Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 8
You ever drink hot sauce and beer at the same time? Neither have I. But it does seem bold.
Not to be confused with baldness, boldness would be sporting a mohawk at the ripe young age of 75. In an unrealistic football analogy, boldness would be trading the best receiver in football for a washed-up running back with a huge contract. Ehhh, no one would be that stup... oh, nevermind.
For this article, we'll focus the boldness on fantasy football. Think of this piece like Taco Tuesday -- it's better when it's spicy, but the spiciness is not what it's all about; it's there to add flavor. The point here is not to hit on 100% of the predictions. After all, I'm not a vomiting hippo. The goal here is to uncover insights that can help us win some dough in fantasy.
Now, let's go drink a bottle of Tabasco.
(All predictions are for half-PPR and Yahoo scoring for quarterbacks.)
1. Ryan Tannehill Finishes as a Top-2 Quarterback
I could've predicted Ryan Tannehill ($7,500) to finish as the overall QB1, but where's the fun in that? On a main slate that features Russell Wilson ($8,700), Patrick Mahomes ($9,200), Lamar Jackson ($8,300), Aaron Rodgers ($8,400), and Josh Allen ($8,200), Tannehill still stands out as a great play. Go figure.
First off, the Tennessee Titans have the second-highest implied total on the slate, per our matchup Heat Map -- so there should be plenty of scoring for Tannethrill to participate in. Second, this matchup is quite titillating -- the Cincinnati Bengals just allowed Philip Rivers to finish as the QB8 and Baker Mayfield as the QB6. Including those games, those two rank as the QB21 and QB27 on the season. Tannehill is currently fantasy's QB9 in terms of fantasy points per game, and he's already had three games with 26.8 or more fantasy points in 2020.
Given that both of these teams rank inside the top-12 in neutral situation pace of play, an explosive shootout is not out of the question. Fire up Tannehill this week and reap the rewards.
2. Drew Brees Ranks Outside the Top-20 at Quarterback
One of the signal-callers with a higher salary than Tannehill is Drew Brees ($7,600). My advice -- don't bother.
The Chicago Bears are as tough of a matchup as it gets for opposing quarterbacks from a ceiling perspective. Not only has Chicago surrendered the fewest fantasy points to the position this season, but they've also allowed just one quarterback to score 20 or more fantasy points against them in their last 33 games. That's bananas.
As I mentioned in my start/sit piece, Chicago is a run-funnel defense of sorts. They're one of just five teams to allow a higher mark in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play than they do passing.
Brees has been outside the top-20 at the position twice this season. Week 8 could very well make that thrice.
3. Jamaal Williams Finishes as a Top-5 Running Back
Aaron Jones didn't practice all week and will be forced to miss a second consecutive game this week. In Jones' stead, Jamaal Williams ($7,000) finished as the RB4 last week, and I expect another top-five finish in Week 8.
Week 7 was the 18th time Williams had seen a snap share greater than 50% -- it was also the seventh instance in which he posted at least 17.7 half-PPR points in such a contest. The Minnesota Vikings boast a middle-of-the-pack run defense, literally ranking 16th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, but they have ceded at least 15.6 half-PPR points to four backs in six games.
Per our Heat Map, the Green Bay Packers are tied for the third-highest implied total on the slate, so scoring opportunities should be aplenty for Williams.
4. Brandon Aiyuk Finishes as a WR1
This is a spicy prediction, but if you think about it -- is it really?
The Seattle Seahawks have been hilariously awful against wideouts in 2020. They've basically the Adam Gase of allowing fantasy points to receivers. To date, Seattle has surrendered 8.8 more half-PPR points per game to the position than any other team. Eight receivers have recorded at least 18.2 fantasy points against Seattle -- for the record, that 18.2-point performance was ceded to Christian Kirk last week, and he finished as the WR12 with that line. 11 wideouts have posted at least 13.1 fantasy points. Seattle has surrendered the most receptions, second-most yards, fifth-most touchdowns, and the most half-PPR points to wideouts. Oh, would this be a good time to mention that they've already had their bye?
With Deebo Samuel expected to miss time due to a hamstring injury, Brandon Aiyuk ($5,900) steps in as the de-facto number one receiver. Jamal Adams looking iffy for Seattle definitely doesn't hurt the rookie's outlook. I like Aiyuk's chances of finishing as a WR1 in Week 8.
5. Jonnu Smith Finishes as a Top-3 Tight End
On a points-per-game basis, no team has surrendered more fantasy points to tight ends than the Cincinnati Bengals. In their last three games alone, Cincy has allowed at least 14.6 fantasy points to three different tight ends. For reference, 14.6 points would have been good enough for a TE3 finish last week.
Jonnu Smith ($6,100) has totaled just 2 receptions for 21 yards in his last two games, but his ceiling is sky-high in Week 8. Jonnu has already had multiple scores in two games this season, and it isn't far-fetched to think that he could make it three.
With the Titans banged-up along their offensive line, they've asked Jonnu to block more, resulting in fewer routes run. However, given that the Bengals have the third-lowest pressure rate in the league, that likely won't be the case this week. Fire up Smith as a high-end TE1.