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Lineup Prep: Week 8

Wed Oct 23 10:22am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Cousins setup for more success


Well, the NFL trade deadline is fast approaching and is actually bringing us some action. There has already been some trades and more are likely to come. This can shake things up in fantasy land, so keep an eye on all the latest trades to make sure you are up to date. Player movement opens jobs for new players and players getting traded can see their fantasy value improve or go south. So either way, pay attention. Things happen fast and the fantasy player that is up to date on all of this can help their chances to win it all. 

Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .

And speaking of trades, two fairly big-name receivers were traded this week. Mohamed Sanu heads to the Patriots, and Emmanuel Sanders was dealt to the 49ers. For me, I think Sanders has much better fantasy value with the move. He has a good chance to be the No. 1 receiver for the 49ers as soon as he gets up to speed in the offense. I don’t think his numbers will be off the charts in this run-first offense, but he can produce decent numbers for a good team in a big role in the offense. Sanu scares me a little with his move. It is never easy for a player to pick up the Patriots offense, and Sanu has a lot to compete with for targets. I do think Sanu provides more stability at the position, though, and could get a decent amount of looks before the season is out. I do think it could take a bit for him to get up to speed. I wouldn’t count on immediate fantasy production from Sanu.

The Chiefs might not be without Patrick Mahomes long, but I would be wary of using most of their players while Mahomes is out. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce remains must starts and shouldn’t see a huge drop in production, but expect their numbers to suffer some. I would be worried about using any of those running backs and the group of receivers after Hill. It probably is just best to stay away from that secondary group of options in this offense. Matt Moore can move the offense but he is not going to produce the prolific numbers that Mahomes did when starting. 

I’m not quite as worried about the state of the Falcons offense if Matt Ryan has to miss time. Matt Schaub is a drop off at the position for the Falcons, but he has a better track record and plays a similar game to Ryan. The Falcons might have a few more struggles with Schaub starting, but I don’t see quite the drop off that I do with the Chiefs. Schaub can produce in this offense. 

I get more encouraged by Aaron Jones on a weekly basis. I know Jamaal Williams really worried fantasy owners a few weeks back, but Jones is clearly the better of the backs. He can produce elite numbers. The most encouraging thing for me with Jones is his added work in the passion game. He has at least four receptions five of seven games. This production in the passing game makes him a much more consistent back. And if he can get his rushing numbers up once again, he will be quite the help to fantasy teams. He is fifth overall in fantasy running back scoring right now, and I don’t think that is a fluke.

I know the matchups have been great for Kirk Cousins in recent weeks, but I still have more faith in him than maybe ever before. He just looks like a different quarterback. He is playing with more confidence and taking more chances to move the ball down the field. Plus, he has two of the best receivers in the game to work with, which really helps his chances to continue his hot play. And you can’t discount Dalvin Cook, who has emerged as an elite back. Cook takes a lot of pressure of Cousins, which is another added plus for Cousins. 

The Bears might be a little bit of a mess offensively, but Allen Robinson has moved into must-start territory. He had his first double-digit reception game of the season last week and has at least six receptions all but a game. He is sixth overall in fantasy receiver scoring. Robinson also has 75-plus yards four of six games. He just keeps getting it done and is finally living up to his No. 1 receiver status with the Bears. I would not bench Robinson right now. 

I have really been impressed with Jacoby Brissett this season. He has really played well, leading the Colts to a winning record and a shot at the playoffs. He has done a great job of taking care of he ball and producing in the red zone. Brissett has multiple touchdown games all but one and just three interceptions for the season. He is a legit help to fantasy teams because of his consistent numbers, producing like a low-end No. 1 quarterback. 

As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 8 rankings

News and Notes: The Falcons traded receiver Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots for a second-round pick on Tuesday. Sanu adds some veteran depth to the receiver corps. . . . .The Broncos traded receiver Emmanuel Sanders and a fifth-round draft pick to the 49ers for third- and fourth-round draft picks. Sanders could immediately be the No. 1 receiver for the 49ers. . . . .The Giants signed linebacker Deone Bucannon on Tuesday. . . . .The Cardinals signed running back Alfred Morris on Tuesday. He gives the team some much needed depth because of the injury to David Johnson. . . . . .The Lions traded safety Quandre Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round draft pick to the Seahawks in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick on Tuesday. . . . .The Patriots signed defensive back Justin Bethel on Tuesday. 

HOT PLAYS

Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders. Jacobs has two straight 100-yard games and topped 100 total yards four of six games. He is having a very good rookie season. He has become the clear workhorse back for the Raiders, getting almost all work at the position. Jacobs isn’t getting quite the work in the passing game you would like but that can change, especially since he has three receptions each of the last two games. Jacobs could get his third straight 100-yard rushing game this week, playing the Texans. Houston is middle of the pack against the run and struggled at times defensively throughout the season. 

Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings. Cousins is red hot. He is second overall in fantasy quarterback scoring his last three games. He has 10 touchdowns to just one interception his last three games and hit the 300-yard mark in all of those games. He is making plays and taking the entire Vikings offense to a new level. He might be without Adam Thielen this week, but that doesn’t mean Cousins won’t produce big. He gets a prime matchup with the Redskins, a team that allows 25 points per game. Cousins is a solid No. 1 quarterback for Week 8.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks. Lockett found the end zone once again last week, giving him touchdowns four of seven games. He has 50-plus receiving yards all but the first game of the season. Lockett also has at leas four receptions all but that first game. He has been a consistent force as the No. 1 receiver in this offense. He should get a workout again this week against the struggling Falcons. Atlanta allows the fourth most fantasy points to receivers and rank 28th overall against the pass, allowing 274-passing yards per game. 

James Conner, RB, Steelers. Conner is trending up after a really slow start to his season. He has touchdowns three straight games and topped 120 total yards two of three. Conner is sixth overall in fantasy running back scoring his last three games. He is a top-10 fantasy back, mainly because of his consistent work in the passing game. He has at least four receptions four of six games. Conner plays the Dolphins this week, a team that allows the third most fantasy points to running backs. He is setup to keep up his great play. 

John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown is having a solid season as the No. 1 receiver for the Bills. He has at least five receptions all but a game. He has more than 50 yards in every game, getting very consistent work in the offense. Brown has double-digit fantasy points all but a game. He also found the end zone for the second time this season last week. Expect more consistent production from Brown in Week 8. He plays the Eagles, a team that allows the most fantasy points to receivers. 

COLD PLAYS  

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos. Lindsay had his worst game of the season last week. He had 11 carries for just 36 yards and caught a pass for a negative gain. Lindsay has been pretty consistent all year before this dud of a showing, though. He has double-digit fantasy points five of seven games. His numbers have been pretty mediocre at times, though. He has fewer than 11 fantasy points four of seven games. He could have another one of those mediocre games this week against the Colts. Indy has done well against the rush, allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points to running backs.

D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers. Moore has been a productive fantasy receiver much of the season, posting some consistent numbers. He has at least six receptions four of six games. His numbers have been more consistent than off the charts, though. He is yet to have a 100-yard game and two games with fewer than 55-receiving yards. Moore is bench material in the right matchup and this week against the 49ers is probably a good time to bench him. San Francisco has been dominant against the pass. The 49ers are first overall against the pass and allow the second fewest fantasy points to receivers. 

Marlon Mack, RB, Colts. Mack has struggled some in recent weeks. He has fewer than double-digit fantasy points two of his last three games. He has fewer than 50-rushing yards two of those three games and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 3. Mack hasn’t been quite as consistent as fantasy owners hoped. He could have another disappointing game this week against the Broncos. Denver allows just 19 points per game and fewer than 100-rushing yards all but two games. 

Odell Beckham, WR, Browns. Beckham was finally much more involved in the offense his last time out, having six receptions for 101 yards. It was his best showing since Week 2. He was held out of the end zone once again, though, and has just one touchdown all season. Beckham also has fewer than 60 yards three of his last four games. He has not been near as consistent as you hoped from an elite fantasy receiver. Beckham has a matchup to forget this week, playing the Patriots. You can expect the Patriots to game plan stopping Beckham in this game. New England allows the second fewest fantasy points to receivers and are second overall against the pass. It is tough to bench Beckham, but temper your expectations for him in Week 8. He is setup to disappoint again. 

Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles. Wentz has been a big disappointment this season. He has fewer than 200-passing yards three of his last four games. He also has just one touchdown pass two of his last three games. He just isn’t producing the numbers you expected. Wentz is not a weekly starter at this point, but a streamer play. And this week isn’t a time to stream Wentz. He has a matchup on the road against the Bills, a team that allows the fourth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Buffalo is fourth overall against the pass and allow just 15 points per game.

SLEEPERS  

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans. Tannehill had a solid first start of the season last week, hitting the 300-yard mark while scoring two touchdowns. He missed on just six passes in the game and moved the offense well. Tannehill has produced some big games in past seasons, so he is capable. He will be worth some spot starts as long as he is starting for the Titans. And this week against the Bucs might be a good time to stream Tannehill. Tampa allows the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank dead last against the pass, allowing 305-passing yards per game.

Kenny Stills, WR, Texans. The injury to Will Fuller opens the door for Stills to start opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Stills had his first 100-yard game of the season last week and has 85-plus yards two of the five games he has played this season. Stills is going to be capable of the big game any given week in this top passing attack. He should find success this week against the Raiders, a team that allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers. Fire Stills up as a low-end No. 2 or 3 fantasy receiver in Week 8.

Danny Amendola, WR, Lions. Amendola had his second 100-yard games of the season last week. He also was targeted double-digit times for the second time this year. He has been up and down in this offense, but produced some big games along the way. He is worth a look in the right matchup. And this week against the Giants is a good matchup for Amendola. New York allows the eighth most fantasy points to receivers and 27 points per game.

Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings. Mattison is having a solid rookie season as the top backup for the Vikings. He has three games with 50-plus rushing yards and at least seven carries five of seven games. He is getting some consistent work in a backup role. And a matchup against the Redskins could mean even more work for Mattison. You could envision the Vikings getting up big in this one, giving Mattison some more chances late in the game. He could have his biggest workload to date in Week 8.

Josh Hill, TE, Saints. Hill is getting a chance to start because Jared Cook is injured. Hill did well in a starting role last week, having season highs in yards (43) while scoring a touchdown for the first time of the season. Hill has at least three receptions three of four games. Hill plays the Cardinals this week, a team that can’t stop the tight end. Arizona allows the most fantasy points to tight ends. Hill is worth a look as a streamer in Week 8.

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Bengals/Rams, Cardinals/Saints, Raiders/Texans, Packers/Chiefs.

Low Scoring Games: Chargers/Bears.

Bye Weeks: Ravens, Cowboys. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Antonio Callaway Nov 11 2:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway was a surprise healthy scratch ahead of his team's Week 10 game against the Buffalo Bills. According to head coach Freddie Kitchens, Callaway's benching was a "one-game thing" so the second-year wideout should be active for Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A source told the Plain Dealer that Callaway's benching was for disciplinary reasons. When asked, Kitchens responded, I dont know if hes gotten the message or not, but Im not wavering. It was only for yesterday, yes.'' With Callaway back in the fold, Sunday's hero Rashard Higgins will presumably go back to the bench in three-wide packages.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff Nov 11 2:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff was not injured in the third quarter of the Rams' Week 10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers as previously thought when Blake Bortles came on to replace him for a play. Instead, head coach Sean McVay told reporters Monday, Nov. 11, that Bortles' third-and-2 run was designed for Bortles.

Fantasy Spin: It's impossible to know for sure if this will be a one-time occurrence or the first hint McVay isn't happy with the way Goff is running the offense, but the Rams appear to be searching for answers on offense. This is likely much ado about nothing, but it's something to keep an eye on moving forward if Goff continues to struggle. Consider him a low-floor, high-upside QB2 in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears.

From TheHuddle

Green Bay Packers Nov 11 2:10pm ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense put up decent numbers in their Week 10 victory. The unit posted three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. They also held a Carolina offense averaging 25 points per game this year to just 16 points. The highlight of the day for the Green Bay defense was their game-saving goal-line stand against Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. The Packers will rest up during their Week 11 bye before a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

From RotoBaller

Mason Crosby Nov 11 2:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby had a solid game against the Carolina Panthers. The veteran kicker made a 47-yard field goal and all three extra-point attempts. He's now made at least one field goal in three straight games. For the season, Crosby has made 13 of 14 field goals and all 29 extra-point attempts. He'll enjoy a bye next week before a tough Week 12 date with the San Francisco 49ers.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Nov 11 1:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham had a decent day that could have been even better. The 32-year-old caught two of four targets for 59 yards but had a touchdown catch overturned. It was nice to see Graham eclipse 50 receiving yards for the first time since Week 7, though 48 of his yards came on one catch. The veteran tight end has become a touchdown-or-bust option in fantasy. He'll get a bye in Week 11 before taking on the best pass defense in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers.

From RotoBaller

Will Fuller Nov 11 1:43pm ET

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) returned to practice Monday, Nov. 11.

Fantasy Spin: It's his first football activity since going down in Week 7 and at least puts him on track to return against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11. Outside of the one incredible three-touchdown game he had in early October against the Atlanta Falcons, it's been an unspectacular season for him. It seems unlikely that will change versus the Ravens, so owners should look for better options to start in Week 11.

From TheHuddle

Delanie Walker Nov 11 1:43pm ET

Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (ankle) was spotted running on the field Monday, Nov. 11, and anticipates returning to action against the Jacksonville Jaguars following the team's bye week.

From TheHuddle

Allen Lazard Nov 11 1:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard saw a season-high six targets against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10. He only caught two of them for 27 yards. Still, Lazard might be quietly staking claim to the Packers' number-two wide receiver role. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has gone missing the last two weeks. Geronimo Allison hasn't eclipsed 50 receiving yards or caught a touchdown since Week 4. Meanwhile, Lazard has seen at least four targets in every game and has at least 40 receiving yards in four of five games. Lazard and the Packers get a bye in Week 11 before their Week 12 matchup with the tough San Francisco 49ers.

From RotoBaller

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Nov 11 1:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison were both unproductive in their team's Week 10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Valdes-Scantling didn't register a catch for the second straight week. Meanwhile, Allison caught all three targets for a paltry six yards. For perspective, fellow receiver Davante Adams had more receiving yards in Week 10 than these two combined for the last three weeks. They both cannot be trusted for fantasy purposes anymore, at least until they prove otherwise. Hopefully, they'll shape up during their Week 11 bye because they'll face the San Francisco 49ers' league-best pass defense in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Nov 11 1:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams got back on track in Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers. Adams hauled in seven of 10 targets for 118 yards. The Pro Bowl receiver benefited from the absence of Panthers' star corner James Bradberry (groin) as he worked the other Carolina corners for his third 100-yard receiving game this year. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers only completed 17 passes in this one, but seven of them went to Adams. He's been the only trustworthy Green Bay wide receiver so far and has double-digit targets in back-to-back games. Adams will enjoy a bye week and then will take on a tough San Francisco 49ers Defense in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Lamarcus Joyner Nov 11 12:53pm ET

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders S Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) remains without a timetable to return, but his hamstring injury is not considered to be season-ending, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

From TheHuddle

Dede Westbrook Nov 11 12:53pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder, neck) is expected to practice Monday, Nov. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Westbrook sat out Week 9 in London against the Houston Texans, but the bye apparently gave him all the time he needed to heal. He'll be returning to Nick Foles as the starting quarterback - a notable development considering the pair had great chemistry this summer. Assuming he and Foles can stay healthy, Westbrook stands a good chance of returning WR3 value down the stretch.

From TheHuddle

James Conner Nov 11 12:33pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) is tentatively expected to return from a two-game absence and play in Week 11 versus the Cleveland Browns, according to comments made by head coach Mike Tomlin on Monday, Nov. 11.

Fantasy Spin: The Steelers play on Thursday this week, so owners won't have to wait very long to see if Tomlin's enthusiasm carries over to the field. In two full games as James Conner's replacement, Jaylen Samuels has rushed for 39 yards on 22 carries, so it is safe to say he didn't exactly put heat on him. Of more concern to Conner is Pittsburgh's inability to block well in the running game and a passing game that is doing just enough to get by. Consider Conner an RB2 for now, even in a favorable matchup.

From TheHuddle

Jamaal Williams Nov 11 12:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams had a decent day on the ground in his team's Week 10 win. The 24-year-old tallied 13 carries, the same number as backfield mate Aaron Jones, and 63 rushing yards. The 13 carries were his second-highest total this year, as he and Jones benefited from the run-heavy game script. It was nice to see Williams receive the same volume as Jones, though the latter hogged all the touchdowns. Williams, like Jones, didn't register a catch after logging four straight touchdown catches. Williams continues to be involved in Green Bay's offense heading into their Week 11 bye. They'll take on a stingy San Francisco 49ers Defense in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Giovani Bernard Nov 11 12:23pm ET

Updating previous reports, Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (knee) was diagnosed with a knee sprain Monday, Nov. 11. He is not expected to miss significant time, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Jones Nov 11 11:40am ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones bounced back from last week's dud in a big way. The 24-year-old picked up 93 rushing yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns in his team's 24-16 win over the Carolina Panthers. Jones sliced and diced through the Carolina defense all afternoon and was a touchdown machine in the red zone yet again. It's his second game this year with at least three touchdowns scored. The former UTEP star didn't register a target, but this may have been a result of the Panthers' run-funnel defense. Jones and the Packers head into a bye week before taking on a stingy San Francisco 49ers Defense.

From RotoBaller

Marshon Lattimore Nov 11 11:33am ET

New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) is considered week to week with a hamstring strain.

From TheHuddle

Austin Hooper Nov 11 11:13am ET

Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) will have an MRI on his knee Monday, Nov. 11, and he's expected to miss time. The MRI will determine how much he'll miss.

Fantasy Spin: Hooper is having a breakout season with a 56-608-6 line. Luke Stocker has no fantasy value if Hooper is forced out of action for a prolonged period.

From TheHuddle

Devonta Freeman Nov 11 10:53am ET

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (foot) will have an MRI Monday, Nov. 11, to determine the severity of his foot sprain.

Fantasy Spin: Freeman has been a disappointment with a 107-371-0 rushing line and a 38-282-3 receiving line. Brian Hill rushed 20 times for 61 yards in Week 10, and he could be a flex candidate if Freeman is out for a prolonged period. Snag him off waivers either way.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Rodgers Nov 11 10:40am ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a quiet day against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10. Rodgers completed 17 of 29 passes for 233 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. With a lead at halftime, the Packers were content to run the ball in the second half- that explains why Rodgers had his fewest pass attempts since Week 3. The veteran quarterback proved earlier in the year that he can still win games for the Packers with his arm when needed. He'll have better fantasy days. Rodgers and the Pack will head into their Week 11 bye with their next matchup a Week 12 date with the San Francisco 49ers' number-one pass defense.

From RotoBaller