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Players Sending Out Warning Signals Heading Into Week 8

Hey folks, first and foremost, apologies for missing last week's Warning Signals. But I'm back, so let's preview what lies ahead of Week Eight. The most notable aspect of not having a piece in week seven is that we're looking at busier piece than the norm this time around, specifically in the "Updates From Last Week" section. Other than that, it's pretty much business as usual.

As a reminder, players typically don't qualify for Warning Signals after they've already appeared on the list three times barring unforeseen circumstances. It's a way to keep things fresh and making sure a firm stance is taken on players rather than playing both sides of the fence. This week in particular is going to feature a number of repeat offenders so now would be a good time to start getting a little nervous. Don't fret too much, there are some new faces as well although I'm certainly less concerned about those players. Vamos!

Editor's Note: New users that sign up on FantasyAces, make a $20 deposit, and enter any game will receive our full season NFL (or NBA) Premium Pass for free, a $59.99 value. Just email [email protected]¬†with your new FantasyAces username - and boom, that's it! We will email you with your Premium pass.


Heed the Warning Signs

Julian Edelman - (WR, NE)

Right off the bat we have ourselves a player who would qualify in the "unforeseen circumstances" category.  See, the first time Julian Edelman appeared on Warning Signals was due to the fact that Tom Brady had yet to return from his suspension. I strongly preached a patient approach, stating that every offensive player in New England would return to normal once Tefflon Tom was back in the lineup. Well here we are three weeks into Brady's return and Edelman is still having a lackluster year, most notably in standard scoring.

The most glaring hole in Edelman's game right now is the big fat zero in the touchdown column. He hasn't found the endzone a single time in 2016, significantly hurting his fantasy value in the process. On top of the scoring drought, Edelman is also yet to exceed 76 yards in a game this season with that highpoint coming in week two while Jimmy Garoppolo was still under center. Even with all of this in mind, Edelman does have two things going for him; for one, he's led the team in targets since Brady's return and two, he's always been more dependable in PPR formats anyway. Nevertheless, his lack of touchdowns is an obvious problem that needs to be addressed if he's to be utilized as a WR2 in standard scoring going forward. Personally, I already benched him in favor of Ty Montgomery last week, a decision that ended up being the right call. This is a situation where you need to survey what you have on your bench as I don't believe Edelman to be a "set it and forget it" type of player outside of PPR.

Allen Robinson - (WR, JAX)

How many years in a row has the narrative of the Jacksonville Jaguars "taking the next step this season" been repeated over the summer? It feels like we go through this every single year; the Jaguars show glimmers of hope only to revert right back into being the inconsistent mess we've all grown to love to poke fun of. In the case of Allen Robinson, this is directly related to the expectations that the Jacksonville offense would be one of the league's best. Instead, it's looking like one of the least trustworthy squads in the league.

Even with Blake Bortles giving me the heebie-jeebies for fantasy, I was still confident that Robinson could overcome quarterback regression and be what DeAndre Hopkins was for Brian Hoyer in 2015. With numbers like two receptions for nine yards, three for 49, and three for 54, it's safe to say that is far from the case. I still believe in Robinson's ability as an NFL player but the team he plays for isn't conducive to fantasy stardom. This is an offense that is going to have strong bouts of inconsistency whether it's Blake Bortles being held under 250 yards or Allen Hurns rising from obscurity to haul in touchdowns. It's not even like the Jags have an easy schedule going for them either. They still need to play the underrated Titans twice, on the road against the Chiefs, and two potent defenses at home against Denver and Minnesota. Throw in guys like Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, and Brandin Cooks leapfrogging Robinson in fantasy scoring, and you're looking at more of a WR2 than the WR1 you drafted him as.

Jordy Nelson - (WR, GB)

We are now seven weeks into the season and Jordy Nelson has really only had two good fantasy outings. Those games came in weeks two and three where he scored 13 and 22 fantasy points in standard scoring respectively. Outside of those showings, Nelson has been bailed out by touchdowns twice and been dreadful in Green Bay's last two games. In fact, week seven's Thursday night matchup saw Jordy finish with a whopping one reception for nine yards. That amounts to a grand total of zero fantasy points in standard. Hot take incoming: that ain't good.

In hindsight, expecting Jordy Nelson to singlehandedly fix the Packer offense was a poor expectation by fantasy analysts across the board. While Randall Cobb has proven once again that he is a greater asset as a number two receiver than as a number one, Green Bay has been riddled by injuries in the backfield, forcing the team to move Ty Montgomery to running back. Long story short, this still isn't the offensive juggernaut we expected heading into 2016 . Instead of viewing Jordy Nelson as being a lock to finish in the top-10 at wide receiver, I think him and Cobb are a lot closer together than initially thought. It's looking like they both have the makings of a mid-range WR2 season. I would predict that Nelson finishes somewhere in the 10-15 range while Cobb ends up 15-20. That's an obvious negative for Jordy and a bump up for his teammate. You certainly shouldn't be panicked if you own Jordy Nelson but I do think your season long expectations need to be adjusted accordingly.

Russell Wilson - (QB, SEA)

Several weeks ago I had stated that I was going to hold off on adding Russell Wilson to the Warning Signals list due to him playing through knee and ankle injuries. Between Wilson's clear determination to play through his ailments and it being the middle of the season, it's impossible to keep ignoring his lackluster fantasy production. Most recently, Wilson has been held without a touchdown in his last two games, netting him a grand total of 19 fantasy points over that span. His stat line looks more like that of a bye week fill-in QB than a stud QB1. Having said all that, I'm still not convinced this is all entirely his fault.

On top of Wilson's injury woes is an overrated offensive line that can't protect their playmakers as well as they once did. The combination of those two issues is crushing Wilson's fantasy stock. In fact, I would argue they're both the reason Wilson's rushing numbers have taken a drastic hit this season. He has just 33 rushing yards on the year, a number that should be much higher when considering his floor as a fantasy star. In case you haven't picked up on the theme here, you once again need to lower your expectations as a Russell Wilson owner, at least temporarily. The Seahawks have a delicious matchup looming against the Saints in week eight so Wilson should net himself a QB1 performance even without his ability to run outside of the pocket. If he can't get it done in New Orleans, then it'll be time for full blown panic.

Travis Kelce - (TE, KC)

Fine, I suppose I'll throw you all a bone and add someone whose season long outlook should remain intact going forward. There's been some murmurings about how the Chiefs are content to ground and pound their opponent into submission and although I don't disagree with that statement, I think its impact is being exaggerated when it comes to Travis Kelce. Yes, Kelce's numbers are down from the ones we've grown accustomed to but he's still every bit as talented as any other tight end you'd group him together with. Sure, Kyle Rudolph is having a career year and Zach Miller is producing in a banged up Chicago offense but no one in their right mind would say either of those players are more talented than Travis Kelce. It just so happens that the Chiefs don't need to throw the ball as much as expected.

My take on the offensive outlook for the Chiefs is that the success of the ground game behind Spencer Ware is going to hurt Jeremy Maclin more than it does Kelce. Tight end isn't exactly a stellar position across the board as most weeks you're just hoping your guy finds the endzone. And with that philosophy in play, how many tight ends would you realistically prefer over the man they call Zeus? I'm thinking five at the absolute most. Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed for sure, and I can't argue with you if you prefer Jimmy Graham and Delanie Walker. Beyond that, Kelce is as solid as they come at the TE position so hang tough with the Greek God.


Updates From Last Column

Odell Beckham Jr - (WR, NYG)

Since we last spoke about Odell Beckham, he's exploded for 222 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens and struggled in London against the Rams. Even with the struggles across the pond, I'm much more inclined to say the arrow for OBJ is pointing upward. He was playing through rib and hip injuries in that game and as evidenced by his outing against Baltimore, he still possesses the ability to singlehandedly win you your week.

DeAndre Hopkins - (WR, HOU)

The week six analysis on DeAndre Hopkins was that outside of the Denver game, Houston's schedule was extremely favorable over the next few weeks. I stand by that statement and would argue that if Hopkins finds the endzone in overtime against the Colts, everyone is much more inclined to agree with me that better days are ahead. In case you missed it the last time, here is Nuk's next seven games: Lions, Jaguars, Raiders, Chargers, Packers, Colts, Jaguars. The toughest game on that slate is a Packers team who is significantly better against the run than they are against the pass. Brace yourselves, the breakout is coming and it's going to be glorious. I'd go as far as to say that I think Hopkins is a prime buy low candidate.

Alshon Jeffery - (WR, CHI)

I promise I didn't miss last week's piece so I could avoid talking about Alshon Jeffery. If you had asked me a week ago I would have told you that even though Brian Hoyer makes the Chicago offense more efficient, his presence hurts Alshon since he won't just force him the ball the way Jay Cutler does. Now, however, Hoyer is basically done for the year and Cutler is miraculously healed so I think Jeffery is primed for a bounce back. His target share should increase immensely but don't expect an immediate return to promise as the Bears have a tough matchup against the Vikings in week eight.

Latavius Murray - (RB, OAK)

Latavius Murray returned from injury in week seven, getting the bulk of the workload out of the backfield even with DeAndre Washington drawing the "start." Like it or not, this is still a three headed beast of a timeshare but as long as Latavius is the most productive back of the trio, he's the only one you should feel comfortable using. He's a RB2 who seems to be touchdown dependent but with so many backs in far worse circumstances, take what you can get out of Latavius and be happy.

Carson Palmer - (QB, ARI)

Another player returning from an injury since our last visit was that of Carson Palmer. Unfortunately for Palmer, I don't think he's an every week starter anymore. He's going to have some strong outings similar to that of Blake Bortles but he'll also throw in some duds...similar to that of Blake Bortles. Looking ahead to the Arizona schedule, there are some nice spot-starts where Palmer warrants your attention. I'm talking about matchups against Carolina, San Francisco, Atlanta and New Orleans. Other than that, it's best to look elsewhere for your starting quarterback.

Lamar Miller - (RB, HOU)

It's been a tale of two games over the last few outings for Lamar Miller. Week six saw him go off for 178 total yards and two touchdowns against the Colts while week seven's game against Denver resulted in a limited workload due to a shoulder injury. He's considered day-to-day ahead of Houston's upcoming game against Detroit so be sure to snag Alfred Blue off waivers if you can. Other than that, I think Miller is still locked in as a solid RB1 given his overall workload.

C.J. Anderson - (RB, DEN)

The Denver backfield is starting to look like a poor man's Atlanta Falcons timeshare between C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. Booker has seen an uptick in touches over the last few weeks and has produced enough to warrant continued usage going forward. It's not like Anderson has been terrible, but it is now obvious that he's Carlos Hyde from 2015. Hyde had a massive game to start the year only to settle back into RB2 status before ultimately getting hurt. I'm not saying Anderson is going to go down with an injury but his hot start was more of an aberration than a sign of what's to come. Both him and Booker can be usable RB2's with Anderson being the preferred option.


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