This is The Two Minute Drill: Fantasy Musings Week 8!
Dalton Kincaid SZN
Dalton Kincaid is finally happening, and it is glorious. In Week 7’s loss to New England, Kincaid caught all eight of his targets and finished with 75 receiving yards. In Week 8, the Kincaid hive was buzzing after Dawson Knox headed to the IR, and their enthusiasm was rewarded. Buffalo defeated Tampa Bay 24-18, and Kincaid scored his first NFL TD. He finished with five catches on seven targets and 65 receiving yards. Kincaid is a locked in TE1 for the rest of the season. The Bills have their long-term answer at the position, and the offense is trending up.
CeeDee Lamb Post Bye Week Bump
CeeDee Lamb entered Week 8 as WR24 overall. He was a prime candidate for a post-bye week bump-up in production and usage. Well, that bump turned out to be a mountain. Lamb exploded for 12 catches, 158 receiving yards, and two TDs. He also added a 12-yard carry. The Cowboys offense featured Lamb early and often, and he finished with the best fantasy performance in his entire career. Dallas rolled 43-20 and improved to 5-2 on the season.
In 2022, Lamb averaged 14 PPG over the first seven weeks of the season. From Weeks 8-18, he averaged 20.4. 2023 could prove to be a similar path for Lamb, and this sort of performance is a stark reminder to anyone doubting his talent or upside. Lamb will be a massive factor in the second half of the fantasy season and playoffs.
A.J. Brown is RIDICULOUS, DeVonta Smith Bounces Back, and Jalen Hurts Goes HAM.
Are you tired of reading about A.J. Brown in this column? I want to write about exciting performances from many players, but Brown makes that extremely difficult. Philadelphia won an exciting one over Washington 38-31. Brown continued his masterful start to the season and finished with eight catches for 130 yards and two TDs. He has now set the NFL record for most consecutive games in a row with 125 or more receiving yards with an absurd six games in a row. He is chasing greatness every week and could be this year’s league winner.
Brown was not the only fantasy standout. DeVonta Smith provided a huge sigh of relief for fantasy managers with a seven-catch, 99-yard, and a TD performance.
Will Levis and DeAndre Hopkins STACKING POINTS
Hopkins had his most productive fantasy performance since signing in Tennessee. He finished with four catches for 128 yards and three TDs. But the day’s story was not Hopkins. It was rookie QB Will Levis. Levis was the first rookie to pass for four TDs since Marcus Mariota. He displayed a cannon of an arm with three TD passes going for 30+ yards, including a 61-yarder. The talk of a QB split between Levis and Malik Willis was overblown, as Willis had two rushing attempts and nothing more.
Levis’ debut cannot be brushed aside. He showed poise and presence and led Tennessee to victory. Tennessee now faces off against a trio of challenging road games: Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville. Defenses will adjust, and Levis will be challenged, but Tennessee has found it’s answer at the QB position. Fantasy managers will make Levis a hot waiver wire pickup this week.
Diontae Johnson missed practice on Thursday, and there was a growing concern among fantasy managers that he suffered a hamstring setback. It was a rest day, and Johnson was back at Friday’s practice. Johnson had his first double-digit target game of the season, finishing with 14, and caught eight for 85 receiving yards. Throughout his career in Pittsburgh, Johnson has been a target magnet. Sunday was a reminder that when Johnson is healthy, he is a big part of the Pittsburgh game plan. He is a locked-in fantasy starter for the rest of the season.
Travis Etienne Volume Monster
Etienne SZN continued as Jacksonville won their fourth straight game. Jacksonville has found their offensive identity, and Etienne continued his run of scoring TDs. He carried the ball 24 times for a hard-fought 79 yards but added three receptions for a career-high 70 receiving yards.
He has had at least three receptions in all but one game this season and has scored eight touchdowns. Etienne is a locked-in top-5 RB, and the Jaguars are a team on the rise.
Injuries Mar the QB position
Kirk Cousins season comes to an excruciating end with a non-contact Achilles injury. This is a catastrophic result not only for Cousins, but Vikings fans and fantasy managers alike. Cousins’ season ends with him atop the NFL in TD passes with 18. The Vikings had turned their season around and are 4-4 with a dominant win over Green Bay. Now, they must scramble and attempt to trade for a veteran downgrade or go with rookie Jaren Hall. Simply brutal. T.J. Hockenson, Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson‘s season trajectories are all going to trend down.
Cousins was not the only QB who is now injured. Matthew Stafford injured his thumb. There was an ominous tone from Sean McVay, who said, “it doesn’t seem like it’s good.” Stafford will get an MRI, and a lot will be known regarding the severity of the injury- but expect him to miss some time.
Kenny Pickett suffered a rib injury that kept him out of the second half of Pittsburgh’s loss to Jacksonville. With Pittsburgh playing on Thursday, it is hard to imagine Pickett being ready to go. We could see Mitch Trubisky facing off against Will Levis.
Waddle-Hill Target Share Returns
In 2022, Hill and Waddle combined for a mind-numbing 51-percent of Miami’s targets. 2022 has been the Hill show, but in Sunday’s win over New England both WRs were heavily utilized. The dynamic duo combined for 56-percent of Miami’s targets, and both went over 100 yards and caught TDs. Waddle posted season highs in receptions, yardage, and targets. Hill is on a collision course with the most receiving yards in NFL history.
As good as the running game has been this season, Waddle and Hill frying opposing secondaries is Miami’s best path to the Super Bowl. There is no better combo in football (and yes, that includes Philadelphia).
Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson: Kings of New York
Garrett Wilson was terrific, finishing with seven catches for 113 yards on 13 targets. He is the best New York-based WR since Odell Beckham‘s years with the Giants, and Brandon Marshall‘s dominant 2015 season with the Jets. Wilson has had 25 targets in the past two weeks.
As good as Wilson was, the fantasy story of the day was Breece Hall. Hall had a season-high nine targets and a 26 percent target share. He caught six passes and finished with 76 yards, including a 50-yard TD reception. Hall has had four 40+ yard plays from scrimmage on the season. The rushing production was not there, but Hall finished with his third straight 20+ point PPR performance. He is a top 5 RB and a top 2 RB in dynasty.