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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 8

Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Colts Raiders
Quarterback 18th 10th
Running Back 14th 12th
Wide Receiver 20th 9th
Tight End 8th 23rd
Defense/Special Teams 18th 9th
Vegas Line: Colts -3
Vegas Over/Under: 
50.5
  • Andrew Luck – Has a 15:6 touchdown-to-turnover ratio over his last four games. The Raiders are ranked 31st in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA.
  • T.Y. Hilton – Returned from a multi-game absence last week and scored two touchdowns. With Andrew Luck looking more like his old self with each passing week, Hilton his primed for a big day against the checked-out Raiders.
  • Marlon Mack – With 159 total yards and two touchdowns on 21 touches, Mack experienced his true breakout game versus the Bills last Sunday. In what projects as another favorable game script for the Indy ground game, Mack should again have a voluminous role. Update: Mack missed practice with an ankle injury, putting his status for Sunday in serious doubt. It’s unclear when or how Mack was injured, but if he plays he likely isn’t 100 percent. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins likely share touches in the event Mack is out.
  • Colts D/ST – The Raiders are now down their top wide receiver (traded) and top running back (injured), while it’s debatable as to whether the rest of the team has mailed it in as well.
  • Jared Cook – With Amari Cooper sent packing to Dallas, Cook’s team-leading 17.7 percent market share of team targets should only rise against a Colts defense that has allowed the 8th-most receiving yardage per game to opposing tight ends.
  • Eric Ebron – Was due for a stinker (3-31-0 in Week 7) after the tear he’s been on to start the season. With T.Y. Hilton healthy and playing well, Ebron’s target share is trending down, and the potential return of Jack Doyle (hip) could diminish it even further. Doyle has been practicing in a limited capacity all week and appears genuinely questionable for this contest.
  • Jordy Nelson/Martavis Bryant – These two are now the de facto no. 1 and no. 2 wideouts respectively for the Raiders. Nelson was already leading the Raiders wideouts with a 13.6 percent market share of targets, and showed in Week 3 he’s still capable of making big plays in the pass game so long as his QB can get him the ball.
  • Doug Martin/Jalen Richard – Raiders HC Jon Gruden dubbed Martin his “featured back”, though the former Buccaneer hasn’t been effective in that role since 2015, averaging 2.9 yards-per-carry across the two seasons since. Richard is already second on the team in target share (17 percent), though it’s unclear if Lynch’s absence will result in more carries. With the Colts only favored by a field goal, the necessary game script may not come to fruition for Richard to be a checkdown magnet.
  • Derek Carr– He’s got four touchdown passes in Week 4, and just three over his other five games played. Being without Amari Cooper and Marshawn Lynch won’t help Carr’s cause either.

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position 49ers Cardinals
Quarterback 8th 29th
Running Back 7th 1st
Wide Receiver 11th 22nd
Tight End 12th 27th
Defense/Special Teams 4th 2nd
Vegas Line: 49ers -1
Vegas Over/Under: 
42.5
  • Raheem Mostert – It’s hard to imagine Matt Breida (ankle) suiting up, so Mostert becomes the favorite for carries. Mostert put up 165 total yards over the last two weeks while sharing touches with Breida and Alfred Morris, while the Cardinals lead the NFL with 148.3 rushing yards allowed per game.
  • David Johnson – Faces the same 49ers team he posted his best fantasy performance of the season against back in Week 5 (71 total yards and two touchdowns). The Cardinals firing clueless offensive coordinator Mike McCoy can’t hurt either.
  • Cardinals D/ST – The floundering 49ers have given up 13 sacks and committed 12 turnovers over their past three contests.
  • George Kittle – Currently sits third in tight end receiving yards with 527. Kittle has been the Niners’ only consistent receiving option all season, which should continue into Week 8 against a Cardinals defense that ranks in the lower third of the NFL in terms of receiving yards per game allowed to the position.
  • 49ers D/ST – This contest is essentially a toilet bowl between two 1-6 teams, so the 49ers D/ST has streaming utility facing a Cardinals offense that has been one of the worst in the NFL, with only the Bills averaging fewer points per game.
  • Christian Kirk – The Cardinals leading receiver so far this season, Kirk faces a 49ers defense allowing the 9th-most receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts.
  • Marquise Goodwin – Followed up his huge Week 6 with just a 2-24-0 line on five targets last Sunday in the 49ers’ loss to the Rams. The Cardinals have been a tough bunch against opposing wideouts this season, allowing the second-fewest air yards per contest and the fewest WR touchdowns (4).
  • Larry Fitzgerald – Caught his first 2018 receiving touchdown last Sunday, though Fitzgerald still hasn’t gone over 40 receiving yards since Week 1, as it’s possible the veteran continues to by slowed by a balky hamstring.
  • Ricky Seals-Jones – Continues to be inconsistent as ever, trading decent fantasy performances for non-existent ones (2-12-0 on four targets in Week 7).

Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Packers Rams
Quarterback 23rd 28th
Running Back 21st 22nd
Wide Receiver 16th 26th
Tight End 24th 9th
Defense/Special Teams 21st 28th
Vegas Line: Rams -8.5
Vegas Over/Under: 
56.5
  • Robert Woods – His 5-78-0 in Week 7 was his lowest receiving output since Week 1, which illustrates how consistent Woods has been all season long. With Cooper Kupp (knee) all but ruled out, Woods should continue serving as the focal point of the Rams passing game.
  • Todd Gurley – With three more touchdowns last Sunday, Gurley’s 16 game pace is now 32, which would be an NFL record if he’s able to keep it up. With the Rams favored by 9 over the visiting Packers, it’s a likely assumption the Rams look to control the clock with their stud running back in an effort to keep their opponent’s vaunted offense off the field.
  • Aaron Rodgers – With a bye week to rest his ailing knee, Rodgers is expected to be close to full health heading into this matchup. The Rams have been excellent at limiting opposing signal callers this season, though Rodgers has proven he can thrown on anyone.
  • Davante Adams – Taken his game to a new level with at least 132 receiving yards in each of his last two contests, and six scores through six games. Adams will be peppered with targets as the Packers figure to be playing catchup with the Rams most of the afternoon.
  • Jimmy Graham – The Rams allow the 7th-most receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends.
  • Jared Goff – He’s failed to clear 202 passing yards each of his last two contests, and has just three touchdown passes over the last three. The Packers are allowing just 212 passing yards (5th-fewest in the NFL) and 1.7 passing touchdowns per  game this season.
  • Brandin Cooks – Amassed just 6-117-1 on 11 targets over two games since suffering a concussion in Week 5. The Packers have been pretty good at defending opposing wideouts this season, allowing just the 9th-fewest receiving yards per game to the position. In another contest where the Rams are heavily favored, Cooks involvement could wane in the second half if the Rams are up big.
  • Rams D/ST – Not in a great spot playing against a Green Bay offense that can score points at will and ranks near the bottom of the NFL in terms of turnovers committed this season (8).
  • Packers Running Backs – A true three-way committee, the Packers went into the bye week with no clear touch leader. Maybe the team re-evaluated things during the off week, though as it stands Ty Montgomery appears to be the most likely candidate for fantasy relevance in this contest given his acumen as a pass catcher. Jamaal Williams leads the team in running back snaps, though it’s been clear through six weeks he’s not the full-time answer at the position. Aaron Jones is averaging a gaudy 5.9 yards-per-carry, but has yet to touch the ball more than 12 times in any of his four games played.
  • Geronimo Allison/Randall Cobb – Both were limited participants in practice all week coming off hamstring injuries, and both are risky yet high upside plays in a potential shootout given we don’t truly know where each guy is respect to their health.

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Saints Vikings
Quarterback 3rd 9th
Running Back 28th 27th
Wide Receiver 1st 27th
Tight End 31st 6th
Defense/Special Teams 31st 19th
Vegas Line: N/A
Vegas Over/Under: 
52
  • Michael Thomas – Even with CB Xavier Rhodes in the lineup when these two teams faced off back in the NFC Divisional Semi-Finals, Thomas roasted the Vikings secondary to the tune of 7-85-2. Rhodes is doubtful for this contest with an ankle injury.
  • Drew Brees – Generally matchup-proof anyhow, the Vikings allow the 8th-most passing yards per game.
  • Kirk Cousins – Hasn’t finished as a QB1 in three weeks, though that should change Sunday. The Saints defense allows 294 passing yards and 2.1 passing touchdowns per contest, and are ranked 30th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
  • Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs – Not sure what more needs to said about Thielien, as he’s playing like the best wide receiver in the NFL right now. Diggs has just 66 receiving yards over his last two contests, and hasn’t scored since Week 2, but should be in for a huge bounceback here. Per Football Outsiders, the Saints are allowing a whopping 106.9 receiving yards to no. 2 receivers.
  • Alvin Kamara – Led the Saints in Week 7 touches with 19, which he turned into 75 yards and a score. The Vikings present a similarly tough challenge as the Ravens, though Kamara’s versatility should give him a steady floor.
  • Tre’Quan Smith – Trending up with a 73 percent snap share as he makes a push for the Saints’ no. 2 receiver role while fellow wideout Cameron Meredith played just 25 percent of the team snaps and was not targeted in the pass game.
  • Mark Ingram – As expected, Ingram struggled last week with just 32 rushing yards on 12 carries against the Ravens stout defensive front. This matchup isn’t much better as the Vikings allow just 73 rushing yards per game to opposing backfields with just one rushing score given up on the year.
  • Latavius Murray – Has found a groove the past two weeks with 224 rushing yards and three scores over that span, and there are rumors circling that Dalvin Cook may be held out through the Vikings’ Week 10 bye. Murray will be hard-pressed to find success in this matchup, however, as the Vikings are the NFL’s best at containing enemy ground attacks (47.7 rush yards per game allowed on the ground to running backs).
  • Kyle Rudolph – The Saints are among the NFL’s best with just 34 receiving yards per game given up to opposing tight ends. Rudolph is in a slump anyhow with just 15-151-0 over his last four games played.
  • Vikings D/ST – Down two of their top three cornerbacks, the Vikings defense will have a tough time keeping a Drew Brees-led offense from scoring points.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Patriots Bills
Quarterback 6th 27th
Running Back 13th 9th
Wide Receiver 15th 28th
Tight End 5th 21st
Defense/Special Teams 26th 1st
Vegas Line: Patriots -14
Vegas Over/Under: 
44
  • James White – New England’s do-it-all running back finds himself in the driver’s seat for this contest, as teammate Sony Michel (knee) is out for at least this contest if not longer. Buffalo has allowed 143 combined rushing/receiving yards per game to opposing backfields, while ceding 9 scores to the position.
  • Tom Brady – The injury to Sony Michel likely puts more emphasis on the pass for the Patriots, though how much of it will they truly need to do in a contest that sees them favored by two touchdowns?
  • Kenyon Barner – This call could look very dumb or very smart come Tuesday morning. The Patriots haven’t added any other backs to their active roster, so right now it’s looking like the White and Barner show for MNF. The Patriots have never used White in a bell-cow role, so we could see plenty of Barner milking the clock in the second half while the Pats sit on a lead. One thing I’ve learned with the Pats over the years with respect to their backfield is to expect the unexpected.
  • Julian Edelman – Hasn’t gone over 60 receiving yards in a game yet this season, though Edelman should be relied upon a little more in the short passing game as an extension of the Patriots’ wounded rushing attack.
  • Rob Gronkowski (back) – Expected to play after logging limited practices all week. Gronk hasn’t looking like his usual dominant self this season, as he’s currently sitting on just one receiving score. Even more shocking is that Gronk has been targeted inside the 20-yard line just once in six games played. This matchup could be the magic elixir that jumpstarts Gronk’s 2018 second-half, as he’s averaged six catches for 104 yards and scored 7 times across seven career games played at New Era Field (formerly Raymond James Stadium).
  • LeSean McCoy – Expected to clear the concussion protocol by Monday. McCoy should be force-fed touches as the Bills don’t have anyone else to turn to in this offense.
  • Josh Gordon/Chris Hogan – It’s tough to say which of these guys will get stuck with Bills CB Tre’Davious White in coverage, but either way, outside receivers have been fairly touchdown-dependent against Buffalo. Hogan in particular figures to take a step back in the production department with Rob Gronkowski likely returning.
  • Bills Pass Catchers – Led by journeyman Derek Anderson at quarterback, there’s little hope for anyone in this offense other than McCoy (and even he’s one that makes you hold your nose). Kelvin Benjamin was at least able to rekindle some of he and Anderson’ Carolina magic, as the two former Panthers hooked up for 4-71-0 last week. Charles Clay has the best individual matchup, but has failed to clear 40 receiving yards or four catches in any 2018 contest.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.