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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 8

a.j. brown fantasy football rankings NFL DFS lineup picks

Week 7 is officially in the books. This week, the Bills, Cowboys, Jaguars, Chargers, Vikings, Steelers are all back in action, with just the Raiders and Ravens on Bye.

In this weekly column, we'll be looking at players whose arrow may be pointing up, and players whose arrow may be pointing down based on the previous week's games. We'll try not to overreact, but instead, use relevant data to make informed decisions about certain players.

Here are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 8 (and beyond) of the NFL season.


Fantasy Football Risers for Week 8

A.J. Brown, Tennesee Titans

What can Brown do for you? See what I did there? Since his battle with food poisoning he got from eating Chipotle, Brown has topped 90 yards in consecutive games. He's also seen 9+ targets in back-to-back games for the first time in his three-year career. Additionally, he's sporting a 34.6% target share in his last two games. Brown gets a favorable matchup against the Colts in Week 8 - wheels up!

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Guess who leads the Bengals in target share each of the last two weeks. Nope, it's not Ja'Marr Chase. Tee Higgins has a combined 32.8% target share (21 targets) in his last two games. Those targets haven't translated into fantasy production, but it's hard to argue against the workload as we project forward and work to get Higgins into our starting lineups. Believe it or not, he also leads all Bengals with five red zone targets despite missing two games this season. The breakout is coming.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons

Remember when Patterson was just a gadget guy, getting lucky and scoring a bunch of touchdowns early in the season despite a low opportunity share? He was a "sell-high" candidate at that point. However, he's become much more than that in his last two games. Patterson played on a season-high 73% of the snaps in Week 7 after playing 59% of the snaps in Week 5. He's averaging 21 opportunities (carries + targets) in his last two games. That includes seven targets per game. He also ran a season-high 23 routes at wide receiver in Week 7. Patterson has essentially surpassed Mike Davis in the running back pecking order while acting as a wide receiver on about half of his snaps. He should be considered a high-end RB2 because of his usage until further notice.

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

If there was any doubt who the 49ers were going to go with as their starting running back after the Bye Week, that has all but been squashed. Elijah Mitchell handled 85.7% of the RB carries in Week 7 after handling 81.8% in Week 5. Essentially, whenever he's fully healthy, it looks as if he's going to be given the lion's share of the work out of the backfield. He doesn't play much on third down, but that's ok so long as Jimmy Garoppolo remains the starter. In his two fully healthy games with Garoppolo, Mitchell is averaging 18.5 rush attempts for 105 yards and a touchdown. He gets a Chicago Bears defense in Week 8 that just surrendered 182 rushing yards to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

With Zach Ertz gone, Goedert saw elite usage at the tight end position last week. He played on a season-high 94% of the snaps and tied his season-high in routes run at 34. He only caught three passes on five targets but turned it into 70 yards. He also had a season-high 103 air yards. His previous high on the season was just 36 air yards. Look for this trend to continue as the Eagles are lacking sure-handed pass-catchers outside of Goedert and DeVonta Smith.

Other Risers: Kalif Raymond, Chase Edmonds, Myles Gaskin, Kenneth Gainwell, Cole Kmet


Fantasy Football Fallers for Week 8

Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

Beckham has played an average of just 57% of the snaps his last two games. He's averaging seven targets per game in those two games but has averaged just 51 yards per contest. With Jarvis Landry back in the fold, Beckham saw his target share dip down to just 18.8% in Week 7 vs. 25.8% in Week 6. It looks like it'll be Case Keenum until further notice, and the Browns will also welcome Nick Chubb back as soon as Week 8. With the volume and opportunity unlikely to be there for Beckham on a consistent basis, he's hard to trust week-in-and-week-out.

Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans

Jones has been banged up this season, which culminated in him playing just 43% of the snaps in Week 7. He's averaging just 4.5 targets in his last two games and has completely taken a backseat to A.J. Brown. Between the limited snaps, the nagging hamstring injury, Brown, and Derrick Henry, there just doesn't seem to be enough volume to go around for Julio Jones.

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

This one might be a bit confusing on the surface, especially given the sheer number of air yards Sutton has seen since Jerry Jeudy went down with the high-ankle sprain way back in Week 1. If you recall, Teddy Bridgewater had eyes for Jeudy in that game, not Sutton. Jeudy played just 47% of the snaps and ran just 23 routes, but was targeted a whopping seven times. That's a hefty targets per route run (TPRR) rate of 30.4%. In that same game, Sutton played on 80% of the snaps and was targeted just three times despite running 31 routes (9.7% TPRR). This might be the perfect "sell-high" opportunity on Sutton, who has averaged 9.2 targets per game with Jeudy out of the lineup.

Mike Davis, Atlanta Falcons

Davis played on a season-low 60% of the snaps in Week 7, while Cordarrelle Patterson played on a season-high 73% of the snaps. But it wasn't just the amount of time on the field, Davis barely touched the ball on those snaps. He got just four carries and didn't see a single target. He accounted for just 16% of the RB opportunities (carries + targets) against the Dolphins. It's clear the Falcons prefer the versatility of Patterson over Davis, which doesn't bode well for him as the season progresses.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Believe it or not, Mixon's role in the offense is changing as the season progresses. In Weeks 1 and 2, he played on an average of 81% of the snaps, getting much of the third-down work as well. In Week 7, Mixon played just one third-down snap, while Samaje Perine was in on the other 13 third-down snaps. Mixon played just 54% of the snaps in that one. He's getting the carries (17.6 per game) but is only seeing two targets per game. If this trend continues, he's essentially becoming a glorified Damien Harris, a guy who plays on a little more than half the snaps but isn't used on passing downs, subsequently missing out on valuable targets.

Other Fallers: Robby Anderson, Tyler Boyd, James Conner, A.J. Dillon, Damien Williams, O.J. Howard

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