Fantasy football managers are roughly halfway through the season now that Week 8 has passed. As is the case in fantasy football, we’ve seen some big performances and outright duds from just about every player on a manager’s roster.
Before we move onto the Week 9 slate of games and sleepers, let’s take a quick review of the winners and losers in fantasy football from the Week 8 games:
Jimmy Garoppolo | 27.3 fantasy points
Maybe Jimmy GQ was watching some film on Trey Lance and decided to add some rushing to his game. Even though he didn’t throw a touchdown pass, Garoppolo’s two rushing touchdowns helped him post his best fantasy outing of the season as the QB2 in Week 8 heading into Monday night. This likely is enough to keep Lance at bay for the entire season but it’s nice to know he still has this kind of outing in his holster.
Hometown house call 🏠📞 @JimmyG_10
Justin Fields | 25.3 fantasy points
In the same game, Fields countered with his best outing of the season as well. Finally we got to see him unlock the rushing aspect of his game, which is part of the reason why fantasy managers were so excited. He may have only thrown for 175 yards and a touchdown, but he added 10 carries for 103 rushing yards and a rushing score. There’s a good chance Fields finishes as a top-five fantasy quarterback for the first time in his career this week.
JUSTIN FIELDS. WOW 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 31, 2021
Mike White | 26.1 fantasy points
Ah yes, White torched the Bengals in an upset win. Just as we all projected. In all seriousness, White came out of nowhere to throw for 405 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. It was a fun game to see the Jets wind up in an upset win and now will ride that momentum with a Thursday night matchup against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Jets backup QB Mike White threw for 405 yards and 3 TD in his first career start to upset the No. 1-seeded Bengals.
🗣 Any. Given. Sunday. pic.twitter.com/Y7gEL4tuPz
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) October 31, 2021
Matt Ryan | 6.14 fantasy points
Ryan will be without Calvin Ridley for a while as the star wideout gets his mentals right. That’s going to lead to outings like this one. The offense couldn’t get anything going with rookie Kyle Pitts as the center of the passing game, and this is the fourth time in seven games Ryan has finished outside the top-15 in a given week.
Kyler Murray | 9.04 fantasy points
In what was expected to be a shootout on Thursday night, Murray fell flat from a fantasy perspective. He failed to throw a touchdown pass while tossing two interceptions and ran just six times for 21 rushing yards. That’s not going to cut for fantasy managers. It’s the third time in the last five weeks he’s finished outside the top-20. He was also seen in a walking boot leaving the game so now managers will have to factor his health into their lineup decision.
Justin Herbert | 13.8 fantasy points
It seems Bill Belichick has Justin Herbert’s number. Just when it appears Herbert and his luscious flow can do no wrong, he puts up a dud at home. Dating back to last year, Herbert has a combined 18.2 fantasy points against the Patriots in two games. Even with the two touchdowns, Herbert’s inaccuracies kept him from giving a solid fantasy outing. He hasn’t finished as a QB1 since Week 5.
Michael Carter | 27.7 fantasy points
While Mike White was busy carving up the Bengals through the air, the rookie in Carter was establishing himself as the leader in the backfield. Currently the RB1 heading into Monday night, Carter saw insane usage. He saw 75% of the running back rushes while his 15 targets were good for a 29% target share. It’s the second week in a row he’s seen at least a 69% (nice) rush share and a 20% target share.
Michael Carter vs Bengals
✈️ 171 total yards
✈️ 9 catches
✈️ 1 TD
✈️ 32.1 PPR fantasy points pic.twitter.com/6R7TKZS3qF
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 31, 2021
Boston Scott (18 fantasy points) | Jordan Howard (17.7 fantasy points)
Pain. That’s what this section provides. Nick Sirianni pulled a fast one on us. We’ll give him that. While we all thought Kenny Gainwell would get a lion’s share of the backfield work, Sirianni decided against giving his best running back any semblance of work. Instead, he split the workload evenly between Scott and Howard, both of which scored two rushing touchdowns a piece while rushing for 60 and 57 yards, respectively. Good for the veterans, but this just added more pain to managers trying to sift through the Eagles offense.
tfw you started Gainwell and see Boston Scott got the touchdown pic.twitter.com/HLlza7PRUF
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) October 31, 2021
Melvin Gordon | 17.7 fantasy points
Speaking of split backfields, Gordon isn’t going anywhere. While I fully advocate for buying Javonte Williams and the inevitable takeover, Gordon has done his job of keeping the rookie at bay. This included two total touchdowns and 62 total yards. I expect Williams to take over at some point, but Gordon has done a nice job providing value even if his upside is capped. A trade away from the Broncos would help both players but for now, it seems he’ll provide low-end RB2 value.
Updating Melvin Gordon vs. Javonte Williams
Gordon 88 carries for 397 yards & 3 TD
Williams 78 carries for 355 yards & 1 TD
Gordon 22 targets for 148 yards & 2 TD
Williams 26 targets for 135 yards & 1 TD
— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) November 1, 2021
Kenneth Gainwell | 2.6 fantasy points
As alluded to above, Gainwell was started by several fantasy managers, including yours truly in one league. Why he played just 31% of the snaps remains to be seen, and the fact that he didn’t see any work inside the 10-yard line is very concerning moving forward. For now, it seems to be a three-way in Philly.
Rashaad Penny | 0.7 fantasy points
In his second game back from a calf injury, Penny continues to struggle immensely. He’s firmly behind Alex Collins and even though he was given seven carries against a poor Jaguars defense, Penny was able to muster just seven rushing yards. He may be a handcuff, but it’s safe to drop Penny because it’s clear he won’t hold any significant fantasy value.
Dalvin Cook | 7.8 fantasy points
It was a tough look for Cook managers, who got a good viewing of the star running back in prime time. Well, I wouldn’t say it was a good viewing. The Vikings offense struggled as prime-time Kirk Cousins continued to push the narrative that he can’t play under the bright lights. Cook finished outside the top-12 for the first time this season when healthy and playing the full allotment of snaps. He’ll bounce back, but Cook managers may have lost their matchups because of it.
Michael Pittman Jr. | 25.9 fantasy points
The Colts have a new alpha. Entering Monday night, Pittman Jr. is the WR2 on the week. This will be his first finish inside the top-five in weekly scoring as he continues to establish himself as the alpha. Pittman saw a career-high 15 targets that led to 10 receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns. It’s the third time this season he’s seen a single-game target share above 30%, and it’s clear he’s the engine of the passing game in Indy.
How are we feeling Michael Pittman Jr. managers 😏 pic.twitter.com/MudkQHL6yC
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 31, 2021
Tyler Lockett | 20.2 fantasy points
There’s the Lockett game. After weeks of poor play even with Russell Wilson, Lockett finally exploded for 12 receptions and 142 receiving yards while seeing an insane 50% target share. It appears that Wilson is returning soon after the Week 9 bye so we might be able to see more boom games from Lockett again. It’s the first time Lockett has finished inside the top-36 since Week 2.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 31, 2021
DeVante Parker | 12.5 fantasy points
This wasn’t a completely dominating performance from Parker, but it was nice to see him return to fantasy relevance. Parker missed the last three games due to a shoulder injury but he’s now recorded a 30% target share in each of the last two games he’s played. If he can stay healthy, Parker should continue to be a very involved piece of one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the NFL.
Emmanuel Sanders | 0.0 fantasy points
Fantasy managers were likely refreshing their apps wondering if Sanders’ stats simply hadn’t loaded. There was no way he posted a goose egg in this favorable of a matchup. He did, though, despite seeing four targets. Sanders has seen under a 16% target share in just three games this season. Expect a bounce back even if this is in the range of outcomes now.
DeVonta Smith | 2.0 fantasy points
Rostering Smith is extremely frustrating. The talent is through the roof while the usage should give him weekly upside. But instead, the Eagles score over 40 points total and Smith sees just three targets. Only twice this season has Smith finished as a WR2 or better despite seeing a target share under 20% just three times.
Mike Williams | 2.9 fantasy points
When Herbert fails to give fantasy points, it appears Williams will be the one who is most hurt by it. In three of his last four games, Williams has finished outside the top-70 wide receivers. The one other game? He finished as the WR1 on the week. Volatility hits all wide receivers in fantasy but Williams is proving to be a bit more inconsistent than we thought at the beginning of the season.
Pat Freiermuth | 12.4 fantasy points
The rookie tight end appears to be officially passing Eric Ebron on the depth chart. With Ebron sidelined due to injury, Freiermuth made it clear he can be a big part of the passing game. He played on a season-high 78% of the snaps while seeing seven targets for the second game in a row. Think of the rookie as a streaming option with season-long upside if he continues to capture a growing role in the offense.
PAT FREIERMUTH ON FOURTH DOWN FOR THE LEAD 🤯🤯🤯pic.twitter.com/cVQwqAWpfJ
— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) October 31, 2021
Dan Arnold | 10.8 fantasy points
Coming out of the bye week, Arnold posted his best fantasy outing of the season. Entering Monday night, he’s TE5 on the week. Twice in the last three games, Arnold has posted at least a 20% target share. With the volatility of the wide receivers in Jacksonville, Arnold seems to be a relatively safe option in the brutal landscape of fantasy tight ends.
T.J. Hockenson | 13.9 fantasy points
As the TE1 on the week entering Monday night, Hockenson seems to be getting back to his place among the elite tight ends. His 34% target share in Week 8 was a season-high while he’s posted target shares of 28%, 29% and 34% in each of the last three games, respectively. He hasn’t scored since Week 2 but with this kind of target share, the touchdowns will come.
Kyle Pitts | 2.3 fantasy points
With Calvin Ridley out, Pitts was the main focus of the passing offense for the Falcons. Despite a 22% target share in Week 8, Pitts hauled in just two receptions for 13 yards. It was his worst finish of the season. With Ridley out indefinitely, this will be our chance to see if Pitts can handle being the top target in the offense.
Noah Fant | 1.8 fantasy points
Two weeks after finishing as the TE1 on a week, Fant posted his worst outing of the season. Entering Monday night, the athletic tight end is TE36 in Week 8. His four targets were the fewest he’s seen since Week 5 and the second-fewest of the season. The weekly upside is intriguing but with Jerry Jeudy back, his volatility remains high.