Week 8 was defined by missed field goals, backup quarterbacks, and injuries. Today though, we are going to focus on some brilliant performances and some fantasy duds.
Here are a few takeaways from Week 8.
Michael Pittbull Jr.
Ok, Mr. Pittman, you have my attention. It feels like Michael Pittman is quietly becoming a bonafide WR1. He is tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns (4) and in the top-15 for receiving yards per game (74.3) and targets per game (8.1). Pittman has been showing out since Week 5, as he has been 11th in points per game. He is clearly coming into his own as the top dog on his team, but let’s specifically talk about how Pittman ran wild against the Tennessee Titans in Week 8.
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 31, 2021
Despite Carson Wentz’s ups and downs in Week 8, the one factor that remained consistent was targeting Pittman. He obliterated the Titans’ secondary while setting career-highs for a single game in receptions (10), targets (15), touchdowns (2) and fantasy points (30.6). His performance was exceptional, and there is no reason to think the Pittman train is slowing down anytime soon.
It’s almost unfair that Pittman gets to face the 30th ranked New York Jets defense in Week 9. Even though T.Y. Hilton has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries, it's clear that regardless of his availability, Pittman is the No. 1 target on this offense. With Pittman averaging a 25 percent target share and 74 yards a game, he should continue to be a borderline WR1 every week going forward.
Mixon it Up
So ... that Bengals and Jets game did not turn out how most of us predicted.
The Bengals losing while at the same time making Mike White look like Broadway Joe was not in my horoscope. But speaking of Joes, despite the losing effort, Joe Mixon reminded us of why he is one of the best running backs in the league.
Mixon was able to put up strong numbers despite only rushing for 33 yards. He scored a rushing touchdown as well as catching 4 of 5 targets for 58 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown, finishing as RB2.
It was his first multi-touchdown game of the season.
— NFL (@NFL) October 31, 2021
Despite Mixon being a little banged up this season, his numbers are still quite impressive. He has been a workhorse as he is currently eighth in rushing attempts (17.1), fifth in opportunity share (71.5%), and ninth in rushing yards (68.9). His Achilles’ heel, however, has been his lack of involvement in the passing game. He only has an 8.7% target share on the season, averaging three targets a game. Unfortunately, with the weapons the Bengals have in the passing game, it’s unlikely Mixon will see a dramatic increase in targets anytime soon.
Still, Mixon is getting enough volume that he will continue to put up borderline RB1 numbers. He does face a fearsome foe in the Week 9 “Battle of Ohio” against the third-ranked Cleveland Browns rushing defense. You’re still starting him, but it would be wise to temper expectations. Mixon does still have a chance to put up solid fantasy numbers despite the tough matchup based on sheer volume, it just might not be a week-winning total.
Fields of Dreams
When did Lamar Jackson sign to the Chicago Bears?
Despite the loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Justin Fields finally showed fans what he was capable of during the best game of his career/season. Fields was efficient as a passer as he had a 70% completion rate for 175 yards and a touchdown. But he really changed the game using his legs, rushing for 103 yards and a rushing touchdown, finishing as QB5.
Justin Fields had more rushing yards in Week 8 (103) than he did in Weeks 4-7 combined(94) pic.twitter.com/yIsi07ClHQ
— Troy King🧙🏾♂️✨ (@TKingMode) November 1, 2021
Fields was able to exploit the main weakness of the 49ers’ defense as they are currently rank 26th against the run. Was it simply because Matt Nagy was out for this game? Was it because of the level of competition? The answer to both questions is maybe; however, we only have a one-game sample size. Regardless, it was encouraging to see Fields take a step forward — but he isn’t a locked-in fantasy option just yet.
“Trust is earned, not given.” I’m not confident enough to play him against the seventh-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense in Week 9. Despite his great game on Sunday, he's been QB32 from Weeks 3-7. Before Week 8, he was only averaging 149 passing yards and 21 rushing yards. Hopefully, after his Week 8 performance, Matt Nagy and Bill Lazor allow Fields to utilize his rushing ability more often. Until then, he remains just a viable streaming option during easier matchups or bye weeks until we see some consistency.
This did not go according to plan.
D’Andre Swift was supposed to Thanos the Philadelphia Eagles with Jamaal Williams being out due to injury. Unfortunately, Swift’s production was the only thing that got destroyed. He rushed 12 times for 27 yards and 5 receptions on 5 targets for a season-low 24 receiving yards, finishing as RB33. To add icing to the miserable cake, he was put in the doghouse late for losing a fumble. Swift's lack of production was head-scratching especially since the game script was suited for him with the Eagles blowing out the Lions.
Despite this disappointing outing, however, there is nothing to worry about here, so let’s swiftly erase this past game out of our minds.
Week 8 was a complete anomaly based on what we have seen from Swift all season. Swift is still No. 1 overall in running back target share (19.6%), receptions per game (5.9), and targets per game (7.1). Even after that horrendous outing, he is still the RB8 in points per game. He's the RB1 we all know and love and should never leave your lineup outside of his bye week.
Let’s fast forward to Week 10 when he'll face the seventh-ranked defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Obviously, this is a tougher matchup, but the point remains the same that he should go back to producing like his normal RB1 self.