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Welcome to Week 8 of the 2023 Footballguys Roundtable. Our intrepid panel of fantasy pundits discusses and debates four topics every week. We split the conversation into separate features.
This week's roundtable features these four topics:
- Second-Half Slump Candidates
- Every Week, Bye Week, Fluke Week (See below)
- Vikings and Titans Passing Games
- Either/Or: The WR Edition
EVERY WEEK/BYE WEEK/FLUKE WEEK
Matt Waldman: Pick three from the list and tell me which is the best candidate for each label.
Go . . .
Chad Parsons: Trey McBride is an every-week starter. He averages over 2.00 yards per route run and receives an elite 0.27 targets per route run. Zach Ertz is out, and other than Marquise Brown, no one will consistently siphon targets away from McBride. It will be difficult for McBride not to finish in the top 12 of the position for the rest of the season.
Rashid Shaheed is a bye-week option. The speed maven seems to make plays every week despite only 0.14 targets per route run. Shaheed only needs a few targets to break a big play or long touchdown, and he's producing despite Derek Carr generally underwhelming this season. Shaheed is the classic 'what-the-heck flex' or upside WR3 for bye weeks or injuries down the stretch.
Will Levis had a fluke week. The key stat of Week 8 is 0.94. That represents Will Levis' expected touchdowns. Levis collected four touchdowns thanks to a 'what year is this?' effort from DeAndre Hopkins for three of the scores.
What would the fantasy and dynasty reaction to Levis' debut be if he had one touchdown and one interception (0.66 was his expected interceptions) and lost to Atlanta? A far cry from his four-touchdown win. Color me skeptical that the next few games are close to as rosy for Levis.
Sam Wagman: Levis has not proven anything yet, other than that he can throw the ball very far downfield. At least two of his touchdown passes were made much easier due to effort on the defensive side of the ball, and he had a very low success rate, which stands to reason that his passes in a neutral setting may not have gone that well. Playing against a better pass rush on TNF may show another side.
Zack Moss is definitely not an every-week starter anymore due to the return of Jonathan Taylor. However, he continues to put together strong showings on limited snap counts, with over 60 total yards in 3 straight despite Taylor's return. He is a safe floor option on a Colts' team that has a quick pace, so they run more plays than other teams.
McBride's utilization tells the full story here. He has increased his routes and target share in every game for the past month, up to a solid 40% target share and 88% route share in last week's game. Once Kyler Murray returns in a week or two, McBride could be a top-eight option for the rest of the season.
Will Grant: This one was close, but I think Trey McBride wins this one. McBride had 10 receptions on 14 targets this week, but his next closest performance was just four receptions on five targets back in Week 6.
I realize Zach Ertz's injury facilitated more volume. But McBride has been on the field with Ertz, and the game script against the Ravens influenced more garbage-time passing against soft cushions of zone coverage. This week's big performance is most likely a fluke. Joshua Dobbs is now in Minnesota, clearing the way for Kyler Murray to return to the starting lineup.
I don't see McBride coming anywhere close to 10 receptions when Murray is back.
Will Levis earned his way into the starting lineup this week with his 238-yard passing and 4 touchdowns against the Falcons. But even if Tennessee names him their starting quarterback for the rest of the season, I don't see Levis as a guy you want in your starting lineup every week. He's a rookie quarterback who had a lot of questions coming out of college, and with only one good game under his belt, some caution is appropriate before penciling him into your starting lineup.
Dak Prescott sort of wins this every-week label by default. He's not going to have 300 yards passing and 4 touchdowns every week like he did against the Rams, but he'll be under center every week and has a lot of talent around him. Prescott has struggled at times this season, and he was downright awful against the 49ers just two weeks ago. He will also face some tough teams down the stretch, including the Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, and Lions during the fantasy football playoffs. He's worth consideration every week, but definitely approach with caution.
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