Another week, another dry running back pool. That’s life in Week 8 of a fantasy football season. If you’ve been paying attention here, you’re probably not sweating it, because you’ve already scooped up some great options throughout the year. Maybe say, last weeks RB1 (150 total yards and 3TDs) and a feature here 2 weeks ago, Chase Edmonds. Or maybe not, maybe you’ve been sleeping. It’s all good, but it’s time to wake up. The playoffs are rapidly approaching, and unless you’re sitting at 7-0/6-1, every game and every decision matters. As always, all players are less than 50% owned in Yahoo! leagues…
The Running Backs:
Ty Johnson, Lions (5%) – With Kerryon Johnson going out with an injury to the same knee that cost him to miss 6 games last season, Johnson was the next man up and provided 29 yards rushing on 10 carries + 28 yards receiving on 4 catches. Not very spectacular, but they were up against a stout Vikings run defense. All reports simply say Kerryon will miss “some” time. That could be long term or short, but it does mean he’ll at least be out Week 8 for a nice matchup with the Giants. Johnson looks like he’ll get the chance to be the workhorse in his absence, as well as goal line touches, but if you’re not sold on him…
J.D. McKissic, Lions (1%) – The former Seahawk is the other contender in the Lions backfield. While he touched it half as many times as Ty Johnson, he was actually more productive (29 yards on 5 carries, and another 31 on 2 catches). While I’m leaning Johnson here, if he doesn’t take advantage of his opportunity early the share of touches could end up a lot more evenly distributed by the end of the day, and the explosive McKissic has some big-play ability in him.
Notable: We listed Mark Walton (20%) here last week and he ended up seeing 14 carries for 66 yards. That’s a respectable 4.5ypc, not too bad working out of that backfield against Buffalo, in Buffalo. There’s also a lot of speculation about Kenyon Drake being moved before the trade deadline, which would open up even more opportunity for Walton.
Also worth mentioning is Chase Edmonds (51%), who was featured here 2 weeks ago. He’s slightly over 50% at this point, but it should be said that if he is available in your league, he’s your top add. Also, a few free agent guys to keep an eye on that have scheduled workouts with teams: CJ Anderson, Jay Ajayi, and Spencer Ware. If any of them end up in a spot desperate for RB help, they would be a good speculative add.
The Wide Receivers:
Kenny Stills, Texans (15%) – Stills was listed here early after he was traded to the Texans, but since then he had gone down with injury and Will Fuller had gotten healthy. Well, as is so, unfortunately, the case with Fuller and the Texans receiving core outside of Hop, you can reverse those roles now. Fuller is out for likely a couple weeks with a hamstring issue, and Kenny Stills is back up to bat. Once Fuller exited early in the game, Stills found himself as the #2 in a high powered offense and put up a 105 yard, 4 catch day. Stills isn’t a high volume player, but he has the take the top off ability that’s deadly when you combine it with Watson’s cannon and can provide some huge games because of it.
Zach Pascal, Colts (1%) – One of the bigger crap shoots of the year has been ‘who is #2 in Indianapolis since the Funchess injury?’. Pascal, the rookie Parris Campbell, and Chester Rogers have been hard to decipher so far, but with Campbell out, Pascal emerged in a big way this week. He went off with a 6/106/2 line against Houston. While this team will spread the ball around and they also have 2 good, pass-catching TEs to compete with, I don’t mind a flyer on Pascal, especially as long as Campbell is out.
Olabisi Johnson, Vikings (0%) – A rookie not really on anybody’s radar, Olabisi got the call when Adam Thielen went down with a hamstring injury, and he turned 4 targets into a 4/40/1 line. That should be good enough for him to keep the role and maybe even have it expanded in the coming weeks depending on how long Thielen is out. The biggest concern here is that the Vikings turn back to leaning so heavily on the run that their WRs become irrelevant like the beginning of the season, but if you need a guy in a bye week spot this week in a deep league, Johnson is worth a look.
Notable: A few guys that I’ve listed multiple times in the past are still out there and are still among the top FA options, and have recently both received upgrades at the QB position. Marcus Mariotta was recently replaced by Ryan Tannehill, and that’s good news for Corey Davis (41%) (also AJ Brown). Davis has always had huge talent but lacked any kind of consistency in that offense. Tannehill is more of a gunslinger than anybody they’ve had behind center in a while, and it worked out for a 6/80/1 week for Davis. I think they could form some nice chemistry going forward. The other guys are DeVante Parker (15%) and Preston Williams (12%) who upgraded from Josh Rosen (poor guy has never had a real chance yet with the terrible teams he’s been on) to one of the ultimate gunslingers of the last few years, Ryan Fitzpatrick. That’s right, the Magic is back. And he’s slinging it. Parker saw 10 targets, catching 5 for 55 and a TD. While a 50% catch rate isn’t great, Buffalo is tough, and give me a WR seeing that many targets any week. Williams saw 8 targets of his own and led the team with 82 yards on 6 catches. As we’ve drilled in before, Miami is almost always gonna be behind in games and throwing the ball. These guys shouldn’t be so low owned just because they’re Dolphins, it’s crazy.
The Tight Ends:
Irv Smith Jr., Vikings (1%) – While some of this has to do with Thielen going down, I love being able to list this guy here as he’s come on a little bit in the last few weeks (5 for 60 last week). A bit like Fant in Denver, Smith is a super talented rookie just waiting for more opportunities so he can bust out. Smith was a beast at Bama, and while Kyle Rudolph is still there, and Thielen will be back, his talent is undeniable and the opportunities he gets in Thielen’s absence could provide him with staying power. Keep an eye on him
Notable: The other guys have all been listed here before, and some multiple times already. Dallas Goedert (13%) continues to gain more of his share of the Philly offense, putting up 9/117/1 over the last 2 weeks on 13 targets. They’ll still spread it around, because they have so many options, but as I’ve said so many times: if Ertz misses any time, Goedert becomes an elite TE.
Another guy talked about last week was Foster Moreau (0%) in Oakland. While what I said about Waller (playing outstanding, but being a practice squad guy on a prove-it contract who could be pulled back at any sign of regression because there not much commitment to him) is no longer true, as they signed him to a huge well-earned extension last week, what I said about Moreau is still true. He’s good. And with Tyrell Williams out, he’ll continue to see the looks worthy of a bye week flyer at the TE spot with 6 for 70 and TD over his last 2 games (9pt average in PPR).
Last guy to note is Chris Herndon (27%). You can look at that game on Monday night against the Patriots and say, “I want no part of that offense, they couldn’t have looked worse”, or you can look at it and say “They WERE playing the Patriots historically badass defense, and wow Sam Darnold sure could use a checkdown safety blanket TE that can turn short passes into big gains”, which of course is exactly what Herndon is. You make the call.