It’s officially November and winter hit big-time in Week 8 of the NFL, in turn creating storylines for days in the fantasy football world ahead of the 1 PM kickoff on Sunday. As Scott Hanson of NFL RedZone appropriately declared, the early-afternoon play around the league was “wild, wet, and windy,” making offenses wary of the big play early on.
For the first time in several weeks, the NFL shifted schedules for zero games due to COVID-19 ahead of the Sunday slate of football. Of course, we have all the relevant Week 8 action summarized in today’s fantasy football wrapup. As usual, rankings are stated as of Monday morning; i.e. they do not take Monday Night Football into account.
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Quarterbacks & Wide Receivers that bounced back
Quarterbacks around the league had trouble making the fantasy headlines in Week 7 but balled out for their owners in Week 8 to make this list.
- Coming off a season-worst fantasy game in the Denver snow in Week 7, Patrick Mahomes was back to his evil ways toying around with the New York Jets. He passed exactly 31/42 for the second time in the season and threw for a season-high 416 yards and season-high 5 touchdowns to four different receivers (Tyreek Hill scored twice). He did not turn the ball over and finished as the QB1 of the week as several may have expected. It is noteworthy that the push pass continued to be Patrick’s best friend as a touchdown to Mecole Hardman resulted from a touch pass and an underhand scoop found Travis Kelce entering the end zone.
Mahomes is really one of a kind. This underhand throw 😱
(via @Chiefs) pic.twitter.com/12vHKM20o9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 1, 2020
The Chiefs offense continues to use all their weapons with such versatility; given health, Mahomes is in no danger of being fantasy-obscure any time soon.
- After the Detroit Lions’ Week 5 bye, Matthew Stafford hadn’t thrown more than one touchdown in a game — until Week 8 Sunday. Against the potent defense of the Indianapolis Colts, the Lions fell severely behind, thanks to two Stafford turnovers, including his 22nd career pick-6. As a result, the Lions spammed their passing game to carry Stafford owners into a solid performance.
The storyline, however, was that the biggest beneficiaries may have surprised some. Kenny Golladay, the usual suspect for pacing the Lions offense, was held to 0 fantasy points and in the third quarter, he was done for the game due to a hip injury. Instead, Marvin Hall led the team in receiving with 113 yards on 4 catches and Marvin Jones Jr. continued his manhandling of secondaries with Xavier Rhodes by scoring two touchdowns despite the low volume of 3 catches for 39 yards. It was Hall’s first game of 2020 with more than 1 reception and Jones’ second and third touchdowns of the season.
Stafford finished the game with a 57.1% completion rate (tied for a season-low), 336 yards (4 yards short of a season-high), 3 touchdowns (tied for a season-high), and a fantasy performance that was good for a season-high in most scoring formats. He finished as the QB4 of the week.
- In Week 7 against the Cardinals, DK Metcalf went viral due to his chase-down of Budda Baker but took a fantasy backseat to Tyler Lockett. In Week 8, I picked Lockett as my WR hate pick and told you to look out for a big bounceback from Metcalf. Indeed, Metcalf was Russell Wilson‘s man early against the San Francisco 49ers. Before halftime, Metcalf surpassed 100 yards on 6 catches, two of which ended in touchdowns.
DK Metcalf with a grown man TD catch 😤
2 TDs in the first half already
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 1, 2020
Metcalf finished the game with 12 catches and 161 yards, both season highs, and through Week 8, he is tied for the NFL lead in receiving touchdowns with 7. Metcalf was also the #1 PPR WR of Week 8. He continues his insane second-year campaign as a legitimate fantasy WR1. If healthy, he should never be benched.
- Nobody who actually sets their fantasy football lineup started Nick Mullens, the San Francisco 49ers backup. However, on the benches of many deep QB league teams, Mullens came in for the injured/benched Jimmy Garoppolo in a blowout and passed the daylights out of the ball in an attempt at the miracle comeback. After entering the game at the start of the fourth quarter, Mullens threw for 238 yards and a season-high 2 touchdowns and did not turn the ball over. Should Garoppolo’s health be in further question moving forward, Mullens could start Week 9 against the Green Pay Packers, a storyline to keep an eye on if you are in need of a quarterback in a deep league.
- In the biggest successful comeback of the day, Drew Lock, who couldn’t get the ball moving for a majority of today’s contest at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, put the Broncos on his back and threw for 3 touchdowns, all in the second half. He also threw for 248 yards and turned the ball over only once. His last play of the game came with 1 second left on the clock when he threw a touchdown pass to K.J. Hamler to set up the eventual game-winner for Denver. Lock finished the game as the QB7 of the week. He faces the troubled secondary of the Atlanta Falcons next in Week 9.
DREW LOCK THROWS THE GAME-WINNING TD! 🚨
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 2, 2020
- The rookie storyline of the day was via the southpaw, Tua Tagovailoa, who made his first NFL start for the Miami Dolphins in Week 8 against the Los Angeles Rams. Despite earning the win in his first NFL start, Tagovailoa did not get to showcase his talent or be fantasy-relevant, partially because the Miami defense used 3 defensive/special team touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 sacks to become the #1 D/ST of Week 8.
In fact, on Tagovailoa’s first drive of the day, he fumbled the ball for his first NFL turnover. He finished the day passing 12/22 for only 93 yards and threw one touchdown to DeVante Parker. The 3-yard touchdown was Parker’s only reception of the day.
- Meanwhile, with the Dolphins getting ahead early, it was a passing game early for Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. Naturally, this made for a field day for Cooper Kupp, but the even bigger day from a Rams wideout came from Robert Woods, who bounced back from a Week 7 stinker against the Bears to put up season-high fantasy production. Woods finished the day with 7 catches on 8 targets, tallied 94 scrimmage yards, and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). Kupp finished with 110 receiving yards and 11 catches on 21 targets, all career highs, but he did not find the end zone. Woods and Kupp finished as the PPR WR3 and WR8 of the week, respectively.
Rockin’ Running Backs
With injury concerns surrounding several of the league’s fantasy-relevant running backs, the top running backs of Week 8 looked a little different than previously anticipated. Here are the big names of the Sunday slate.
- In my loves and hates for the week, I previewed the Chargers backfield as a situation to stay from, primarily highlighting the mysterious workload split of Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. Little did we know that Joshua Kelley would end up being the RB4… of the Chargers in Week 8.In the absence of Austin Ekeler, Anthony Lynn used the services of both of the suspected candidates but also Gabe Nabers and Troymaine Pope. Here’s a look at how each of them fared on Sunday. Jackson and Pope finished as the PPR RB10 and RB15 of the week, respectively. It remains to be seen if members of the backfield other than Justin Jackson will continue to get fantasy-relevant work. Coach Lynn, we need answers.
Chargers Backfield Rushing Receiving Justin Jackson 17 carries, 89 yards 3 catches, 53 yards Troymaine Pope 10 carries, 67 yards 5 catches, 28 yards Gabe Nabers 0 carries, 0 yards 1 catch, 2 yards, 1 TD Joshua Kelley 7 carries, 32 yards 1 catch, -7 yards
- With the amount of draft stock set on rookie Jonathan Taylor, the Indianapolis Colts utilized two other running backs to top the PPR charts instead. Nyheim Hines rushed only 5 times for a measly 8 yards but was big in the passing game, where he made three catches for 54 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jordan Wilins, who got more than one touch for the first time since Week 4, carried the ball 20 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also sprinkled in a 24-yard reception. Hines and Wilkins finished as the RB5 and RB6 of the week, respectively, while Jonathan Taylor carried the ball 11 times but still wasn’t fantasy-relevant as he only cashed in 31 scrimmage yards and did not find the end zone. Taylor’s volume has been consistent enough to encourage owners into imagining a decent floor but the Colts face the tough Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, so the backfield could be the subject of a shady storyline going forward.
👏🏾💯 so impressive https://t.co/3IWLOi9M45
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) November 2, 2020
- The Seattle Seahawks backfield was a fantasy headache for active owners on Sunday, naming Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde as questionables until very late on Sunday afternoon. As gametime decisions, Carson and Hyde were both ruled out, leaving Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas as the only running backs available against the San Francisco 49ers. Indeed, behind the big day of DK Metcalf, the Seahawks offense was able to move the ball well and the running back beneficiary of that performance was DeeJay Dallas.
Coming into Week 8, Dallas touched the ball a total of 6 times on the season. On Sunday, he carried the ball 18 times and made 5 catches for a total of 58 yards. While that efficiency was far from elite and he even botched a run play at the end zone, he redeemed himself and got the job done with a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown. The expectation is that Chris Carson will have the job back in Week 9 but if Carson’s health continues to be a concern going forward, Dallas could be in the mix for some help in the backfield. He finished as the PPR RB4 of the week.
- The AFC East matchup of the Buffalo Bills and the reeling New England Patriots featured two of the game’s most mobile quarterbacks in Josh Allen and Cam Newton but the rushing storyline of the game was with the teams’ running backs.
The Bills’ backfield has been, overall, underwhelming. Devin Singletary has been the volume man but his production hasn’t matched the potential. He came into the game with only 1 touchdown on the season. The natural question? Where is rookie Zack Moss? Moss was barely fantasy-relevant in only two games coming into this weekend — Week 1 against the New York Jets and Week 7 against the New York Jets. Naturally, several fantasy owners started doubting his existence against other teams but those who stuck by Moss saw results against the clusterdump that is the New England Patriots defensive situation, especially with their stars missing. Moss carried the ball a season-high 14 times and cashed in a season-high 81 yards. The 5.8 yards per rush was refreshing to see but he topped it all off with 2 rushing touchdowns and finished as the PPR RB7 of the week.
Meanwhile on the other side, Damien Harris was the lead back for the New England Patriots. He had his second 100-yard game of the season, rushing for 102 yards on 16 carries. He also found the end zone for the first time on the season to finish as the PPR RB11 of the week. Harris has been efficient in his limited work with the Patriots this season. In Week 8, he rushed at a pace of 6.4 yards per carry; that proves to be a good sign for a Patriots team that will likely need him to be productive to do their job against the New York Jets in Week 9.
- In Week 2, it was Aaron Jones. In Week 3, it was Alvin Kamara. In Week 6, it was Derrick Henry. In Week 8, it was Dalvin Cook, who went ballistic and, in some scoring settings, accomplished the rare 50-bomb.
Until Saturday, it was uncertain whether Cook would be healthy enough to start for the Minnesota Vikings and he was listed as questionable as late as Saturday evening. He showed up to play, and boy did he show up for his fantasy owners.
In an NFC North upset of the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings’ game plan was clearly to work through their star running back. Cook carried the ball a season-high 30 times for 163 yards and caught two passes that he turned into big gains for 63 yards total. He found the end zone four times (3 rushing touchdowns plus his first receiving touchdown of the season). Cook, when healthy, will continue to be a clear-cut RB1 and he is our spotlight player of the week.
Other Stories to Eyeball
There were a couple of other players who quietly had performances that fantasy football players should keep a close eye on.
- As part of the 49ers’ attempt to play from behind and work the passing game, Brandon Aiyuk had his second straight solid fantasy performance. He was targeted a season-high 11 times and made a season-high 8 catches for 91 yards and scored his fourth touchdown of the season (second receiving). He now has 206 yards on 14 catches in the last two games. The 49ers face the Green Bay Packers next with their quarterback situation still in a bit of a limbo.
- Travis Fulgham continues to be a fantasy superstar. On Sunday Night Football, despite the return of Jalen Reagor (3 catches, 22 scrimmage yards, 1 touchdown), Fulgham scored his fourth touchdown of the season in just his fifth game and totaled 78 yards on 6 catches (7 targets). After the Eagles’ Week 9 bye, he is set to face the Giants, the Browns, and the Seahawks, all secondaries that can be exploited. Fulgham has turned out to be the clear #1 wide receiver in Philadelphia and a legitimate every-week WR1-WR2 start for fantasy owners.
- Corey Davis is legitimate. The former first-round draftee took a few years to build a rhythm to the passing game in Tennessee but he seems to have found it now. Despite the loss for the Titans, Davis tore up the Bengals secondary and put up his second 100-yard game of the season. He finished with 8 catches for 128 yards, both season-highs, and he scored his third touchdown of the season. He finished as the PPR WR4 of the week.
Davis will, however, face some tough defenses in the upcoming weeks as he will run into Chicago, Indianapolis twice, and Baltimore. This could be decision-time for fantasy owners — is it time to trust the volume and talent of Davis or is this a sell-high situation?
What are the biggest fantasy decisions you will have to make after Week 8? What big storylines had your eyebrows raised? It’s time for buying, selling, and making and breaking seasons.
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