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When Ja’Marr Chase left last Sunday’s game briefly after going down with a non-contact injury, I was a bit worried, but when he came back and played the rest of the game, it didn’t seem like something to really be concerned with. As it turns out, however, it was. It really was.
Chase , as we learned Thursday, and that injury is going to keep him out 4-6 weeks, per reports. That’s a massive blow for the Bengals, obviously, but at least they’ve got Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd ready to step up. Your Fantasy team might not be so lucky. , plus some waiver-wire targets, but there aren’t a lot of great choices, truthfully.
If you need immediate help, see if Wan’Dale Robinson or Romeo Doubs is available on your waiver wire — they’ve got enough long-term upside to be worth rostering anyway, but they could help you fill in a short-term hole in your roster, too. If you’re positioned well enough this week, see if Elijah Moore or Christian Watson are out there — they’re longer shot plays, but with potentially even more upside than either Robinson or Doubs if they can get going.
I also still think Chris Godwin is a buy-low candidate worth chasing, and Thursday’s game didn’t do much to dissuade me — he had 13.5 points on 11 targets and could really take off if this Buccaneers offense can ever get going. They didn’t really do it in Thursday’s loss to the Ravens, but there’s still reason to believe Godwin has top-12 upside.
Obviously, the loss of Chase is huge, but life goes on, starting with Week 8. I’ve got my Week 8 previews here for you in today’s newsletter, with start/sit advice for every game, plus all the injuries you need to know about to make sure you’re making the best lineup decisions you can.
If you have any other lineup questions or need more help, send your emails my way at [email protected] with the subject line “#AskFFT” and I’ll try to answer them before Sunday morning’s lineup locks. Plus, you can catch our YouTube stream Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. ET where Adam Aizer, Frankl Stampfl and I will be answering all of your lineup questions.
Get ready for Week 8 with all of our preview content here:
And here’s what the rest of today’s newsletter has in store to help you get ready for Week 8:
Injuries: Mark Andrews (shoulder), Rashod Bateman (foot), Gus Edwards (hamstring) — All three came into the game questionable, but Bateman’s is the only one that was a recurrence of the original injury. It sounds like none of them are particularly concerning right now; however, Bateman’s would be the biggest long-term question mark, certainly, given that it’s a setback from an injury that already cost him two weeks. Edwards ran the ball well before the injury, but I do think this is going to lead to the Ravens continuing to be careful with his workload. You’re hoping for 65 yards every week with a touchdown — he didn’t get the touchdown this time around.
Winner: Isaiah Likely. On Thursday’s Q&A stream on the FFT YouTube channel, I said Likely would be a top-12 tight end if Mark Andrews was out, and I may have undersold him. While John Harbaugh downplayed the injury after the game, if Likely does end up having to start for the Ravens in Week 9, he might be a top-five option. I would definitely rank Travis Kelce and Dallas Goedert over him, and probably George Kittle; Likely might be the next ranked player. He was a star in the preseason and then basically served as a one-for-one replacement in the Ravens offense when Andrews was out, running a route on every pass play in the second half. He looks like a potential star, and I hope the Ravens start featuring him more alongside Andrews.
Loser: Tom Brady. Brady actually had his third-best game of the season in this one, finishing with 19.1 points in six-per-pass-TD scoring. Which tells you a lot more about how bad he’s been this season than how good he was Sunday. His receivers deserve a share of the blame here, but Brady just also isn’t sharp right now. He’s struggling with pressure, he’s struggling with accuracy, and his decision-making is leaving a lot to be desired. I can’t give up on him because he’s still Tom Brady, he still has good weapons, and he’s still throwing the ball a ton. But you don’t feel great about having to trust him right now.
One more thing: Brady had a touchdown to Cade Otton nullified by a hold on a key late possession, and had what looked like a walk-in touchdown to Chris Godwin blown off because of a false start by Leonard Fournette. As mediocre as Brady was, this actually could have been a much better game for him, if you’re looking for reasons to buy low. I would certainly be trying to buy Godwin, if nothing else.
There’s something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. Here’s a look ahead at every Week 8 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, some lineup help and the latest injury updates from around the league:
All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
I know the Broncos have been pretty awful this season, but it’s still pretty shocking to see them as underdogs at a neutral sight game against the Jaguars. The Broncos still have a very good defense — third in points allowed, third in defensive DVOA — but they also have had an awful offense. I still think there’s a chance they figure it out, but with Russell Wilson playing through both shoulder and hamstring issues, it’s hard get excited about much of anything here.
Toughest lineup decision: Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray — Sit. With Mike Boone place on IR with an ankle injury, at least Gordon and Murray have the pie all to themselves. The problem is, it just doesn’t seem like a particularly appetizing pie at this point — since Javonte Williams‘ injury, the Broncos are averaging just 18.1 PPR points combined from their running backs, the eighth-lowest mark in the league. It figures to be a pretty even split between the two of them, with the hope that Gordon will at least have more of a passing game role. If you have to start either, he’s the better option, but neither is a top-30 RB for me. I’d start Antonio Gibson, Tyler Allgeier, or D’Onta Foreman over either of them.
Injuries: Russell Wilson (hamstring) — Wilson has been pretty consistent that he expects to play this week, and with two limited practice sessions in, it looks like that’s going to happen. He’s been bad this season, to put it kindly, but he’s also better than Brett Rypien, who threw a bunch of hopeless prayers last week.
There’s been a lot of debate about the merits of the Falcons’ refusal to throw the ball last week as they got buried by the Bengals early on, but that probably won’t be relevant in this one. The Panthers probably aren’t as good as they looked in beating the Buccaneers in Week 7, and their moribund offense should allow the Falcons to stick with their run-heavy game plan throughout this game. That’s going to continue to make it hard for Kyle Pitts and Drake London to live up to their potential.
Toughest lineup decision: D’Onta Foreman– Start. Chuba Hubbard‘s ankle injury is going to play a role in how high Foreman ends up getting ranked, but I think he’s a top-30 running back this week either way. The question is, does he become a top-24 option if Hubbard is out? I think he could end up in that range, though I think I’d still prefer a healthy D’Andre Swift and James Conner ahead of him, and they’re RB20 and RB21 for me right now.
Injuries: Chuba Hubbard (ankle) — Hubbard hasn’t practiced this week, so it looks like there’s a real chance he won’t play. Even if he does, I’d guess Foreman is the lead back, flipping the script on last week’s usage.
The Cowboys were happy to take a conservative approach in Week 7 despite the return of Dak Prescott from injury, and they’ve now had a negative pass rate over expectation in every game this season — basically, they’re throwing more than the average team would given down and distance, score, and other factors. I think they’ll be more pass-heavy in the future, maybe even this week — no Ezekiel Elliott would likely help in that regard.
Toughest lineup decision: David Montgomery — Sit. Montgomery isn’t an automatic sit, mind you; he’s RB27 for me. However, that’s a significant change from where his typical spot in the high-end RB2 range, because the Bears weren’t kidding about going changing their RB usage in Week 7. Montgomery played 56% of the snaps Monday, his lowest rate of the season for a game he didn’t leave early with injury. That still meant 15 carries, but it also meant he ceded key opportunities to Khalil Herbert and likely will continue to do so. Montgomery is a volume-dependent RB with no guarantee of the kind of volume he needs. He’s more of an RB3 this week, ranked behind the likes of Devin Singletary, Najee Harris, and Antonio Gibson, among others.
Injuries: Ezekiel Elliott (knee) — Elliott refused to rule himself out for this week’s despite multiple reports indicating he is likely to be sidelined. Tony Pollard is with Elliott expected to be out, and I wouldn’t pivot off Pollard even if Elliott does manage to tough this one out. The Cowboys should win easily enough for Pollard to be worth using no matter what. Of course, if Elliott is out, Pollard goes from an RB2 to a top-10 option for this week. Hopefully the Cowboys will play it smart with their bye coming in Week 9 … Dalton Schultz (knee) — Schultz keeps playing through his knee sprain, and he continues to look pretty limited by it. He’s also seemingly aggravated the injury every week he’s tried to play through it. If he plays, he’ll probably be a top-12 tight end in spite of that, but there’s a lot of risk here, and probably not a huge amount of upside.
With two defenses that rank in the bottom 10 in points allowed for the season, this looks like a potential shootout on paper. However, the Lions haven’t been holding up their end of the bargain in that regard of late, having gone without a touchdown in two straight games. They’ve desperately missed D’Andre Swift’s big-play abilities, and a less-than-100% Amon-Ra St. Brown hasn’t helped either. Both should be good to go this week, so hopefully we see some fireworks.
Toughest lineup decision: Tua Tagovailoa — Start. Tagovailoa was not great in Week 7, but it’s fair to give him a mulligan in his first game back from that scary concussion back in Week 4. There have been real flashes of significant upside here, but injuries have made it hard for Tagovailoa to live up to it consistently enough. However, the Lions defense has pretty much been a salve for any kind of woe this season, and hopefully it’ll be the same for the Dolphins offense. If not, we may have to recalibrate our expectations for how good Tagovailoa — and this offense — can be.
Injuries: D’Andre Swift (shoulder/ankle) — Swift has been a full participant both Wednesday and Thursday in practice, so it looks like he’s going to be back on the field for the first time since Week 3. I’m expecting his workload to be managed somewhat carefully, but you’re probably starting Swift as a top-20 RB … Amon-Ra St. Brown (concussion protocol) — St. Brown has been limited in practice both Wednesday and Thursday, but the team told us earlier in the week he was never actually diagnosed with a concussion, so I’m expecting him to be good to go. He’s a top-10 WR for me, barring an unexpected setback.
The Cardinals offense just looked like it made more sense with DeAndre Hopkins back in Week 6, and here’s hoping they can keep rolling. There are definitely still questions they need to answer — is DeAndre Hopkins’ slot role here to stay? Can Rondale Moore produce on the outside of the formation? — but I expect to see a much more efficient Kyler Murray moving forward, and that’s good news for everyone here.
Toughest lineup decision: Adam Thielen — Sit. In 2020, Thielen averaged 8.6 yards per target. Last season, that dropped to 7.6. This season? It’s down to 6.6, by far the lowest of his career, despite a 67.4% catch rate that isn’t far off from his career norms. He’s still seeing a decent amount of deep looks — a 9.0 average depth of target isn’t far off from 2021 or 2018 — but he just isn’t making plays with the ball in his hands anymore. It looks a lot like he’s a 32-year-old who has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons. He’s covered up for that with massive touchdown rates in previous seasons, and maybe he’ll do that moving forward, but Thielen looks like he’s deep into his decline phase, and may be done as anything more than a touchdown-or-bust WR3/4.
Injuries: James Conner (ribs) — Conner has gotten a limited practice in both days so far, so Friday could be a big day for his chances. If he’s a full participant, you can pencil him in as an RB2 — if he’s limited again, we’re probably going into Sunday without knowing his status. If Conner is out, Eno Benjamin is going to be a top-15 RB for me yet again.
The Saints opted to stick with Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback with Jameis Winston healthy, which suggests that they want to play a more conservative brand of offense moving forward — at least until they have their full complement of receivers available. Given that Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara are really the only players we view as must-starts for this offense — Juwan Johnson and Taysom Hill are fringe-y, TD-or-bust TEs — it doesn’t change that much about how we view them, but Dalton does limit the overall upside of this offense, relative to Winston.
Toughest lineup decision: Derek Carr — Start. Carr has been a disappointment so far, seeing his yards per attempt fall to just 7.2, his lowest mark since 2017. He’s also throwing a few times less often than he did last season, which helps explain why he’s down below 19 points per game in CBS Fantasy scoring. However, he did have multiple touchdowns in each of his first three games, and he played arguably his best all-around game last week, though he just threw it only 27 times. Even with how well Josh Jacobs is working right now, I’m not too worried about the pass volume here. He’ll be better moving forward, and is one of the better options of the non-elite QBs.
Injuries: Davante Adams (illness) — This is one thing that would definitely make Carr a sit, though we usually don’t see players sit out on Sunday for early-week illnesses. We can’t say it’s impossible, however, so hopefully Adams is back out there Friday. As long as he plays, Adams is an easy top-10 WR for me … Darren Waller (hamstring) — Waller has been limited both Wednesday and Thursday after sitting out last week due to the injury. It looks like he’s got a chance to play, but it isn’t a sure thing at this point. He’ll be a top-eight tight end for me if he’s cleared to play … Michael Thomas (foot) and Jarvis Landry (ankle) — I’m pretty sure Thomas hasn’t even practiced since suffering the injury in Week 3, so I’m not sure why the Saints never put him on IR. At this point, you have to assume they haven’t done it because he’s going to be back in the next few weeks; however, this is starting to feel like the past few seasons, where he just never came back from vague timetables. You have no choice but to keep stashing him, but my faith is certainly shaken … Juwan Johnson (hamstring) — Johnson was added to the injury report Thursday with a limited session, and the mid-week addition is always concerning. Johnson is a fringe streaming option if you need one, but this injury makes him a risk.
The Patriots had a self-inflicted QB controversy last week, and that makes it hard to trust Bill Belichick’s proclamation Thursday that Mac Jones “will be the quarterback” in Week 8. He started but was benched for Bailey Zappe after one quarter, and it’s not entirely clear if that was because of Jones’ ankle or his performance — or, more likely, a combination of both. Will the same thing happen if Jones struggles this week? Confidence is an important but unknowable part of playing the QB position effectively, and the uncertainty here makes it hard to have confidence in how this offense is going to play.
Toughest lineup decision: Damien Harris — Sit. Harris played just eight snaps in Week 7, and if that’s going to be his role moving forward, Rhamondre Stevenson is going to be one of the best running backs in Fantasy. I’m not sure I buy that Harris is going to be so limited moving forward — if was his first game back from a hamstring injury — but it’s at least possible he’s a clear No. 2 back here now. I don’t think you can trust Harris until we see him in at least an even split again.
Injuries: Corey Davis (knee) — Davis has been unable to practice this week, which makes me wonder if Elijah Moore might not have a chance to get back on the field after being inactive because of his trade request in Week 7. He’s only rostered in 35% of leagues, and is one of the best high-upside stashes you can make if you need a replacement for Chase.
The schedule really did Kenny Pickett no favors — he’s about to start his fourth game, and the Dolphins or Buccaneers are the worst team he’s faced so far. The Eagles defense has been dominant, ranking fourth in scoring, and they just added Robert Quinn to their pass rush. There have been flashes from Pickett, but he might need the bye week and an easier schedule before he starts to take off. This will probably be another rough outing for him.
Toughest lineup decision: Diontae Johnson – Start. I’ve got Johnson for this week, while none of Heath, Jamey, or Dave have him inside their top 30. I don’t blame you if you take their side on this one, but I just can’t bring myself to sit someone with 30 targets over the past three games unless I have really compelling options. Johnson has been below 5 yards per target in each of those games, which helps explain why everyone is so down on him. I get it, but if all he did was match last year’s efficiency (6.9 Y/T), he’d be averaging 69 yards per game during that three-game stretch. I’m betting on regression to the mean, even in the face of a very good defense.
Injuries: Pat Freiermuth (ankle) — Freiermuth has been limited both days in practice so far, so it’s not clear how much risk there is of him missing this week’s game. If he does play, he’s a top-five tight end for me.
Neither of these teams has very much going on outside of their running games — Derrick Henry and Dameon Pierce both rank in the top six in rushing yards despite having both had their bye already, while no player on either team ranks in the top 50 in receiving yards. Both teams can be beaten through the air, but neither offense seems likely to even try.
Toughest lineup decision: Brandin Cooks — Start. Of course, having said that, I’m having a hard time going away from Cooks entirely. To be clear, he’s fallen a long way in my rankings from the start of the season, when he was a borderline top-12 option. Now, he’s WR27 for Week 8. I don’t quite understand why the Texans have gone away from him — he has just 25 targets over the past four games after 22 in the first two — but if anyone is going to get going in the passing game, it’ll be Cooks. It isn’t especially likely to happen, but the Titans are allowing the third-most Fantasy points to wide receivers, so if he’s ever going to get going, it’ll be against this matchup. Plus, maybe this is a chance to feature him before the trade deadline next week.
Injuries: Nico Collins (groin) — Collins’ seemingly likely absence does make it more likely Cooks will get peppered with targets this week. Hopefully Collins can get back soon, but if you need the roster spot, he’s droppable.
We’ve got one known quantity backup quarterback in Taylor Heinicke taking on another backup quarterback making his first ever start in Sam Ehlinger, so there’s little surprise that this matchup has a total under 40. Both quarterbacks have some mobility that makes them sort of interesting options in 2QB or SuperFlex leagues, but that doesn’t mean we expect either to be good for the rest of their offenses.
Toughest lineup decision: Brian Robinson — Sit. Robinson is probably never going to be a must-sit, but he’s also unlikely to ever be a must-start. He’s an early-downs-only back in a three-way committee on a mediocre team. Even with 37 carries over his past two weeks, you’ve seen the pretty limited upside he brings to the table — he has just 22.6 PPR points in those two games. Robinson’s role gives him a decent floor every week — especially in non-PPR scoring — but there just isn’t a ton of upside here. I’d start Khalil Herbert, Eno Benjamin, Melvin Gordon, and Tyler Allgeier ahead of him, among others.
Injuries: Logan Thomas (calf) — Thomas is the only injury we might care about in this one with Matt Ryan already benched, but you’ve probably got a better option than him. Consider Hayden Hurst, Noah Fant, or Taysom Hill if they are available.
It’s unsettling to see the Rams as home underdogs even against a very good 49ers team. And it’s hard to argue against it. The Rams offense desperately needs someone besides Cooper Kupp to step up and make plays in the passing game, but unless Allen Robinson discovered the Fountain of Youth during the bye week, a healthy Van Jefferson may be the only player with that kind of potential on the roster. At the very least, he would give the Rams a vertical element they just don’t have right now.
Toughest lineup decision: Darrell Henderson — Start. The Rams are still creating the fewest Fantasy points for running backs of any team, but Henderson did at least get the kind of workload we want to see in the first game without Cam Akers. He got 12 carries and three targets while playing 71% of the snaps in Week 6, and that feels like the floor as long as the only alternative is Malcolm Brown. That doesn’t make Henderson a must-start option, but he’s RB25 in my rankings this week, behind the likes of Devin Singletary and Najee Harris, but ahead of Antonio Gibson and David Montgomery.
Injuries: Deebo Samuel (hamstring) — This is officially A Concern, as Samuel has been held out of practice both days so far this week. It’s not clear how much he’ll need to do this week in practice to play, but there is seemingly real risk he won’t be able to play. Brandon Aiyuk would be a top-24 WR if Samuel is out or limited, and it would make George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey a bit easier to trust, too … We won’t get an official designation for Van Jefferson, since he’s still officially on IR with his knee injury, but he did begin practicing and could be back this week. I wouldn’t want to start him, but Jefferson is worth stashing as he works his way back.
When the schedule was released, who saw both teams being over .500 at this point in the season? They’ve been two of the most pleasant surprises of the season, and Geno Smith and Daniel Jones are both very much in the starting conversation for this week. I prefer Smith, even if DK Metcalf is out, but Jones probably needs to be in your lineup in any 2QB leagues.
Toughest lineup decision: Wan’Dale Robinson — Start. Robinson’s long-term outlook is helped by the Toney trade, but it doesn’t impact his value for this week since we weren’t expecting Toney to be back anyway. He’s ranked WR30 for me and he’s right around that spot for Jamey, Dave, and Heath, and while I don’t think there’s necessarily top-12 upside, he still has room to grow. He played 69% of the snaps and ran 81% of the routes in Week 7, and I expect we’ll see both of those numbers continue to grow, because he’s so clearly the most dynamic option for the Giants offense. His upside isn’t quite what Amon-Ra St. Brown’s is — Robinson isn’t the same kind of route-runner, so I don’t think he’ll earn targets at near the same rate — but St. Brown’s breakout last season is the archetype here for Robinson.
Injuries: DK Metcalf (knee) — Metcalf has been unable to practice this week, and while he hasn’t been ruled out yet, it seems unlikely he’ll be able to play … Daniel Bellinger (eye) — Bellinger is going to have surgery to repair a fractured eye socket, but the hope is it won’t be a season-ending injury. IR seems possible, though.
If the Rams being home dogs is surprising, Aaron Rodgers being a double-digit dog is downright shocking. But it really shouldn’t be. The Packers offense has been deeply mediocre so far, and now he’s going to be without his most trustworthy receiver in Allen Lazard. Trust seems to matter more for Rodgers than most great quarterbacks, and it seems like there have been too many situations this season where he just hasn’t had faith his pass catchers will be in the right spot or bring the ball in. There are enough interesting pieces here to believe this offense is going to figure it out at some point, but the Bills once again have arguably the best defense in the league, so it’s asking an awful lot for them to put it together here. I’m actually considering starting Andy Dalton over Rodgers in one league.
Toughest lineup decision: Devin Singletary — Sit. Most running backs tend to perform better when their team is ahead, but Singletary isn’t most running backs. In the Bills’ three wins by more than 10 points, Singletary has been held to single figures in Fantasy scoring in each; he’s averaged 16.8 PPR points per game. The Bills are favored by 11.5 in this one, so the trends suggest this will be a week where Singletary cedes enough work to James Cook and Zack Moss to disappoint. He’s still RB24 for me this week right now, but by Sunday, I very well may have moved him behind D’Onta Foreman, at least.
Injuries: Allen Lazard (shoulder) — Lazard told reporters Thursday he heard a “snap, crackle, pop” in his shoulder during Week 7, and while that sounds like a funny way to downplay the severity of the injury, he acknowledged he isn’t likely to play this week. Hopefully it’s just a short-term issue, because with the Packers not on a bye until Week 14, any time he has to miss will cost him a game … Christian Watson (hamstring) — Watson has been limited both days this week, so there’s a chance he makes his return. This is an injury that has lingered for a while, so I wouldn’t expect him to play a ton this week even if he is cleared, but if you’re looking for some upside, consider stashing the rookie just in case.
Interestingly, the line wasn’t affected much by the news of Chase’s injury. The Bengals opened as 3-point favorites, it moved to Bengals -3.5 mid-week and then dropped back to Bengals -3 as of Thursday evening. That’s kind of interesting, though I think it probably reflects a lack of faith in the Browns offense than anything else — the over/under has fallen two points since the start of the week.
Toughest lineup decision: Tyler Boyd — Start. I don’t think Chase’s injury makes Boyd a must-start option, but it’s worth noting that Boyd has averaged 8.7 targets per game in the three games Tee Higgins has missed since the start of last season, compared to seven otherwise. That won’t necessarily translate to the time Chase is going to miss, but it’s the only thing we have to go on. This offense could really struggle without Chase — they had a hard time figuring out how to move the ball early this season with defenses taking Chase away — but Boyd should see enough of a target bump to be worth using in most leagues.
Injuries: David Njoku (ankle) — Njoku didn’t practice Thursday and seems like he’s going to miss at least this week. Harrison Bryant is an interesting streamer if you’re looking for one.
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