The FedEx Air & Ground fantasy preview is back!
In case it slipped your mind, NFL football fans have the opportunity to vote on top performers at the running back and quarterback position following every regular week of action.
The candidates at quarterback last week were Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, Alex Smith. At running back, Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott and Aaron Jones were all featured following big games. You can check out the Week 6 winners here and cast your vote every week.
Now, without further ado, let’s dive into some players who could have huge games in Week 8, both through the air and on the ground.
Honestly, there is not much good to say about Case Keenum as a fantasy quarterback from his last few games. But to be fair, he faced a Lions defense in Week 4 that was still healthy and playing well, had another tough matchup against an underrated Bears defense in Week 5 and faced one of the better pass-defenses this season in Week 7 in the Ravens. Plus, Keenum’s No. 1 receiver, Stefon Diggs missed two of those three contests and was injured during the Bears game, which led to missed snaps.
But Week 8 is shaping up nicely for Keenum’s fantasy outlook as a low-end streamer. Diggs reportedly logged a full practice on Thursday signaling that his return from a groin injury his highly likely on Sunday in London. He’ll add a dimension to the Vikings pass game that they’ve been missing and should open up better opportunities for guys like Adam Theilen and Kyle Rudolph.
As if the matchup against a Cleveland defense wasn’t already favorable enough, with star rookie pass-rusher Myles Garrett already ruled out, Keenum should thrive even more. The Browns have allowed 14 pass touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks this year, well over the league average of 9.9. That total equates to a 6.45 percent touchdown rate for opposing signal callers, the highest in the NFL (league average is 4.38%). Plus, The Browns‘ pick rate of 1.84 percent is well below the league average of 2.45 percent. It was already a solid matchup for Keenum, but with Diggs back and Garrett out, his arrow points even higher.
Similarly to Keenum, there isn’t much good to say about Trevor Siemian‘s fantasy production in recent weeks. He has thrown more picks (3) than touchdowns (1) in his last two games and it took him 50 pass attempts to earn 15.94 fantasy points in Week 6. Overall, the Denver offense has struggled since it’s bye in Week 5 and they’ve had back-to-back losses in which they’ve fallen out of script early and failed to crawl back into contention.
This week, Siemian’s fantasy value is merely matchup-based. The Kansas City Chiefs have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks (19.6) this season and have surrendered the third-most pass touchdowns in the NFL (13). The Chiefs are also allowing an average of 283.9 pass yards per game, well above the league average of 241. So this Monday night game could be a get-right spot for Siemian and the rest of his offense.
We have seen Simian play well this year, as he started the season hot with six touchdown passes in his first two games. I like his chances to return to that level of play this week, and come through for fantasy owners looking for free quarterback production off of the waiver wire.
LeGarrette Blount vs 49ers
Even after two sub-par games production-wise, LeGarrette Blount still sports a 5.0 yards per carry average on his 84 rush attempts. He’s logged at least 14 rush attempts in every game over the last month, and his offense, under the direction of Carson Wentz, is firing on all cylinders.
Blount’s matchup against the 49ers needs to be exploited in Week 8, because it’s almost too good to be true. San Francisco is allowing more fantasy points per game to running backs than any team in the NFL. And yes, I understand that some of that is on account of Ezekiel Elliott dropping 40 fantasy points on them last week, with three touchdown and over 219 scrimmage yards in addition to Rod Smith‘s 61 rush yards. But even before the 49ers played Dallas last week, they had been abysmal against the run, yet hadn’t faced very intimidating rushing offenses in the majority of their matchups.
Opp rank in team rush ypg vs SF (other than DAL in Week 7)
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Matt Franciscovich (@MattFranchise)
October 26, 2017
Devonta Freeman at Jets
It might seem like a no-brainer to start Devonta Freeman, but he has not been a solid RB1 the last few weeks with fantasy totals of just 7.9 and nine standard points in his last two games. And that’s against decent matchups in the Dolphins and Patriots. Overall, the Falcons offense isn’t even close to what we grew accustomed to last season, and start players like Julio Jones and Freeman have had limited fantasy production because of it. After scoring in five straight to start the year, Freeman hasn’t found the end zone in his last two contests, plus he has just one 100-yard receiving game so far. But there’s reason to believe he’ll get on the right track against the Jets.
Freeman is still dominating the backfield snaps with a 66 percent share on the season compared to Tevin Coleman‘s 32 percent share. So he’s on the field in both positive and negative scripts, and has double-digit touch totals in every game. The playing time and volume are both there. And there’s no need to discuss Freeman’s talent, he’s one of the best backs in the NFL.
The matchup against New York is a favorable one, too. The Jets have allowed six total touchdowns to running backs so far this season, which ranks in the bottom half of the league. Plus, opposing backs have put up the sixth-most receiving yards against the Jets, 359, well above the league average of 299. So even if Freeman can’t get it done on the ground, we know he can do work as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. There’s a good chance Freeman returns to the paint on Sunday and bounces back in a big way for fantasy owners who have been looking for more production from a guy they drafted in the first round back in August.
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