Stars of Week 8

QB: Patrick Mahomes, KC: 31-42, 416 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs

RB: Dalvin Cook, MIN: 30 carries, 163 yards, 3 TDs (2 catches, 63 yards, 1 TD)

WR: DK Metcalf, SEA: 12 catches, 161 yards, 2 TDs

TE: Travis Kelce, KC: 8 catches, 109 yards, 1 TD

While Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson has rightfully been the early leader in the MVP race, Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes wants to make sure you haven’t forgotten about him. The fourth year pro toyed with the Jets all day, tossing five TDs while surpassing the 400 yard mark. Mahomes takes top QB honors for the week, and the Jets have a good chance of going 0-16. Tank for Trevor! 

Dalvin Cook missed the Vikings’ last game due to injury, and he welcomed himself back with not one, not two, but three rushing TDs against the Packers, leading the Vikings to the upset win at Lambeau. Cook also found the end zone a fourth time via the pass. That’s an incredible day for one of the best running backs in football, and look for more of the same in the weeks ahead. 

Is there any more valuable WR asset in the NFL than DK Metcalf? When you factor in age, salary and skill, the answer is a resounding no. Metcalf returns to the honor roll with yet another jaw dropping performance. The 22-year-old second-year WR bullied the 49ers all game, finding the end zone twice while hauling in 161 yards over 12 receptions. Metcalf will be drafted in no later than round 2 in next year’s fantasy drafts, with the first round within reach. He’s uncoverable at this point.  

Tight end Travis Kelce joins his quarterback, leading his position group for the week. Kelce has scored 6 TDs over 8 games, and he sits on pace for over 1,200 receiving yards. Kelce remains the clear top tight end for fantasy purposes, and arguably for real life as well – although a healthy George Kittle would like a word as well.

Week 8 Takeaways – A Closer Look

Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.

Zack Moss, RB – BUF: 14 carries, 81 yards, 2 TDs

Devin Singletary, RB – BUF: 14 carries, 86 yards, 0 TDs

Analysis: Rookie running back Zack Moss entered the 2020 fantasy season as a deep sleeper, with the upside of possibly wresting the Buffalo Bills’ lead RB duties away from incumbent Devin Singletary. Such a change was not going to happen overnight, but could we be witnessing the start of the transition now? Singletary had been struggling this season going into Week 8, having rushed for no more than 32 yards in his last three games before hitting 86 yards this past weekend against the Patriots. Singletary’s rushing yardage bested Moss’ by five yards, but it was tellingly Moss who had the two rushing scores. Taking a look at usage, Moss outsnapped Singletary by a 31 to 28 margin (per PFF). Watching the film, Moss has a more powerful rushing style, and with his slightly bigger frame, he has more upside than Singletary. For those of you who stashed Moss, your time is coming. Expect the split carries / snaps to continue, with Moss getting also getting a higher percentage of goal line snaps. QB Josh Allen will also vulturing goal line TDs, which will put a ceiling on both Moss and Singletary’s values. With that said, Moss remains available in 46% of leagues (per Yahoo), and he should be the top waiver claim if available in your league. Moss will factor in as a flex play moving forward, with occasional weeks with RB2 upside. Singletary should also be viewed as a lower end flex play, but standing on shakier ground. In case you can sell high on Singletary after his performance this week, you should do so. Moss is the Bills’ RB to own going forward.

Jordan Wilkins, RB – IND: 20 carries, 89 yards, 1 TD

Jonathan Taylor, RB – IND: 11 carries, 22 yards, 0 TDs

Analysis: We move from an ascending rookie RB to one seemingly on the descent. Colts’ rookie RB Jonathan Taylor entered the league to much fanfare. The second round pick from Wisconsin was expected to take the starting RB role from day one, but he struggled to unseat incumbent Marlon Mack on opening day. It was ultimately Mack’s season ending injury in week 1 which opened the door for Taylor to taking starting duties. Unfortunately, Taylor has failed to take the job and run with it (pun intended), as he’s only had one contest above 68 yards rushing through 7 games. All that said, this was supposed to be Taylor’s coming out party, with a mouthwatering matchup against the Detroit Lions this past weekend. Instead, Taylor averaged 2 yards per carry, and found himself usurped by backup RB Jordan Wilkins, who rushed for 89 yards and a TD. According to PFF, Wilkins outsnapped Taylor 39 to 26. More importantly, the majority of Wilkins’ snaps came in the 2nd half, with coach Frank Reich seemingly elevating Wilkins above Taylor on the depth chart. It goes without saying, but a third Colts’ RB, Nyheim Hines, factors in here as the team’s back on passing downs. But for rushing duties, there’s little question that Taylor’s value will sink considerably going forward. The Colts face a tough Ravens’ defense next week, and the recommendation here is to sit Taylor for the foreseeable future…but do not drop him. Also for those of you with Taylor, do your best to snag Wilkins off the wire this week. Wilkins will be no better than a flex option for next week, but he could be the Colts’ back to own moving forward. QB Philip Rivers alluded to Taylor dealing with some type of injury, so that could be what’s going on. The Colts’ RB situation remains fluid, but Wilkins is the guy for now…and possibly for future weeks. Snag Wilkins now and stay tuned. 

JK Dobbins, RB – BAL: 15 carries, 113 yards, 0 TDs

Gus Edwards, RB – BAL: 16 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: My loudest pound-the-table sleeper pick for fantasy drafts was none other than Baltimore Ravens’ RB JK Dobbins. As I write this, I feel vindicated. I sat ready to start a #FreeJKDobbins campaign entering Week 8, as I wanted my guy to show what he can do! With starting RB Mark Ingram injured heading into the tough matchup with the Steelers, Dobbins and Gus Edwards shared rushing duties, and both shined. Watching Dobbins at Ohio State, he would glide – often making it look effortless. We saw the same player this past Sunday. Dobbins also has much to contribute to the passing game, albeit it didn’t happen against the Steelers. Regardless, his 113 rushing yards sure looked good. Edwards also made the most of his carries, finding the end zone once while rushing for 87 yards. While Ingram has been healthy, the three-headed RB monster has rendered all three RBs unusable for fantasy purposes. With Ingram out, both Dobbins and Edwards became start-worthy in lineups. If Ingram returns next week, then unfortunately the Ravens’ backfield will revert to fantasy irrelevancy. But, we’ve seen what both Dobbins and Edwards can do with opportunity, so be ready in case Ingram sits again next week or later in the season. It’s not out of the question for Dobbins and possibly Edwards to move past Ingram on the depth chart, and the situation requires close attention moving forward.

Corey Davis, WR – TEN: 8 catches, 128 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: The Tennessee Titans drafted Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft, with the hope that he would become their franchise WR in the mold of Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, etc. Now in his fourth NFL season, Davis has largely disappointed the high expectations bestowed upon him, but he has quietly developed into a solid WR – if you set aside his draft status. Fortunately for the Titans, they have found their WR1 in AJ Brown. With Brown joining the fold in 2019, Davis settled nicely into the team’s WR2 role. Davis has 3 TDs to go along with 369 yards and 29 receptions in five games played this year. Extrapolate that production over a 16 game season, and you’ll land at 93 receptions for 1,181 yards, with just under 10 TDs. QB Ryan Tannehill trusts Davis, as shown with his 39 targets over the five games (equaling just under 8 targets a game). The Titans have a well balanced offense, with Tannehill having become a capable passer, RB Derrick Henry a force that scares defenses, and with Brown and TE Jonnu Smith joining Davis as targets in the passing game. Sure, there are several mouths to feed, but there’s enough ball to go around to make each of these players fantasy relevant. Circling back to Davis, he’s become a relatively safe flex player, with upside in the right matchups. Davis has scored no less than 11.9 points (PPR) in any of his five games…meaning that he’s been incredibly consistent in his weekly performances. If you need a WR, make a play for Davis. 

Mike Williams, WR – LAC: 5 catches, 99 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: The Los Angeles Chargers have patented the last second, heart breaking loss experience. Yes, the Chargers filed with the PTO before the Atlanta Falcons did. There’s just something about last second losses that permeates in the team’s DNA. Well, that’s someone else’s problem to fix. There’s talent throughout the team’s roster, including at WR. While Keenan Allen resides as the team’s WR1, fourth year WR Mike Williams flashes frequently as well. This past Sunday against the Broncos, Williams caught 5 passes for 99 yards, while scoring a TD to boot. Williams has all of the traits you want for a prototype WR – height at 6’4” and size at 218 lbs, the ability to make contested catches and good speed for his size with a 4.49 40 yard dash. However, one key issue has plagued Williams during his NFL career – consistency. As a result, Williams has largely been available in fantasy league waiver wires, with managers concerned about what numbers they’ll get from week to week. So for in 2020, the narrative has only solidified. Here are the game stats for Williams’ three productive games in 2020:

                                    5 catches, 99 yards, 1 TD

                                    5 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs

                                    4 catches, 69 yards, 0 TDs

                        And for his three clunkers:

                                    1 catch, 4 yards, 0 TDs

                                    1 catch, 17 yards, 0 TDs

                                    2 catches, 14 yards, 0 TDs

Couldn’t be more feast or famine. At this point, this is Williams as an NFL player – an incredibly talented potential game changer, but also liable to disappear for several games. So what should you do with Williams? I think he has a specific role – if you are facing a tough matchup and need a roll-of-the-dice, high upside play, give Williams a start. Otherwise, look for another option, as it’s just too problematic to have an extreme boom-bust player starting for you on a frequent basis. Expect significant volatility to continue in the coming weeks. 

Rapid Fire Pickups 

Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been featured above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.

QB: Drew Lock, DEN (@ ATL)

RB: JaMycal Hasty, SF (vs GB)

RB: La’Mical Perine, NYJ (vs NE)

WR: Sterling Shepard, NYG (@ WAS)

WR: Darnell Mooney, CHI: (@ TEN)

TE: Eric Ebron, PIT: (@ DAL)