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Stats Perform’s Fantasy Football Outliers vs. Consensus: Week 8

By: Gabe Schmittlein

Week 8 in the NFL has brought some quarterback and running back drama.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has said that Drew Brees, who has not played since Week 2, will be a game-time decision Sunday against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. Brees and Teddy Bridgewater fantasy owners will continue to keep a close watch as we move closer to kickoff.

Meanwhile, Kansas City Chiefs star Pat Mahomes is out and Matt Moore will make his first start since 2017. Moore and the Chiefs will face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. After some uneven play early on, fantasy owners are hoping Rodgers can build on last week’s six-touchdown performance.

In the backfield, it remains to be seen whether the Saints’ Alvin Kamara and the Cardinals’ David Johnson will be able to go after Kamara was out and Johnson barely played last weekend. The Detroit Lions have placed Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve, leaving Ty Johnson as the new starter.

Stats Perform is here to help with this week’s difficult lineup decisions. Our advanced analytics team has developed fantasy projections based on our proprietary data. We factor in opportunity as well as talent, so our feelings about how many points a player will score aren’t the same as how we feel about them as a player overall.

Stats Perform has pinpointed players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end in a standard-scoring format that we project are either higher or lower than other experts’ rankings. For the consensus rankings, we’re using FantasyPros, which aggregates fantasy sites’ picks, to compare our projections with others in the industry.

Here are Stats Perform’s top undervalued and overvalued players for Week 8:

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws against the New Orleans Saints in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.

Quarterback – Undervalued:

Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears

Stats Perform’s ProjectionComp.-Att./RushesYardsTDs-INTs/Touchdowns
Passing22-312071.5-0.7
Rushing4.0230.1

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 13th

FantasyPros Ranking: 25th

The Bears have disappointed so far, and Trubisky has been the subject of much criticism by fans who expect more from the former No. 2 overall pick. From a fantasy perspective, however, he’s been decent with a total of 482 yards, five touchdowns and only one interception in his last two full games.

We expect Trubisky to continue that fantasy production against the Los Angeles Chargers. Though the Chargers have been somewhat effective limiting yardage and completions, they’ve allowed 12 passing touchdowns – tied for the ninth-most in the league.

Quarterback – Overvalued: 

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Stats Perform’s ProjectionComp.-Att./RushesYardsTDs-INTs/Touchdowns
Passing25-322212.0-0.4
Rushing1.430.1

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 10th

FantasyPros Ranking: 6th

The Patriots might not need Brady to do much heavy lifting against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have one of the league’s worst run defenses, allowing 154.0 rushing yards per game (30th in the NFL) on 5.05 yards per carry (31st).

The Patriots should run the ball early and often, especially if they get out to an early lead. That wouldn’t be surprising given that their defensive unit has scored five touchdowns while allowing only three.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner, front, sprints past Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Jatavis Brown on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Carson, Calif.

Running Back – Undervalued: 

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

Stats Perform’s ProjectionCarries/CatchesYardsTouchdowns
Rushing19.3890.6
Receiving3.9310.3

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 1st

FantasyPros Ranking: 6th

Our projections are going to like anybody going against the Miami Dolphins. They’ve allowed the most total touchdowns per game (4.33), the second-most rushing yards (160.8) and the 11th most passing yards (256.5).

Coming off a bye week, Conner is expected to be featured heavily in the run and passing game. He has yet to rush for more than 55 yards in a game, but that shouldn’t deter fantasy owners. He’s still getting 12.33 rushing attempts and 4.5 passing targets per game, which should be enough usage to do some major damage against the Dolphins’ leaky defense.

Running Back – Overvalued: 

Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets

Stats Perform’s ProjectionCarries/CatchesYardsTouchdowns
Rushing14.5580.3
Receiving4.0300.1

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 16th

FantasyPros Ranking: 10th

The Jets are facing injury concerns all over their offensive line. Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Kalil and Brian Winters are all questionable to play, while Kelechi Osemele just announced that he’s having season-ending surgery. None of that bodes well for Bell.

We’re also projecting the Jaguars to take an early lead, forcing the Jets to air it out with Darnold and a passing game that Bell has been absent from in recent weeks. Since Darnold’s return two weeks ago, Bell has totaled just two receptions for nine yards.

Wide Receiver – Undervalued: 

Kenny Stills, Houston Texans

Stats Perform’s ProjectionCatchesYardsTouchdowns
Receiving3.6640.5

Houston Texans’ Kenny Stills (12) makes a catch against Indianapolis Colts’ Rock Ya-Sin (34) Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Indianapolis.

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 15th

FantasyPros Ranking: 26th

Stills has been used primarily as a deep threat by the Texans, averaging 19.5 yards per reception (3rd in the league). This has limited his fantasy consistency as he’s yet to exceed four receptions in a game.

This week, things could be different. Fellow wideout Will Fuller is out, which should mean higher usage for Stills – both in the deep game and as a possession target. He also has a great matchup against a Raiders secondary that was torn up by Rodgers and the Packers in Week 7 and has allowed 24 passing plays of 25 yards or more through just six games (worst in the league).

Wide Receiver – Overvalued:

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Stats Perform’s ProjectionCatchesYardsTouchdowns
Receiving4.3680.4

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 16th

FantasyPros Ranking: 8th

There’s no doubt Hill’s dip is a direct result of the injury to Mahomes. Moore has started five games since 2012, with all coming in ’16 and ’17. He threw for an average of 213.0 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions in those starts while with the Dolphins.

As a result, we just don’t know what to expect out of the Chiefs this week. It certainly doesn’t help that Hill will likely see a lot of Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander – one of the few corners who can come close to his speed.

Oakland Raiders’ Darren Waller reacts after catching a pass against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis.

Tight End – Undervalued:

Darren Waller, Los Angeles Raiders

Stats Perform’s ProjectionCatchesYardsTouchdowns
Receiving8.1660.6

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 1st

FantasyPros Ranking: 4th

Waller has established himself as the clear No. 1 option for the Raiders passing attack. He’s 14th in the league with 8.3 targets per game and seventh with 80.8 receiving yards. Oakland’s next best options are Tyrell Williams (6.0 targets per game) and Hunter Renfrow (4.3).

The Texans have allowed an NFL-high 26.7 receptions per game and 15 passing touchdowns. The vast majority of that passing action should be coming Waller’s way, making him the top tight end in our projections.

Tight End – Overvalued:

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Stats Perform’s ProjectionCatchesYardsTouchdowns
Receiving5.9500.4

 

Stats Perform Ranking: 6th

FantasyPros Ranking: 1st

We may as well begin copy-and-pasting our explanation of Kittle’s fantasy value each week. Here’s your weekly reminder that the 49ers are the most run-heavy offense in the league, averaging 39.0 rushes per game. Kittle continues to be a huge part of that as one of the NFL’s best run-blocking tight ends. Unfortunately, you don’t get fantasy points for good run blocks.

Until the 49ers show that they’re going to start unleashing Garoppolo for a higher percentage of passing plays, Kittle will remain outside of the upper echelon of fantasy tight ends by our models.