Editor’s Note: The players listed below have been drafted in virtually every Yahoo Fantasy League. That said, this column is not an endorsement to bench them in Week 8. You control your roster; every league size and shape is different. What we are trying to explain is that expectations should be lowered this week compared to usual for some of the NFL’s biggest stars. Along with looking at this week’s matchups, this can also serve as a reminder not to overreact if one of your big names disappoints in Week 8.
Jones is coming off one of his best fantasy performances of the season, but he’s averaged just 8.5 carries for 21.0 rushing yards over the past two games and eclipsed three catches once all. the season. He will likely see increased goals again on Sunday night with Allen Lazard bumped and Aaron Rodgers a double-digit underdog for the first time in his career, but it’s a tough game. Buffalo has the No. 1-ranked rushing defense in the DVOA and has allowed just 3.5 YPC and the fourth-fewest running backs in fantasy points this season, including a minimum of 52.8 rushing yards per game in the NFL (nearly 20 yards shy of the next team). Jones has only managed 4.3 YPCs on the road this year, and Green Bay continues to be seriously lacking in good health David Bakhtiari. Rodgers is out with a thumb injury and the Packers have one of the lowest implied team totals. Jones will struggle to make it into the top 20 fantasies this week.
Trevor Lawrence vs Denver Broncos (London)
Lawrence’s fantasy value has been bolstered by three short scores over the past two weeks, but he has a 1:2 TD:INT ratio in three games since losing an NFL record with four fumbles. That’s despite a relatively easy schedule too, and this week the Jags are getting a defense from the Broncos giving up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and the fewest EPA/passes this season. This game is tied for lowest over/under (39.5 points) of the week in a game against a hobbled Russell Wilson leading Denver’s offense with the second-worst EPA/game. Lawrence historically performs better against the zone (the Broncos have used this coverage third among defenses), but he also struggles powerfully when under pressure; Denver ranks in the top five in pressure ratio. Expect Travis Stephen to carry Jacksonville’s offense to London, with Lawrence failing to produce the top 12 QB fantasy stats this week.
Samuel missed Wednesday’s practice after stretching his hamstrings last week. He apparently played through the injury, but with his history and San Francisco’s next pass in Week 9, it makes sense to rest him on Sunday (albeit in an important division game with the Rams). Samuel was already losing expected litters thanks to Trey Lance come down earlier this season and Christian McCaffrey joining the 49ers, and now there’s an injury that’s likely to limit him this week at best. With Brandon Aïyuk emerging, George Kittle currently healthy and CMC now in town, Samuel is also not needed as much as usual. You start Samuel in fantasy leagues if he’s active, but another tricky part is the late afternoon kickoff if he’s going to be a call during the game. Additionally, the heavyweight 49ers face a Rams defense with the fourth-lowest hit rate against them in the past three weeks.
[Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]
Prescott was either Impressive where he struggle when he returned to action last week, whichever stats you prefer. More gaming action would help, but Prescott is clearly regaining his full power. He’s only got 6.3 YPA despite playing two home games this season, and while it’s safe to expect a better performance in his second game after a thumb injury, Sunday’s game might not not be as favorable as the point spread suggests (Dallas is double-digit house favourites). Volume could be an issue, as the Bears defense has the lowest hit rate in the NFL. Chicago’s offense showed major signs of life Monday night, but the Bears travel for a short week to face a Cowboys defense that tops the league in pressure rating.
In other words, even with Ezekiel Elliott likely out, Sunday’s game scenario is unlikely to require Prescott to throw a ton (QBs are averaging just 188.3 passing yards against Chicago this season).
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