Fantasy Football Hot Takes: NFL Week 8
Dan Malin recaps the weekend's action in the NFL with his fantasy football hot takes and what you need to take away from everything you saw.
I enjoy these Hot Takes articles coming off a good week. We did suffer a season-ending injury to the best offensive lineman in the league and I’ll address that in a little bit. But Week 8 was an overall success. The FANation crushed it in DFS with the help of Justin Vreeland and Howard Bender’s call on Dalvin Cook . He made all my lineups en route to another profitable week for myself and (hopefully) all of you! Week 8 saw more rookie running backs emerge. We also saw some disappointing quarterback play from previous MVP’s and guys we considered streamers. Kenny Golladay and T.Y. Hilton both left with injuries so learning the severity of their injuries today will be pretty important, more so for Golladay. This week isn’t particularly noteworthy. I offer up some buy low candidates and have a pretty sexy take regarding the NFC West. All in all, it’s a little bit of a ho-hum week and I’m expecting a similar vibe for waivers this week. Either way, enjoy some hot takes with your breakfast!
Devin Singletary Can Possibly Be Dropped
It’s pretty clear that Zack Moss is the must-add waiver option this week. And it’s not necessarily a hot take to say that he could be a low-end RB2 rest of season. But I think to incorporate Zack Moss into this article it’s worth noting that in 12-team leagues or even more shallow leagues, Devin Singletary is screwed. It’s surprising that we’re at this point because a year ago we were clamoring for Singletary to get more usage when the Bills kept going to the well with Frank Gore . And Singletary wasn’t even that bad in 2019. However, the move to acquire Zack Moss in April’s draft raised some eyebrows and here we are midway through the season and Moss is emerging in fine fashion. If you played him on Sunday, congratulations, you hit the nuts. If reading the box score you may not be concerned about Singletary since he had 14 touches. And it’s not even the two rushing touchdowns for Moss that have me enamored with him. No, rather the usage tells a whole different story…
The Zack Moss takeover is on. Unofficial tally:— #AskFFT (@daverichard) November 2, 2020
14/29 RB touches
6 3rd downs
8 total RZ snaps incl 6 inside 10
6 RZ touches, 2 i10 TDs
24 snaps +4 kneel-downs
15/29 RB touches
4 3rd downs
3 total RZ snaps w/ none inside 10
1 RZ carry
Credit to CBS Sports’ Dave Richard for these nuggets. Devin Singletary didn’t get a single snap inside the ten-yard line. Zack Moss saw six snaps and scored both his touchdowns from inside the ten. Moss has a two-inch height advantage and nearly 20 pounds on Singletary as well. Physically he’s built better for short yardage and goal line work. Singletary’s touches could still be there for him and he’s probably suited better for the passing game. But aside from an injury to Moss why should they go to Singletary inside the ten going forward? Josh Allen also scored from the two-yard line so Singletary’s touchdown prospects aren’t looking great moving forward.
The Tight End Position Still Sucks
I'm guilty of this as well, but every single year we seem to think that the tight end position has incredible depth and that just simply isn't true. This is a frustrating position on a week-to-week basis with very little consistency except for Travis Kelce , Darren Waller , and George Kittle when he's healthy. Sadly, Kittle sustained a foot injury on Sunday and now has quite the battle to get ready for Thursday's game against Green Bay. Mark Andrews is at the mercy of Lamar Jackson . Andrews has three great games and four awful games. The Philadelphia tight ends are hurt and not producing. I'm trying to remain optimistic with Dallas Goedert though. But Jonnu Smith is coming off three straight awful games after scoring five times in the team's first four games. Hunter Henry has fewer than 40 receiving yards in four straight games. Mike Gesicki is unreliable. Evan Engram has certainly frustrated owners but we could still see improvements from him and Hayden Hurst . Overall we fall for this every year, but this isn't a deep position and it will frustrate owners on a weekly basis. We're potentially looking at a season where Rob Gronkowski emerges as a top eight tight end. If looking for some guys with upside, I do like how Hayden Hurst has been trending, Trey Burton is getting usage and while you can't predict rushing touchdowns from a tight end he now has two. Noah Fant has a really nice target share in his offense and he could finish as a top eight tight end in PPR formats. Eric Ebron is a guy that could finish as a top 15 tight end and he gets a great matchup next week against Dallas. Regardless this position is atrocious if you don't own Kelce, Waller, or Kittle.
Ezekiel Elliott : Buy Low Candidate?
Zeke just hasn’t looked like the same player without Dak Prescott . Defenses are now scheming for Elliott because they have little faith that Andy Dalton (or Ben DiNucci) poses any threat. And there’s a good chance that after the last few weeks the Zeke owner in your league is feeling a little skiddish and wants to get whatever they can for him. He’s only rushed for over 70 yards just three times this year and he has just 11 receptions in his last four games, with eight of those coming against Arizona. It sounds like Andy Dalton will be ready to return next week against Pittsburgh. That’s not an easy matchup by any means, but the upgrade at quarterback will still help Zeke. The other aspect of his value that’s holding him down is that Dallas hasn’t had their bye week yet. So not only is he returning little value, but Zeke managers do have to put him on the bench for a week leading up to the fantasy playoffs. Poor production + butterfingers + bye week + Dalton returning = buy now. If you’re sitting pretty in your league’s standings I’d recommend seeing how nervous the Elliott owner is.
Code Red: Concerned About Lamar Jackson
In the offseason there were reports that the Ravens wanted Lamar Jackson to run less. And that makes sense. Last year he averaged almost 11 rushing attempts per game en route to his MVP campaign. In their first six games this year he had just 50 rushing attempts, which is still a good number and on Sunday the game script called for 16 attempts. So through seven games he now has 66 total rushing attempts, but a year ago at this time he had 83. Over his last three games he’s also only completing 52% of his pass attempts and he hasn’t reached 210 passing yards since Week 1. There were some concerns coming into the season as to how the offensive line will hold up without Marshal Yanda . For the most part, they’ve done very well. They have the second-highest passing blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus. However, left tackle Ronnie Stanley suffered a broken ankle on Sunday and his season is over. If you don’t know who Ronnie Stanley is, he’s basically the best left tackle in the league. So much so, that the Ravens gave him a five-year, $98.75 million contract just a few days ago. There is no replacement for Stanley. The production you get from whoever slides over to left tackle will pale in comparison and we saw Lamar get sacked four times on Sunday. And Tyre Phillips left with an injury as well, though it’s not as serious as Stanley’s obviously. They won’t face a pass rush like the Steelers every week, but we’ve already seen enough of a drop-off in production for Lamar, which we were anticipating, but did we think it would be this much? He can still get it done with his legs, but he only has two rushing touchdowns on the year and he hasn’t improved as a passer. I don’t think he finishes 2020 as a top 12 quarterback.
J.K. Dobbins Is Still Just A Bench Stash
The header may not be a hot take, but there are plenty of reasons to be excited about what he did on Sunday. 16 touches for 121 yards is fantastic stuff and it was good to see the rookie running back get more work. Mark Ingram is still dealing with an ankle injury and when he’s ready to return, John Harbaugh is the kind of guy that would easily get him touches. And as mentioned above, Lamar is still running it around eight times per game. The schedule over the next few weeks is a little worrisome as well. Next week they have the Colts followed by the Patriots (who can no longer defend the run so this may be a good matchup) and they have the Steelers again on Thanksgiving night. And again, he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1. Sunday’s lone rushing touchdown went to Gus Edwards and if you managed to start Gus, congratulations because that’s what you were hoping for. Dobbins is probably still a stash at the moment unless somebody in your league genuinely believes the breakout has started and you can swindle a useful player from him. But I’m not sold on Dobbins, and I’m saying this as someone who has been stashing Dobbins in a couple leagues. When everyone’s healthy it still feels like he’s behind Jackson and Ingram for touches.
We Can Give Up On Jimmy Garoppolo Now And Forever
I got into spirited Twitter debate with my fantasy dad (that sounds much weirder now that I actually typed it), Ryan Hallam, last night. Hallam’s a noted San Francisco fan and he didn’t take kindly to me dumping on the former Patriots backup quarterback. Today is actually Jimmy G’s birthday and he’s probably not enjoying it as much as he did his date with Kiara Mia. But Garoppolo is now 29 and despite the Super Bowl run last year, he has not been good. The 2018 season was a wash after he tore his ACL moronically trying to extend a run. Last year he came up just short of 4,000 passing yards but managed to throw 27 touchdowns. But is that even good in this day and age of the NFL? 4,000 yards is 250 passing yards per game and given how much the league in general is throwing, 4,000 yards is a terribly low bar. Even in a Super Bowl run, he didn’t hit 500 pass attempts last year as the 49ers were the most run-heavy team in the league. Garoppolo is still on the books through 2022 for nearly $24 million per season. Given what we know about quarterback contracts, that’s not a terrible price, but he hasn’t been worth it by any means. Your franchise quarterback needs to have a bigger impact on your Super Bowl runs if you’re paying him that much. In a few years if he lands somewhere as a backup, I’ll be happy because I won’t have to look up how to spell his last name anymore.
If there’s one thing I took away from the Thursday night game it’s that Brian Hill looks significantly better than Todd Gurley . In the short-term, the Falcons will likely keep getting Gurley touches. They gave him a respectable one-year deal and they want their money’s worth. However, in the first half of Thursday’s game the snap usage was an even split between Hill and Gurley. Once the dust settled and the Falcons came away with the win, Gurley saw 36 snaps to Hill’s 25, and he finished with 18 touches to Hill’s 13. For the YPC truthers (like me) Hill averaged 5.0 yards per carry to Gurley’s paltry 2.55 yards per carry. The Falcons are intentionally making their offense worse with Gurley on the field. His accidental touchdown last week arguably cost them the game against Detroit. Even when he’s scoring he’s hurting the team! The Falcons could easily be 4-4 or 5-3 at best. They aren’t as awful as their record says they are, but if they want to surprise defenses they should consider going away from Todd Gurley and his boring rushing attempts.
Jonathan Taylor Is A Buy Low This Week, Not Next Week
Here are my opinions on buying low on a player, and this applies perfectly to Taylor. The fantasy community and individual fantasy managers are getting smarter. They know Taylor is a player worth targeting. However, on Sunday he looked terrible. For as big and powerful of a runner as he is, he spent a lot of time running into his own offensive line. 22 yards on 11 carries is laughable. The Colts put up 41 points and he didn’t find the end zone. If you’re trying to buy low on Taylor, it should probably be done now ahead of the tough matchup against the Ravens. You can make the argument that his stock could be lower next week after another rough game, but Taylor managers are smart enough to know the schedule gets better following the Ravens game. That’s the problem you’ll run into with trade negotiations. The buyers want to acquire him after the tough game and the sellers may prefer holding him if you’re offering them a worse deal next week than this week. That’s just how I feel about buying low. You do the other manager a service by taking him prior to the bad game rather and you can still reap the benefits of a fantastic schedule the rest of the way. We all want to win every trade, but we forget we need to oblige the other manager as well.
But regarding Taylor, I’m pretty concerned. He had a goal line carry that all he needed to do was maybe bounce outside or jump over the pile but he couldn’t pound it in. Jordan Wilkins came in and stole the touchdown and then recorded the two-point conversion as well. I’m not considering Wilkins a serious threat to Taylor’s workload, but for a team that spent their bye week working on the running game, Taylor just hasn’t been putting it together. Trey Burton had another two-yard run for a score and Nyheim Hines caught two touchdown passes. And Taylor still put nothing on the board for us this week. If you’re buying him, you should do it this week and endure one more bad matchup for him. But moving forward I’m a little worried he can’t see the plays develop in front of him.
Sell Robert Woods While You Can
Woods does everything you want from a WR2 on paper. He has six touchdowns on the year and he sees about seven targets per game. He’s pretty consistent in that regard as a Steady Eddie. He entered this week as WR21 in PPR formats and he’ll easily move up after two touchdowns Sunday against the Dolphins. But in comparison to Cooper Kupp , his usage is down and we can’t keep relying on these jet-sweep touchdowns. When Goff wasn’t finding ways to get Woods into the end zone, he was throwing interceptions and fumbling the ball. It was a rough week for the Rams as they had to travel back to the East coast on a short week. You aren’t selling him for Antonio Brown , don’t be that dense. But maybe you swindle Terry McLaurin ’s manager and try to pitch him on Woods’ knack for the end zone and McLaurin’s poor quarterback play. I doubt it works (trust me, I’ve been trying) but it’s worth a shot. If you can’t steal McLaurin maybe Antonio Gibson’s owner is in need of wide receiver help. Or you may find yourself packaging Woods with another player. Regardless, the numbers look good for Woods and it shouldn’t be too hard getting another piece in return for him.
The NFC West Will Get All Four Teams In The Playoffs
I’m taking the week off from talking about the Tank for Trevor Train or the NFC East division winner and will shift the attention to the NFC West. With seven teams from each conference making the playoffs this season, this is well within reach. The Seahawks currently have the best record in the conference while the Cardinals and Rams are holding down the fifth and seventh seeds respectively. The 49ers are currently on the outside at 4-4, but they still have a shot. The only thing standing in the way of the NFC West getting every team in (aside from Jimmy Garoppolo ) will be the NFC South. Between the Buccaneers and Saints it truly does appear that both teams are primed for the playoffs especially at the quarterback position. If I had to pick, I’d say the Bucs are in better shape to win the division. Some idiots like this guy thought they’d legitimately go 6-10…
I made a bet with someone earlier this year that the Bucs would go 6-10... I’d like to just pay up now if that’s cool... Can’t remember who it was though... @peteystitz This sounds like your doing?— Dan Malin (@RealDANlanta) October 25, 2020
The Saints have a tough draw next week against said Buccaneers and then go toe-to-toe with San Francisco in Week 10, which is a game that will make-or-break this hot take. The landscape of each team could dramatically change if the 49ers backfield is a little more healthy and if Michael Thomas (remember him?) actually suits up for a game. As much as I think Jimmy G sucks I am pulling for all the NFC West teams to make the playoffs.