One Big Thing – NFC – Week 8

Updated: November 5th 2020

Every week we learn a little bit more about how a team sees each player as a part of their offense allowing fantasy footballers to react (positively or negatively) to those actions. Each week I will look to capture the “One Big Thing” that should have an impact on each team going forward and how you, the savvy fantasy player, can use that to your advantage.

NFC EAST

 Dallas

Is Ezekiel Elliot’s slump in production just because of the absence of Dak Prescott or is this another example of why playing running backs does not work out after their rookie contracts? With Dak Prescott, Zeke averaged 22.3 PPR points in five (5) games while in the three (3) games since his average has dipped down to 8.8 PPR points. This offense is worse off without their franchise quarterback threatening downfield, and the Cowboys offense was on a record pace for passing numbers but dropping over 14 points is concerning. He is still the overall PPR RB4 so it is not a “get out while you can” type of situation but if you are a rebuilding team or just need a player more reliable for a playoff run, depending on what value a team could get in return for Zeke it might be time to start seriously considering moving him.

 Philadelphia

The Eagles are like the owners in your fantasy leagues that are currently 5-3 but have the third-worst points for and are talking like their team is the team to beat. Stop trying to make fetch a thing, Gretchen! They have a lone bright spot with the emergence of Travis Fulgham who unfortunately is playing out of the possibilities of being a savvy RSO resign candidate but the rest of the offense should not be good enough to be leading a division at the mid-way point. Dallas Goedert’s return also did not do much to help with Carson Wentz’s outlook as he put up a dud in his first game back from injury. Jalen Hurts has to be at least more consistent on a drive-by-drive basis, right?

 NY Giants

If the Eagles are the overachieving 5-3 fantasy owners then the Giants last week are the 1-7 or 2-6 owners who had one of their better games in week 8 but unfortunately were playing the highest-scoring team in the league. Daniel Jones, much like Carson Wentz, has shown that he can make big throws to give confidence that he should be his team’s best option to win. He just lacks the consistency to pull it off and the losses are still piling up. Unlike Wentz however, Jones does not have a big contract to hold over the franchise and if the team continues its losing streak he could be in line for replacing in 2021’s draft.

NFC NORTH

 Minnesota

Dalvin “Cooked” the Packers defense last week and reminded everyone that you cannot just substitute the elite running backs. After being unavailable for the last two and a half weeks, Cook returned with a monstrous 49 fantasy points in week 8. With another great matchup against the Lions in week 9, the Vikings should run back the same game plan to lean on Dalvin Cook. Forcing Kirk Cousins to have to pass for more than 30 times in a game usually has not resulted in many wins this season.

 Green Bay

Davante Adams dominated for a second straight game, scoring 75 PPR points in the last two games, and is now the PPR WR7 despite only playing in five (5) games. There were rumors that Will Fuller may have been joining the green and yellow but the two teams could not work out a trade at the deadline. It could be a blessing for Allen Lazard fantasy owners as he is likely to make his return from his abdominal injury in the coming weeks. Having Fuller in the picture would have likely limited his weekly upside if they both needed to work as the 2A behind Adams. Lazard had his best performance the last we saw him so hopefully, Aaron Rodgers can go right back to having the chemistry they had.

 Detroit

The Lions had to abandon the run for much of the second half after falling behind 20-7 but it was not like they were having much success anyways. Against Indianapolis’ league-best run defense Adrian Peterson and D’Andre Swift combined for 11 carries and seven (7) yards. Their week 9 matchup against the Vikings will be interesting if Matthew Stafford is unable to play. He was placed on the COVID list on Wednesday and his availability is in question at the time of writing. If he is out, Chase Daniels would be the next man up and would make it pretty risky to start many Lions’ players.

 Chicago

Remember my analogy for the Eagles about being an overachieving 5-3 team; well that is exactly what the Bears are looking like. At times in week 8 against the Saints it was painful to watch the predictable play calling and molasses-like read progression of Nick Foles. Anthony Miller had a strong performance, scoring as many points (15.3) as he had accumulated in the previous three (3) games combined (15.6). I still believe that Darnell Mooney is the second option in this offense over Miller but this was a trend in the right direction for giving fantasy owners confidence in him.

NFC SOUTH

 Atlanta

It was another big performance for Julio Jones but somehow it feels like it could have been even bigger. Jones totaled 85 receiving yards in the first quarter and looked like he was going to carve up the Panthers’ defense like he has his whole career. He still finished with 137 yards and 21 PPR fantasy points but I am sure if you asked his fantasy ownership group they would have expected more from what they saw. Since coming back from an injury that forced him to miss week 5, Jones has averaged 24 PPR points thus returning him to his elite WR1 status. With Calvin Ridley also dealing with a foot injury now Jones could be leaned on even more.

 Carolina

I mentioned last week that playing Mike Davis could be a trap as the coaching staff was looking for new ways to get Curtis Samuel involved in the running game. I should have put money on it because that is exactly what they did on their first drive with Samuel stealing a touchdown from Davis via the running game. It remains to be seen how much of a role Samuel will continue to have once Christian McCaffrey comes back though. He appears to have a similar role to Laviska Shenault in Jacksonville where they want to line him up all over the field and to see what kind of matchups the defense gives him.

 New Orleans

I do not understand the Saints’ use of Taysom Hill and their financial commitment to him as it relates to the success of the team. When he lines up as either a running back or a receiver I understand that you want to try and get the ball any way you can to good athletes. To do so however often requires taking out one of the best running backs in the game, Alvin Kamara, who would likely be even more productive with those carries than Hill. Then there is lining him up at quarterback. Not only are you removing one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league, but the defense knows (or should know by now) that he is no threat to pass despite being positioned as a quarterback. Maybe Sean Payton has had to be more gimmicky with his play-calling due to the absence of Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders but I would be trusting the ball with Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara more than I would a gadget player.

 Tampa Bay

The roller coast of being a Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette owner continues as Jones was benched for much of the game after his fumble in the first quarter. Neither running back was very efficient with their carries anyways but it must eat away at the RoJo fantasy owners after he averaged 20 PPR points in Fournette’s three (3) game absence. Fournette has seen more snaps since returning from injury two weeks ago and should be hitting his stride for his comprehension of the playbook, as evidenced by him playing more passing downs than Jones. It could be a headache starting either of them each week but both are at least flex options with RB1 upside because of the offense’s efficiency.

NFC WEST

 LA Rams

Let us chalk this one up as an “Oopsie” for Jared Goff and the Rams. Goff had four (4) turnovers in the first half, basically putting the game out of reach for much of the second half. It was a good result for everyone else around him in fantasy as it required 61 pass attempts and both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp being top 10 receivers in Week 8. With the team off on a bye this week, we should expect Head Coach Sean McVay to emphasize ball control and time of possession with key matchups against the Seahawks and Buccaneers on the horizon.

 Seattle

We all knew that after the Tyler Lockett show on Monday Night two weeks ago that D.K. Metcalf was going to get his opportunities to respond last week. After being held to his worst performance of the season (WR74) he dominated the 49ers secondary for 12 catches and two (2) touchdowns and returned to glory as the WR1 in Week 8. There is no slowing down this offense while Russell Wilson is cooking and with the injuries at running back all the more expectation falls on Wilson to carry the load. All eyes watch to see if he can be the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw 50 touchdown passes.

 San Francisco

Nick Mullens looks like he will be the 49ers starting quarterback for the rest of the regular season as the team has decided to shut down Jimmy Garoppolo for a second time. Garoppolo tried to gut out his ankle injury after missing weeks 3 and 4 but his poor performance in his three games since returning likely made that decision easier for them. Mullens will be without George Kittle for the remainder of the season as well as he suffered a broken bone in his foot that will sideline him for two months. The whole offense has been ravished by injuries and it would be a stretch to see this team make the playoffs with the cast left to play. Tough luck for the reigning NFC Champions.

More Analysis by Nick Andrews