Relentless like the Cleveland Browns run at 0-16, here’s the Fantasy Impact for Week 8.
Welcome back, 88: Talk about your happy returns, Dez Bryant’s first game back in weeks showed that he still enjoys torturing the Eagles. In his last three games against Philly, he’s had 331 yards and five touchdowns. His 113-yard and one TD performance Sunday night also provided further public fantasy confidence in Dak Prescott too. Bryant had 14 targets - double what any other Cowboys passing option posted. It wasn’t always like that in the past, as in the first three games of the season Bryant averaged seven targets from Prescott and led in targets only once.
Now with Bryant back in the fold (and as long as Tony Romo stays sidelined) Dak should be an every week start going forward with some great matchups on the horizon - especially in the fantasy playoffs. Coming up on the schedule: Browns (25th against the pass), Steelers (26th) Ravens (6th), Redskins (15th), Vikings (4th) Giants (22nd), Bucs (23rd) and Lions in Week 16 (19th).
No Julio, no problem: All hail Matt Ryan. Seriously. Ryan posted 288 yards and three touchdown passes even without a shut-down Julio Jones offering almost any help. Ryan leads the NFL in yards and it’s not like all the Falcons do is throw - he’s 17th in passing attempts per game but averaging 329 yards a game and while we’re at it, has a league leading 19 touchdown passes. For a while it seemed like all we kept doing is adding qualifiers like “wait till he plays Denver or Seattle …”. The win over the Packers proved Ryan could do it without the best receiver in the NFL and with the running game sputtering (Thanks for the TDs, Devonta Freeman, but we’re looking at you). No. 2 receiver Mohammed Sanu is a good flex play and showed he can be the top target for the Falcons with his performance on Sunday.
Carr Alarm: After back to back one touchdown pass games for Derek Carr, the Raiders QB enjoyed one huge bounce back performance Sunday. Carr - believe it or not - is the third leading passer in yards. But as fun as the Raiders are at times, they’re equally as frustrating (See: Murray, Latavious). Remarkable, Carr’s four touchdown pass performance was his second of the season yesterday, but also raises a question. About half of his 17 scoring passes came in two 4-TD days, while he’s also posted four games with only one touchdown in each. QB play has been up and down for many this season but it’s hard for me to trust Carr unless I’m being matchup specific.
While he’s posting yards pretty consistently, his touchdown production is lacking despite the great weapons around him. I guess, in the spirit of election season, when it comes to starting Carr, we should “Trust, but verify.” That concludes the political talk of this column, and I do approve of this message.
Catch this: Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins are locked in a dual for biggest first round bust with neither providing much hope. It’s not only hard to start them every week, but we’re getting into the territory of fighting the ability to even roster them. Both are victims of bad quarterbacking and I know it’s not really their fault, but when you’re talking Average Draft Positions of late first round, top of round 2, it’s been nightmarish for owners.
Even though I’ve heard some fantasy pundits talk about buying them low - I can’t endorse it. Both are fantasy poison that I want nothing to do with. Both have three touchdowns and then, there’s the yards.
Hopkins has one 100-yard game and on the flip side, has five games of 50 yards or less this year including his 4-yard game - repeat, game -- against the Titans. Robinson has not gone over 72 yards this season, and his shining moment came with a 9-yard game against the Raiders.
Weirdly, Blake Bortles has had bigger individual games than Brock Osweiler, yet Hopkins is the one with slightly better yardage (and although the Jags have better secondary targets, nobody is doing that well). Bottom line - keep both on your rosters as much as it may pain you and don’t drop them. And keep scanning the waiver wire for more consistent options.
I want out of the (team name) business:
Seahawks. Everything was set for Russell Wilson and Co. to wreck house on the Saints, which came in as the 32nd ranked defense. Then came a 250-yard no touchdown performance by Wilson - by far the biggest non-injury disappointment in fantasy - and only 40 yards from Christine Michael (who had at least had the decency to add a scoring run). I never advocate dropping players out of sheer fury, but Wilson, Baldwin and anyone else in the passing game I am just about over. To wit, Wilson has gone THREE GAMES IN A ROW without one touchdown pass and four games total. He only has one game of more than one TD pass and two others with only one. Rushing-wise he’s battled injuries, but is still on pass to rush for 88 yards this season with zero scores.
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David Komer is a web producer/multimedia journalist for FOX 2. He is a former fantasy sports columnist for SportsIllustrated.com where he wrote for three years and he has won more than 20 Michigan Press Association awards in news and sports coverage in his career.