Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season will be remembered as the onset of winter. Games across the Midwest were affected by rain, snow, and powerful gusts of wind. In a year that has featured more scoring than any season to date, Week 8 was a deviation from the trend of betting overs with reckless abandon and teams dropping 30 points with ease.
The biggest beneficiary of the suboptimal weather conditions appeared to be Dalvin Cook. Minnesota didn't need another excuse to feed their star running back but they took the wind in Green Bay as one anyway. Kirk Cousins attempted just 16 passes while Cook ran wild on 30 carries. He hit 163 yards and three scores on the ground while adding another score and 63 receiving yards through the air. It was one of the best fantasy performances of any player this season. Davante Adam's three-score day for Green Bay was not enough to hold off Cook and the Vikings. The Packers have now dropped two of their past three games and get the 49ers on Thursday Night Football this week.
The MVP race appears to be down to two players at the moment. Patrick Mahomes averaged nearly 10 yards per attempt versus the Jets and threw five scores. He finished the day with 416 passing yards. Mahomes dished out touchdowns to four different receivers including one to Travis Kelce who is now on pace for 12 scores. Mahomes already has an MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and Super Bowl ring after just two seasons as a starter. His biggest competition for personal accolades will be Russell Wilson.
Seattle's defense has given Wilson the distinct advantage (in terms of accumulating stats) of never affording him a comfortable lead. The Seahawks Defense has given up 25 points in all but one game this year and even Miami put up 23 on them. Because of this, Wilson and the Seattle offense have yet to score below 27 points in a game. He shredded the 49ers defense with four scores this week. After Tyler Lockett posted 200 yards and three scores in Week 7, it was DK Metcalf's time to shine versus San Francisco. The freakishly-fast receiver caught 12 of his 15 targets for 161 yards and two scores. Having never received a single MVP vote in his nine-year NFL career, Wilson may earn the award as a celebration of his 2020 campaign and the underrated decade of football that led up to his current season.
Pittsburgh stands alone as the only undefeated team. They went to Baltimore and knocked off the Ravens this week. The Steelers defense continued to terrorize opposing quarterbacks with two interceptions on Lamar Jackson and another two fumble recoveries from the young passer. Jackson and the Baltimore offense have regressed this year and Pittsburgh is now the No. 1 candidate to dethrone Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC.
The End of Minshew Mania?
Gardner Minshew is expected to be inactive next week while dealing with a fractured thumb and torn ligaments in his hand. The team will either start veteran Mike Glennon or rookie Jake Luton in his place. There were rumors that Minshew could be benched prior to this injury so a solid performance from either passer could translate into more starts down the road. Luton was selected in the sixth round of the draft this year. He threw for 28 scores and just three interceptions in his senior season at Oregon State.
Packers Inquiring about Will Fuller
This sounds too good to be true but the Packers have reportedly maintained their interest in trading for Will Fuller. The Texans do not have a pick in the first or second round next year so it could make some sense for the team to move on from Fuller even though he is on pace for career numbers. Aaron Rodgers is in the running for MVP this year and he's played nearly half of his games without Davante Adams. Adding Fuller to the mix would be a dream come true for fans of long touchdowns and 200-yard receiving games.
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In the spirit of Halloween, Ben DiNucci tricked many fantasy managers into thinking they could feel safe starting Dallas players in their lineups. Ezekiel Elliott (RB31) rushed 19 times for 63 yards while adding 10 yards through the air. CeeDee Lamb (WR42) caught four balls for 27 yards. Amari Cooper (I stopped scrolling at WR75 and never made it to Cooper) caught one pass for five yards. No Dallas receiver topped 61 yards and all of them should be viewed as low-floor/low-ceiling options going forward.
Diontae Johnson exited briefly with a hamstring injury and only managed to bring in one of his three targets after returning. Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster operated as the lead receivers in Pittsburgh. Both players topped a dozen fantasy points in Pittsburgh's big win.
For Minnesota, Cook's Herculean performance crowded out Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Both receivers caught three of their four targets. Jefferson went for 26 yards while Thielen's backers left the day with .1 more fantasy points on 27 yards.
Jordan Wilkins and Jonathan Taylor must have gone as each other for Halloween because Wilkins carried 20 times for 89 yards and a score while Taylor plodded his way to 22 yards on 11 totes. The Taylor that ran for 6,000 yards in three seasons at Wisconsin has yet to make his NFL debut. Taylor has one game of more than 100 rushing yards in his rookie campaign and he ran at 3.9 yards per carry in that outing.
Kareem Hunt was in for a massive day versus the Raiders Defense this week and flopped. Hunt totaled 73 scoreless yards as Cleveland struggled offensively in a losing effort to the Raiders. He was the candy corn of fantasy options if there ever was one this week.
Robert Woods (WR3) scored a rushing and receiving touchdown to go along with 94 yards from scrimmage. Woods now has six scores on the year including two that came on carries. He is two touchdowns away from setting a career-high mark for total touchdowns in a season. Cooper Kupp (WR8) caught 11 passes for 110 yards ... on 21 targets. The last time a player saw as many targets in a game was Week 10 of 2015 when Davante Adams turned 21 targets into a whopping 79 yards.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR6) stepped up with a slew of injuries plaguing the San Francisco pass-catchers. He reeled in eight of his 11 targets for 91 yards and a score.
Savvy fantasy managers could have nabbed DeeJay Dallas (RB3) for free on Sunday morning once news broke that Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) were unlikely to play. Travis Homer (knee) was active as an emergency-only back. Dallas scored twice in Seattle's win over San Francisco.
Justin Herbert (QB4) continues to impress in his rookie season. He threw another three scores versus the Broncos this week and only one of them was to a player who no one has heard of (FB Gabe Nabers brought in one of Herbert's touchdowns).
Allen should be viewed in the same light as 2019 Michael Thomas or a healthy Davante Adams. He's started and finished five games with Herbert under center. He has averaged 12.8 targets per game with Herbert and has bottomed out at 13 fantasy points. Allen also has three scores in those five games.
Fulgham is the real deal and the sooner fantasy managers accept that the sooner they can start profiting off his impressive outings. He has led the team in targets in four consecutive weeks and has scored 13 fantasy points in five straight weeks. The sample on Fulgham is large enough to buy in while people continue to discount him because of his lack of draft capital.
Elliott is going to be the reincarnation of Le'Veon Bell with the Jets. Bell was a three-down back ruined but the ineptitude of his own offense and Elliott is set to follow in his footsteps. The Cowboys are averaging 7.3 points per game since losing Dak Prescott. Neither DiNucci nor Andy Dalton can save Elliott from playing on an offense that won't get him near the end zone for multi-week stretches.
Devin Singletary saw the exact same number of rushes as Zack Moss in Week 8 but Moss was used extensively in the red zone. Singletary posted 86 yards on the ground which marked a season-high but didn't find the end zone. As long as Moss is in the picture, sharp fantasy managers should look to sell high on Singletary.
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo left with an ankle injury. … 49ers TE George Kittle was sidelined with an ankle injury but X-rays did not reveal any long-term issues. … Rams RB Darrell Henderson suffered a thigh injury versus the Dolphins and did not return. … Lions WR Kenny Golladay was sidelined with a hip injury and did not return. … Colts WR T.Y. Hilton left with a groin injury and was ruled out shortly after leaving. … Ravens OT Ronnie suffered an ankle injury and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season.