5 Players to Avoid in Week 8
Half the battle in playing WFS is determining which options will not be worth your investment. It’s often more difficult than defining a player pool, as the dreaded fear-of-missing-out can rear its head and force decisions.
As always, taking calculated risks is a necessity, and it is generally tied to salary constraints. Some players will do completely fine — some may even do quite well — but we have to plant our metaphorical flags and cut some players in order to allow roster space for others. Keep that in mind as you work through both this column and your own process. We aren’t just fading someone for the sake of fading. We are avoiding an asset that could hurt our portfolio either directly or by virtue of draining resources that could be best use elsewhere.
RB Derrick Henry – TEN $8,200 at IND – Last week, I wrote a column about running backs we needed to consider. Derrick Henry was the first name on the list. This is because, in the simplest form, we need to consider Derrick Henry.
But we don’t always need to use him.
He enters Week 8 as the most expensive player on the slate. That means both that he will be avoided for his price — some people don’t want to pay up out of principle — and targeted for his price — some people do want to pay up out of principle. The fading of Henry is one of the rare times where the matchup could pose the biggest problem, while the salary is just added baggage.
Indianapolis has allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns on the season: only two through seven games. Granted, Henry is in a class of his own and can power his way into the end zone with the incessant volume he receives, but it’s clear that the numbers are against him. At his price, he would have to outperform nearly a half-season’s worth of data for the Colts’ defense, and it isn’t worth the risk.
QB Tom Brady – TB $7,700 at NO – Along the same lines of risk, it is a risk to fade quarterback Tom Brady with how he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense are operating right now. Still, it’s a risk worth taking.
Like the aforementioned Derrick Henry, Brady is also facing a division rival in a tricky matchup. Dating back to the start of last year, Tampa Bay has scored fewer than 19 points in only one regular season game. It was a 38-3 dismantling at the hands of none than the New Orleans Saints. Brady threw 38 passes and still tallied only 209 yards. His quarterback rating was a dismal 40.4.
Of course, it would be foolish to expect the same result on Sunday — Brady did put together a much better performance in a playoff win against the Saints — but the point is that Tampa Bay’s offense will face a solid defense and the weight of regression. There are other options to target instead of Brady.
WR Ja’Marr Chase – CIN $7,400 at NYJ – If Tampa Bay’s offense is primed to regress, then so is the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense. That includes rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
The New York Jets are absolutely terrible at everything, but their one bright spot is a pass defense that has allowed the sixth-fewest touchdowns through the air in the league. The Bengals appear to be beating opponents with an aerial attack, but they actually have the fifth-fewest pass-attempts-per-game. They have just been incredibly efficient with it, ranking second in the league in net-yards-per-pass-attempt.
Overall, Cincinnati’s offense has extended itself too far. The scores of the first seven games of the season are as follows, in order: 27, 17, 24, 24, 22, 34, and 41.
A cakewalk of a game — on paper, anyway — is the perfect opportunity for Cincinnati to take its foot off the gas pedal, and Chase’s outstanding pace will drift toward the mean with it.
RB Nick Chubb – CLE $6,600 vs. PIT – As a general rule, I love using Nick Chubb in my WFS lineups. His split workload with Kareem Hunt often leads people away from making the tough decision between the two, but that’s why I enjoy taking the bold step of plugging him into my lineup even knowing that he will lose some carries.
That’s exactly why I want to avoid him in Week 8.
The absence of Hunt will immediately push people toward Chubb in his return from injury, and it will be in a matchup against one of the best defenses in the league. Indeed, he’ll get the carries, but the Cleveland Browns appreciate a dual-back run game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have allowed just two rushing touchdowns on the year, and with either Case Keenum or an injured Baker Mayfield under center, Pittsburgh can solely key on Chubb in a familiar matchup.
QB Teddy Bridgewater – DEN $6,300 vs. WFT – It’s been a common theme to give up on the Washington Football Team in recent weeks, and that has stemmed from a defense that has come nowhere near its level of success from 2020. In fact, it has been one of the worst in the league — allowing the most points-per-game and fourth-most yards-per-game.
Why not target the Denver Broncos and their offense in a home game against Washington?
Because Denver may not be in position to take advantage of Washington’s defense.
The Broncos now rank 24th in points and 22nd in yards, and they have scored at least 20 points once in their last four games. Conversely, Washington’s defense has improved quietly in that time, allowing 275 or fewer passing yards in three-of-the-last-four-weeks.
Teddy Bridgewater’s price is low enough for many people to consider when they look at the matchup, but it is deceiving. I’m staying away on Sunday.
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