NFL Week 8 Observations | Everything You Need to Know

by Matt Babich · Matchups Start/Sit

This is NFL Week 8 Observations – Everything You Need to Know about Week 8! In Week 7, we targeted rising producers at the tight end position, correctly pounded the table for alpha receivers on lower-scoring teams, and were vindicated with our Week 6 call out on Emari Demercado. Without further ado, let’s get right into everything you need to know for the NFL Week 8!

Welcome to Demercado SZN (For real this time)

We were a tad bit early to the party, but Emari Demercado is indeed the Cardinals running back you want with James Conner out. Last week, the rookie paced the Cardinals backfield with 13 carries, five targets, and a whopping 80-percent Snap Share.

With his electric speed and projected opportunity, he’s a weekly RB2/flex consideration while Conner is out.

The Marvin Mims Turnaround

Marvin Mims logged a career-high 45-percent Route Participation on Sunday versus the Packers. It only yielded a single target, but this is a very promising sign for the rookie who’s been electric with few opportunities so far this season. Clearly, Denver is struggling to trade Jerry Jeudy. With the trade deadline looming on Oct. 31, Denver will soon either move Jeudy or cut their losses. Either way, expect Mims to get more involved in the passing game from here on out.

Jordan Love Prayer Yards

Through Week 7, no quarterback with at least 250 passing yards has a lower air yard to passing yard ratio than Jordan Love. Love has been uninspiring to say the least in his opening stint as a starter, ranking No. 31 in True Passer Rating and No. 33 in Clean Pocket Completion Percentage. Despite this, he ranks as QB8 on the season. He faces four defenses in the top-15 in QB Hurry Rate in his next six games, and seven of the highest-frequency blitzing defenses across his next nine games. We’re going to see a downswing in production from the first-year starter.

Minnesota, by the way, is one of these teams. They rank No. 13 in Pressure Rate, No. 6 in QB Hurry Rate, and No. 1 in Blitz-percentage. Love is going to get terrorized versus this front-seven and is a clear sit this week.

Buy-Low RBs

I’ll give you the cheat code for RB-trade targets. Look at backs who rank near the top in Weighted Opportunities, while underperforming in terms of fantasy points per game. Weighted Opportunities is very highly correlated with fantasy scoring (.93 Spearman Tau Correlation for any nerds out there), and helps us find underperformers who are seeing league-winning opportunity.

Right now, the easiest buy-lows are Josh Jacobs and Rhamondre Stevenson. Jacobs leads the league in Weighted Opportunities, but has struggled through a slow start to the season and injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s a risky play, but if Garoppolo can come back and stay healthy, Jacobs is a top-15 back. 

Stevenson, in my opinion, is the best RB trade candidate. Stevenson ranks No. 8 in Weighted Opportunities and has finished as a top-15 back in four of seven weeks. The key for Stevenson? Consistency. The Patriots, who found an offensive groove on Sunday, face a flurry of poor rushing defenses in games they should be competitive in throughout the remainder of the season.

Buy-Low on Devonta Smith

The Podfather says it best in this clip, but Devonta Smith is a massive buy-low candidate right now.

Smith has hit 15-fantasy points in his last three matchups against Washington (I’m rounding up a 14.8-point performance, sue me), and is the perfect candidate for a squeaky wheel game.

Implied Team Totals

Highest Implied Team Totals

  • Miami Dolphins (27.25)
  • Detroit Lions (27.25)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (27)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (26.75)
  • Baltimore Ravens (26.25)

This week presents quite the undesirable slate for DFS, with zero games crossing a 47 point-total and a whopping 10 games under a 45-point total. This presents a unique opportunity to capitalize on uncertainty and randomness.

My favorite games to attack this week are Jacksonville/Pittsburgh, Los Angeles Rams/Dallas, and shockingly Carolina/Houston. Jacksonville’s defensive struggles and offensive firepower should allow for, potentially, the league’s highest scoring game this week. For similar reasons, Los Angeles and Dallas are not far behind. I’m getting heavy exposure behind those two games and working in a Stroud/Collins stack with Thielen on the other side in the event that the rookie showdown turns into a defenseless shootout.

Lowest Implied Team Totals

  • Tennessee Titans (16.25)
  • New York Giants (17)
  • Cleveland Browns (17.25)
  • Arizona Cardinals (17.75)
  • Washington Commanders (18.5)

These teams have severely struggled to rack up fantasy production across the board. Normally, I’m willing to back certain teams, or players, on this list (Like the Saints just last week). However, I’m fully out on starting any player on these teams in DFS this week, with the possible exception of Darren Waller.

DFS Values: Dak Prescott ($6100), Breece Hall ($5900), Rhamondre Stevenson ($5400), Zay Flowers ($5600), George Pickens ($5600), Christian Kirk ($5900), Dalton Schultz ($3900)

Injury Report

Roschon Johnson

Roschon Johnson logged a full participation in practice on Wednesday, which is a promising sign for his return to play. He’s missed the past two weeks with his concussion already. With the length of his tenure in concussion protocol, Chicago may opt to rest their promising rookie another week after a D’Onta Foreman explosion last Sunday.

If Johnson clears protocol and suits up, he’s a risky flex play lining up against a porous Chargers defense but with very uncertain opportunity.

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson may never play again at this point. Kevin Stefanski made it clear that Watson’s injury is a “real injury.” This situation gets murkier by the week. All we know for sure is, with $230 mil guaranteed, Watson is in no hurry to return to play.

Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones has yet to be cleared for contact, indicating that he’ll likely be out again in Week 8. Brian Daboll has communicated that Jones will be the starter when he returns, but that may not be for a few weeks.

Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders practiced in full on Wednesday, a solid sign for his return to play in Week 8. It’s likely he’s active, but after Chuba Hubbard‘s dominance against Miami, there are now questions as to who is going to get the bulk of the work.

Brock Purdy

Brock Purdy entered concussion protocol after self-reporting symptoms on the flight home from Minnesota.

Given historical return-to-play timelines, it’s doubtful that Purdy suits up this week, leaving Sam Darnold to lead the 49ers offense.

DK Metcalf

DK Metcalf was limited on Wednesday. Given his injury and practice timeline, it’s likely that Metcalf returns to action this week.

Kareem Hunt

Kareem Hunt did not practice on Wednesday. No matter his availability status, Pierre Strong looks to get a lot of run this week either way. Unless positive reports come out quickly, don’t expect Hunt to dominate the backfield.

Tyreek Hill

Tyreek Hill did not practice on Wednesday, and no Dolphins player or coach is giving off positive signals. Waddle refused to comment on his availability, and Tua said that “somewhere down the line” they’ll get their WR1 back. Have your replacements ready for Hill this week.


Week over week, we’ve been paying attention to the right details and will continue to refine our process as we learn lessons from our losses. By continuing to attack the right matchups, and following the right usage and efficiency trends, we’ll continue to DOMINATE our fantasy matchups and DFS lineups. Happy hunting!