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Week 8 Fantasy Football Winners & Losers | Will Levis + More

Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 8

by Scott Rinear

Welcome to Week 8 of my weekly article series for In-Between Media (IBT), giving you my takes on the fantasy football “winners and losers” after each week of action. This will be a fun topic to cover, and I will include my reasoning behind the judgments, along with actionable analysis when possible. 

Now, let’s break down Week 8 of the NFL season.

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Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 8

Fantasy Football Winners 

Dalton Kincaid (TE, Buffalo Bills)

So far, it has been the season of the young TE in the NFL. Multiple players have been doing their best to emphatically buck the negative trend for rookie TEs in fantasy football. Sam LaPorta was the first of the rookies to score a TD and now has three on the season and has averaged nine targets per game over the last two (not including Week 8 “Monday Night Football”). Michael Mayer, although quiet in Week 8, caught five balls for 75 yards in Week 7. But perhaps the most hyped rookie TE had been fairly quiet until recently.

Dalton Kincaid is a Week 8 fantasy football winner because he followed up his first top-12 performance in Week 7 with an even better game in Week 8. The writing was on the wall, with Dawson Knox being put on Injured Reserve (IR), but in the world of fantasy football, there are no guarantees. Kincaid caught eight of eight targets for 75 yards in Week 7, then caught five of six targets for 65 yards and a TD in Week 8 and looked good doing it. Kincaid’s involvement has been there all season, but now the fantasy points have arrived, making him and all of his fantasy managers winners in Week 8 and likely for the rest of the season.

Trey McBride (TE, Arizona Cardinals)

Sticking with the young TE theme, we move to the Cardinals’ second-year TE, Trey McBride. Like Kincaid, McBride had been sharing the field with a veteran TE for the season, although Zach Ertz had been more involved in Arizona than Knox in Buffalo. But now Ertz is out with an injury, and McBride had already been showing signs of ascension with Ertz on the field. McBride’s targets have increased every week since Week 4.

McBride is a Week 8 Winner because, once Ertz was out, he wasted no time in showing all of us why he was the highest-drafted TE in the 2022 NFL Draft. McBride exploded in Week 8, with 10 catches on 14 targets for 95 yards and the crucial piece for fantasy TEs, a receiving TD. Ignoring “not really a TE” Taysom Hill and his fantasy points scored as an RB in Week 8, McBride currently sits as the Points Per Reception (PPR) TE1 for the week.

Will Levis (QB, Tennessee Titans)

This is not a name I thought I would be typing in this section at any point in 2023. I was vocally low on Will Levis as a QB prospect and considered the odds he would be fantasy-relevant in 2023 to be very low. I was wrong. Levis is a Week 8 Fantasy Football Winner because not only did he take over for an injured Ryan Tannehill, but he propelled himself and DeAndre Hopkins into the “arrow pointing up” realm of fantasy football. Levis completed 65% of his passes for 238 yards and had zero turnovers. He threw four TDs, three of which were caught by Hopkins. Now, Hopkins’ three TDs on only six targets (50% TD rate) is not sustainable, but he was trending toward fantasy bench land before Week 8. Levis will be a hot commodity in two-QB redraft leagues and is a clear winner in Week 8.

Jahan Dotson (WR, Washington Commanders)

Jahan Dotson’s slow start to the 2023 season was painful. I have been a Dotson fan since before he was drafted, and you could see the talent was there during his rookie season. According to Reception Perception, Dotson consistently found success on various route types and against the different coverages that defenses deployed against the Commanders’ passing game. Entering the 2023 season, Terry McLaurin’s health was in question for Week 1, and many (including me) thought Dotson might just take over as the No. 1 WR in Washington starting then. But reality had something else in store. From Week 1 to Week 7, Dotson averaged 5.6 targets, 3.1 receptions and 26.1 receiving yards per game and had only one TD. You really couldn’t start him.

Dotson is a Week 8 winner because he smashed that trend to the tune of eight catches on 10 targets, 108 receiving yards and a score. Sam Howell is proving to be a QB who is not only a solid fantasy streaming option (depending on the matchup) but someone who can support multiple fantasy pass-catchers. And Dotson is too talented for this to be a one-week wonder situation.

Fantasy Football Losers

Devin Singletary (RB, Houston Texans)

This could be said for both Devin Singletary and Dameon Pierce, but I have picked on Pierce enough this season. And it was Singletary who had the buzz coming out of the Texans’ Week 7 bye. Singletary is a Week 8 fantasy football loser because he did not earn the workload many thought he would, and he did little with the workload he did receive against a team that has been torched by RBs this season.

Entering Week 8, the Panthers were my second-best matchup for fantasy RBs based on adjusted fantasy points allowed to the position. The Panthers have allowed 11 RB rushing TDs this season, and before Week 8, they had only held RBs to under 130 rushing yards in one game. Not only did Singletary remain in a split with Pierce (they both had 12 touches), he only turned those 12 touches into 43 yards and did not score. This is back to being a backfield I am avoiding until one of these RBs pulls away from the other.

Isiah Pacheco (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)

Based on his usage thus far, a potential snowy game that would likely mean increased rushing for both teams and a matchup against the Broncos, Isiah Pacheco was one of my favorite RBs in fantasy coming into the week. Season-long, the Broncos were still the most fantasy-friendly RB matchup entering Week 8. Admittedly, that bottom rank is still somewhat skewed in my adjusted points allowed system by the 100+ RB fantasy points Denver allowed to the Dolphins earlier in the season. But since that game, they have still given up 127 rushing yards per game (but only one TD). They certainly are not a tough matchup for RBs.

Pacheco is a Week 8 loser because, while still dominating the Chiefs’ RB opportunities (70.5% RB Opportunity Share), he produced only 37 yards on 11 touches, leaving a big hole in fantasy lineups when a much better day was expected. Some of this can be blamed on a Kansas City offense that struggled mightily overall, but the issue with players being deemed winners or losers in a given week is the reason doesn’t really matter (except for injury; I try to avoid someone making the loser list because they got hurt).

All WRs (New York Giants)

Ninety-nine times out of 100, this article will include individual players on each list. But the Giants’ Week 8 passing game has to make this list. The Jets have been a brutal matchup for fantasy WRs, so expectations were already low when projecting fantasy points in this matchup. But after this game, the Jets, much like the Broncos remaining at the bottom against RBs due to one anomalous game, will have a hard time being dethroned as the toughest matchup for fantasy WRs. The entire Giants’ WR room is a Week 8 fantasy football loser after having the lowest receiving production I have ever seen and likely ever will see.

Here are the general receiving box score totals:

Even the ridiculously low totals for the “leaders” were accomplished by a TE and two RBs. You will never be able to unsee this, but the game totals specifically for the WRs look like this:

  • Total targets: Three
  • Total receptions: One (Darius Slayton)
  • Total receiving yards: negative one

It was so bad that I am not sure I am even grammatically correct in typing out these statistics. Having to spell out numbers for total receiving yards, even for one player, let alone an entire team, is something no one should ever have to do.

Not What It Seems: Fantasy Football Panic Meter

The following players were fantasy disappointments in Week 8, but my concern is low moving forward:

The following players were disappointments in Week 8, and I am concerned about moving forward:

Thanks for reading my Week 8 fantasy football winners and losers. As always, find me on Twitter, talking fantasy football, joking around, posting GIFs and lending my support where it’s needed @MunderDifflinFF.

*Photo Credit: Andrew Nelles – USA TODAY Sports*

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