Stars of Week 8
QB: Tom Brady, TB: 28-40, 375 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
RB: Michael Carter, NYJ: 15 carries, 77 yards, 1 TD (9 catches, 95 yards, 0 TDs)
WR: AJ Brown, TEN: 10 catches, 155 yards, 1 TD
TE: Pat Freiermuth, PIT: 4 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD
Tom Brady had fabulous fantasy statistics in the loss against the Saints, but he didn’t play his best of games. Brady threw for 4 TDs and 375 yards (awesome!), but was picked twice and also lost a fumble (very bad). But as you know, fantasy football rewards the good much more than it penalizes the bad. So Brady takes the award for most impactful fantasy QB for the week.
Jets’ rookie RB Michael Carter has slowly pushed his way into lineups, flashing this past Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Carter led the team in both rushing and receiving, and we’ll take a closer look at him below.
It took a while for AJ Brown szn to arrive, but no need to wait any longer – it’s here. Brown reeled in 10 receptions for 155 yards, finding the end zone once against the Colts. Brown’s back to weekly WR1, retaining his must-start status.
Tight ends had a very quiet week, so we’ll give the nod to rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth. The Penn State product has seen an uptick in targets the last few weeks, and he makes for an interesting flier if you’re in need of a TE in deep leagues.
Week 8 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
Taysom Hill, QB – NO: Did not play
Analysis: Alright, so I’m cheating a bit by diving into a player who didn’t play in week 8. Taysom Hill will have a key role moving forward, however, so we’ll start here. In case you missed the news, the New Orleans Saints lost starting QB Jameis Winston to a torn ACL. Backup QB Trevor Siemian played valiantly in Winston’s place, pacing the team to a victory over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. While Siemian deserves kudos for keeping the ship afloat, Hill will step into the starting role moving forward. Long a favorite of coach Sean Payton, Hill was in the concussion protocol this past weekend, but he should be ready to go this coming week. In the four games in 2020 in which Hill played meaningful minutes, he posted the following fantasy scores using standard scoring: 20.94, 25.58, 19.52 and 26.22. Those are most definitely QB1 numbers, largely supported by his rushing prowess and nose for the end zone. For anyone needing a QB, now’s a chance to make a meaningful add to your team. Hill’s a poor NFL quarterback, but he’s an above average fantasy QB. That’s how important rushing stats are for QBs in the fantasy game. You know what to do here.
Boston Scott, RB – PHI: 12 carries, 60 yards, 2 TDs
Jordan Howard, RB – PHI: 12 carries, 57 yards, 2 TDs
Kenneth Gainwell, RB – PHI: 13 carries, 27 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: With starting RB Miles Sanders hitting injured reserve, the Eagles’ rushing game had carries aplenty to be distributed. Contrary to what many expected, the Eagles employed a tripartite process against the hapless Detroit Lions, with each of RBs Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard sharing carries. Add QB Jalen Hurts’ 7 carries, and you’re left with a village effort. The snap count among the RBs, however, gleans additional key information. Per PFF, Scott led the group with 29 snaps, followed by Gainwell at 20 and Howard at 16. Unfortunately for Gainwell, a large portion of his snaps came in the second half, when the game was out of hand. Also problematic for Gainwell, note that Scott ran more routes in the passing game (9) compared to Gainwell (6). This throws the notion that Gainwell holds the passing down RB role into doubt. You typically won’t see the Eagles with 44 rushing attempts (including Hurts’ carries) in games, as they won’t be facing the Lions every week! In more competitive games, expect RB carries to shade towards Scott as the lead option. Howard will mix in as well as a red zone option, which makes him boom or bust. So while Sanders is out, Scott’s the RB to own as a higher end RB3 / flex option. Gainwell can be dropped, and Howard has value in TD dependent leagues.
Michael Carter, RB – NYJ: 15 carries, 77 yards, 1 TD (9 catches, 95 yards, 0 TDs)
Analysis: The New York Jets have blown up survivor brackets in multiple weeks now, starting with their defeat to the Tennessee Titans a few weeks back, and now with their timely upset of the upstart Cincinnati Bengals. Even more impressive, the Jets’ won with backup QB Mike White at the helm. Perhaps that’s more of an indictment of rookie starting QB Zach Wilson, but that’s a conversation for another time. On a promising note, fellow rookie Michael Carter has started to make hay the last few weeks. The fourth round pick out of North Carolina has solidified the RB spot for the Jets, showing his talent against the Bengals with 77 yards and a TD over 15 carries. But wait, there’s more…Carter also served as a safety valve for this QB, with 9 receptions for 95 yards. Carter’s calling card from college was his versatility and quickness, with good hands and awareness in the passing game. Carter has now scored rushing TDs in three of the last four games, and consider this game as the official game where Carter seized control of the Jets’ RB position. Per PFF Carter outsnapped Ty Johnson by a 59 to 24 count, which included 32 routes run in the passing game. The Jets will be trailing in most games, so Carter’s role in the passing game allows him to maintain his fantasy value. Consider him a high end RB3 / flex option moving forward.
Van Jefferson, WR – LAR: 3 catches, 88 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: The Los Angeles Rams boast one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league. WR Cooper Kupp has ascended into a top 3 fantasy WR, while WR Robert Woods has returned back to WR2 status after a quiet start of the season. While Kupp and Woods rightfully garner most of the attention, second year WR Van Jefferson has quietly emerged in his own right. Jefferson caught 3 passes for 88 yards versus the Texans, showing why DeSean Jackson had become expendable. Through 8 games, Jefferson has 392 yards receiving and 3 TDs, while averaging over 16 yards per reception. Does anyone remember former Ram Willie “Flipper” Anderson? There are some similarities in their profiles, particularly with the penchant for deeper, downfield passes. Jefferson has run hot and cold from a fantasy perspective, as he has four games in which he’s scored more than 10 points (per 0.5 PPR scoring), along with three games where he’s been under 3.5 points. So, Jefferson’s game comes with plenty of hit or miss, unfortunately. Because of this inconsistency, Jefferson should be viewed as a WR4, which makes him usable in deeper leagues and as a bye week fill-in. But if you’re in a pinch, give Jefferson a look against weaker passing defenses. The Tennessee Titans are up next on the schedule, and they qualify as a mouthwatering defense for WRs to face. Jefferson can help you out if you need a WR next week, especially in a non-PPR league.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case a player 1) who has NOT been featured above, and 2) remains available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (vs HOU)
RB: Adrian Peterson, TEN and Jeremy McNichols (@ LAR)
RB: Mark Ingram, NO (vs ATL)
WR: Darnell Mooney, CHI (@PIT)
WR: Brandon Aiyuk, SF (vs ARI)
TE: Tyler Conklin, MIN (@ BAL)
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