Thursday Night Football has given us some less-than-ideal outcomes this season, but Week 8's matchup between the Ravens and Buccaneers should give us some fireworks. At least, that's what it looked like on paper back when the schedule came out. Now? I'm not so sure.
I'll have my preview for the game in tomorrow morning's newsletter, but the practice participation reports are a little concerning right now -- without even getting into the fact that a lot of the principals in this offense have been pretty mediocre of late. The Buccaneers actually enter the week in pretty decent shape on offense -- Mike Evans is dealing with an ankle injury but was limited Tuesday and should be able to play -- but the Ravens have some real concerns.
That starts with the fact that Mark Andrews (knee) and Rashod Bateman (foot) were both unable to practice Tuesday. Both played through these issues last week, but the short week makes it less than certain they'll be able to do the same this time around. But the even more difficult player to pin down is probably Gus Edwards. Edwards looked great in his return from a torn ACL in Week 7, but he's been limited in practice so far this week. I expect him to play, but I am worried there might be some limitations in his role with just three days off between games. This is always going to be a multi-back attack, but I'm less confident in starting Edwards this week than I think I will be the rest of the way. It's just not a great situation for his second game back.
We'll have more tomorrow -- plus, Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em calls later tonight -- but for now let's get to today's newsletter, where we're previewing each position for Week 8 and talking trade targets. Make sure you check out Dave Richard's Trade Values Chart if you're looking to make a trade this week, of course. And, to get your questions included in the newsletter in the coming days, send them to Chris.Towers@ViacomCBS.com with "#AskFFT" as the subject line.
And now, here's Wednesday's newsletter.
🔍Week 8 Position Previews
Every Tuesday, Heath Cummings previews each position, providing injury insights, key stats to know, the best waiver-wire adds, DFS targets, and more for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Here's a brief rundown of each position, along with some key details you need to know before you go read Heath's full breakdowns:
"There are eight quarterbacks who are currently averaging 20 or more Fantasy points in a standard CBS league. Two of them are on a bye in Week 8. It's just about time we lower our standards for what qualifies as a good Fantasy performance from a quarterback in 2022. If you lower the bar to 18, it's not hard to find nearly a dozen more options including a couple of streamers who are listed in the waiver wire section below."
- On a bye: Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert
- Injuries: Russell Wilson (hamstring), Ryan Tannehill (ankle), Carson Wentz (finger), Baker Mayfield (ankle) and Sam Darnold (ankle)
- Number to know: 11.4 -- Jameis Winston averaged a league-high 11.4 yards per pass attempt. If he returns this week against the Raiders, there should be fireworks.
- Matchup that matters: Tua Tagovailoa @DET (22nd vs. QB)
- Waiver add/streamer: "Daniel Jones. Jones has produced two touchdowns in three of his last four games, his passing efficiency is steadily improving in another new offense, and he's one of the best rushing quarterbacks in football. Seattle allowed Kyler Murray to rush for 100 yards and gave up rushing touchdowns to two other QBs this season."
- Stash: "Justin Fields. I don't want to start Fields against the Cowboys, but his recent play has been very encouraging. He's run the ball 26 times in his last two games for a combined 170 yards. His passing has improved as well. Fields has averaged at least seven yards per attempt in each of his last four games. He only hit that mark once in the first three weeks of the season."
"The NFL trade deadline is generally more bluster than actual movement, but with a little more than a week remaining before the deadline, we've already had two running backs moved that have altered the landscape of Fantasy Football."
- On a bye: Austin Ekeler, Sony Michel, Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon
- Injuries: Breece Hall (ACL), Ezekiel Elliott (knee), Chuba Hubbard (ankle), D'Andre Swift (shoulder), J.K. Dobbins (knee), James Conner (ribs), Cordarrelle Patterson (knee), Cam Akers (personal), Elijah Mitchell (knee), Joshua Kelley (knee), Kyren Williams (ankle), Darrel Williams (knee) and Damien Williams (ribs)
- Number to know: 73% -- Michael Carter played 73% of the snaps in Week 7. He averaged 22 FPPG in the three games he topped 70% of the snaps in 2021.
- Matchup that matters: Raheem Mostert @DET (25th vs. RB)
- Waiver add: "Michael Carter. In full PPR, Carter is my top choice because the Jets run offense looks like a good one and I think he has the best path to 15 touches that includes work in the passing game. James Robinson could have something to say about that, but I'm not sure Robinson is as good as Carter right now."
- Stash: "Jaylen Warren. I know it's getting more difficult to stash backup running backs, but Warren still possesses top-20 upside should something happen to Harris."
"It's been a frustrating year for anyone who drafted Chris Godwin. I should know, he's on about a third of my teams. Godwin only played 19 snaps in Week 1, pulled a hamstring, and missed Week 2 and Week 3. He still hasn't scored a touchdown this year, his 10.1 yards per catch is a career low and his catch rate and yards per game are well below his marks in the past two years with Tom Brady.
If you're someone who didn't draft Godwin, now is the time to take advantage of that frustration."
- On a bye: Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Joshua Palmer, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman.
- Injuries: Mike Williams (ankle), DK Metcalf (knee), Allen Lazard (shoulder), Amon-Ra St. Brown (concussion), Marquise Brown (foot), Michael Thomas (foot), Corey Davis (knee), Jahan Dotson (hamstring), Nico Collins (groin), Wan'Dale Robinson (undisclosed), Elijah Moore (personal), Julio Jones (knee), Russell Gage (hamstring), Jarvis Landry (ankle), Treylon Burks (toe), Kadarius Toney (hamstring), Christian Watson (hamstring), Randall Cobb (ankle), D.J. Chark (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee) and Josh Palmer (concussion)
- Number to know: 6 -- CeeDee Lamb saw a season-low six targets in Dak Prescott's first game back. Prescott has historically spread the ball around more than most quarterbacks.
- Matchup that matters: Diontae Johnson @PHI (7th vs. WR)
- Waiver add: "Wan'Dale Robinson. If Robinson can stay healthy he has 10-target weekly upside, which would make him a top-20 wide receiver on a weekly basis. He earned eight first half targets in Week 7 before suffering an undisclosed injury. If he's a full participant at practice you'll see him move up the rankings."
- Stash: "Darnell Mooney. I don't want to start Mooney this week against the Cowboys, but things are trending more positively for the Bears offense. If Justin Fields is unleashed in the second half, Mooney could be a top-25 wide receiver."
"Making trades for tight ends has become very difficult, mostly because there aren't very many good options. Even if you count Kyle Pitts, there are only 11 tight ends averaging 10 FPPG or better. And that also includes David Njoku, who we know we won't have for at least the next two weeks. It's going to be very difficult to find a current top-12 tight end you can trade for that you both feel good about and can afford. So let's look for some guys currently outside the top-12 as buy low candidates."
- On a bye: Travis Kelce and Gerald Everett
- Injuries of note: David Njoku (ankle), Daniel Bellinger (eye), Darren Waller (hamstring), Logan Thomas (calf) and Cameron Brate (neck)
- Number to know: 20% -- Dalton Schultz was right back at a 20% target share in Dak Prescott's first game back.
- Matchup that matters: Irv Smith vs. ARI (31st vs. TE)
- Streamer: "Greg Dulcich. Broncos quarterbacks have thrown 19.6% of their passes to tight ends this year and with nine targets in Week 7 Greg Dulcich clearly established himself as the top option. If Brett Rypien starts, Dulcich has huge target upside, but his scoring chances increase if Russell Wilson is able to go. There is significant upside if Wilson ever returns to form later in the season."
Week 8 Trade Talk
Last week, I told you to buy low on Ezekiel Elliott, Joe Mixon, and George Kittle, and that looks pretty great after one week. Let's see if I can do as well with this week's crop of trade targets. As always, if you're looking to make your own trades, make sure you check out Dave Richard's Trade Values Chart so you know how to make the right offers.
Three to buy-low
- Jonathan Taylor – After being the 1.1 pick in nearly all leagues this offseason, Taylor sits at RB21 through the first seven weeks of the season. And now he's in an offense that just benched its starting quarterback and he may or may not be playing through an ankle injury that could limit him moving forward. It's been a tough season for Taylor, however, while I wouldn't rank him as the RB1 at this point, I do still think he's probably a top-five option moving forward. I mean, we're still talking about a guy who might be the single most physically gifted back in the league, who rushed for 1,800 yards last season. I'm not sure Sam Ehlinger is going to be the answer for the Colts offense, but the fact that Colts coach Frank Reich specifically mentioned the Colts inability to run the ball efficiently when announcing the benching of Matt Ryan suggests they're going to make establishing the run a priority. And, for whatever else you want to say about Ehlinger, he was an effective runner in college and could help Taylor and the Colts running game create some extra holes -- rushing quarterbacks tend to boost their backfield mates' efficiency. The decision to go with Ehlinger moving forward seems to suggest a decision to re-prioritize Taylor, and he absolutely still has RB1 upside moving forward. Buy him before he re-captures last year's form.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown – I think there might have still been some lingering skepticism around St. Brown even after a strong start to the season, and we're now four weeks removed from his last useful Fantasy game, so maybe the person who has him in your league is starting to get itchy. Or maybe they've just forgotten about St. Brown's eight straight games with 15-plus PPR points from the end of last season to the start of this season, broken only by an early exit in Week 3 with an ankle injury – a game in which he had 13.3 PPR points in 73% of the snaps. When healthy, I think St. Brown might just be a top-eight Fantasy WR.
- Kyler Murray – The Cardinals offense looked a lot more functional with Deandre Hopkins back in Week 7, and while it wasn't reflected in Murray's Fantasy production – 17.2 points in six-per-pass-TD scoring – I think that just heightens the buy-low case for him. Murray has been quite a bit better in his career with Hopkins active – to the tune of about a four-PPG edge – and I expect his passing production to be quite a bit better moving forward than it has been – though seeing as he has career-worst marks in TD% (2.5%) and yards per attempt (5.9), that wouldn't be asking too much. But Murray has also been a lot more active as a runner of late, with 33 rush attempts in his past four games. That combination is going to make him a top-six QB moving forward. Buy before the breakout happens.
One to buy-high
- Kenneth Walker – Walker's is a skill set I have, historically, had a tendency to underrate and underestimate. When it comes to Fantasy Football, I want my running backs to catch passes, for obvious reasons – in PPR scoring, a 5-yard catch is just as valuable as a 15-yard run. But some running backs – Taylor, Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry – can overcome that math problem by combining big, predictable workloads with the ability to hit on big plays consistently in the running game. Walker looks like the next version of that archetype and I really don't think I'm overreacting by including him with that group of players. He's an elite athlete – 98th-percentile 40-yard dash, 96th percentile speed score – who produced at a high level in college on massive volume, he was a high draft pick, and now he's had over 20 touches and 100-plus yards in each of his first two career starts. Walker reminds me of Taylor as a rookie, where he's such an overwhelmingly effective runner that it makes up for his limitations as a pass-catcher. The key difference is, Walker has 20 carries in consecutive games by Week 7; Taylor didn't do that until Week 17 and the playoffs. On a related note in fortuitous timing, friend of the pod/newsletter Ben Gretch wrote about why backs like Walker might be undervalued in a lot of Fantasy analysis because of his ability to just crush efficiency as a runner.
Three to sell-high
- Brian Robinson – I don't want to say we've seen the best-case scenario for Robinson, but the Commanders have won each of their past two games, and we don't exactly expect that to be something we see too often. He's had 17 and 20 carries in the past two games, and has totaled 146 yards from scrimmage, a pretty decent showing. However, even with a touchdown in Week 6, he managed just 12 points; with two catches in Week 7, he got to 10.6. And I just don't think there are going to be too many situations where he does much better than that. He's not the type of home-run hitter Walker is, which makes it a lot harder to get around the limitations of his role – he's third on the RB hierarchy on his own team for routes and targets. He's going to give up the occasional opportunity near the goal line to Antonio Gibson, as he did in Week 7. You're probably looking at seven-to-10 points from Robinson most weeks, with even the upside scenarios looking more like 13-16 points than 20-plus. He just isn't likely to give you many upside weeks, and those are what win in Fantasy.
- Parris Campbell – I went back and watched all of Campbell's targets in Week 7, and it pretty much looked exactly like what you expect a 70-yards-on-12-targets performance to look like – nearly all of the targets were on short, quick-hitting concepts designed to get the ball out quickly. When you've got the immobile Matt Ryan behind an offensive line that is struggling to protect, that's what you get to try to counter it. With the more athletic Sam Ehlinger set to take over at QB, I expect to see a lot less of that kind of play design from the Colts, and I don't think it's going to benefit Campbell. I don't know if it's going to benefit Michael Pittman or Alec Pierce – or the Colts offense writ large, frankly – but I think we're going to look back at the past two games as the peak of Campbell's season.
- Tyler Higbee – Higbee is in a similar position to Campbell, where I think his large role so far this season has mostly been the result of the offense's inability to do much to stretch the field. Of Higbee's 50 targets, just three have been thrown more than 10 yards down the field. His Fantasy value is a result of the dysfunction of the offense, and with Allen Robinson showing signs of life and Van Jefferson nearing a return from preseason knee surgery – he was recently cleared to return to practice – the Rams probably won't have quite the same need to lean on Higbee as they have. He's still a viable starting tight end, but if anyone's looking at his No. 4 ranking in target and thinking Higbee is a huge boost to their lineup, ship him off before they get a rude awakening.
One to sell-low
- James Robinson – I'll grant that it's possible the Jets acquired Robinson to be their lead back, but I think this was probably more about just needing someone they can trust. He certainly won't be a replacement for Breece Hall, who looked like a legitimate superstar who was elevating the entire offense before his torn ACL. Robinson was never that kind of player, and he certainly isn't it after his ruptured Achilles. Robinson might get a chance to be the lead back for the Jets, but Michael Carter is the incumbent with experience in the system, and I'd bet on him getting more touches – including and especially in the passing game – moving forward. People might view the Jets trade as a lifeline for Robinson's Fantasy value, but I think the trajectory here is still pointing down.