So, not only will the Packers almost certainly be without Davante Adams Thursday after he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, but they'll also be missing Allen Lazard for the same reason. Lazard was though to be the primary beneficiary of Adam's absence, but now it throws the Packers passing game into even more disarray. Randall Cobb figures to see more targets, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling sounds like he'll be back from IR in time for the game, so he's a high-upside option -- who also has a game with four targets and no catches earlier this season. Aaron Rodgers really has his work cut out for him, huh?
That's how Week 8 is starting. We'll have more in tomorrow's newsletter on the injuries and absences you need to know about when the rest of the team's begin prepping for the week with Wednesday's practice sessions, but if that's any indication, expect another active week on the injury front. Of course. Hey, at least we did get one piece of good news on the injury front already: Jerry Jeudy is going to play against Washington's league-worst pass defense. There's one player you can probably slide into your lineup if you're missing Adams -- though it's also worth noting that DeAndre Hopkins missed practice both Monday and Tuesday, so there's also that to watch out for tomorrow.
In today's newsletter, I've got five players I'm looking to buy heading into Week 8 and five I'm looking to sell, plus a look at every position with Heath Cummings' position previews. You can see a list of all the injuries we're watching for each position there, along with our consensus expert top-12, matchup notes, numbers to know, and more. And, as always, if you've got any questions about trades, your lineup, or anything else, send them my way at Chris.Towers@CBSi.com with the subject line "#AskFFT" to get included in a mailbag column tomorrow.
I've also got my rankings for each position available below, updated with some of my thoughts on some of the most interesting players and decisions of the week here:
Hopefully that helps you get an understanding of what to expect for this week. Here's what the rest of today's newsletter has in store to help you get ready for Week 8:
- 📈Week 8 Stock Watch📉
- 🔍Week 8 Position Previews
This is an interesting time to make trades, because the state of your roster isn't the only thing that matters -- your spot in the standings does, too. In one league, I'm sitting at 2-5 and I had Russell Wilson and George Kittle on IR to go along with a disappointing Calvin Ridley and Robert Woods in my starting lineup. I was starting Dan Arnold and Ricky Seals-Jones at tight end, so I could use an upgrade there. Heath, sitting at 5-2, offered me Dalton Schultz for George Kittle, and I accepted.
Did I get full value for Kittle in return? Maybe not -- as good as Schultz is, I don't think his upside touches Kittle's. However, I can't really afford to fall any farther behind in the standings at this point, and if Kittle is better than Schultz in Week 10 or 14 or whatever, it doesn't really matter for me if my team isn't competing by that point, and I may be one loss away from reaching that point. In this instance, this was a win for my team, even though it may end up being a bigger win for Heath in the long run.
Make sure you've got your bearings before you go make offers with the help of Dave Richard's Trade Values Chart, and here are five players whose stock I'm buying and five I'm selling ahead of Week 8.
Five to buy
Here are five players I'm buying into moving forward. Things are only going to get better from here.
You don't always have to sell high or buy low. Sometimes a hot start is just the beginning of something big, and there's value in trying to buy those situations before their perceived value catches up.
- A.J. Brown -- Brown is an elite player, and anytime you might have a chance to acquire an elite player at a discounted price, you should take it. You might have had that chance a couple of weeks ago, but it's gone now. Brown has 15 catches for 224 yards over his last two games, including a seven-catch, 91-yard performance against a very tough Bills defense in Week 6 despite having a very quiet first half. The Titans passing game as a whole didn't quite look right for the first five weeks of the season, and it still isn't clicking on all cylinders quite yet with Julio Jones still trying to get back to 100%, but Brown is back to normal already. The only reason I might worry about him moving forward is injuries -- he had double knee surgery this offseason, dealt with knee soreness in camp, and then had hamstring issues -- but Brown is one of the six-to-eight best WR in Fantasy and you shouldn't sell him for anything less than that.
- Kyle Pitts -- Most rookie tight ends aren't good, but most rookie tight ends are drafted No. 4 overall. We knew Pitts was an outlier as a prospect, so we figured there was a pretty good chance he would be an outlier at the NFL level eventually. Apparently, "eventually" meant "within a month." The role was there pretty much from day one for Pitts, who was seeing a healthy number of targets, especially down the field, from Week 1, but it took until Week 5 for things to really click. Now, he's third in the league in receiving yards among tight ends despite already having his bye and is on pace for over 85 catches and 1,300 yards -- which would shatter the rookie records for a tight end. He won't put up 100 yards every week, but Pitts is no worse than my No. 4 ranked tight end the rest of the way, and he just might be No. 2 right now. He's everything we hoped he could be.
But if you do want to buy low, here are three players I think have seen their worst days already:
- Patrick Mahomes -- It's not totally unreasonable to think that there might be some kind of fatal flaw in the Chiefs offense that is going to derail them this season. Maybe defenses truly have adjusted to Mahomes' approach and he can't get away with the kind of risky throws that have become his signature in his career. But we're talking about the most productive young quarterback in NFL history paired up with a coach who has failed to have a top-10 offense three times in the last 13 seasons. So, I'm going to need a lot more than just a couple of weird games -- including, it's worth noting, only one outright bad one for Fantasy -- to change my opinion on Mahomes. Chances are, the person who has Mahomes isn't panicking either, but it might not be a bad idea to check in and see if you can offer something like Matthew Stafford and a sell-high candidate at another position for him.
- Calvin Ridley -- The obvious comp would be JuJu Smith-Schuster, an apparent rising alpha wide receiver who was exposed when his team asked him to step into the true No. 1 role in the offense. The only problem with that comp is, while we hadn't really seen Smith-Schuster without Antonio Brown before the 2019 season, we saw Ridley play eight games without Julio Jones before this season and he had averaged 20-plus PPR points per game. Now, that isn't proof that Ridley isn't overmatched as a No. 1 receiver, but he's still earning No. 1 receiver targets and still has an average depth of target of 10.0 yards -- a career-low, but hardly a concerningly-low number, either. He still has a valuable role in a high-volume passing offense, and I'm just not convinced he's somehow lost it or is too overmatched to be an elite Fantasy WR. Pitts' emergence only increases my confidence in Ridley figuring it out.
- Mike Davis -- I get the feeling a bunch of people probably dropped Davis last night or came really close to, and I get it -- Cordarrelle Patterson has looked like the better player all season long and had 14 carries to Davis' paltry four in Week 7. But, here's the thing -- Davis still played 38 snaps in that game. Patterson was the lead runner for the team, but he also played more snaps at wide receiver than running back. You can't trust Davis as a starter right now, but I'm not so sure his time as a Fantasy relevant player is done.
Five to sell
I'm not saying these guys won't be useful or good moving forward, but I think you can probably get more in return for them than you're likely to get from them:
- Damien Harris -- We basically saw Harris' best-case scenario the last two weeks, and he was really good -- two 100-yard games with a touchdown in each! In Week 7, that was good for RB3 as he scored a pair of touchdowns; in Week 6, he was RB15 with one. When you need two touchdowns to have your first RB1 game in 17 career starts, I think that kind of tells you everything you need to know. Harris is a good runner who can be a very good Fantasy option, but he continues to have a very narrow path to get there, and I bet you'd be able to get someone like Chase Edmonds -- who I think will be better than Harris the rest of the season -- plus another piece for him. Give it a shot.
- Khalil Herbert -- Herbert sure looks awesome, and I think it's reasonable to assume he'll be the Bears No. 1 until David Montgomery comes back. Heck, he may have even done enough to have earned a role whenever Montgomery comes back. But I'm not sure I buy him playing 80% of the snaps every week, and I fear Damien Williams is going to take on some of the passing downs work -- which means I'm not expecting five targets again like he got in Week 7. He's looked really good in his two starts running the ball, but Herbert has the 49ers, Steelers, and Ravens coming up over the next three games and this Bears offense has still looked pretty miserable even with him running as well as he has. It would be a stretch to say I'm moving Herbert for anything I can get, but if I can get even a lower-end start for him, I'd do it.
- Zach Ertz -- Ertz might be more efficient operating in the Cardinals offense than he has been the past few years in Philadelphia, but I don't want anyone to get too excited about his long touchdown in Week 7. Ertz was clocked at 17.94 mph via NFL Next Gen Stats, his fastest speed with the ball in his hands since 2018 -- Taylor Heinicke (who ran a 4.67 40-yard dash) had a max speed of 19.6 mph on the same day. Ertz is still one of the slowest non-QB skill players in the league, and while I don't doubt he can be a reliable short-area target for the Cardinals, I'd be shocked if he was much more than a touchdown-or-bust TE for them. He may be worth starting, but if someone thinks he is more than that, now's your time to move him. Just make sure you mention how quick he looked on that long touchdown.
Sometimes, getting off a sinking ship is better than hoping they'll be able to fix the breach in the hull. I'm willing to sell these two on name value I don't think they'll live up to:
- Michael Thomas -- I've got Thomas in a lot of leagues, and I'm starting to worry that we really aren't going to get much from him this season. Thomas is right around what NewOrleansFootball.com's Nick Underhill termed as the "worst-case scenario" timeline, and we really haven't received any updates on his status. Obviously, there are still 11 weeks left in the season so I don't want to get too panicky, but as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said last week, it doesn't sound like Thomas is going to be back this week. He hasn't practiced since January, so even when Thomas is cleared to return from the PUP list, it might take him a few more weeks after that to get up to game speed, as Underhill said recently. And who knows how long it might be until he is able to play a normal role and really make an impact. I'm not writing Thomas off, but in talking to Heath Cummings and Adam Aizer on Tuesday's YouTube stream, it didn't seem like they shared my concerns. Maybe I'm too pessimistic; maybe you need to trade Thomas to those who still aren't pessimistic enough.
- Antonio Gibson -- It's so hard to know exactly what to do with Gibson, given his shin injury, but I think it's worth acknowledging that we may be waiting on upside that isn't likely to arrive, even if he does stay healthy. Gibson has one game with more than two catches, way back in Week 1, and he's been a non-factor in obvious passing situations -- Washington has 75 pass plays on third down this season and he's been on the field for three of them. He had the one game where he had a 73-yard touchdown run, but otherwise, he has added between 2.0 and 3.2 points with his pass-catching over the past six weeks -- not nothing, but not much either. Which makes him pretty touchdown dependent at this point. He's not a bad bet for a touchdown most weeks, thanks to his big-play ability and goal-line role, but if you set the over/under at 0.5 TD every week, you'd probably be right to take the under more often than not. Gibson is young, he's athletic, and he looks the part of an elite running back, but Washington just isn't interested in using him that way. If someone still thinks they might be getting a potential top-10 RB, see if you can move Gibson and just avoid the headache.
🔍Week 8 Position Previews
Every Tuesday, Heath Cummings previews each position, providing injury insights, key stats to know, the best waiver-wire adds, DFS targets, and more for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Here's a brief rundown of each position, along with some key details you need to know about and our expert consensus top-12 rankings before you go read Heath's full breakdowns:
- Injuries: Dak Prescott (calf), Russell Wilson (finger), Baker Mayfield (shoulder), Trey Lance (knee), Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip), Tyrod Taylor (hamstring), Zach Wilson (knee) and Taysom Hill (concussion)
- On a bye: Lamar Jackson and Derek Carr
- Number to know: 2 -- Aaron Rodgers has been a top six Fantasy quarterback twice this season.
- Matchup that matters: Teddy Bridgewater vs. WAS (32nd in points allowed to QB)
- Top streamer: "Teddy Bridgewater. Each of the past six quarterbacks to face Washington have scored at least 26 Fantasy points. Bridgewater has averaged 21 Fantasy points per game in his six complete games and now he's getting back Jerry Jeudy. This should be the best opportunity yet for the Broncos passing game."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Josh Allen
- Matthew Stafford
- Patrick Mahomes
- Tom Brady
- Kyler Murray
- Dak Prescott
- Jalen Hurts
- Justin Herbert
- Joe Burrow
- Kirk Cousins
- Matt Ryan
- Carson Wentz
- Injuries: Miles Sanders (ankle), Josh Jacobs (chest), Saquon Barkley (ankle), Nick Chubb (calf), Kareem Hunt (calf), Christian McCaffrey (hamstring), Chris Carson (neck), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee), David Montgomery (knee), Latavius Murray (ankle), Malcolm Brown (quad) and Ty Johnson (concussion)
- On a bye: Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, Le'Veon Bell and Ty'Son Williams
- Number to know: 3.5 -- The New Orleans Saints allow 3.5 yards per carry, the best mark in the league.
- Matchup that matters: Leonard Fournette @NO (3rd in points allowed to RB)
- Stash: "Marlon Mack. The Colts are looking for a trade partner. Mack could make a big impact in Baltimore or maybe even Kansas City."
- Top DFS play: "Khalil Herbert. Last week's contrarian play is this week's chalk play. Neither the return of Damien Williams nor the Buccaneers defense could slow Herbert down last week. He played 77% of the snaps and became the first running back this year to reach 100 yards against Tampa Bay. He even caught all five of his targets. Herbert is a top-12 running back until David Montgomery returns and huge value in DFS this week."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Derrick Henry
- Najee Harris
- D'Andre Swift
- Dalvin Cook
- Alvin Kamara
- James Robinson
- Ezekiel Elliott
- Austin Ekeler
- Jonathan Taylor
- Aaron Jones
- Darrell Henderson
- Joe Mixon
- Injuries: Davante Adams (illness), Allen Lazard (illness), Antonio Brown (ankle), Michael Thomas (ankle), Jerry Jeudy (ankle), Sterling Shepard (hamstring), Kadarius Toney (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), Sammy Watkins (hamstring), DeVante Parker (shoulder), Will Fuller (finger), T.Y. Hilton (quad), Curtis Samuel (groin), Michael Gallup (calf), Quintez Cephus (collarbone), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring), Terrace Marshall (concussion) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin)
- On a bye: Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins, Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards
- Number to know: 17.3 -- aDOT for Emmanuel Sanders, the highest in the league amongst players with at least 20 targets.
- Matchup that matters: Courtland Sutton vs. WAS (31st in points allowed to WR)
- Stash: "I'm absolutely shocked Kadarius Toney is available in more than 40% of CBS leagues. If you don't need a starter this week, he would be my top waiver wire priority."
- Top DFS play: "Deebo Samuel. Samuel continues to dominate target share and now leads the NFL in that regard. I understand why he's so much cheaper than Cooper Kupp, but my difference in the projections isn't that great and it's easier to build a lineup with Samuel as your WR1 than Kupp."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Cooper Kupp
- Justin Jefferson
- Tyreek Hill
- Stefon Diggs
- Deebo Samuel
- Ja'Marr Chase
- Chris Godwin
- Mike Williams
- A.J. Brown
- Terry McLaurin
- Diontae Johnson
- CeeDee Lamb
- Injuries to know: George Kittle (calf), Darren Waller (ankle), Rob Gronkowski (ribs), Dawson Knox (hand), Jonnu Smith (shoulder) and Logan Thomas (hamstring)
- On a bye: Mark Andrews and Darren Waller
- Number to know: 14.3% -- Robert Tonyan's career touchdown rate, which dwarfs Rob Gronkowski's career rate.
- Matchup that matters: Mike Gesicki @BAL (6th in points allowed to TE)
- Streamer: "Jared Cook. Bill Belichick will be far more interested in stopping Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler."
- Top DFS play: "Kyle Pitts. Those people who said Pitts was more of a wide receiver than a tight end look really smart right now. He's lining up out wide, running past people, and dominating targets and air yards. His price will only go up from here."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Travis Kelce
- Kyle Pitts
- T.J. Hockenson
- Dalton Schultz
- Dallas Goedert
- Mike Gesicki
- Noah Fant
- Hunter Henry
- Ricky Seals-Jones
- Tyler Higbee
- Robert Tonyan
- Jared Cook
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