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2021 Fantasy Football: Week 8 Inactives

Fantasy stars trending up, other big-names names going down. As we got two more bye weeks this week, lineup decisions become even tougher and if you don’t keep yourself up-to-date on the latest motions of injury reports, you are passing up on free edge to win your matchup. Get those situations aligned to help you make the best decisions in Week 8; welcome back to the inactives report, the tedious but vital weekend update series for fantasy football.

This series will continue to be live every Saturday morning, meaning that if brand new statuses appear later in the weekend, they are not covered here. You can also follow me on Twitter (@AhaanRungta) for more regular fantasy football discussions, including comments on injury-riddled fantasy rosters. If a game does not appear on this list, that means there is currently no current injury threat in the realm of fantasy relevance.

More fantasy football fun for Week 8: Waiver Wire | FAAB Guide | Start & Sit | Loves & Hates | Stock Watch | Sleepers & Streamers | D/ST Streamers

Week 8 NFL Inactives

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts

QUESTIONABLE: WR T.Y. Hilton, IND (quadriceps)
OUT: WR Julio Jones, TEN (hamstring)

In Week 6, veteran wideout T.Y. Hilton played in an NFL game for the first time this season. He logged only 50% of the team’s offensive snaps but was fairly productive, notching 4 receptions for 80 yards. The good news was short-lived as he has a quadricep issue that saw him miss Week 7, be out of practice on Wednesday, and record limited practice on Thursday. He is questionable for the Week 8 home game against the porous Tennessee Titans pass defense. If he were to miss the game, Michael Pittman Jr. again becomes the lead pass-catcher of the team while Jonathan Taylor would remain an automatic start as a fantasy RB1.

Meanwhile, another star wide receiver is out and it’s yet again Julio Jones, who has only participated in more than 70% of the Tennessee offensive snaps in a game twice (Weeks 1-2) this season. Jones has been unreliable for fantasy purposes this season and when he was out (Weeks 4-5) against two atrocious teams in the Jets and the Jaguars, the Titans went 1-1 and got pass-catching contributions from a wild combination of names, including wide receivers Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers, Josh Reynolds, tight end Anthony Firkser, and running back Jeremy McNichols. Unsurprisingly, in those two games, Derrick Henry was a menace on the ground, tallying 287 rushing yards on 61 attempts and 4 touchdowns.

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills

QUESTIONABLE: WR DeVante Parker, MIA (shoulder)
OUT: TE Dawson Knox, BUF (hand)

There has been very little movement for fantasy-relevant names on either of these teams. The Dolphins still see wide receiver Will Fuller V and running back Malcolm Brown sidelined due to injured reserve stints of their own. The only recently fluid situation has been DeVante Parker, who has not played a snap since Week 4 when he scored a touchdown and recorded 77 yards. Parker was reportedly looking better in practice and could return against Buffalo. While Parker has been a volume beast this season, averaging 8 targets per game in his appearances, it is unclear if his snap count will be back to normal right away. If not, he could be a name to fade against a tough Buffalo Bills defense despite his talent.

On the other side, the Bills currently stand as one of the most healthy rosters in the NFL on top of their solid on-field performance. Tight end Dawson Knox, who was piecing together a breakout season, will officially sit out for the first time this season after a hand surgery. It would be no surprise if he also misses Week 9 against an atrocious Jaguars team but his absence shouldn’t be prolonged.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets

DOUBTFUL: WR Corey Davis, NYJ (hip)
OUT: RB Chris Evans, RB (hamstring)
OUT: QB Zach Wilson, NYJ (knee)

The Bengals being fairly healthy hasn’t been a common occurrence over the last few years. But in a year that they look like legitimate contenders so far, that happens to be the case. Their only fantasy-significant injury comes from backup backup running back Chris Evans, who is really only a noteworthy fantasy name these days due to his solid performance in Week 6 when Samaje Perine was injured and his sprinkled receptions in previous weeks on limited snap opportunities.

Meanwhile, it really is the most “Jets thing” to have the only backup quarterback to a rookie be something with even less experience in the NFL. That was exactly the case last week when Mike White had to take over for an injured Zach Wilson. In a blowout loss, White still had some moments where he looked capable. He went 20/32 in the air for 202 pass yards and a touchdown but did get sacked one and intercepted twice. Wilson will now miss multiple weeks due to a PCL injury.

Lo and behold, the Jets looked to the trade market for a new backup and they turned to Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco. White will still start in Week 8 against the Bengals but Flacco could easily be the starter in Week 9 against the Colts. Meanwhile, Corey Davis, who I recently recommended benching even if healthy, was downgraded to doubtful with a hip injury.

In Davis’ absence, it really doesn’t make sense to be excited to turn to Denzel Mims and company for fantasy football relief. Instead, rookie running back Michael Carter Jr. could be in for more opportunities and could be a viable start in PPR leagues.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

QUESTIONABLE: Odell Beckham Jr., CLE (shoulder)
OUT: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE (groin)
OUT: TE Eric Ebron, PIT (hamstring)

The Steelers are a bit banged up but not heavily via any brand-new fantasy-relevant injuries. Juju Smith-Schuster was previously ruled out for the remainder of the season. Tight end Eric Ebron is now sidelined with a hamstring issue. However, that likely doesn’t affect your Week 8 starting lineup much as Ebron wasn’t lighting up the box score by any means. He has received either 2 or 3 targets in every game this season. His season-high in receptions is 2 and his season-high in receiving yards is 19. He scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 6 on a 1-yard rush.

On the other hand, the Browns are going through the whole bit with injury issues. It’s unideal already that they are without their leading pass-catcher from Week 6, Donovan Peoples-Jones, who notched a combined 9 receptions on 11 targets for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns in Weeks 5 and 6. It’s even worse that their big-name wideout Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t log a full practice this week. But it’s an outright miracle that quarterback Baker Mayfield is good to go in Week 8. 

The Browns will also be aided by their top runner Nick Chubb returning for his first NFL action since Week 5. Chubb is fully off the injury report and in the absence of Kareem Hunt, he should split work with D’Ernest Johnson and could be a go-to guy in an offense that is generally run-heavy even when their quarterback is healthy.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions

QUESTIONABLE: RB D’Andre Swift, DET (groin) / RB Jamaal Williams, DET (thigh)
OUT: RB Miles Sanders, PHI (ankle)

After logging only 17% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps in Week 7, Miles Sanders went down for the game with what looked like a serious low-ankle sprain. It’s possible he has avoided the worst-case scenario as he is not on the injured reserve yet. However, he is unsurprisingly a no-go for Week 8. In his absence, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott will split work in the backfield and if the fantasy Gods hate us, we might see some action from Jordan Howard, who has played 0 snaps this season.

Meanwhile, Detroit is actually trending in the right direction in terms of fantasy-relevant health. Tight end T.J. Hockensen, who has drawn 20 targets in his last 2 games, is off the final injury report of Week 8 and wide receiver Kalif Raymond is probably in a mentally elevated state after his quarterback Jared Goff recently compared him to superstar wideout Cooper Kupp

The only fantasy-relevant injuries from the Lions come from their backfield. If one of either D’Andre Swift or Jamaal Williams were to miss the game, the other is likely in for a high fantasy ceiling. The other running backs listed on Detroit’s depth chart are Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson, who have combined for 0 offensive snaps taken this season.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Houston Texans

OUT: WR DeSean Jackson, LAR (irrelevance)

Um, okay? With Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods leading the wide receiver room for the Rams with a force and tight end Tyler Higbee contributing in a solid role to the offense, the boom/bust deep ball-dependent veteran DeSean Jackson is essentially fantasy-irrelevant but in deep leagues, if you are still rostering him, he isn’t worth a look until his request to be traded is honored. Even then, it will be tough for Jackson to find relevance in your fantasy football roster. In most leagues, Jackson is a strong drop candidate.

New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers

QUESTIONABLE: WR Kendrick Bourne, NE (shoulder) / TE Jonnu Smith, NE (shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Austin Ekeler, LAC (hip)

In typical Bill Belichick fashion, the Patriots have a whopping 30 members of the roster on the injury report. Cutting it down to the most obvious fantasy relevance for you, deep-league FLEX option Kendrick Bourne is banged up but expected to play. Bourne has been impressive when targeted recently and has recorded 5 receptions on 6 targets for 143 receiving yards and a touchdown over his last two games. Meanwhile, tight end Jonnu Smith continues being limited in practice over the week. If he is again used minimally in Week 8, Hunter Henry is a candidate to score a touchdown for a fifth straight game in a “revenge game” against his former team, the Chargers.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are low on quantity on the latest injury report but the development of Austin Ekeler on this list later on in the week is a game-changer for fantasy lineups. The team is reportedly hopeful that Ekeler can suit up in the Week 8 matchup against New England at home despite being sore after practice. After Ekeler, the Chargers’ depth chart at running back is a scramble between Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson, and Larry Rountree III

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks

QUESTIONABLE: RB Alex Collins, SEA (groin)

Big-time fantasy names on both teams remain out due to prolonged injuries, including Seattle staples Russell Wilson and Chris Carson and Jaguars speedster D.J. Chark. The only new development here is the new head runner of the Seahawks, Alex Collins. On Thursday, Collins was a non-participant at practice but made a soft appearance on Friday, trending in the direction of being able to play on Sunday. In a low-scoring, muggy Monday Night Football game in Week 7, Collins saw only 39% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps but touched the ball 17 times.

If he were to miss the game or be held down in workload, picking between Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas, and Travis Homer in the Seattle backfield would be a headache fantasy managers should simply avoid. Rostering those backups in deep leagues is fine if Collins were to miss time but none should be started if you care at all about your team having a justifiable floor entering Week 8.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints

QUESTIONABLE: TE Rob Gronkowski, TB (ribs)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Deonte Harris, NO (hamstring)
OUT: WR Antonio Brown, TB (ankle)

The defending Super Bowl champions have been scuffling with health this season and that continues with Antonio Brown being seen on crutches at practice this week. It is unclear if Brown will be able to return after the Buccaneers’ Week 9 bye. Meanwhile, tight end Rob Gronkowski is trending upwards and could play for the first time since Week 3. The situation should be monitored and if Gronkowski starts, he could be a start for your lineup at the crapshoot of a position that is tight end. If he were to miss another game, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are proven candidates to catch passes from Tom Brady and should hold up fine with their workload.

Speaking of wide receivers, the Saints have themselves an interesting name in Deonte Harris, who was very much fantasy-relevant prior to getting injured after a 72-yard touchdown catch in Week 5. The Saints had a bye in Week 5 but Harris wasn’t ready to come back right away. His hamstring injury leaves him with a questionable designation for Week 8 entering the weekend. Already a boom/bust player due to being reliant on the big play, his availability might end up being irrelevant to your fantasy lineup since you shouldn’t necessarily trust him to produce even if he plays.

Finally, it is noteworthy that the Saints just traded for veteran running back Mark Ingram and he is expected to get some game action right away. With Alvin Kamara leading the backfield, Ingram is clearly not a strong start, but the situation is worth noting. 

Washington Football Team vs. Denver Broncos

IN: RB Antonio Gibson, WSH (shin)
POSSIBLY IN: WR Jerry Jeudy, DEN (ankle)

This is what we love to see—an injury report where instead of reporting brand new setbacks to fantasy stars, we simply note the upward trends. For the first time this season, our inactives report has a separate section for players who are now in. For the first time in five weeks, running back Antonio Gibson, a first-rounder for most redraft fantasy leagues, is not on the injury report for the Washington Football Team. Whether that spells the beginning of the revenge tour in 2021 for him remains to be seen but it is encouraging to see that the 23-year-old is entering a game without serious concern about his shin injury.

Speaking of young studs, 22-year-old Jerry Jeudy has been sidelined since Week 2 but is trending towards his return in Week 8 against the poor Washington secondary. He is not officially a full-go and is still on the injured reserve, meaning owners must keep tabs on the injury news. If Jeudy is back, there is still no guarantee he will be a full participant rather than just a decoy that will be eased in. For that reason, Tim Patrick is still someone you should hold, especially in deeper leagues. Courtland Sutton also notably makes it as my wide receiver Love of the Week

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

QUESTIONABLE: QB Dak Prescott, DAL (calf)

Only one fantasy-relevant name with a fluid status for this Sunday Night Football game but oh boy—it’s a big one. Start quarterback Dak Prescott is dealing with a calf injury that limited him in practice on Friday and got him sore. If Prescott is a no-go for this game, Cooper Rush would start at quarterback and all Cowboys offensive players should be downgraded in value. If you are a Prescott owner, you must keep an eye on his ability to start the game and if there is still no movement on his status, you should find another quarterback to start for you instead just in case. Go pick one of them up if you haven’t already; in fact, my quarterback Love of the Week, Daniel Jones, plays on Monday and he might be available on the waiver wire in your league!

New York Giants vs. Kansas City Chiefs

QUESTIONABLE: RB Saquon Barkley, NYG (ankle) / WR Kadarius Toney, NYG (ankle) / WR Kenny Golladay, NYG (knee) / WR Sterling Shepard, NYG (hamstring)

I felt some pain in my body simply reporting the injuries still floating around in the Giants team bus. The only fluctuating fantasy injury situations come from the playmakers of the Giants and all of them are weak starts headed into Week 8. Instead of waiting for statuses on Monday Night Football, all four of these fantasy-relevant names should be completely avoided unless they are listed as a full-go prior to Sunday afternoon games.

Week 8 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Kicker | D/ST | PPR | Flex

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