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10 Interesting NFL Stats Heading into Week 8

Zach Ertz Fantasy

Fantasy StatsNFL Fantasy Stats & Takeaways

Another crazy week in the NFL is in the books and it’s time to look forward to see how it can help your fantasy team moving forward. We saw offenses that couldn’t score, one offense that just didn’t want to throw the ball, a rookie running back take over a job and another stud back getting an insane workload. We’ll try as always to keep you ahead of the curve and be one week early on some things and avoid landmines on other players. Let’s get to it!

1. Quarterbacks clean up versus the Colts

This really isn’t terribly surprising. We knew coming into the season that Indy didn’t have a very good defense and that was with CB Vontae Davis being healthy. He really hasn’t been at any point this year and now the Colts have lost their promising rookie safety Malik Hooker to a knee injury.

The rest of the schedule looks pretty soft as well, but if you play daily fantasy, this is a big piece of information. I’ll be playing Bengals QB Andy Dalton this week for sure. If you’re playing seasonal and looking towards the playoffs, Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor draws Indy Week 14. He could be a week winning stash for that first week of the fantasy postseason, not to mention Tyrod has once again been pretty decent for fantasy even without any receivers to throw to.

2. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey is having a very weird season

Coming into the season, McCaffrey had a lot of hype surrounding him. It seemed like every day of training camp provided a new video of CMC putting a linebacker on skates and showing off the moves that led the Panthers to pick him 8th overall in this year’s draft. Nothing has translated to the running game for McCaffrey to this point. He only has 114 yards on 45 rush attempts through 7 games. That’s not very good any way you slice it. Sure, part of it is the Panthers can’t run the ball as a team. They rank 20th with just 681 rush yards on the season. However, McCaffrey is still on a record-tying pace as far as receptions by a rookie player.

This has been the main reason CMC is actually a top 10 running back in full PPR formats. He’s just 21st in standard leagues.  Even if the running game doesn’t come around this season, it’s still impressive he could catch 100 balls in his rookie year. It’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison with McCaffrey and Boldin. It’s a little easier for McCaffrey to rack up those catches on simple screens or flat routes. A lot of other rookie running backs have garnered more publicity since the start of the season. That’s totally fair for real football, but McCaffrey has been excellent for fantasy in his own right.

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3. Zach Ertz is the new best TE in Fantasy

Ertz was a mid-round pick in fantasy this drafts this past off-season. He’s paying off in a major way for the owners who “settled” on him during the draft season as he is the TE1 in both standard and PPR leagues. His consistency is off the charts. He’s only been under 55 yards and 5 receptions once this season. In that game, he made up the difference by catching 2 touchdowns. Take a look at the last 14 games for Ertz.

Not only is Ertz a major advantage because the TE position is so weak, it’s pretty nice getting the production AND not riding the roller coaster that is Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. He may not have quite the ceiling as those two but his floor is insanely higher.Ertz is clearly a favorite target for young stud QB Carson Wentz and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue this output.

4. James Connor should be a priority bench stash

It looks like Steelers all-world running back Le’Veon Bell is back to full speed after skipping all of training camp. He’s rolled up 504 rushing yards and added 148 yards through the air on 20 receptions. He’s found the end zone three times in that stretch. These are all great things for fantasy and why you took Bell with either the #1 or #2 pick in this past draft. All those stats have come at a high cost.

This pace is flat unsustainable. Even putting aside the beating those touches bring, Bell doesn’t have the cleanest injury history. he’s torn out a knee and had a groin injury in addition to a foot injury early in his career. It’s just not smart to ride a player this hard. The Steelers were up by two scores late versus the Bengals this past week. There was no reason Connor couldn’t have been helping grind that clock down. I’m going out of my way to find space for Connor in case Bell gets hurt so you don’t have to fight on the waiver wire.

5. Offense was at a premium in Week 7

I don’t think there is any huge takeaway for the rest of the season from this. It’s likely just a quirk that happens time to time. This is more just to reassure owners if your score felt a little low, you likely weren’t alone. When almost a quarter of the teams playing can’t find the end zone on offense, that’s gonna be tough for your fantasy squad to put up a ton of points. The full list was Chicago, Carolina, Tennessee, Cleveland, Arizona, Denver, and Indianapolis. That’s a lot of fantasy players that let you down. Let’s hope there isn’t a repeat in Week 8 with all the bye weeks.

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6. Melvin Gordon could lose touches

Gordon was coming off consecutive monster games until this past Sunday. He was completely shut down by the Denver defense. That’s not exactly a shock. The Broncos are the best-run defense in the NFL and aside from getting wrecked by Orleans Darkwa(!!) two weeks ago, they’ve dominated every back. The biggest storyline coming from the victory on Sunday for fantasy players is Austin Ekeler handled 11 touches. Why is this a problem for Gordon?

Chris hits the nail on the head. Gordon has never been an efficient running back. There’s many who don’t think he’s all that talented. He just gets the lions share of the carries and the passing game work. If the Chargers start to trust Ekeler to do more in the passing game, Gordon could be closer to a 2 down banger role than owners would really care for. Having an inefficient running back who’s TD dependant on your roster isn’t ideal. Ask Mike Gillislee owners how that’s working out this season.

7. The Bears made history in their win over Carolina

We saw a game that most likely won’t happen again for quite awhile on Sunday. The Bears beat the Panthers 17-3 on the strength of two defensive touchdowns. While that’s a little weird in and of itself, what was truly bizarre in this modern NFL was the Bears only had rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky attempt 7 passes.

There’s an argument to be made if that’s all the Bears want Trubisky to do, maybe he should still just be on the bench. It’s hard to figure out just how much that’s truly allowing the rookie to develop. It’s also hard to blame Chicago for leaning on the defense and trying to grind out a win. This is also a product of having absolutely no type of receiving threat. This was a throwback win and not likely to be repeated anytime soon.

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8. New Orleans has a bell cow in the backfield

A few weeks ago when the Saints took on the Dolphins in London and rookie RB Alvin Kamara had a big game, I tweeted that he was the back to own from the Saints. Then came the Adrian Peterson trade and I felt even more comfortable with saying Kamara was going to be the stud in this backfield. Mark Ingram had never really got the burn as a number one back under Sean Payton….until now.

Ingram has finally gotten the workload he deserved these past couple seasons and has responded very well to it.

If you made a move for Ingram after Peterson got dealt, kudos to you. Kamara will still have a role in this offense every week. It’s also very clear who the number one option is.

9. Everyone should take a breath talking about Josh Doctson

Anyone who watched Monday Night Football could pretty clearly see Terrelle Pryor got benched for the Washington Redskins. It took him a while to even see the field and second-year player Josh Doctson saw a major boost in his snaps.

I’m all aboard Washington needing some receiver to step up and help QB Kirk Cousins. He’s done a great job making things work with RB Chris Thompson and TE Vernon Davis leading the team in receiving yards. Many are talking about this huge breakout coming for Doctson. While it’s certainly possible, what’s the reasoning behind it? He’s a high draft pick who’s been hurt a large portion of his career. Even with the uptick in snaps, Doctson has 7 receptions on 14 targets this season for 129 yards and 2 TDs. Doctson needs to be owned, but he also needs to be treated very cautiously. Coach Jay Gruden said he and Pryor will play the “hot hand” at receiver. Just be careful about setting and forgetting, expecting a monster breakout.

10. Always be ready to shift your opinion

The NFL is a weird place where things can go haywire in a hurry. One week your fantasy team can look unstoppable and then the next week it can look like it belongs in the trash can. There’s no better example than the Green Bay backfield.

Everyone(including myself) was wildly impressed by Ty Montgomery the first few weeks of the season. He had a giant workload in a lethal offense and after Week 3, he was being viewed as a top 3-5 RB in all formats. Then he suffered a rib injury and opened the door for rookie Aaron Jones. He’s taken full advantage of his opening and shoved Montgomery to the back of the line.

Montgomery could very well still be feeling the effects of his broken ribs. Maybe the share gets closer to even after the Packers come back from the bye. The point here is don’t hold so tightly to what you think that you can’t reverse course if/when the time comes. If you aren’t ready to adjust after literally every week, you’ll miss out on that waiver wire gem or buy low trade opportunity. It could wind up costing you a shot at fantasy glory.

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