15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 8
Fantasy football isn't the most predictable game in the world. If you wanted to play a game that lacked variance, you could always go with, I don't know, chess. Or checkers. Or something way less entertaining than fantasy football.
Since things can be a little random in fantasy football, crazy, out-of-the-ordinary weeks can happen. Things like Marvin Jones scoring four touchdowns in a single game can occur during the same week where David Johnson is active, but Chase Edmonds steals 27 of the 28 running back rushes in the Arizona backfield.
You know, those "You've gotta be freaking kidding me" type of things. They happen over and over and over again.
We want to swear off fantasy football forever as a result, but here we are, entering a new week, looking at 15 transactions to make in order to improve our rosters through the end of the season.
We don't let randomness stop us, because we know that, over the long run, things will return back to normal.
Buy Leonard Fournette
There's a pretty strong correlation between yards and touchdowns. The more yards a player has, the more touchdowns he generally scores.
And we can use that bit of information to our advantage when spotting touchdown regression. Meaning, if a player has a ton of yards but hasn't found the end zone all that often, we should expect that player to positively regress. We should be prepared for that player to score at a normal rate, not his below-average one.
So, uh, let's talk about Leonard Fournette.
Only three players have accumulated 900 or more yards from scrimmage this season: Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and our man, Lenny Fournette. We know McCaffrey and Cook are elite running backs in fantasy, but Fournette's not in that same tier. Why? Touchdowns. McCaffrey's found the end zone nine times this year, while Cook's scored eight times.
Now, don't take this the wrong way: Cook and McCaffrey are in better situations and have seen higher-leverage touches. Both have seen at least nine goal-line rushes, whereas Fournette's only had two of them.
Even still, Fournette's far underperforming in the touchdown column this year. Based on his rushing and receiving yardage totals -- and this is through taking averages from the last five years of running back data -- he should have roughly five more scores than he currently has. Even if you cut that by 60%, you're looking at 18 more fantasy points, which would place him with over 20 PPR points per game. That's elite production.
With over 91% of Jacksonville's running back rushes and a 17% target share, Fournette's rest-of-season floor is great. And his ceiling could be, too, once regression hits.
Sell Aaron Jones
On the opposite side of the yards-to-touchdowns conversion is Aaron Jones. He's now scored nine times this year, when his rushing and receiving yards tell us that number should be closer to four. That's the largest gap in the NFL.
Again, context is always needed. Jones has seen the second-most goal-line attempts in the NFL this year. He is in a pretty good offense. Scoring opportunities are going to be better in Green Bay, for instance, than they will be in Jacksonville.
But Jones saw 6 of those 9 (nice) goal-line rushes in two games without Jamaal Williams. The first was against Philadelphia, where Williams was concussed at the beginning of the contest, and the second was in Dallas, where Jones had a career day.
Unsurprisingly, in those two games, Jones saw his highest snap shares of the season. When Williams has been active this year, Jones hasn't hit a 60% snap share. And that's led to Jones seeing 60% of Green Bay's running back rushes with Williams, when it was 82% without him.
To be more concise, Jones is a usable piece in fantasy football, but we just shouldn't expect him to maintain this type of production given his usage with Jamaal Williams in the lineup as well as the obvious touchdown regression that's heading his way.
Buy Kenny Golladay
Kenny Golladay entered Week 7 as one of the few NFL wide receivers with at least a 20% target share in every game played this season. So, naturally, he saw just 4% of Detroit's targets against Minnesota on Sunday.
I'm not tilting. You're tilting.
This transaction is a simple reminder that this stuff happens. And it makes a lot more sense to bank on the multi-game sample of Golladay seeing a lot of work in this offense versus one game where his quarterback may have liked a particular matchup. With the Giants and Raiders upcoming over the next couple of weeks, Babytron should be able to bounce back right away.
Add Ty Johnson
If you were box score watching on Sunday, you probably saw Ty Johnson getting the majority of work in the Lions' backfield. Your initial reaction was to probably scream "Damn you, Matt Patricia!", but the real reason the backup was seeing a lot of touches was because Kerryon Johnson was injured. And Johnson -- the Kerryon variety -- was seen on the sideline with a knee brace on. We don't know the severity of the injury right now, but adding Ty Johnson makes a whole lot of sense this week.
Buy Tyler Boyd
Boyd currently ranks in the top-10 in wide receiver target share, and he's seen at least 16% of Cincinnati's targets in every contest this season. He's actually hit the 22% mark in all but two games. We should always buy volume in fantasy football -- it's what correlates best to production. And while the targets heading Boyd's way won't be as valuable as the same number of targets in plenty of other offenses, it's still not something we should push aside, especially when a player has recently underperformed.
That's been the case for Boyd. Over his last two contests, he's caught just 8 of 21 targets. That's not great, Bob! It's also far worse than the catch rate he had seen across the first five games of the season. Or, across a larger sample size.
And if you're worried about Boyd's potential if and when A.J. Green returns, don't be. Boyd's actually averaged more points with Green historically than without him.
Always buy volume, even when it's bad volume. Because most of the time, that poor situation is reflected in the price you pay to acquire anyway.
Sell Corey Davis
Anytime there's a big Corey Davis game, my inclination is to sell the performance. It's not because Davis is a bad receiver. It's because Tennessee has one of the most run-heavy offenses in football, and they have decent alternatives in the offense.
To the first point, Davis saw a 25% target share on Sunday against the Chargers, but that still only equated to seven targets. Meanwhile, from a competition standpoint, A.J. Brown was one of the best wide receivers -- if not the best -- in the 2019 draft class, Adam Humphries is strong out of the slot, and they've got capable pass-catching tight ends. That's part of the reason Davis has reached a 25% share in just two games this year.
His bump in target share with Ryan Tannehill under center may be telling -- perhaps Tannehill will feature him as the clear-cut top pass-catcher in the Tennessee offense. And the Titans also get the Buccaneers this week, so there's a chance Davis can build off of his good Week 7 performance.
If I had Davis, though, I'd be using Ryan Tannehill and that Tampa Bay matchup to help sell him. It's just hard to tie your wide receivers to this run-heavy offense.
Add Kenny Stills
It sounds like Will Fuller has a "rather significant" hamstring pull, so he's bound to be sidelined in the coming weeks. Enter Kenny Stills, who ended up playing about 94% of Houston's snaps on Sunday (the second-most at wide receiver behind DeAndre Hopkins) while seeing a 15% target share. Stills has a 13.2 average depth of target (aDOT) this year, which is about a yard shy of Fuller's, while teammate Keke Coutee, who mans the slot, has an aDOT of 9. Essentially, we should expect Stills to take on Fuller's role, which we know is one that can provide production for fantasy purposes.
And Coutee should be added this week, as well, but Stills is the preferred choice.
Buy Alvin Kamara
Even if both players don't go due to their Week 9 bye, this is the right time to try and buy Alvin Kamara. (His being out for two weeks would only make him more affordable, too.) We know he's an elite asset in fantasy football, and with Teddy Bridgewater under center, his numbers have suffered a bit -- in four of five games played with Bridgewater this year, Kamara's failed to score 17 PPR fantasy points. He averaged 19.6 and 23.6 PPR points per game over his last two seasons, respectively.
Can he get back to those levels? Why not? The Saints and Teddy Bridgewater have been winning, but it's not like the offense is the sole reason. Since Week 3, which is when Bridgewater officially took over, they're 14th in yards per drive and 15th in touchdown rate per drive. They've been a fairly average offense, something that's impressive with a backup quarterback, but it's far from where we know they can be with Brees under center.
And with a better offense comes more scoring opportunities. Kamara's found the end zone in just one game this year, and according to his rushing and receiving yardage totals, he should have about two more touchdowns than his current tally. That makes him one of the bigger positive regression candidates in fantasy football. And, historically, Kamara has outpaced his expected touchdown total because, again, the Saints' offense is typically very good.
So, moving forward, it'd be wise to consider Kamara as a locked-in RB1 in fantasy football, since the injury doesn't sound severe. If you can get him for cheaper than that, go for it.
Sell Todd Gurley
Yes, I've seen the Rams' schedule and know they've got one of the best matchups on paper here in Week 8 against Cincinnati. If you want to wait and get rid of Gurley after that, be my guest -- it's hard to fault that logic. I tend to play things more conservatively and not bank on matchups like that, though, especially when there's a clear sell-high opportunity. And that's what we've got with Todd Gurley.
Gurley's now finished as a top-15 running back in each of his last three games played. Don't let that fool you, though. He's found the end zone five times during this span with just 108 rushing yards and 73 receiving yards. He's averaged 60.3 total yards per contest in games where the Rams scored 40, 29, and 37 points.
A running back with 311 rushing and 81 receiving yards has scored, according to running back numbers over the last five years, roughly 2.5 touchdowns. Gurley, with those totals, has scored six times.
We've also watched Gurley fail to reach a 60% running back rush share in half of his games played this season. When Gurley was healthy last year, he was handling 84.5% of LA's running back rushes.
Oh, and did I mention that Gurley played a season-low 60.5% of the Rams' snaps on Sunday?
All of this is to say that Gurley's been a rather touchdown-dependent fantasy football asset this season. That's not something to confidently bank on week in and week out.
Add Mark Walton
The Dolphins started using Mark Walton a little more before their bye week, when he saw 35.3% of the team's running back carries. Then, out of the bye and in Week 6, Walton had a similar share of the running back touches (31.6%) while hitting a pretty solid 14.3% target share.
And then Sunday happened. Walton ended the day with a 60.9% running back rush share, easily his highest mark of the season. And that coincided with the highest snap share of any Miami running back.
Walton likely won't be a plug-and-play running back this year considering the offense he's in, but the running back position is a rough one. Bye weeks are here, too. You may need a player like Walton at some point.
Buy Tevin Coleman
The wet and rainy contest against Washington this week didn't bring a ton of production for players in the San Francisco offense, but it allowed us to get another week of seeing how this 49ers backfield will be split moving forward. Matt Breida missed a little time in the game because he was evaluated for a concussion, but even still, Tevin Coleman finished the day seeing over 60% of the 49ers' rushes and over 10% of the team's targets. That rush share was a season high, and the target share was the best he's had since Week 1.
Coleman's now been back in the mix for the 49ers for three weeks, and he's not only led the 49ers in rush attempts with at least 16 per game, he's also been the team's primary goal-line runner. San Francisco's schedule does get a little tougher moving forward, so they may not be as run-heavy as they've been, but the peripherals are there for Coleman to be an RB2 from here on out, especially if the 49ers keep winning.
Add Dallas Goedert
Week 7 was a tough one to forecast, but at least Dallas Goedert -- someone frequently mentioned on The Late-Round Podcast last week -- was a thing. He ended up scoring a touchdown on a very nice 69 yards, and it was the fourth straight contest where he was able to hit a 10% target share.
That's actually pretty significant, since he wasn't healthy at the beginning of the season. Over the last four weeks -- weeks where he's been healthy -- Goedert ranks in the top-25 in routes run at the tight end position, according to Pro Football Focus, and he's played at least 59% of the team's snaps in every game. Prior to Week 4, his highest snap share was 51%.
Honestly, Goedert won't be all the different than your typical tight end streamer each week. The difference is that he has legitimate top-five upside if a Zach Ertz injury would occur, making him a better option than most waiver wire tight ends.
Buy Robby Anderson
The Jets' offense looked hopeless on Monday night, but it was against New England, the best defense in football. Robby Anderson got the Stephon Gilmore treatment, so he wasn't very productive, but that should change through the end of the season. New York gets a Jalen Ramsey-less Jacksonville team in Week 8, then they'll face Miami, New York, Washington, Oakland, Cincinnati, and Miami again over their next seven contests. Five of those seven matchups are against teams that currently rank in the bottom-10 in wide receiver fantasy points against, while the other two, Jacksonville and Cincinnati, are still beatable.
And don't forget, before the New England game on Monday night, Anderson had been running well with Sam Darnold. During his previous six games with Darnold under center, he had averaged 9.0 targets, 5.2 receptions, 80.7 yards, and 0.7 touchdowns per game. Don't let a down game against a top-notch New England defense change the way you view Anderson.
Add Ryan Tannehill
Should you be thrilled to start Ryan Tannehill this week as a quarterback streamer? Probably not. The Titans, as noted above, run a pretty conservative offense, so the chance of a high-ceiling game is limited for a player like Tannehill.
But he's facing the Buccaneers, and the Titans are 2.5-point home favorites with a 46.5-point over/under. Tampa Bay's allowed multi-touchdown performances in each of their last four games played, and they've gone up against Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, Teddy Bridgewater, and Kyle Allen. They rank 11th in yards per attempt allowed despite going up against pretty mediocre passers, and they haven't really been able to get to the quarterback, coming in with the ninth-worst sack rate in football.
With Tannehill looking competent in Week 7, you can probably trust him to get some production in this matchup in Week 8.
Add the Detroit Lions Defense
There are a few directions you can go with your waiver wire defense this week, and Detroit is one of them. They'll be playing at home as seven-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, and they're facing Daniel Jones and the Giants. In Jones' last four starts -- all of his starts since his coming out party against Tampa Bay in Week 3 -- he's thrown more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (4) while being sacked 13 times. Defenses against Jones are averaging 3.6 sacks per game, giving them a nice floor each week. The Lions are in a good spot as heavy favorites.