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Fantasy football preview for Week 8

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Week 7 of the NFL season is just about in the books, and like we do every Monday, we will recap some of the more important storylines from fantasy football and how we can apply it to Week 8 and beyond. 

 

 

Cordarrelle Patterson has fully taken over the Falcons backfield

As a fantasy analyst, it is more important to admit and understand why you are wrong than to brag about how you were right. A few weeks ago, I said Cordarrelle Patterson is someone you should be looking to trade off your team, but it is pretty clear that his massive role in this Atlanta offense isn’t going anywhere. On Sunday, Patterson outsnapped Mike Davis 46-38, out-touching him 16-4. He has now recorded season-highs in rushing attempts (14) in consecutive games and is now getting the high-value touches over Davis. Patterson converted his carry from inside the 5-yard line into a touchdown, meaning he now has everything you’d want from a fantasy football running back — carries, short-yardage carries, targets in the passing game. Over the last two weeks, Patterson has run 51 routes to Davis’ 45, has 28 carries to Davis’ 17 and has more red zone targets and touches. Patterson fits this offense so well, as Matt Ryan is averaging 2.57 seconds to throw (ninth), while 51.6% of his pass attempts have been of the short variety (0-9 yards). That is the fourth-highest mark in football. 

Miles Sanders suffers an ankle injury

It was very upsetting to see Miles Sanders carted off the field Sunday. Heading into the week, the Eagles were talking about how they were finally going to get Sanders more involved and during the team’s first drive against the Raiders, that was exactly the case. He saw five carries during that drive and ultimately touched the football seven times on 12 snaps, easily putting him on pace to shatter his regular season touches-per-game average. Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle injury and was carted off the field. Head coach Nick Sirianni said Sanders did not appear to have broken any bones, but the team has no timeline for his return. In his absence Sunday, the Eagles turned to both Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott, who was finally active for the team. Gainwell scored a receiving touchdown on the opening drive, but with Sanders out, his role really didn’t change all of that much. He operated as the clear passing-down back, seeing seven targets and running 21 routes to Scott’s 12. However, Scott saw seven carries to Gainwell’s five, including the majority of the short-yardage work. He saw three carries from inside the 10-yard line, though he also happened to be in the game in the fourth quarter while the Eagles were frantically trying to score points. Usually Gainwell is the two-minute running back, and while Gainwell needs to be rostered in most leagues, I don’t believe he is going to be a workhorse running back or anything because, well, Sanders wasn’t at any point this season. The Eagles likely abandon the pass even more going forward.

Kyle Pitts has arrived

Prior to Sunday, we last saw Kyle Pitts in London back in Week 5, when he went off for nine catches for 110 yards and a score. Of course, that was without both Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, so many people weren’t completely bought in. Coming out of the bye this week, Pitts made sure everyone remembered how dominant of a football player he is, hauling in 7-of-8 targets for 163 yards. It was incredibly impressive, as Pitts won at every level of the field, whether it was down the seam, in the slot, out wide, whatever. He lined up out wide 14 times, including in single coverage against All-Pro corner Xavien Howard, beating him for a 28-yard gain down the sideline. The Falcons had not been taking shots down the field much this season, but they finally did so Sunday, with Pitts a huge reason why. He sported an impressive 18.5-yard average depth of target and lined up out wide nearly 43% of the time, putting him over 30% for the season, the highest rate among all tight ends. Pitts should be viewed as an easy top-five fantasy tight end the rest of the way, with upside to reach even higher levels.

 

 

Deebo Samuel is an every-week WR1

Deebo Samuel has been playing amazingly this season, and while I keep expecting the numbers to come back down to earth, they don’t. Even in the worst weather imaginable, Samuel kept it going Sunday night, catching seven of a team-high 11 targets for 100 yards and another touchdown. He saw just over 40% of San Francisco’s targets in this game — over the course of the season, Samuel is now responsible for 34% of the team’s targets, 32% of the receptions and 44% of the receiving yards, which puts him in Davante Adams territory in terms of involvement in a team’s offense as a wide receiver. The quarterback situation in San Francisco is certainly in flux, but it won’t matter for Samuel. No other wide receiver is even being looked at and although George Kittle will be back, Samuel will remain a top-12 fantasy wide receiver going forward.

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