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James Gilbert/Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 8 Fantasy: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

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Treat of the Week: Dak Prescott (v CHI)

An offensive explosion didn’t happen in Prescott’s return to the lineup, but he was very efficient by completing 19-of-25 passes, and the Dallas running game having success last week should only open things up through the air. Chicago is quietly allowing the third-fewest passing yards per game in the league (180.3) and just a 5:8 touchdown-interception ratio on the season, but they’ve played a very favorable schedule. I’d start Prescott as a strong QB1 option.


Treat: Daniel Jones (@ SEA)

The rushing production for Jones—coming off a game with 11 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown—makes him a weekly consideration for fantasy lineups, and he has a good chance of staying hot versus a Seattle defense that’s been run on by Taysom Hill (112 yards and three touchdowns) and Kyler Murray (ten carries for 100 yards) already this month. As the overall QB9 on the season, Jones should be viewed as a top-12 option.


Treat: Jimmy Garoppolo (@ LAR)

While a matchup versus the Rams might not seem great, Garoppolo has the weapons needed to put up numbers once again with Christian McCaffrey set for a bigger role after a full week of integration into Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and the recent play of Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle will make San Francisco even tougher to defend. Jimmy G can be a high-end QB2 with 284.0 passing yards per game and multiple scores in each of the past three weeks, and Los Angeles has guys that can be attacked aside from Jalen Ramsey on the backend.


Treat: Tom Brady (v BAL)

At this point, fantasy owners are likely tired of waiting for Brady to put up numbers with almost two months of action in the books, but there are signs to be encouraged about. First, TB12 is averaging 308.0 passing yards per game during the current 1-4 stretch for Tampa Bay, and he’s not thrown an interception over that span—so touchdowns are really all that’s missing. Also, it’s the greatest quarterback of all-time we’re talking about here, and I could see Tampa Bay breaking out of the slump with a huge performance on Thursday night. I’d still roll with the 45-year-old as a midrange QB1.


Trick of the Week: Aaron Rodgers (@ BUF)

The difference between Green Bay and Tampa Bay is that the Packers don’t all seem to be on the same page regarding how to fix things—and a trip to face the Bills in Buffalo probably won’t be what gets Rodgers back on track. In addition to general struggles for the offense, it sounds like Allen Lazard (shoulder) may not suit up on Sunday night, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Rodgers came out flat in primetime to almost subconsciously show he needs another weapon before next Tuesday’s trade deadline.


Trick: Matthew Stafford (v SF)

San Francisco has some injuries that might make them an easier matchup for Stafford than the first meeting this season, but the Rams won’t have left tackle Joe Noteboom (Achilles)—which could result in a long day of Nick Bosa and company living in the backfield. Dating back to last season, Stafford has thrown for 245.0 yards per game with a 4:5 touchdown-interception ratio in three regular season matchups versus the Niners (all losses). He’s a middling QB2 option.


Trick: Russell Wilson (@ JAX)

Wilson and his “Wolverine blood” will try to get on the field in London after missing Week 7 with a hamstring injury, but how effective can he be at least than 100% considering the lack of success for Denver’s offense to begin with? While Jacksonville has struggled in coverage, I’m worried about their pass rush coming alive across the pond—making Wilson a very low-floor option if he suits up this weekend.


Trick: Justin Fields (@ DAL)

I agree with ESPN’s Troy Aikman about a performance like Fields and the Bears had on Monday night potentially being something that lifts them for the future. However, the Cowboys are one of the last opponents you would want to face to keep the momentum going, and Dan Quinn’s defense might be able to get after Fields following a win over the Lions in which they sacked Jared Goff five times and forced five turnovers. The second-year quarterback could disappoint for those that chase the Week 7 numbers.


Running back


Treat of the Week: Travis Etienne Jr. (v DEN)

Etienne has been a buy-low target for us all season, and now fantasy owners that acquired him or stuck with him will be rewarded with a clear feature role—which already had started to be the case in recent weeks with 113.7 total yards per game and 8.0 yards per carry over the past three games. There is still room to improve as a pass-catcher, but getting the goal-line work with James Robinson gone is reason enough to make Etienne a weekly high-end, high-upside RB2.


Treat: Devin Singletary (v GB)

Key offseason additions for Green Bay have yet to yield an improved run defense, as they’re allowing the sixth-most rushing yards per game in the NFL (139.6) and a healthy 4.7 yards per carry through seven weeks. Singletary was featured with 21 touches in the biggest game of the year for Buffalo (a win over Kansas City before the bye), and hopefully the workload remains high for a rested squad that has higher expectations than an October win over an AFC rival.


Treat: Raheem Mostert (@ DET)

The Miami offense has struggled in recent weeks, but Mostert’s workloads—with touch totals of 17, 19, 15, and 20 over the past four games—puts him squarely into the RB2 ranks against a Detroit defense that’s allowed the second-most rushing yards per game (162.8) and rushing touchdowns (12) in the league. Head coach Mike McDaniel clearly prioritizes that speed Mostert brings to the backfield, and he can be started for as long as he remains healthy.


Treat: Damien Harris (@ NYJ)

I find it hard to believe the Patriots will set Harris aside after he—prior to his recent hamstring injury—had 18 touchdowns in 18 games dating back to last year, and Monday night could be more of an outlier for the entire offense than anything else. Last season, Harris rushed 30 times for 168 yards (5.6 YPC) and two touchdowns in two matchups against the Jets, and he’s likely getting overlooked as a low-end RB2 option based on one game.


Trick of the Week: AJ Dillon (@ BUF)

Dillon looked to be on his way to a monster season after combining for 45 rushing yards, 46 receiving yards, and a touchdown in the opener, but he’s totaled 34 receiving yards, averaged 3.8 yards per carry, and hasn’t found the end zone since. The Bills jumping out to a big lead would put Dillon in danger of another low-floor game, and he might be best avoided outside of tremendous matchups until Green Bay finds their groove on offense.


Trick: Gus Edwards (@ TB)

The season debut for Edwards went as well as fantasy owners could have hoped—as he started and turned 16 carries into 66 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Browns. That said, he’ll now face a determined Tampa Bay defense on the road, and it’s possible the workload dips some just five days after his first appearance of the year. Edwards is a touchdown-dependent FLEX that many might be counting on for RB2 production on Thursday night.


Trick: James Robinson (v NE)

From a long-term perspective, Robinson landed in an excellent spot as the probable starter behind a strong running team that needs to replace Breece Hall’s production. For at least this week, though, Robinson should play second fiddle to Michael Carter, and I’d be shocked if the Patriots didn’t come in ready to stop the run. The former undrafted star can be left on the bench for Week 8.


Trick: Tyler Allgeier (v CAR)

Allgeier scored his first career touchdowns last week, and he’s started in each of the past three games with Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) out of the lineup. Still, he’s only averaged 3.3 yards per carry as the starter, and the rookie will now face a hard-playing Panthers defense with Damien Williams (ribs) potentially set to return. I’d rather play one of the Carolina running backs in the same game.


Wide receiver


Treat of the Week: Rashod Bateman (@ TB)

Bateman could be ruled out later today to make this a pointless write-up, but I’m holding out hope that he was held out of practice on Tuesday as more of a rest day than any setback with his foot. If so, Bateman could be primed for a big night versus a Tampa Bay defense that will be without three starters in the secondary, and I have him as a low-end WR2 option because of the trust Lamar Jackson has in him as his top wideout for a possible high-scoring affair.


Treat: Adam Thielen (v ARI)

We haven’t gotten a huge performance from Thielen so far this season, but he’s seen at least seven targets in each of the past five games, and the bye week could have the veteran coming out fresh for Minnesota and fantasy owners. Thielen—who has scored in each of the past three matchups versus Arizona—has a good chance of finding the end zone for what could be a shootout (last year was a 34-33 victory for the Cardinals).


Treat: D.J. Moore (@ ATL)

Moore was on the same page with PJ Walker last week by catching seven-of-ten targets for 69 yards and a touchdown, so I like his chances of keeping it going versus an Atlanta team allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Terrace Marshall Jr. (86% snaps played last week) is also worth considering in deeper leagues as the Falcons struggle on the backend with Casey Hayward (shoulder) on injured reserve.


Treat: Marquise Goodwin (v NYG)

DK Metcalf (knee) is a guy that might successfully push to play despite being carted off last week, but if not, Goodwin will be a worthwhile add-and-start option as the No. 2 target for Geno Smith. The veteran speedster is coming off perhaps his best game as a pro (4/67/2) and should see single coverage across from Tyler Lockett with New York needing to stack the box versus Ken Walker III.


Others: Darnell Mooney (@ DAL), Isaiah McKenzie (v GB)


Trick of the Week: Michael Pittman Jr. (v WAS)

Down to 10.8 yards per reception and just one touchdown on the season, Pittman has relied on volume to retain WR2 value—but now that could be drained a bit with Sam Ehlinger taking over for Matt Ryan at quarterback to operate what I believe will be a more run-heavy attack. If still viewed as a borderline WR1/WR2 by your league, it might be a good idea to sell Pittman due to the uncertainty, as there is a chance Ehlinger simply has a better early connection with other targets.


Trick: Courtland Sutton (@ JAX)

It’s sounding increasingly likely that Russell Wilson will suit up on Sunday, so Sutton’s outlook is more favorable than it would have been with Brett Rypien under center. But as stated, there are concerns about the Jaguars dominating up front to ruin Plan A for Denver’s offense, and Wilson not having time to find Sutton downfield would be an obvious hit to his ceiling. With a combined 37 scoreless yards over the past two games, Sutton is more of a FLEX than WR2.


Trick: Drake London (v CAR)

Another pass-catcher with recent struggles, London has totaled ten receptions for 101 yards and zero touchdowns in four October games—completely cooling off after an encouraging start to his career. Now, this year’s No. 8 overall pick will have a matchup versus last year’s No. 8 overall pick Jaycee Horn, and there isn’t much reason to believe Atlanta will suddenly open up the passing attack for what could be a low-scoring game. London is barely hanging inside the top 36 at the position.


Trick: DeVante Parker (@ NYJ)

The New England wideouts are in a tough spot facing the stingy New York secondary this week, but Parker gets the toughest draw of them all as the most likely candidate to draw coverage from Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Ahmad Gardner. Not even knowing who the starting quarterback will be is just another negative factor for Week 8, so Parker should stay out of lineups.


Others: George Pickens (@ PHI), Garrett Wilson (v NE)


Tight end


Treat of the Week: Mike Gesicki (@ DET)

The production was limited last Sunday night (three receptions for 27 yards), but Gesicki saw seven targets for the second week in a row, and he’s always a threat to have a big game as a monster tight end that can threaten opponents down the seam and in scoring territory. I have him as a top-eight option with the Lions allowing 52+ receiving yards to opposing tight ends in every game this year.


Treat: Irv Smith Jr. (v ARI)

One of the only teams worse than Detroit at defending opposing tight ends is the Cardinals—as shown last week when they allowed three touchdowns to Juwan Johnson and Taysom Hill. A solid 5.4 targets per game since the opener makes Smith a somewhat stable option coming off the bye week, and he’s also been a factor in scoring territory entering a possible shootout.


Treat: Cade Otton (v BAL)

Cameron Brate (concussion) is out again for Tampa Bay, so Otton—after four receptions for 64 yards last week—should again be a full-time player in a Tom Brady-led offense. The Ravens aren’t as bad against enemy tight ends as they were in 2021, but they’ve still allowed double-digit fantasy points to the position in four-of-seven games. Otton is an upside TE2 that’s also shown a nice floor.


Trick of the Week: Dalton Schultz (v CHI)

Schultz returned to the lineup last week and caught all five of his passes for 49 yards, but Dallas getting their two rookies both involved has hurt his ceiling—as both Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot have scored over the past two games. At less than 100% dealing with a sprained PCL, Schultz drops outside the top 15 at tight end with the Bears allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position.


Trick: Tyler Conklin (v NE)

The good news for Conklin is that he was up to six targets in Week 6 after a couple of very quiet games in a row, but it resulted in just 22 scoreless yards. Maybe the loss of Breece Hall will lead to Conklin getting involved like he was early in the season, but I wouldn’t count on it with quite a few decent streaming options looking to be available for this week.


Trick: Foster Moreau (@ NO)

Darren Waller (hamstring) not being particularly close to playing against the Texans could mean another start for Moreau this week—and he’s shown a quality floor with three receptions in each of his past three games. That said, the Saints continue to be stout versus opposing tight ends (two receptions for Zach Ertz last week), and Las Vegas might be able to attack outside the numbers based on how the perimeter coverage has fared for New Orleans.