The Fantasy 32 analyzes the NFL from a fantasy football perspective, with at least one mention of each of the league’s 32 teams. Though efficiency will be discussed plenty, the column will lean heavily on usage data, as volume is king (by far) in fantasy football. Use these tidbits to make the best waiver-wire pickups, trade decisions and lineup sit/start choices for the upcoming week and beyond. Be sure to check back each week of the season for a new version of the Fantasy 32.
Throughout the team-by-team rundowns below, I’ll be referencing “OFP” and “OTD.” OFP stands for opportunity-adjusted fantasy points. Imagine a league in which players are created equally. OFP is a statistic that weighs every pass/carry/target and converts the data into one number that indicates a player’s opportunity to score fantasy points, or his “expected” fantasy point total. For example, if a player has an OFP of 14.5, it means that a league-average player who saw the same workload in the same location on the field would have scored 14.5 fantasy points. FORP is the difference between a player’s actual fantasy point total and his OFP. OTD works the same way, except instead of fantasy points, it’s touchdowns. Volume is king in fantasy football, so this is not information you want to overlook.
That said, here is the post-Week 8 OFP leaderboard:
*Complete OTD and OFP positional leaderboards will be posted on ESPN+ this week.
Next, here are the players who exceeded their OFP by the largest margin this past week and are thus candidates to see a dip in fantasy production moving forward, assuming they see a similar workload:
And these players fell short of their OFP by the largest margin last week, and thus you shouldn’t be too quick to overreact to their performance when making lineup, trade or waiver decisions:
Arizona Cardinals: Christian Kirk has been active for six games this season and sits 27th among wide receivers in fantasy points during those weeks. His season started slow with three finishes outside the top 40, as well as a missed game due to injury, but he entered Arizona’s Week 8 bye with three straight top-30 weeks (including a pair of top-15 weeks). That’s the good news. The concerning news is Kirk has relied way too heavily on touchdowns, having scored two in each of his past two games. Kirk has five touchdowns on the season, but a 2.3 OTD suggests regression to the mean is en route. The high-scoring Arizona offense helps, but Kirk’s 15% target share (5.2 per game) leaves plenty to be desired. He’s no more than a flex against Miami in Week 9.
Atlanta Falcons: Brian Hill carried the ball 11 times for 55 yards and added two catches for 9 yards on three targets against Carolina on Thursday. Todd Gurley II out-snapped Hill 36-to-25 but wasn’t as productive, producing 46 yards and one touchdown on 18 yards while handling zero targets. Despite what we saw on Thursday, this isn’t a situation in which Gurley investors need to be alarmed. Note that Gurley entered the game with a 56% snap share for the season and played 53% against Atlanta. Hill’s 37% snap share was higher than his usual 26%, but not by a ton. Gurley entered the short week sitting second in the NFL in carries and was likely limited a bit in what turned out to be a run-heavy game for Atlanta. Gurley remains a fine RB2 with Hill no more than insurance.
Baltimore Ravens: With Mark Ingram sidelined Sunday, J.K. Dobbins played a career-high 51 (65%) of Baltimore’s offensive snaps. The second-round rookie shared the backfield with Gus Edwards (26 snaps), who left with an injury, but didn’t defer much to Justice Hill (two). Dobbins was his usual efficient self, producing 113 yards on 15 carries and 8 more yards on two targets. Edwards also ran well with a 16-87-1 rushing line but was targeted only once. Ingram remains dicey for Week 9, so if he remains out, Dobbins and Edwards (assuming he’s healthy) will remain flex options, especially in non-PPR. Note that the Colts are very good against the run (3.3 YPC allowed to RBs), so the more dynamic Dobbins will be the preferred play of the two.
Buffalo Bills: Zack Moss played 30 snaps (53%) against the Patriots on Sunday, marking the first time in his career that he paced the Bills’ backfield in the category. The rookie delivered the goods with a 14-81-2 rushing line, which wasn’t far off Devin Singletary‘s 14-86-0 line on 28 snaps. Though they were effective on the ground, both backs were targeted only once in the game. Moss is now up to 186 yards on 43 carries (4.3 YPC) in five games, but he hasn’t been targeted much (eight) and entered Sunday with one career touchdown. Both Moss and Singletary will be plenty involved moving forward, but Singletary will remain the best flex option until the rookie clearly overtakes him and creates some separation (which might not happen).
Carolina Panthers: Curtis Samuel caught four passes for 31 yards and one touchdown, adding three carries for 23 yards and an additional score against the Falcons on Thursday. Samuel entered the night averaging 6.7 touches and 49 yards per game this season, so his seven-touch, 54-yard effort was right on track with where he has generally been. Of course, his two touchdowns doubled his season total from his first six games. Samuel’s role won’t allow consistent scoring (he has 15 touchdowns in 44 career games), but six to seven touches per game is enough to keep him in the flex conversation (he has now produced back-to-back top-26 fantasy weeks). Samuel is available in roughly 65% of ESPN leagues.
Chicago Bears: Darnell Mooney caught five of six targets for a career-high 69 yards and one touchdown against New Orleans on Sunday. Mooney entered the week 21st in the NFL with 561 air yards, but 77th with 236 receiving yards, so it was certainly encouraging to see the usage translate into more production. Mooney’s strong showing was his first game this season over 52 yards, though he has now been targeted at least five times in six consecutive games. Mooney’s role suggests he’ll hit for the occasional big play, but Chicago’s struggling offense simply isn’t going to allow consistent production. Dynasty aside, he doesn’t need to be on rosters in 12-team leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tee Higgins posted a 6-78-0 receiving line on a team-high nine targets against Tennessee on Sunday. Incredibly, the rookie has now produced at least 62 receiving yards in five consecutive games. He has finished five of his past six outings as a top-35 fantasy receiver, and four of those were top-25 showings. Higgins has become a consistent target for Joe Burrow, handling six-plus targets in seven straight games. His 665 air yards rank 12th in the league. Fantasy’s No. 22-scoring wide receiver is headed to his bye week, but he’ll be a weekly WR3 play with upside for more down the stretch.
Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Landry was limited to a 4-52-0 receiving line on 11 targets against the Raiders on Sunday. We don’t want to get too caught up in the underwhelming production considering the two teams combined for 234 passing yards in extremely windy conditions, but Landry’s numbers aligned pretty well with where he has been all season. In fact, Landry has been above 35 yards but below 53 in seven of his eight games. Landry hasn’t caught a touchdown, though he did throw one in Week 4. The silver lining is Landry’s 11 targets on Sunday were his most since Week 13 last season and come in the team’s first full game without Odell Beckham Jr. There’s little reason to think Landry won’t be peppered with targets going forward this season as the team’s clear top wide receiver. Despite failing to produce a top-20 fantasy week in the first half, he’ll be a flex play following the Week 9 bye.
Dallas Cowboys: Ben DiNucci made his first NFL start Sunday night. The seventh-round rookie completed 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards and added five carries for 22 yards against the Eagles. DiNucci’s target distribution was as follows: Michael Gallup (12), Dalton Schultz (eight), Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb (five), Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson (two). Gallup’s heavy usage allowed a solid 7-61-0 receiving line, but it’s going to be hard to trust any of this team’s pass-catchers against the Steelers in Week 9. That includes Cooper, who was held to one catch for 5 yards (he wasn’t shadowed by Darius Slay) and Lamb (46 yards on five touches). Dallas has scored one offensive touchdown in three full games without Dak Prescott.
Denver Broncos: Phillip Lindsay exploded for a 55-yard touchdown run and ended up with 86 yards, compared to 47 yards for Melvin Gordon, against the Chargers on Sunday. Though the production gap was wide, the usage numbers don’t paint a good picture for Lindsay. The third-year back racked up six carries and three targets on 26 snaps (44%). That’s compared to eight carries and seven targets on 33 snaps for Gordon. Lindsay very well could pass Gordon on the depth chart at some point, but that doesn’t seem to be imminent. In four games this season, Lindsay has cleared nine carries once (a Week 6 game missed by Gordon) and has a total of four targets. Lindsay is not a good flex option but would be a fine RB2 if Gordon were to miss time.
Detroit Lions: Kenny Golladay went down with an injury on his 18th snap of Sunday’s game and did not return. The rest of the Lions’ WR snap distribution was as follows: Marvin Jones Jr. (59, 98%), Marvin Hall and Danny Amendola (41), Jamal Agnew (seven). T.J. Hockenson actually led the team in targets with 10, but Jones and Hall were next in line with seven each and Amendola handled four. Following a slow start, Jones put up 80 yards in Week 7 and found the end zone twice in Week 8. Golladay is expected to miss at least one week, so Jones, who led Detroit with 15 targets when Golladay was out during Weeks 1-2, moves up to must-start territory against a vulnerable Vikings defense in Week 9. Amendola (14 targets during Weeks 1-2) is a flex option in deeper PPR leagues, whereas Hall (four) and Quintez Cephus (13) are no more than DFS punts.
Green Bay Packers: Davante Adams has played four complete games this season. His receiving lines in those games are as follows: 14-156-2, 6-61-0, 13-196-2 and 7-53-3. Is that good? It seems good. Adams has been an absolute machine and is up to seventh at wide receiver in fantasy points despite missing 2.5 games. Adams has been targeted 55 times in his four full games (13.8 per game or a 38% share) and has three top-three fantasy weeks to his name. Aaron Rodgers‘ go-to target is the top wide receiver in fantasy, and the only thing that should scare you away in DFS is his escalating price point.
Houston Texans: When we last saw Houston in Week 7, Randall Cobb paced the team with 10 targets and converted the heavy usage into an 8-95-0 receiving line. It was a rare high-volume game for a player who hadn’t seen nine or more targets in a game since Week 3 of the 2018 season. In fact, Cobb entered the week averaging 4.7 targets per game since joining Houston. The 30-year-old slot man has posted only two weekly fantasy finishes better than 36th and none better than 18th, with his 7.2 aDOT not allowing many big plays down the field. Cobb is a borderline flex play, though he’ll be more appealing off the bye against a shaky Jaguars’ defense in Week 9.
Indianapolis Colts: The #FreeJordanWilkins movement (can I call it a movement if it’s only me?) had a good day Sunday, as Wilkins ran for 89 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, adding a 24-yard catch along the way. Wilkins shared backfield duties with rookie Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines throughout the first half but was clearly the most productive back, which led to a bulk of the touches down the stretch. All told, Wilkins played 38 snaps (51%), compared to 25 for Taylor and 16 for Hines. Taylor struggled to 31 yards on 13 touches, whereas Hines was limited to eight touches but found the end zone twice. The Colts figure to continue with Taylor as their lead back, but it’s clear the team isn’t afraid to roll with a committee if the second-round rookie is struggling. Taylor will be the best flex option against Baltimore next week, but Wilkins is well worth a bench spot after his big Week 8. Hines, by the way, has posted a pair of top-five fantasy weeks this season but has finished 28th or worse during each of his other five outings. He’s on only the flex radar in deeper PPR leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars: DJ Chark Jr. entered the Jaguars’ Week 8 bye after a first half of the season that was all over the map. Chark was a top-five fantasy wide receiver in Week 4 (30 points), but he managed no additional top-30 weeks, while also falling short of five points in two of his past three games. The good news is Chark’s volume has been high. After a slow start, he has handled at least seven targets in three of his past four games (8.5 per game). The problem has been efficiency, as he has managed 11 catches for 87 yards on 25 targets during his past three games. Chark remains Jacksonville’s No. 1 wide receiver, and he delivered a top-20 fantasy season with Gardner Minshew II in a weak offense in 2019, so there’s certainly reason for optimism here. His usage will make him tough to bench in Week 9, but it will be temping with rookie Jake Luton under center and after Chark posted a dud against Houston earlier this season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tyreek Hill exploded for a 4-98-2 receiving line on six targets against the Jets on Sunday. Hill’s targets have taken a hit this season (6.8 per game compared to 7.7 last season), which has led to him failing to clear six targets in six of his eight games. That’s not exactly ideal for a player you’re expecting WR1 production from, but the good news is that Hill has offset it with at least one touchdown in seven different games. Hill’s eight touchdowns pace all wide receivers, though his 3.0 OTD suggests regression to the mean is imminent. Even with fewer scores, fantasy’s No. 5-scoring WR remains an obvious every-week lineup lock in Kansas City’s elite offense.
Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III was held to 8 yards on four targets against the Browns on Sunday. The speedy rookie had a big showing against the Chiefs with 118 yards and a score a few weeks ago but has otherwise totaled 102 yards and zero scores on 15 targets. In fact, Ruggs was targeted five times in Week 1 but hasn’t cleared four targets in four games since. He has managed one weekly finish better than 46th. Ruggs’ speed makes him a threat for the occasional big game, but he shouldn’t be close to your starting lineup until his target share increases.
Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams caught five of eight targets for 99 yards and one touchdown against the Broncos on Sunday. Williams’ production has been extraordinarily inconsistent this season, as he has posted good receiving lines of 4-69-0, 5-109-2 and the aforementioned 5-99-1, but also bad ones of 2-14-0, 1-17-0 and 1-4-0. He handled at least eight targets in each of the three good games, but a total of eight in the three bad ones. The boom/bust nature of Williams’ game obviously makes him a risky start, but the good news is Justin Herbert has breathed life into the passing game with at least 264 yards and three touchdowns through the air in four consecutive games. Williams belongs on the flex radar.
Los Angeles Rams: Cooper Kupp was targeted 21 times against Miami on Sunday. He converted the heavy usage into an 11-110-0 receiving line in the upset loss. Jared Goff attempted 61 passes in the game, so Kupp’s target share was “only” 34%, which wasn’t far off his previous season high of 32% set in Week 3. Nonetheless, Kupp’s big day allowed his third top-20 fantasy week of the season and breaks a streak of three consecutive finishes worse than 33rd. Kupp has been targeted at least seven times in six consecutive games, so while his inevitable regression to the mean in the scoring department has limited his production, fantasy’s No. 15-scoring WR will remain a high-floor WR2/3 play once the Rams return from their Week 9 bye.
Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki combined for nine targets, four receptions, 26 yards and one touchdown in Tua Tagovailoa‘s first NFL start on Sunday. Miami built a big lead thanks to multiple big defensive and special-teams plays, which led to only 22 pass attempts and 93 passing yards for the rookie quarterback. Miami is unlikely to be nursing big leads most of the time, so there will be more passing volume in this offense, but it’s also very possible the Dolphins’ offense won’t have as much juice with Ryan Fitzpatrick out of the lineup. Parker, who scored the touchdown, is tough to bench, but he has managed only one weekly finish better than 22nd and three better than 40th this season. He’ll see a lot of Patrick Peterson in Week 9 and is a risky flex. Williams, meanwhile, should be on benches, and boom/bust Gesicki remains a borderline TE1.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins completed 11 of 14 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown against the Packers on Sunday. It was yet another low-volume game for a quarterback who has attempted 27 or fewer passes in five of seven games this season. Cousins has 12 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a grand total of 55 rushing yards to his name this season, which tells you a lot about his fantasy contributions. Cousins has yet to finish a week better than QB8 in fantasy points, and he has finished 17th or worse four times. Currently QB25 on the season, Cousins only has value in 2-QB leagues, and even then he’s a very low-ceiling play.
New England Patriots: With both Julian Edelman (IR) and N’Keal Harry sidelined, Jakobi Meyers caught six of 10 targets for 58 yards against the Bills on Sunday. The 2019 UDFA barely played earlier this season but now has six-plus targets and at least 58 yards in back-to-back games. The New England passing game has not been very productive with Cam Newton under center, and Harry (concussion) might be back next week, so it’s hard to recommend Meyers as a flex in most formats. Of course, the lowly Jets are on the slate in Week 9, so, if Harry remains out, Meyers will have some appeal. He’s a name to consider on waivers this week if you need short-term WR help.
New Orleans Saints: Taysom Hill rushed for 35 yards on five carries and added 30 yards and one touchdown on a pair of targets against the Bears on Sunday. It was thought that Hill would play an expanded offensive role in 2020, but that had not been the case prior to Sunday. Hill is now up to three pass attempts (38 yards), 19 carries (87 yards, 1 TD) and seven targets (53 yards, 1 TD) in seven games this season. He played 14 snaps on Sunday, which is right on his 14.4 per game average this season and just below his 15.1 average in 2019. Hill has tight end eligibility in ESPN leagues but had only cracked the top-20 once prior to Week 8. He’s not on the fantasy radar in the majority of formats.
New York Giants: Devonta Freeman was sidelined for Monday Night Football, which opened the door for Wayne Gallman to lead the Giants’ backfield. Gallman played on 30 snaps (44%), compared to just 20 for Alfred Morris and 19 for Dion Lewis. Gallman converted the usage into a 12-44-1 rushing line and added 18 yards on his lone target. Morris went for 8-28-0 on the ground and wasn’t targeted. Lewis caught a touchdown on one of his three targets, but didn’t have any carries. This obviously isn’t a backfield we can get too excited about and that will especially be the case this week against a Washington defense allowing the fifth-fewest RB fantasy points. If Freeman returns, he’s a flex option. If he remains out, Gallman has some flex appeal. Lewis and Morris shouldn’t be on rosters.
New York Jets: La’Mical Perine played 27 (48%) offensive snaps on Sunday and has now paced the Jets’ backfield in the category in each of the past three weeks. Unsurprisingly (considering the Jets’ despondent offense), Perine was unable to do much with the usage. He ran for 27 yards on eight carries and added 6 yards on two targets. Perine has managed 36, 56 and 33 scrimmage yards during his past three games. He has exactly two receptions in all three and a total of one touchdown on the season. The Jets’ offense has scored five touchdowns during its past seven games. Despite operating as a lead back, Perine is not touching the ball enough or producing well enough to warrant serious flex consideration in all but very deep leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor (43 snaps, 74%) and Dallas Goedert (49 snaps, 85%) returned from injured reserve and played substantial roles against Dallas on Sunday night. Reagor was third in line for snaps behind Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward, but wasn’t short on opportunities with six targets (3-16-1 receiving line) and one carry for 6 yards. Goedert was surprisingly limited to one target (1-15-0), though Carson Wentz attempted only 27 passes in the win. Philadelphia is headed to its bye week, but both players are fine to stash on your bench. That’s especially the case for Goedert, who was targeted 17 times during his two full games earlier this season. Reagor shouldn’t be in lineups right now, but high-pedigree rookies make for strong bench stashes when you have the space.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Eric Ebron posted a 4-48-1 receiving line on five targets against Baltimore on Sunday. The score was Ebron’s first since Week 3, though he has now reached 43 receiving yards in five of his past six games. That’s certainly not a game-breaking threshold, but he has done enough to produce back-to-back top-12 fantasy weeks and has also done so in three of his past five outings. Ebron’s average of 5.8 targets per game since Week 2 is enough to keep him in the weekly back-end TE1 discussion.
San Francisco 49ers: With Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. on injured reserve, the 49ers’ backfield snaps were as follows on Sunday: Jerick McKinnon – 33 (50%), JaMycal Hasty – 27, Tevin Coleman – 6. McKinnon managed to score a rushing touchdown despite losing 1 yard on three carries and added 40 yards on four catches. Hasty produced a 12-29-1 rushing line and added 2 yards on his only target. Coleman was busy out of the gate (three carries, 20 yards), but quickly left with an injury. The 49ers’ backs have an elite Week 9 matchup against a Packers’ defense that was crushed (again) by Dalvin Cook this past Sunday, but we’ll need to monitor Coleman’s health throughout this week. If he plays, it’s a headache. If he’s out, Hasty will be a very viable RB2 play, with McKinnon on the flex radar.
Seattle Seahawks: Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were sidelined Sunday, which opened the door for rookie DeeJay Dallas to play 53 (79%) of Seattle’s offensive snaps. The fourth-round pick struggled with efficiency (41 yards on 18 carries and 17 yards on five targets) against a very good run defense but bailed out those who had him in their lineup with a pair of touchdowns. Travis Homer was the team’s only other active back, and he played seven snaps. Considering Carson was a game-time decision, he figures to return against Buffalo this week, which would push Dallas well off the fantasy radar. However, if Seattle’s feature back remains out, Dallas’ Week 8 volume suggests he’ll very much in the RB2 mix.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Did Leonard Fournette take control of the Buccaneers’ backfield on Monday night? It sure seemed like it, at least after an early Ronald Jones II fumble. Even with Jones getting most of the early run, Fournette played on a massive 71% of the offensive snaps, compared to only 26% for Jones. Fournette ran the ball 15 times for 52 yards and added 19 yards on six targets. Jones was held to 23 yards on seven carries and managed 23 yards on four targets. Tampa Bay seems committed to a “hot hand” approach, but a healthy Fournette continues to emerge as the better fantasy option. Consider him to be a back-end RB2 play against a tough Saints run defense this week, whereas Jones is an uninspiring flex option.
Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis posted an 8-128-1 receiving line on 10 targets against the Bengals on Sunday. Davis is in the midst of a breakout campaign, having now managed either 69-plus receiving yards or a touchdown in all five of his games this season. That includes back-to-back games with 10 targets and one touchdown. During the five weeks he has been active, Davis is averaging 7.8 targets and sits 12th at wide receiver in fantasy points. Sometimes it takes a while for players to emerge into a force in the pros, and the 2017 fifth-overall pick certainly has the look of “this year’s DeVante Parker.” Davis has a very tough matchup against Chicago this week, but he’s certainly in the weekly WR3 discussion moving forward.
Washington Football Team: Earlier this season, we wondered if Logan Thomas‘ heavy usage could lead to fantasy success if Washington were to change quarterbacks. Interestingly, since Washington switched to Kyle Allen, Thomas’ usage has dipped, but his production has risen. In Dwayne Haskins‘ four starts, Thomas posted a 13-102-1 receiving line on 6.8 targets per game. He’s been targeted exactly four times in both of his full games with Allen, which has allowed lines of 3-42-1 and 4-60-1. Thomas entered Washington’s bye 15th at tight end in fantasy points and fresh off back-to-back top-10 showings. The former quarterback remains a solid TE2 option, though there is room for more if his target share increases.