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AP Photo/David Becker

Week 8 Fantasy: “Trick Or Treat”


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Quarterback

 

Treat of the Week: Daniel Jones (@ KC)

Jones hasn’t been a great fantasy options over the past couple of weeks, but don’t overlook him heading into a potential shootout against the Chiefs on Monday night. Remember, the former No. 6 overall pick torched New Orleans earlier this season with 402 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in a 27-21 victory, and Kansas City will be a similar opponent in that they play a ton of man coverage. Getting all the weapon healthy would help, but I like Jones as a QB1 either way.

 

Treat: Trevor Lawrence (@ SEA)

Although he only has one multi-touchdown game to begin his career (and it came in a blowout loss to open the year), Lawrence has played better football recently, and I expect he’ll build on the London win starting this week in Seattle. One strong defensive effort by the Seahawks doesn’t create enough pause to be worried about them as a matchup, and Lawrence will hopefully use his legs, too. He is a strong QB2 option in Week 8.

 

Treat: Carson Wentz (v TEN)

Wentz has also played better football recently, and downfield aggressiveness is the biggest reason for optimism about his rest-of-season outlook leading the resurgent Colts. I’m hopeful that T.Y. Hilton (quad) will be healthy for a huge divisional rematch versus Tennessee, so Wentz will have more help than he did in the first meeting—including on the offensive line. Consider him one of the week’s top streaming options.

 

Treat: Justin Herbert (v NE)

Most would seem to know that Herbert and the Chargers are much improved compared to last season, so the star quarterback is listed here only to calm any potential concerns about him based on last season versus New England (209 yards and two interceptions in a 45-0 defeat). Herbert wasn’t sharp in the loss to Baltimore prior to the bye, but he should bounce back, and I have him as my QB7 this week throwing to Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and others.

 

Trick of the Week: Aaron Rodgers (@ ARI)

The loss of Davante Adams (COVID-19 list) was already a significant drain on Rodgers’ outlook this Thursday night, and he could be down to Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, and Equanimeous St. Brown—if Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring, IR) isn’t healthy—as his top wideouts with Allen Lazard (COVID-19 list) already out, too. Even if he plays well, I doubt it’s accompanied by monster numbers, so downgrade Rodgers to the QB2 ranks for Week 8.

 

Trick: Tau Tagovailoa (@ BUF)

Buffalo has been as stingy as it gets in the secondary to begin 2021—limiting opponents to NFL-lows in passing yards per game (180.5), touchdown passes (five), touchdown-interception ratio (5:10), and yards per attempt (5.7). I currently have Tagovailoa ranked as my QB22 because he’s played well in recent games, but even that might be too high for this road matchup. Furthermore, the Deshaun Watson rumors gaining steam could cause Tua to press.

 

Trick: Mac Jones (@ LAC)

Jones is coming off his best statistical game of the season with 307 yards and two touchdowns through the air, but the Chargers are allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (15.3), and New England will be better off attacking them on the ground. As stated, this is a different LA team than it was in 2020, but the defense remains more susceptible to the run, and the Patriots rushed for 165 yards (with only 130 passing yards) in last year’s victory. Jones is a low-end QB2.

 

Trick: Justin Fields (v SF)

Since taking over as the starter, Fields has gone for fantasy point totals of 3.92, 7.26, 8.84, 13.26, and 1.16 in five games, so it’s impossible to recommend him as anything more than a dynasty stash until we actually see some NFL success. The pass rush of the 49ers could make it another long day for Chicago’s first-round pick—who has really struggled to deal with pressure (something most didn’t want to acknowledge was a weakness coming out of Ohio State).

 

Running Back

 

Treat of the Week: Najee Harris (@ CLE)

Harris certainly isn’t struggling to begin his career, and needing to list him here is a something I thought wouldn’t happen—but the consensus somehow has him as the RB12 for this week (compared to RB5 for Wolf Sports). While the Browns have the NFL’s second-best run defense (80.4 yards per game allowed), the armor has worn down some with at least 24.4 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs in two of the past three weeks, and they are very vulnerable to pass-catchers out of the backfield. Notably, FanDuel seems to have it right with Harris priced as the RB3, and I’ll have him in my lineup.

 

Treat: Khalil Herbert (v SF)

San Francisco has a middle-of-the-road run defense through six games, and Herbert can be safely played as a top-20 option coming off another impressive showing with 100 rushing yards versus the Bucs. In three outings without David Montgomery (knee), Herbert’s gone for yardage totals of 75, 112, and 133 while handling 18+ touches in every game. The rookie is for real, and Chicago’s offensive line has been creating lanes for him.

 

Treat: Boston Scott (@ DET)

Miles Sanders (ankle) is only dealing with a low-ankle sprain despite being carted off last week, but assuming he’s out for this week, Scott is a great plug-and-play option versus a Detroit defense allowing 26.6 fantasy points per game to opposing runners. The new coaching staff didn’t give him much of a shot before Week 7, but he showed juice and found the end zone as a runner. I have Scott as the preferred play over Kenneth Gainwell, but both are in the top 30 at running back.

 

Treat: Jamaal Williams (v PHI)

The role for Williams is fairly well-defined with the Lions giving him 12 or so carries when they’ve been able to keep the game close, and I don’t think anyone is expecting Philadelphia to blow the doors off Dan Campbell’s squad this week. Against a struggling run defense, Williams should be able to have a nice game alongside D’Andre Swift, and being at home provides an added boost.

 

Trick of the Week: Leonard Fournette (@ NO)

Fournette continued operating as the clear lead back for Tampa Bay last week with 90 yards and a score on 17 touches, and that’s more than enough to make him an every-week RB2. That said, I’d downgrade him a bit for a matchup versus the Saints, and Giovani Bernard should take a chunk of the receiving work Fournette had in the postseason win over New Orleans (5/44/1 line) for this divisional rematch. It’s also worth noting that Ronald Jones II is coming off his best game of the season, so Bruce Arians might not hesitate to shake things up if the rushing attack doesn’t get going early.

 

Trick: Chuba Hubbard (@ ATL)

Hubbard—based on the volume with 15+ touches in every game without Christian McCaffrey (hamstring)—is also an RB2 option, but the rookie has mostly fallen short of expectations, and Carolina’s offense in general is difficult to trust without their centerpiece. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Atlanta jumped on the Panthers early to slant the game script against Hubbard, who is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry with one touchdown on 84 attempts.

 

Trick: Mike Davis (v CAR)

The snap count remained encouraging for Davis following the bye (60%), but he only had four carries for ten scoreless yards, and now the Falcons will take on a Carolina defense allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing runners. The veteran being behind Cordarrelle Patterson for goal-line carries puts a drain on the hope for a short score saving his day, so he slides way back to being a borderline top-40 option at the position.

 

Trick: Texans RBs (v LAR)

I feel like the Houston running backs have sort of become a free play here, but Mark Ingram (nine touches for 27 yards) and Phillip Lindsay (two carries for eight yards) both were non-factors last week against Arizona, and David Johnson (12 touches for 52 yards) hadn’t previously seen double-digit opportunities in any of the first six games. Maybe another likely crooked score can help DJ have a solid day, but playing a Texan is sort of like eating a piece of candy you know you don’t like; I’d rather take a chance on something I’ve never tried before.

 

Wide Receiver

 

Treat of the Week: DeVonta Smith (@ DET)

Smith hasn’t found the end zone since his career debut and seems to be falling out of favor in the eyes of fantasy owners, but I think now is the perfect time to buy in redraft leagues. Smith has actually cleared 60 yards in three of the past four games, and the Detroit cornerback group doesn’t have an option that can stick him in coverage. Play him as an upside WR2.

 

Treat: Jerry Jeudy (v WAS)

Jeudy (ankle) was reported to be healthy last week, and he is set to return this week for Denver as they look for a needed spark offensively. As is the case with former college teammate DeVonta Smith, the second-year wideout can present serious problems for Washington on the backend, so fantasy owners don’t need to wait to get him back in lineups. I have Jeudy—someone I am often lower on than most—several spots higher than the consensus as my WR26 this week.

 

Treat: Emmanuel Sanders (v MIA)

Sanders hadn’t yet clicked with Josh Allen back in Week 2 when the quarterback missed some throws against Miami (despite it being a 35-0 victory), but the pairing has been on fire since then—with lines of 5/94/2, 5/74, 3/54/2, and 5/91 for the veteran receiver. The way the Dolphins have played on the backend makes Sanders a great start that could be getting overlooked coming off the bye, and Buffalo should be focused as they try to reposition themselves as top seed in the AFC.

 

Treat: T.Y. Hilton (v TEN)

The status of Hilton might not be known until Sunday morning, but assuming he plays, there is no reason he can’t have a big game considering the willingness of Carson Wentz to push the ball vertically. The game being at home helps, too, and it’s worth noting that Indy only has one road game until the first week of December for anyone playing in a league where Hilton is still available. He’s an undervalued FLEX and cheap DFS play.

 

Others: Cardinals WRs (v GB)

 

Trick of the Week: Mike Evans (@ NO)

Antonio Brown (ankle) missing another game would boost Evans’ outlook, but he’s heading into a matchup versus Marshon Lattimore—who has mostly had the upper hand in a heated rivalry. If we just look at last season when Evans was catching passes from Tom Brady, the Saints limited him to lines of 1/2/1, 4/64, and 1/3/1 (including playoffs); you probably can’t bench a guy that just caught three touchdowns in one half, but you might need another short score to be happy about it.

 

Trick: Jaylen Waddle (@ BUF)

Buffalo was able to bottle up Waddle (6/48) earlier this year, and they’ve since contained Tyreek Hill (7/63 on 13 targets)—so Sean McDermott’s defense won’t be any easier for a rematch in western New York. All it takes is one play for Waddle to pay dividends, but I wouldn’t take the risk, and there are other options to consider like one of the Arizona wideouts or the aforementioned T.Y. Hilton.

 

Trick: Brandin Cooks (v LAR)

Cooks could get a rest-of-season boost with Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) likely back, but this week against one of his former teams won’t be an easy matchup, and I’d expect Los Angeles to take him away similar to what Buffalo (5/47), New England (3/23), and Arizona (5/21) have done this month. I have him well outside the WR2 ranks with only two teams on a bye for Week 8.

 

Trick: Allen Robinson (v SF)

Robinson will probably explode just when everyone gives up on him, but I’m hoping for a trade at this point. The slight glimmer of hope for me on Sunday is based on Michael Pittman Jr. going off last week against the Niners, but I don’t have faith in the play designs or triggerman being able to get Robinson going, and he’s seeing 5.0 targets per game with Justin Fields under center.

 

Others: Patriots WRs (@ LAC) 

 

Tight End

 

Treat of the Week: T.J. Hockenson (v PHI)

Opponents being able to key on Hockenson is due to a lack of perimeter playmakers for Detroit, but he’s seen 20 targets over the past two weeks, and Philadelphia’s vanilla defense could lead to him returning to early-season form in terms of production. Last week, the Eagles allowed Foster Moreau to catch six-of-six targets for 60 yards and a score in place of Darren Waller (ankle), and I’d be counting on a big game from Hockenson on Sunday.

 

Treat: Jared Cook (v NE)

Bill Belichick talked up Cook as part of a “big four” for the Chargers, but who do you think the Patriots will take their chances on in single coverage out of Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and the veteran tight end? Justin Herbert’s ability to distribute the ball will have him targeting the best matchup, and Cook has scored in two-of-three October games. He’s a borderline TE1.

 

Treat: Dan Arnold (@ SEA)

Arnold was already playing a good amount since being traded to Jacksonville, and I’d expect his role—with 13 targets over the past two games—to perhaps even grow coming out of the bye week. Jacksonville doesn’t have a clear No. 3 wide receiver with D.J. Chark (ankle) done for the season, so Arnold will be Trevor Lawrence’s main target in the middle of the field with Laviska Shenault Jr. playing more outside. He’s an upside flier at tight end.

 

Trick of the Week: Robert Tonyan (@ ARI)

Tonyan finally broke his cold streak with a 4/63/1 line last week, but Thursday night is an awful matchup for his chances of keeping it going—with Arizona and their athletic options at linebacker and safety allowing the fewest points per game to opposing tight ends. I don’t think the absences at wide receiver are enough to push Tonyan into the TE1 ranks for Week 8.

 

Trick: C.J. Uzomah (@ NYJ)

Uzomah has exploded twice with 90+ yards and multiple scores this season, but in five other games, he’s combined to catch eight passes for 70 yards and one score. I’d expect a more balanced offensive attack this week, and it’s difficult to trust Uzomah (or Tyler Boyd) in a game Cincinnati should handle versus the Jets. Don’t overvalue recent success too heavily.

 

Trick: Tyler Conklin (v DAL)

Another somewhat boom-or-bust option at tight end, Conklin has two games with 70+ yards, but he’s also been held to 25 or fewer yards in three games. For the most part, Minnesota will still be a top-heavy offense, and Conklin only has one touchdown on the season, so I wouldn’t feel great about him on Halloween night.

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