🔑 All the KEY Week 8 Info You Need!
"Why be a king, when you can be a (fantasy) God" - Josh Allen...
Pro Tip: Send one-sided trade offers to distracted league-mates on Halloween…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Underdog Fantasy:
The Bills take down the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football
Week 8 Fantasy Questions: Arthur Smith, Jordan Addison, and more
Best Bets: Geno Smith against the world
GREAT injury update on Kyler Murray (knee)
Matchup of the Week: Kirk Cousins vs. Jordan Love (it’ll be fun, we swear)
QUICK HITTER: Are you backing Joey B?
It’s 10/27. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…
The Bills fairly easily took down the Buccaneers 24 to 18 on Thursday night, taking advantage of a big-time first half from Josh Allen before coasting down the stretch.
Your 241-word recap sponsored by the Fantasy Life Start/Sit Tool (seriously, it’s cool):
Josh Allen dominated both through the air (324 yards-2 TD-1 INT) and on the ground (7 rushes-41 yards-1 TD) on his way to giving fantasy managers something to smile about for at least the next 48 hours. Allen’s 43rd career rushing score has him tied with Steve Young for the third-highest mark at the position … ever.
James Cook (74 scoreless yards) worked ahead of Latavius Murray overall (67% snaps vs. 33%) despite not getting the start. Cook is now on pace for 1,440 yards and four TDs this season on a whopping 255 touches. – not too shabby!
Each of Khalil Shakir (6-92-0), Gabe Davis (9-87-1), Stefon Diggs (9-70-0) and Dalton Kincaid (5-65-1) were heavily involved in the Bills’ aerial attack – shoutout to the rookie TE on capturing his first career TD and doing a great job keeping the football amidst the madness.
Shoutout to Chris Godwin (5-54-1) for scoring his first TD of the season, but man, oh man, it would have been a lot cooler if he somehow found a way to locate this seemingly catchable Hail Mary. Sheesh.
Chris Godwin SHEESH
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz)
Oct 27, 2023
Rachaad White: 17.9 PPR points, 10.9 standard points. That will do. We (mostly down bad fantasy managers) thank you.
Mike Evans fantasy managers were FURIOUS for most of Monday night (1-7-0 in the first half) ... until he snagged a 24-yard TD late in the fourth quarter after one of the weirder drives we've seen in quite some time.
And with that, we turn our focus to the rest of Week 8.
15 more games are ahead! Why are there no bye weeks? Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to. MOVING ON.
Fantasy football discourse lives on questions. Who should I start or sit? Why the hell is Bijan Robinson not on the field? When will I forgive myself for drafting way too much Antonio Gibson last August?
While the possibilities are endless, Ian has narrowed things down to his 10 biggest questions ahead of Week 8 along with a bunch of other cool stuff that he happened to stumble upon throughout the week. As a wise man once said: It’s a great day to be great.
🏈 What truths can we cling to inside the Arthur Smith experience?
Smith’s explanation of Bijan Robinson’s Week 7 absence provided more additional questions than answers, but the electric rookie RB is at least practicing and seemingly set to re-assume his role as the backfield’s 1A option.
Maybe? Who knows. This offense is hilariously balanced at both RB and TE, while it’s still a struggle for Drake London to see eight-plus targets more weeks than not.
Annoying fantasy usage notes aside: This offense has shown plenty of ability, posting top-12 marks in explosive run- and pass-play alike. While also being 16th in successful play rate (34.2%), Atlanta has done some legit good things despite their lowly rankings in EPA per play (-0.112, No. 24) and points per game (16.4, No. 29).
The larger issue here: Desmond Ridder’s inability to take care of the football in recent weeks.
Tied for “first” with 15 turnover-worthy plays already this season (PFF), Ridder finds himself as one of just 10 players at the position who have thrown an interception, taken a sack and/or fumbled on 10% of their dropbacks this season:
As The Ringer’s Benjamin Solak pointed out: The Falcons are fifth in offensive EPA lost to turnovers. This group could truly be lethal if Ridder can find a way to be more careful with the football; just realize that’s hardly a given to happen.
Side note: Remember when the Falcons and the rest of the NFL seemed to have a real chance to acquire Lamar Jackson, and they all essentially declined? Good times.
Fantasy managers should continue to prepare to be underwhelmed by Robinson, London, and Kyle Pitts (who is unironically being outscored by Jonnu Smith this season) … unless this upcoming soft schedule finally yields something resembling high-end efficiency out of Ridder.
Week 8 at Titans: +0.122 (No. 29)
Week 9 vs. Vikings: +0.034 (No. 22)
Week 10 at Cardinals: +0.163 (No. 30)
Of course, we can’t guarantee that Arthur Smith will start directing the football to who we want, but it’d make sense if this group as a whole starts gelling a bit more thanks to this smashable schedule.
👀 Does Jordan Addison suddenly deserve weekly must-start treatment?
It certainly seems like a good idea. The rookie has now posted 6-64-1, 3-28-1 and 7-123-2 receiving lines since his Week 4 goose-egg, with the latter performance somehow being even more impressive than the numbers indicate, considering he was close to scoring two ADDITIONAL times.
The 2023 NFL Draft’s 23rd overall pick is on pace to catch 70 passes for 971 yards and 15 (!) TDs – and those numbers could ultimately look small if he continues to be featured as the passing game’s No. 1 option in the absence of Justin Jefferson (hamstring, IR).
Overall, Addison has earned a whopping 38% of the offense's air yards over the past two weeks – a mark not too far off from what Jefferson (41.4%, 10th) put forward during the first five weeks of the season.
Addison, for lack of a better word, is good.
Addison actually has fewer targets than T.J. Hockenson (19 vs. 15) over the past two weeks, and K.J. Osborn (11) will stay involved as well; just realize you had better have a DAMN good reason to put this ascending talent anywhere near your fantasy bench as the No. 1 WR of an offense that ranks among the league’s top-three units in passing yards and TDs through seven weeks.
Overall, the rookie is my WR14 on the week and the WR18 in the Fantasy Life consensus rankings.
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Here’s the cool thing about Fantasy Life’s Best Bets: Geoff and company are a team of learned and invested individuals who explain their process in an effort to make money for everyone involved. And while we can’t guarantee every pick will be a winner — at least you’ll have someone to blame if the ball doesn’t bounce your way!
In all seriousness: Fantasy Life’s favorite bets ahead of a loaded Week 8 slate.
Having now played in a couple of closer games after their bye week, this seems like a great spot for the Seahawks to start hitting their stride.
Seattle’s defense lagged a bit to start the year, but they have been one of the best units in the league over the last few weeks. Overall, they’re up to fifth in sacks (despite playing one fewer game) and, since Week 5, have allowed just 4.1 yards per attempt against (best in the league).
On the other side, the Browns feature the number one rated defense in terms of DVOA but were lucky to escape with wins in each of their last two games – and also ceded 484 yards and five TDs to the Colts’ backup QB last week.
QB PJ Walker is set to start again for Cleveland with Deshaun Watson (shoulder) already ruled out. He’s averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt, a 50% completion rate, and thrown three INTs (and no TDs) in the last two games. Not great!
Add in a laundry list of injury situations to monitor: RB Jerome Ford (ankle), WR Marquise Goodwin (back), RB Kareem Hunt (thigh), TE David Njoku (knee), and LB Sione Takitaki (hamstring), and this may be a perfect storm for a Seahawks romp.
I bet this game earlier in the week in our free bet tracker at -2.5 but would feel good about playing it up to -4.5 (-110). You may even look to an alternative line (Seahawks -6.5, +135) or use the Seahawks moneyline odds (-205) in a parlay (if you’re into those kinds of things).
Fantasy Life Aggregate projection: 5.5 rec, 74.2 receiving yards
Play to: 69.5 receiving yards (-110)
The Rams’ secondary has outperformed its talent level to date, but there are some cracks forming. Expert route runner Diontae Johnson put up 5-79-0 (6 targets) on them last week in his return, and they allowed 8.6 yards per pass attempt to the Steelers’ beleaguered offense.
Enter CeeDee Lamb, who is coming off one of, if not his best, game of the season. Lamb caught all seven of his targets against the Chargers while posting a 97% route rate and 31% air yards share.
Dak Prescott was 7-7 when targeting CeeDee Lamb in Monday's win.
Prescott-to-Lamb is seeing an 81% completion rate this season, 2nd-highest by any QB-WR duo with at least 40 attempts (Bryce Young to Adam Thielen, 84%).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo)
Oct 17, 2023
He also averaged 16.7 yards per reception which was his best mark since Week 1. That’s the kind of usage and production we expect from a WR1 on a team like the Cowboys, who are still top 10 in many power rankings around the league.
Lamb is in another good spot this week and carries a yardage prop five to seven yards lower than what it was last week against the Chargers. With the Rams’ rush defense holding up well (3.8 YPC allowed over their last three games) — and their offense likely to help keep this game close — Lamb is in an ideal spot to see some continuation from his big Week 6 in this potential smash spot.
#LOVEHATE is upon us, and Matthew Berry is here to take you through the Week 7 NFL slate!
It’s #LOVEHATE day! Week 8 - with NO INTRO - is now up. And as always … it’s 100% FREE.
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR)
Oct 26, 2023
🙌 The rich get richer. Miami’s star CB could be back this week.
👴 Age is just a number to these veteran WRs. But will they keep BALLIN’?
🙃 The Seahawks are hurt, dog. Bad DNP statuses here, but at least we’re getting the throwback jerseys again.
😅 These WRs have to break out at some point, right? Let’s get ahead of the curve.
🧊 What’s cooler than being cool? A.J. Brown vs. man coverage.
🧠 The first step in winning a million dollars? Finding the players nobody else is on.
🐦 A perennial stud fantasy QB getting healthy and available in 49% of Yahoo leagues. Is that something you might be interested in?
😭 Why injury Gods? WHY? Take my eyes but not his hamstring.
🐻 You hear that? Bears. Now you're putting the whole station in jeopardy. (Actually, their backfield got healthier)
🏥 Injury update from the man himself. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t right.”
From, “He did WHAT?” to “That is a DISGUSTING act”: Packers-Vikings has yielded some unbelievable moments over the years.
Recent history has seen each squad capture four W’s since 2019 — and the Vikings’ status as 1.5-point favorites reflects the reality that we could be in for another close one.
Fantasy Life resident fantasy analyst/baller Chris presents our Matchup of the Week: The Minnesota Vikings at the Green Bay Packers.
I never know what to expect when approaching divisional games.
There’s an “I know what you know” aspect to these matchups that’s tough to quantify. Like, in Week 1 of last season, Justin Jefferson stomped on the Packers with both feet to the tune of 184 yards and two scores. But the Packers adjusted, prompting Jaire Alexander to griddy on JJettas in their rematch.
But the only shots of Jefferson we’ll see will be of him on the sideline — and there’s no Aaron Rodgers on the other side to boost Green Bay’s offense.
The 43-point total puts a damper on fantasy expectations. But with the way the Vikings’ looked on Monday night, maybe, just maybe, we get a classic shootout at Lambeau Field.
❤️ Love Not Lost, But Still Searching
For the Packers, HC Matt Lafleur needs to turn a few more dials to get Jordan Love back on track. And on the bright side, we’re starting to see some adjustments:
Play-Action Rate: 25.2% (Weeks 1-3), 28.4% (Weeks 4-7, Week 6 bye)
Air Yards per Target: 10.6, 8.2
Dropbacks over Expectation: +1%, -3%
But the results haven’t been there. Even while they were winning or keeping games close earlier in the season, Love’s CPOE sat at -8.1% (34th out of 36 qualifiers). And if the Packers wanted to live in this “downfield, explosive passing attack” world, his lagging accuracy (in hindsight) screamed regression. So, with at least one interception in four straight games, we’re left wondering what to do with the Packers’ passing game.
And it all starts with Aaron Jones.
Just using Week 1 as a proxy, Jones was a key part of the offense with Watson still out.
Most Play Action Targets: Jones
Highest YAC per reception: Jones
Most Explosive Plays: Jones (Tied with Reed)
Highest Rushing Efficiency: Jones
Most First Downs: Jones
The first two metrics are the most critical to the Packers’ hopes of reshaping their offense. They couldn’t use A.J. Dillon as a one-for-one replacement in Jones’ absence. Over the three-game stretch, Quadzilla ran 47 routes, earned two targets, and gained eight yards. His 0.17 yards per route run ranked 69th out of 72 qualifying rushers. Even with Christian Watson and Jayden Reed running downfield, Love could use an efficient option closer to the line of scrimmage if he’s under duress.
And with Brian Flores dialing up plays, Love will likely see a Minnesota defender or two in his face on Sunday.
Minnesota has the highest blitz rate in the league at 56.4%. The next closest defensive unit blitzes at 41.8%. And Jones has the third-worst adjusted completion percentage when facing pressure. But offenses have found a way around the pressure.
The Eagles and Chiefs used their offensive lines to create running lanes for Isiah Pacheco (16-55-1) and D’Andre Swift (28-175-1). But the Packers rank 29th in run block win rate. However, Kyle Shanahan’s approach may give LaFleur some ideas.
The 49ers weaponized Christian McCaffrey’s receiving skills as CMC dropped a 3-51-1 stat line through the air last Monday night. So, assuming Jones suits up on Sunday, expect him to work more into the passing game to keep the offense moving and help get Love into a rhythm.
Bengals (+4) vs. 49ers
Are you TAILING or FADING?