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Things I Learned in Fantasy Football: Week 8 – NFL.com


Takeaways from Week 8 as told by the tweets of the Fantasy Stronghold.

You can start him in the rain. You can start him while in Spain. He can throw from in the box. He can run in just his socks. He can score big on the road. So far he can not be slowed. Okay, I’m done Seussing. Let’s get down to it. Deshaun Watson is a beast. He’s matchup-proof at this point. And if you were fortunate to pick him up to pair with another quarterback, you can go ahead and try to trade your other guy. The even better news is that Watson’s success is boosting everyone else in Houston. DeAndre Hopkins is back to being an elite fantasy receiver. Will Fuller has become a touchdown machine and even Lamar Miller has added quite a bit of PPR value. There’s still a lot of season to go but Deshaun Watson is my current leader for Fantasy MVP.

Speaking of Will Fuller … seven touchdowns on 13 catches?! That’s just stoopid. There will come a week where he doesn’t score a touchdown. The Law of Averages demands such a thing to be true. Yet when it inevitably happens, the fantasy football world at large will likely be angry and confused.

*extremely Skeletor voice* You have foiled me this time, Cam Newton! But I won’t be tricked so easily again!

This was supposed to be the week that you could count on Cam. A bad (and banged-up) Buccaneers defense that can’t pressure the quarterback was ripe for the taking. Instead, Newton left you with a rotten fantasy apple after throwing for 154 yards with a touchdown, a pick, and just 12.56 fantasy points. Entering Week 8, Newton was the QB9 for the season — a fact that is misleading when you consider a three-week run that saw him score 33.04, 26.20, and 20.66 fantasy points. Beyond that, he hasn’t topped 14 fantasy points in any game. Sunday’s game was the most favorable matchup Newton will see for awhile, which makes his failure to exploit it even more frustrating. He should be back on the bench until further notice.

We haven’t had the big breakout game from Christian McCaffrey that many of us hoped for but he is on pace for nearly 100 receptions which are making him a pretty valuable PPR option. He’s also one of the more reliable players in the Panthers pass attack as the man who leads the team in overall scrimmage yards. Although, being “the most reliable Panther” is a low bar, at the moment. Nonetheless, if you’re in a PPR league, this is a guy that you want to hold on to … or make a move for.

When I made my preseason proclamation that Jameis Winston could be a top-10 fantasy quarterback this year, it was with the caveat that he would have to rein in his propensity to commit silly turnovers. On Sunday, Winston tossed a pair of picks while also losing a fumble. Surprisingly, his overall giveaway numbers for the season have been pretty low. The bigger issue has been an inability to consistently connect with his playmakers in the passing game. The dream certainly isn’t over for Winston to crack the top-10 this year, but right now the Bucs offense needs to show something.

Credit where credit is due — Josh McCown has been a pretty quality fantasy quarterback this season. He entered Week 8 as the QB13 overall and delivered his third straight 20-point fantasy performance with a pair of touchdown passes against the Falcons. Don’t be fooled into thinking that he has become an every-week starter — he’s not. But as a matchup-based play, McCown has incredible value. With games upcoming against the Bucs, Chiefs and Chargers, McCown could get a couple more chances to make plays for you.

There was some thought going around that the Bears defense wasn’t particularly great on the road. Maybe they meant weren’t great outdoors on the road? *shrug emoji* Chicago’s defense limited the Saints to 20 points in the Superdome and prevented Drew Brees from throwing a touchdown pass. The seven fantasy points might not be eye-popping in a week where the Ravens nearly dropped a 30-burger but they’ve offered a pretty good level of consistent fantasy production week-in-week-out. Chicago has the look of a top-10 fantasy defense for the rest of the year.

After going nuclear in Week 7 against the Chiefs, Cooper came back to Earth with a thud in Week 8. Though, it was to be expected. The Raiders were traveling east to play a morning game in rainy conditions against a pretty tough defense. Nothing in this script worked in Cooper’s favor, so his 52 total yards shouldn’t have been a surprise. The issue is that he doesn’t have a lot of favorable matchups in the near future. If you didn’t move Cooper in a trade before this week, you might have missed your chance.

Wait…what?”

* If the Ravens defense remains the scoring leader at that position after Monday Night Football, it would make five out of eight weeks in which a positional scoring leader came from the Thursday night game.

* The duo of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller combined for 349 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Only two quarterbacks had more passing yards than that. One of them was Deshaun Watson.

* Your Week 8 targets leader heading into Sunday night? Jack Doyle with 14.

* The Giants did not allow a touchdown to a tight end this week. In a related story, the Giants had a bye.

* Defenses that scored as many or fewer points than you this week: Texans, Dolphins, and Raiders.

* TE Watch: Tight ends were actually pretty good this week. The only outlier was Eric Tomlinson who had 20 yards and a touchdown to land in the top 10.

And one for the road…

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. He would appreciate if the people who schedule sports wouldn’t put two of his favorite teams playing opposite one another. The tilt potential is too strong and he’s getting too old to handle that kind of stress. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated. Tweet him about your stress-inducing scenarios on Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. He also dishes out fantasy advice — and life shenanigans — on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (marcasg9)

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