San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson had another big game against a banged-up 49ers defense and now has the second-most passing touchdowns (26) over the first seven games of a season in NFL history (one short of Tom Brady’s 27). Wilson has thrown fewer than three TDs in just one game (when he had two) during his MVP-worthy campaign, and his 261 passing yards Sunday was his second-lowest mark of the year. It’s clear Seattle’s coaches were committing malpractice before finally unleashing Wilson this season and deserve real criticism in hindsight.
Facing an injury-ravaged Seattle defense ravaged that entered having allowed the most passing yards over the first six games in NFL history, Jimmy Garoppolo flopped badly Sunday, and while it should be noted the score may have played a part, it’s hard to ignore how much better the offense looked after Nick Mullens replaced him (saving the fantasy days of Brandon Aiyuk and Kendrick Bourne, with the former just missing a second TD). Garoppolo appeared to re-injure his ankle (George Kittle also left hurt) but was completely ineffective either way and now has a short week with an upcoming Thursday game against the Packers. Jimmy G’s contract allows the 49ers to move on from him during the offseason if they so choose, and that scenario is becoming increasingly likelier.
Both teams were down to fifth-string running backs, and both DeeJay Dallas and JaMychal Hasty responded with scores (and ugly YPC). Tevin Coleman lasted three carries before departing with his latest injury, while Jerick McKinnon finished with negative rushing yards and a TD run. The fantasy outlooks for the Seattle and San Francisco backfields depend on team health (but Hasty has big upside if given the opportunity with Green Bay’s rush D coming up) … After losing a fumble on a kick return, the only question regarding Dante Pettis is whether he’s released before or after the flight home.
After Tyler Lockett exploded last week, Sunday was DK Metcalf’s turn, as he erupted for 15-12-161-2, making ridiculous plays look easy. After Davante Adams, Metcalf has as good of an argument as any for fantasy’s WR2, and it remains dumbfounding that he lasted until the final pick of the second round of the draft. After all, Julio Jones is just a poor man’s Metcalf.
Indianapolis Colts @ Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford had a nice game against a Colts defense that entered allowing the second-fewest yards per play, but his value would take a hit if Kenny Golladay’s injury is serious … Not only was Jonathan Taylor outplayed and benched for Jordan Wilkins, he watched Nyheim Hines score two touchdowns, while Trey Burton and Wilkins each ran in a TD as well. In a plus matchup and coming out of the bye, the rookie flopped in a favorable setup. It’s hard to complain about the coaching when Wilkins simply looked better, as Taylor hasn’t impressed during his rookie season and is suddenly a question mark moving forward … Fellow rookie back D’Andre Swift led the Lions in carries (six) yet finished fourth in rushing (Jamal Agnew led Detroit with 11 yards), while T.J. Hockenson appears to be a big beneficiary of Golladay’s injury … The Lions committed their first fumble on offense this season when Stafford lost one in the third quarter. Detroit has lost seven straight home games.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Davante Adams got 4.4 yards per target yet scored three touchdowns, as his usage around the goal-line has him in the argument as fantasy’s No. 1 overall player, especially when Aaron Jones is out … Dalvin Cook broke Sunday’s DFS slate (as they say) with 226 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns despite coming off an injury and Minnesota entering as relatively big road underdogs. The Packers have been gashed for the most fantasy points by running backs this season, and Cook appears to be recovered from his groin ailment. Even with the injury risk, Cook would be right there with Alvin Kamara (and Adams) at the top of a draft if held today … Green Bay smartly went for two with the score 28-20, a tactic not utilized nearly enough.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Cam Newton played better, especially considering his weapons, but this still looks like one of the league’s weakest offenses. Damien Harris impressed and could be an RB2 in the right matchup, but his upside is limited thanks to little passing work (he saw zero targets Sunday) and Cam Newton dominating GL scores. But he’s noticeably better than Sony Michel … Zack Moss will have more fantasy value than Devin Singletary if the rookie continues to be used more in the red zone like Sunday … After opening the year tossing multiple TDs in six straight games, Josh Allen is without a TD strike in back-to-back contests, but he’s in a prime smash spot at home against the Seahawks in Week 9.
Tennessee Titans @ Cincinnati Bengals
Despite missing multiple members on his offensive line (and Joe Mixon), Joe Burrow put up 31 points against the 5-1 Titans, as he also avoided taking a sack for the first time in his career. A.J. Green was a bust in a nice spot, while A.J. Brown was looking like one until this grown-man play in the fourth quarter … Corey Davis’ quiet emergence is bad news for Brown’s fantasy value, and Jonnu Smith often becomes invisible when Tennessee’s offense is healthy … Derrick Henry remains the clear lead back (although his lack of development as a receiver this season has been a bummer), but Tennessee’s backup has become an interesting battle between two formerly hyped prospects in Jeremy McNichols and D’Onta Foreman, who both looked good Sunday … The Titans punted from Cincinnati’s 36-yard line, predictably resulting in a 16-yard net.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Cleveland Browns
Not feeling the need to force Odell Beckham Jr. the ball didn’t benefit Baker Mayfield this week, although neither quarterback managed even 5.0 YPA in the poor weather … I ranked Kareem Hunt as my #1 back this week against a Raiders defense that entered allowing the second-most fantasy points to RBs, but he watched Josh Jacobs run for nearly twice as many yards instead. Cleveland now goes into its bye, and Nick Chubb could return for the highly favorable Week 9 home matchup with the Texans.
New York Jets @ Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes had more passing touchdowns Sunday than the Jets (and Patriots) have all season, although Clyde Edwards-Helaire somehow totaled 31 scoreless yards as the feature back on a team that covered a 19.5-point spread. Le’Veon Bell didn’t do much better during his revenge game (in as many touches), as Mahomes was too busy throwing all the touchdowns. It’s not a good development for CEH … Frank Gore of course had a game-high in rush attempts, while Denzel Mims has flashed enough potential to be at serious risk of an Adam Gase benching.
Los Angeles Rams @ Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa threw for just 93 yards (4.2 YPA) and lost a fumble during his first start, yet the Dolphins won by double-digits as underdogs anyway. Miami now has a +29 point differential when facing the NFC West (Seahawks, 49ers, Rams) this season … Darrell Henderson entered as the lead back on the #1 rush offense in DVOA facing the #32 ranked rush defense in DVOA but left injured, so Cam Akers is back on the fantasy radar … Cooper Kupp saw an NFL-season high 21 targets, yet it was Robert Woods who scored twice … I may have ranked Mike Gesicki too high this preseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens haven’t produced a valuable fantasy back all year so, naturally, they provide two on Sunday against the league’s toughest team against RBs. J.K. Dobbins needs more touches … The bye week didn’t solve Baltimore’s passing issues, although they were up against a tough defense and the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team. Still, Mark Andrews has yet to reach 60 yards this season despite Hayden Hurst’s departure, and Marquise Brown was somehow more dangerous 20 pounds lighter and playing with a screw in his foot last year. It’s impressive Baltimore could’ve still won this game with Lamar Jackson committing four turnovers, including an early pick-six … Diontae Johnson is maddening.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos
The Broncos had three points midway through the third quarter but somehow won 31-30 thanks to a touchdown on the game’s final play, as Justin Herbert took a loss that would make Philip Rivers proud. In fact, no team in NFL history had ever blown 16+ point leads in three straight games, and the Chargers have now done so in four straight … Melvin Gordon had a quiet revenge game, while Joshua Kelley took a backseat to both Justin Jackson and Troymaine Pope (the latter also added seven targets and impressed before leaving late with an apparent injury). Backfield committees all around! … Jerry Jeudy led all receivers in air yards (159) in Week 8, and here’s your weekly Herbert dime.
New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears
The Saints won late in overtime during the team’s first game outdoors this season, and the weather helped limit the offensive production. Nick Foles looked close to being benched a few times, but he had a nice connection with Allen Robinson … David Montgomery turned a long TD run into a 38-yard rush, while Alvin Kamara is on pace for 126 receptions, 1,271 receiving yards and seven TD catches this season. His fantasy managers are hoping Michael Thomas continues to take his time before returning.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz got just 4.9 YPA and committed four turnovers against a bad Dallas D, but the Eagles won (and covered) easily anyway, as their defense dominated an overwhelmed Ben DiNucci. Amari Cooper didn’t see a target until the fourth quarter, while Ezekiel Elliott didn’t record a catch until late in the game. With a daunting upcoming schedule that includes PIT, bye, @MIN, WAS, @BAL, Dallas’ outlook is grim … Travis Fulgham retained his team role as WR1 despite Jalen Reagor (who scored) and Dallas Goedert (quiet with just one target) returning, as the Eagles became the first NFC East team to win back-to-back games this season.