Fantasy News & Analysis

Immediate fantasy football takeaways from NFL Week 8 Thursday Night Football

Glendale, Arizona, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) carries Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons (9) into the end zone for a touchdown during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 24-21 on Thursday Night Football. Green Bay didn’t have its top three wide receivers but won the turnover battle. The Packers consistently gave the ball to their pair of running backs while preventing any Cardinal from having a big game.

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2021.

Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties like offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

  • Aaron Jones: 15 carries, 59 yards, 1 TD, 7 receptions, 51 receiving yards (44.0% threat rate)
  • Randall Cobb: 3 receptions, 15 yards, 2 TD (2-for-3 on contested catches)
Green Bay Packers Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Equanimeous St. Brown 67 35 2 0
Juwann Winfree 54 32 6 0
Randall Cobb 50 29 5 0
Amari Rodgers 16 5 3 1
Malik Taylor 5 3 0 0
Robert Tonyan 35 24 4 0
Marcedes Lewis 31 14 1 0
Josiah Deguara 16 6 2 0
Dominique Dafney 14 3 0 0
Aaron Jones 48 25 11 15
A.J. Dillon 29 8 0 16
Total 73 39 34 33
Arizona Cardinals Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
A.J. Green 56 35 8 0
Christian Kirk 46 29 6 0
Rondale Moore 36 27 5 2
Antoine Wesley 31 19 3 0
DeAndre Hopkins 15 9 2 0
Zach Ertz 43 25 4 0
Demetrius Harris 10 2 0 0
Darrell Daniels 1 1 0 0
Chase Edmonds 35 21 4 7
James Conner 22 12 0 5
Total 59 37 32 19

Monitor the DeAndre Hopkins injury: Hopkins was questionable coming into the game with a hamstring injury. He caught a 55-yard pass that would have been a touchdown had it not been for a face mask penalty. He tweaked his hamstring on that play and didn’t return until the second half, where he only played a few snaps. They did put him in near the goal line in the last few seconds of the game, which is a positive sign.

Antoine Wesley was Hopkins' direct replacement, playing the vast majority of plays that Hopkins did not. He went undrafted in 2019 and spent the first two years on the Baltimore Ravens practice squad before making the Cardinals roster. Arizona later moved Christian Kirk outside with Rondale Moore in the slot for the last few minutes of the game. Hopefully, with the extended time off, Hopkins will be good to go for Week 9. If not, we could see a slight boost to their rookie receiver's fantasy value, and a potential decline for Kirk if he has to play outside more.

Avoid these Packers wide receivers: The Packers had both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard on the COVID-19 list while Marquez Valdes-Scantling wasn’t ready to return off injured reserve. In their place, Equanimeous St. Brown was the Packer's top wide receiver. Randall Cobb had a slightly larger role than usual, which resulted in two touchdowns, but he wasn’t consistently involved. Juwann Winfrey was Green Bay's third receiver, and he was activated off the practice squad today.

The biggest takeaway is that Amari Rodgers is still not ready to be a large part of the Packers offense and probably won’t be for the rest of the season. The chances are that Adams, Lazard and Valdes-Scantling will be back by their next game.

Sell high on Aaron Jones: The Packers' game plan was to get the ball to Jones early and often. In the passing game, he found success, but he couldn’t find success in the run game until the fourth quarter. A.J. Dillion mixed in early and played well, so Green Bay kept feeding him the ball. The second-year back gained 78 yards on 16 carries. The two backs have seen nearly identical carries over the last five weeks. 

Jones has more fantasy value between the two because he gets the receiving work, but the two backs have roughly the same rushing value going forward. It will be hard for Jones to stay a top-eight fantasy back without a higher percentage of the carries.

Monitor the Robert Tonyan injury: Tonyan suffered a knee injury in the third quarter and didn’t return. He was able to walk off without needing the cart, which is a positive sign, but it’s unclear how serious it is.

Marcedes Lewis is the only other Green Bay tight end who's seen significant targets this season. He has an 82.9 PFF receiving grade prior to Thursday and would see at least part of the receiving role if Tonyan's injury is serious. He’s also 37 years old and probably won’t have an every-down role.

Josiah Deguara saw more snaps after the injury, which included two catches. It’s probably best to look elsewhere for a waiver-wire tight end.


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