Fantasy Blueprint: Week 8 Team by Team Preview

Hayden Winks



Posted Thursday and updated Friday evening, “The Fantasy Blueprint” will get you the stats and information that actually matter for fantasy football, and it will be produced in a way that doesn’t waste our time. If you don't know what "Fantasy Usage" is, read this. If you want my best bets, they’ll be at the top on Saturday. If you need live Vegas odds, go here. If you simply just want my weekly rankings, subscribe here for $3.99 per month and use promo code WINKS10 for 10% off. If you have other questions, reach out on Twitter (@HaydenWinks).

Best Bets of Week 8

Visit our live odds page. My all-time record: 67-45-3 (60%).

1. Steelers vs. Ravens OVER 46.5 - Both offenses play more aggressively in important games.

2. Packers (-6) vs. Vikings - Minnesota lost their best DE and are without 3 CBs on the road.

3. Raiders (+2.5) vs. Browns - Vegas quietly has a top-10 offense, Cleveland banged up on O.

4. Dolphins (+3.5) vs. Rams - LAR hasn’t played anyone and Miami is underrated on defense.

5. Bucs (-12.5) vs. Giants - TB outclasses NYG at QB, at OL, on defense, and at head coach.

1. Chiefs (33.75 points, -19.5 spread) vs. NYJ

KCNYJ8
KCNYJ8
KC8
KC8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Patrick Mahomes

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 5, Team PaAtt: 15, Team RuAtt: 10

WR36 Tyreek Hill

Efficiency outlier but usage is a slight disappointment. WR1/2.

NA Demarcus Robinson

Sammy Watkins needs another week. Mecole barely plays.

TE3 Travis Kelce

Locked into TE1 overall. Jets lost LBs and Ss in the offseason.

RB17 Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Week 7 xFPs: CEH (13.3), Bell (4.8). My bet to be the 1A. RB2.

NA Le’Veon Bell

Likely to get the lower-value touches. RB2/3 in revenge game.

If you’re worried about the Jets not keeping up and making the Chiefs players bust, you’re overthinking it. The Chiefs are projected to score a week-high 33.75 points. Not all will hit, but most will. The QB5 per game, Patrick Mahomes needs big weeks to get back into the MVP hunt, and this is a golden opportunity after facing a tough schedule early. ... Mahomes has been dinking and dunking more than normal with defenses using more two-deep safety looks to try to take away Tyreek Hill, who is only on pace for 1,003 yards. I’m ranking Hill around the WR10 overall in weekly rankings until he sees better than WR36 overall fantasy usage. ... Demarucs Robinson continues to operate in the Sammy Watkins role over Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman, who only ran a route on 38% of Week 7 dropbacks. ... Travis Kelce is the TE1 overall, of course. … Clyde Edwards-Helaire played more snaps (27 to 17) and had more expected fantasy points (13.3 to 4.8) in Le’Veon Bell’s debut. Edwards-Helaire should be the 1A in an ongoing two-back committee, but it’s still unclear if Bell will be the early-down grinder or the passing-down back. It’s also unclear who will take inside-the-10 carries, as CEH’s touchdown last week was an 11 yarder. Given the team total (33.75) and the point spread (-19.5), it’s possible both pay off as top-20 backs this week. I believe Andy Reid is the type of coach to give Bell a few extra chances to get some revenge on Adam Gase.

Fantasy Rankings

Bell is my RB20 this week. Subscribe to Rotoworld EDGE+ here to unlock the rest of my personal weekly positional rankings (posted Wednesday) for only $3.99 per month. Use promo code: WINKS10 for 10% off.

2. Packers (30.5, -6.5) vs. MIN

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Aaron Rodgers

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 7, Team PaAtt: 17, Team RuAtt: 14

WR1 Davante Adams

32.1, 14.3, & 29.0 xFPs in 3 healthy games. Easily “the” WR1.

WR57 Marquez Valdes-Scantling

7.7 & 6.6 xFPs in 2 games since Adams returned. No-floor WR5.

TE23 Robert Tonyan

xFPs P/G: Without Adams (9.5), with (2.8). TD-dependent TE2.

NA Jamaal Williams

Held Jones role as stud RB1. AJ Dillon only played 14 snaps.

The Packers are 2nd in passing EPA. The Vikings are 28th in passing EPA defense. This should be another good showing from Green Bay, who is projected for the second-most points of the week (30.5). Aaron Rodgers (QB7 per game) and Davante Adams (WR1 per game) have elite chemistry, especially with nowhere else to throw the ball too. The corner expected to “defend” Adams has allowed the most fantasy points per route in coverage. ... Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a full-time player, but he’s only seen 7.7 and 6.6 expected fantasy points since Adams’ return. He’s a big-play threat (17.8 average depth of target) who offers some long touchdown ceiling with absolutely no floor. ... Robert Tonyan’s expected fantasy points per game went from 9.5 without Adams to 2.8 with him. His path to TE1/2 production is solely tied to touchdowns. … The Vikings have allowed the fourth most carries per game (27.5), and Jamaal Williams dominated Week 7 snaps and touches last week. One-dimensional rookie AJ Dillon only managed to carve out 14 snaps while Williams slid into the Aaron Jones-plus role as a no-brainer top-six RB this week. The Vikings just traded their best defensive lineman, Yannick Ngakoue, this week.

Updated Friday: Vikings CBs Mike Hughes and Holton Hill are out and CB Cameron Dantzler is on the COVID-19 list.

3. Titans (30.25, -6) @ CIN

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Ryan Tannehill

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 8, Team PaAtt: 21, Team RuAtt: 4

WR23 A.J. Brown

YAC outlier on WR2 usage. TEN is 1st in pass efficiency.

NA Corey Davis

Week 7 usage was an outlier. Has been a WR5 with AJB.

WR61 Adam Humphries

Low-aDOT (8.9) slot man as third or fourth option. PPR WR6.

TE8 Jonnu Smith

Stud athlete, but usage down with AJB back. Boom-bust TE1.

RB4 Derrick Henry

CIN is 31st in YPC to RBs. Now missing their top DT and DE.

The QB8 per game, Ryan Tannehill continues to go overlooked. The Titans are 1st in EPA per dropback, 6th in rushing EPA, and 4th in neutral offensive pace. The offense is rolling, and the Bengals’ depleted defense -- DT D.J. Reader is on injured reserve and DE Carlos Dunlap was just traded -- has little shot of stopping it. Vegas rightfully projects Tennessee to score 30.25 points, the third most of Week 8. … A.J. Brown is already a top-10 real-life receiver in my book. He’s producing like a low-end WR1 on WR2 fantasy usage because he’s averaging an elite 10.4 yards per target, a year after averaging 12.5 yards per target. Stud. … Despite trailing for the entire game, Jonnu Smith’s fantasy usage dipped last week, likely because Brown is back to dominating target share (27%). Smith will need to be lights out in the red zone and after the catch to stay inside top-8 rankings. Luckily, he’s a 93rd-percentile athlete and Cincy is 31st against tight ends. … The Bengals are allowing the second highest yards per carry to running backs (5.1) and are missing defensive lineman as listed earlier. Derrick Henry should see 20+ carries again as 6-point favorites. His production is more boom-bust than other RB1s, but nobody has 50-yard touchdown run appeal like the Big Dog.

4. Seahawks (28.5, -3) vs. SF

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Russell Wilson

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 1, Team PaAtt: 9, Team RuAtt: 25

WR6 Tyler Lockett

Set my “fantasy usage” record last week. Boom-bust WR1.

WR17 DK Metcalf

Trading ceiling games with Lockett. Volatile WR1.

TE22 Greg Olsen

Splitting routes with Will Dissly. Olsen preferred as TE2 flier.

NA Carlos Hyde (Q)

Carson’s RB2 fill in if healthy. Could be DeeJay Dallas if not.

The QB1 per game, Russell Wilson owns a career-high 10% touchdown rate while locking onto studs Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. The 49ers have allowed the third fewest pass attempts per game (33.7) and are 5th against fantasy receivers, but the Seahawks’ 28.5-point team total suggests both receivers can have WR1 ceilings. Between the two, Lockett has the better matchup on the inside while Metcalf battles Comeback Player of the Year candidate Jason Verrett on the perimeter. That’s not enough to move Metcalf outside of the top-10 receivers this week. …

5. Bucs (28.25, -10.5) @ NYG

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Tom Brady

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 10, Team PaAtt: 6, Team RuAtt: 21

WR53 Mike Evans

WR5 usage recently, but no Godwin. WR2 vs. CB Bradberry.

WR67 Scotty Miller

Two-WR set starter with Godwin out. Boom-bust WR4.

TE5 Rob Gronkowski

Moving better & leading TEs in air yards in last 4 weeks. TE1.

NA Leonard Fournette

Nickel RB” means passing downs. Emerging as PPR RB2/3.

RB8 Ronald Jones

Week 7 xFPs: Fournette (21.4), RoJo (12.1). Early downs only.

Tom Brady’s arm looks perfectly fine on tape, and he has the talent around him to be a weekly QB1 play now. The Bucs’ offensive line is a top-five unit, and his skill players are getting healthier aside from Chris Godwin (out). Already a top-10 fantasy quarterback on the season, Brady can be comfortably started against the No. 24 passing EPA defense. Tampa is projected for 28.25 points, the fifth most on the slate. … Mike Evans’ ankle sprain has slowed him down, but he’s an obvious rebound candidate with a 25-30% target share projection. Evans will battle physical CB James Bradberry on the outside, but it’s best to bet on volume. Evans is a WR2 play despite the underwhelming box scores. … Scotty Miller has been wildly inconsistent, but once again, enters the week as the No. 2 receiver. His matchup is far easier compared to Evans, and he’s coming off a season-high 15.8 expected PPR points from last week. Miller deserves WR4/flex consideration and offers more upside than others ranked around him. … Rob Gronkowski is a legit TE1 now, at least while Antonio Brown and Godwin aren’t active. He’s first in air yards and fifth in expected PPR points over the last five weeks, plus has looked a little looser like your uncle on the dance floor after knocking back a couple of cold ones. … Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones form more of a two-back committee than a three-back one now that they’re healthy. Fournette will primarily play in passing situations while Jones handles pure rushing downs, at least for now. Fournette had more fantasy usage than jones for the first time this season last week, a trend I think will continue in most matchups. The Bucs’ 10.5-point spread favors Jones this week, however. Both are top-24 plays.

6. Browns (28, -2.5) vs. LV

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Baker Mayfield

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 26, Team PaAtt: 29, Team RuAtt: 5

WR43 Jarvis Landry

Can’t be a trusted WR3 while injured. Only 21 air yards Week 7.

NA Rashard Higgins

Will battle rookie Donavon Peoples-Jones for two-WR sets.

NA Harrison Bryant

TE1 usage without Hooper. Week 7 routes: HB (18), DN (13).

NA Kareem Hunt

RB1 usage on 90% snaps in Week 7. Raiders 30th vs. RBs.

Baker Mayfield enters Week 8 as the QB26 per game, and now will be without Odell Beckham. Especially as 2.5-point home favorites, the Browns project to be extremely run heavy, setting up Mayfield for a zero margin-of-error game to be fantasy relevant. Cleveland’s 28.0-point team total (6th) and the Raiders’ No. 27 passing EPA defense gives him a shot at QB2 numbers. … Jarvis Landry likely sees a small increase in targets without Odell, but he was the WR43 in fantasy usage entering the week and is visibly injured. Landry’s hip and rib injuries keep expectations down as a WR3/4 even though he’s in a pristine matchup as the locked-in slot receiver. … Rashard Higgins will be an every-down player as long as he holds off Michigan rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones. That’s the expectation for this week after running a route on 28-of-30 Week 7 dropbacks. Higgins has a 10.4 YPT average since Mayfield was drafted in 2018. He’s a viable flex play in all formats as the primary lid lifter. … Impressive rookie Harrison Bryant ran slightly more Week 7 routes (18) than David Njoku (13) with Austin Hooper sidelined. Bryant is the preferred TE2 streamer and even had 12.5 expected PPR points last week. The Raiders are better at defending tight ends than receivers because of their linebacker and safety play. … Kareem Hunt played 90% of the snaps and eclipsed 20.0 expected PPR points last week as the bellcow. The 28.0-point team total gives Hunt top-3 fantasy appeal this week with Las Vegas 30th in rushing EPA defense and 30th against fantasy running backs.

7. Colts (26.25, -2.5) @ DET

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Philip Rivers

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 28, Team PaAtt: 23, Team RuAtt: 18

WR38 Zach Pascal

Led Indy WRs in usage in 2 of last 3 games. WR5 from slot.

WR44 T.Y. Hilton

Career-low 6.5 YPT as 31yo. WR4 usage as big-play threat.

NA Michael Pittman (Q)

Designated from IR. Should be a 3-WR set starter soon.

TE13 Trey Burton

TE1/2 usage since Alie-Cox injury. MAC was a DNP Wed.

RB26 Jonathan Taylor

Post-Bye Rookie Bump candidate. DET 29th in rush EPA def.

RB36 Nyheim Hines

Needs negative game script to be RB3. IND 2.5-point favorites.

The Colts Offense has been struggling with Philip Rivers (QB28 per game), but the Lions are 21st against quarterbacks and 27th against receivers this year because they’re 25th in adjusted sack rate. The Lions’ bottom-10 defense keeps the Colts’ shakey offense afloat, as evidenced by Vegas’ 26.25-point team projection which is 7th on the week. … The Colts could be getting second-round rookie Michael Pittman back after he practiced this week. Indy will decide to activate Pittman this weekend. His return would set WR4s Zach Pascal and T.Y. Hilton back, especially if Indy uses two-TE sets at the same clip. … Trey Burton has seen TE1/2 fantasy usage in two-straight games with Mo Alie-Cox out. MAC is officially questionable after going DNP, limited, limited in practice this week. That typically means out, but he’s a game-time decision. That’s the difference between TE1/2 and TE2 for Burton. … Jonathan Taylor hasn’t looked like the 2,000-yard, 20-touchdown back he was at Wisconsin. I expect that to change following the bye. The Lions are 29th in rushing EPA defense, and the offense likely spent the days off figuring out how to get their second-round pick going. The Post-Bye Rookie Bump narrative and the point spread push Taylor into low-end RB1 rankings this week despite RB26 fantasy usage over the last four weeks. He’s a buy low candidate.

8. Panthers (25.75, -2.5) vs. ATL

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Teddy Bridgewater

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 23, Team PaAtt: 24, Team RuAtt: 21

WR20 Robby Anderson

Strong 30% target share in last 4 games. ATL 28th vs. WRs.

WR37 D.J. Moore

6.8 targets, 22% share in last 4 games as an efficient WR2/3.

WR50 Curtis Samuel

Week 7 routes: CS (19), Roberts (15). CAR then cut Roberts.

RB3 Mike Davis

Averaging 20.6 expected PPR points post CMC. Rebound RB1.

With the Falcons 31st in passing EPA defense, we should expect above-average production from Teddy Bridgewater, Robby Anderson, and D.J. Moore. The QB23 per game, Bridgewater enters high-end QB2 territory with Carolina likely to up their pass attempts because the Falcons are allowing the third fewest carries per game (21.6), a sign that they’re a true pass funnel. Anderson and Moore’s matchups are both pristine. Falcons CB Kendall Sheffield, who is likely to see slightly more Moore than Anderson, has allowed the second most fantasy points per route in coverage. Anderson has had higher fantasy usage (expected PPR points) than Moore in 4-of-5 games. Curtis Samuel only ran 19 routes in Week 7, but the No. 4 receiver (Seth Roberts) was cut this week. Samuel should play more snaps than usual but is a distant No. 3 receiver behind the top two guys. He is a reasonable leverage play in DFS Showdown with Brandon Slystra being the best bet for No. 4 receiver work after backing up Roberts last week. Carolina has gotten nothing from their two tight ends, Ian Thomas and Chirs Manhertz. Last week, Thomas ran more routes (23 to 8). Neither should be projected for more than 3.0 points. … Mike Davis has regressed in two-straight games (vs. CHI, @ NO), but he’s a rebound candidate with elite RB1 fantasy usage. He’s averaging 20.6 expected PPR points in starts and could catch upwards of 4-7 passes with Atlanta top-five in receptions allowed to back. He’s my favorite CPT in DFS Showdown and is a rock-solid RB1 in season-long. The Falcons are 21st against fantasy backs.

9. Raiders (25.5, +2.5) @ CLE

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Derek Carr

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 14, Team PaAtt: 14, Team RuAtt: 11

WR54 Nelson Agholor

Operated as the No. 1 out of the bye. CLE 31st vs. WRs.

WR75+ Henry Ruggs

Week 7 routes: Agholor (37), Ruggs (35), Renfrow (25).

WR68 Hunter Renfrow

Low-aDOT slot man on half snaps. Off the redraft radar.

TE1 Darren Waller

Best usage among TEs on 26% target share. Top-3 TE easily.

RB20 Josh Jacobs

Touch shares: Leading (45%), trailing (18%). Low-end RB1.

The Raiders are a top-10 offense. Get used to it, especially with RT Trent Brown due back from the COVID-19 list. Henry Ruggs and Darren Waller push defenses down the field and down the seam, and Derek Carr is finally letting the ball rip. Carr is now up to QB14 per game, and the Browns have allowed the second most pass attempts per game (43.4) because they’re bad in the secondary. Browns CB Terrance Mitchell (4.63 forty) is expected to cover Ruggs, and CB Denzel Ward hasn’t been quite as effective while dealing with injuries. The Browns’ linebacker play is below-average as well, setting up Waller for a ceiling against the No. 22 defense versus the position. Heck, even Nelson Agholor is on the WR4/5 radar after running a route on 37 dropbacks and seeing a season-high 16.6 expected PPR points in Week 7. … Josh Jacobs slips to RB2 territory when the Raiders play from behind because he doesn’t play in passing situations. That shouldn’t be the case here as only 2.5-point dogs (and I think the Raiders win outright). Jacobs gets some starting offensive linemen back this week and is a candidate for 20 touches as a low-end RB1. The Raiders are projected for 25.5 points this week, the ninth most on the slate.

10. 49ers (25.5, +3) @ SEA

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Jimmy Garoppolo

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 31, Team PaAtt: 24, Team RuAtt: 9

WR49 Brandon Aiyuk

Upside WR3 play without Deebo. SEA allowing most PaAtt.

TE2 George Kittle

I project SF to pass far more than usual in Week 8. Smash.

RB42 Jerick McKinnon

Rested Week 7 but could regain receiving/red zone role. RB3.

NA JaMycal Hasty

RB2/3 as favorite for rushing duties if Tevin Coleman misses.

The Seahawks have allowed, by far, the most plays per game (74.3) and pass attempts per game (49.3) and will also be without CB Shaquille Griffin, slot CB Ugo Amadi, and likely without S Jamal Adams. The 49ers are expected to pass way more than their seasonal average, and there’s only three main pass-catchers involved. Jimmy Garoppolo is projected for a ceiling game as a high-end QB2 with the Niners owning a top-10 team point total (25.5). Garoppolo will be peppering George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and to a lesser extent Kendrick Bourne. The Seahawks are far better at defending tight ends because of their linebackers and S Qandree Diggs, but Kittle is simply built different and projects for eight-plus targets as a top-two tight end. … First-round rookie Brandon Aiyuk is by far the best receiver with Deebo Samuel sidelined, and Shanahan is treating him as such by scheming him up screens, sweeps, and easy targets where Aiyuk can go crazy after the catch. The Seahawks are allowing the most production to receivers by a wide margin. Aiyuk is a top-25 receiver play. … Kendrick Bourne is on the WR4 radar as a forgettable slot man (4.7 speed) projected for top 40-targets and an increased red zone role. … JaMycal Hasty will be a boom-bust RB2/3 play if Tevin Coleman (IR) doesn’t suit up, but Coleman easily can be called up this week. Those two would own almost all early-down touches while “tired legs” Jerick McKinnon mixes in on passing downs. It’s a situation where we must listen to the news and go from there. In my opinion, Hasty is the most talented among the available 49ers running backs.

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11. Eagles (25.5, -7.5) vs. DAL

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Carson Wentz

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 12, Team PaAtt: 4, Team RuAtt: 28

WR11 Travis Fulgham

WR1 usage in three-straight as ‘X WR’ but Reagor is back.

NA Jalen Reagor

Returning from surgery. Most-invested healthy skill player.

NA Dallas Goedert

Already flashed TE1 upside. Richard Rodgers a flaccid TE2.

NA Boston Scott

RB1 usage as Sanders’ fill in Week 7. DAL 31st in run EPA def.

Despite backup tackles and third-string receivers, Carson Wentz has survived as the QB12 per game. Reinforcements are coming, as is a cupcake Week 8 matchup. Wentz belongs as a low-end QB1 with the Cowboys 25th in passing EPA defense. … First-round Jalen Reagor (thumb) is expected to play and likely starts in two-WR sets alongside X receiver Travis Fulgham, who has three-straight games of at least 17.0 expected PPR points. Fulgham’s usage should take a hit with Reagor involved, but the Dallas defense (25th against WRs) is bad enough to keep him inside top-30 WR rankings. Reagor is a better deep threat and more explosive player all around. His floor is just lower here with the threat of a medical-staff issued snap count within the range of possibilities. … Richard Rodgers (aka “Dick Rod”) had 12.3 expected PPR points in his start last week and ran a route on 64% of Week 7 dropbacks. With Dallas only 21st against fantasy tight ends, Dick Rod is a recommended TE2 streamer. … The Cowboys have allowed the most carries per game (31.6) and the fourth fewest pass attempts per game (33.9), a sign that they’re a fantasy run funnel. That’s great news for Miles Sanders’ fill in Boston Scott, who had 18.3 expected PPR points last week. Scott should play 70% of the snaps once again and can be projected for even more carries as 7.5-point favorites. He’s on the RB1/2 border.

Updated Sunday: Dallas Goedert is cleared to play and immediately goes inside top-12 rankings. He's flashed TE1 moments with Zach Ertz, and now has a 5-8 target projection as a plus athlete against an underwhelming defense. Goedert's return slams Richard Rodgers to back-end TE2 land as he'll be the 1B in Philly's two-TE sets.

12. Rams (25.0, -4) @ MIA

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Jared Goff

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 19, Team PaAtt: 28, Team RuAtt: 2

WR28 Cooper Kupp

WR3 usage with LAR 28th in total pass attempts.

WR33 Robert Woods

Playing through minor injury on inconsistent WR3 usage.

WR52 Josh Reynolds

WR5 usage all of a sudden with Woods at less than 100%.

TE28 Gerald Everett

21-of-37 routes in Week 7 with Higbee out. TE2/3 only.

TE32 Tyler Higbee (Q)

Limited Thursday. Has settled in as a no-floor TE2.

RB25 Darrell Henderson

Early-down RB only, but MIA is 30th in YPC. Low-end RB2.

RB38 Malcolm Brown

0.8 inside-the-10 touches per game keeps him in RB3 mix.

Jared Goff continues to get the ball out early and test defense’s tackling skills with a dink-and-dunk approach while running the ball at the 2nd rate in neutral situations. It’s a low-ceiling passing offense with more mouths than spoons at the moment because Josh Reynolds (WR52 fantasy usage) and multiple tight ends are involved. Cooper Kupp (WR28 fantasy usage) and Robert Woods (WR33) fantasy usage are now WR3 plays even in decent matchups. Vegas’ 25.0-point team projection backs this up. … At running back, Darrell Henderson continues to lead the backfield in early-down runs, but the goal-line role is unsettled with Malcolm Brown vulturing and playing in passing situations. Henderson should be a fine low-end RB2 play against Miami’s No. 30 defense in yards per carry. The Dolphins are 25th against the position overall.

13. Ravens (24.75, -3.5) vs. PIT

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Lamar Jackson

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 11, Team PaAtt: 32, Team RuAtt: 8

WR21 Marquise Brown

BAL projects for more passing. 38% of targets 20+ air yards.

TE14 Mark Andrews

Extremely volatile but elite TE1 spikes. No speedy LB Bush.

RB51 J.K. Dobbins

Post-Bye Rookie Bump candidate. Upside RB3 without Ingram.

RB46 Gus Edwards

Could have RB3 value without Ingram as more physical runner.

The Ravens have played the Browns, Texans, Football Team, Bengals, and Eagles (plus the Chiefs) this season. There’s been no reason to force the issue with Lamar Jackson as the Ravens have cruised to victories. Baltimore should turn up the heat offensively with more Jackson carries and hopefully more pinpoint accuracy. Jackson’s knee issue should be behind him coming off the bye, so there’s more upside than given credit for with Pittsburgh playing extremely well on defense. No LB Devin Bush does put a 4.80-forty linebacker on the field, too. … 38% of Marquise Brown’s targets are 20+ air yards downfield, making him extremely boom-bust. He’s a buy low candidate who could cash in here with the Steelers allowing big plays with their slow corners. Brown and Lamar stacks make a lot of sense in DFS. The Steelers have allowed the third most pass attempts per game (43.4) and the fewest carries per game (18.7), a sign that they’re more of a fantasy pass funnel. … Mark Andrews is in just as good of a spot as the Brown and is being used similarly as a top-five tight end play. … No Mark Ingram (ankle) opens up J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards for a two-back committee role. The Post-Bye Rookie Bump narrative makes Dobbins the better play, especially as he’s checked boxes on film as an explosive runner with pass-game chops. Dobbins deserves 12-15 touches weekly. It’s unclear if he gets them here.

14. Bengals (24.25, +6) vs. TEN

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Joe Burrow

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 17, Team PaAtt: 2, Team RuAtt: 20

WR7 Tyler Boyd

WR1/2 usage as go-to slot WR. CIN 2nd in attempts. WR2.

WR14 A.J. Green

Career-low 5.1 YPT + WR1/2 volume = WR3/4 production.

WR30 Tee Higgins

Big-play threat on WR3 usage. TEN 29th vs. WRs.

TE26 Drew Sample

Needs CIN to pass 50 times to be a TE2. Sometimes they do!

NA Giovani Bernard

Top-6 RB1 usage as Mixon fill in Week 7. TEN defense stinks.

The two best Cincy offensive linemen plus their starting right tackle are all out. That’s awful news for Joe Burrow, but his volume makes up for poor efficiency and it’s unclear if the Titans’ No. 31 adjusted sack rate defense can even take advantage. The Bengals are 2nd in pass attempts per game, and the Titans have allowed the fifth most pass attempts per game (41.3). Burrow is a volume-based borderline QB1/2 with rushing upside. … Titans nickel CB Kristian Fulton is out and slot receiver Tyler Boyd has already been eating. He’s up to WR7 overall fantasy usage over the last four weeks as the get-it-out-quick receiver for Burrow. Boyd’s a high-end WR2 play in PPR formats. … Tee Higgins and A.J. Green are trading off bigger weeks as full-time outside receivers. The Titans are still without CB Adoree Jackson and are 29th against fantasy receivers. Higgins gets the slight ranking bump as a player I trust more due to age and effort. Green still belongs inside top-30 receiver rankings after seeing WR14 fantasy usage over the last four weeks. … Giovani Bernard had 22.3 expected PPR points as the clear bellcow in Week 7 without Joe Mixon. I’m expecting nothing to change a week later, making Gio a quality fill-in low-end RB1. The only issue is the offensive line, but Tennessee is only 25th in rushing EPA defense.

15. Saints (24.25, -4) @ CHI

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Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Drew Brees

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 16, Team PaAtt: 11, Team RuAtt: 12

NA Tre'Quan Smith

Slowest-paced game of the week. CHI 4th vs. fantasy WRs.

TE21 Jared Cook

Extremely TD-dependent but are any WRs healthy though?

RB2 Alvin Kamara

At least 18.0 xFPs in all games. The RB1 overall every week.

RB39 Latavius Murray

RB3 usage while averaging 1.0 inside-the-10 touch per game.

Drew Brees is playing poorly, will be away from the dome with weather concerns, will be without WRs Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Marquez Callaway, and faces the No. 1 passing EPA defense. It’s going to be ugly when the ball isn’t going to Alvin Kamara, who projects for 10-14 carries and 8-plus targets with goal-line opportunities. The Bears have been good, not great, against fantasy backs (11th) this season, so there’s not too much reason to fade Kamara as the top fantasy back of the week. … Tre’Quan Smith does nothing with these type of games as the top receiver because he’s mostly a one-dimensional deep threat paired with a quarterback who doesn’t throw deep. With Chicago allowing the fourth fewest points to receivers, Smith is nothing more than a no-floor WR4/5 with Deonte Harris being the next guy in line. … Jared Cook hasn’t reached 12.0 expected PPR points in any game this year as a touchdown-dependent TE2 play even with targets up for grabs. The Bears have been more vulnerable to tight ends (19th) than any other position in fantasy thus far.

16. Vikings (24.0, +6.5) @ GB

MINGB8
MINGB8
MIN8
MIN8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Kirk Cousins

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 25, Team PaAtt: 31, Team RuAtt: 14

WR3 Adam Thielen

9.3 targets, 29% share over last 4 weeks. Faces CB Alexander.

WR40 Justin Jefferson

Likely faces far easier CB matchup. Upside WR2. 14.9 YPT!!!

TE24 Irv Smith

Entered bye with 3-straight new season highs in usage. TE2.

RB5 Dalvin Cook

Had 28.1 & 21.8 PPR vs. GB in last 2 games. GB 32nd vs. RBs.

The Vikings are 31st in pass attempts per game and get Dalvin Cook back, but the defense is so bad that I’m expecting Minnesota to pass more for the rest of the season. They’re missing DE Yannick Ngakoue, CB Holton Hill, CB Mike Hughes, and CB Cameron Dantzler. As 6.5-point favorites, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson both project for 8-plus targets with high ceilings. I’m expecting Alexander to cover Thielen more than Jefferson, which is why I’ve ranked Jefferson higher than Thielen. … Irv Smith could also be streamed as a TE2 after setting season highs in fantasy usage in three-straight games heading into the bye. Packers S Darnell Savage is questionable and Packers slot CB Kevin King is out.. … Dalvin Cook has balled out against the Packers historically, but the Packers have allowed the fourth fewest carries per game (21.7) this season because they’ve been leading in all but one game. Cook’s receiving production could see a bump if winds get out of control or if the Packers smash as 6.5-point favorites, making him a borderline top-5 play immediately.

17. Lions (23.75, +2.5) vs. IND

DETIND8
DETIND8
DET8
DET8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Matthew Stafford

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 22, Team PaAtt: 21, Team RuAtt: 19

WR27 Kenny Golladay

Indy is overrated. WR2/3 usage bound to go up. Stud player.

WR64 Marvin Jones

72 air yards last week were a sign there’s WR4 hope still.

TE7 T.J. Hockenson

xFPs per game: Before bye (9.4), after (12.6). Mid-range TE1.

RB18 D'Andre Swift

50% of touches are targets or from inside-the-10. Upside RB2.

RB37 Adrian Peterson

Early-down grinder who is now losing goal-line carries. RB3/4.

Matthew Stafford is the QB22 per game with the Lions sitting 28th in neutral pass rate. They’re hiding his back with fewer pass attempts and that could be the case even more with starting LT Taylor Decker questionable. He went from full to limited to DNP in practice this week. The ceiling of the offense is capped until they pass more and the Colts have allowed the fifth fewest pass attempts per game (34.3). … Kenny Golladay is only seeing WR27 fantasy usage over the last four weeks despite playing near full health. Golladay’s circus catch ability gives him plenty of upside, but he’s not seeing the usage of other top-12 fantasy receivers. … Marvin Jones popped for 72 air yards while chasing points in Atlanta last week, but he sits at WR64 overall in fantasy usage over the last four weeks with Golladay operating as the lead dog. Jones is barely on the WR5 radar. … T.J. Hockenson is now averaging 12.6 expected PPR points since the bye compared to 9.4 before. Hockenson’s role is slowly increasing, which is enough to stay inside top-10 tight end rankings right now even with LB Darious Leonard expected back. … D’Andre Swift got the Post-Bye Rookie Bump last week as the 1A in this two-back committee. Adrian Peterson’s touches are low value plunges up the middle while 50% of Swift’s touches are “high value touches” which include targets plus inside-the-10 touches. Swift’s role should only grow moving forward. As 2.5-point dogs, Swift projects as a quality RB2 play, especially in PPR formats. Peterson is only an RB3.

18. Chargers (23.75, -3) @ DEN

LACDEN8
LACDEN8
LAC8
LAC8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Justin Herbert

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 4, Team PaAtt: 11, Team RuAtt: 1

WR5 Keenan Allen

LAC set season high in neutral pass rate Week 7. WR1.

WR59 Mike Williams

42% of targets are 20+ air yards. 92% near the sideline. WR4.

TE15 Hunter Henry

6.0 targets per game, 18% target share enough for TE1 ranking.

RB33 Joshua Kelley

Goal line back & played more 3rd downs than JJ. RB2/3.

RB34 Justin Jackson

Week 7 snaps: JK (38), JJ (31). Both had 20 routes. RB3.

Justin Herbert might just be good enough to overcome it, but he’s without his starting C, RG, and RT this week, and his backup RT is on the COVID-19 list and his third-string RT is questionable. The Chargers offensive line is borderlining on disaster right now and the Broncos are 5th in adjusted sack rate with Vic Fangio creating pressure. Herbert and Keenan Allen’s connection will carry this offense either way. Allen is up to WR5 overall fantasy usage over the last four weeks and projects for WR1 fantasy usage every week, especially if the Chargers’ new-look pass-heavy attack is here to stay. The Chargers were bottom-three in neutral pass rate heading into Week 7 and vaulted up to No. 5 in neutral pass rate in Week 7. This change is enormous for Herbert, Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry long term. This week could be an average week for all with Los Angeles only projected for 23.75 points, however. … Joshua Kelley played more snaps (38 to 31) and had better fantasy usage (15.9 expected PPR points to 11.3) than Justin Jackson last week. Kelley should be viewed as the 1A in a clear two-back committee right now. I’m pessimistic about the Chargers’ ability to run the ball -- they’re 30th in rushing EPA with PFF’s No. 32 run-blocking line -- so even Kelley is a forgettable RB2/3 play this week.

19. Bills (23.5, -4) vs. NE

BUFNE8
BUFNE8
BUF8
BUF8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Josh Allen

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 6, Team PaAtt: 8, Team RuAtt: 26

WR10 Stefon Diggs

Stud on WR1/2 usage. Faces CB Gilmore in important game.

NA John Brown

Fully practiced. Faces stud CB J.C. Jackson as a volatile WR3.

WR34 Cole Beasley

Usage should drop to WR4 levels with Brown returning.

TE31 Dawson Knox (Q)

In the COVID-19 protocol. TE3 when healthy. NE 5th vs. TEs.

RB31 Devin Singletary

Week 7 snaps: DS (40), Zack Moss (35). Neither is a good RB.

The Bills haven’t looked sharp in weeks, will be dealing with poor weather on Sunday, and face a slow-paced offense on the other side. There’s volume concerns for the secondary Buffalo players with New England allowing the fewest pass attempts per game (29.5), but the Patriots of 2020 are not the Patriots of years past, especially with CB Stephon Gilmore injured. Josh Allen’s rushing ability and the return of underrated all-around receiver John Brown keep him inside top-8 rankings, but the total ceiling could be compromised by the forgettable 23.5-point team total (19th). … Stefon Diggs has WR10 fantasy usage over the last four games and can rip chunk plays on top of seeing WR1/2 volume. No Gilmore frees him up further as a locked-in top-15 receiver every week. … John Brown and Cole Beasley likely trade off WR3 weeks moving forward with the schedule toughening up and weather worsening. Brown always looks better on paper and should finally be healthier after practicing in full all week. Both are top-40 plays in all formats. … The gap between Devin Singletary and Zack Moss has shrunk. Their snaps (40 to 35) were almost dead even, and neither are separating from each other on tape. The low team total and the lack of high-value touches near the goal line make them underwhelming RB2/3 plays. Singletary deserves to be ranked higher than Moss until proven otherwise. The Patriots are 20th against fantasy running backs.

20. Falcons (23.25, +2.5) @ CAR

ATLCAR8
ATLCAR8
ATL8
ATL8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Matt Ryan

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 15, Team PaAtt: 3, Team RuAtt: 17

WR9 Julio Jones

Looks healthy. WR1 usage. CB covering him is 5’10/180.

WR26 Calvin Ridley

23.4, 12.6, and 15.4 xFPs in 3 games with Julio. Upside WR1/2.

WR63 Russell Gage

Near full-time player when healthy. Limited (knee) all week.

TE17 Hayden Hurst

xFPs per game: With Julio (10.1), without (7.4). 83% routes.

RB13 Todd Gurley

Zero cutting ability, but RB1/2 usage. 2.3 inside-10 touches P/G.

Team Overview

Matt Ryan is the QB15 per game, but his splits with Julio (28.8 fantasy points per game) and without (17.4) are enormous this year. The Panthers can’t rush the passer (29th in adjusted sack rate), so Ryan should carve them up now that his skill players are as healthy as they’ve been all year. Ryan is back inside top-10 rankings, despite Vegas’ 23.25-point team total. Bet the over. Julio Jones projects slightly better than Calvin Ridley. First, Julio is being covered by a 5-foot-10, 180-pound corner this week. Second, Ridley’s expected PPR points per game drop to 17.1 with Julio. Still enough to go berserk, but Julio remains the alpha. Russell Gage dodged a serious injury last week and should suit up as a near full-time No. 3 receiver. He’s cooled in recent weeks but has established a ceiling since the Mohamed Sanu trade. His WR63 overall fantasy usage over the last four weeks keeps him as a no-floor WR4 in season long, but he is interesting in DFS Showdown. His $200 backup is Brandon Powell in case there's a setback. Hayden Hurst is the slightly better bet than Gage for distant production after running a route on 83% of routes last week. His fantasy usage is actually up with Julio (10.1) than without (7.4) because the offense can now sustain drives. Julio’s presence could help free up coverage, too. He’s a top-12 option in season-long leagues. Luke Stocker runs a few routes for those scraping for DFS punt plays in Showdown… Todd Gurley still can’t make a defender miss, but he has enough top speed to pay off as an RB1/2 this week. He’s seeing RB13 overall fantasy usage over the last four games, including 2.3 inside-the-10 touches per game. Gurley can eat against the No. 31 defense versus fantasy running backs. Brian Hill will mix in for a dozen snaps and projects for 4-8 PPR points as a change-of-pace back.

21. Steelers (21.25, +3.5) @ BAL

PITBAL8
PITBAL8
PIT8
PIT8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Ben Roethlisberger

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 21, Team PaAtt: 11, Team RuAtt: 7

NA Diontae Johnson

14.0, 20.1, & 27.5 xFPs in 3 healthy games. Facing easier CBs.

WR29 JuJu Smith-Schuster

5.8 aDOT caps upside. Faces CB Humphrey. WR3/4.

WR31 Chase Claypool

Opponents view CC as the top WR. Facing CB Peters. WR3/4.

TE11 Eric Ebron

Mostly TD-dependent on TE1/2 usage. BAL 19th vs. TEs.

RB7 James Conner

19.7 xFPs P/G since Week 1. BAL 5th fewest carries allowed.

The Steelers have only faced one tough test (TEN) while stomping the Giants, Broncos, Texans, Eagles, and Browns. In those latter games, Ben Roethlisberger averaged just 33 pass attempts, but they turned up their aggressiveness against the Titans last week (49 pass attempts), something I expect to happen when Pittsburgh faces quality opponents. Despite the tough matchup on paper (No. 5 passing EPA defense), Big Ben projects for an above-average game with Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Eric Ebron all healthy. Johnson and JuJu are the underneath guys, while Claypool offers more all-around skills and far more athleticism. Johnson likely faces stud CB Marlon Humphrey, but he’s seen a 30% targets share or higher in each of his healthy games as a boom-bust WR2/3. I like Claypool the second best given his upside, but even JuJu deserves top-36 love now that his fantasy usage is up to WR29 over the last four weeks. … The Ravens have allowed the fifth fewest carries per game (21.8), so this sets up for less of a James Conner week than normal. Vegas’ 21.25-point team total (21st) also works against Conner’s status as a RB1, but he’s averaged 19.7 expected fantasy points since leaving Week 1. He’s a high-end RB2 play at worst.

22. Dolphins (21.0, +4) vs. LAR

MIALAR8
MIALAR8
MIA8
MIA8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Tua Tagovailoa

Fantasy Rank Per Game: NA, Team PaAtt: 26, Team RuAtt: 16

WR32 DeVante Parker

7.7 targets, 23% target share in last 4. Tua likely a downgrade.

WR71 Preston Williams

Hasn’t been above 10.0 expected PPR points since Week 2.

TE20 Mike Gesicki

Only 1-of-6 games above 11.0 xFPs. Big-play TE2 from slot.

RB6 Myles Gaskin

Touch shares: Leading (37%), trailing (21%). Bellcow w/o JH.

You can read my scouting report on Tua Tagovailoa here. In short, he’s an accurate passer who also had success moving around inside the pocket and as a scrambler. The second part is the bigger question in the short term due to his hip. It’s unknown if the Dolphins will allow him to run around like he did at Alabama. For now, Tagovailoa profiles as a low-end QB2 play, which is exactly how Vegas projects the team in general (22nd in team total, 21.0). The Rams’ No. 1 passing EPA defense also limits the ceiling of the offense coming off the bye. … DeVante Parker and Preston Williams better hope Tua’s accuracy translates because it will be hard to make up for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s willingness to throw up valuable 50/50 balls. Until we see how it unfolds, Williams (WR71 in fantasy usage) deserves to sit on 12-team benches. Parker has WR3/4 appeal despite likely catching physical CB Jalen Ramsey in coverage. As seen in the chart above, Parker’s production and usage is full of booms and busts. … Mike Gesicki is running routes at a top-10 clip, but he’s only had one game above 11.0 expected PPR points with Miami sitting 26th in pass attempts per game. Gesicki has fallen to TE2 land, although his 98th-percentile athleticism gives him more upside than others in the same category. … Don’t sleep on Myles Gaskin, especially if the Dolphins keep healthy scratching plodder Jordan Howard. Gaskin is up to RB6 overall fantasy usage over the last four weeks as a near every-touch player in the backfield. His touch share skyrockets with a lead (37%), but he’s plenty involved as a pass-catcher. He’s a volume-based RB1/2. The Rams are better against the pass (1st) than the run (16th).

23. Broncos (20.75, +4) vs. LAC

DENLAC8
DENLAC8
DEN8
DEN8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Drew Lock

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 36, Team PaAtt: 18, Team RuAtt: 13

WR69 Jerry Jeudy

Lock is awful. Faces elite slot CB King. WR3/4 w/o Patrick.

TE6 Albert Okwuegbunam

Has had TE1 usage with Fant not fully healthy. No-floor TE1/2.

TE10 Noah Fant

At least 9.7 xFPs in all 5 healthy games. TE1 vs backup S/LBs.

RB11 Melvin Gordon

Handled all 3rd down touches, pass game work Week 7. RB2.

RB40 Phillip Lindsay (Q)

Early-down grinder in Week 7. Wait-and-see RB3.

Drew Lock is very bad at football, and the Chargers Defense is getting healthier in the front seven. Vegas’ 20.75-point projection is fair and limits the upside of the skill players. Tim Patrick (hamstring) is unlikely to play, forcing Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler into the new-look two-TE base package for the Broncos. Jeudy’s matchup against CB Desmond King is tougher, but he sees easier targets underneath while Hamler uses his 4.30 speed to stretch defenses downfield. … Noah Fant (ankle) didn’t look right on tape last week, but it’s much tougher to play through injuries when it’s not snowing. Fant also was left off the injury report, signaling that a better game is ahead. A stud athlete facing a young linebacker group leaves me optimistic for his low-end TE1 chances. The Chargers are 18th against fantasy tight ends. Albert Okwuegbunam is up to TE6 overall fantasy usage after shredding in his lone two games, but Fant’s improved outlook gives the freak straight-line athlete lower odds of paying off as a TE2 streamer. Consider Albert O as a low-floor play with a reasonable ceiling due to raw athleticism. ... Phillip Lindsay remains in the concussion protocol. If he's out, Melvin Gordon goes back to a near bellcow role. View the chart above to see how he was utilized with and without Lindsay.

24. Bears (20.25, +4) vs. NO

CHINO8
CHINO8
CHI8
CHI8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Nick Foles

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 30, Team PaAtt: 5, Team RuAtt: 29

WR47 Darnell Mooney

Burning CBs but Foles stinks. WR3/4 flier without A-Rob.

WR74 Anthony Miller

Perhaps a WR5 without A-Rob. NO 29th in pass EPA defense.

TE12 Jimmy Graham

1.6 red zone targets P/G in last 4 weeks. TD-needy TE2.

RB9 David Montgomery

RB1 usage on RB5 skills = Iffy RB2. Should get benched soon.

Bad weather, bad quarterback play, bad coaching, and likely no Allen Robinson makes the Bears one of the worst offenses of the week. Darnell Mooney has been getting open, now has WR47 fantasy usage over the last four weeks, and should set a new season high in targets as a boom-bust flex play. The Saints are 29th in passing EPA defense with CB Marshon Lattimore regressing mightily. … Jimmy Graham is up to TE12 fantasy usage because he’s seeing 1.6 red zone targets per game. His between-the-20s work will be up without A-Rob, increasing his chances of paying off as a top-12 tight end. The Saints are 30th against tight ends this season. … I’m (possibly) faster than David Montgomery, who is barely paying off as a RB2 play despite seeing RB9 overall fantasy usage over the last four weeks with his raw targets through the roof post Tarik Cohen. Those targets could go up even more without Robinson, making Montgomery a forgettable volume-based RB2. There’s a chance he’s benched soon, however.

Updated Saturday: Allen Robinson was able to clear concussion protocol and will play. A-Rob was seeing WR1 fantasy usage all season and is a must start as a high-end WR2 with CB Marshon Lattimore no longer playing at elite levels. Darnell Mooney goes from interesting WR4 flier to a bench hold only in 12-team leagues.

25. Patriots (19.5, +4) @ BUF

NEBUF8
NEBUF8
NE8
NE8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Cam Newton

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 20, Team PaAtt: 30, Team RuAtt: 3

RB35 James White

Only ran a route on 9-of-33 dropbacks Week 7. PPR RB3.

RB53 Rex Burkhead

75% of Week 7 touches came in garbage time. RB4.

RB59 Damien Harris

0.7 targets per game, 0.0 inside-the-10 touches. Empty calories.

For whatever reason (shoulder, COVID, foot, etc.), Cam Newton looks awful right now. His top two receivers (Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry) are out, and Vegas has caught on, only projecting the Patriots for 19.5 points which is 25th on the slate. Newton offers no floor at the moment, yet still has 2-rushing touchdown upside as a boom-bust QB2. His top receivers are Jakobi Meyers (9.7 expected PPR points in Week 7) and Damiere Byrd (2.8) if you’re looking for deep plays. … The running back situation is one to mostly avoid given the total. James White only ran a route on 9-of-33 dropbacks, 75% of Rex Burkhead’s touches came in garbage time, and Damien Harris is only seeing low-value touches.

26. Cowboys (18.0, +7.5) @ PHI

DALPHI8
DALPHI8
DAL8
DAL8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Ben DiNucci

Fantasy Rank Per Game: NA, Team PaAtt: 1, Team RuAtt: 24

WR13 Amari Cooper

Downgrading to high-end WR2 post-Dak. Usage is still solid.

WR16 CeeDee Lamb

Best slot WR in NFL? WR3 outlook as a rebound candidate.

WR62 Michael Gallup

Led Dallas in Week 7 routes. Hard to win deep with bad OL.

TE19 Dalton Schultz

Averaging 5.8 expected PPR without Dak. Poor TE2 option.

RB12 Ezekiel Elliott

Biggest loser with Dak, OL injuries. Moving to low-end RB1.

Team Overview

With the Cowboys on multiple backup linemen and only projected for 18.0 points this week, we must pick our spots with the Dallas skill-position players. Gucci DiNucci was a one-year wonder from James Madison, who I’ll be ranking dead last in weekly rankings. With a third-string quarterback and third-string linemen, I think Amari Cooper (8.5 average depth of target) and CeeDee Lamb (9.3 aDOT) have far better shots of success than deep-threat Michael Gallup (15.8 aDOT) and fifth-receiving option TE Dalton Schultz. … Ezekiel Elliott might be the biggest loser post-Dak. The Cowboys’ red zone trips will be cut in half, and Elliott will face more defenders in the box. Pair that with an atrocious offensive line, and Zeke heads to the RB1/2 border. He had a season-low 10.0 expected PPR points last week with these variables compounding all at once.

Updated Friday: Eagles slot CB Cre'von LeBlanc is out, setting up CeeDee Lamb for a matchup with a backup corner. Lamb has sneaky WR3/4 value still in PPR leagues.

27. Giants (17.75, +10.5) vs. TB

NYGTB8
NYGTB8
NYG8
NYG8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Daniel Jones

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 32, Team PaAtt: 27, Team RuAtt: 30

NA Sterling Shepard

Week 7 xFPs: Shepard (16.6), Slayton (5.7), Tate (5.7). WR3/4.

WR35 Darius Slayton

Season low yards (23) with Shepard back. CB Dean is good.

TE9 Evan Engram

Volatile TE1/2 usage. NYG projected for 17.75 points here.

RB58 Wayne Gallman

TB defense: YPC to RBs (1st), carries per game (2nd).

The Bucs have allowed the second fewest carries per game (20.1) and the fewest yards per carry to running backs (2.8). Tampa Bay is simply the toughest rushing matchup in the NFL and might be the toughest passing defense, too. With Daniel Jones and OC Jason Garrett imploding, there’s few fantasy options here. Sterling Shepard (16.6 expected PPR points last week) renders Darius Slayton (5.7) to long-touchdown only WR5 territory moving forward, something to bet against with a lowly 17.75-point team total. They’ll be facing stud CBs Jamal Dean and Carlton Davis. … Evan Engram’s usage was up last week, but targets are spread out and he’s been running low-value routes underneath with the coaching staff mistaking his athleticism with Jason Witten’s. … A Devonta Freeman sprained ankle puts Wayne Gallman in play as a plug-in RB3 after seeing a season-high 14.3 expected PPR points last week. As stated earlier, the matchup cannot get more difficult.

28. Jets (14.25, +19.5) @ KC

NYJKC8
NYJKC8
NYJ8
NYJ8


Fantasy Usage (Link)

Context

Sam Darnold

Fantasy Rank Per Game: 33, Team PaAtt: 19, Team RuAtt: 27

NA Denzel Mims

Debut went well. Could have little target competition. WR4.

RB49 Lamical Perine

Week 7 snaps: Perine (40), Gore (16). KC 27th in rush EPA def.

Team Overview

No Jamison Crowder. No Breshad Perriman. It’s time to throw Denzel Mims into the deep end. The Chiefs are third in passing EPA defense and against fantasy receivers, so Mims’ outlook remains very boom-bust even though he should see upwards of 7-12 targets while in garbage time. In a similar spot last week, Mims had 13.5 expected fantasy points, making him a serviceable flex play. … The Chiefs have allowed the fifth most carries per game (27.4) because they’re daring teams to run against them as a rare “run funnel”. Frank Gore finally took a backseat to rookie Lamical Perine, who played more snaps (40) than Gore (16) in Week 7. Perine is on the RB3 radar as someone who could quietly see more than a dozen touches. The Chiefs are 27th in rushing EPA defense.

Charts of the Week

WEEK8
WEEK8

The Cowboys used to be in the “Elite” tier, but then Andy Dalton/Ben DiNucci was named their starter and they lost even more to the offensive line. They’ll live up to the “Fast but Bad” label. The Titans, Chiefs, Packers, Bucs, and Seahawks are likely the best fantasy offenses of the week.

WEEK8PASSING
WEEK8PASSING

This is a great passing week. The Titans, Packers, and Chiefs should be highly efficient passing this week, and the second tier of passing offenses are in good spots too. The Panthers, Bucs, Raiders, and Bills should have above-average weeks. It’s almost impossible to trust anyone on the Jets, Broncos, and Giants right now, especially with their pass-catchers returning to health and cannibalizing each other’s target projections.

WEEK8PAATT
WEEK8PAATT

The 49ers are expected to pass far more this week than they have all season. The Seahawks are allowing the most pass attempts per game in the NFL and it’s not even close. Even with Deebo Samuel out, I’m expecting Jimmy Garoppolo to sling the ball around, making Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle awesome fantasy plays relative to expectation.

WEEK8RUSHING
WEEK8RUSHING

The Patriots are 2nd in the NFL in rushing EPA offense, but it’s somewhat tough to call them a true “eruption spot” team because of all the injuries, particularly to Cam Newton assuming he’s playing through things right now. There’s really not many elite rushing matchups this week. Definitely so if you compare it to the “Week 8 Passing Matchups” chart from above.

WEEK8RUATT
WEEK8RUATT

Carries allowed is an interesting stat to look at because it factors in game script (teams that stink get run on a lot) and offensive pace (teams that play slow don’t face as many carries). This chart compares each offense's average carries per game to their Week 8 opponent’s defense’s carried allowed on defense. The Eagles, who play the Cowboys this week, should have more carries than usual this week. The Ravens, who play the Steelers, should run a lot, but not as much as normal.

WEEK8NEUTRALPASS
WEEK8NEUTRALPASS

The most underrated fantasy football storyline of Week 7 was the Chargers’ dramatic shift towards a higher neutral pass rate. They went from dead last in neutral pass rate leading into the week and jumped into the top five in Week 7. It’s what’s best for the offense with Austin Ekeler sidelined, the offensive line injured and bad, and Justin Herbert playing stud football. I think I buy into the new-look Chargers as more pass-heavy than normal. Buy Herbert, Keenan, and Henry if possible.

WEEK8SPREAD
WEEK8SPREAD

Teams pass more while trailing and run more while ahead. Point spreads are our best guide of if those events will happen, so I compare them with neutral pass rates to spot the teams who should pass more or less this week. The Chiefs are a candidate to run more than usual, especially with Le’Veon Bell avenging his way against the Jets. The Vikings are an interesting team to watch as a more pass-heavy team even with Dalvin Cook back. Their defense is even more banged up now.

WEEK8DEFENSES
WEEK8DEFENSES

Some weeks are better than others for spotting the top tier defenses. This week, it’s clear. The Bucs and Steelers are always in play because they rank first and second in adjusted sack rate, but the Chiefs are elite this week against the Jets. The Eagles and Bills would be my next best units if those were unavailable. Of course, other defenses open up because of late-week injuries. Pay attention