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Favorites & Fades

Week 8

By: Nick Caron | HC Green | Eli Mack | John Fessel
Updated: 10/29/23



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:





- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
- Lines and totals updated Sunday morning

Buccaneers @ Bills - (Caron)
Line: BUF -10.5
Total: 43.5

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

No Brainers: WR Mike Evans

Favorites: RB Rachaad White

It’s hard to get too excited about a player who has failed to reach even 75 rushing yards in any single game this season and who has been held to under 50 yards on the ground in four of his six opportunities, but there’s still hope for Tampa Bay running back Rachaad White. White’s rushing numbers remain down, but what has remained consistent is White’s usage in the passing game. White is on pace for 62 receptions this season and he’s coming off of his best game of the season in that department - a six-catch, 65-yard performance against the Falcons.

Buffalo’s defense has been good overall this season, but they’ve taken a step back in recent weeks due to injuries. They’ve already given up four different 35-plus receiving days to individual opposing running backs and Travis Etienne, Saquon Barkley, and Rhamondre Stevenson each caught four or more passes against the past three weeks. White is a mid-to-high-end RB2 this week and he’s a good bet for a TD if the Bucs make it near the end zone.

On the Fence: WR Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin is quietly putting together another solid campaign as he’s on pace for another 1,100-yard season. His usage has been solid and he still looks good, but the thing that’s keeping him from breaking out of the low-level WR2 range is that he’s still yet to score a touchdown. Now entering their seventh game of the year, it seems likely that the Buccaneers have begun their descent into what many expected, as one of the league’s lowest-scoring offenses. Tampa Bay has scored just 19 total points over their past two games and they’ve been held to 20 or fewer points in four of their six. This lack of scoring is really keeping Godwin and other members of the Bucs passing game who are not named “Mike Evans” from ascending into fantasy stardom.

Godwin is certainly not a must-start, but he’s not a must-sit, either. He should continue to deliver low-double-digit fantasy points most weeks, including here in Week 8 where he’ll be facing a Bills defense that has been on the downswing as of late.

Fade: QB Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield was viewed as one of the least valuable fantasy quarterbacks heading into the season and while he’s certainly shown moments of toughness and leadership, his fantasy numbers still leave a good bit to be desired. With Tampa’s overall lack of offensive firepower and Mayfield’s lack of scrambling ability, there’s just not a lot to like here. Yes, the Bills did just give up a solid fantasy day to Mac Jones, so there’s still some hope that Mayfield can come through with a decent QB2 performance, but this isn’t the week to be trusting him as your QB1.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

No Brainers: QB Josh Allen, WR Stefon Diggs

Favorites: TE Dalton Kincaid

It’s always unfortunate when a player goes down to an injury as Bills tight end Dawson Knox did this past week. Knox is also joined by Quintin Morris on the injury report, leaving rookie Dalton Kincaid as the only healthy tight end on the roster. Kincaid is also coming off his biggest game of the season - an eight-catch, 75-yard day against the Patriots.

The Bills had been running a high number of two-tight-end sets this season so Kincaid had a higher-than-normal usage for a player in a tight end committee, but we should be expecting him to play nearly every snap for Buffalo this week in what is being looked at as an important get-right game for the Bills.

The tight end position is seemingly getting better by the week and Kincaid looks like a strong bet to finish the season as a TE1. He does face a difficult Tampa Bay defense this week who has not yet allowed an opposing tight end to score a touchdown against them, but the high-end tight ends they’ve faced have seen a lot of targets against them. T.J. Hockenson (nine targets), Dallas Goedert (seven targets), and fellow rookie Sam LaPorta (11 targets) have all been big focal points in their teams’ offenses when facing the Bucs.

On the Fence: RB James Cook

Aside from their Week 3 struggles against D’Andre Swift, the Buccaneers have been an excellent fantasy defense against opposing running backs. That’s true despite them having faced some stiff competition in the form of Alvin Kamara and David Montgomery, both of whom struggled to find much room on the ground, although Kamara did turn in a huge 13-catch game (despite being held to just 33 yards with those catches).

The Buccaneers now face James Cook, who is coming off of an impressive fantasy day in Week 7 which saw him produce 102 total yards, including three receptions and a touchdown through the air. This was a big step back in the right direction for Cook, who had been held to fewer than 10 fantasy points in each of his previous two games.

The big concern right now is that Cook has still been giving up much of the short-yardage snaps to Latavius Murray. Murray himself hasn’t scored since back in Week 3, but it seems likely that he’s still the main goal-line back for the Bills, which really limits Cook’s upside.

Nevertheless, the running back position is quite banged up throughout the league right now, so Cook still needs to be viewed as a mid-level RB2 despite this being a fairly tough matchup.

Fade: WR Gabriel Davis

There are few players who bring more frustration to fantasy managers than Gabe Davis. Davis started the 2023 season off with an ugly two-catch, 23-yard game against the Jets. He then followed that up with a stretch of four straight games with a touchdown, despite him finishing with six or fewer receptions in each of those contests. Since then, he’s now gone back-to-back games with horrendous fantasy production - a three-catch, 21-yard game against the Giants in Week 6 followed up by a one-catch, six-yard game against the Patriots this past week.

The reality is that Davis is just not a consistent fantasy asset and he’s one of the most prototypical “best-ball” players in all of fantasy football. You simply don’t want to trust him in your lineup in normal seasonal leagues unless you absolutely have to because he’s just way too volatile.

Davis now faces a Tampa Bay defense that has struggled against opposing alpha wide receivers like Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and D.J. Moore, but who has held other receivers in check for the most part. Other than those four top-level WRs they’ve faced, the next-highest yardage earner against them so far this season was rookie Jordan Addison back in Week 1 who caught four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. While we’d certainly be happy to have that stat line for Davis if we put him in our lineups, it seems much more likely that we’re in for more of a DeVonta Smith-like four catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns.

Prediction: Bills 26, Buccaneers 20 ^ Top

Jaguars @ Steelers - (Green)
Line: JAX -2.5
Total: 40.5

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

No Brainers: RB Travis Etienne, WR Christian Kirk, TE Evan Engram

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: QB Trevor Lawrence

Coming into the season, Lawrence looked poised to join the elite producers at the position. To date, that has not happened. The former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 235 yards, 1.1 TDs, and 0.4 INTs per game through his first seven, though he is on pace for 500 rushing yards, which would shatter his previous career best of 334. Pittsburgh is a bottom-10 defense against the pass (241.2 yards per game; 25th), and that at least gives Lawrence some juice, though only as a low-end QB1.

Fade: WR Calvin Ridley

Theoretically, the acquisition of Ridley was to give Lawrence a true No. 1 receiver. He looked the part in Week 1 (8-101-1), but in six games since, the offseason acquisition has only topped 40 yards once. That includes a one-catch, five-yard effort in the team’s Thursday night win over the Saints. The Jags should be able to move the ball through the air on Pittsburgh, but right now it’s Evan Engram and Christian Kirk that are getting the looks consistently. That leaves Ridley as a risk/reward WR3.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

No Brainers: WR George Pickens

Favorites: WR Diontae Johnson (hamstring)

Back after missing a month with a hamstring injury, Johnson matched Pickens for the team lead with five receptions and ended his first game since Week 1 with a very respectable 79 yards. With Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) on the IR with a bum hammy of his own, the passing game revolves around Johnson and Pickens. As such, even if Kenny Pickett can only pass for around 200 yards, that could still be enough to generate value for both wideouts. Facing Jacksonville, which ranks 31st in pass yards allowed (273.9 per game), Johnson offers WR3 appeal.

On the Fence: RB Najee Harris

With just 352 yards and one touchdown combined through six games, Harris can no longer be considered a no-brainer. Pittsburgh’s ground attack has been among the NFL’s most anemic, and Harris’ involvement in the passing game has continued to erode -- he caught 71 passes as a rookie, 41 last year, and he’s on pace for 23 this season. That’s a bad mix for fantasy value. He continues to work ahead of Jaylen Warren, though, and could still deliver flex value against Jacksonville’s fourth-ranked run D.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Steelers 21 ^ Top

Jets @ Giants - (Caron)
Line: NYJ -3.0
Total: 34.5

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Breece Hall

Now that the training wheels are off, it’s been Breece Hall season and oh what a beautiful day it is. With back-to-back big fantasy performances both as a runner and a receiver, Hall has established himself as one of the strongest assets in all of fantasy football. Hall is no longer being significantly affected by either Dalvin Cook or Michael Carter and he recently played 68 percent of the Jets’ offensive snaps in their most recent contest - a big step up from his previous season high which was 52 percent of snaps.

The Giants’ defense has been better as of late, but they still gave up big days to both Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane, as well as to Kenneth Walker, Christian McCaffrey, James Conner, and Tony Pollard. The only backfields that haven’t performed well against the Giants are the ones where the offenses are struggling as a whole while also splitting carries between multiple backs. The Jets offense isn’t good, but Hall should be in line to see around 70 percent of the running back rush attempts as well as a double-digit target share, making him one of the best bets to have a big game at the running back position here in Week 8.

On the Fence: WR Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson hasn’t delivered the high-end WR1 numbers that many of us hoped that he would with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, but the truth is that he’s still been a reliable fantasy WR2 more often than not this season. Wilson has commanded an excellent 32 percent target share which has allowed him to finish with double-digit fantasy points in four of the Jets’ first eight games. This has continued despite the fact that he’s failed to get into the end zone since Week 2.

The Giants have been up-and-down against opposing wide receivers. They’ve struggled against some of the league’s better passing games including the 49ers, Bills, and Dolphins, but they also performed well against the receivers on the Cowboys, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Commanders. Certainly, the Jets fall into the latter group much more than they do the first group, but it’s also true that none of those lesser offenses has a receiver who’s commanding anywhere near the type of target share that Wilson has. It’s a somewhat difficult on-paper matchup, but look for Wilson to see between eight to 12 targets again this week, which should allow him to produce a solid fantasy game with the potential for a boom week if he does get into the end zone.

Fade: QB Zach Wilson

While he’s performed better than many critics expected that he would, the reality is that Zach Wilson is still an extremely low-floor fantasy quarterback who also lacks the upside to really be a difference-maker. Even in his best game this season, Wilson failed to throw for 250 yards and he’s been held to one or fewer touchdown passes in all but that surprisingly close contest with the Chiefs back in Week 4.

The Giants’ defense hasn’t been good this season so it might be tempting to sneak Wilson into your lineup if you’re struggling at quarterback, but don’t forget that this is a quarterback who threw for just 199 yards and no touchdowns against the other-worldly-bad Broncos defense back in Week 5.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

No Brainers: RB Saquon Barkley

Favorites: TE Darren Waller

The season started off horribly for him, but things have finally begun to get interesting for Giants tight end Darren Waller. Waller has been targeted an impressive 26 times over his past three games, resulting in 20 catches for 227 yards and he finally got into the end zone for the first time this past week. Giants beat reporters couldn’t stop raving about his training camp dominance so it’s nice to finally see that success translating when the games actually matter.

Waller is a no-brainer play at tight end most weeks, but the Jets are a defense that has been causing problems for even some of the best offenses in the league. Where they have been surprisingly gashed, however, is against opposing tight ends. They’ve already conceded five touchdowns to the position this season and that’s resulted in them giving up the second-most fantasy points to the position thus far. With the Giants’ wide receiver room still not giving them much, Waller should be in line for a strong target share against a team that may not have the ability to contain him. He’s a top-half TE1 this week.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: WR Wan’Dale Robinson

The usage had been good for Giants’ wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson throughout his first four games since getting onto the field this season, but things took a drastic turn in Week 7 when Robinson was targeted just twice, making one catch in what was a low-scoring battle with the Commanders.

This one-week blip on the radar wouldn’t normally be a cause for a ton of concern for a more established player, but despite his relatively high usage, Robinson had really only delivered one fantasy-relevant performance this season prior to that bad game against Washington. Now he’ll face a Jets defense that has given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Better days should be ahead for Robinson, but this is a week where you’ll want to bench him.

Prediction: Jets 16, Giants 14 ^ Top

Texans @ Panthers - (Mack)
Line: HOU -3.5
Total: 43.5

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Nico Collins, QB C.J. Stroud, RB Dameon Pierce, TE Dalton Schultz

Nico Collins continues to build on the strongest start of his NFL career. His three TD receptions through six games already match the three TD receptions he scored in the two previous seasons combined. Collins has proven to be a big play threat as well, as his 18.9 yards per reception leads the league. He has worked himself into the WR2 conversation in fantasy, so start him accordingly.

Stroud is making the early comparison with fellow rookie Bryce Young not a comparison at all. Stroud is having a stellar first half of the season while Young has been hit or miss. Stroud’s one interception is the fewest in the league, and now he gets to go up against a team that gives up 31 points per game. There are no byes this week, but Stroud is certainly a starting option for those with question marks at the position. Is he startable over Trevor Lawrence? Dak Prescott? There are some who will have to make that decision this week. I say he is, and I would choose him over those mentioned.

Carolina’s run defense is a porous unit that has given up the second-most rushing yards in the league (144 yards per game) and the most rushing TDs in the league (12). Dameon Pierce was on the wrong side of the RBBC the team employed in Week 6 against New Orleans, with Devin Singletary actually playing more snaps than Pierce (34-21). But there is simply too much production available against this Panthers run defense to overthink this.

Dalton Schultz has scored in three straight games. That kind of consistency is almost nonexistent at the tight end position. Continue starting him at a position where he could give you a considerable advantage.

On the Fence: RB Devin Singletary

Singletary doesn’t have the physical profile to be a bellcow back, but when used strategically and in certain spots, he can be effective. The Week 6 game against the Saints showed that. Whether Singletary plays more snaps than Pierce again this week is a question mark. Even if he doesn’t, there should be enough meat on the bone for Pierce and Singletary to both eat. If you’re plagued by injury or ineffectiveness on your roster, you could do worse that Singletary as a flex.

Fade: WR Robert Woods (foot)

Robert Woods is second on the team with 43 targets, but his days of being earmarked a starter in fantasy are over. He’s an injury replacement or a roster depth figure at this point of his career. He’s missed practice the first two days and isn’t likely to play this week.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen turned 33 years old during the preseason. Who would have ever believed that he would essentially be Carolina’s passing game? He has 40 receptions over the past four games, and his 59 targets are twice as many as the next closest teammate. Similarly, his 49 receptions are more than triple the total of the next closest teammate. Asking a 10-year veteran to carry this kind of load is asking a lot, but so far, so good for Thielen. We’ll see if he’s able to maintain this production for two more months. But for now, he’s a WR1 in fantasy until further notice.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: RB Miles Sanders, RB Chuba Hubbard, WR Jonathan Mingo, QB Bryce Young

There is not enough productive volume on Carolina’s offense to support fantasy output beyond Thielen. That renders the rest of the roster useless at this point. The season started with Miles Sanders serving as the lead back, but is has quickly dissolved into a full-on RBBC, with Sanders and Chuba Hubbard splitting carries. Splitting unproductive carries is not the greatest strategy for fantasy success, so you should look elsewhere to complete your RB starters.

Bryce Young is not there yet. Many are expecting him to be someday, but it probably won’t be this season. For now, he’s a roster stash. That’s where he should remain.

Prediction: Texans 27, Panthers 19 ^ Top

Patriots @ Dolphins - (Caron)
Line: MIA -8.5
Total: 46.5

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Kendrick Bourne

It seems like every week we’re trying to find something to be excited about in the New England passing game and every week we’re left shaking our heads and shrugging our shoulders. The only player who has delivered really anything useful for fantasy managers in recent weeks has been wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who has now made 16 catches on 18 targets over his past two games. Bourne broke out in Week 1 when he scored two touchdowns on 11 targets but had since fallen back into fantasy obscurity with four straight single-digit fantasy days. With back-to-back solid fantasy days, though, it’s now time to look at Bourne again as a potential WR3/Flex.

Don’t be overly confident given that he was held to just four catches for 29 yards the last time he played the Dolphins, back in Week 2, but there were even some underlying good signs in that game as Bourne was targeted a team-high nine times. Mac Jones looked like he had some life left in him this past week and there’s a potential that this game ends up being a blowout in Miami’s favor which would almost certainly lead to a higher-than-normal passing output from New England, so don’t sleep on Bourne if you’re in a pinch.

On the Fence: RB Rhamondre Stevenson

Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson had been on an absolutely disastrous pace prior to Week 6 when he finally got back in the end zone and started to get utilized in the passing game again. Now, over his past two games, Stevenson has caught 11 passes and appears to have some upside.

This type of output would normally make Stevenson a “Favorite,” especially against a team that he scored a touchdown against back in Week 2, but there was a very concerning trend that we saw develop in the Patriots’ surprising victory over the Bills this past week. While Stevenson remained on the field for about 65 percent of the team’s snaps, as he has done throughout most of the season, there was a somewhat surprising shift in the carry split between him and veteran Ezekiel Elliott. In fact, for the first time all season, Elliott actually out-carried Stevenson by a ratio of 11 to nine. Elliott has also now scored on the ground in back-to-back games, leading many to be worried that he has surpassed Stevenson as the team’s primary goal-line back, which would obviously put a huge anchor on Stevenson’s potential upside.

Stevenson should still be ranked ahead of Elliott, for now, but this backfield is creeping eerily close to being a full-on 50/50 split and that could be bad in what is already a low-scoring offense.

Fade: QB Mac Jones

Quarterback Mac Jones had what was probably his best game of the season this past week, throwing for 272 yards and two scores in a win against a good Buffalo defense. Jones had been the topic of lots of potential “hot seat” panels, so it was interesting that he showed up in such a big way against a division rival.

However, he and the Patriots now have to head to Miami to face the Dolphins - a team that he threw for just 231 yards and one score against back in Week 2. Jones has been held to fewer than 250 passing yards in all but two games this season and he’s been under 210 yards in four of his seven games. Without scrambling ability, this just is not a player that we want to be relying on for fantasy purposes.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

No Brainers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Tyreek Hill

Favorites: WR Jaylen Waddle

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is on the injury report and while he has said that he is going to play, there’s always the possibility that he might not be at full speed. Of course, Hill himself needs to remain in fantasy lineups as long as he’s on the field, but any sort of potential limitation on Hill should play into Jaylen Waddle’s potential usage here in Week 8.

Waddle caught four passes for 86 yards on just six targets against the Patriots earlier this season and he’s scored three times in five career matchups with the Patriots. Look for him to see around a 25 percent target share in this one, which should allow him enough opportunities to be a useful mid-to-low-end WR2 this week.

On the Fence: RB Raheem Mostert (ankle)

Mostert saw a season-high 75 percent of his team’s running back rush attempts in Week 7, which should be a great sign for his numbers going forward despite the fact that it didn’t directly result in many fantasy points against the Eagles. Unfortunately, Mostert came out of the game banged up and he has now missed practices early in the week prior to being limited during Thursday’s session. Mostert has a long history of injuries throughout his career, so this ankle issue that he’s dealing with should come as no surprise. If he’s healthy enough to play, of course, he needs to be in lineups as he’s the lead back in one of the league’s best offenses and he absolutely obliterated the Patriots for 121 yards on the ground back in Week 2. However, understand that his usual burst could be a bit limited right now if he’s still dealing with the ankle heading into the game.

Fade: RB Jeff Wilson

Another oft-injured Dolphins running back, Jeff Wilson was one of the top waiver wire pickups a few weeks back and he finally made his 2023 debut in Week 7. Wilson didn’t carry the ball but caught one pass in the Dolphins’ loss to the Patriots.

Obviously, Wilson is not worth starting if Mostert is on the field, but things do get a bit murkier if Mostert does end up missing the game due to his ankle injury. In that scenario, fantasy managers could find themselves scrambling to try to get a piece of this Miami backfield. If Mostert were to miss the game, though, it would likely be Salvon Ahmed who leads the backfield - not Wilson. This past week, we saw that Ahmed played on nearly 40 percent of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps, whereas Wilson played on just 15 percent. We should expect that those numbers would be a bit closer if Mostert is out, but still - Wilson isn’t involved enough in the offense right not to warrant starting unless multiple backs on the depth chart go down between now and game-time.

Prediction: Dolphins 30, Patriots 17 ^ Top

Falcons @ Titans - (Mack)
Line: ATL -2.5
Total: 35.5

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Bijan Robinson

To be sure, Bijan Robinson’s surprise no-show last week torpedoed a lot of fantasy squads. He returns this week to face a team that just traded one of its best players in safety Kevin Byard. Whether that signals the beginning of the dismantling of this team remains to be seen, but it can’t engender confidence in a squad that has lost three of its last four games. At some point, I’m thinking (hoping, actually) head coach Arthur Smith realizes what he has in Robinson and uses him a bit more. Nonetheless, he’s still an RB1. His role in the passing game gives him a high floor every week, so start him with confidence and hope there are no more gameday surprises.

On the Fence: WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts

Both Drake London and Kyle Pitts have had their moments this season. Personally, I’m just glad Pitts is being used more. It’s just frustrating sometimes watching this offense underutilize three top-10 draft picks in London, Pitts, and Robinson. Whether that’s a result of Arthur Smith, QB Desmond Ridder, or something else, this offense seems to misfire way too often. Tennessee’s defense may be reeling this week with changes in the secondary, so London and Pitts could have a productive game. Be mindful, too, that their production is capped by Ridder, who can implode at any moment.

Fade: RB Tyler Allgeier, TE Jonnu Smith

Tyler Allgeier remains fantasy-relevant, despite our collective displeasure of how it affects Robinson’s productivity. Allgeier’s productivity, however, is way too extreme and can fluctuate greatly from week to week. Jonnu Smith has been a solid addition to this team and has even been more fantasy-relevant than Pitts. But there’s not enough to go around for him this week. Bench both.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

No Brainers: RB Derrick Henry

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR DeAndre Hopkins

The Tennessee Titans are turning into a fantasy dumpster fire right before our eyes. Rookie Will Levis is slated to start in place of Ryan Tannehill, and he’s playing amid whispers of an imminent trade. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on in Nashville. Hopkins is the team’s most reliable pass catcher, as his 28 percent target share would suggest. If Levis has any chance for a decent outing, it will come from targeting Hopkins. It remains to be seen if those two can make it happen.

Fade: All others

Tennessee has an incredibly thin list of fantasy-relevant players, made all the more obvious this week with all that’s swirling around this team regarding who will get traded. It’s a mess right now. It’s Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins for the Titans. That’s it. That’s all.

Prediction: Falcons 28, Titans16 ^ Top

Vikings @ Packers - (Green)
Line: MIN -1.0
Total: 41.5

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

No Brainers: WR Jordan Addison, TE T.J. Hockenson (foot)

Favorites: RB Alexander Mattison

Only two teams have allowed more rushing yards per game than the Packers, which is good news for Mattison, who has run for fewer than 50 yards in all but two of his games this season. There is a caveat to this designation, and that’s the emerging presence of Cam Akers, who had a dozen touches on Monday night compared to 10 for Mattison, though the latter was the more effective ball carrier. In truth, both players should get work against a defense that is annually better against the pass. Use Mattison as an RB3, and you may get a nice return on investment.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Kirk Cousins

There’s no denying Cousins’ performance Monday night against the 49ers was highly impressive, especially when you consider Justin Jefferson (hamstring) is out of action, and if your alternatives are poor, you’d be forgiven for betting on him to continue his strong play against a lesser defense. Still, we suggest a pumping of the brakes. The veteran has endured his share of struggles in Green Bay, and that includes Week 17 of last season when he threw a trio of interceptions in a blowout loss. Add history to the Packers’ porous run defense, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Cousins slide into more of a game manager role, similar to what he filled versus Chicago back in Week 6.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Aaron Jones (hamstring)

While Jones has been limited in practice, the word is that it’s just soreness, and there hasn’t been any type of setback that would cause him to miss more time. Obviously, this endorsement requires the veteran to take the field. Assuming he does, Jones could have a big day. Last season, Jones had 190 yards on just 24 touches versus Minnesota; that’s a cool 7.9 yards per touch. In 2021, he had 106 yards on 13 touches (8.2 YPT). There’s clear risk given how sparingly he’s played since Week 1, leaving him as a borderline RB2/RB3, but there’s absolutely RB1 upside here.

On the Fence: QB Jordan Love

Despite some overall struggles, Love has quietly done a decent job in terms of fantasy value, posting multiple touchdowns in five of his six games this year. He hasn’t done a lot of running, but he’s been effective at it, which adds a bit more to his profile. At a time when the position doesn’t have a lot of stud producers, Love is the kind of player you can roll the dice on in a matchup like this. He has QB1 upside, though there’s real risk against the type of blitzing defense the Vikings deploy.

Fade: WR Christian Watson (knee)

Injuries have been a major issue for Green Bay, and Watson has been one of the biggest culprits thus far. After posting a 3-27-0 line against the Broncos, the speedy wideout is dinged up again, though he appears on track to start in the divisional showdown with Minnesota. He has just eight catches in three games, however, and 77 of his 143 yards came on a broken coverage. Once a borderline no-brainer due to his upside, Watson shouldn’t be viewed as more than a flex right now.

Prediction: Vikings 23, Packers 18 ^ Top

Rams @ Cowboys - (Caron)
Line: DAL -7.0
Total: 45.5

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

No Brainers: WR Puka Nacua

Favorites: WR Cooper Kupp

Fantasy managers were left dumbfounded this past week when Cooper Kupp turned in an uncharacteristically bad game against the Steelers. Kupp had previously checked in with two WR1 performances in each of his two games upon returning from injury, but this one bad game already has some managers scrambling. Don’t join them. Kupp’s usage remained excellent, as he again ran routes on every passing play, securing a 23 percent target share in the process. Yes, 23 percent is lower than what we’d hope for, but if that’s his floor and his ceiling is near the 50 percent mark like we saw in Week 6, then it doesn’t make sense to panic. Kupp is fine. He’s going to continue to be great for fantasy as long as he and Matt Stafford remain healthy. Yes, Puka Nacua has ascended into a prominent role, but the Rams’ passing game has always been a target funnel to their top two receivers and there is still plenty of room for Kupp to be a WR1 this week and going forward. Even though the Cowboys’ defense is good, they struggled to contain Keenan Allen this past week and Kupp should be in line to deliver for fantasy managers.

On the Fence: RB Darrell Henderson

Zach Evans was the hot acquisition on fantasy waiver wires this past week, but it was actually a combination of Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman who ended up leading the Rams’ backfield. Henderson was roughly the 60-end of the 60/40 split between these two and we should be expecting that to continue this week, as the team did find some success with that split.

Henderson faces a Cowboys defense that has been good against opposing running backs so far this season. In fact, only James Conner has rushed for more than 70 yards in a game against this defense and they just got done holding Austin Ekeler to less than two yards per carry. Henderson’s usage means that he’ll still probably be an RB2 in most lineups, but his upside is limited here, especially given that he’s likely still in some sort of split backfield with Freeman.

Fade: WR Tutu Atwell

Many fantasy experts believed that Puka Nacua would see a massive drop in target share once Cooper Kupp re-joined the team, but the player who’s been most affected has been Tutu Atwell. Prior to Kupp’s 2023 debut, Atwell had caught 22 passes over the Rams’ first four games of the season. Since Kupp entered the lineup, though, he has caught just four total passes over his past three games. Of course, Atwell has managed to score twice on those four receptions so his fantasy totals don’t look too terrible, but this has been an extremely dramatic downswing in scoring which makes sense given that he’s been below a ten percent target share in each of his past two games.

At this point, Atwell is essentially a handcuff for Kupp who can occasionally go in and steal a touchdown, but it’s not enough to make him a fantasy-relevant player himself. He’s a player who should be avoided, especially against tough defenses like Dallas’.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

No Brainers: RB Tony Pollard

Favorites: WR CeeDee Lamb

The Cowboys are six games into their season and a case can be made that they’ve really only played in two “normal” games, with the other four all being blowouts in one direction or the other, which can really skew some of the offensive numbers. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has been a victim of those weird game scripts and it’s really contributed to what has been a relatively slow start to the season for him. Still, Lamb is by far the most-utilized player in the Cowboys’ passing game on a week-to-week basis and there’s a strong chance that the Cowboys have focused their gameplan around getting him the ball in the passing game.

Los Angeles has been a good defense against opposing wide receivers so far this season, but top opposing targets like Ja’Marr Chase, A.J. Brown, and George Pickens have all had productive fantasy days when playing against the Rams. This isn’t a great matchup for him, but it’s one that Lamb should be productive enough in to warrant a low-end WR1 ranking for the week.

On the Fence: TE Jake Ferguson

The Cowboys’ passing game has been shaky this season and tight end Jake Ferguson has only hovered around the borderline TE1 territory, so it’s tough to really recommend him too strongly in any matchup. However, this week he’ll be against a Rams defense that has struggled at times to defend opposing tight ends. In Week 6, they gave up six receptions on 10 targets to the Cardinals’ duo of Zach Ertz and Trey McBride. The week before that, Dallas Goedert turned in a huge game when he caught eight passes for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Rams. Then the week before that, the Colts’ duo of Mo Alie-Cox and Andrew Ogletree both caught touchdowns when they faced the Rams.

There aren’t many tight ends who we can feel too confident in right now, but Ferguson has seen a 15 percent target share for the Cowboys so far this season and given the way that the Rams have shut down WR2s and WR3s who’ve faced them, there’s a decent chance that Ferguson ends up being Dallas’ second-most valuable pass-catching weapon this week.

Fade: Dak Prescott

We’ve got CeeDee Lamb listed as a “Favorite” and Jake Ferguson listed as “On the Fence,” but that alone isn’t enough to make Dak Prescott someone that fantasy managers can feel too confident about this week. Prescott has been held under 300 yards passing in every game this season and he’s only exceeded one touchdown pass in one contest so far in 2023. Of course, the last time we saw him back in Week 6, prior to Dallas’ bye, he did turn in his best game of the season in what ended up being a lower-than-expected scoring game against the Chargers. That came, though, because Prescott finally got into the end zone as a runner - something he hadn’t done yet this season prior to Week 6, and something that he had only done once in both 2022 and 2021.

Given the state of the Cowboys’ offense right now, Prescott just isn’t delivering the high-end upside games to make him a QB1 for fantasy. Sure, he’s a fine Superflex option or QB2 in those leagues, but his fantasy output isn’t enough to make him someone that we can be real excited about in normal leagues. Add in the fact that the Rams have only given up one 300-yard passing day to an opposing QB (Jalen Hurts) and that only one QB (Anthony Richardson) has passed for more than one touchdown against them, and it’s easy to see why Dak is a fade on the road here in Week 8.

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Rams 23 ^ Top

Eagles @ Commanders - (Caron)
Line: PHI -7.0
Total: 43.5

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

No Brainers: QB Jalen Hurts, WR A.J. Brown, TE Dallas Goedert

Favorites: RB D’Andre Swift

D’Andre Swift had been on a big-time hot streak, but things cooled off a bit in Week 7. What was a bit concerning is that Swift was only able to deliver a 10-point fantasy day despite the fact that the Eagles scored 31 points in what was expected to be a shootout with the Dolphins, but ended up being a double-digit victory for the Birds. Swift has now been held to fewer than 4.5 yards per carry in four straight contests and while he’s always a threat in the passing game, it’s becoming glaringly obvious that the Eagles’ actual goal-line running back is Jalen Hurts.

Nevertheless, Swift’s usage remains extremely strong. He’s now touched the ball at least 17 times in six straight contests, including a high percentage of those touches coming via the passing game which is always a welcome bonus for those in PPR formats. Sure, he’s not going to get many one-yard touchdowns this season, but touching the ball 20-plus times in one of the league’s best offenses makes Swift a must-start. His “bad” games are still typically low-end RB2 numbers and he’s shown us the ceiling of being a high-end RB1.

On the Fence: WR DeVonta Smith

While D’Andre Swift’s usage makes him a strong bet to have a bounce-back game, another player in the Philadelphia offense doesn’t have that touch count to give us confidence in him returning to fantasy glory. DeVonta Smith has now failed to reach double-digit fantasy points in four of his past five games and has not scored a touchdown in any of those contests. What’s worse is that he’s now been held to five or fewer targets in four of Philadelphia’s first seven games. The Eagles’ offense is good enough that five targets could still result in a useful fantasy day from time to time, but despite his 22 percent target share, Smith is just not converting consistently enough to make him a trustworthy fantasy player at the moment.

Smith would probably be a “fade” this week if he wasn’t facing a Washington defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Smith himself was targeted nine times against them back in Week 4, catching seven of those passes for 78 yards. We don’t know for certain that he’ll see that high of usage again, but Smith is a player who’s capable of putting up some high-end numbers in matchups like this and you could be kicking yourself if you choose to bench him for some lower-level receiver who’s been riding a one or two-week hot streak.

Fade: RB Kenneth Gainwell

Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell scored the lone Philadelphia backfield touchdown this past week but has been below 4.0 yards per carry in all but one game this season. Sure, he might get a touchdown on occasion, but the Philadelphia backfield still very much flows through D’Andre Swift and Gainwell can’t even really be considered a “goal-line” back given that Jalen Hurts is practically unstoppable in short-yardage situations.

Fade Gainwell and any other member of the Philadelphia backfield who is not named “Swift” at the moment. Things might change as the season goes on, but we don’t want to be chasing one-off touchdowns.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Terry McLaurin

He’s probably not going to ever be a true fantasy WR1, but Terry McLaurin continues to prove that he’s one of the more reliable fantasy WR2s. He started the season off a bit slow, but McLaurin has now been targeted 35 times over his past four games, including a 10-target game against this very same Eagles defense back in Week 4. He converted eight of those receptions for 86 yards that day in what was his best fantasy performance so far this season.

The Eagles' defense has been excellent against the run this season, but they’ve allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, so feel free to fire up McLaurin yet again this week in what should be a great matchup for him.

On the Fence: WR Curtis Samuel (foot)

Curtis Samuel’s three-game touchdown streak came to an end this past week, which meant that many fantasy managers were frustrated with his six-point fantasy day after they finally trusted him in their lineups. That’s the life of a Curtis Samuel manager in fantasy, though - this is a player who’s never been trustworthy in normal seasonal leagues but who can be useful in best ball formats.

One point of interest that came out of Samuel’s Week 7 dud against the Giants, though, is that he actually saw his highest target share of the season, with a 23 percent share. Add in the fact that he had his highest reception total of the season back in Week 4 when he played against the Eagles and this week’s matchup with Philadelphia does actually sound a bit intriguing if you’re in a tough spot. Don’t be surprised if he fails to deliver again, but there is reason to believe that Samuel could be useful again here in Week 8.

Fade: RB Brian Robinson Jr.

Robinson had been skating by primarily due to his extremely high rushing attempt share in this backfield, but he has now seen fewer than 50 percent of the team’s carries in each of the past two weeks. Normally this would be due to Antonio Gibson getting more involved but it’s actually been rookie Chris Rodriguez who’s been making his presence known, including carrying the ball seven times compared to Robinson’s eight carries this past week.

While Rodriguez hasn’t been spectacular with his touches, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Robinson is seeing his usage decline in recent weeks. He’s been under 3.5 yards per carry in five of seven games so far this season and he’s also made two or fewer receptions in all but one game.

Robinson is essentially a touchdown-or-bust player this week against the league’s best fantasy defense against running backs. Robinson did score when these teams played back in Week 4, but he did so on just 45 rushing yards and the Eagles have only allowed one other running back (Breece Hall) to get into the end zone against him so far this season. He should see low-double-digit touches in this game which makes him a viable option in deeper leagues, but understand that his upside is very low against a good defense like Philadelphia’s.

Prediction: Eagles 30, Commanders 16 ^ Top

Saints @ Colts - (Mack)
Line: NO -2.5
Total: 43.5

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

No Brainers: RB Alvin Kamara

Favorites: WR Chris Olave

New Orleans has a high-volume passing attack. Only two teams average more than the Saints’ 39 pass attempts per game, and Olave is the No.1 option out wide. While he’s now competing with Alvin Kamara for targets, Olave nonetheless continues to get just enough attention to make him a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 in fantasy in Week 8. Olave must rely on the less than stellar play of QB Derek Carr, who during last week’s game against Jacksonville, seemed to have communication issues with his receivers. Carr’s negative body language after seemingly every scoreless possession was not a good thing to see. But the fact that Olave remains heavily targeted in this passing game keeps him in the conversation as a top-12 fantasy receiver in 2023.

On the Fence: WR Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas has been successful enough this year to ward off defenses from keying on Olave. Thankfully, Thomas has enough left in the tank that he’s still a legitimate threat. Certainly not to the degree we saw him in 2019, but defenses can’t ignore him. At best, Thomas serves as a low-end WR3, but his upside is capped by the sometimes-unexceptional play of Derek Carr. Thomas is not going to win many games for you, but he’s still a serviceable fantasy option who you can be a periodic starter. I’m just not sure this week is one of those weeks.

Fade: WR Rashid Shaheed, QB Derek Carr

Rashid Shaheed’s true fantasy value would only be seen if Olave or Thomas is unavailable. Shaheed remains one of the league leaders in yards per reception, so he has something that can be harnessed for fantasy production. But without consistency and the proper level of activity in the passing game, Shaheed’s output will remain limited.

Derek Carr looked like a spoiled, petulant child last week. After several incompletions, television cameras caught him pouting and holding his palms to the sky in disbelief. It’s not what you want to see from an NFL quarterback. He continues to have the worst start to his career through seven games, but hopefully his surrounding pieces can bail him out in the weeks to come. In the short-term, however, Carr should be relegated to your bench.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Jonathan Taylor, WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Before long, many expect Jonathan Taylor to get the lion’s share of RB carries over Zack Moss. For the time being, it remains a split backfield, as last week saw both get 18 rushing attempts. To be sure, Taylor is a premier back and is in a different league than Moss. That superior talent will soon take precedence and propel Taylor to the bellcow status we’ve grown to expect. We can expect him to find some resistance vs. the Saints, but Taylor should still warrant consideration as a low-end RB1 this week, despite sharing with Moss.

Pittman had a rather quiet game last week with two receptions, but he turned it into 83 yards and the first TD he scored since the opener. Pittman is not a “favorite” in the traditional sense, but rather in a way that highlights him as Indy’s top receiving threat. QB Gardner Minshew is good enough to keep Pittman fantasy-relevant for the balance of the year, and Pittman should continue delivering as the high-end flex play that he’s been.

Update: Zack Moss (elbow, heel) missed practice Wednesday and Friday. He's listed as Questionable.

On the Fence: WR Josh Downs, RB Zack Moss, QB Gardner Minshew

Josh Downs led the team last week in targets, receptions, and receiving yards, so he’s inching ever so closely to being an every-week starter. I’ve mentioned in weeks past that, for now, he’s only a bye-week filler or injury replacement. But his production is getting to a point where we cannot continue to deny his place as a starting-caliber receiver in fantasy. I think he’s plowed through that roadblock. New Orleans presents a unique challenge with its top-10 defense, so all that Downs gets this week will be well earned. Start him if you must but keep expectations in check despite last week’s coming out party.

Zack Moss remains a big part of this Indy run game. We’re all expecting Taylor to take over this backfield the way he’s done before, but what if he doesn’t? What if they continue to give Moss enough work to have him maintain his stand-alone value? We don’t know the answer to those questions yet, which actually puts a bigger question mark on Moss’s back. Taylor will get his, no doubt. To what extent that affects Moss is the clarity we need, and hopefully we get it soon.

Minshew is one of those feast-or-famine QBs, you just don’t know it what game it will occur. He can throw it to the opposing team just as quickly as he throws it to his guy, so you’d need to take whatever controls your anxiety if you choose to start him. He has back-to-back 300-yard passing games but the Saints have given up the 9th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so Minshew can be left on your bench and saved for a bye week.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Saints 23, Colts 20 ^ Top

Browns @ Seahawks - (Fessel)
Line: SEA -3.5
Total: 37.5

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Amari Cooper

Since Deshaun Watson went down with an injury, Cooper has seen a 108-yard performance sandwiched by 16- and 22-yard outings. He’s only accumulated 7 receptions during that time. The news doesn’t get much better with the Seahawks awaiting Cooper and company this Sunday.

While Seattle has surrendered the 4th most points to receivers, they’re finally getting healthy in the secondary (rookie 1st rounder Witherspoon and former All Pro safety Jamaal Adams, most specifically). Since Week 4, the Seahawks have surrendered no more than 80 yards to a receiver (Ja’Marr Chase), just two touchdowns, and they held Chase to 11 points and Marquise Brown to 6.4 points.

The best news for Cooper is that he’s still the clear top option in his offense, having 22 targets during the frustrating three-game stretch without Watson. Still, more target involvement may be necessary. Major volume will likely be critical for Cooper to reward managers who start him this weekend.

Update: David Njoku (knee) is expected to play.

Fade: TE David Njoku

David Njoku missed practice on Wednesday due to a knee ailment, so there are some questions as to his status this weekend, but if he does play, he’s not likely to do much against Bobby Wagner and the Seahawks.

Wagner did miss practice Wednesday, but there’s no indication at this point that he’s likely to miss Week 8. As a unit, Seattle has continued to stifle tight ends, giving up the 5th least fantasy points and not yet having surrendered a touchdown to the position.

Njoku has seen greater target volume when Watson has been out over the last two seasons, so there may be games where he’s Top 12 option, but this reasonably isn’t one of those match ups.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Kenneth Walker (calf)

Running backs have faced a similar fate as wideouts have versus the Browns this year: Just three opposing running backs have reached double figures. Only one – Jonathan Taylor last week – has put up RB1 numbers. Walker has been a no-brainer for most the season, but staring down the Browns from seven is a task of a different order and requires pause.

Still, while it won’t come easy, it’s reasonable to expect the Seahawks – home favorites – to grind and play for field position against the Browns team without Deshaun Watson and Nick Chubb. That should get Walker plenty of touches, and sooner or later some goal line looks due to great punt work of Michael Dickson and an unforced error or two by the Browns offense deep in their own territory. Walker’s already surpassed 20 touches this year on three occasions, and has reached the end zone in four different games. It wouldn’t be surprising for both of those things to happen this week.

On the Fence: WR DK Metcalf

The Browns have been outstanding all the way around on defense this year, sans last week versus the Colts. That was likely a just a blip on the radar, and so every Seahawk is facing a daunting task this week. As with running backs, Cleveland has allowed just three wide receivers to score double-digit points this season, but two of them were opposing WR1’s (20.7 for George Pickens and 15.3 for Michael Pittman Jr.), so there is some fair ceiling potential for Metcalf despite likely seeing a fair bit of talented corner Denzel Ward.

Metcalf has been dinged up recently, but he’s a full go for practice this week, while Tyler Lockett missed Wednesday’s practice and is dealing with a hamstring injury. Metcalf may be leaned on a bit more heavily than usual, especially because – outside of Joshua Downs - Cleveland had faded every number 2 and 3 receiver they’ve faced this year, allowing 6.8 or less points to the lot of them. In a game that could be very tough sledding for Lockett (if he plays) and rookie Smith-Njigba, Geno Smith could look to Metcalf’s tight window abilities and have Metcalf walking away with a respectable day.

Fade: QB Geno Smith, WR Tyler Lockett, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

As just previously mentioned, the Browns have been unkind to most receivers, and neither a hobbled Lockett nor an inexperienced Smith-Njigba are likely to break that spell. It’s best to fade them both.

As for their quarterback, Geno is going against a Browns defense that has been nearly as unkind to QB’s as they have been to every other position on offense. The Browns have held three different quarterbacks to under 10 points, and Geno is still getting his offensive line trickling back onto the field, so the match up screams of having a low floor.

Whereas the Seahawks are favored and will likely play fairly conservatively, seeking to have the Browns make the first mistake, Smith is poised to continue his trend of having a low ceiling, as well. Until he has more time to throw, and at the least until he facing a friendlier opponent, he’s best kept on your bench.

Prediction: Seahawks 23, Browns 13 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Broncos - (Fessel)
Line: KC -7.0
Total: 45.5

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

No Brainers: QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce

Favorites: RB Isiah Pacheco

Isiah Pacheco had 12.8 points against the Broncos in Week 5, and he’s had at least that many points in each of the last five weeks. No team has surrendered more fantasy points to running backs than the Broncos, so it’s arguable that we haven’t seen Pacheco’s ceiling versus the Denver defense. While the Broncos defense is showing signs of improvement, the Packers managed just their second 100-yard rushing performance of the season against them and picked up a season high 137 yards rushing as a group. AJ Dillon also reached fantasy relevance for just the second time this season. Needless to say, Isiah Pacheco is a must start.

On the Fence: WR Rashee Rice

The Broncos defense greatly disappointed through the first month of this year, including getting scorched by opposing receivers. Since Week 5, though, they have failed to allow more than 10 points to an opposing wideout. While it’s important to keep in mind that Denver faced few threats at wide receiver during this time outside of the Jets’ Garrett Wilson, who is hampered by the Jets quarterback situation. The Jets, Packers and this Chiefs team have been the Broncos most recent opponents.

Rashee Rice did have one of the better recent performances against the Denver secondary, posting 4 receptions for 72 yards. On the whole, outside of top dog tight end Travis Kelce, Rice has been the only consistent receiving option for Patrick Mahomes this year. Rice’s 34 targets put him clearly ahead of all other Chiefs not named Kelce. That may get Patrick Surtain II’s attention, which is not great news, but the Chiefs move their receivers around a lot and Rice has more than a prayer at finding a solid outing. He’s may on the WR3/4 this week, but if you’re short at the position he’s an option.

Fade: WR Skyy Moore, WR Kadarius Toney

As I discussed last week, the Chiefs reacquiring Mecole Hardman was real risk to Skyy Moore’s already fragile status as a rosterable fantasy player. In Hardman’s first game back with the team, it appeared to be Kadarius Toney who suffered greatly (19% snap rate, his 2nd lowest of the season, and 1 target), but Hardman immediately matched Moore’s targets (3). There’s a lot of receivers with raw talent but lacking polish in this offense, and only Rashee Rice has set himself apart. At this time, starting Moore or Toney is likely to leave fantasy managers disappointed, and it may be time to consider – especially with Moore – cutting your losses and get someone more enticing off of waivers.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Courtland Sutton

The Chiefs have allowed the 10th fewest points to opposing wide receivers, yet they’ve still managed to surrender at least one double figure point performance to wide outs each week of this season. Courtland Sutton hit the double figure mark, himself, against the Chiefs in week 5 (12.6 points). Sutton has had five double-digit point performances on the year, to boot. Now clearly Russell Wilson’s most preferred target in 2023, the Chiefs may make some adjustments this time around to keep Sutton in check – especially in the red zone (5 TDs, already) – but Sutton is the best bet for productivity from a Bronco this week.

Fade: QB Russell Wilson, RB Javonte Williams

Russell Wilson finds himself entering Week 8 just outside the top 12 quarterbacks in fantasy points per game. Despite the Broncos being 2-5, Wilson has only been allowed to throw 30.6 passes per game, and he’s not nearly as mobile as he used to be (171 yards and 0 TDs), so he tends to need a highly efficient day to provide fantasy QB1 value. Kansas City has allowed just a 60% completion percentage and 8 total touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. As such, they’ve given up the 4th fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, and this places Wilson firmly into QB2 territory.

Javonte Williams had his best game of the season last week, picking up 11.1 fantasy points on 18 touches. He still hasn’t found the end zone, though and that will be tough to accomplish against a Chiefs defense that has given up just 3 touchdowns to opposing running backs. On the whole the Chiefs have held opposing RBs to the 5th least points in the league, and largely due to forcing their opponents into negative game script for much of the game. If the Chiefs get the ball first, it’s entirely plausible that the Broncos spend every drive of the game in the negative script, so Williams is unlikely to get in the range of those 18 touches he had last week, nor put up startable numbers.

Prediction: Chiefs 28, Broncos 14 ^ Top

Bengals @ 49ers - (Fessel)
Line: SF -5.5
Total: 43.5

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

No Brainers: WR Ja’Marr Chase

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: QB Joe Burrow, WR Tee Higgins, RB Joe Mixon

Both Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins have had incredibly disappointing seasons to-date. Burrow is 28th in fantasy points per game at QB and Higgins is outside the Top 50. Burrow, of course, has been hampered by a calf injury and Higgins has been hampered by Burrow’s inability to step into throws and, more recently, by his own injury (ribs). Both talents had a much-needed bye week to do some healing, and it’s possible that they will start to look more like their respective selves this week. The uncertainly remains, though, and they are both reasonable boom-bust candidates against the 49ers defense.

Joe Mixon is just 30th among running backs in fantasy points per game (10.2). He has just 1 rushing touchdown and is pacing just 3.8 yards per carry. In Mixon’s defense, he’s had a tough opponent schedule thus far this year, with five of his six opponents allowing less fantasy points to RBs than the league average. He’ll catch no breaks in Week 8 against a 49er defense that has surrendered just 3.9 yards per carry to their opponents – most of which have otherwise fared better than Mixon. Mixon lines up as what he’s been all season – an unexciting flex.

Fade: WR Tyler Boyd

The 49ers defensive scheme has allowed no room for production outside of opponents top two wide outs, with 8.9 points being the ceiling performance from WR3’s. Boyd is averaging a career low 6.8 yards per reception and is unlikely to break through that low ceiling.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

No Brainers: RB Christian McCaffrey

Favorites: TE George Kittle

George Kittle saw increased involvement in the passing game with Deebo Samuel out, drawing his second highest target, reception and yardage totals of the season (5-78 on 7 targets). Samuel has not practiced yet this week and is likely going to miss this week’s game. The Bengals have surrendered the 6th most points to tight ends despite only facing one Top 12 tight end, thus far (Mark Andrews, who scored 13 points against them), which further sweetens the sauce for Kittle.

The only question is how Sam Darnold will distribute targets to his options if Brock Purdy does indeed miss the game due to a concussion. The former 1st round pick has never had a significant weapon to throw to at tight end, but did turn out a 500-yard season from rookie TE Chris Herndon in 2018. That was a career high for Herndon and one of the highest rookie totals from a tight end in the last decade, so there’s no reason to think Darnold won’t utilize the immense talents of Kittle if Purdy has to sit.

On the Fence: WR Brandon Aiyuk

The Bengals have done a pretty good job against receivers, except when it comes to addressing the jet sweep (11 rushes for 116 yards against). While there was an expectation among many that Deebo Samuel being off the field would lead to more action for Aiyuk, it did not pan out that way last week (6 targets). Samuel’s activity in the run game is valuable in numerous ways, including by drawing attention that frees up receivers like Aiyuk. The Bengals would have their hands full trying to address their weakness if Samuel turned out to be available, possibly opening the door for a big game from Aiyuk. But if that does not happen, there is certainly a question as to whether the banged-up 49er offensive line will consistently give Aiyuk’s long routes (14.7 intended air yards per target) enough time to develop.

Update: Brock Purdy did practice Thursday and Friday. He's listed as Questionable and needs to clear concussion protocol on Saturday.

Fade: 49ers Quarterbacks

Despite practicing in a limited fashion on Thursday, it seems unlikely that Brock Purdy will leave the concussion protocol in time, due to the 49ers short week following Monday Night Football. If that’s the case, Purdy will have already missed action due to injury twice in his career, having not yet played a full season’s worth of games. One has to wonder whether Purdy is going to follow in the injury riddled path of Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. Don’t look now, but enter Sam Darnold, who has not made it through a full season healthy in five previous seasons.

Sam Darnold was a 3rd overall pick with the Jets, but never really found his footing with one of the league’s weakest offensive units. He exited New York for Carolina in 2022, and after taking over as the starter for the Panthers last year, he posted a 93 passer rating, over 7 adjusted yards per attempt and had a couple of fantasy start-worthy performances (week 16 and 17, with 21.9 and 22.6 pts, respectively). The Panthers weren’t particularly talented on offense, themselves, especially having already shipped off Christian McCaffrey to Darnold’s current team, and so Darnold will enter uncharted and relatively pleasant territory if he starts for the 49ers this weekend. Darnold could potentially produce as well or better than Purdy, given the chance.

The catch for intrigued fantasy owners this week is that the 49ers are likely to again be without two key offensive starters, and the Bengals have forced more interceptions (8) than they’ve allowed passing touchdowns (7). Darnold’s biggest weakness in his career has been interceptions, with 61 in 60 career games. It’s not shaping up to be a good week to turn to a Niner QB.

Prediction: 49ers 21, Bengals 20 ^ Top

Ravens @ Cardinals - (Fessel)
Line: BAL -10.0
Total: 44.5

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

No Brainers: QB Lamar Jackson, TE Mark Andrews

Favorites: WR Zay Flowers, RB Gus Edwards

The Cardinals stifled Washington’s WR1 (Terry McLaurin) in Week 1, but since that time their ability to stop their opponent’s biggest receiving threat has been in steep decline. Brandon Ayuk (17.8 points), Ja’Marr Chase (44.7 points) and Cooper Kupp (24.3 points) have all recently scorched the Cardinals secondary. Flowers came into the year as the most promising rookie receiver, has quickly seized the opportunity to be Lamar Jackson’s favorite target (No.1 on the team with 54 targets), and has already shown a high floor (at least 48 yards receiving in each game). This is poised to be a big ceiling week for him.

Life has been even better for opposing RB1’s against the Cardinals, with every single one walking away with at least 11.4 points. Gus Edwards isn’t your prototypical RB1, but he’s double figure rushing attempts in every game since J.K. Dobbins was lost for the year and is averaging over 15 touches per game since Week 4. That should be ample enough volume to have a productive game against the Cardinals leaky run defense.

On the Fence: WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham has played a supporting role in the Ravens offense, but it’s been mostly a story of cameos, thus far. He did see a significant leap in targets in Week 7 against the Lions (with 7), and had a season high 5 receptions, but his 49 yards receiving did not jump off the page. How much of a step forward this performance represents remains to be seen, but Beckham did pick up his highest snap count since Week 1, capturing a 57% snap rate on offense. The Cardinals present a favorable matchup, so those managers in desperate need may look to the former All Pro with hopes of a breakout, or at least due to the increased possibility of OBJ grabbing his first touchdown pass from Jackson.

Fade: N/A

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Marquise Brown

Marquise Brown has remained Joshua Dobbs clear number 1 target, and even if Kyler Murray plays this week (more on that below), that shouldn’t change. Murray targeted Brown heavily last year when former Cardinal DeAndre Hopkins was out of the lineup. The efficiency that has been lacking at times in the Dobbs-to-Brown connection (6.4 yards per target) should also improve with Murray’s return. Marquise came out of the gate in 2022 averaging nearly 11 targets and over 80 yards per game with Murray before going down to an injury. The Ravens having allowed the 7th fewest points to opposing receivers coupled with the questions at quarterback make Brown no more than a deep flex option this week.

Fade: Cardinals QB, All Cardinals RBs, TE Trey McBride

We don’t know yet whether it will be one more round of Joshua Dobbs or Kyler Murray finally returning to action following an ACL injury in the middle of last season. Murray is practicing in full, but began the week working with the second team offense. Even if Murray plays, most players need time to return to form following an ACL tear, and Murray would also be playing with what is arguably his weakest offensive roster since arriving in the league.

Equally important to the uncertainly surrounding Murray is the fact that the Ravens have absolutely buried opposing quarterbacks, giving up the fewest opponent points to the position through seven weeks. Whether it is Murray or veteran sub Joshua Dobbs, it’s best to keep the Cardinals starting QB on your bench.

Meanwhile, Emari Demercado saw 17 touches last week, turning the Cardinals running back situation sans James Conner into an even more confusing one. Demercado took the reins after finding himself well behind Keontay Ingram and total surprise Damien Williams in touches the week before. Who the Cardinals will turn to this week is anyone’s guess, and as all three backs have demonstrated with their given opportunities thus far, none of them have the ability that James Conner does to squeeze starting value out of this offense.

At the tight end position, after recently showing signs that he was preparing to surpass Zach Ertz on the depth chart, an injury to Ertz has sealed the deal – at least for the time being. McBride should have TE1 days, but this Sunday is unlikely to be one of them, as the Ravens have smothered opposing tight ends, giving up just 7.3 yards per reception and no touchdowns.

Prediction: Ravens 27, Cardinals 16 ^ Top

Bears @ Chargers - (Fessel)
Line: LAC -9.0
Total: 46.5

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR D.J. Moore

The Bears quarterback situation is remains unstable, and while Tyson Bagent has continued where Justin Fields left off in terms of making Moore his top target (17 targets in the last two weeks), his star receiver has had just 8.1 yards per catch and no touchdowns in those two games. Enter the Chargers, an elixer for suffering receivers everywhere.

The Chargers have surrendered a whopping 15.1 yards per reception to opposing receivers. As a result, they’ve given up the second most receiving yards, are tied for the most touchdowns surrendered, and have easily given up the most fantasy points per game to the position. This is a great spot for Moore, even if Bagent is not as aggressive as Fields.

On the Fence: RB Roschon Johnson

The Chargers defense has been much better against the run than against the pass, surrendering just 3.6 yards per rush this year. When they’ve been beat by running backs, it generally been through the air: they’ve given up the second most receiving yards to the position this year. Roshon Johnson is set to return this week, and between himself and D’Onta Foreman, he appears to have the better receiving chops (collecting as many as 6 receptions this season – week 1). If either back has an impact this week, it’s most likely to be Johnson.

Fade: TE Cole Kmet

Tight ends are often victims of inexperienced quarterbacks, as most such passers don’t tend to get through their progressions very quickly and/or will scramble after just seeing one or two options. Cole Kmet has been such a victim since Bagent took the helm, going completely without a target last week after seeing just 3 targets (2-9-0) the week before. Kmet was pacing a Top 10 season at tight end before the change at quarterback, and while the Bears as a team may not be hurt by the loss of Fields, Kmet certainly appears to have lost his grip on TE1 status. The Chargers have been somewhat vulnerable to opposing tight ends, but if Bagent isn’t looking Kmet’s way very often, it probably won’t matter.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

No Brainers: QB Justin Herbert, WR Keenan Allen

Favorites: RB Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler lands here, rather than among he no brainers, due to his lack of production since returning from injury (just 9.6 fantasy points in two games). The Bears have come along to heal the concerns of Ekeler owners, having surrendered the most receiving yards to opposing RB’s, giving up 8 combined touchdowns to the position (4 rushing and 4 receiving) and the 7th most fantasy points per game.

Update: Josh Palmer (knee) is listed as Questionable.

On the Fence: WR Josh Palmer (knee)

The Bears have given up the 14th most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers, but there has only been room for exactly one wide receiver per game to produce 10+ points against them. That receiver will most likely be Keenan Allen. Josh Palmer has drawn 7 targets in each of the last two games and produced 193 yards during that time, so he can’t simply be dismissed, but running backs and opposing tight ends tend to soak up much of the rest of the production against Chicago. This makes Palmer an iffy play in Week 8. Check the injury report Friday as Palmer has missed practice time this week with a knee issue.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Chargers 35, Bears 20 ^ Top

Raiders @ Lions - (Green)
Line: DET -8.0
Total: 46.5

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

No Brainers: RB Josh Jacobs, WR Davante Adams

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Jakobi Meyers

While he hasn’t matched the production of Adams, there’s little doubt Meyers has exceeded expectations in a way the future Hall of Famer has not. The ex-Pat has logged better than 60 yards in four of his six games this year, and he has five touchdowns on the season, including one in three consecutive games. His two lowest output games came during the weeks Jimmy G missed due to injury, and he has been a popular target for the veteran. Detroit has been stronger against the run this year, but some of the yards they’ve given up through the air have been during garbage time. There’s some risk to playing Meyers, but as a flex or low-end WR3, he’s worth the gamble.

Update: Jimmy Garoppolo (back) did practice Friday.

Fade: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (back)

Garoppolo (back) missed Week 7 with a back injury, and the Raiders offense fell apart in a humiliating road loss to the Bears. He’s expected to return this Monday night, though, which should keep the club competitive in a hostile environment. While he’s clearly Vegas’ best option, Garoppolo has posted middling numbers in his five starts, topping 200 yards passing with multiples scores just once -- he also tossed three interceptions in that game. With Detroit having been humiliated last week, they figure to be an angry group. Best to keep Jimmy G on ice in this one.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

No Brainers: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, TE Sam LaPorta

Favorites: QB Jared Goff

Goff putting up better numbers at home than on the road is nothing new. It’s a drum we’ve been beating on since last season, and that’s because it continues to be true most of the time. Last week, in Baltimore, Goff threw for much of his 284 yards in garbage time and failed to throw a TD pass for the first time this season. He’s thrown seven TDs in three home games this year (versus four in four road starts), and the Raiders are fresh off getting torched by Chicago’s backups. While Las Vegas sits fifth in pass defense, don’t let that dissuade you from going with Goff in your starting lineup.

On the Fence: RB Craig Reynolds

With the Lions on Bye in Week 9, it seems likely that David Montgomery (ribs) will sit out one more game to bank an extra week of rest. In that scenario, look for the team to give Reynolds some work this Monday. He had four touches for 25 yards in Baltimore, but expect a larger role against the Raiders, which sit 24th in run defense. If Detroit can put Las Vegas in a hole, they could feature Reynolds rather than pile the touches on Gibbs, who just returned from injury last week. Consider Reynolds a flex with some intriguing upside.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Lions 38, Raiders 20 ^ Top