It’s bad enough for fantasy football owners when one of their key players is injured or not playing well. It’s much more of an issue when that player is a quarterback and two first-ballot Hall of Famers are on the wrong side of history at the moment.
It’s hard to imagine that seven weeks into the season, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are both sitting with records of 3-4, but harder to fathom is how poorly they’re playing from the fantasy perspective – where wins and losses don’t matter.
Neither one brings much value as a runner, so they earn their fantasy chops through the air. Through seven games, Rodgers has accounted for just 11 touchdowns (all throwing) and is averaging 228 passing yards a game. Brady is even worse. He is averaging 277 passing yards a game but has just eight TD passes in seven games.
For the purpose of comparison, seven games into last season, Rodgers was averaging 244 yards a game with 17 TDs (15 passing, two rushing), while Brady was averaging 325 yards a game with 22 TDs (21 passing, one rushing).
The problem with both is that fantasy owners who have their receivers are also suffering without even having Brady or Rodgers on their rosters. There is still time to turn things around, but, at the moment, the G.O.A.T. and the two-time defending MVP are both playing like hot garbage.
Here is the Week 8 Fantasy Football Market Report.
Fantasy Football Risers
Carolina Panthers RB D’Onta Foreman – With the trades of Robbie Anderson and, more importantly, Christian McCaffrey, a lot of Panthers are moving up the playing time pecking order. Foreman earned the first chance to be the primary back and ran 15 times for 118 yards against the Bucs, and both he and Chuba Hubbard have emerged on the Island of Relevancy for potential moving forward.
Dallas Cowboys RB Tony Pollard – Despite getting fewer carries every week than teammate Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard has led the team in rushing in three of the last five games (all wins). Pollard is averaging 5.6 yards a carry this season compared to 4.1 for Elliott, and the Cowboys have three games in which a rusher has 82 or more rushing yards – all three of them being Pollard. It may take an injury for Pollard to get the carries a featured back gets, but he keeps earning that chance.
Kansas City Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – Many were questioning the signings of Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, because neither was very productive the first month of the season. But in the last two games, JuJu has caught 12 passes for 237 yards and touchdowns of 42 and 45 yards. While he will never be the threat Tyreek Hill was in this offense, it’s a good sign that he and Patrick Mahomes are building chemistry, especially on deep routes.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Travis Etienne – Etienne has not been able to live up to the hype that surrounded his arrival … until the last three weeks. After missing all of 2021, he was mired behind James Robinson early this season, but over the last three games, he has rushed 34 times for 271 yards and a touchdown. On Sunday, Etienne had 14 carries for 114 yards (both career highs), while Robinson was in for just 12 snaps and had no carries. With Robinson’s trade to the New York Jets, the torch has been passed.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Josh Jacobs – Typically, we don’t put players who are every-week fantasy starters, but Jacobs is an exception. A high-end RB2 in most leagues on draft day, over the last three weeks, Jacobs has rushed 69 times for 441 yards and six touchdowns – leading the NFL in all three categories over that period – and has caught 13 passes for 82 more yards. For the Raiders offense to succeed, Jacobs needs to be a big part of it, and he’s blowing things up in a good way.
Fantasy Football Fallers
Denver Broncos RB Melvin Gordon – When Javonte Williams went down, many believed Gordon would be the beneficiary of the opportunity. In Week 6, he had just three carries and last week had to be in time share with Latavius Murray and Mike Boone. While Boone’s ankle injury works in Gordon’s favor, for a guy who was expected to potentially explode in fantasy terms, he’s in quicksand and sinking fast.
Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill – Over his last five games, Tannehill hasn’t thrown more than 27 passes in any one, has averaged just 166 passing yards a game, and has thrown only four touchdown passes. You knew that the loss of A.J. Brown was going to hurt, but few could have expected he would fall this far and this hard.
Green Bay Packers RB A.J. Dillon – Dillon was expected to see his role expand this season, but it hasn’t. He is averaging just 11 carries a game for the season (and has just 20 carries in the last three games combined). He has rushed for 45 or fewer yards in five of seven games, and his only touchdown came in Week 1. He was expected to carry a big workload, but that has gone more in the direction of Aaron Jones than it has gone to Dillon as desperation grows in Green Bay.
New York Jets WR Corey Davis – The Jets signed Davis to a three-year, $37 million deal in 2021 with the hope that he would be the go-to receiver. Through seven games, despite a lot of improvement on the Jets offense, Davis is fourth on the team in receptions with just 19 and things have turned for the worse over the last three weeks, where he has been targeted just nine times, catching four passes for 90 yards and no TDs. Adding injury to insult, Davis is uncertain for Week 8 due to a knee injury.
San Francisco 49ers RB Jeff Wilson – The arrival of Christian McCaffrey is cause for excitement among the 49ers fan base, but not Wilson. Wilson was the entire show among running backs prior to McCaffrey’s arrival, but this is expected to change significantly, especially given that McCaffrey is known as a three-down back who is just as dangerous as a receiver as he is a runner.