Fantasy News & Analysis

Ian Hartitz’s Week 8 fantasy football fallouts: Nullified touchdowns, missed big plays and more

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) with wide receiver Russell Gage (17) and wide receiver Mike Evans (13) on the field in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

  • Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is the official Week 8 sheesh player of the week.
  • Buccaneers WR Mike Evans didn’t help himself out in Week 7, but most of the blame can be placed on Tom Brady when it comes to Evans’ missed opportunities in Week 8.
  • Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill would have had an even bigger performance without a deep drop and a pair of underthrows by Tua Tagovailoa.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Week 8 has come and gone. 15 NFL games brought joy, laughs and tears; today we’ll focus on the latter sadness and break down just how close some came to achieving fantasy football glory.

What follows is a breakdown on all the “Sheesh” moments from Week 8. I’ve watched every game and used PFF’s backend tools to help determine instances when:

  • Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass
  • Pass-catchers did receive an accurate pass that should have resulted in a score or big gain, but the ball was dropped
  • Ball carriers managed to get all the way to the one-yard line, but didn’t score
  • Players scored or picked up big yardage, but the play was nullified by penalty
  • Other random shit happened that tilted fantasy football managers of all shapes and sizes

But first, the single sheeshiest player of Week 8 goes to …

Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett

Yes, Tyler Lockett caught five of eight targets for 63 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks’ Week 8 win over the Giants. Also yes, the veteran left quite a bit of meat on the bone throughout the afternoon:

  1. All-universe QB Geno Smith threw a b-e-a-utiful pearl into the left corner of the end zone from 21 yards out. Lockett made the catch in the end zone, but could only get one foot inbounds.
  2. Smith again displayed his pinpoint downfield accuracy from 33 yards out to an even more wide-open Lockett; this time the veteran receiver straight up dropped the perfectly thrown pass and immediately felt the sheesh of the moment.
  3. Lockett caught a ho-hum pass in the flat inside his own five-yard line, only to lose his fantasy managers two points by coughing up the football and giving the Giants an extra goal-line possession.

On pace for a sterling 98-1128-6 receiving line, Lockett is playing through the pain and has been awesome this season. That said: Week 8 was full of sheesh, and for that the 30-year-old stud “wins” the not-so-heralded weekly Sheesh MVP.


Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass

The following pass-catchers should have had a much bigger day at the office, but unfortunately their respective quarterbacks weren’t quite up to the task for at least a moment. The following handful of players had to deal with some subjectively shitty near misses:

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans “won” sheesh player of the week in Week 7 thanks to dropping what would have been a walk-in 64-yard touchdown. Similar to last week (9-96-0), Evans didn’t disappoint on the box score against the Ravens (6-123-0); just realize the performance had the potential to be even bigger with a few better passes from the GOAT himself:

  1. Evans was wide open for a 10-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone, only for Brady to throw it too long and out of bounds.
  2. Later Brady again went to Evans in the end zone from 13 yards out; this time the pass went just off the fingertips and fell incomplete. This one wasn’t nearly as wide open as sheesh No. 1, but certainly still a sheesh.
  3. Finally, Evans got pretty open deep on Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey, only for the pass to be underthrown and wind up incomplete. Best case, 84-yard house call; at a minimum this should have been good for 30 to 40 yards.

To make matters worse, TB12 had a chance to hook up with TE Kyle Rudolph for a potential 13-yard score, but sailed the pass wide and to the outside. Buccaneers field-stretching specialist Scotty Miller also got a step on his man and could have scored a 49-yard touchdown with a perfect pass from Brady; I’m less critical of this miss due to Miller having the catch radius of a house cat. Announcer Kirk Herbstreit discussed the lack of timing in this passing game throughout the evening, which is true, but either way: sheesh.

The Ravens faced a rather crucial fourth and two from the Buccaneers’ nine-yard line with just two minutes to go in the first half. Lamar Jackson had an open Demarcus Robinson streaking across the middle of the end zone, but the pass was behind him and allowed the defender to catch up and break up the potential touchdown.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott seemed to go out of his way to get Michael Gallup more involved early; too bad the pair’s potential seven-yard touchdown sailed high and out of bounds. Part of the process for the sheesh committee is analyzing replays to see if any player involved admitted the fault, and in this instance Prescott clearly patted his chest after missing a wide-open Gallup and said something along the lines of “my bad.” That’s how you know it’s a true sheesh.

Panthers QB P.J. Walker certainly hooked up with D.J. Moore when it mattered; just realize the performance could have been even bigger. Moore was open for potential 81- and 24-yard scores, only for Walker to overthrow the bomb, and underthrow the shorter end zone shot. The 6-152-1 performance is hardly one to complain about; just realize the total wasn’t too far away from surpassing 200 yards with at least one additional score.


Big-time drops. You hate to see it

Seven drops stood out this week as key missed opportunities to either score a touchdown or at least pick up a huge chunk gain.

Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill’s big day at the office could have been even more prolific had he held on to a rather pretty deep ball from Tua Tagovailoa that would have resulted in an easy 60-yard touchdown. Yes, Tua also underthrew Hill on multiple occasions that could have also led to scores (more on that in a bit), but this miss was a charged drop that would have been a walk-in touchdown considering both coverage defenders ran into each other and fell down.

Lions WR Josh Reynolds had a bullet from Jared Goff go straight through his hands on what should have been an eight-yard score. Reynolds was officially charged with the drop while standing in the end zone. If it hits both hands and falls incomplete, that’s a sheesh. These are the rules.

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton has gained a whopping 50 scoreless yards over the last three weeks of action. He almost rectified those bad performances with a 33-yard go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter; only problem was that Sutton dropped the crosser. This wasn’t guaranteed to be a score, but Sutton had all sorts of separation after his corner was picked off by a fellow Broncos receiver. Fantasy managers certainly would have been fine if Sutton had simply caught the pass and picked up the 20-plus yards that were available.

Jaguars TE Evan Engram nearly added a second short touchdown to his box score; the problem was his coverage defender (wisely) realized he was beaten and held Engram in order to draw the penalty and prevent the walk-in touchdown. The fact that Engram wound up dropping the well-thrown pass after the penalty made matters even more sheeshful.

Bears WR Velus Jones Jr. sped past the Cowboys secondary from 53 yards out and received a rather beautiful deep ball from Justin Fields, only to let the ball fall right through his hands and fall incomplete. Jones probably would have been downed inside the five-yard line as opposed to scoring a touchdown; either way he was charged with the unideal drop.

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett wasn’t the only man to drop a well-thrown Geno Smith touchdown last week, as speedster Marquise Goodwin couldn’t maintain possession of what should have been an 18-yard touchdown. Credit to Goodwin for snagging two scores in Week 7, but this was a sheeshful drop.

The Rams dialed up a PERFECT pick play/crosser concept for TE Tyler Higbee that honestly had a chance to be a 72-yard touchdown. I don’t like to imply catch-and-run potential often with sheeshes, but there was literally only one defender close by to Higbee, and Cooper Kupp was there to block him. We’re talking a massive chunk gain even if it wasn’t a score; instead, the pass was simply dropped.


Touchdown! Wait, why is everyone walking back to the line of scrimmage

Penalties are obviously called for a reason, but there isn’t a more chaotic few seconds in the minds of fantasy managers between their player scoring a touchdown on a play with a penalty and the foul being announced.

Tom Brady finally seemed to get something going when he hooked up with TE Cade Otton for a six-yard touchdown; only problem was the score was brought back by a (rightful) holding penalty. The Buccaneers went on to settle for three points on the drive.

The Jets defense looked to have helped the cause yet again when they took an ill-advised Mac Jones pass 84 yards all the way back to the house; too bad the NFL stayed lame and decided a ho-hum tackle was roughing the passer. The fact this happened with under a minute to go in the first half made matters that much more sheeshful for Jets faithful.

Packers TE Robert Tonyan got awfully wide open from 10 yards out for an easy touchdown. One issue: Tonyan rather obviously committee offensive pass interference, which instead pushed the Packers 10 yards back and led to a field goal.


So close, yet so far away

Bears QB Justin Fields probably doesn’t practice tackling all that much, but maybe that will change after he jumped over Cowboys playmaker Micah Parsons instead of touching him on the ground and ending the play. Instead, Parsons got back up to his feet and managed to bring the fumble back 36 yards all the way to the house. Another incredible play in a season that has been full of them for the potential 2022 defensive MVP.

I normally don’t recognize the existence of kickers in articles, but Panthers K Eddie Pineiro is an exception after missing not one, but two would-be game-winning kicks against the Falcons. Haters will say that Panthers WR D.J. Moore shouldn’t have celebrated after making THE PLAY OF HIS LIFE; in reality, Pineiro failed to do literally his only job on back-to-back occasions with the final 32-yard miss being especially sheeshful.

Bills QB Josh Allen is one of the scarier free-play artists in the NFL. He immediately recognized the offsides penalty, causally shrugged off a free rusher, and lobbed a catchable pass into the back of the end zone from 29 yards out … only for WR Gabriel Davis to fail to get both feet down despite making the catch. 


Unrealized air yards are a helluva drug

PFF’s Josh Hermsmeyer breaks down the week’s top buy-low candidates with his handy-dandy air yards model; don’t be surprised if certain someones from the Panthers and Seahawks are featured ahead of Week 9. The following seven players had more than 70 unrealized air yards in Week 8, meaning they had a ton of downfield opportunities, but failed to capitalize on them for one reason or another:


Other sheeshes

There were a number of other near misses throughout Week 8 that were tougher to fully blame one particular party, but that doesn’t make the near-miss result any less sheeshful for the fantasy managers and fans at hand to deal with.

Good ball, no dice: Jaguars TE Evan Engram nearly added a second short touchdown to his box score; the problem was his coverage defender (wisely) realized he was beaten and held Engram in order to draw the penalty and prevent the walk-in touchdown. The fact that Engram wound up dropping the well-thrown pass after the penalty made matters even more sheeshful. … Lions QB Jared Goff went for it all on fourth and 1 from the Dolphins’ 35-yard line, but his well-enough thrown pass to Josh Reynolds slipped through his out-stretched hands and fell incomplete in the end zone. … Steelers WR George Pickens goose-egged on the box score; just realize he had a 27-yard catch wiped out by an offensive pass interference penalty and two plays later the talented rookie couldn’t quite maintain possession to the ground on what would have been a solid 20 yard gain down the sideline. … Panthers WR Terrace Marshall wasn’t charged with a drop on Sunday, but he had two goal-line fades as well as a potential 24-yard score which at least touched his hands in the end zone, only to fall incomplete. … While Panthers WR D.J. Moore certainly redeemed himself later, he was charged with a drop on a potential 20-yard gain that would have converted a fourth and 17 from the Panthers’ own 18-yard line. … Raiders WR Davante Adams had at least two reasonable chances to build upon his brutal day at the office, unfortunately, he let a pair of 20-plus yard gains down the sideline fall incomplete. One featured Adams surprisingly unable to get both feet down inbounds, the other was charged as a drop. Damn flu. … Adams’ sidekick WR Mack Hollins also didn’t exactly do Derek Carr many favors last week, most notably dropping a honey hole shot down the sideline that would have been good for 20-plus yards. … Colts WR Michael Pittman wasn’t going to score, but he did have a chance for an easy 20-plus yard gain on a deep crosser that certainly would have helped the Colts on their final drive. Alas, Pittman straight-up dropped the well-thrown pass while seemingly looking ahead to the potential YAC. … Rams WR Allen Robinson did enough to get some separation from two yards out; problem was that his defender realized that and committed a defensive pass interference which prevented the potential catch. Head coach Sean McVay did the cool thing and called another fade for A-Rob on the next play, but that too fell incomplete.

Not the worst throw, but also not the best: Broncos QB Russell Wilson uncorked a BOMB from his own goal line that traveled roughly 65 yards in the air; only problem was that it landed almost directly between K.J. Hamler and Greg Dulcich. Impressive arm strength, but ultimately just an incomplete sheesh. … Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill had a pair of big catches that feasibly could have been 41- and 75-yard touchdowns with absolutely perfect throws, but Tua Tagovailoa underthrew both passes and had to settle for big gains. Tua slanderers: This happened plenty with Patrick Mahomes too; it’s not always easy to hit one of the fastest people on the planet in stride 50-plus yards downfield. … Lions WR Kalif Raymond got loose downfield and would have scored a 48-yard touchdown with a perfect pass. However, Raymond had to settle for a 45-yard gain down to the five-yard line after Jared Goff forced his speedy receiver to have to slide down for the catch. … Raiders WR Keelan Cole nearly supplied a rare spark for the Raiders when he got a step deep down the right sideline from 52 yards out, but Derek Carr failed to capitalize on the small opportunity and sailed the pass long and incomplete. … Tough pill to swallow for all the Lawrence Cager fantasy managers out there: Daniel Jones missed his tight end on what would have been a gain good for about 30 yards down the sideline. … Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf got multiple steps of separation down the sideline for what could have been a 35- to 40-yard gain just short of the goal line; too bad Geno Smith’s deep ball was just too long, and Metcalf could only get one hand on the pass before it fell to the turf incomplete.

Just short. Sheesh: Note that sequences where a player was downed just short of the goal line, but later went on to score the touchdown themself on the same drive, aren’t listed:

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