Week 8 continued a trend that has been maddening for Fantasy managers and analysts alike; the rookie running backs seem to be taking turns producing Fantasy points. This week Zack Moss and J.K. Dobbins were on duty. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor and D'Andre Swift quite obviously were not. Yes, this is all a bit tongue-in-cheek, except for the frustrating part.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jonathan Taylor are no longer must-start running backs.
Taylor and Edwards-Helaire were the first two running backs drafted in Fantasy leagues. And through the first seven weeks their performances had been uneven, but not disappointing. In Week 8, they were mostly terrible.
Edwards Helaire had 31 yards in a game where his team put up 35 points against the New York Jets. Le'Veon Bell matched him in carries and targets, and actually had seven more yards. Taylor produced 31 yards himself on 11 touches against the Lions. Making matters worse, both Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines had massive Fantasy days, combining for 175 total yards and three touchdowns.
What we saw in Week 8 didn't make much sense, but it will be hard to trust either rookie in Week 9 in their current situations.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Well, maybe for Taylor. But only because he faces the Ravens in Week 9.
These backs were both top-20 backs coming into the week. They didn't lose the talent that made them high draft picks or the situation that made them great Fantasy. Benching a player like this after their bad game often means missing their big game. For Edwards-Helaire specifically, he has a good matchup against the Panthers, and Bell turned his six carries into 7 yards. Worst-case scenario this should be a wide-open committee, which will likely make both Chiefs running backs top-20 options in Week 9. That won't be the case for Taylor against the Ravens, but I also don't believe there's a real chance Taylor is losing the lead role to Jordan Wilkins.
You don't need to hold anyone from the Browns passing game.
With Odell Beckham out for the year, there was some hope that a consistent Fantasy option could emerge against this Raiders defense. Week 8 against the Raiders was not an encouraging first game without Beckham. The team did not score a touchdown and Jarvis Landry was the only Brown with more than 25 yards receiving. Rashard Higgins was blanked until late in the fourth quarter while Harrison Bryant and David Njoku combined for four catches and 44 yards. The Browns have a bye in Week 9 and their running backs are the only players worth holding.
Verdict: Believe it
You can make excuses for this game. There were wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour and the Raiders didn't have any success throwing the ball either. But Week 8 was not the aberration. This was their sixth game out of eight with fewer than 220 yards passing. Baker Mayfield has one game with more than 20 Fantasy points. The Browns, with or without Beckham, have one of the worst passing offenses in the league. Even with a good matchup against the Texans in Week 10, you don't need to hold any Browns except Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb.
Myles Gaskin is the only startable Dolphin.
On the bright side, Tua Tagovailoa's first start was a win over the Rams and the Dolphins are over .500. But for what we care about, this was not an encouraging start. The rookie averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt and the Dolphins didn't have a pass catcher with more than 16 yards receiving. Myles Gaskin, Preston Williams and Durham Smythe were the only Dolphins with more than one catch in the game. Devante Parker has just two targets and 3 receiving yards.
Verdict: Don't Believe it.
This was Tagovailoa's first start, it came against a very good Rams team and it was an exceptionally weird game script. The Dolphins had a defensive touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown, which helps explain how they only ran 48 offensive plays in the game. In Week 9 they'll travel to Arizona and they'll likely be chasing the score against Kyler Murray. Parker won't be a must-start, but he's not a bad start either. After all, even in his low yardage games this season he's generally found his way into the end zone.
Zack Moss is the best Bills running back rest of season.
Both Moss and Devin Singletary received 14 carries in Week 8 and both were wildly efficient with them. Singletary averaged 6.1 yards per carry and Moss was right behind him at 5.8. But Moss had a much better Fantasy day because he reached the end zone twice. This was the second week in a row that Moss outscored Singletary in Fantasy and that should be the expectation moving forward.
Verdict: Believe it
Just don't believe either back is going to be consistent. They've now played five games together. The 14 touches Moss received in Week 8 were the most he has received in a game. Singletary has been between 10-15 touches in every game they've both been active. With that type of volume it will likely come down to touchdowns, and Moss is the preferred option in the red zone. That being said, Singletary is averaging 4..8 yards per carry on 244 career carries, so you'd expect him to break a long touchdown more often than the average back. Expect Moss and Singletary to both be high-end flexes, with Moss being the slightly better option more often than not.
It was easy to doubt Fulgham when the team was without all of their weapons. But on Sunday night they got Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert back and Fulgham just kept producing. He led the team in targets, receptions and yards and scored his fourth touchdown in five career games. Don't expect the return of Zach Ertz, Miles Sanders or Alshon Jeffery to change his role as the team's true No. 1 receiver and a must-start option.
Verdict: Believe it.
There are two key indicators for wide receivers' Fantasy production. The first is earning targets. Fulgham has led the Eagles in targets in each of their past four games. The second is what you do with your targets, and Fulgham leads all Philadelphia wide receivers at 9.9 yards per target. He's fully earned the trust of Carson Wentz and it's not hard to see why. Start him with confidence rest of season.