15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 8
At this point, you probably have a pretty good idea of your chances at a fantasy football championship. We're seven weeks in. Sample sizes are growing. We've started to establish who's good this season and who's not.
In turn, some of you are planning far into the future. You may be sitting with six or seven wins right now, and all you're thinking about is how you can get your team ready for the fantasy playoffs.
Others... well, let's just say you're ready to switch things up in order to get lucky before the playoffs start.
Regardless of where your team is at, something to keep in mind is that the transactions that you'll be reading from here on out aren't always going to be straightforward. You can headline read all you want, but some transactions may be for the undefeated teams out there, while others may work better for squads who are in desperate needs for wins, like, yesterday.
The first transaction this week is a good example of that.
Note: The transactions each week are not in order of importance.
Buy Javonte Williams
Typically, a running back in a timeshare who's coming off a game where he scored a touchdown would be a sell candidate. But not Javonte Williams.
Williams' peripheral numbers aren't special this season. He's one of 30 running backs with a running back rush share of 46% or better, and his target share is still south of 10% on the season.
In a game where volume is everything, why buy Williams?
For a few reasons.
Williams has inherent upside if anything were to happen to backfield teammate Melvin Gordon. He'd skyrocket to being a fringe RB1 -- maybe even a full-blown one -- if Gordon was injured.
And what if that just naturally happens without an injury? Williams is a high-profile rookie who's flashed his tackle-breaking brilliance this season. Is it crazy to think that Denver could just simply lean on him more down the stretch to see what they've got, especially if they're out of the playoff picture?
The AFC is up in the air right now, so maybe that won't happen for a bit. That's partially why this transaction works best for teams who are sitting pretty through seven weeks.
Because once we get to the fantasy football playoffs, Denver has one of the most favorable running back schedules from an adjusted fantasy points allowed perspective. They get Detroit in Week 15, Cincinnati in Week 16, and Las Vegas in Week 17. The Lions and Raiders are top-six teams for running backs, while Cincinnati is a top-12 team.
There are outs for Williams to grab hold of a bigger share of the backfield during the second half of the season. If he does, he could be a league-winner in the fantasy playoffs. Even if he doesn't, he should still be serviceable enough in those plus matchups.
Sell or Hold Joe Burrow
There may not be a real market for Joe Burrow out there. If that's the case, you can just ride this out and hope he finishes with somewhat of an outlier season. He's not just going to disappear.
Burrow is playing really good football, but his statistics likely aren't as sustainable as they've been. Through seven games, Burrow has an 8% touchdown rate. He's thrown 17 touchdowns on 212 attempts. Since the merger, among quarterbacks with 300 or more pass attempts, that rate has been hit just 13 times across an entire season.
You can look at this another simple way, too: Burrow has 1,956 passing yards this season. Over the last decade before this 2021 season, quarterbacks have thrown a touchdown, on average, for every 161.3 passing yards. This year, that number's a little lower at 154.2.
Burrow's rate is a touchdown for every 115.1 passing yards.
Again, it may be tough to truly sell Burrow high since the market may not be reacting as favorably as it should towards his play. If someone in your league thinks this is sustainable, though, I'd consider trading him away. He'll be good from here on out, but we should bet on at least a little regression.
Buy Tee Higgins
Ja'Marr Chase is completely destroying the league right now. And, yes, what he's doing may be tough to keep up, but you shouldn't be trading him away, even with some potential Burrow regression. It's rare to find a player who can consistently win you weeks like Chase has done this year, and that's coming after he was one of the best wide receiver prospects of the last 20 years.
Ja'Marr Chase is freakishly good.
Don't let that overshadow Tee Higgins in the Cincinnati offense. Higgins dealt with a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a couple of weeks earlier in the year, but he's been seeing awesome volume when healthy. Not only did he have an outrageously high 41.7% target share against Baltimore on Sunday, but he's now seen more targets (43) than Chase has (37) when active this year. That's not a knock on Chase, either. It's to say that Higgins has been heavily involved in the Bengals' offense this season. He just hasn't had the production to match.
That makes him a perfect buy candidate this week.
Add Rashod Bateman
The waiver wire isn't very robust this week, so we're forced to go back to a 15 Transactions favorite in Rashod Bateman. He's still rostered in just 32% of Yahoo! leagues when his first two outings of the season -- his career -- saw him with six targets each. His target share in Week 6 was 22.2%, and that dipped to 14.6% this past week. But he was still able to catch 3 passes for 80 yards against the Bengals, giving him his first double-digit PPR point performance.
Bateman is incredibly talented, and he's playing in a Ravens offense that's more pass-heavy than what we've seen with Lamar Jackson to date. He needs to be rostered in most leagues.
Drop Allen Robinson
Perhaps you're in a 14- or 16-team league -- or maybe even a moderately deep 12-team one -- and you can't afford to drop a player like Allen Robinson. He does have a 22.7% target share this season, so throwing that to the waiver wire may feel a little uncomfortable.
But we've seen enough. Robinson was a "hold" in last week's 15 Transactions column because yours truly wanted to see how he'd perform against a beatable Tampa Bay secondary. He came through with 2 catches for 16 yards and his lowest target share (12.9%) of the season.
Robinson's season high in PPR points is just 10.4, and he's ranked no higher than WR47 in any given week this year. I would rather have a player like Rashod Bateman than Allen Robinson from here on out.
Sell David Montgomery
David Montgomery will eventually be back from a knee injury that he suffered in Week 4. And I know a lot of you have stashed him away waiting for that moment -- you've been waiting for Montgomery to return and give you potential RB1 production in Chicago's backfield.
With the emergence of Khalil Herbert, I'm not sure we see Montgomery take on the kind of workload he had pre-injury. In Weeks 1 through 3, Montgomery handled a running back rush share per game of 87.9%, and he had a 17% target share or better in two of those three contests. The backfield was his, and he was going to be start-worthy in fantasy because of it.
His status as a startable running back won't disappear, but, man, Khalil Herbert looks good.
On Sunday, Herbert became just the third back since the end of the 2018 season to rush for 100 or more yards against the Buccaneers. Despite the matchup against Tampa Bay, Herbert now has a 50% Success Rate on the season according to numberFire's expected points model. That's eight percentage points better than what we saw from Montgomery before his injury.
Maybe this is obvious. Maybe there's zero market for Montgomery after Herbert's performance on Sunday. But this transaction is mostly to say that if you were banking on Montgomery for the playoffs, I'd be nervous that Herbert is now going to cause him some trouble.
Add Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott
Miles Sanders suffered an ankle injury that could sideline him in the coming weeks. He left Sunday's game early against the Raiders, and we saw a split backfield between Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell as a result.
Scott out-attempted Gainwell 7 to 5 on the ground, but Gainwell led the way through the air with an impressive 25.8% target share. The rookie would be my priority off the waiver wire this week, especially in PPR leagues, but do keep in mind that Scott saw the team's goal-line work. He's going to get work in this offense if Miles Sanders is out, too.
Buy DJ Moore
There's chaos in Carolina with the quarterback situation, and that'll undoubtedly make people feel worse about D.J. Moore. It doesn't help that Moore's finished as WR49, WR38, and WR20 over his last three games, averaging 11 PPR points per contest. Across his first four, that number was 22.4.
The good news is that Moore's work in the offense hasn't dramatically changed. During his first four games when he was balling out, he was averaging a target share per game of 30.7%. That's still been 26.7% over his last three. In terms of raw targets, he averaged 10.8 targets per game over his first four, and that's been 10 over his last three.
What's the main difference? Touchdowns, for one. Moore had three scores from Weeks 1 to 4, but he's failed to find the end zone over his last three.
He also was just converting better at the start of the season, coinciding with when Sam Darnold was playing at a higher level. Moore's rate of seeing 15-plus air yard throws has actually increased quite a bit over the last three weeks -- 10 of his 30 targets have traveled 15 or more air yards (33.3%) during this timeframe. Across the first four, Moore saw 9 of his 43 targets (20.9%) travel that distance.
If you're a believer that Carolina's quarterback situation can't get much worse than it's been -- which isn't an unfair thing to think -- then you should be buying Moore. Touchdowns will naturally flow his way given his high target share, and he's still been reasonable even during this down stretch where things just aren't clicking. Expect something in the middle of the first four weeks and the last three weeks from Moore through the rest of the season.
Add Will Fuller
The situation in Miami for a pass-catcher isn't as bad as you might think. On the season, the Dolphins are sixth in pass attempts per game, first in pass rate, and fifth in pass rate when in neutral game script scenarios (when games are within six points). If Fuller's able to walk in and see 15% to 20% of the team's targets -- maybe even more -- then he'll be a nice piece for your roster. He's still out there in 71% of Yahoo! leagues.
Sell Elijah Mitchell
There's nothing specifically wrong with Elijah Mitchell the player. He's been a pleasant surprise this year, and he looked great in a "bomb cyclone" on Sunday night, rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries.
He should be able to produce RB2 numbers through the end of the year, but I'm concerned that those will be more on the low end than the high end. And, really, I'm concerned about his ceiling.
JaMycal Hasty returned in Week 7 for San Francisco after dealing with an ankle injury, and he was placed right into the same role he had in Week 2 when he was hurt: he was the primary pass-catching back. Hasty played third downs and was the hurry-up back against Indianapolis, finishing the game with a 22.2% target share.
Mitchell didn't see a single target.
That's been the concern with Mitchell this year. In four games, he's seen target shares of 0.0%, 6.7%, 7.1%, and 0.0%. That means in order for him to be a huge difference-maker in fantasy, he's going to have to ball out on the ground and find the end zone a whole lot.
That's not something I'd really want to bank on given the 49ers haven't been very good. Any time there's a negative game script, there's risk that Elijah Mitchell won't be on the field. And San Francisco has one of the tougher schedules from here on out.
Jeff Wilson's possible return makes this even more annoying because he could steal goal-line work. That would be a huge loss for Mitchell.
So considering the game he's coming off of and the number of things working against him statistically, now seems like the right time to trade away Mitchell.
Add Brandon Bolden
The unpredictability around the non-Damien Harris New England Patriots running backs has been frustrating over the last few weeks. In Week 6, we finally saw Rhamondre Stevenson take on a bigger role, running the most routes of any back on the team. This past week -- just one week later -- Stevenson was scratched and didn't play. The team went back to utilizing Brandon Bolden in the Diet James White role.
With waivers being pretty thin at running back this week, you may have to look Bolden's way. He ran the most routes out of the backfield in Week 7, and he saw a 17.5% target share in the offense. The Jets -- New England's Week 7 opponent -- did enter the week ranked first in adjusted target share allowed to backs, but in a negative script, Bolden could work as a PPR league fill-in. And, this week, the Patriots are a 5.5-point underdog to the Chargers.
Buy Tyler Higbee
The tight end position continues to be a tough one to find consistent production. If you feel stuck, you could look to trading for Tyler Higbee this week.
Higbee's had a couple of down games this season where he's hit a 3.4% and 5.7% target share, but in his five other games played, he's averaged a 17.4% target share per game with a low game of 13.2%.
To put this all another way, Higbee's seen roughly 14% of Los Angeles' targets this season, giving him a top-12 share at the position. But that's being weighed down by a couple of really low-target games.
According to Pro Football Focus, Higbee's run the third-most routes on the Rams this year, with teammate Robert Woods leading him by 23, or a little over 3 per game. Across the entire league, only six tight ends have more routes run than Higbee has.
You've got to think that his being on the field could lead to more production. Or, at least, lead to spikes in production, which is sometimes all you need at tight end. Considering the offense he's playing in and how his work could naturally see an uptick if there's an injury to a pass-catcher there, Higbee's kind of an interesting buy-low option.
Add Darius Slayton
Those injuries helped Darius Slayton out big time in Week 7. He played the most snaps at wide receiver for the Giants, and he finished with a season-high 28.1% target share. That resulted in 5 catches on 9 targets for 63 yards.
He's worth an add this week just in case some of the other pieces on the Giants aren't able to return. He gets a juicy matchup against the Chiefs, making the transaction a little more appealing.
Add Daniel Jones
It's been an up and down season for Daniel Jones, but what do we really expect when his receivers can't stay healthy? In Week 8, he'll face off against Kansas City in a game with a 52.5-point over/under where the Chiefs are 10-point favorites. Kansas City is a top-five team in adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, having allowed a top-12, QB1 performance in five of their seven games this season.
Add the Cincinnati Bengals Defense
It sounds like Zach Wilson is going to miss at least a couple of weeks with a sprained PCL, so Mike White -- or Joe Flacco -- will be New York's starter against Cincinnati this week. To be honest, when it comes to streaming defenses, I'm not sure if this is an upgrade or downgrade considering the Jets have been the top team to stream defenses against this year with Wilson under center. But let's at least consider it a neutral move.
The Bengals, per FanDuel Sportsbook, are 9.5-point favorites with a game over/under of just 43.5. They're by far the safest and best option at defense this week, especially given the fact that they've finished as a top-15 weekly option in five of their seven games this season.