Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 8 Recap: Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Sunday's games

2T493G7 Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrate their touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

• DeAndre Hopkins hits the hat trick: With Will Levis at quarterback, Hopkins caught his first, second and third career touchdowns as a Tennessee Titan.

Tyreek Hill continues record-breaking pace: Hill gained over 100 yards and a touchdown, becoming the fourth player in league history with over 1,000 yards over the first eight weeks, joining Don Hutson in 1942, Crazy Legs Hirsch in 1951 and the AFL's Charlie Hennigan in 1961.

CeeDee Lamb has a career game: Lamb caught 12 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns — the most receptions and receiving yards in a game of his career. He was tied for the most touchdowns in this game as well.

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2023.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Houston Texans @ Carolina Panthers

Texans backfield remains a three-man committee: The Texans utilized a similar rotation of running backs to Week 6 before their bye week.

  • Dameon Pierce started the game as usual, but his playing time in normal early down situations has been much lower in the last two games compared to previous weeks.
  • Devin Singletary has cut into that playing time. Pierce ran the ball 12 times for 46 yards, but Singletary wasn’t far behind with 10 carries for 30 yards.
  • Singletary ended with more PPR points thanks to two receptions for 13 yards.
  • Pierce remains the goal-line back. He had multiple opportunities for touchdowns that didn’t work out.
  • Mike Boone has been taking the majority of the third-down snaps since Singletary became more involved on early downs.
  • Singletary is worth a waiver wire target given his double-digit touches. He could potentially overtake Pierce on early downs, or he could get third downs back, which could make him a fantasy starter.

Tank Dell returns to the Texans: The rookie phenom missed Week 6 due to a concussion prior to the Texans’ Week 7 bye.

  • He played more than usual because Robert Woods missed this game due to a foot injury. Woods is expected to miss at least one or two more games.
  • Dell, Nico Collins and Noah Brown were typically on the field in 11 personnel while the three all received significant playing time in two receiver sets.
  • Brown remained the primary slot receiver, but Dell played more snaps from the slot than usual with Woods out.
  • Dell caught three passes for 16 yards in a quiet day for the Texans passing game in general.
  • We have yet to see Collins, Dell, Woods and Brown all healthy since Dell broke out in Week 2. We’ll probably see all four players rotated in and out once that happens, which could be a hit to the fantasy value of both Collins and Dell.

Chuba Hubbard leads the Panthers backfield: Miles Sanders was a full participant in practice all week, but that didn’t stop this from being Hubbard’s backfield.

  • Hubbard was the primary early down back, which he was in the last game Sanders was healthy.
  • Sanders was restricted to passing down work in his last game as the primary third-down back. Hubbard was on the field more often than not on third downs, but Sanders' primary usage was to run routes.
  • Raheem Blackshear also was involved in the offense, playing nearly as many snaps this week as he did in Week 6 when Sanders was out.
  • Hubbard ran the ball 15 times and caught two passes but wasn’t very effective.
  • Hubbard is a must-add for fantasy football purposes due to his playing time. Sanders should probably be held onto one more week just to see if this continues, but he is close to being droppable.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Panthers wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. was out due to an ankle injury. Their other backup wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. could be traded this week so he barely played. This left the Panthers’ top three wide receivers rarely leaving the field.
  • Texans’ third tight end Brevin Jordan was inactive with a foot injury. This led to a significant increase in playing time for Dalton Schultz, but he was limited to two receptions for five yards.

Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys

  • CeeDee Lamb: 12 receptions, 158 yards, 2 touchdowns; 1 carry, 12 rushing yards
  • Jake Ferguson: 4 receptions, 47 yards, 1 touchdown

The Rams remain a two-man backfield: Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman remained in a rotation for Los Angeles.

  • The Rams utilized a rotation by drive last week with Henderson taking the first drive, Freeman the second and so on. Henderson would often take a snap or two from Freeman on his drives, resulting in Henderson leading the team in fantasy production.
  • Los Angeles started the game rotating its backs less frequently and then shifted to a more frequent rotation.
  • Henderson started the game and got the ball three times on five plays. Freeman finished the first drive and then took the second and third drives. Then, Henderson took the fourth and fifth.
  • From that point, both running backs would play a little bit on every drive until Freeman took the second-to-last drive and Henderson took the final one.
  • This left Henderson with more carries, more receptions and more yards, but the Rams happened to get to the one-yard line on one of Freeman’s drives, resulting in the Freeman touchdown.
  • Freeman also happened to be in for most of the two two-minute drives, leaving him with more snaps, but Henderson took the two-minute drive last week.
  • Henderson is still the player to start over these next two games with Kyren Williams still on injured reserve, with two better matchups upcoming.

Jalen Tolbert cuts into Michael Gallup’s playing time: Tolbert received a boost in playing time corresponding with a significant decline by Gallup.

  • The Cowboys were winning throughout the game, but it was clear the plan was to get Tolbert more involved early.
  • Both he and Gallup played 10-of-18 snaps in the first quarter with each running seven routes.
  • Both Gallup and Brandin Cooks were substituted out of 11 personnel at times for Tolbert. Gallup and Cooks both played 28 of a possible 39 snaps compared to 22 by Tolbert. Gallup was playing in over 90% of 11 personnel snaps over the first six weeks.
  • The more significant changes happened in other personnel groupings where Gallup only played four of a possible 24 snaps. Gallup had played 41% of offensive snaps in other personnel groupings over the first six weeks.
  • Gallup was held to two receptions for 20 yards while Toblert didn’t catch his only target.
  • Tolbert could be a sneaky waiver wire target in very deep leagues, while Gallup can be cut in most leagues.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Last week, Myles Gaskin was inactive after getting signed to the Rams roster earlier that week. This week, Gaskin surpassed Zach Evans on the depth chart, leaving Evans inactive.
  • Matthew Stafford went to the medical tent early in the second quarter and seemed to injure himself again to end the first half. He was in to begin the second half, but Brett Rypien played the last 17 minutes of the game with Los Angeles down by 19 points. It’s unclear if Stafford would have kept playing had the game been closer.
  • Ben Skowronek scored the one receiving touchdown for Los Angeles, but it just happened to be one of the rare plays where Puka Nacua was taking a play off. Skowronek is unlikely to see more playing time going forward.
  • Tony Pollard played 75% of Dallas' offensive snaps over the first three quarters while Jake Ferguson played 88% of snaps. Both players didn’t play as much in the fourth quarter due to the blowout lead.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

The Vikings backfield usage remains inconsistent: Cam Akers seemed to be taking over the early down role in the Vikings backfield, but momentum shifted back to Alexander Mattison in the second half.

  • Mattison seemed to be the guy in Week 6 and to start Week 7 when he ran five times in the first quarter to Akers' zero carries. Akers ran the ball 10 times over the final three-quarters last week to Mattison's three.
  • The Akers trend continued in the first half of the game today. He ran eight times including a touchdown compared to Mattison's four. Akers was looking better too with 2.6 yards per carry compared to Mattison's 1.5.
  • For whatever reason, Mattison dominated the second half with 12 carries to Akers' one.
  • Neither running back is playing all that well this season, but whoever is getting the most carries would still be worth starting with how much the Vikings run the ball. With Kirk Cousins likely out for the season, the reliance on the running backs could increase.

Aaron Jones reaches 50% of Green Bay's offensive snaps for the first time all season: Jones has been dealing with injuries for most of the past year.

  • Jones played last week but didn’t practice on Wednesday and was still limited the rest of the week, so he’s not at 100% yet.
  • He was also dealing with injuries late last season, so we are nearing a full calendar year since we last saw Jones in his usual role in the Packers offense.
  • He led the team in carries with seven, gaining 29 yards. Jones also caught four passes for 17 yards.
  • A.J. Dillon played two more snaps than Jones. Dillons was less effective in the run game but more effective as a receiver.
  • According to Jay Glazer, the Packers are one of the few teams interested in a running back at the trade deadline. If Green Bay pulls the trigger on a trade, it could be the end of Jones’ time as a consistent fantasy starter.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Kirk Cousins suffered a torn Achilles and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. Fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall took over for the last 11 plays of the game. Minnesota also has Sean Mannion on the practice squad. He spent time from 2019-2021 with the Vikings.
  • K.J. Osborn went to the medical tent in the second quarter, causing him to miss three plays, but he was able to return for the next drive and played his normal role the rest of the game. Trishton Jackson took his place for those three plays all coming from 11 personnel.
  • Fullback C.J. Ham took as many third-down snaps as Alexander Mattison and Cam Akers combined.
  • Jayden Reed led the team in pass routes because he rarely left the field in 11 personnel, and the Packers stayed in 11 personnel most of the game while playing from behind. Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs remain the clear top two wide receivers in 12 and 21 personnel.

New Orleans Saints @ Indianapolis Colts

  • Taysom Hill: 9 carries, 63 yards, 2 touchdowns; 1 reception, 14 receiving yards
  • Rashid Shaheed: 3 receptions, 153 yards, 1 touchdown

Jonathan Taylor reaches 60% of Indianpolis' offensive snaps: This was his largest lead over Zack Moss since returning from his injury.

  • Most of the increase came from passing downs and, in particular, on third downs. The two were receiving an even split on third downs and pass routes in recent weeks.
  • Moss was questionable coming into this game after barely practicing this week with both an elbow and a heel injury.
  • Taylor ran the ball 12 times for 95 yards with one reception for two yards. Moss ran 11 times for 66 yards and caught one pass for eight yards.
  • Moss ended up with more fantasy value because he ran for a one-yard touchdown. There has been a clear tendency to let Moss do the dirty work in short-yardage situations, which isn’t great news for Taylor’s touchdown potential.
  • It’s unclear if Taylor will continue to earn more playing time, if this is the new normal, or if we revert back to a 50/50 split once Moss is healthier again.

Juwan Johnson returns to the Saints: The Saints' starting tight end missed the last four games due to a calf injury.

  • Johnson was limited for most of the week but was a full participant in practice on Friday.
  • He started the game and played every snap on the first drive.
  • After that point, he was rotated out a lot more than he typically would. Taysom Hill took significant snaps from him.
  • His playing time bounced back in the fourth quarte only because he was used as a run blocker instead of Hill.
  • Hill caught one pass for 14 yards while Johnson caught one for five yards.
  • Many fantasy managers dropped Johnosn while he was out due to injury, and he can be left on the waiver wire in this role.

Alvin Kamara scores twice but on declining snaps: Kamara’s stat line was great for fantasy managers, but that might not stay the case.

  • He ran the ball 17 times for 59 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 51 yards and a second touchdown.
  • The problem is other players were more effective in the run game. Taysom Hill averaged 7.0 yards per carry while Jamaal Williams averaged 5.0.
  • Williams returned from injury last week. His playing time was similar this week, but Kendre Miller was given more opportunities compared to last week.
  • Kamara either ran the ball or was targeted on 57.9% of his plays. HE was at 47.8% over his first four games this year and 46.7% last season.
  • If the Saints continue to get their backup running backs and Taysom Hill more involved, then we could see Kamara see fewer touches in the future.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Veteran wide receiver Keith Kirkwood was a healthy inactive after playing 14-22 snaps each week. This allowed sixth-round rookie A.T. Perry to make his career debut. Perry received eight offensive snaps but didn’t receive his first target yet.
  • Saints backup tight end Jimmy Graham was inactive for this game with an illness.
  • The Colts' top receiving tight end Kylen Granson missed his second-straight game after suffering a concussion. This led Andrew Ogletree to lead the tight end room in routes where he scored a touchdown.
  • Jelani Woods is reportedly getting closer to practice per coach Steichen after spending the first half of the season on injured reserve, but it’s unclear if closer means sometime this upcoming week, or if it will still be another few weeks.

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Jeff Wilson Jr. gets more involved in his second game back: Wilson spent the first three quarters leading the team in rushing yards.

  • Wilson ran the ball five times for 23 yards and caught two passes for 14 yards.
  • He still wasn’t the clear No. 2 running back on the Dolphins' depth chart. Salvon Ahmed was the backup in passing situations while Wilson was the backup in rushing situations.
  • If Wilson were going to break out of any game, it would have been this one, as Raheem Mostert was limited in practice all week due to an ankle injury.
  • The Dolphins play the Kansas City Chiefs next week and then have a bye week. After that, De’Von Achane is eligible to return and is expected to be ready to go.
  • At that point, Wilson will be back to third on the depth chart at best. He can be kept on fantasy rosters in deeper leagues as a handcuff, but in lighter leagues, he can be dropped.

The Patriots are forced to use many combinations of wide receivers: The Patriots made changes at wide receiver before the game and then were forced to adjust throughout the game due to injuries.

  • The Patriots signed Jalen Reagor to the active roster earlier in the week and had JuJu Smith-Schuster coming back from injury. This left Tyquan Thornton as a healthy inactive.
  • New England used Kendrick Bourne and Demario Douglas for 100% of the team's 11 personnel offensive snaps in the first half. DeVante Parker took 12 snaps and Jalen Reagor replaced him for five. The four all split time in 12 personnel.
  • Parker suffered a head injury in the third quarter and didn’t return. Reagor took his place for the rest of the game.
  • Bourne suffered a knee injury to start the fourth quarter and didn’t return. Smith-Schuster didn’t play his first offensive snap of the game until Bourne’s injury occurred.
  • There is a decent possibility the Patriots will move on from at least one of their wide receivers at the trade deadline unless the Bourne injury is very serious.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Chase Claypool was active over Robbie Chosen for a second straight week with his first catch as a Dolphin resulting in a touchdown. 
  • River Cracraft was designated to return from injured reserve, which will likely result in Chosen getting released and either Cedrick Wilson Jr. or Claypool going back to being inactive.
  • Pharaoh Brown was targeted on two of his three routes, leading to 33 yards and the second-most receiving yards on the Patriots. He’s maintained a ridiculous 5.0 yards per route run this season while Hunter Henry is at 1.15 and Mike Gesicki at 1.02.

New York Jets @ New York Giants

  • Breece Hall: 12 carries, 17 yards; 6 receptions, 76 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
  • Saquon Barkley: 36 carries, 128 yards; 3 receptions, 0 receiving yards

Monitor Darren Waller’s health: Waller suffered a hamstring injury early in the second quarter and didn’t return.

  • Daniel Bellinger was the Giants' No. 1 tight end when healthy last season, and he took over for the rest of the game because he was the only other tight end on the active roster.
  • Lawrence Cager has been the Giants' third tight end, but they opted to waive him a week and a half ago and stash him on the practice squad.
  • If the Waller injury is serious, then Bellinger becomes a waiver target only in deeper leagues where you can afford to stash a young tight end to see if they end up working out.
  • Bellinger should play the majority of offensive snaps if Waller misses time, but there is a chance Cager could get involved specifically in passing situations.

Monitor Tyrod Taylor’s health: Taylor was taken to the hospital in the second quarter with a rib injury and was still at the hospital at the end of the game

  • Undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito, who started the season on the practice squad, took over and completed two of seven passes for -1 yard but did have a rushing touchdown.
  • Daniel Jones has missed time due to a neck injury and was expected to miss at least one more game, meaning DeVito could be the Giants' starting quarterback next week against the Las Vegas Raiders.
  • New York has no other player on the practice squad and had no other quarterback throughout training camp or the preseason. Their only other quarterback last season was Davis Webb, who is now a coach for the Denver Broncos.
  • This leaves the Giants with no clear option for a backup quarterback next week assuming Jones and Taylor both miss next week.

The Jets were hurting at wide receiver: Two of the top five Jets wide receivers, Randall Cobb and Irvin Charles, were inactive due to shoulder injuries.

  • The Jets also traded Mecole Hardman Jr. two weeks ago, leaving the Jets just three wide receivers that played an offensive snap this season on the active roster.
  • Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard played in 11 and 12 personnel as usual. Xavier Gipson consistently joined in 11 personnel. Gipson was the primary slot receiver.
  • The Jets used more 13 personnel than usual, which is where Wilson and Lazard sometimes rested.
  • Undrafted rookie Jason Brownlee made his NFL debut while veteran Malik Taylor made his Jets debut, both playing limited snaps.
  • The injuries left Wilson, Lazard, Breece Hall and C.J. Uzomah as the only Jets with a reception in this game.
  • The Jets could be in the market for a wide receiver at the trade deadline.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Breece Hall’s playing time had slowly but surely been rising throughout the season, but it seems to have stabilized around 65% of the Jets' offensive snaps.
  • Gary Brightwell joined Eric Gray as Giants running backs on injured reserve earlier in the week. Jashaun Corbin served as the Giants' third running back but didn’t play an offensive snap while recently added Deon Jackson was inactive.
  • Jalin Hyatt had been playing at least 50% of the Giants' offensive snaps in recent weeks, but his playing time shapely declined in this game because of how much they were running the ball.
  • Sterling Shepard was held without an offensive snap for the first time this season. He had been held to five or fewer in three other games.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Travis Etienne Jr.: 24 carries, 79 yards; 3 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
  • Evan Engram: 10 receptions, 88 receiving yards

Monitor Kenny Pickett’s health: Pickett suffered a rib injury in the first half and was unable to return.

  • Initial reports suggested he would return, and he came out during the second half and tried to get loose, but he ultimately didn’t return.
  • Diontae Johnson put together his best game of the season, and that largely happened before the injury.
  • Johnson caught six-of-11 passes for 62 yards in the first half while everyone else combined caught four of five passes for 11 yards.
  • Targets were much more evenly distributed once Mitch Trubisky took over for the second half. Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, George Pickens and Connor Heyward all received four targets in the second half while Diontae Johnson received three.
  • The Steelers have a short week, playing the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football, increasing the odds we see Trubisky for another week.

Travis Etienne Jr.’s role continues to rise: Etienne missed a little time in the third quarter and still played over 88% of Jacksonville's offensive snaps for the first time in his career.

  • Etienne took all 33 offensive snaps in the first half. He had taken at least three plays off in each previous first half this season.
  • Etienne missed a little over five minutes of game time in the third quarter when he was in the medical tent, which is where Tank Bigsby played all of his offensive snaps and D’Ernest Johnson took two of his three snaps.
  • Etienne took all but one snap over the rest of the game. Had it not been for the injury scare, Etienne could have played well over 95% of Jacksonville's offensive snaps.
  • This was the fourth time in his career with 24 or more carries and the first receiving touchdown of his career. His 70 receiving yards was a career-high.
  • As long as Etienne stays healthy, there will be very few better options on fantasy rosters down the playoff stretch.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Najee Harris caught five passes for 42 yards. Harris had three games with more than 42 yards over the first six weeks of his rookie season but hasn’t topped 42 yards since then.
  • Diontae Johnson left for the medical tend in the second half but was able to return to the game not long after.
  • Connor Heyward’s offensive snap share decreased slightly this week compared to last week despite a career-high five receptions.
  • Calvin Ridley bounced back from his one-catch performance last week with six receptions for 83 yards.
  • Zay Jones missed his fifth game in six weeks. His replacements Tim Jones, Jamal Agnew and Elijah Cooks were all held without a target.

Atlanta Falcons @ Tennessee Titans

Treylon Burks returns for the Titans: Burks had last played in Week 3, missing the last three games due to a knee injury.

  • He was a full participant in practice, getting additional time to recover thanks to the Titans' bye week last week.
  • Burks played in 22 of a possible 30 11 personnel snaps. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was relegated to a backup in this personnel grouping, splitting time with both Burks and Kyle Philips in the slot.
  • Burks, DeAndre Hopkins, Westbrook-Ikhine and Chris Moore rotated significantly in 12 personnel, all playing eight-to-11 out of a possible 20 snaps in that personnel grouping.
  • Westbrook-Ikhine and Moore both played seven of a possible eight snaps in 21 personnel.
  • This meant Burks was playing much less than usual and even Hopkins, who scored three touchdowns, was playing fewer snaps than usual with the five-man rotation.
  • Considering Westbrook-Ikhine and Chris Moore are solid veterans, we could continue seeing this clear rotation going forward. This could make Hopkins a sell-high candidate since his 80% target participation rate and 20% target rate were only good but not great.

Monitor Drake London’s health: London suffered a groin injury late in the third quarter and didn’t return.

  • London had played 26 of a possible 30 snaps in the first half, so his playing time had been consistent with other games this season.
  • Van Jefferson played 22-of-30 snaps in the first half, so his playing time rose even before London’s injury.
  • After the injury, Jefferson played 15-of-17 fourth-quarter snaps. KhaDarel Hodge and Scott Miller also started playing more. Mack Hollins was still fairly limited.
  • Hodge ended up leading the team in receiving yards with 75. All of his targets came after London’s injury.
  • London said after the game that he’s fine, so ideally, this won’t be a long-term concern. If he does end up missing time, then Jefferson could be a waiver wire target. He would be the safer option given his routes and targets over the entire game even though Hodge made a 52-yard play.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • There were reports Malik Willis would play a lot, but he only played two snaps to Will Levis‘ 66.
  • Levis played well enough that if he’s the starter going forward, he would be a waiver wire target. Ideally, the Titans give some indication if they’ll go back to Ryan Tannehill once he’s healthy or if Levis is the guy now.
  • Desmond Ridder left the game to get checked out for a concussion. He was cleared to return, but the team stuck with Taylor Heinicke.
  • Bijan Robinson was back to playing around 75% of Atlanta offensive snaps, which was typical for him after barely playing last week due to a headache.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Commanders

Monitor Curtis Samuel’s health: Samuel was questionable for this game due to a foot injury and was later ruled out due to a toe injury, which is presumably the same injury.

  • He was limited to five of a possible 17 snaps in the first quarter. Dyami Brown received more offensive snaps with six, with Jamison Crowder (three) and Byron Pringle (two) also getting involved. He was targeted on three of those five plays.
  • He received more playing time in the second quarter, playing nine of a possible 18 snaps, but only received one target.
  • Samuel didn’t play at all in the second half. Crowder and Brown split snaps pretty evenly behind Samuel.
  • Samuel was a waiver target when healthy based on how well he was playing, but considering it’s taking two players to replace him, neither of the backups is worth waiver targets in most leagues.

D’Andre Swift‘s snap share increases: Swift’s playing time still hasn’t reached Week 2 levels, but he’s inching closer to it.

  • He ran the ball 16 times for 57 yards and a touchdown while catching two passes for seven yards.
  • His backup Kenneth Gainwell caught five passes for 30 yards and ran twice for -4 yards.
  • Earlier in the season, Swift and Gainwell rotated by drive, but more recently it’s been by situation.
  • Swift is seeing a role similar to Miles Sanders last season while Gainwell is in a similar role to last season.
  • Swift cut into Gainwell’s playing time a little bit in third downs and two-minute drills, so even though he didn’t see many targets in this game, the lack of targets shouldn’t be a long-term concern.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Commanders backup receiving tight end Cole Turner was inactive for this game due to an ankle injury. The Commanders stayed in 11 personnel more often than usual, so neither of the other tight ends played more snaps than usual.
  • Antonio Gibson played over 50% of Washington's offensive snaps for the third time this season, but it was his fifth time this season with two or fewer carries.
  • Chris Rodriguez Jr. ran the ball seven times for Washington last week but didn’t play an offensive snap this week.
  • Julio Jones cut into Olamide Zaccheaus’ playing time a little bit this week. Both players caught one of their two targets, but Jones’ reception went for a touchdown.

Cleveland Browns @ Seattle Seahawks

Monitor the Seahawks backfield: Kenneth Walker III didn’t practice earlier in the week because of a calf injury, so he played less than usual in Week 8. 

  • Walker ran eight times for 66 yards, adding a 4-yard catch. Zach Charbonnet ran five times for 53 yards and caught two passes for 11 yards.
  • Charbonnet received a slight increase in playing time on early downs and short-yardage situations, likely because of Walker's injury.
  • The big difference in snaps occurred on third downs and in two-minute drills. Charbonnet and DeeJay Dallas had been sharing that role. This week, Charbonnet completely took over. 
  • Dallas was not on the injury report this week. He played on special teams and didn’t play a snap on offense, so Charbonnet's increased role in passing situations should be here to stay.
  • Charbonnet is worth a waiver wire target, thanks to his increased role if Walker's injury lingers. 

Monitor the Browns’ running back rotation: Neither Jerome Ford nor Kareem Hunt practiced to begin the week. They were still limited by the end of the week.

  • Hunt started the game and split playing time with Pierre Strong Jr. early. Ford played only four of the 38 snaps in the first half.
  • The Browns trusted Ford much more in the second half, as he played 22 of 40 snaps while Hunt was limited to seven. 
  • Ford played more in clear passing situations, while Hunt was used in clear short-yardage situations.
  • The three players took at least nine carries each, and they all averaged roughly 4.0 yards per carry. All three caught a pass, too. 
  • The next injury report will determine which players could be worth starting ahead of Week 9. 

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Dee Eskridge returned to the Seahawks after being suspended for the first six games of the season. He was fifth on the depth chart and took two snaps in the first quarter and the final kneel-down.
  • Cedric Tillman was inactive for the third straight week. He missed practice due to the hip injury that has limited him in recent weeks, but he hasn’t shown up on the injury report since Week 6.
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones’ playing time saw a sharp decline last week, but this week he bounced back. He still didn't play as much as usual, but it was a lot better than it was last week.

Baltimore Ravens @ Arizona Cardinals

  • Gus Edwards: 19 carries, 80 yards, 3 touchdowns; 2 receptions, 14 receiving yards
  • Trey McBride: 10 receptions, 95 yards, 1 touchdown

Trey McBride takes over at tight end: Zach Ertz landed on injured reserve earlier in the week, giving the lead role to McBride.

  • Ertz’s role was declining before the injury, as McBride was splitting snaps with Ertz in 11 personnel, and Geoff Swaim was playing more in 12 personnel.
  • McBride played 40 of a possible 53 snaps in 11 personnel in Week 8.
  • Elijah Higgins was a healthy inactive over the first six weeks. He made his NFL debut last week and carved out a role this week, taking five snaps in 11 personnel, two in 12 personnel and five in 13 personnel.
  • McBride was targeted on 39% of his routes, and he had the best game of his career as a result. He is unlikely to see a 39% target rate again this season, but he is still among the top waiver-wire options at tight end, given his playing time, recent success and potential.

Emari Demercado leads the Cardinals backfield again: Demercado ran 20 times for 78 yards despite barely playing in the fourth quarter.

  • Keaontay Ingram served as the Cardinals' lead running back in the first game without James Conner, with Demercado taking over last week.
  • Demercado was the only running back who played in the first quarter.
  • Damien Williams has been the team's primary early-down backup over the last three weeks. He took three snaps in the second quarter today but then suffered a foot injury and didn’t return.
  • Demercado played 41 of a possible 49 snaps over the first three quarters. Ingram took over as the primary backup, taking three snaps in the third quarter. His last snap was the first play of the fourth quarter.
  • The Cardinals treated most of the fourth quarter as a two-minute drill as they tried to catch up to the Ravens. Ingram played 25 of the 27 snaps in the quarter, though it's unclear whether they preferred Ingram in a two-minute offense or if Demercado suffered an injury. 
  • It will be worth keeping an eye on the injury report and the news before trusting Demercado for one more week.
  • James Conner is eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 10.

The Ravens adjust their wide receiver rotation: Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman are no longer rotating by drive.

  • Zay Flowers has held down one wide receiver spot over the last few weeks, with Beckham and Bateman rotating in and out of the other spot by drive. Nelson Agholor took the slot role.
  • This week, the rotation was more about personnel groupings.
  • Beckham played 18 of the 23 snaps in 11 personnel and five of the seven in 12 personnel. Bateman played 20 of the 23 snaps out of 11 personnel.
  • Over the last two weeks, Beckham and Bateman have taken more snaps in place of Flowers, leaving Flowers on the field for roughly 75% of the offensive snaps. They have mostly replaced Flowers for run plays.
  • Beckham missed roughly a quarter of the game with a stomach contusion. He was able to return for the end of the game, even though the Ravens had a clear lead.
  • Had he not suffered the injury, Beckham likely would have received his highest snap share since Week 1, a game Bateman didn’t play.
  • Beckham was targeted four times but was held without a catch. However, his change in usage could lead to more routes and receiving production and fewer opportunities for Bateman. 

Miscellaneous Notes

  • It was announced after the game that Joshua Dobbs would be starting at least one more game before the team turns to Kyler Murray.
  • Ravens' third-string running back Keaton Mitchell was inactive with a hamstring injury. Undrafted rookie Owen Wright was activated off the practice squad, as Melvin Gordon III has already been called up three times this season, while Kenyan Drake was recently cut.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos

  • Javonte Williams: 27 carries, 85 yards; 3 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
  • Jerry Jeudy: 2 receptions, 50 yards, 1 touchdown

Your weekly Chiefs wide receiver update: Justin Watson returned after missing last week, but Justyn Ross was unavailable.

  • Watson was a full participant in practice after suffering an elbow injury, while Ross was put on an exempt list after being arrested on charges of domestic battery.
  • Watson cut into Marquez Valdes-Scantling‘s playing time, as both players serve as deep threats in the offense. 
  • This was Mecole Hardman Jr.’s second game back with the Chiefs. he played twice as many snaps as last week, taking opportunities away from Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney. Toney's playing time has reached a season-low, making him droppable. 
  • Despite Watson’s return and Hardman’s increased role, Rashee Rice’s percentage of offensive snaps increased slightly. He led the wide receiver room (as usual) with four receptions for 56 yards.
  • Rice remains a borderline fantasy starter but will need his playing time to increase further before he can be a consistent option. 

Marvin Mims Jr.’s role increases slightly: The Broncos made changes at wide receiver, but that only led to a slight increase in playing time for Mims.

  • Mims had been competing with Brandon Johnson for playing time as one of the outside receivers in 11 personnel.
  • Johnson was on the injury report this week and was listed as questionable for the game on Friday. However, he ended up on injured reserve on Saturday. The Broncos elevated longtime New Orleans Saint Tre’Quan Smith to the active roster to take his place.
  • Mims played 19 of a possible 30 snaps out of 11 personnel, with Humphrey and Smith taking some of those snaps. He played only five of 35 snaps in two-receiver sets. In his first game with the Broncos, Smith played six.
  • There have been plenty of trade rumors surrounding Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. If one of them is traded, Mims is certainly in line to play more snaps. However, it still might not be enough to make him an immediate fantasy starter.
  • Claim Mims off the waiver wire if the Broncos trade one of their starting receivers. If they do not, it would take a lot for Mims to be fantasy-relevant this season. 

Javonte Williams Season may finally be here: Williams set a career-high in carries with 27.

  • Williams took 15-plus carries for only the third time in his career, with the other two games occurring in the 2021 season.
  • The good news is that he played ahead of Jaleel McLaughlin. The undrafted rookie has been playing well and got significant playing time when Williams wasn’t 100%.
  • McLaughlin played well in his limited opportunities, gaining 33 yards on four carries.
  • The only problem is that Samaje Perine still played most of the snaps on third-down and two-minute drill situations. Williams won’t reach his full receiving potential until he’s taking more snaps on third downs.
  • As long as the Broncos can stay competitive in upcoming games, Williams will be a relatively safe start.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Jerick McKinnon reached a season-high in snaps played as Kansas City played from behind. It resulted in two carries for -2 yards and one reception for 11 yards. He can be dropped from most leagues. Isiah Pacheco is a buy-low option after his quiet game.
  • The Broncos' high score largely came from good field position. The three touchdowns and field goal came from drives that started from the 50-yard line or closer to scoring range.

Cincinnati Bengals @ San Francisco 49ers

Tee Higgins still isn’t 100%: Higgins didn’t play as much as usual, even though he was absent from the injury report after the Bengals' bye week.

  • Higgins missed the Bengals' Week 5 game with a rib injury. He was then limited in practice leading up to Week 6 and was questionable for the game. He ended up playing, but he understandably played a limited role. 
  • It seemed as though he would return in full for Week 8 after not showing up on the week's injury report. Instead, he played only 38 of a possible 51 snaps in 11 personnel, with Trenton Irwin taking the rest. He didn’t take a single snap out of 12 or 13 personnel.
  • Higgins still ran a route on 31 of a possible 38 passing plays, so he missed only a few more snaps than usual. He caught five passes for 69 yards.
  • Higgins still has a place in fantasy lineups, especially now that the Bengals offense is playing better, but the odds of him having a bad week next week are higher than usual.

Deebo Samuel misses another game: Samuel missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury.

  • Jauan Jennings replaced Samuel for the most part last week, but he took another step toward filling Samuel’s role in Week 8, playing the vast majority of snaps in two-receiver sets.
  • Ray-Ray McCloud III took over in 11 personnel, as he’s done whenever there’s been an injury to one of the 49ers' top three receivers. 
  • However, the two didn’t make much of an impact in the passing game. Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle received 90% of the targeted passes in this game.
  • The Samuel injury has helped the fantasy value of the 49ers’ other star players, but it’s likely hurting the team.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Bengals rookie running back Chase Brown was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. With Brown out, all three other running backs received very slight increases in playing time.
  • The 49ers ran five plays with Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell on the field at the same time. They ran four such plays last week. Mitchell was the only player in the backfield on all four plays last week. This week, they ran two plays where both were in the backfield.

Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Chargers

  • Austin Ekeler: 15 carries, 29 yards; 7 receptions, 90 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
  • Cole Kmet: 10 receptions, 79 yards

Roschon Johnson returns to Chicago: Johnson had missed the last two games due to a concussion.

  • Chicago's starting running back typically takes the snaps on the first two drives, and the backup takes the third. This tendency continued in Week 8, with D’Onta Foreman taking snaps as the starter and Johnson coming in for the third drive.
  • Foreman didn't take the field on third downs. Johnson, Darrynton Evans or fullback Khari Blasingame took the snaps from Foreman in passing situations.
  • Johnson was likely limited after missing so much time, as there were times he played at least half of the passing-down snaps earlier in the season. 
  • Evans didn’t get much playing time, but he scored the Bears’ only touchdown in the last two minutes of the first half. He played a lot more in garbage time when Chicago was playing from behind and even took some goal-line snaps.
  • Johnson is worth a waiver wire addition simply because he’s playing again, and he was playing well before the injury.
  • Even though Foreman was Chicago's lead back tonight, he could be back to being inactive in a few weeks once Herbert and Johnson are fully healthy.

Donald Parham leads the Chargers' tight ends: Gerald Everett was inactive due to a hip injury.

  • Everett wasn’t able to practice early in the week, but he was a full participant by the end of it, making his appearance on the inactives list a little surprising. 
  • Parham was the top tight end in Everett’s absence. He consistently played in 12 personnel, with Stone Smartt and Tre’ McKitty splitting time as the other tight end. Smartt was typically on the field for pass plays and McKitty for run plays.
  • Parham and Smartt split snaps in 11 personnel, but Parham was consistently on the field for clear passing situations, including most third downs.
  • Parham was the only tight end with a target. He caught four of his five targets for 43 yards and a touchdown.
  • Next week, the Chargers play the New York Jets, who have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. So, Parham is at least an option for next week if Everett ends up missing another game.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Austin Ekeler has averaged 3.2 yards per carry or less in each of his last three games since returning from injury.
  • Josh Palmer was questionable for this game with a knee injury and missed most of the Chargers' second drive while in the medical tent, but his playing time was close to normal over the rest of the game.
  • Since D.J. Moore’s slow start to the season, he has caught at least four passes for 50 or more yards in five straight games.

Table Notes

  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including 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.

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