but overturned. Then, on a subsequent carry, he was stuffed for a small loss after his line couldn’t make anything happen. On the next play, it looked like he got in, but was down an inch shy yet again and had another TD overturned. He finished that game with 13.7 PPR points, but he should have had 19.7. This week against the Saints, he was stuffed on the goal line once again. He finished with 12.5 PPR points in the game, but it could’ve been 18.5 with the TD. He’s running behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and ranks near the bottom in yards before contact. He’s hit in the backfield so frequently that even Troy Aikman was lamenting it in the broadcast, and has to do so much work to even get 3 yards. Remember after week 6, I posted a stat (via PFF’s Ian Hartitz) that showed him ranked 4th in the league among RBs in forced missed-tackles. He’s a talented running back, he just needs some better blocking up front and better luck on the goal line. He’s still currently ranked RB13 in PPR, which is awesome when you consider where he was being drafted this year, but had he gotten just those two missed TDs I went over before, he would be the RB9 on the season.
  • The Colts backfield: the waiver wire going into week 9 looks pretty barren, to be quite honest. But I’m sure people are going to be targeting both Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, who each went for 20+ on Sunday. Jonathan Taylor just was not very effective against Detroit, turning his 11 carries into just 22 yards and hauling in just 2 receptions for 9 yards. Frank Reich explained this by revealing that Taylor is dealing with an ankle injury. Jordan Wilkins was able to step up and posted 89 yards on 20 carries with a TD, along with 1 reception for 24 yards. If Taylor is hurt, Wilkins might be a decent pickup. Hines, I would not trust as much as Wilkins. We saw Hines go off for 2 TDs in week 1 and everyone immediately thought he was a league winner, but he has been a big disappointment since then and most of the people who blew huge FAAB on him after week 1 have probably already moved on. The point is, I wouldn’t get fooled by this game from Hines. He had 21.2 PPR points but that was mainly due to him scoring 2 receiving TDs on his 3 receptions (54 yards). He only had 5 rushes for 8 yards. If Taylor misses time Hines could be a decent James White-esque third-down option while Wilkins takes the early down work, but I would pump the brakes on Hines because over 56% of his fantasy points this week came from TDs. That game was an anomaly more than a sign of things to come. Still, I think Hines does get a bump in value if Taylor misses time.
  • It has just been announced that George Kittle will miss 8 weeks with a broken foot. This is terrible news not just for fantasy owners, but for football fans in general. He’s one of the best players in the league. The 49ers have been ravaged by injuries this season. On top of losing Kittle, they’re also losing Jimmy Garoppolo for at least 3-4 weeks, probably more, due to a high ankle sprain. I’m not sure I’d want to make a bee-line for the 49ers’ backup tight ends, although Ross Dwelley did score his first TD of the season in garbage time after Kittle left the game. Jordan Reed has missed time with a knee injury as of late, but he’s expected to make his return in Week 9. So I’d say he’s the guy to target, not Dwelley. But in a bigger-picture sense, tight end becomes even more of a wasteland now that Kittle is down. Prior to yesterday, it was basically Kittle, Kelce and Waller in a tier of their own, head and shoulders above everyone else–including Mark Andrews who has now fallen into the “TD or bust” category along with like 15 other tight ends.
  • Green Bay was not the only NFL city where wind was a factor. The Browns-Raiders matchup in Cleveland also featured high winds, which meant heavy doses of Josh Jacobs on the ground today. He finished with 31 carries for 128 yards, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to find the end zone (he nearly got in on a goal-line carry), nor was he involved at all in the passing game, registering zero catches. Still, this has to feel good for fantasy owners given what he did last week against the #1 ranked Tampa run defense: 10 carries for 17 yards and 3 receptions for 14 yards. This was the first game of the year for Jacobs that he did not have a reception, so I wouldn’t take this game as a sign that they don’t trust him catching the ball. At this point through 7 games, he has 18 receptions on 25 targets. Compare that to last season where, in 13 games played, he had 20 catches on 27 targets. He’s clearly far more involved in the passing game this year than he was as a rookie, plus he ranks 2nd in the league in rushing attempts, behind only Derrick Henry’ 161. You have to love that volume.
  • Cam Newton certainly looked a lot better yesterday than he did in his previous game against the 49ers, and I think he’s back to fantasy relevance once again. But that late fumble that cost New England the game was not good. Bill Belichick does not tolerate fumbles and mistakes like that. I don’t think Cam is going to get benched, but I wouldn’t put it past Belichick.
  • Are we panicking on Ryan Tannehill? He managed to salvage his day from a fantasy perspective with those two 4th quarter TDs, but it was slightly concerning that the Titans couldn’t get much going against the Bengals defense, which prior to yesterday has not been effective. You can’t blame it on the weather because Joe Burrow had a fine game passing the ball. I’m still starting Tannehill with confidence going forward. He’s only had two dud games since taking over as the starter in Tennessee. I would be more concerned about the Titans in real life than I would be concerned about Tannehill in fantasy. Again, he still ended up having a decent day even though he was posting a weak statline up until the 4th quarter.
  • I don’t want to make too much of his first NFL game, but I really was not impressed by Tua Tagovailoa. Yes, the Dolphins won, but that was mostly due to their defense having a huge game and Jared Goff laying an egg. Tua looks small, he missed lots of throws, and he looked skittish and jumpy in the pocket. It was somewhat reminiscent of Johnny Manziel when he came into the league–Manziel was clearly in way over his head. Now, I think Tua has a much better arm than Johnny Manziel, but then again Tua benefitted from playing at Alabama with an elite line and elite offensive talent around him. Again, I hate to judge Tua based on his first NFL start, but it’s hard not to when we’ve seen other rookies like Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert shine in each of their first NFL starts–and in pretty much every game since–this season. When you watch both Burrow and Herbert, it’s just obvious that they have “it”. I didn’t sense that with Tua. Tua only measured in at 6′ even at the combine, and while these days that’s not as big of an obstacle to overcome as it was even 10-15 years ago, it is still something that works against him. I’m just not seeing it with Tua.
  • I was going to write a bunch of words about the Cowboys offense but I think this meme basically sums things up:
  • The only thing I’d add about the Cowboys offense is that Michael Gallup surprisingly had a ton of targets–12, which led the team by a mile. He finished with 7 receptions (season high) but managed only 61 yards. Maybe it was because Amari Cooper was shadowed by Darius Slay for most of the game. Cooper only had 1 target, which he caught, for 5 yards.
  • Anthony Miller had a season high 11 targets and Darnell Mooney had a nice game finishing with 5-69-1. Does this mean they’re fantasy relevant? Maybe. But the Saints defense is not great. They may have held the Bears to 23 points (tied for fewest points allowed by Saints D this season) but the Bears offense is one of the league’s worst. 23 points for the Bears is actually really good. Remember last week when they were completely shut down by the Rams? Still, I think both guys might be worth considering for pickups. I was high on Mooney especially coming into yesterday’s game because I saw a video compilation on Twitter of every time he got open on a deep route and Foles just missed him. It has happened at least 4-5 times this season, but yesterday he and Foles finally connected on a 50 yard bomb. Still, I don’t think you can rely on Mooney going forward. He gets open, but Foles can’t hit him consistently. There’s just not much of a floor there with him. I would be more inclined to pick up Anthony Miller, who managed 8 catches for 73 yards on those 11 targets. A lot of that had to do with the Bears playing from behind late and throwing it a bunch, but keep in mind Foles is still building rapport with these Bears receivers. This could be a sign that Foles has established a connection with Miller going forward, as he looked for him on a lot of short and intermediate routes. Miller could be turning into a solid possession receiver.
  • CEH only had 6.1 PPR points yesterday against the Jets. 6 rushes for 21 yards, and 3 catches on 3 targets for 10 yards. Now, it’s not as if Le’Veon Bell did any better–he only had 6 carries for 7 yards (3 catches on 3 targets for 31 yards). But the past two weeks CEH has seen 8 and 6 carries, his lowest totals of the season. Prior to yesterday, his lowest number of carries in a game was 10, which he’s done twice: week 2 vs. the Chargers and week 5 vs. the Raiders, both games in which the Chiefs faced fourth-quarter deficits that demanded pass-heavy game scripts. Yesterday, however, the Chiefs dominated the Jets from the opening kickoff, so you’d figure they’d have taken a more run-heavy approach as they pulled further and further away, but they did not. Mahomes was slinging it all game and finished 31/42 passing for 416 yards and 5 TDs. I’m worried about CEH. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he’s had his fewest carries of the season in the two games since the Chiefs signed Lev Bell. CEH is clearly not an elite fantasy option anymore, and neither is Lev Bell. Both guys are now operating in a time-share. CEH becomes the latest first-round fantasy pick to disappoint managers, along with CMC, Zeke, Saquon and Michael Thomas.
  • Zack Moss finished with 20.1 PPR points–14 carries, 81 yards and 2 TDs, but no receptions. Yes, his fantasy output was mainly attributable to the 2 TDs, and his floor isn’t great. And yes, he is still splitting carries with Devin Singletary, who only finished with 10.2 PPR points (14 carries, 86 yards, 0 TDs; 1 catch for 6 yards). But it appears Moss is taking over the Buffalo backfield:
  • Singletary, despite fewer snaps, still out-touched Moss by 1. But that is in no way good news for Singletary owners. As you can see, Moss is getting all the work inside the 10. Based on where Singletary was drafted (6th-7th round), and based on where Moss was drafted (12th-13th round, possibly later), the fact that these guys are basically in an even split is a massive disappointment for Singletary owners. I still won’t really like either guy in fantasy until one pulls decisively ahead of the other, but right now it’s looking like Moss is the guy to own in that backfield.
  • Carson Wentz was supposed to be a smash play at home against the woeful Dallas Cowboys, and with the Eagles appearing to get healthier with Dallas Goedert and Jalen Reagor coming back. Wentz was only 15/27 passing for 123 yards with 2 TDs, but he also had 2 INTs and 2 lost fumbles. The Dallas defense was actually playing surprisingly well in the first half, especially when you consider how horrendously bad they’ve been up to this point. A big part of the reason Wentz had such a low floor last night was that he did not get a rushing TD. Prior to last night he had 5 rushing TDs in his prior 7 games. That should have been a red-flag for Wentz fantasy owners, because prior to this season, he’d only managed 3 rushing TDs in his entire career. There’s no way he was going to be able to keep that up. Wentz is now a concern for fantasy owners. The Eagles have a bye for week 9 so hopefully they can get healthy, but I lost a lot of confidence in Wentz after he had a crap game against the lowly Cowboys. I don’t think I would start him going forward until I see him put together a great game.
  • Travis Fulgham continues to shine for the Eagles, though. Even though Wentz had a bad game, Fulgham still put up numbers, going 6-78-1 on 7 targets for 19.8 PPR points. There was concern that he would fall off with the return of Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert, but I think Fulgham is here to stay in that offense. He made the most of his opportunity to be the lead guy over these past few weeks. Wentz clearly trusts him and should continue looking his way going forward, even with the other pass catchers getting healthy. I’d keep starting him. Reagor had a decent fantasy output–13.2 PPR points–considering he’s a rookie who had missed 5 of the Eagles 7 prior games coming into yesterday. But without that TD he got, he would not have had such a great day. He only managed 3 catches for 16 yards overall, including the TD. Still, he was only one target behind Fulgham with 6. I think Reagor will continue to improve as the season goes on. The Eagles have a bye for week 9 which will allow Reagor’s thumb to heal up even more. I’d roster him if he’s still available.
  • As for Dallas Goedert, I wouldn’t worry too much about him. Yes, he only had 1 catch for 15 yards last night, but it’s possible his ankle wasn’t fully healed and he was mainly out there as a decoy. As with everyone else on Philly, Goedert benefits from the bye week and should come back in week 10 at or close to full health. I was concerned about starting him yesterday due to the risk he wasn’t 100% ready to go, but I won’t be nearly as concerned about him in week 10. If Goedert is healthy and Ertz is still out, I would have no hesitation starting him going forward.
  • Corey Davis had a great game in the Titans’ loss to Cincinnati, but that’s not all there was to it. Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros pointed out that his stats are almost identical to AJ Brown’s:
  • In fact, Davis has been pretty good as a fantasy option this season. He’s averaging 16.8 PPR points per game through 5 games, with his best performance being yesterday’s 8-128-1 statline on 10 targets. I wouldn’t expect that to be the norm going forward, however. The Titans were playing from behind for most of the game, including the entire second half. Tannehill led a furious comeback-attempt in the fourth quarter, which is where Davis got his TD, and keep in mind that the Bengals defense is normally pretty bad. Lots of guys go off against the Bengals. Still, last week against Pittsburgh, Davis also had 10 targets and finished with 15.5 fantasy points, but his statline wasn’t exactly encouraging: 6-35-1. He’s definitely a guy you need to roster if he’s not already taken (36.7% ownership), but don’t expect games like he had against Cincy every week. He’s usually going to be in the 9-15 point range in PPR, which is solid, and now we know he has big-time upside in situations where both game script and the defensive matchup are in his favor.
  • Marvin Jones Jr. is probably owned in your league (54% ownership rate currently), but if he’s not I would try to get him. Kenny Golladay injured his hip against the Colts and will definitely be missing next week and possibly more. They haven’t put him on IR yet but there are reports saying it’s possible. Jones will become the #1 WR in that offense, plus they have a favorable matchup against Minnesota next week.
  • We can’t forget about Curtis Samuel with regards to waiver wire targets. He’s quietly strung together two straight good weeks: in week 7 against New Orleans, he had 6 catches for 48 yards, plus 1 rushing attempt for 5 yards and a TD for a total of 17.3 PPR points. On Thursday against Atlanta, he had 4 catches on 5 targets for 31 yards and a TD, plus 3 rushing attempts for 23 yards and a TD, finishing with 21.4 PPR points. Now, obviously a lot of this is due to him having 3 TDs in two weeks, and we shouldn’t expect him to be this efficient going forward–especially with CMC likely coming back for week 9. Still, he’s only 37% rostered right now and could be earning a bigger role for himself in that offense.
  • Allen Lazard should be picked up. We saw him last week back at practice, and it’s possible he makes his return in week 9. It’s rumored that the Packers are trying to trade for Will Fuller, so if this happens then obviously Lazard’s fantasy value goes down. But if the trade deadline passes tomorrow and the Packers don’t upgrade their WR corps, then Lazard, as Rodgers’ #2 WR, is a solid fantasy option. He’s only played 3 games this season (weeks 1-3) and posted PPR totals of 18.2, 7.5 and 26.4 in those games. He’s only 24% rostered right now. Go out and get him.
  • Speaking of the Will Fuller trade, you can play both sides of it–if you have the bench space–by picking up both Lazard and Randall Cobb. If the trade happens, you probably want to drop Lazard and keep Cobb. If Will Fuller is moved, then Cobb becomes DeShaun Watson’s #2 receiver behind Brandin Cooks. If the trade doesn’t happen, then Lazard is the guy to own. You could still keep Cobb even if the trade doesn’t happen as he’s averaged 11 PPR points a game this year, but he’s nothing more than a desperate flex play if Fuller remains on that team.
  • Seahawks rookie and 4th-string RB DeeJay Dallas had himself a nice game against San Fran, putting up 22.8 PPR points while filling in for Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer, all of whom were injured and missed the game. Dallas did have 2 TDs which boosted his fantasy output in a big way. He only had 41 carries on 18 attempts, but you have to like the volume he’s getting so long as the other three guys are out. I don’t see him replicating this because the moment any of those three guys comes back he loses a lot of his fantasy value. But if those guys all miss next week, roll with Dallas once again. However, I seriously doubt this happens again.
  • Damien Harris is the running back to own in New England, at least it appears that way. The Patriots are notorious for having the most unpredictable backfield in the league, but they are a top-5 rushing offense and Harris had 16 carries for 102 yards and TD. He had 10 more carries than every other Patriots RB. It looks like Harris could be establishing himself as the lead back in New England. He’s had 100+ rushing yards in 2 of his 4 games this season, but again use caution with the Patriots backfield.
  • Finally, if JK Dobbins is available in your league, pick him up. Mark Ingram was out this week against the Steelers with an ankle issue, and he could miss more time going forward. I thought Dobbins looked like a great running back against that elite Steelers run defense. The rookie was tough, quick and hard to bring down. He plays hard and runs angry; I really liked what I saw out of him. He turned his 15 carries into 113 yards, but only had 1 reception for 8 yards and did not find the endzone. Dobbins split carries with Gus Edwards, who had 16 rushes for 87 yards and a TD, but no receptions. Both guys might be worthy of a pickup as long as Ingram is out. Dobbins 47% owned and Edwards is only 4% owned.

Finally, I am very excited for tomorrow because we get to see Antonio Brown’s first fantasy projections. He’s expected to come back in Week 9 against the Saints in a primetime game, and there’s a chance Chris Godwin misses that game. I think Antonio Brown is going to return with a bang and I can’t wait to see him with an actual fantasy projection next to his name.

Octavian

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