Week 8 Overview
In recent weeks, the winning lineups have often featured elite wide receivers paired with less expensive running backs vaulted into starting roles due to injury. A similar roster-building approach may be optimal again this week if pass catchers like Cooper Kupp, Ja'Marr Chase, Chris Godwin, and Kyle Pitts stay hot. There are fewer top options than normal at quarterback so the focus maybe switches to the best stacks versus looking at the position primarily on the passer’s own merits.
Unlike past weeks, it feels hard to find spots where the upside is huge. Part of that is due to the fact that so many of the top dual-threat quarterbacks are not on the main slate. Of the quarterbacks who have consistently excelled as both passers and runners, only Josh Allen is on this slate. Most of the top pocket passers either have tough matchups (Tom Brady versus the Saints) or are playing in games where we might not get a lot of passing attempts (Matthew Stafford versus the Texans). Of the pocket passers, the price and matchup for Matt Ryan stands out.
Top QB Plays
Josh Allen ($8,800), Buffalo vs. Miami
I don’t love Allen this week against a solid Dolphins pass defense. The problem is that there is not much else to get excited about on the slate. Most of the top fantasy quarterbacks are absent from this main slate. The best non-mobile quarterbacks on the slate are in game environments that make shootouts unlikely. When in doubt, it makes sense to default to the best fantasy performer available and ignore matchups. Allen has blowup potential in every single game and in a slate where there are not many quarterbacks who can say that, he is the best of a menu of relatively unappealing options. Allen-Stefon Diggs stacks are relatively affordable and we know this duo always has serious upside.
reminder stats...Josh Allen career vs Miami— Howard WGR (@hsimon62) October 29, 2021
6-1 record (won last 6)
avg 247 pass yds
19 TD, 5 INT
40 runs/375 yds/ 3TD
Bills have averaged 30+ pts/game
Matt Ryan ($7,200), Atlanta vs. Carolina
Ryan is not the type of quarterback who I have been gravitating towards in GPPs this season. He has minimal rushing upside and has not yet shown massive upside as a passer. However, there are a few reasons why he is near the top of my list this week. First, he has been playing very well in recent weeks and the Falcons have transitioned to a very pass-heavy approach. Ryan has four straight games with 40-plus attempts. Second, the price for Ryan adds to his attractiveness. He may not have 30-point upside but we may not need that on this slate, especially since Ryan’s salary savings help us get another elite wide receiver into our lineup. Finally, Ryan has two of the best stacking options on the slate with both Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts underpriced. The Ryan-Pitts stack is my favorite of the week.
Now this is a very juicy piece of information from Mark Sanchez about Kyle Pitts’s development and connection with Matt Ryan.— Sam Erman (@FFBallAllDay) October 27, 2021
Sounds like Pitts has already jumped Calvin Ridley pic.twitter.com/BmiiHAA7zs
Other QBs to consider:
Jalen Hurts ($8,400), Philadelphia at Detroit
Hurts may be the most popular quarterback on the slate and his rushing upside makes him someone who you almost have to get some exposure to if you are playing multiple lineups. The matchup against a mediocre Lions defense is one where Hurts may have more success as a passer than he has in recent weeks.
As per usual, Derrick Henry is a top option if you can fit the salary in. There are plenty of strong options in the mid-tier as well. Joe Mixon, D'Andre Swift, Alvin Kamara, James Robinson, and Darrell Henderson each standout. However, in recent weeks the play has been to find value at running back and pay up at quarterback and wide receiver. If that is your preferred roster build, there are plenty of options this week. Eli Mitchell and Kenny Gainwell stand out as fun bargain options with big-play upside.
Top RB Plays
Elijah Mitchell ($5,800), San Francisco at Chicago
Mitchell has played over 60% of the snaps in every single game he has played this season. Historically, whoever the lead back has been in Kyle Shanahan’s offense has put up big fantasy numbers with every week potential to explode for a monster game. Think of some of those monster games Raheem Mostert had. Mitchell also looked like he figured some things out last week against the Colts (18 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown). He was getting upfield faster, trusting what he saw and just hitting the hole at full speed. It was the third time in four games he had 17-plus carries. In a game where the 49ers are favored, we should see Mitchell get a heavy workload again. He is way underpriced this spot given his role in the San Francisco offense.
Sunday was easily Elijah Mitchell’s best game as a runner. He averaged 1.01 yards over expectation per carry, per NFL Next Gen Stats, his highest mark of any single game — that’d rank #8 of all RBs if extrapolated over the whole season. Four explosives, too #49ers— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) October 27, 2021
Joe Mixon ($7,600), Cincinnati at NY Jets
Mixon has been banged up, which has limited his workload a bit in recent weeks. In particular, last week he played just over half of the snaps against the Ravens.
Samaje Perine returned for the Bengals in Week 7 and Joe Mixon’s workload subsequently declined— Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler) October 25, 2021
ðŸ”˜ 54% snaps
ðŸ”˜ 12 carries
ðŸ”˜ 0 targets
ðŸ”¶ 50% of RB opportunities
ðŸ”˜ 48% snaps
ðŸ”˜ 11 carries
ðŸ”˜ 1 target
ðŸ”¶ 50% of RB opportunities
Maybe Mixon’s reps being managed
However, now that Mixon has had another week to recover, the bet here is that we see Mixon go right back to playing 75% to 85% of the snaps like he did the first few weeks of the season. If his usage bounces back, this sets up as a spot where Mixon has massive upside. The Jets are giving up an absurd 34.0 FanDuel points per week to opposing running backs.
Kenneth Gainwell ($5,900) Philadelphia at Detroit
With Miles Sanders expected to be out this weekend, Gainwell is setup to be the next low-priced backup running back to come in and put up big fantasy numbers. The matchup is ideal for Gainwell. The Lions have given up 26.6 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs.
RBs have posted an 86% catch rate, 9.1 yards per catch and a league-high 6 receiving TDs vs. the #Lions.— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) October 29, 2021
Detroit ranks dead last in @fboutsiders' RB coverage DVOA.
Good spot in the passing game for Kenneth Gainwell.
Gainwell is a talented enough player to take this opportunity and run with it.
Other RBs to consider:
Darrell Henderson ($7,700) LA Rams at Houston
Henderson has been a true workhorse for the Rams, playing over 82% of the snaps in four-of-six games. He failed in a similarly strong spot last week despite getting 15 carries and 6 targets. Against a bad Texans defense that is allowing 23.8 FanDuel points per game to opposing backs, this is a strong spot for a Henderson bounce back.
James Robinson ($8,200), Jacksonville at Seattle
If you are looking for a running back with sub-5% ownership who could tilt the slate, Robinson is a strong candidate. Robinson has been one of the most productive fantasy backs in the NFL in recent weeks. His last four games, he has scored 22.4, 20.1, 21.2, and 17.6 FanDuel points. This matchup against Seattle is elite. The Seahawks have given up 27.5 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs.
Cooper Kupp has been consistently fantastic and is a strong play if you can fit him in. If not, you can get plenty of upside in the $7K range. We are not used to seeing players like Stefon Diggs and Calvin Ridley so affordable and it is worth taking advantage of the discount. The Bengals and Buccaneers offenses have been two of the hottest in the NFL and sprinkling in the top options from both is a strong GPP strategy.
Top WR Options
Stefon Diggs ($7,300), Buffalo vs. Miami
Diggs is going to be popular but it does not make sense to fade him at this price. He is underpriced by $1,000 given his talent level and the number of targets he is seeing (9.7 per game). This will be Diggs’ fourth matchup against the Dolphins since joining the Bills. In the previous three, he has averaged 6-96-0.7 (16.6 FanDuel PPG). While the Bills targets have been a bit less concentrated this season than last year due in part to the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, Sanders has always been a zone killer who does not do much against man coverage. Diggs is the opposite, he feasts on man coverage. This sets up as a high-ceiling and high-floor (especially at this price) for Diggs. I am fine with eating the chalk here.
The Dolphins run more man coverage than anyone. The #Bills targets versus man coverage: Stefon Diggs (24), Emmanuel Sanders (9), Dawson Knox (7), Cole Beasley (3), everyone else (4).— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) October 27, 2021
That's a 51% target share for Diggs. Last year's was 34%, too.
Tee Higgins ($6,300), Cincinnati at NY Jets
Ja’Marr Chase has been so dominant that Higgins has become a bit of an afterthought. It feels like he may be due for a turn in the spotlight. As teams begin to devote more and more attention to Chase, it is leaving Higgins with favorable 1-on-1 matchups. We have seen that Joe Burrow is happy to go to Higgins in these situations (just look at the 15 targets he saw last week). After last week, Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan noted he was surprised that Chase had the big game instead of Higgins. The Bengals need Higgins to be a strong second option to keep teams from constantly doubling Chase and this matchup with the Jets could be the spot where Higgins reminds everyone how talented he is, also.
Calvin Ridley ($7,000), Atlanta vs. Carolina
Ridley made the top plays list last week and had a mildly disappointing game with four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown. The frustrating part of the equation is that Ridley again saw great volume with 10 targets. However, he managed just 2.6 yards per target, which dropped his yards per target for the season all the way down to 5.4. Ridley entered the season averaging well over 9.0 yards per target. At some point, the efficiency is going to bounce back towards what we have seen from him in past years and the great volume (10.4 targets per game) is going to lead to a slate-breaking fantasy game.
Top-five WR underperformers in expected PPR points:— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) October 28, 2021
Robby Anderson: -32.6
Calvin Ridley: -28.6
Odell Beckham Jr Jr.: -23.3
Dyami Brown: -21.3
Elijah Moore: -18.9
The Falcons passing game has turned a corner over the last three games. Don't expect Ridley to remain on this list.
Other WRs to Consider:
Chris Godwin ($7,200), Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Godwin will be one of the most popular plays on the slate. With other Tampa Bay pass catchers banged up and Mike Evans likely to see shadow coverage from Marshon Lattimore, Godwin could again be Tom Brady’s go-to wide receiver.
Ja'Marr Chase ($8,200), Cincinnati at NY Jets
Chase has now become one of the few wide receivers in the NFL who you are going to want to have some exposure to every week if you are playing multiple lineups. He is a special talent and has shown an uncanny knack for scoring long touchdowns, which are GPP gold.
Cooper Kupp ($9,200), LA Rams at Houston
Kupp has been far and away the top fantasy wide receiver this season. He started hot and has not cooled off. The price and what is likely to be heavy ownership make him merely a good play but, like Chase, he is a guy we need to have exposure to every week.
Jamal Agnew ($5,300), Jacksonville at Seattle
Want a deep, deep, deep sleeper? Agnew should come in well under 1% ownership but has much more upside than the public is crediting. Agnew has been absolutely dynamite with the ball in his hands and in a Jacksonville offense that is desperate for speed and explosiveness, expect the Jaguars to keep trying to get the ball in Agnew’s hands. He has seen 13 targets over the past two weeks and performed well enough to potentially see more snaps and targets going forward.
To be frank, I was surprised to see that Kyle Pitts was not projected to be the chalk this week. He is a freaky athlete in a favorable matchup and the pricing has not caught up to his role, which is essentially a WR1 in a pass-heavy offense. He will anchor most of my rosters.
Kyle Pitts has a legit chance to be first-team All Pro as a rookie.— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) October 28, 2021
* 1st in rec. yards per game
* 3rd in yards per reception
* 3rd in yards per route run
Targets, role within offense continue to grow.
Other usual standout TEs not having monster seasons so far.
Top TE Options
Kyle Pitts ($6,800), Atlanta vs. Carolina
Pitts is a special player and he is showing it on the field. After a relatively slow start, Pitts has exploded over his last two games with 16 catches for 282 yards. He is essentially playing wide receiver, with 73% of his snaps coming either in the slot or lined up out wide, second-most among all tight ends. In fact, we should actually probably be viewing Pitts as an elite WR1 in the mold of Calvin Johnson who has tight end eligibility.
T.J. Hockenson ($6,200), Detroit vs. Philadelphia
It is not a great slate for tight ends, so it makes sense to look for safe volume. Hockenson has 20 targets over the last two weeks and put up solid yardage. He has been slumping from a fantasy perspective primarily because he has not scored since Week 2. The Eagles have allowed a league-high six touchdowns to opposing tight ends. This is a spot where we could see Hockenson get back on track. He should come in at a fraction of the ownership of Dallas Goedert despite a similar projection.
Other TEs to consider:
Dallas Goedert ($5,900), Philadelphia at Detroit
Goedert is going to be chalky and does have some upside, so I will want some exposure. However, the increased volume with Zach Ertz in Arizona is theory until we actually see it. Goedert still hasn’t seen more than five targets in any game this season.
Los Angeles Rams ($5,000) at Houston
Starting the defense facing the Texans has generally been a strong strategy this season. The Rams have held three straight opponents below 20 points and had multiple interceptions in each of those games, as well.
Washington ($3,400) at Denver
The Washington defense has been one of the most disappointing this season compared to the preseason hype. In recent weeks, they have faced some of the best passing offenses in the NFL, which led to continued struggles. At some point, this talented unit is going to right the ship. It may be this week when Teddy Bridgewater might struggle to exploit their main weakness (deep passes). If you need to save cap space to fit in your favorites at other positions, Washington stands out as the best of the bargain options.
San Francisco ($4,600) at Chicago
I want to get as many chips on the table against Matt Nagy as I can while he still l has a job.