When someone most fantasy football managers have never heard of gets targeted not once but several times in a game, it can mean one of two things: 1) The team is comfortably ahead and throwing to backups, or 2) The team’s original game plan isn’t working. On a night when a finger injury appeared to hinder the normally elite Kyler Murray, and with the 24-year-old Antoine Wesley earning the first three looks of his career, little proceeded normally for the now 7-1 Cardinals. But let’s try to make sense of the fantasy takeaways from Week 8’s Thursday Night Football.
What are the fantasy implications for the Cardinals’ players?
Let’s examine how yesterday’s performances might reflect on Arizona players’ fantasy values.
QB Kyler Murray
This marked the seventh game Murray has not passed for, or run for, a touchdown. Six of those games have occurred on or after October 20. Historically, he has tailed off in December. If you’re leaning on him the rest of the season, keep this in mind, and hope his finger injury heals by next week.
RB James Conner
Normally the 1A back would go first. And apparently, he is. Conner has somehow compiled what has to be one of the greatest TD outbursts for a non-starting RB in modern NFL history. He now has 8 in his last six games while significantly ramping up his yards per carry. His virtual silence in the passing game hasn’t mattered — yet. So enjoy the ride while he continues to find the end zone.
RB Chase Edmonds
Edmonds had 7.1 fantasy points on the Cardinals’ second drive, and then not much else until the final drive. So all good, right? Well, as my colleague Jon Helmkamp reminded readers yesterday, he’s losing most of the red-zone work to Conner, which is capping his ceiling.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
Questionable entering the game with a hamstring injury, Hopkins’ hamstring forced him out for some of the contest before he was able to return. He could have had a good fantasy day if not for an offensive pass interference/face mask penalty that negated a touchdown reception. Hopkins’ status will be closely watched heading into Week 9.
WR Christian Kirk
A muted performance after two consecutive good games. Not much changed, except he didn’t score. This is why I sold him high a couple days ago. His WR2-to-WR4 production hinges largely on whether he finds the end zone.
WR A.J. Green
What might have been if he’d turned around on Arizona’s final play. At the very least, he could have batted the ball down, and a Cardinal field goal would have sent the game to overtime. At the most, he could have ended the night with 17.5 fantasy points. Green is a lot like Kirk. If you need a WR4, he’ll get you there most weeks. But most of us need more.
WR Zach Ertz
He now has 7 catches, 108 yards, and 1 TD on his new team. Not bad for his first two games. He’s a weekly top-16 TE with some pop.
What are the fantasy implications for the Packers’ players?
Now let’s examine how yesterday’s performances might reflect on Green Bay players’ fantasy values.
QB Aaron Rodgers
Matt LaFleur had a nearly flawless game plan against the league’s final undefeated team. And this was despite missing all-world receiver Davante Adams, capable No. 2 Allen Lazard, and TE Robert Tonyan for much of the second half. Although Rodgers averaged a measly 5.0 yards per pass attempt, he can’t be blamed given the heavy focus on quick, short passes to an array of veterans and newcomers. He has played nearly flawless football (19 TDs and 1 interception) since his Week 1 debacle in New Orleans.
RB Aaron Jones
A dominant fantasy performance that could have cracked 30 points if that final goal-line attempt had succeeded. The biggest shift for Jones this year has been his career-best passing-game usage: 33 receptions in eight games. He has become almost impervious to bad performances despite the presence of AJ Dillon.
RB AJ Dillon
Speaking of which, Dillon rebounded nicely after a forgettable Week 7. Since Jones is soaking up most of the backfield targets, Dillon remains a standalone RB4/5 and one of fantasy’s top RB handcuffs.
WR Randall Cobb
I never bet on Cobb because he’s usually not getting more than 5-6 points if he doesn’t score. But hats off to those who bet on Cobb yesterday. When Adams and Lazard return, he will revert to a boom-or-bust WR6.
WR Juwann Winfree
A nice story, as the 2019 sixth-round pick finally saw NFL action, and he made the most of it by leading all Green Bay wideouts in targets (6), receptions (4), and yards (30). Perhaps he’ll find a role next year if the offense goes through an upheaval, as some anticipate. For now, again, a nice story, though not a fantasy-relevant one.
TE Robert Tonyan
Another case of “what might have been” for a popular streamer. He caught a pass at Arizona’s 2-yard line in the second quarter, but he was promptly tackled before he could make a move to the end zone. Later, he was knocked out with a leg injury. Keep an eye on his Week 9 status against the anemic Kansas City defense. If he can’t play, it could open the door for Lazard or Cobb to net an extra target or two. (In other words, don’t fall in love with backup TE Marcedes Lewis).