Photo: Ken Blaze, USA Today Sports
BAL @ TB
- The Ravens swung back to a pass-heavy game plan to open, and Lamar Jackson had his best fantasy game in a month. This offense’s run/pass split will be unpredictable week-to-week.
- Gus Edwards ran well but suffered a hamstring injury. He’s probably out for Week 9 with hope that he’s ready after the Week 10 bye. Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill will handle the backfield if Edwards is out.
- Rashod Bateman re-injured his foot. He’s probably out for Week 9, and a Week 11 return is far from assured. Demarcus Robinson led the receivers in receptions, but Devin Duvernay is the wide receiver pickup after he got opportunities in the running game and scored from 15 yards out.
- Mark Andrews left with a shoulder injury. He’s almost certainly out for Week 9, and we’ll see what his status is after the bye. Rookie Isaiah Likely was outstanding in his stead and should be picked up across leagues as at least a one-week plug-in at tight end.
- The Bucs offense remains concentrated on the short pass with a few shot plays to Mike Evans. Only Evans and Chris Godwin are trustworthy plays, and Tom Brady is just a low-ceiling matchup QB1 right now.
- Passes to the running back have tapered off, and the Bucs could also level off the split between Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White in an attempt to jump-start an ineffective running game and underperforming offense.
DEN vs JAX
- Russell Wilson got off to a rough start but improved as the game went on, giving some hope of fantasy value for him and this passing game after the bye.
- The Broncos traded for Chase Edmonds at the deadline to turn the backfield back into a useless three-headed committee.
- Jerry Jeudy wasn’t moved at the deadline, and he has been consistently better than Courtland Sutton lately. Sutton isn’t an essential hold in short bench leagues during his bye.
- Greg Dulcich had one great drive, and that’s enough to be a good start at tight end. He has had three good games in his only three NFL appearances and might be worth carrying through the bye if you are having troubles at tight end.
- Trevor Lawrence’s two costly picks, including one at the goal line, were the difference in the game. The offense has shifted to be Travis Etienne centered, and Lawrence is only bye/injury/emergency depth and not an essential hold.
- Evan Engram is the only consistent play in this pass offense, as the running game is more successful and getting more emphasis. Christian Kirk could have some matchup play value against the Raiders this week.
MIA @ DET
- Everything came easy for the Dolphins passing game against the worst defense in the league. Tua Tagovailoa is back in the fantasy QB1 ranks after an uneven return against Pittsburgh.
- Raheem Mostert didn’t go off as we hoped, and Jeff Wilson was acquired at the trade deadline to possibly turn this into a committee. Mostert should still get the better part of it and he’s still worth an RB2/Flex start against a Chicago defense that just traded away Roquan Smith.
- The return of D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown revitalized the Lions offense and Jared Goff’s fantasy stock. The Dolphins pass defense was poor, and they could be a unit to target, although they traded a first-round pick for former Broncos edge rusher Bradley Chubb at the deadline.
- Jamaal Williams is the clear first option at the goal line and should be considered a solid matchup RB2/Flex. Swift scored on a reception and should be back in lineups, although he said he’s not 100% after the game. He also said he expects his role to grow going forward. Shrug.
- T.J. Hockenson was traded to Minnesota. Brock Wright will take over the starting tight end job, and rookie James Mitchell will get more work. There’s no significant fantasy fallout from this deal.
CAR @ ATL
- D.J. Moore is back to being an every-week start in the wake of the Christian McCaffrey trade. Moore caught a 62-yard desperation heave that could have won the game if not for his penalty for taking his helmet off that pushed back the unsuccessful extra point attempt to 48 yards.
- D’Onta Foreman wore down the Falcons and scored three times in the process. He’s a strong RB2 as long as Chuba Hubbard is out and probably still worth an RB2/Flex start, even if Hubbard returns against the Bengals this week.
- Marcus Mariota had his best passing day of the year, and Kyle Pitts had his best fantasy game of the season, which is not a coincidence. Mariota is a matchup QB1 against the Chargers this week, and Pitts should be safely back in lineups.
- Caleb Huntley outperformed Tyler Allgeier, but Allgeier got the screen pass touchdown to make him a better Week 8 play. Both are droppable if Cordarrelle Patterson is back from injured reserve this week, but both are what-the-heck RB2/Flex plays against the weak Chargers run defense if Patterson needs more time to heal.
ARI @ MIN
- Kyler Murray was more productive in a come-from-behind game script, thanks mostly to DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore. Hopkins has cemented his place as fantasy WR1 going forward (at least until Marquise Brown returns), and Moore is getting on the same page as Murray on extended plays, making him worth a WR3/Flex start against the Seahawks this week.
- The Cardinals running game never got out of the driveway. We’ll see if James Conner is back this week to try to revive it. No Cardinals back is an obvious start until this gets sorted out and improves.
- Zach Ertz scored, but it’s clear his role has shrunk greatly with the return of Hopkins.
- Justin Jefferson was actually contained by the Cardinals. 6-98 is a floor game for him.
- Irv Smith went down with a high ankle sprain, and Johnny Mundt got the expected tight end score. T.J. Hockenson was acquired before the deadline and will take over the position as Smith is out for 2+ months.
CHI @ DAL
- Justin Fields took another step forward, and the team added Chase Claypool at the deadline to improve Fields' outlook further. He’s a fantasy QB1 going forward, although matchups with Buffalo and Philadelphia are on Fields' playoff schedule.
- Khalil Herbert was only on the field about a quarter of the time, but he touched the ball on most of those snaps and was a strong RB2 play. The hot-hand approach is giving him value, and he’s worth at least a flex spot against the Dolphins.
- Tony Pollard still wasn’t a true bell cow, but for fantasy, he was with three scores on 14 carries. Ezekiel Elliott should be back after the bye and put the full-blown committee back in effect.
- Dak Prescott was much sharper in his second game back, and he should be considered a high-floor QB1 after the bye.
- Dalton Schultz was prominent in Prescott’s progressions again, although the Cowboys' tight end touchdown went to a rookie, and not Schultz, again. Schultz is a high-floor TE1 going forward.
LV @ NO
- The Raiders offense forgot to set an alarm and sleepwalked through this game to an embarrassing shutout. Everyone was a bust. If they don’t bounce back against the Jaguars, it’s time to get worried.
- Davante Adams was shut down by Alontae Taylor.
- Andy Dalton mostly threw short to Alvin Kamara, and Kamara did the rest on his two touchdowns. Dalton should remain the starter after the holder of the quarterback job appeared to be uncertain going into Week 8. Dalton being in is good for Kamara but bad for Chris Olave.
- Mark Ingram II went down with a knee injury and will miss multiple weeks. Dwayne Washington will be the backup against the Ravens.
PIT @ PHI
- The Steelers offense with Kenny Pickett looks a lot like 2021’s version with an aging Ben Roethlisberger. Short passing, ineffective running, and defenses playing very aggressively.
- Najee Harris looks sluggish and is only a low-ceiling RB2/Flex at best. It wouldn’t be a shock if Jaylen Warren cuts into his workload.
- Chase Claypool was traded to Chicago after the game, so Diontae Johnson’s floor moves up, and George Pickens is still worth a what-the-heck flex spot after the bye despite his goose egg dealt by the Eagles' excellent outside corners.
- Jalen Hurts deep ball is coming into focus, and A.J. Brown looks unstoppable on the other end. Brown scored three times and would have had a fourth if he wasn’t caught from behind after a video game move to reserve field and almost beat the whole secondary to the end zone.
- Miles Sanders is a solid RB2 play, even when he doesn’t get 10 carries, because of the efficiency of this offense.
NE @ NYJ
- Mac Jones isn’t threatening downfield as a passer, and the team had to settle for five field goals. We may have a quarterback controversy in New England yet.
- Rhamondre Stevenson is clearly ahead of Damien Harris, and he’s one of Jones' favorite targets. Consider Stevenson a PPR RB1 until further notice.
- Jakobi Meyers is Jones' other favorite target. He’s a solid PPR WR2 against the Colts.
- Zach Wilson threw some very regrettable interceptions and got the dreaded vote of confidence after this one. He did power Tyler Conklin and Garrett Wilson to strong fantasy days, but you wonder if we will see Mike White start if this keeps up.
- James Robinson got on the field in his game with the Jets, so this is an ugly three-way RBBC with nothing but desperation plays until something changes with the offense.
- Elijah Moore got on the field for 10 snaps. He’s droppable in redraft with the trade deadline coming and going, and Moore still being a Jet.
TEN @ HOU
- Malik Willis isn’t ready for prime time, but Derrick Henry is. The Texans knew what was coming and still couldn’t slow down Henry. Dontrell Hilliard is breaking off chunk plays and is worth a spot on your bench in case Henry breaks down.
- The Texans will give Dameon Pierce the touches he needs to remain fantasy relevant, and that’s all we can count on. Brandin Cooks maybe wanted to be traded? The Cowboys were in on him, no deal was struck.
NYG @ SEA
- Daniel Jones came back to earth against an improving Seattle defense, and the Giants didn’t acquire any pass-catchers for him at the deadline. He’ll be a matchup streamer after the bye.
- Darius Slayton is the closest thing the team has to a #1 receiver, while Wan’Dale Robinson receded into the background. Slayton is just bye/injury/emergency depth, and Robinson isn’t an essential hold.
- DK Metcalf played and defied expectations. Guess he needs to be in lineups no matter his practice status. Tyler Lockett also looked healthier and should have had two scores in this game, but a long bomb to him when he was a step behind the defense deflected off of his helmet.
WAS @ IND
- Taylor Heinicke was quiet for most of the game, he but led a game-winning drive with a 50/50 deep ball to Terry McLaurin at the one and a plunge to take the game in the final seconds. He’s a viable streamer against the Vikings.
- Antonio Gibson is outplaying Brian Robinson Jr, and it looks like the coaches realize it. Gibson’s passing game role gives him RB2 value in PPR leagues.
- Sam Ehlinger was safer with the ball than Matt Ryan and overall had a promising first start, but not for fantasy or the fantasy prospects of the passing game. He’s just a desperation play, including in 2QB/Superflex.
- Jonathan Taylor didn’t put his stamp on this game and re-injured his problem ankle. Jordan Wilkins has been called up from the practice squad, and Taylor may not play vs. New England.
- Michael Pittman Jr is the only viable play in the Colts passing game, although he dropped a pass that could have set the team up for a last-second game-winning field goal.
SF @ LAR
- Christian McCaffrey threw, caught, and ran in a score. His value is up as a 49er.
- Deebo Samuel missed this game with a hamstring injury, which made Brandon Aiyuk a safer play. We’ll see if Samuel is back after the 49ers' bye.
- The Rams offensive line is still a problem. Don’t expect this offense to outperform lowered expectations.
- Darrell Henderson got fewer touches than Ronnie Rivers. Cam Akers didn’t get traded at the deadline, so this backfield is as confusing and useless for fantasy as ever.
- Cooper Kupp suffered an ankle injury at garbage time. Monitor his status this week.
GB @ BUF
- The Packers finally stuck with the run, and it was successful. We’ll see if that carries over against the woeful Lions.
- Romeo Doubs was the best play in the passing game with Allen Lazard out, but there’s probably no safe play in the Packers passing game (except maybe Rodgers) against the Lions despite the good matchup.
- Josh Allen got a little loose with the ball and posted a mediocre fantasy game by his standards, supporting the value of only Stefon Diggs. He could meet some resistance against the rising Jets defense this week.
- Devin Singletary ran well, but James Cook had a larger role coming out of the bye and looked good, and the team traded for Nyheim Hines. Singletary is still the best start, but Hines could have value if he gets some snaps in the slot in addition to the backfield.
CIN @ CLE
- The loss of Ja'Marr Chase crippled the Bengals offense. Tee Higgins didn’t look like a #1, Joe Mixon was running in wet cement, and the Browns defense was not intimidated in the least bit. We’ll need to lower expectations for this offense across the board while Chase is out.
- Amari Cooper came through as a downfield threat, and Jacoby Brissett had another very efficient passing game. The Browns offense will be in good hands until Deshaun Watson comes back in Week 13.
- Harrison Bryant didn’t record a catch and was a dud in place of an injured David Njoku.