"It doesn't matter what you think" - Dwayne The Rock Johnson. The former Miami University football player and current WWE Hall of Famer would famously dismiss his opponents while cutting promos in the squared circle. First-place Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith has shared similar sentiments for the fantasy football industry. Whether or not the NFL should care about what fantasy players think is another conversation, but the bottom line is very little matters about how offenses "should" function compared to how teams will function.
For the Falcons, their recipe is working as they sit alone on top of the NFC South. The Falcons again showed a heavy run/pass split, 37 to 28, but the team finally involved Kyle Pitts heavily. Pitts' 9 targets, 5 receptions, 80 yards, and a touchdown led the team with a 32% target share. Dynasty players have to feel relief with this production, but this team has a formula that will not change. The Chargers come in Week 9, presenting a difficult challenge, but after that, the team will see five games (Panthers, Bears, Commanders, Steelers, and Saints) that sit at a combined 14-26. Preseason favorite Tampa Bay is struggling, and they get the benefit of a first-place schedule, seeing them play a desperate Rams, a first-place Seattle, the 49ers, and the Bengals in a similar stretch. The Falcons could "wrong way" their way right into the playoffs.
Elsewhere the Titans continued to play the wrong way and continued to win. The team saw the debut of hyped rookie quarterback Malik Willis and promptly removed the ball from his hands, allowing him to throw just ten passes as Derrick Henry dominated the Texans yet again. More on his performance later, but suffice it to say it was good. The team pulled a full two games clear of the second-place Colts, who saw their young quarterback Sam Ehlinger play efficient but non-threatening football on the way to scoring 16 points in a loss. Jonathan Taylor had yet another disappointing fantasy day, scoring just 7.6 points in any format, and his standing as the top running back in Dynasty continues to lose steam. The team came into the week with the third most passing yards in the NFL but the sixth-fewest rushing yards. Taylor was held to 3 yards or less on 69% of his rushes, but his 27-yard run was the first time he topped 21 yards all year. A far cry from a player who led the NFL in 20-yard runs (14) and 40-yard runs (5) in 2021.
The NFL did see a renaissance when it came to points scored. The league went into the week averaging 21.78 points per game, and the explosion across the league saw teams average 23.35, up from 22.86 in 2021. It will be worth monitoring if offenses have finally gotten adjusted to the lack of preseason and begin to produce at levels closer to expectation.
Situations worth mentioning: The Jets' reliance on the passing game, with Zach Wilson throwing 41 times for 355 yards as their four-game winning streak ended with the Patriots. The Lions returned to their shootout ways, falling short to the Dolphins 31-27. The Broncos saved Nathaniel Hackett's job (according to some sources) by topping the two-win Jaguars in a game Trevor Lawrence struggled severely. The Giants' magical start to the season hit a snag in losing to the first-place Seahawks. Lastly, the Packers threw up every red flag imaginable with a loss to the Bills that saw them fall four games behind the Vikings in the loss column.
Fantasy football involves frustrating levels of randomness. Time is better spent deciphering what teams are doing vs. what teams should be doing. And for the first-place Falcons, that will be running the ball.
Now, to take a trip through meaningful numbers from Week 8 and turn the page to Week 9, where bye-mageddon looms with Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, the Giants, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco all on bye weeks.
|Player||Rushes||Rush Yards||Receptions||Rec Yards|
Revenge! A Dish Best Served On The Field
- WR DeSean Jackson, Baltimore vs Tampa Bay - inactive
- QB Geno Smith, Seattle vs NY Giants - Won 27-13, 212 yards, 2 touchdowns
- QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota vs Washington
- TE Robert Tonyan Jr, Green Bay vs Detroit
- RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit vs Green Bay
- WR Zay Jones, Jacksonville vs Las Vegas
- RB Mark Ingram II, New Orleans vs Baltimore
Deep Dynasty Watch List
RB Ronnie Rivers, Los Angeles Rams - Rivers ran as the clear top back for the Rams, seeing 12 touches and totaling 36 yards. His time as the top back may be short-lived as Kyren Williams looks to return soon. The teams' lack of production has been a significant concern, and they are not a franchise in a rebuilding window, so look for them to be active before the trade deadline. But Rivers moves onto the radar.
WR Tyquan Thornton, New England - DeVante Parker left Sunday's game with a knee injury. Mac Jones's conservative nature likely limits Thornton's upside, but the team has shown an early willingness to give him creative targets. Thornton, Parker, and Jakobi Meyers were the only receivers to play more than three snaps in Week 7, and Meyers and Thornton were the only receivers to see more than two targets in Week 8.
RB Dwayne Washington, New Orleans - Mark Ingram II suffered a knee injury and left the game. Washington was the only other back to see carries and is the only other running back on the roster to see snaps on the season. Kamara's name has been in trade rumors, but Sunday's win pushes the Saints back into the NFC South race. If the team does make a move on Tuesday, they will need to add a player, but Washington would serve as a beneficiary.
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