This middle part of the season can kind of feel like a bit of a slog. The first month of the season is all about finding out new things, reacting, and figuring out what is real and what isn't, and that's always exciting. And then, obviously, once we get into the double-digit weeks, we're in that mad dash for the playoffs, and it's all about making sure you've got the best possible roster for that lose-and-you're-done part of the season.
But Week 8? It's easy to lose focus a bit. Our rosters are generally settled by now, and that's especially true this season, with Week 8 happening to be a week with no teams on bye. And we're far enough away from the playoffs that the sense of urgency isn't quite there for most of us -- you're feeling it if you are 3-4 or 4-3, but otherwise, you're either far enough back that you feel hopeless -- you aren't, for whatever that's worth -- or you're sitting at 5-2 or better and don't feel much pressure to change things up.
Ignore that complacency. You should always be trying to improve your Fantasy roster. You should always have your eye on the playoffs, and on putting together the best roster for it. And the best way to do that is by looking to the trade market. Week 8 might be the best week to pull off a trade, too, because with every team playing, more players are likely to be on the table in trade discussions -- you won't have many, "I can't move that guy; he's my bye-week replacement" responses this week, at least.
In today's newsletter, I'm trying to help you make some trades. First, we have Heath Cummings' position previews for Week 8, but if you keep scrolling, you'll findplus eight trade targets to consider -- four to buy, and four to sell -- with my thoughts on why I'm looking to make moves on them. Let's get to it:
My Week 8 Rankings:| | |
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, , , and . 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:
"If you've been skeptical of Joe Burrow in 2023, so far you have been correct. A lingering calf injury coupled with some poor performances from Tee Higgins, and a passing game mostly devoid of big plays has limited Burrow to 13.8 FPPG this season. That is tied with Bryce Young for QB25, just behind Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson. Yes, it's been that bad.
"The hope is that the bye week gave Burrow and the Bengals time to get healthy. I mostly expect that, and I rank him as a top eight QB rest of the season, but I'm going to be skeptical for at least one more week. That's partially because I would like to see Burrow look like Burrow before I start him. But it's mostly because he's going to San Francisco to face an elite defense that has lost two games in a row."
- On a bye: None!
- Injuries: Jalen Hurts (knee), Deshaun Watson (shoulder), Justin Fields (thumb), Jimmy Garoppolo (back), Ryan Tannehill (ankle), Daniel Jones (neck) and Kyler Murray (knee)
- Number to know: 16.8% -- Deshaun Watson has the worst off-target rate in the league. He's expected to start for the Browns in Week 8 but he shouldn't start for your Fantasy team.
- Matchup that matters: Joe Burrow @SF (5th vs. QB)
- Waiver add/streamer: Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers: "You really should not need a streaming QB this week. No one is on a bye and no streamer ranks inside my top 15. If you do, the Bills defense shouldn't scare you away from Baker Mayfield. They have suffered a ton of injuries and just allowed Mac Jones to score 23 against them."
- Stash: Kyler Murray, Cardinals: "Murray is the prize of the waiver wire at QB this week. We don't know if he'll return in Week 8, but he's close enough to a return that he should be rostered in more than 90% of leagues. He has never had a season below 20 FPPG and projects as a top-12 QB rest of season once he is activated."
"Jahmyr Gibbs looks every bit the part of a week-winning running back in Week 8. He's coming off his first 20-touch game of the season, and will be at home as an eight point favorite over the Raiders. In their five wins this season, his team is averaging 128 rushing yards per game. The Raiders are giving up the sixth-most FPPG to opposing backs. You could be down by 30 entering Monday night, and if you have Gibbs, you still have a chance.
"All that being said, I'm not sure Gibbs is a league-winner, no matter what he does against the Raiders in Week 8. David Montgomery is coming back soon. He will be the hammer in this backfield and the goal-line option. He will be the 20-touch back and the back scoring most of the touchdowns. Gibbs can be impactful as a pass-catcher and most explosive back, but when Montgomery is healthy, I don't believe there is much chance Dan Campbell gives Gibbs more than half the work."
- On a bye: None!
- Injuries: Bijan Robinson (illness), Saquon Barkley (elbow), Jerome Ford (ankle), David Montgomery (ribs), Zach Charbonnet (hamstring), Kyren Williams (ankle), Ronnie Rivers (knee), Miles Sanders (shoulder), Damien Harris (neck), De'Von Achane (knee), Christopher Brooks (ankle), James Conner (knee), Khalil Herbert (ankle), Roschon Johnson (concussion) and Keaton Mitchell (hamstring)
- Mitchell (knee), Jamaal Williams (hamstring), Jeff Wilson (abdomen), Rashaad Penny (illness), Keaontay Ingram (neck).
- Number to know: 9 -- Alvin Kamara now has nine more receptions than any other running back despite missing three weeks.
- Matchup that matters: Isaiah Pacheco @DEN (32nd vs. RB)
- Waiver add: Darrell Henderson, Rams: "This is a bad matchup and Henderson may only have two more starts before Kyren Williams returns, plus Royce Freeman is going to play a role. Those are all the disclaimers as to why you shouldn't spend too much FAB on Henderson. But the Rams' running back position has been one of the most profitable in Fantasy this season, and Henderson looks like the RB1 there. Freeman is a fine consolation prize if you miss the top options."
- Stash: Devin Singletary, Texans: "You can't start Singletary with any confidence, but I would like to stash him and see if his very good Week 6 performance is rewarded after the Texans bye. The Panthers have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, so Singletary could catch a hot hand and run away with this backfield in Week 8."
"Josh Palmer has seen seven or more targets in four straight games, just lit the Chiefs up for 133 yards, and it feels like he's still being overlooked. I project him as a top-20 wide receiver in Week 8, and if his role stays the same, he may just be a top-20 wide receiver rest of the season.
"One thing to put Palmer's recent performance in context is that the Chiefs and Cowboys have been two of the best defenses in the NFL against opposing wide receivers. Palmer and Christian Kirk are the only receivers who have topped 100 yards against Kansas City. And while he didn't do much against the Cowboys, he had three catches and a touchdown overturned because of offensive line penalties.
"Palmer has played at least 97% of the snaps in each of his last two games and is the clear second option for Justin Herbert. Austin Ekeler's role has shrunk and Quentine Johnston has simply not mattered. If these things don't change in the second half Palmer has top-15 upside."
- On a bye: None!
- Injuries: DK Metcalf (ribs), Deebo Samuel (shoulder), Christian Watson (knee), Justin Jefferson (hamstring), Nathaniel Dell (concussion), JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion), Zay Jones (knee) and Treylon Burks (knee)
- Number to know: 59% -- Rashee Rice played a career-high 59% of the snaps in Week 7. If the trends continue, he'll be a must-start WR in the Fantasy playoffs.
- Matchup that matters: Garrett Wilson @NYG (21st vs. WR)
- Waiver add: Josh Downs, Colts: "Downs is the best combination of future and current value on the waiver wire. You can start him as a low-end WR3 now and he has low-end WR2 upside in the second half of the season."
- Stash: Marvin Mims, Broncos: "Mims has been electric when given the opportunity but Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are standing in his way. If the Broncos deal one or both at the deadline, Mims could become a full-time player."
"I'm ready to do the thing I always make fun of others for doing. I think that tight end might be deep soon. I'm sorry. Here's the case.
"Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, Sam LaPorta, and Dallas Goedert are set-it-and-forget-it locks in your lineup. Kyle Pitts and Dalton Schultz are one good game away from being the same. Now we have Jake Ferguson coming back from a bye, while Dalton Kincaid and Trey McBride are about to see an increase in their targets due to injury."
- On a bye: None!
- Injuries: Dawson Knox (wrist), Luke Musgrave (ankle), Pat Freiermuth (hamstring), Gerald Everett (quadriceps), Juwan Johnson (calf) and Greg Dulcich (hamstring)
- Number to know: 23.3% -- Trey McBride has been targeted on 23% of his routes this season, and now we expect him to run a route on most of Arizona's dropbacks.
- Matchup that matters: Darren Waller vs. NYJ (27th vs. TE)
- Streamer: Dalton Kincaid, Bills: "Kincaid has elite pedigree and just set a career-high in targets (8), catches (8), and receiving yards (75). He would have been an add even if Dawson Knox wasn't hurt. With Knox sidelined, there is legitimate top-five upside."
As always, before you make any trades,. Here are some buys and sells to help get the conversation started:
Three to buy-low
Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
Even as the Raiders offense has struggled, it's still creating plenty of opportunities for Fantasy production. In fact, Jacobs still leads all running backs in expected Fantasy Points, per ESPN's metric; unfortunately, he's 42 points under expectation, the largest gap in the league, reflecting both the Raiders' offensive issues and the fact that Jacobs, frankly, hasn't been very good. But the thing is, we've seen him be a very, very good player as recently as last season, so I'm not willing to write him off as a difference maker just yet. Jacobs still has top-five upside, and he's going to cost a whole lot less than that right now in trades.
Smith has lost both volume and efficiency this season, with his targets per game dropping from 8.0 per game to 6.3, while his yards per target has fallen from 8.8 to 7.7. On the volume front, I think it's probably just a function of how dominant A.J. Brown has been of late, but I also think the pendulum will swing back in Smith's favor at some point – we saw similar trends last season, where Brown would look like the clear No. 1 option for a while, and then Smith would. Brown is the better player, but there are unquestionably going to be some stretches here soon where Smith gets the edge. As for the efficiency? Well, Smith was at 8.8 yards per target each of his previous two seasons, and he's still in an elite offense, with a great quarterback, so I have little doubts we're going to see that come around, too.
Jaleel McLaughlin, RB, Broncos
McLaughlin has been incredibly dynamic this season, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, better than a yard and half ahead of teammate Javonte Williams. Which is why it was so surprising and, frankly, confusing, that McLaughlin got just five carries and playing 17% of the snaps in Week 7, his lowest total since Week 2. There was no reason to see that coming, and the weirdest part was that he was ceding snaps to Samaje Perine, who just hasn't shown much at all this season. Williams is the lead back, and he looked quite good in Week 7, so I don't think that'll change. But McLaughlin should still have a role, and he carries significant upside if anything happens to Wiliams. It's not hard at all to see McLaughlin emerging as a must-start Fantasy option at some point down the stretch, and his price may never be lower.
One to buy-high
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
I like to throw stats out at you, but the case for trying to buy Taylor right now is pretty straightforward: In Week 7, for the first time since his return from ankle surgery, he looked like Jonathan Taylor again. At his best, Taylor might be the best running back in the NFL, a rare player with the power to create yards after contact on runs between the tackles and the speed to turn any carry into six points. I don't expect Zack Moss is going to disappear from this Colts offense, because he's done nothing to earn a benching. But Taylor is just an entirely different caliber of talent, and I'd bet there aren't going to be many 50-50 splits left here. If Taylor is getting 65% of the snaps moving forward, he's going to be a top-12 RB; he might be top five, frankly.
Three to sell-high
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
I'm relatively excited about starting Henderson over the next couple of weeks, but if I have the depth to get away with it, I'm even more excited about trading him. We can't say with absolute certainty that he won't have any kind of role when Kyren Williams comes back in a few weeks, but we also can't say with certainty that he's actually going to remain the Rams' lead back even until Williams is back, either. I expect he'll be a solid RB2 for the next few weeks, but if Myles Gaskin or Royce Freeman got more carries than him in Week 8, I wouldn't be shocked, either. Which is to say, if I could turn Henderson into any kind of sure thing, I'd do it without much of a second thought.
Rashee Rice, WR, Chiefs
The general assumption right now is that Rice is on the verge of turning into a full-time player for the Chiefs, and that's going to make him a very valuable Fantasy option. I don't necessarily disagree with that assumption, but it's important to remember that progress is not always linear with young players. In fact, Rice's weekly snap share shows that:
Week 1: 31%
Week 2: 18%
Week 3: 51%
Week 4: 46%
Week 5: 30%
Week 6: 49%
Week 7: 59%
The trend is positive, obviously, but there have been fits, starts, and setbacks along the way. Rice looks like the best wide receiver for the Chiefs, but the question is whether that means he has WR1 upside, WR3 upside, or somewhere in between. You might have someone in your league who sees star upside here, and it might be worth putting out some trade offers including Rice to capitalize on the growing buzz.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos
Sutton has been a perfectly viable Fantasy starter this season, and it still looks like a total mirage to me. Week 7 was his first game since Week 3 with more than 46 yards, and yet he's somehow averaging nearly 12 PPR points per game in that stretch; scoring a touchdown in three out of four games will do that. I'll grant that Russell Wilson looks better this season than he did in 2022, which means Sutton is getting the best QB play of his career, which obviously helps. However, he's also averaging just over six targets per game and a career-low 11.3 yards per catch, in large part thanks to a career-low 9.8-yard average depth of target. If Sutton was earning targets more consistently, I might be able to overlook the obviously unsustainable touchdown pace. As it is, he seems like a clear sell.
One to sell-low
Brian Robinson, RB, Commanders
Robinson is a pure volume play, and right now, the volume just isn't there. He has double-digit carries just once in his past three games, and more than 10 just once in his past five, with rookie Chris Rodriguez getting just one fewer carry in Week 7. That's an absolute disaster for Robinson's Fantasy appeal, since he doesn't profile as a big-play runner and has just one game with more than three targets so far. There will be matchups when Robinson figures to get 15-plus carries, but with Sam Howell putting the Commanders offense in so many second- and third-and-long situations with his sack issues, it's hard to expect those kinds of scripts even in matchups that would otherwise seem conducive to them – Week 7 against the Giants being a good example. Robinson isn't likely to ever be much more than a fringe RB2, and even that might be wishful thinking