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Tue Nov 2nd 2021

2021 Week Eight Review

What a great week of games we were treated to this week in the NFL. The week started with the Packers knocking off the undefeated Cardinals on a fluky interception in the end zone and ended with a last-minute touchdown pass from Cooper Rush to Amari Cooper. In between, there were six one-score games, including one that went to overtime. I thoroughly enjoyed this week in the NFL as a fan and a dynasty manager.

More than half of my games came down to the wire. I lost two games and won two games on the last drive of the Cowboy game Sunday night, and I lost one game and won one game on Monday night. I finished the week 6-4. It could have been better, but it could have been worse too. As always, at the end of the weekend, I remind myself that win or lose, it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my dynasty teams.

After following all of the games this week, here are a few of my thoughts on players and situations and their impact on our dynasty teams. Unless a player or situation demands it, I try to write about teams and players that I have not written about in recent weeks.

Ten Observations From Week Eight

Josh Allen Shines While His Best Target Does Not

  • Josh Allen had his third 30-plus point fantasy game on Sunday even though the Dolphins defense limited the Bills' offensive scoring to 26 points. As usual, Allen was a part of every touchdown, throwing for two and rushing for one. I heard a stat from Ian Hartitz this morning that since Allen came into the NFL, he's has the eleventh most rushing touchdowns among all players. Only ten running backs have more rushing touchdowns than him. While it's a joy to have Allen on your dynasty team, it's been incredibly frustrating to have Stefon Diggs on your team this year, especially since he was a league winner last year. He's just not the target-hog that he was last year. Cole Beasley led the team in targets and catches on Sunday, and Zach Moss had more receptions than Diggs. Thankfully Diggs scored another touchdown this week. Otherwise, he would have been even more frustrating to his managers. He's not bad, but he's just not carrying teams like he did last year. He's still averaging seven catches per game but has only had one one-hundred-yard game out of seven. Last year he averaged nine receptions per game and had nine one hundred yard games out of nineteen games, including the playoffs. That's quite a drop-off from last year, even though Allen is averaging two more fantasy points per game than he did last year.

Frustration In Philadelphia

  • Really? Now that Miles Sanders is injured, the Eagles finally commit to the run game? It may very well be that it's just because they played the lifeless Lions, but this week they ran for 236 yards and four touchdowns. It wasn't all Jalen Hurts this week either, though he did run for almost a third of those yards. If finally committed to running the ball is not furious enough for dynasty managers; the fact that Jordan Howard and Boston Scott were the lead backs until the games were out of hand was even more frustrating. Kenny Gainwell, the presumed starter, was the odd man out early in the game. Boston Scott and Jordan Howard scored two touchdowns as a piece, Howard in his first game of the season after being called up from the practice squad last week. I did not see anyone courageous enough to start Scott or Howard in their lineups this week, but Gainwell was started in most deep leagues. It's going to be hard to trust Eagles' running backs while Sanders is on IR unless Sunday's distribution becomes a pattern the next few weeks, and Sanders' role, once he comes back from injury, will be even muddier than before. 

Damien Harris Is Reliable

  • While my favorite 2019 rookie running back, Mile Sanders, dynasty value is steadily falling, one of my other favorites, Damien Harris, is steadily rising. I believe Harris is now a reliable RB-2 in dynasty rosters. I ranked Harris quite a bit higher than other dynasty analysts in his rookie class. He was my 8th ranked rookie in 2019. I drafted him to many of my teams since I had him ranked higher than most managers in my leagues. It's taken some time, but I've recently put him in the starting lineups the last few weeks. He's a detriment in the passing game, but on weeks when the Patriots will likely keep the game close, he's a reliable starter. He's averaged 17 touches per game over the last three weeks and has held off Rhomandre Stevenson from cutting into his playtime. Plus, he's their goal line back, scoring five times the previous four weeks from inside the green zone. If LeGarrette Blount could be a fantasy superstar on the Patriots based mainly on touchdowns scored, Harris could do the same this year and the years to come. He looks great on the field and is just now living up to his third-round NFL draft capital and first-round dynasty draft capital.

Backup Quarterbacks Get It Done

  • What a week for backup quarterbacks! Cooper Rush, Geno Smith, and Mike White surprised their teams and dynasty managers this Sunday. Some of these quarterbacks were in starting lineups in superflex leagues, giving unexpected points to their teams. In one-quarterback leagues, none of them were started, and some of their pass catchers were benched this week in fear of erratic play from their quarterbacks. After Tyler Lockett's poor play last week under Geno Smith, I benched him in two of my leagues, where he went off with twelve receptions and 142 yards. I am sure I'm not the only one who did that. Metcalf was still likely in lineups just because of his big-play and red-zone threats, and he also had a great game with two red-zone touchdowns. I highly doubt that any pass catcher on the Jets was in starting lineups this week with Corey Davis ruled out and Mike White in at quarterback, but those bold enough to start Michael Carter were rewarded with a massive day on the ground and in the air. White had his share of bad plays, but he threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns against everyone streaming defense of the week - the Bengals. Oops. Dynasty managers likely kept CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper in their lineups, hoping that Dak would play Sunday night. It was too late to take them out of lineups when it was announced that Cooper Rush would start the game. It didn't matter Sunday night when he threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winner in the last minute of the game. Cooper and Lamb each had over 100 yards receiving, and Cooper caught the game-winning touchdown. Dalton Schultz was the only Cowboy player Rush couldn't maintain his normal production. Congrats to these backup quarterbacks for making the most of their opportunities this week. Dynasty managers are delighted with the production they provided for the players on their rosters.

Two Of My Favorites Dominate

  • A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel were my top two ranked rookie wide receivers in the 2019 class. Some analysts had Brown as their top receiver, but most believed it was N'Keal Harry. Hardly anyone has Samuel ranked as high as I did. I have him ranked fifth overall in the 2019 rookie class. I'm not right all the time, but it feels great to be right about these two studs. A.J. Brown is a monster. His size and speed make him impossible to cover. The Colts could not cover him, even though he's the only receiver on the team they needed to pay attention to. He caught 10 of 11 passes for 155 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown. I've always compared him to Julio Jones, and I think he'll have that kind of career. He's already off to a similar start. Deebo is a running back playing at wide receiver. His run-after-catch ability is fantastic. All the 49ers have to do is get the ball in his hands, and that's all they are doing this year. He's getting more than ten targets per game because he is the best player on their team. His injury history is a concern, but as long as he's healthy, he's one of the best weapons in the league. Sunday's 171-yard performance is his fourth 100-yard game in the seven games this season. He's averaging a whopping 117 yards per game. That's more yards in the first seven games of a season than any 49er in history, and we know that includes Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens. I love these two players. They're among my favorite receivers in the NFL.

Michael Pittman Has Become One Of The Best In His Class

  • Pittman had another incredible game on Sunday with two touchdown catches and several fantastic catches jumping over players to catch balls and keep his team in the game. Don't look now, but he's playing better than many receivers drafted ahead of him in 2020 dynasty rookie drafts. Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb are clearly the top of that class, and I'd say Tee Higgins is next among them so far, but Pittman is playing better than many receivers who were drafted ahead of him like Jerry Jeudy, Jalen Reagor, Laviska Shenault, Brandon Aiyuk, and Henry Ruggs. I had all of these wide receivers ranked ahead of Pittman in that class, but now I'd place Pittman ahead of all of them except Jerry Jeudy, who, like Pittman, has been injured and yet to put his best on the field yet. Pittman is putting his best on the field now, and the Colts have to be pleased to see him performing up to his second-round draft capital. Dynasty managers who drafted him in the late second or early third rounds of their rookie drafts have to be pleased as well. He's now an every-week starter in dynasty lineups.

The Matt Stafford Trade Is One-sided

  • As dynasty managers, we always like to boast in a lopsided trade when it works in our favor, especially when it's a big trade involving draft picks. The Rams gave up two first-round picks and a third-round pick and Jared Goff to help the rebuilding Lions. What they got in return has lifted the Rams offense to new levels under coach McVay. Stafford had transformed the Rams into one of the most explosive offenses in the league. They are fifth in yards per game, fourth in passing yards per game, and fifth in points per game. Stafford is just what McVay and the Rams wanted, and he's doing just want they thought he could do and more, making Cooper Kupp the highest-scoring fantasy receiver this year. It's been amazing to watch, and it will be fun to see if it's a trade that leads to a Super Bowl win. Detroit has many future picks and years to come to evaluate their side of this trade, but I don't see how they can win it unless Jared Goff proves to be their long-term starter. If they keep playing this poorly, I am sure he will not. To feel good about this trade, they'll need to draft a 15-year starting quarterback with pick number one or two in the 2022 NFL draft. They're in a race with Houston to get the first or second pick in the draft.

Detroit and Houston Help And Hurt Their Opponents

  • After this Sunday, it's hard to say if the fantasy players facing the Detroit and Houston teams are at an advantage or disadvantage. In one way, they're great to match up against because teams rack up yards and points against them. On the other hand, as happened this Sunday and other weeks during this season, starters get pulled in the third and fourth quarters, and dynasty managers have to settle with the fact that their players' day is done while players playing against them keep on scoring points. Darrell Henderson, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp had great days on Sunday but were pulled when the game got out of hand against the Texans. Jalen Hurts had his first bad game of the season because, for one, his team did not need a frantic fourth-quarter come-back to try to win the game. DeVonta Smith had his worst fantasy game of the season because the Eagles didn't need to pass the ball to beat the Lions. Playing bad teams like the Texans and Lions is a blessing and curse, and dynasty managers need to decide when their players face these teams.

The Football Team Is Full RBBC

  • Washington's running back by committee is killing Antonio Gibson's dynasty value. Gibson is battling an injury, but I think it may be more than that for him. Amazingly, they do not go to him in the passing game, given that he played receiver in college. J.D. McKissic is just too effective their offense. Of all the Washington running backs, he's the safest one to start. I started him the last two weeks in a PPR league and plan to keep him in the lineup until something changes, but I doubt anything will change to affect his role in the passing game. If anything does change, it will be what changed this Sunday as Jaret Patterson got way more involved in the game, even without Gibson being injured. Patterson had his highest snap counts of the season with 16, while McKissic had 32 and Gibson had 23. Ironically, they perfectly split touches with eleven each, but McKissic has the move fantasy impactful touches since 8 of his 11 were receptions. I was far lower on Gibson than most dynasty analysts in his rookie class, and I certainly looked to be in the wrong after his rookie year. Things are playing out how I thought this season, though. I didn't believe a hybrid college player could become an every-down NFL running back. It looks like I was right.

The NFC > The AFC

  • On my last observation, I often like to make an NFL observation more than a dynasty observation. This week I noticed how far superior the NFC is to the AFC. The battle to get to the Super Bowl in the NFC will be far more brutal than the AFC. Tennessee is now on top of the AFC after their overtime win and Cincinnati's surprising loss to the Jets, to whom Tennessee also lost a game. Tennessee, however, beat Buffalo a few weeks ago, the best team in the AFC, in my opinion. Baltimore also is among the top of the AFC, along with the Raiders, who are surprising. It's no contest when I compare the top AFC teams to the top NFC teams like the Cardinals, Buccaneers, Rams, Cowboys, Packers, and Saints. The NFC is far better than the AFC teams. The Bills are the only team I would consider in the same class as the NFC teams, except the Saints, though they just beat the Buccaneers. This year, the playoffs will be fun with the additional team allowed in, while only one team gets a bye week. Sadly, some NFC teams that are better than AFCs will get knocked out when that time comes.

Week Eight Waiver Wire

As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues, so the players I list here are for deep leagues only. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire, but if you're in deep dynasty leagues, these are the players I would make bids on this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.

I'm pretty excited about the options we have to choose from this week.

Taysom Hill

  • I rarely mention quarterbacks in the waiver wire article because, in superflex leagues, available backup quarterbacks are always the first priority to pick up in a starter that goes down to injury. That said, I mention Hill here because he is available in most of my one-quarterback leagues. In those leagues, he's the top priority pickup for me this week. It's uncertain whether he will be healthy enough to start, but I am sure he's who coach Payton wants to start. If he comes out of the concussion protocol this week, he's a player worth starting in lineups because of his cheat code as a runner. 

Jordan Howard

  • As mentioned above, Howard was called up late last week from the practice squad and immediately impacted the team. Howard has always been an underrated player that produces fantasy points even though he doesn't look good doing it. While Sanders is on IR, Howard will have a role in this offense and could help a dynasty team in a deep league with a few spot starts over the next few weeks. I picked him up in a few leagues last week just to see what happens. If I am hurting at the running back position in a deep league, I'll look to add Howard this week.

Tajae Sharpe 

  • This week, Calvin Ridley's surprising announcement that he's stepping away from the team because of mental health issues opened the door to Tajae Sharpe, and he became Matt Ryan's most targeted wide receiver. I've always liked Sharpe's talent, and he was a part of one of the worst dynasty trades I ever made during his rookie year. I'm hesitant to trust him again, but he may instantly become the most targeted player on the team behind Kyle Pitts. Pitts, Mike Davis, and Sharpe each had six targets on Sunday.

Carlos Hyde

  • Most dynasty managers will consider Hyde a more valuable waiver addition this week than I will. I believe he should be considered this week, given that he's likely to be the leading running back while James Robinson is sidelined with his injury. That said, he's not looked great this year, and I think it's more likely that the Jaguars mix in Dare Ogunbowale and Jamal Agnew, making them all irrelevant, especially since the offense is so bad. That said, It's wise to consider him this week if you have a droppable player or can open up a spot by moving a player to IR.

Ameer Abdullah

  • I mention Abdullah here for the deepest of leagues. Christian McCaffrey is coming back soon, rendering Abdullah mute in a few weeks. That said, the Panthers mixed him into the game quite a bit this week as the back who would spell Chuba Hubbard. Abdullah, a dynasty darling for one preseason, is a pro and could earn a more steady role while CMC is injured. If CMC's injury carries on all season like it did last year, Abdullah could prove more effective than Hubbard for this season.

Week Eight Trades

Trades are hard to grade in a vacuum since scoring systems are different in each league, and every team has a diverse roster construction. That's why I write about trades made in my leagues and give context for why the dynasty owners made the trades. I grade the trade, but in the context of what each team was attempting to accomplish with the trade.

Here are my thoughts on trades that took place in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.

One dynasty stud was traded this week, and other minor trades were made in my leagues.

Travis Kelce and Michael Gallup <=====> Mike Gesicki, and a 2022 1st round pick, 4th round pick, and a 2023 3rd round pick

  • This blockbuster trade was made between two brothers in my longest-running Freek League. One manager decided it was time to rebuild, while the other decided to make a run at a championship. I like both sides of the trade. Kelce is by far the best player in the trade, but at least the team that traded him got a tight end whose dynasty value is on the rise in the deal and a player six years younger. Kelce can't be traded without getting at least one first-round pick in the deal. The team getting Kelce will finish strong this season, so it's likely going to be a back-half of the first-round pick, which is why he asked for two more picks in the deal. The win-now team is loaded at running back and has Josh Allen as his quarterback, but his wide receivers lack top-end talent and depth. Kelce may not be enough to cover that weakness in his lineup, but I have plenty of teams where Kelce covers up a lot. The deal may look even better for him next year, depending on if Gallup gets signed to another team where he could be a solid WR-2 instead of the third wheel in Dallas. With two years of draft picks in the future, this trade will be fun to analyze this season and a few years from now

Logan Thomas <=====> Zach Ertz and Devontae Booker

  • I made this trade for Thomas because I like Thomas more than most dynasty managers. As I have said before, I often overpay on a trade just to get a deal done. I overpaid on this one, so on paper, I like the other side of the trade. I tried to buy Thomas from this manager for a few weeks but could not get a deal done. He has Saquan Barkley, so I figured throwing in his handcuff would get the deal done, and it did. I have plenty of running backs in that league, so I was willing to part with one backup. I have Ricky Seals-Jones on that team, so he is a startable player while waiting for Thomas to return from IR. The other manager in this league decided to go into rebuild mode this week. He was the one that sold Travis Kelce for the picks. He has Dawson Knox or Mike Gesicki as his future starter and now has Ertz for his depth. 

Myles Gaskin and two 2022 4th round picks <=====> a 2022 2nd round pick

  • The team that sold Gaskin sold him high after he finally had two good fantasy weeks in a row. His team is loaded at running back, and Gaskin would never see his starting lineup. He had been putting out offers for Gaskin throughout the week and finally found a taker. The team that acquired Gaskin was desperate at running back and needed at least one viable starter since the bye weeks started. The trade is close, but I think he overpaid. Sadly, Derrick Henry is his other starting running back, so things just got worse for him this season.

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