Spin’s Fantasy Football Factory: Booms & Busts for Week 8

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It’s been a while, but Spin’s Fantasy Football Factory has once again opened its doors and is ready to resume business as usual. If you won your Week 7 matchup, it’s probably because you started players like Cooper Kupp or Ja’Marr Chase. If you lost, you may have relied too heavily on guys like Mike Davis or Brandin Cooks, who both underperformed drastically. As someone that really likes to win fantasy football matchups, I’m here to help you to determine which players you should be optimistic about starting in Week 8, and which players you should taper your expectations for. Without further ado, here are my boom or bust predictions for Week 8 of the NFL season. 

Boom – A.J. Brown, WR, TEN at IND 

Through the first five weeks of the season, Brown’s performance was no higher than that of a WR3 despite a massive target share. He injured his hamstring in Week 3 and got hit with the stomach bug soon after. For fantasy managers that drafted Brown, it was only a matter of time before he finally broke out, and he did with 91 receiving yards in Week 6 followed by an eight catch, 133 yard and one touchdown statline last week against the Chiefs. In Week 8, the Titans will take on an Indianapolis Colts defense that ranks as the fourth-worst in terms of points allowed to wide receivers and has allowed more touchdowns to wide receivers than any other team in the NFL. In other words, bet on Brown to continue his massive production as long as targets keep on being funneled his way. 

Bust – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, CIN at NYJ 

Chase, the fifth overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been a godsend for fantasy managers that drafted him this fall despite his preseason struggles with dropped passes. He’s fresh off of recording a 201 yard, one touchdown game against the Ravens and probably single-handedly won you last week’s fantasy matchup. So, how can he possibly be expected to bust against a lowly New York Jets team that just allowed 54 points to the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots? It may come as a surprise, but New York is the third-best team in terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and has allowed only two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers through seven weeks, the lowest mark in the NFL. In that game against the Patriots, New England’s leading receiver was Brandon Bolden, a running back by trade, who recorded only 79 yards. What I’m trying to say here is that Chase may very well have a solid outing against the Jets, but it probably won’t be the type of output you’d hope for from a player that ranks as the third-best wide receiver in fantasy football thus far. 

Boom – Darrell Henderson, RB, LAR at HOU 

If things go the way that we all think that they will on Sunday, then the Rams will establish a massive lead over a weak Houston Texans squad. If that happens, the positive game script would benefit Henderson incredibly. Houston is allowing the most rushing yards per game and the third most rushing touchdowns per game to the running back position in 2021. After Cam Akers landed on the injured reserve list in training camp and Los Angeles acquired Sony Michel for backfield depth, there were questions entering this season as to how the Rams would rotate their running backs. It’s clear that Henderson is the preferred option at RB in Los Angeles, as evident that he has recorded at least 89 yards or a touchdown in all but one game this year. After a down game in Week 7, a Week 8 contest versus Houston puts Henderson in a golden opportunity for a rebound. 

Bust – Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA at BUF 

In Week 5, I predicted that Myles Gaskin would bust against a stout Tampa Bay defense. He instead tallied 99 total yards and two receiving touchdowns. Then, he was a no-show in Miami’s Week 6 contest, only to record 77 total yards and another receiving score during Week 8’s game versus Atlanta. I’d love to say that Gaskin’s performance as a pass-catcher is enough to garner him some thought as a fantasy starter, but he’s simply been too inconsistent and needs to establish himself as a reliable runner before considering plugging him into your lineup. He’s a running back that is yet to record a rushing touchdown through seven weeks of action, which won’t bode well against a Buffalo Bills defense that ranks seventh in terms of points allowed to opposing running backs and is-well rested coming off of a Week 7 bye. 

Boom – T.J. Hockenson, TE, DET vs. PHI 

Hockenson started the 2021 NFL season hot, scoring at least 20.6 fantasy points in each of his first two games. He’s cooled off as of late, not recording a touchdown since Week 2, but he continues to be Jared Goff’s most-targeted receiver for a Lions team that finds itself trailing in games early and often. Hockenson’s target share will translate nicely into a Week 8 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, who are allowing tight ends to be targeted at the third-highest rate in the NFL. Despite their poor record, Detroit has been a gritty team that has at times been a problem to opposing teams. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lions put together a strong showing against the slumping Eagles, with Hockenson right in the middle of the attack. 

Bust – Robert Tonyan, TE, GB at ARI 

The Arizona Cardinals will enter their Thursday Night Football date against the Packers having allowed a stunning 1.3 points per game to opposing tight ends this year, by far the lowest mark in the NFL. They’re only one of four teams that have yet to allow an opposing tight end to record a touchdown against them. Tonyan tallied his best game of the season last week to the tune of four catches for 63 yards and a score, but it’ll be extremely hard to expect a similar output against the far-and-away best defense against tight ends this year. Not to mention that Tonyan is typically a hit-or-miss player, as evident by his average statline of 1.5 catches and eight yards per game from weeks three to six of the season. Even with Green Bay’s top three wide receivers unlikely to suit up for this matchup, I’d expect the offense to operate through running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. Bench him for someone with more upside in Week 8. 

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