Fantasy Football Week 8 BS Meter
The importance of working the waiver wire can't be understated, especially coming out of Week 7.
After a solid return to action in Week 6, Marlon Mack was a top add for many teams looking for running back help. He was unable to break through as a rookie in 2017 and had multiple starts and stops to this season due to a variety of injuries. With the Colts unable to establish a ground game in Mack's absence, he was given an opportunity to lead the way and now looks like an asset to both the Colts and fantasy teams.
Nick Chubb was a popular stash coming out of fantasy drafts with the hope he'd eventually eat into or completely take over the Cleveland Browns' backfield workload from Carlos Hyde. Chubb flashed in a minor role, and the team talked about using him more, but it wasn't until last week's trade that sent Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars that Chubb's fantasy value became meaningful.
Could Raheem Mostert be the next big contributor off the waiver wire? Depending on the severity of Matt Breida's ankle injury, the San Francisco 49ers may need Mostert to stick around as their new lead back. Whether he provides your team with some much-needed depth or a short-term starter, you shouldn't be shy about using a top waiver priority or a sizeable chunk of your free-agent budget to get him. Don't assume other potential lead backs will become available.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 8. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10, with 1 being completely true and 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
James White Is the Most Reliable Fantasy Option in New England
It's still surprising to get lineup questions on some players every week despite them proving they perform at a high level regardless of the matchup. James White was one of those players before Week 7, and he's definitely one of those players moving forward.
In the win over the Chicago Bears, the New England Patriots lost Sony Michel to a knee injury after he had just five touches for 35 yards. With Michel down, White saw a season-high 11 carries for 40 yards and added eight receptions for 57 yards and a pair of touchdowns to finish with 29.7 fantasy points and a top-five finish at the running back position. That marked the fourth straight game White had at least five receptions and 50 receiving yards. He's done that five times in seven games. He also has seven total touchdowns (six receiving, one rushing).
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Michel had an MRI on his knee that showed the injury wasn't serious, so he "could still miss time, but if he does, it may not be much." Even though White could see more carries than usual in Michel's absence, he's already proved to be Tom Brady's top target, and it's by a wide margin.
He leads the team in targets (61), receptions (45) and receiving touchdowns (six) and is second only to Rob Gronkowski in receiving yards (405-380). After White, Gronkowski is second in targets (35) and receptions (26). No other Patriot has more than two touchdowns through the air. In fact, Michel (four) is the only Patriot besides White with more than two offensive scores this season.
Usually, the comparisons on fantasy points per game don't include quarterbacks, but just to show how great White has been, in addition to outscoring all the other Patriots, he's actually outscoring Brady for the season with 20.6 FPG to Brady's 19.3 FPG. That dominance is rare for a player with just 40 carries on the season, which shows just how great White has been and how important he's been to the Patriots. He is a cornerstone player on fantasy rosters.
B.S. Meter on White being the most reliable fantasy option in New England: 1/10
Alshon Jeffery Has Reached WR1 Status
Alshon Jeffery played the entire 2017 season with a torn rotator cuff and still managed to finish the year as the No. 20 fantasy wide receiver with 12.2 fantasy points per game. Offseason surgery delayed his 2018 debut until Week 4, but in four games since returning to action, he doesn't look like the player we saw last year. He looks better.
Jeffery's Week 4 debut against the Tennessee Titans resulted in eight receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Despite getting eight targets the next week, he followed up with a quiet two-catch, 39-yard performance against the Minnesota Vikings. That was just a hiccup, as Jeffery would get the New York Giants for eight receptions, 74 yards and a pair of scores on 12 targets in Week 6. This past weekend, he turned 10 targets into seven catches for 88 yards and another score.
With 21.8 fantasy points in Week 7, Jeffery is now averaging 19.9 FPG over the last month, which makes him a top-10 fantasy wide receiver during that span. During that same time, Zach Ertz is averaging 22.1 FPG. That means Jeffery is operating as a WR1 at the same time Ertz is scoring more points than any tight end in the league.
While Jeffery deserves plenty of credit for his comeback, he's getting help from Carson Wentz, who is also back to top form after dealing with his own offseason rehab thanks to a torn ACL. The combination of Wentz and Jeffery is producing strong fantasy numbers on a weekly basis, and that's why Jeffery has WR1 status after playing last season as a WR2.
B.S. Meter on Jeffery reaching WR1 status: 2/10
Phillip Lindsay Gets a Boost from the Absence of Royce Freeman
Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have been a solid combination out of the Denver Broncos backfield all season. With an excellent matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7, Lindsay was spotlighted on the Big Board as a player looking better than usual. He lived up to that billing with 14 carries for 90 yards—including a 28-yard touchdown run—and a reception for six yards on his only target to give him 16.6 fantasy points.
In the same game, Freeman turned 13 carries into 37 yards and salvaged some fantasy value with his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. While Lindsay has a slight edge in carries on the year (75-71), he has a big lead in rushing yards (436-309) but trails in rushing touchdowns (4-2). This tandem has pushed the Broncos to the No. 8 spot in rushing offense with 125.1 yards per game, even though they average just 24.4 attempts per game.
That split has limited Lindsay from breaking out of the mid-range RB2 category, but there's a chance that could change, at least in the short term. Freeman suffered an ankle injury in Week 7, which Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported as a high-ankle sprain. However, head coach Vance Joseph called Freeman day-to-day, with the hope he'd be able to play in Week 8 with 10 days between games (via Mike Klis of 9News).
It would be hard for Freeman to be back at 100 percent, so the opening for Lindsay to raise his ceiling into high-end RB2 or even low-end RB1 territory is a possibility. Devontae Booker is the only other back involved in this offense, and he has just 13 carries for 51 yards on the season. If Freeman is out, raise your expectations for Lindsay.
B.S. Meter on Lindsay getting a boost from Freeman's absence: 3/10
Mitchell Trubisky Has Entered the QB1 Tier
At the time, Mitchell Trubisky's massive performance in the victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in Week 4 seemed more about a weak opponent than him taking a big leap for fantasy. He was efficient with six touchdowns on just 19-of-26 passing, and he also added 53 yards on three carries in that game.
After a bye, Trubisky and the Chicago Bears suffered an overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, but he had another big game by completing 22 of 31 passes for 316 yards with three scores and an interception. He also had another busy day as a runner with 47 yards on eight carries.
Week 7 wasn't a pretty one for Trubisky as a passer. He had just 26 completions on 50 attempts with two interceptions, yet he still managed to throw for 333 yards and two touchdowns. Once again, he boosted his fantasy value with his legs thanks to 81 yards and a score on six carries. Despite his passing struggles in the loss to the New England Patriots, Trubisky still managed to finish the week as the No. 2 fantasy quarterback with 27.5 fantasy points.
Over the last three games (four weeks), Trubisky has 98.3 fantasy points, which comes out to about 32.7 fantasy points per game. He's the No. 1 fantasy QB during that span. Obviously, a six-touchdown game looks a bit lopsided, but the consistent production on the ground is what separates Trubisky from a lot of quarterbacks.
He has at least 24 rushing yards in five of his games and at least 47 rushing yards in each of his last three games. With 245 rushing yards, Trubisky trails only Cam Newton (257) in rushing yards by a quarterback. That's a huge boost to his fantasy value and shows he can make up for any passing struggles.
The Bears rank 11th in yards per game (380.7) and sixth in points per game (28.3), so Trubisky is part of a strong offense, which is another boost to his fantasy value. You can count a lot of positives for him, so it's time to start thinking of him as a QB1 for the rest of the season.
B.S. Meter on Trubisky entering the QB1 tier: 4/10
Jameis Winston Is a Weekly Starter
In two starts since returning from a three-games suspension, Winston has finished as the No. 1 quarterback in Week 6 (30.9 fantasy points) and the No. 6 quarterback in Week 7 (22.1 fantasy points). However, he compiled that fantasy production in different ways.
The Week 6 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons was a favorable one. Despite a slow start, he got hot in the second half and threw for 395 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions on 30-of-41 passing. He added 29 yards on five rushes.
Week 7 didn't look as easy with the Cleveland Browns visiting Tampa Bay. Volume helped Winston accumulate for 365 yards with 32 completions on 52 attempts, although he didn't throw a touchdown and had a pair of interceptions. A 14-yard rushing touchdown as part of a 10-carry, 55-yard effort saved what was a sloppy performance through the air.
Even though his rushing numbers have helped the last two weeks, it's not what we're accustomed to seeing from Winston. Last season, he had just one game with more than 20 rushing yards and one rushing score, both of which happened in Week 17. He had fewer than 15 rushing yards in 10 of 13 games. In 2016, he topped 15 yards five times but never had more than 22 rushing yards and scored just one touchdown.
Now, Winston should continue to see plenty of volume as a passer considering the Buccaneers give up the most points per game (32.7) and the third-most yards per game (417.5). Tampa Bay averages the most yards per game (449.5) and most passing yards per game (364). He's in the weekly starter conversation, but it may not always be pretty, and it would be fair to be worried about him in tough matchups.
B.S. Meter on Winston being a weekly starter: 5/10
Raheem Mostert Has Minimal Fantasy Value
To Matt Breida's credit, he's battled through knee and ankle injuries this season to play in every game. The San Francisco 49ers have looked to him to lead their backfield after losing both Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending knee injuries. For the most part, he has done an excellent job considering the circumstances.
However, Week 7 saw Breida play just five snaps before the ankle injury was too much to bear. His five carries for 15 yards was easily his worst performance of the season, and even with such a disappointing day, he's averaging 6.5 yards per carry with 445 yards and two scores. Breida entered Week 7 as the No. 13 fantasy running back with 13.5 fantasy points per game. That means he was performing at the expected value of McKinnon.
Even though Alfred Morris has 71 carries to lead the team, he has just 253 rushing yards (3.6 YPC) and one score. He didn't log a carry in Week 6 and had just nine rushes for 25 yards in Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Could we see the 49ers produce yet another fantasy-relevant back from the bench? In the last two games, Raheem Mostert rushed 19 times for 146 yards and added four receptions for 19 yards on four targets in Week 7. It's not a big sample size, but getting the lead back on this team should have worth.
Only the Los Angeles Rams with Todd Gurley are averaging more rushing yards per game than the 49ers (153.1-137.4). The opportunity for at least RB3/flex fantasy production should be there if the 49ers choose to go with Mostert. Considering he's been the best back in the last two games, it would make sense to stick with him if Breida remains sidelined.
B.S. Meter on Mostert having minimal fantasy value: 6/10
Nick Chubb Is a Step Down from Carlos Hyde
The Cleveland Browns made big news just two days before facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they traded Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 2019 fifth-round pick. After talking up a bigger role for rookie Nick Chubb, the Browns finally gave him an opportunity in Week 7.
Chubb entered the game with just 16 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 33 snaps in six games. When Week 7 was over, his new role was clear. The Browns played Chubb for 45 snaps (66.2 percent) and gave him 18 carries, which he turned into 80 yards and a one-yard touchdown. He didn't register a reception on two targets, but was still able to post 14 fantasy points, which tied him with Christian McCaffrey for the No. 18 spot at the position.
In six games, Hyde averaged 19 carries, 63.7 rushing yards and 0.83 rushing touchdowns per game. That was good enough to make him the No. 16 fantasy running back with 77.1 fantasy points (12.9 fantasy points per game). At just 3.4 yards per carry, Hyde was surviving on volume and scoring opportunities. He had just six receptions for 29 yards on nine targets.
Chubb should play a similar role, but he brings a higher ceiling as a talented rookie with fresher legs in an offense that needs him to help take pressure off rookie Baker Mayfield. He'll likely have some bad games, but that's understandable in his first year in a less-than-polished offense. If Hyde was firmly in the RB2 tier, Chubb should be considered the same.
B.S. Meter on Chubb being a step down from Hyde: 7/10
Leonard Fournette Will Be the Clear Lead Back in Jacksonville Upon His Return
As Leonard Fournette continue to miss time with a hamstring injury that just won't go away, the Jacksonville Jaguars are imploding. Week 7 saw them suffer a third straight loss in a 20-7 defeat to the Houston Texans. That followed a 40-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and a 30-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They've scored more than 20 points just twice in seven weeks and failed to score 10 points three times.
Two days before facing the Texans, the Jaguars swung a trade to acquire Carlos Hyde from the Cleveland Browns. However, it was too late to get Hyde ready to play, so he was a healthy scratch, which kept T.J. Yeldon out in front of this backfield.
Yeldon saw just 12 carries and totaled 28 yards. In the last three games, he has 30 carries for 122 yards and no rushing touchdowns. His fantasy value has been almost completely dependent on his role in the passing game. Even though he struggled on the ground against the Texans, he was able to catch five of seven targets for 40 yards and a touchdown. That gives him 16 receptions for 138 yards and two scores in the last three games.
For the season, Yeldon has 30 receptions for 263 yards and four touchdowns on 44 targets, with 79 carries for 327 yards and a touchdown on the ground. His 16.7 fantasy points-per-game average puts him right on the RB1/RB2 border, so from a fantasy perspective, he's doing a good job filling in for Fournette.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Fournette is expected to sit out through the team's bye, which would make Week 10 his earliest chance at a return. Of course, nothing can be assumed about Fournette's return and production since he's been unable to play in a full game this season. The initially injury came in Week 1, and when he tried to return in Week 4, he aggravated the injury and hasn't played since.
The acquisition of Hyde gives the Jaguars a back to pair with Yeldon to hopefully boost the rushing attack and offense as a whole. If that works or is at least an improvement, the Jaguars could decide to use all three backs, which wouldn't be a bad idea knowing Fournette's injury struggles.
The bottom line is that you shouldn't be banking on Fournette to return to the RB1 status you drafted him to be before the season started. It will be an uphill battle for him to reclaim the top spot in the backfield.
B.S. Meter on Fournette being the clear lead back in Jacksonville upon his return: 8/10
Doug Martin Is the Running Back to Add from the Raiders
Last week's B.S. Meter detailed why Marshawn Lynch's fantasy value was fading fast after such a great start thanks to the demise of the Oakland Raiders. Then, the Raiders placed Lynch on injured reserve with a groin injury. That puts him out until at least Week 16, so the question becomes what to make of a backfield that was already heading in the wrong direction?
Lynch had 90 carries for 376 yards and three scores in six games. Doug Martin saw the next-most carries with 27 for 99 yards and no touchdowns. Lynch had done an admirable job as a receiver with 15 receptions on 20 targets for 84 yards. Martin has four receptions for five yards on five targets.
Jalen Richard has provided the backfield with some value as the primary pass-catcher in a hurry-up back role. Even though he was blanked in Week 2, he has 31 receptions for 253 yards on 37 targets in the other five games. As the Raiders continue to tank the season, Richard could remain a busy part of the offense out of necessity.
Richard's value may also get a boost from the departure of Amari Cooper. The Raiders got their wish when the Dallas Cowboys agreed to give up a 2019 first-round pick. He vacates 31 targets after posting 22 receptions for 280 yards and a touchdown in six games.
In addition to Martin and Richard, DeAndre Washington could get a chance to contribute with his knee issue behind him, although he hasn't been active this season.
Richard is the top option and the only decent guy to grab from this backfield considering the poor state of the Raiders. Leave Martin on the waiver wire.
B.S. Meter on Martin being the back to add from the Raiders: 9/10
Marlon Mack Will Struggle to Remain the Colts' Starting Running Back
When Marlon Mack failed to push Frank Gore for significant carries as a rookie, the Indianapolis Colts decided to draft both Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines in April. Then, Mack missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury only to return in Week 2 to suffer a foot injury as well. He would sit out the next three games before returning to action in Week 6.
With such a poor track record, expectations weren't high for Mack against the New York Jets, but he was a pleasant surprise with 12 carries for 89 yards and a reception for four yards on two targets. He provided an even bigger surprise this past weekend by crushing the Buffalo Bills for 126 yards and a rushing touchdown on 19 carries in addition to two receptions for 33 yards and another score on three targets. With 29.9 fantasy points, only Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley outscored him.
Mack was given a chance to lead the backfield because none of the other Colts backs grabbed the role. Wilkins had 44 carries for 175 yards without a touchdown. Hines carried 33 times for 92 yards with a score. He was a good contributor as a receiver with 29 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns, but that wasn't enough to stay in the mix when Mack returned in Week 6.
In the last two games, Hines has just three receptions for 16 yards on five targets and eight carries for 61 yards. After playing at least 67.5 percent of the snaps in three games before Mack's return, Hines was down to 43.5 percent in Week 6 and 25.8 percent in Week 7. Mack went from 34.8 percent in Week 6 to 56.1 percent in Week 7.
Even though it's been just two games against beatable opponents, Mack has given this backfield something it hasn't had all season, so the team has every reason to stick with him. Expect the Colts to go with him even if he has bumps in the road. He's the best chance they have to get something productive and consistent out of this backfield.
B.S. Meter on Mack struggling to remain the Colts' starting running back: 10/10
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