Which changing passing game landscape has the best chance to pay off in Week 8?
- Michael Roberts back healthy, two touchdowns in Week 7
- Any other depth charts changing with Week 8 adjustments in mind
- The injury to Albert Wilson should lock Danny Amendola into heavy volume, especially while Brock Osweiler remains under center. Osweiler is doing everything he can to avoid mistakes and it has translated into nine targets per game for Amendola out of the slot. Kenny Stills' injury benefits DeVante Parker in theory, but Osweiler's top outside receiver is not one we should care about in any fantasy format. The seemingly toxic relationship between Parker and the team doesn't help matters. As long as Amendola's shoulder injury checks out, he's a nice PPR value on slates that include the Thursday night game.
- We're coming off back-to-back games in which Amari Cooper received one target and none of the Raiders pass-catchers benefited. Why should we expect things to play out differently now that Cooper has been traded? Things may actually get worse for the Raiders remaining receivers without a true WR1 to divert the attention of opposing defenses. Maybe the added snaps make Martavis Bryant, who still has theoretical big-play ability, worthy of limited exposure in GPPs, but the Cooper trade shouldn't move the needle for Jordy Nelson or Jared Cook.
- Michael Roberts' two-touchdown performance is more of an indictment of Miami's linebackers than a sign he's ready to become a reliable contributor in Detroit. Don't be afraid to go back to the Lions wide receivers after a disappointing Week 7 in which Matthew Stafford only had to throw the ball 22 times.
All of these situations are unattractive. If I had to pick one, it would be the Lions because Roberts is a physical freak who needed to learn how to play football consistently, and he's got compelling supporting castmates such that he'll always be a lower priority for opposing defenses.
I've been off the Raiders all year and I'm not changing positions now that the fire sale is underway. I like Sam Darnold long term but he's inconsistent and Kearse and Herndon are boom-bust flex plays, at best, in ideal circumstances. The Dolphins are a must avoid because we're dealing with no Stills, no Wilson (maybe) and Brock Osweiler.
These are all ugly situations, but that can sometimes lead to the best value when it comes to finding low priced options in DFS. I am tempted to say the Raiders, because Nelson and Cook have had their moments so far this season, and you know that Jon Gruden is going to throw the ball. The problem is that all of the Raiders pass catchers benefitted highly from having Cooper on the field drawing coverage away from them, and there isn't one player in that group who you can stand up and say, this is a #1 option.
Therefore, my choice is the Jets. Robbie Anderson is a difference maker when given the correct amount of targets that give him multiple opportunities down the field each week. Jermaine Kearse was a dud last week, which was super frustrating for all of the owners who remember the consistency he posted last season, but I am willing to give him another shot. Chris Herndon, Phil's favorite sleeper tight end, produced well the last two weeks when given a shot, scoring touchdowns in both games and averaging 16.3 yards per catch on six receptions. In the last two weeks, Sam Darnold is averaging 36 attempts per game, which is more than enough targets to go around for this passing game. Throw in the fact that they are road underdogs at Chicago, and Anderson,Kearseand Herndon have considerable value at their respective salaries.
I like Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen this week against the Saints. New Orleans has been fantastic against opposing backs, which should force Minnesota to be one-dimensional. The Vikings are great for daily fantasy purposes because we can bank on a huge chunk of the passing targets to go to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs each week. Thielen looks like a lock for 10+ targets and 15+ seems entirely possible.
Someone, anyone, has to fill the void in Oakland. Jordy Nelson is the lazy man’s answer, but he’s yet to establish a rapport with Derek Carr. If we take away Nelson’stwolong, broken-play catches in the first quarter of Week 3, he’s sitting on just 196 yards on the year. (No, it’s not fair to strip away a guy’s two best plays. But those were both wide-open jaunts through shattered coverages and weren’t exactly projectable achievements.) Even when Cooper has disappeared, Nelson’s role hasn’t beefed up at all. Given Carr’s timid play, Jared Cook seems like the primary beneficiary. He’s been sure-handed, and he’s working the seams quite well. I’m bracing for a bucket of ugliness when Carr goes downfield, and a handful of weeks in which Cook draws 10+ targets as the lifeblood of the passing game.
Michael Roberts’ Week 7 was likely little more than a flash in the pan. But there’s a reason we all remember the names of Tony Scheffler, Joseph Fauria, and Will Heller. All were reserve tight ends that Matthew Stafford loved to feature near the goal line, and all posted bloated touchdown marks at unpredictable times. Like Andrew Luck, Stafford has a deep, abiding love for the size and catch radius of a tight end when he’s near the end zone. Roberts is a suicide play, for sure, but he could pay off.
I don't mind taking some shots on Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook and might even slot them into cash games. As for MartavisBryantI will pass on him for this week in cash games and maybe put him in a GPP lineup or two. Nelson looked the part in Weeks 3-5 as he had touchdown receptions in all three games. As far as receptions and yardage go he is not putting up huge numbers there but that could change with Cooper out of the picture. This could be a fun team to load up on right now in GPP's as Derek Carr has been having some frustrating games and maybe the crowd will be off of him and you can get some lower ownership if you wanted to stack Carr with Nelson and Cook.
You’d like to have a bigger sample size from Roberts than three targets in one game, but now that he’s healthy, he’s worth taking a chance on. The tight end landscape is very top heavy and the middle of the pack is mostly determined by which tight end can score. If Roberts is a red zone threat again this week, his low salary will give him a great chance to exceed GPP value.
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