Week 8 Fantasy Football Fallout

by Emerson Beery · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

Welcome to a comprehensive recap of the most significant fantasy football headlines emerging from the action-packed Week 8 of the NFL season. In this article, we’ll delve into the standout performances, potential game-changers, and the highs and lows that have left fantasy football managers pondering their roster decisions.

From star players facing unexpected challenges to emerging talents poised for a breakthrough, join us as we navigate the Week 8 fantasy football landscape.

Week 8 Fantasy Football Fallout

Kirk Cousins Season Shutters

Kirk Cousins was on his way to a career season in 2023. However, he suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the remainder of the season. An offense that led the league in pass attempts will now turn to Jaren Hall in Week 9 as their starter. With Nick Mullens still on injured reserve, the Vikings could turn to free agency or the trade market as well.

No matter who is under center for the Vikings, every player in the Vikings’ offense needs to be downgraded for fantasy purposes. Fewer pass attempts, total plays, and scoring opportunities mean that likely no player will be a fantasy starter in this offense going forward. Fantasy football managers likely don’t have a better option at the tight end position than T.J. Hockenson, but the ceiling will no longer be there. Carson Wentz is still a free agent and likely the only hope these players have.

Editor’s Note: This article was written before the Vikings acquired Joshua Dobbs. 

Purdy’s Puzzling Performance

After an incredible start to the season, Brock Purdy has come back down to Earth in the last few weeks. He has only finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback twice this season and has thrown five interceptions in the last three games. The reality is he was getting too much credit when they were winning and is taking too much blame now that they are losing.

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Brock Purdy Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Purdy is still first in yards per attempt though and has made a number of impressive throws in the last couple of weeks. Furthermore, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams have missed the last two games. With a soft quarterback schedule down the stretch, Purdy is bound to get back on track.

Nonetheless, he isn’t an elite quarterback yet and is a product of his situation. Purdy will be a borderline QB1 in most matchups if the players around him are healthy.

Dak Dazzles in Dallas

On the other side, Dak Prescott started off the 2023 season with five straight modest fantasy outings before exploding over the last two weeks. He’s finished as a top-3 fantasy quarterback in both games and has a 93.2 PFF Grade over that span. Despite all the negative press, Prescott is delivering, and that has translated to the pass catchers too.

What is the most notable difference? After averaging under seven yards per attempt the first five games, that has increased to 9.5 over the last two weeks. Unfortunately, the Rams and Chargers represent two of the worst pass defenses in the NFL as well. Prescott hasn’t exceeded above 34 pass attempts in four straight weeks either. The efficiency will come down, and he should settle into the back end QB1 territory for the rest of the season. This is a remarkable improvement from where we were just a couple of weeks ago though.

Tough Times for Tee Higgins

While the headlines will talk about Joe Burrow getting back on track, fantasy managers have a serious issue with Tee Higgins. Outside of a strong showing in Week 2 this season, he has under 25 fantasy points total in his other five performances. Higgins is also No. 56 in fantasy points per game and No. 81 in yards per route run. The offense appears to be finding its groove, but it hasn’t translated to Higgins’ fantasy production.

This is a trend that goes back far beyond this season. Since Week 1 of last year, Higgins has only finished as a top-20 fantasy receiver four times with a healthy Ja’Marr Chase. While he is a very talented player, he is No. 46 in target share in 2023. With such a dominant receiver in Chase, Higgins can’t pay off at a borderline WR1 ADP outside of stretches of unsustainable efficiency. Better days are ahead for Higgins, but he is better left on fantasy benches with matchups against Buffalo and Baltimore on the horizon.

Arthur Smith Stumbling With Style

Jonnu Smith throwing a pass with Kyle Pitts as one of his blockers about sums up the season for the Falcons. “Arthur Smith is winning” has been a favorite moniker, however, being embarrassed by a second-round rookie quarterback will keep that seat hot. No one has squandered as much talent as Smith this season, and that leaves Bijan Robinson as the only must-start in this offense.

Even Robinson hasn’t finished as a top-15 fantasy running back since Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite running more routes than any other running back and being No. 11 in yards per touch, he is only No. 33 in Opportunity Share. Tyler Allgeier continues to take a significant amount of the rushing and goal-line work. As a result, Robinson is closer to a high-end RB2 than a dependable RB1 down the stretch.

Sprain Spells Suspense for Stafford

Matthew Stafford avoided serious injury and was diagnosed with a UCL sprain following the Rams’ Week 9 loss. While he’s avoided the injured reserve list, he will be questionable ahead of their Week 9 matchup against the Packers. If Brett Rypien gets the start, Cooper Kupp is the only player that will belong in fantasy lineups. Even Puka Nacua won’t be a safe option as the offense could be a train wreck behind a poor offensive line.

More concerning though is the long-term effects of this injury and the upcoming schedule. The injury occurred on his throwing hand, which has hampered the fantasy production of quarterbacks in the past. The Rams also have Seattle, Cleveland, and Baltimore on the horizon, which will put plenty of pressure on Stafford. Ranking only No. 28 in the NFL in Pressured Completion Percentage, Stafford could struggle. Downgrade the Rams pass catchers for the foreseeable future and consider trading Kupp and Nacua now following this positive injury news.

DK Due for a Breakout

There is no question about it, DK Metcalf has been a disappointment to fantasy managers so far in 2023. He has yet to record a top-15 fantasy football wide receiver finish. Additionally, he is the WR27 in fantasy points per game. However, Metcalf is a buy in fantasy football leagues and is due for some bounce-back games down the stretch.

Despite his modest fantasy output in Week 8, Metcalf still received 14 targets and has a strong 24.4-percent target share on the season. Furthermore, he has an average depth of target of 13.5 yards but is only No. 58 in Catchable Target Rate. His poor luck is due to turn around, and he is still the wide receiver to own in this offense. Metcalf is a great trade target too with a fantastic fantasy playoff schedule for receivers (PHI, TEN, PIT).

Jahmyr Gibbs Gains Ground

Jahmyr Gibbs had the best performance of his career on Monday night. He was the RB1 in fantasy football leagues in Week 8. Gibbs recorded 152 rushing yards, 37 receiving yards, and a touchdown in a dominant performance. That marks two straight top-5 fantasy performances in a row for Gibbs who is coming into his own in the absence of David Montgomery. Fantasy managers are praying Dan Campbell fights his inner Arthur Smith and continues to give Gibbs usage when he returns.

Following their win against the Raiders, the Lions have a bye week upcoming in Week 9. Montgomery should be available for their next game as a result or shortly after. Nonetheless, there is no going back on the Gibbs hype train. Gibbs won’t see 26 rush attempts with Montgomery in the lineup. However, the promised receiving role has come. He’s received 15 targets over the last week. We know that role isn’t going anywhere. Gibbs will be a back end RB1 when he returns in Week 10 with a favorable upcoming schedule.