The Fantasy 32 analyzes the NFL from a fantasy football perspective, with mentioning at least one of the 32 teams in the league. While efficiency is discussed extensively, the column will rely heavily on usage data as volume is (by far) king in fantasy football. Use these tidbits to help make the best waivers, trading decisions, and meeting / starting decisions for the week to come and beyond. Check back every week of the season for a new version of Fantasy 32.
In the team-by-team overviews below, I will refer to “OFP” and “OTD”. OFP stands for Opportunity-adjusted Fantasy Points. Imagine a league where players are created alike. OFP is a statistic that weighs each pass / carry / target and converts the data into a number that indicates a player’s ability to score fantasy points or their “expected” fantasy score. For example, if a player has an OFP of 14.5, it means that a league average player who saw the same workload in the same place on the field would have scored 14.5 Fantasy Points. FORP is the difference between a player’s actual Fantasy Score and their OFP. OTD works the same way, except that instead of fantasy points, it’s touchdowns. Volume is king in fantasy football, so this isn’t information you want to overlook.
That said, here is the OFP ranking after week 8:
* Full OTD and OFP position leaderboards will be posted on ESPN + this week.
Next, here are the players who exceeded their OFP by the biggest margin in the past week and are therefore candidates for a decline in fantasy production, assuming they see a similar workload:
And these players missed their OFP by the biggest margin last week, so don’t be too quick to react to their performance when making decisions about lineup, trading, or surrender:
Cardinals of Arizona: Christian Kirk has been active for six games this season and is 27th among the big recipients of Fantasy Points these weeks. His season started slowly with three finishes outside the top 40 plus one injury-related miscarriage, but he went into Arizona’s week 8 goodbye with three straight top 30 weeks (including a pair of top 15 weeks). That’s the good news. The worrying news is that Kirk has relied far too heavily on touchdowns after scoring two goals in each of his last two games. Kirk has five touchdowns in the season, but an OTD of 2.3 suggests a regression of the mean is on the way. The Arizona highest scoring offense helps, but Kirk’s target percentage of 15% (5.2 per game) leaves something to be desired. He’s no more than a flex against Miami in week 9.
Atlanta Falcons: Brian Hill carried the ball 11 times for 55 yards and added two catches for 9 yards on three goals against Carolina on Thursday. Todd Gurley II passed Hill 36 to 25 but was not as productive. He produced 46 yards and an 18-yard touchdown while handling no targets. Despite what we saw Thursday, this isn’t a situation where Gurley investors need to be alerted. Note that Gurley came into the game with a 56% stake for the season and 53% played against Atlanta. Hill’s 37% Snap percentage was higher than his usual 26%, but not by a ton. Gurley entered Carry second in the short week in the NFL and was likely a bit limited in what turned out to be a run heavy game for Atlanta. Gurley remains a good RB2 with Hill no longer as insurance.
Baltimore Ravens: After Mark Ingram took a break on Sunday, J.K. Dobbins hit a career high of 51 (65%) from Baltimore’s offensive snapshots. The second-round rookie shared the backcourt with Gus Edwards (26 snaps), who left with an injury but Justice Hill (two) didn’t put off much. Dobbins was his usual efficient self, producing 113 yards with 15 runs and 8 more yards with two targets. Edwards also did well with a 16-87-1 rushing line but was only targeted once. Ingram remains tricky for week 9. So if he stays outside, Dobbins and Edwards (assuming he’s healthy) remain flexible options, especially with non-PPR. Note that the Colts are very good against the barrel (3.3 YPC allowed for RBs) so the more dynamic Dobbins are the preferred game of the two.
Buffalo Bills: Zack Moss played 30 snaps (53%) against the Patriots on Sunday, making it the first time in his career that he walked up and down the bill field in this category. The rookie delivered the goods on a 14-81-2 rushing line that was not far from Devin Singletary’s 14-86-0 line in 28 snaps. While effective on the ground, both backs were targeted only once in the game. Moss is now up to 186 yards with 43 runs (4.3 YPC) in five games, but he wasn’t targeted much (eight) and took off with a career touchdown on Sunday. Both Moss and Singletary will have a lot to do in the future, but Singletary will remain the best flex option until the rookie clearly overtakes them and creates some separation (which may not be the case).
Carolina Panthers: Curtis Samuel grabbed four passes for 31 yards and one touchdown, adding three carries for 23 yards and an extra score against the Falcons on Thursday. Samuel entered the night averaging 6.7 touches and 49 yards per game this season, so his seven touches and 54 yard efforts were exactly on the right track where he was generally at. Of course, his two touchdowns doubled his season total from his first six games. Samuel’s role doesn’t allow for constant scoring (he has 15 touchdowns in 44 career games), but six to seven taps per game are enough to keep him in flexible conversation (he’s now produced two top 26 fantasy weeks in a row). Samuel is available in around 65% of the ESPN leagues.
Chicago Bears: Darnell Mooney scored five of six goals for a career height of 69 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans on Sunday. Mooney entered week 21 in the NFL with 561 air yards but 77th with 236 receiving yards. So it was certainly encouraging to see that usage led to more production. Mooney’s strong performance was his first 52-yard game this season, although he has now been targeted at least five times in six straight games. Mooney’s role suggests he’ll play a big chunk on occasion, but Chicago’s fighting offensive just isn’t going to allow for consistent production. Dynasty aside, he doesn’t have to be on the roster in 12 team leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tee Higgins scored a 6-78-0 receiving line with nine hits at team level against Tennessee on Sunday. Incredibly, the rookie has now produced at least 62 reception yards in five consecutive games. He has completed five of his last six games as a top 35 fantasy receivers, and four of them were top 25 shows. Higgins has become a consistent goal for Joe Burrow, who has achieved more than six goals in seven straight games. Its 665 air yards rank 12th in the league. Fantasy’s # 22 point recipient is close to his farewell week, but he will be a weekly WR3 game with the mind set for more.
Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Landry was limited to a 4-52-0 receive line on 11 targets against the Raiders on Sunday. We don’t want to get too involved in the overwhelming production, considering the two teams are going 234 meters past in extremely windy conditions, but Landry’s numbers pretty much match what he’s been in all season. In fact, Landry was over 35 yards but under 53 yards in seven of his eight games. Landry didn’t get a touchdown despite throwing one in week 4. The silver lining is that Landry’s eleven goals on Sunday were his highest since Week 13 of last season, coming in the team’s first full game without Odell Beckham Jr. There’s little reason to believe that Landry won’t be riddled with goals this season that are the team’s clear top-wide recipient of the team. While it didn’t produce a top 20 fantasy week in the first half, it will be a flexible game after we see us again in week 9.
Dallas Cowboys: Ben DiNucci made his first NFL start on Sunday night. The round seven rookie completed 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards and added five carries for 22 yards against the Eagles. DiNucci’s target distribution was as follows: Michael Gallup (12), Dalton Schultz (eight), Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb (five), Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson (two). Gallup’s hard work allowed for a solid 7-61-0 receiving line, but it will be difficult to trust any of that team’s pass catchers in Week 9 against the Steelers. This includes Cooper, who was held on a catch for 5 yards (he wasn’t shadowed by Darius Slay) and Lamb (46 yards with five taps). Dallas have scored an offensive touchdown in three full games without Dak Prescott.
Denver Broncos: Phillip Lindsay exploded for a 55-yard touchdown run, ending up 86 yards, compared to 47 yards for Melvin Gordon against the Chargers on Sunday. Although the output gap was large, the usage figures for Lindsay are not a good picture. The backlog in year three brought six broadcasts and three targets on 26 snapshots (44%). That’s compared to eight broadcasts and seven goals in 33 snapshots for Gordon. Lindsay could very well overtake Gordon on the depth map at some point, but that doesn’t seem to be imminent. In four games this season, Lindsay has cleared nine transfers once (a week six game Gordon missed) and a total of four goals. Lindsay isn’t a good flex option but would be a good RB2 if Gordon missed the time.
Detroit Lions: Kenny Golladay was injured on Matchday 18 on Sunday and did not return. The rest of the Lions’ WR Snap distribution was as follows: Marvin Jones Jr. (59, 98%), Marvin Hall and Danny Amendola (41), Jamal Agnew (seven). T.J. Hockenson actually led the team with 10 goals, but Jones and Hall took seven each and Amendola handled four. After a slow start, Jones hung up 80 yards in week 7 and found the end zone twice in week 8. Golladay is expected to miss at least a week, according to Jones, who led Detroit with 15 targets, when Golladay was out in week 1. Amendola (14 goals in weeks 1-2) is a flexible option in lower PPR leagues, while Hall (four) and Quintez Cephus (13) are none more than DFS punts.
Green Bay Packers: Davante Adams has played four full games this season. His receiving lines in these games are as follows: 14-156-2, 6-61-0, 13-196-2, and 7-53-3. Is it good? It seems good. Adams was an absolute machine and ranks seventh on fantasy points despite missing 2.5 games. Adams was targeted 55 times in his four full games (13.8 per game, or 38% share) and has had three top 3 fantasy weeks behind him. Aaron Rodgers’ goal is the top wide receiver in the fantasy, and the only thing that should put you off in the DFS is its escalating price.
Houston Texans: The last time we saw Houston in week 7, Randall Cobb hit pace with 10 targets and converted the heavy usage to an 8-95-0 receive line. It was a rare, high-volume game for a player who hadn’t seen more than nine goals in a game since week 3 of the 2018 season. In fact, Cobb started the week averaging 4.7 goals per game since joining Houston. The 30-year-old slot man has only got two weekly fantasy placements that are better than 36th and none better than 18th. Its 7.2 aDOT doesn’t allow many big games on the field. Cobb is a borderline flex game, although it’ll be instantly more appealing in week 9 against a shaky Jaguar defense.
Indianapolis Colts: The #FreeJordanWilkins move (can I call it a move if only I am?) Had a good day on Sunday when Wilkins ran 89 yards and a touchdown to 20 carry, adding a 24 yard catch in the process. Wilkins shared backfield duties with rookies Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines in the first half, but was clearly the most productive back, which resulted in a lot of the touches on the track. In total, Wilkins played 38 snaps (51%), compared to 25 for Taylor and 16 for Hines. Taylor fought 13 touches to 31 yards while Hines was limited to eight touches but found the end zone twice. The Colts want to move on with Taylor as the second round, but it’s clear the team isn’t afraid to roll with a committee if the round two rookie struggles. Taylor is set to be the best flex option against Baltimore next week, but Wilkins is worth a bench seat after his big 8th week. By the way, Hines posted two top 5 fantasy weeks this season, but got 28th or worse during each of his other five outings. He’s only on the flex radar in lower PPR leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars: DJ Chark Jr. stepped into Week 8 of the Jaguars after a first half of the season that was all over the map. Chark was a top 5 fantasy wide receiver (30 points) in week 4, but he didn’t make it to the top 30 weeks while missing five points in two of his last three games. The good news is that Chark’s volume was high. Having got off to a slow start, he has achieved at least seven goals (8.5 per game) in three of his last four games. The problem was efficiency as he has made 11 catches for 87 yards on 25 targets in the last three games. Chark remains Jacksonville’s number 1 recipient, and he delivered a top 20 fantasy season in 2019 with Gardner Minshew II on a weak offensive. So there is certainly cause for optimism here. His effort will make it hard for him to sit on the bench in Week 9, but it’s time to have rookie Jake Luton at the center and after Chark posted a dud against Houston earlier this season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tyreek Hill blew up on Sunday for a 4-98-2 receive line on six targets against the Jets. Hill’s goals have scored one goal this season (6.8 per game compared to 7.7 last season), which has resulted in him missing six goals in six of his eight games. That’s not exactly ideal for a player you expect WR1 production to come from, but the good news is that Hill made up for that with at least one touchdown in seven different games. Hill’s eight touchdowns accelerate all recipients, although his OTD of 3.0 suggests a regression to the mean is imminent. Even with fewer points, Fantasys WR number 5 remains an obvious weekly lineup in Kansas City’s elite offensive.
Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III was held at 8 yards on four goals against the Browns on Sunday. The fast rookie had a great performance against the Chiefs a few weeks ago with 118 yards and a score, but otherwise has 102 yards and zero points on 15 targets. In fact, Ruggs was targeted five times in Week 1 but hasn’t hit four goals in four games since. He hit a weekly goal better than 46. Ruggs’ speed makes him a threat to the occasional big game, but he shouldn’t be anywhere near your starting line-up until his target percentage increases.
Los Angeles chargers: Mike Williams hit five of eight goals for 99 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos on Sunday. Williams’ production has been extraordinarily inconsistent this season, seeing good receive lines of 4-69-0, 5-109-2 and the above-mentioned 5-99-1, but also bad ones of 2-14-0, 1-17 -0 and 1-4-0. He handled at least eight goals in each of the three good games, but eight total in the three bad ones. The boom / bust character of Williams’ game obviously makes it a risky start, but the good news is that Justin Herbert brought the passing game to life with at least 264 yards and three touchdowns in four consecutive games. Williams belongs on the flex radar.
Los Angeles Rams: Cooper Kupp was targeted 21 times against Miami on Sunday. He converted the heavy usage to an 11-110-0 receive line in angry loss. Jared Goff attempted 61 passes in the game, so Kupp’s target percentage was “only” 34%, not far from his week 3 season high of 32%. Still, Kupp’s big day allowed Kupp’s third top 20 fantasy week of the season, breaking a streak of three consecutive finishes below 33. Kupp has been targeted at least seven times in six consecutive games. While its inevitable regression on the mean in the scoring department has limited its production, the # 15 fantasy WR will remain a high-level WR2 / 3 game after the Rams return from their week 9 bye.
Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki scored nine goals, four receptions, 26 yards and one touchdown in Tua Tagovailoa’s first NFL start on Sunday. Miami built a huge head start thanks to several major defensive and special team games, resulting in just 22 pass attempts and 93 pass spots for the rookie quarterback. It’s unlikely that Miami will have big leads most of the time, so this offense will have more volume, but it’s also very likely that the Dolphins’ offense doesn’t have as much juice with Ryan Fitzpatrick from the lineup. Parker, who scored the touchdown, is hard to measure, but he’s only got one weekly place better than 22nd and three better than 40th this season. He’s going to see a lot of Patrick Peterson in week 9 and is a risky flex. Williams, meanwhile, should stand on benches, and Boom / Bust Gesicki remains a border TE1.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins completed 11 of 14 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown against the Packers on Sunday. It was another low volume game for a quarterback who tried 27 or fewer passes in five out of seven games this season. Cousins has 12 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a total of 55 rushing yards this season, which says a lot about his fantasy contributions. Cousins has not finished a week better than QB8 in fantasy points and has finished 17th or worse four times. Currently QB25 in the season, Cousins only has value in 2 QB Leagues, and even then he’s a very low-ceiling game.
New England Patriots: After both Julian Edelman (IR) and N’Keal Harry paused, Jakobi Meyers hit six of ten goals for 58 yards against the Bills on Sunday. UDFA 2019 played barely earlier this season but now has more than six goals and at least 58 yards in two consecutive games. The passing game in New England hasn’t been very productive with Cam Newton at the center and Harry (Concussion) could be back next week so it’s hard to recommend Meyers as Flex in most formats. Of course, the humble jets are on the agenda in week 9. If Harry stays outside, Meyers will have some charm. He’s a name to keep in mind for exemptions this week if you need short term WR help.
New Orleans Saints: Taysom Hill hurried 35 yards in five runs, adding 30 yards and a touchdown for a pair of goals against the Bears on Sunday. Hill was believed to have an expanded offensive role in 2020, but that hadn’t been the case until Sunday. Hill has up to three passes (38 yards), 19 transfers (87 yards, 1 TD), and seven goals (53 yards, 1 TD) in seven games this season. He played 14 snaps on Sunday, which is exactly his average of 14.4 per game this season and just below his average of 15.1 in 2019. Hill has a tight final eligibility in ESPN leagues but only cracked the top 20 once before week 8, in most formats, not on the fantasy radar.
New York Giants: Devonta Freeman was paused for Monday Night Football, which opened the door to Wayne Gallman to lead the Giants backcourt. Gallman played with 30 snapshots (44%) compared to just 20 for Alfred Morris and 19 for Dion Lewis. Gallman converted the use to a 12-44-1 rushing line and added 18 yards to his lone goal. Morris went down 8-28-0 and was not targeted. Lewis landed on one of his three targets but had no transmissions. Obviously, this isn’t a backfield to get too excited about, and it will be especially so this week against a Washington defense that allows for the fifth smallest RB Fantasy points. When Freeman comes back, he’s a flexible option. If he stays outside, Gallman has a certain attraction. Lewis and Morris shouldn’t be on rosters.
New York Jets: La’Mical Perine played 27 (48%) offensive snaps on Sunday and has now landed in the Jets backcourt category for the past three weeks. It was not surprising (given the desperate demise of the jets) that Perine couldn’t make much use of it. He ran 27 yards with eight runs and added 6 yards with two goals. Perine has had 36, 56 and 33 scrimmage yards in his last three games. He has exactly two receptions in all three and a total of one touchdown in the season. The Jets offensive has scored five touchdowns in the last seven games. While acting as leadback, Perine is not touching the ball or producing well enough to warrant serious flex considerations in all but very deep leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor (43 snapshots, 74%) and Dallas Goedert (49 snapshots, 85%) returned from the injured reserve and played an important role against Dallas on Sunday night. Reagor was third in line behind Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward, but had no chances with six goals (3-16-1 receiving line) and a carry for 6 yards. Goedert was surprisingly limited to one goal (1-15-0), although Carson Wentz only tried 27 passes in the win. Philadelphia is close to bye week, but both players can hide well on their bench. This is especially true for Goedert, who was targeted 17 times in his two full games earlier this season. Reagor shouldn’t be in lineups right now, but newbies with high pedigree make for strong bank hiding spots if you have enough space.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Eric Ebron scored a 4-48-1 receiving line to five goals against Baltimore on Sunday. The score was Ebron’s first since Week 3, despite reaching 43 yards in five of his last six games. That’s certainly not a breakthrough threshold, but he’s done enough to produce two top 12 fantasy weeks in a row, and in three of his last five games. Ebron’s average of 5.8 goals per game since Week 2 is enough to keep him in the weekly back-end TE1 discussion.
San Francisco 49ers: With Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. in the injured reserve, the 49ers’ backfield snaps on Sunday were as follows: Jerick McKinnon – 33 (50%), JaMycal Hasty – 27, Tevin Coleman – 6. McKinnon scored a quick touchdown despite everything Lose 1 yard with three runs and add 40 yards with four catches. Hasty produced a 12-29-1 rushing line and added 2 yards to his only goal. Coleman was busy out of the gate (three stretcher, 20 yards) but left quickly with an injury. The 49ers have an elite matchup in week 9 against a Packers defense that was knocked down (again) by Dalvin Cook last Sunday, but we need to monitor Coleman’s health during this week. When he plays it’s a headache. When he’s out, Hasty will be a very usable RB2 game, with McKinnon on the Flex radar.
Seattle Seahawks: Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were sidelined on Sunday, which opened the door to rookie DeeJay Dallas to play 53 (79%) of Seattle’s offensive snaps. The fourth round election struggled with efficiency (41 yards on 18 runs and 17 yards on five targets) against a very good run defense but saved those who had it in their lineup with two touchdowns. Travis Homer was the team’s only other active defender, and he played seven snaps. Given that Carson was a game-time decision, he expects to return against Buffalo this week, which would push Dallas off the fantasy radar. However, if Seattle’s feature lags, Dallas’ week 8 suggests that it will be very heavily represented in the RB2 mix.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Did Leonard Fournette take control of the privateers’ backcourt on Monday night? It sure seemed so, at least after an early fumble from Ronald Jones II. Even if Jones had most of the early run, Fournette was playing a massive 71% of the offensive snaps, compared to just 26% for Jones. Fournette ran the ball 15 times for 52 yards and added 19 yards on six goals. Jones was held at 23 yards on seven runs and 23 yards on four targets. Tampa Bay seems to have taken a “hot hand” approach, but a healthy fournette continues to be a better fantasy option. Think of him as the back-end RB2 game against a tough Saints Run defense this week while Jones is an uninspiring flex option.
Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis scored an 8-128-1 receive line on 10 goals against the Bengals on Sunday. Davis is in the middle of a breakout campaign after earning 69 yards or touchdowns in all five of his games this season. This includes back-to-back games with 10 goals and a touchdown. During the five weeks he’s been active, Davis averages 7.8 goals and ranks 12th on wide receivers in fantasy points. Sometimes it takes a while for players to develop into a force among the pros, and the 2017 fifth election sure looks like “this year’s DeVante Parker”. Davis has a very tough matchup against Chicago this week, but he’s certainly in the weekly WR3 discussion which is evolving.
Washington Football Team: Earlier this season, we wondered if Logan Thomas’s hard work could lead to a fantasy win if Washington switched quarterbacks. Interestingly, Thomas’s usage has declined since moving from Washington to Kyle Allen, but his production has increased. On Dwayne Haskins’ four starts, Thomas scored a 13-102-1 receiving line with 6.8 goals per game. He was targeted exactly four times in both of his full games with Allen, allowing lines from 3-42-1 and 4-60-1. Thomas entered Washington’s Goodbye 15th with a tight ending on Fantasy Points and fresh back-to-back top 10 shows. Der ehemalige Quarterback bleibt eine solide TE2-Option, obwohl es Raum für mehr gibt, wenn sein Zielanteil steigt.