College Football Pick’em
Week 8 Recap
Talking the business of sports
Good morning, Fantasy Football players. We’ve got another early start this week, with the Jaguars and Broncos set to kick off at 9:30 a.m. EST from London, and the good news is, we don’t really have any injuries to worry about for that game. Russell Wilson was removed from the injury report for that one, and he’s the only Fantasy-relevant player dealing with an injury, so we shouldn’t have any Alvin Kamara situations to deal with here.
I can’t necessarily say everything is as clear-cut for the rest of the Week 8 schedule. We can say that we’re expecting to see the first career starts from Sam Ehlinger of the Colts and Malik Willis of the Titans, the latter of whom is expected to start in place of Ryan Tannehill, who didn’t practice this week due to an ankle injury and an illness. Both bring some mobility to the table that makes them intriguing streamers, with Willis the more intriguing talent all around, but especially as a runner. He’s not a top-12 QB for his first start, but he’s a viable QB2 if you’re looking for one.
We’ve got a ton more injuries to worry about beyond that. Ja’Marr Chase is out with a hip injury, Deebo Samuel is out with a hip issue, and James Conner is out with his rib issue, while DK Metcalf (knee) and Tyler Lockett (hamstring) are among those players carrying a questionable tag into Sunday’s action and are actually up in the air — early reports indicate both will be active, but there seems to be significant risk with both even if they are cleared to play. We won’t necessarily know everyone’s status by the time the 1 p.m. lineups lock, let alone the first lock of the day. It’s a tough spot to be in.
But the Fantasy Football Today team is here to help. Jamey Eisenberg, Heath Cummings, and Dave Richard are going to be live on CBS Sports HQ at 10 am going over everything you need from every angle, including the latest up-to-date injury news live until kickoff.
And if you want more direct answers to your questions, we’ve got other opportunities to help: Go to Twitter and use the hashtag “#AskFFT”, where our whole team will be answering questions all morning; and go to the FFT YouTube channel to chat with Adam Aizer, Frank Stampfl and I starting at 11:30. We’ll be there right up until kickoff answering as many questions as we can, so make sure you’re in the chat early to get your questions in.
For more Week 8 help, here’s the rest of our preview content to get you ready:
I always struggle with this kind of question, because it’s pretty much unknowable. Do the Browns actively want to trade Hunt? We really don’t know. If they do, it would make sense to hold him out to try to avoid injury, but I can’t actually think of too many situations where that’s actually happened in the NFL – you’ve got situations where teams have benched players like Cam Akers and Elijah Moore following trade requests, but by all accounts, Hunt requested a trade back during the summer and has been playing since.
Which is to say, while there’s some risk of the Browns sitting Hunt out, I don’t think it should enter into your thought processes except as a tiebreaker. Hunt isn’t a great start for Fantasy in Week 8 because he typically only gets 10-12 carries and a few targets per game and pretty much needs a touchdown to be worth starting. He’s a touchdown-or-bust RB3.
I think Pierce is probably your best option at this point. Your receivers have plenty of upside, obviously, but Pittman has a QB making his first start, while Cooks just hasn’t been getting the kind of targets he needs of late. I think Cooks should get the targets, especially with Nico Collins out, but I just can’t guarantee that given the way the past month has gone – he has just 25 targets over the past four games. Pittman is a great player, but the Colts have Sam Ehlinger making his first start, and I expect them to be much more run-heavy in his first game than they have been with Matt Ryan. That makes it hard to trust Pittman.
So, I’ll go with Pierce, who has 20 touches or more in four straight games. I don’t love the Texans offense, but Pierce’s role is impossible to overlook at this point. He’s a top-15 RB moving forward.
This is a good problem to have, but I think there’s a fairly clear top three here. I like Mostert – 15 or more touches in three straight games is great – but his role pales in comparison to your other options. I actually think the closest one to Mostert might be Cook, if only because the passing game role just hasn’t been there of late – he has five targets over the past four games after having 11 in his first two. That more or less coincides with the shoulder injury he suffered in Week 3, but I’m not sure there’s a clear connection there – he’s been between 42 and 48 snaps in each game this season, so I don’t necessarily know if the limited passing game role is related. He’s not the top-five guy he once was right now, but I’m still starting him over Mostert, and Walker and Mixon are even easier calls.
A lot of Mostert questions, and I’m sad I keep having to tell you guys to sit him, because I think he’s a good option at this point. However, I’ve got one league where I have him, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and Eno Benjamin, and I’m sitting him there, and your options are even better than that. Or, at least, your RB3 option is better this week – Pollard should be a top-10 RB in all formats this week with Ezekiel Elliott expected to be out. There is, of course, a chance Elliott ends up active for this week’s game – given his history, I’d bet he’s pushing for it – but even then, I still expect Pollard to be well worth using against a very vulnerable Bears defense. Pollard isn’t likely to take over as the Cowboys lead back despite our protestations, so take advantage of this opportunity where he figures to be the clear lead back in a great matchup.
Singletary is a tough call, but I lean toward fading him this week. There’s been a clear trend to his usage this season, which I noted in Friday’s newsletter: 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 in their three double-digit wins. The Bills don’t necessarily ride Singletary every down when the game is close, but they keep him on the field and don’t mix in James Cook or Zack Moss nearly as often when the game is close. They’re 11-point favorites this week against the Packers, and if they can cover that spread, recent history suggests we’ll see enough of Cook and/or Moss to limit Singletary’s utility. It helps that Olave is a stud in his own right, and might be worth starting ahead of Singletary even without that whole preamble.
At this point, I do feel better about the prospects of starting Smith or Tagovailoa than Wilson, and I’m not 100% sure I’d rather have Tagovailoa than Smith moving forward. However, I’m pretty sure I’d rather have Tagovailoa – Smith having a less-than-100% DK Metcalf doesn’t help his case. Tagovailoa’s schedule coming up helps – after Week 8 against the Lions, he’s got the Bears and Browns before the bye, and I don’t think you should be afraid to start him against either. I don’t love Wilson’s prospects at this point, but he does get the Raiders in Week 11, and they’ve allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks of any defense this season, so I don’t hate that situation. It’s wild that we’ve reached the point where you’re looking at Wilson as a bye-week stash, but that’s what he deserves. However, there is at least a chance he emerges as a useful Fantasy option between now and then – I’m not expecting it at this point, but his track record is a lot longer than just the past two months, and it suggests that he still has that potential. So, I’m fine having him on your bench ahead of Smith at this point.
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