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Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate for Week 8 of 2023 season

Kincaid is the ‘No. 1 TE’ to add before Week 8
Matthew Berry examines how Dalton Kincaid has come ‘into his own’ and why it’s Trey McBride’s time to shine in Arizona with Zach Ertz sidelined.

ICYMI, as the kids say, there is no intro this week. So just a quick thanks to everyone who came out last week to Applebee’s in Philadelphia to see Fantasy Football Pregame. So much fun. Be sure to watch this week (and every week) at 11am ET on Peacock and the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

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Thanks as always to my producer, Damian Dabrowski, for his help at various points in this column. Let’s get to it.

Quarterbacks I Love in Week 8

Justin Herbert vs. Chicago

Justin Herbert’s head coach is on the hot seat after the Chargers’ 2-4 start to the season, but Justin Herbert’s fantasy managers? We’re doing quite well, thank you very much. Herbert is QB 5 on a PPG basis and has double-digit production in every game (and honestly it should be even higher as he’s just missed a few easy touchdowns the last few weeks). Herbert should be well into double-digits this week in a game in which the Chargers have the second-highest implied points total on the slate. Chicago is also tied for the second-most touchdown passes allowed this season and the Bears are allowing the fourth-most passing yards per game. Plus, before facing Aidan O’Connell and Brian Hoyer last week, the Bears were allowing 20.1 PPG to quarterbacks. I don’t want to give too hot of a take so early in the column and risk burning you so severely that you can’t keep reading, but … I think Justin Herbert is better than Aidan O’Connell AND Brian Hoyer. There. I said it. Herbert is my QB 5 in Week 8.

Tua Tagovailoa vs. New England

If the Chargers have the second-highest implied team total this week, can you guess the team with the highest? The New York Giants? No, what? That’s your guess? Really bad guess. Do you even follow football? Wow. The correct answer is the Dolphins. This week, Tua faces a Patriots defense that, since losing LB Matthew Judon to injury in Week 4, ranks 25th in pressure rate. In Week 2, even with Judon in uniform, Tua still averaged over eight passing yards per attempt against the Patriots. And that game was in New England. In Miami this season, Tua is averaging 22.6 PPG and 293 passing yards. Now, I reserve the right to bail on this if we find out the injuries to Tyreek Hill and Raheem Mostert will keep them out of the game (they missed Wednesday’s practice while I was writing this) but assuming they suit up, give me Tua as a Top 6 quarterback this week.

Jared Goff vs. Las Vegas

The only thing better than Home Tua is some Home Goff. Jared Goff is averaging 22.8 PPG at home this season. The way I see it, Goff fits in Detroit better than an American car made out of rectangular pan pizza whose radio only plays Eminem and Motown. (I have now exhausted all of my Detroit references.) With David Montgomery expected to miss another game, the majority of the way Detroit will move the ball in this one is through the air. And after a tough game in Baltimore last week, I have all the confidence that Home Goff will rebound against a Vegas defense that is 27th in pressure rate on the season. Goff is my QB 8.

Others receiving votes: This week’s Texans-Panthers matchup will be seen as an early referendum on the 2023 NFL Draft. Were the Panthers wrong to take Bryce Young ahead of C.J. Stroud? And after Houston took Stroud second, should they have taken Will Anderson third? I mean, defensive players don’t generate any fantasy points. What an insane pick, right? Speaking of defense, over the last four weeks, Carolina’s D is allowing touchdown passes at the highest rate in the league and opposing QBs are averaging 19.0 PPG over that stretch. … Over his last four games, Trevor Lawrence has 30-plus rushing yards in three of them. Now he faces a Steelers defense that over the past four weeks is allowing a league-high 14.7 yards per completion. Lots to like there with the run and pass. … Matthew Stafford had a touchdown rate of 5.6% in his first two seasons with the Rams. This season? It’s just 2.7% despite playing well. That sounds like a man in line for some major positive touchdown regression. Enter the Dallas Cowboys defense. Over the past four weeks, Dallas is allowing touchdown passes at the fourth-highest rate.

Quarterbacks I Hate in Week 8

Geno Smith vs. Cleveland

Geno Smith is just QB 22 on the season in PPG (13.6) and has put up less than 15 fantasy points in five of his six games. But I don’t like to be negative. Geno is a talented player with a nice stable of receivers. There is still plenty of time to turn it around! You can do it! I believe in you, Geno! I just don’t believe in you this week. Not against this Browns defense. Four of the six quarterbacks to face the Browns this season have scored less than 11 fantasy points … and the two who scored 11-plus both had multiple rushing scores in the game. Cleveland also ranks first in pressure rate over the past four weeks and they have three-plus sacks in each of those games. All that combined with the fact they are likely embarrassed after last week’s game against the Colts and I expect Myles Garrett and a motivated Browns D to come at Geno Smith (who is potentially without D.K. Metcalf) in a big way on Sunday. Geno is outside my Top 15 quarterbacks for Week 8.

Russell Wilson vs Kansas City

You ever think Russell Wilson and Ciara look at all the Taylor Swift / Travis Kelce stuff and are like uh… we were here first! Football star and massive pop star here! Hello?? What have they done, a few dates? A kiss on the cheek? We have kids! Do you know what you have to do to get kids? Well, we did that. At least three times! Why isn’t anyone stalking us every second, writing about our every gesture, panning the camera to Ciara after every Broncos first down the way it seems they do with Taylor Swift? Maybe it’s because there’s not nearly as much to cheer about these days. Wilson now has three straight games with under 200 passing yards and I don’t think it gets much better on Sunday. Since Chris Jones’ return, KC is top six in sack rate. The Chiefs also allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs and the fourth-fewest yards per pass attempt. Wilson had under 7 points against this same KC squad in Week 6 (on less than 100 yards passing). He is outside my Top 15 for the week. But hey, if Ciara actually does want more TV time of her cheering at a football game, I’ve got a perfect solution. She should just sit next to Taylor Swift in her box. Problem solved.

Running Backs I Love in Week 9

Jahmyr Gibbs vs. Las Vegas

Okay, so it took a bit longer than we had hoped, but last week, with David Montgomery sidelined, Jahmyr Gibbs had 83% of Detroit’s running back touches and a 20% target share. Gibbs has also seen 38 touches over the two games Montgomery has missed this season. With the Raiders allowing 135 scrimmage yards per game to running backs this season, and the fifth-most fantasy PPG to backs, a heavy workload puts Gibbs in line for a good day against the Raiders, assuming Montgomery is out once again. So yeah, let your ribs heal one more week, David Montgomery. Be a good teammate. You guys have a bye next week. No need to rush this. Give Gibbs another shot at fantasy glory. A (Montgomery-less) Gibbs is my RB 5 in Week 8.

Alvin Kamara at Indianapolis

Usually when a running back misses time, his team eases him back into the action. A few touches the first game back, a few more the next week and on and on, gradually building to a full workload. Then there’s what the Saints have done with Alvin Kamara, which is give him all the touches that have ever existed in the universe. Since returning from suspension in Week 4, Kamara is averaging 26 touches, and he has at least 24 touches in every game. He also has a 24% target share and – get this – leads all running backs in targets and receptions this season … despite missing three games! (Last minute Halloween costume idea: wear an Alvin Kamara jersey and growl menacingly every once in a while and tell everyone you’re a Target Monster.) This week, Kamara takes all that work to Indianapolis to face a Colts defense that struggles mightily against backs. Running backs who have seen 20-plus touches versus the Colts this season are averaging 24.1 PPG. The Colts have also allowed the second-most rushing scores to running backs this season. With Derek Carr seemingly unable to throw anywhere close to accurate beyond five yards downfield, he will continue his dink and dunk ways this week, making Kamara an easy Top 6 back for me in Week 8.

Isiah Pacheco at Denver

Isiah Pacheco has now put together five straight games with at least 13 fantasy points and 17-plus touches. And while he’s not quite a target monster of Alvin Kamara’s ilk yet, Pacheco does have a double-digit target share in three of his past four games, along with 25-plus receiving yards in each of those games. But as good as Pacheco has been, do you really even need to play well to put up numbers on Denver’s defense? The Broncos are allowing a league-high 143.5 rushing yards per game and a back has gone for 15-plus fantasy points against them in five of seven games, including Pacheco himself who put up 15.8 against these same Broncos in Week 6 on 98 total yards. I see Pacheco putting up a repeat performance with a very good shot at a TD as well. Pacheco is a Top 10 running back in Week 8.

Breece Hall at New York Giants

If I can have just one player from this week’s big Battle Of North Jersey, it’s Breece Hall. He has emerged from the Jets’ crowded running back room as the lead back. Over the past two games, Hall has 42 touches and last week saw a season-high snap rate of 68%. Meanwhile, the Giants rank bottom-three in rushing yards and YPC allowed to RBs on the season. And backs who have had 15-plus touches versus the Giants average 18.9 PPG. Starting Hall this week is a decision that is Easy Breece-y. What? You think just because I took the intro off I wasn’t gonna also phone some jokes in? How long have we known each other? Come on. You know better. Give me Hall as a Top 12 back this week.

Others receiving votes: The Patriots are 9.5-point underdogs in Miami this week. That feels right to me. It also feels right to think that Rhamondre Stevenson is a nice play in a game in which New England is likely to be trailing. Stevenson has a 20% target share over the past two weeks, while Miami allows the seventh-highest catch rate to backs. … It’s much of the same story this week for Tampa Bay’s Rachaad White as a road underdog in Buffalo. The Bills allow the sixth-most receiving yards to backs and White has five consecutive games with a double-digit target share and at least three receptions. … Baltimore’s Gus Edwards has played in seven consecutive games this season without getting injured. I’m not positive, but that at least feels like a Ravens running back record. And Edwards isn’t just playing, he’s playing a big role with 15-plus touches in three of the past four games. This week, he goes up against an Arizona defense that allows the fifth-most rushing yards per game to backs. … Carolina allows the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs. With Devin Singletary coming off season highs in touches (13) and snap rate (54%) last week, he has a nice upside this week as he is likely, as worst, a 50/50 split of the Texans running back work.

Running Backs I Hate in Week 8

Joe Mixon at San Francisco

You know all about San Francisco’s defense. The 49ers allow just 59.7 rushing yards per game to running backs, fifth-fewest in the league. But Joe Mixon on the Hate List isn’t all about the matchup. It’s also because Mixon hasn’t exactly been lighting it up against … well, anyone. He has less than 3.5 YPC in three of his past four games and less than 80 scrimmage yards in four of his six games this season. And get this: when it comes to fantasy points per touch this season, Mixon ranks 50th out of 57 qualified backs. Call me a critic, but I like my running backs to at least be in the Top 49 of efficiency ratings. I have Mixon way down at RB 18 this week.

Kareem Hunt at Seattle

With Jerome Ford nursing an injured ankle, don’t assume Kareem Hunt moves into must-start status. When Ford left last week, Pierre Strong actually played over 60% of snaps in the fourth quarter. Plus, Hunt is averaging a career-worst 4.0 yards per touch this season. He’s unlikely to improve on that number against a Seahawks defense that allows a league-low 2.9 YPC to backs and has held every running back it has faced this season under 80 total yards. Forget the “Legion of Doom.” This year’s Seattle defense should be called the “Legion of … Dumb Fantasy Managers Play RBs Against Seattle.” Okay, I’m still workshopping the nickname. It’s worth noting Hunt also showed up on Wednesday’s injury report. He’s outside my Top 25 backs this week.

Brian Robinson vs. Philadelphia

Brian Robinson saw a season-low eight touches last week and now has 12 or fewer touches in four of his past five games. He also has four straight games with less than 60 total yards and is averaging a woeful 2.9 YPC during that stretch. Okay, but maybe all he needs is a favorable matchup to get going. Let’s see who my Commanders are playing this week … ah ####! ####! ####! ####ing ####! Sorry. Yeah, so the Commanders are playing the Eagles. The team that is allowing a league-low 49 rushing yards per game to backs. The team that has held EVERY back they’ve faced this season to less than 55 rushing yards. ####! Especially with rookie RB Chris Rodriguez starting to get work along with Antonio Gibson, Brian Robinson is outside my Top 30 in Week 8.

Looking for more fantasy football content? Rotoworld has you covered. Watch Fantasy Football Happy Hour with Matthew Berry weekdays at noon ET LIVE on Peacock and the Rotoworld Football Show on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays wherever you get your podcasts.

Pass Catchers I Love in Week 8

Keenan Allen vs. Chicago

Keenan Allen is averaging 10.7 targets per game, while wide receivers who have seen seven or more targets against the Bears this season are averaging 16.7 PPG. I like that math. The 10 targets Allen is averaging is more than seven. Don’t want to brag, but I just did that math in my head. The Bears also rank bottom five in touchdowns allowed to wide receivers and Allen has at least one end zone target in four of his past five games. I like that math, too. If that can be called math. I guess it was more of a sentence than math. Which means I like math and words. I’m basically the leading renaissance man of our times. Keenan Allen is a Top 6 wide receiver in Week 8.

DJ Moore at Los Angeles Chargers

Tyson Bagent and DJ Moore have a real connection. Yes, that’s totally a sentence I expected to write in my life. But it’s true. Moore has a 36.5% target share from the Shepherd University product this season. That kind of volume puts Moore in a great position against a Chargers team that has allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. I have Moore as my WR 12 this week.

Terry McLaurin vs. Philadelphia

As much as I hate the usage trends and matchup for Brian Robinson against the Eagles this week, I love them here. Terry McLaurin has at least a 25% target share and 80 receiving yards in three of his past four games. Now he gets an Eagles defense that has allowed 17-plus fantasy points to a WR in every game this season. Plus, McLaurin has a great track record against the Eagles. Dating back to last season, he has 85-plus receiving yards in each of his past three games against Philadelphia and is averaging 19.9 PPG over that span. How good is McLaurin? Even my Commanders can’t screw him up. McLaurin is a Top 16 wide receiver this week.

George Kittle vs. Cincinnati

I know. On Halloween weekend, there is a heightened risk of Sam Darnold seeing ghosts, but I’m not scared to put Kittle on the Love List. Cincinnati allows the fourth-most fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, and the Bengals are tied for the second-most touchdowns allowed to the position. Plus, Kittle gets a ton of extra work when Deebo Samuel (who hasn’t practiced yet this week) is out. In the five games Samuel has missed over the past two seasons, Kittle has seen a 25% target share while averaging 18.7 fantasy points. He’s my TE 4 in Week 8.

Others receiving votes: It’s now six straight games for Christian Kirk with 13.5 fantasy points or more and he’s had at least a 20% target share in five of those games. He should keep things going this week against a Steelers defense that allows the third-most fantasy PPG to wide receivers. … Buffalo allows the second-highest catch rate to the slot. This week the Bills face Chris Godwin, slot receiver extraordinaire who has had multiple red zone targets in four of his past five games. … It’s not quite Montana-to-Rice (or if you’re a little younger: Bagent-to-Moore) but Josh Downs and Gardner Minshew have clearly clicked. The Colts’ rookie has a 22% target share from Minshew this season and since Week 3 is WR17 in PPG (14.3). This week, Downs sees a Saints defense that allows the fourth-most yards per game to the slot. … Speaking of Rice, Rashee Rice has three straight games with double-digit fantasy points and back-to-back games with 60-plus receiving yards. Last week, he also saw a season-high 59% snap rate. The rookie is tied for the Chiefs’ lead in red zone targets and this week faces a Broncos defense that is tied for the most touchdowns allowed to wide receivers. … It’s time for Matt Damon to bring back the Bourne movies. Only this time, the main character is named Kendrick Bourne, a wide receiver with back-to-back games with 15-plus fantasy points and a 29.5% target share over the same stretch. And then Bourne is tasked with an important mission with the fate of the world in the balance: putting up fantasy points in Week 8 against a Dolphins defense that ranks bottom-five in receptions allowed to wide receivers. Sounds like a terrible movie that’s so bad I’m amazed I haven’t written it yet. … It feels like Dalton Kincaid is finally going to happen. Last week Kincaid saw season highs in targets, receptions and yards. With Dawson Knox out indefinitely, the rookie’s time is now.

Pass Catchers I Hate in Week 8

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Atlanta

The Falcons allow the fewest yards per game to perimeter wide receivers and DeAndre Hopkins is likely to see the AJ Terrell shadow, too. This game is also expected to be a slog with an Over/Under of 35.5, the lowest on the slate. And then there’s the Will Levis/Malik Willis factor. Woof. But I don’t mean to dwell on the negative. It’s … just … yeah, literally all there is to say here is negative. Sorry! Hopkins is outside my Top 30 in Week 8.

Tyler Lockett vs. Cleveland

Only once this season has Tyler Lockett gone over 60 yards. I don’t mean on a single reception. I mean in an entire game. Lockett also has single-digit fantasy points in three of his past four contests. It’s hard to see him breaking out this week against a Browns defense allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers. I have Lockett way down at WR 36.

Jerry Jeudy vs. Kansas City

We’re at the point where I’d rather have jury duty than Jerry Jeudy. He has five or fewer targets in four of six games this season. ZERO end targets all season. Just two red zone targets. And now he has to take on a Kansas City defense that allows the third-lowest catch rate to wide receivers and ranks Top 10 in fantasy points and yards allowed to the position. I find Jeudy GUILTY of crimes against fantasy. He’s my WR 45 this week.

Kyle Pitts at Tennessee

That was quite a catch Kyle Pitts had last week, right? Hope you enjoyed it because he’s not likely to have a ton of opportunities to do it again this week. Tennessee allows the seventh-fewest fantasy PPG to tight ends this season. Add to it that this game has the lowest Over/Under of the week (35.5). And that Pitts has just one game this season with 50-plus receiving yards. Yeah, it’s an easy Hate List call. Pitts is outside my Top 12 TEs in Week 8.