Fantasy Preview: Week 8 Early Slate 1

  • Broncos (+2.5) @ Jaguars (-125) O/U 40.5


    Key storylines/What to Watch

    This week’s London game has the lowest projected point total of all games, mainly due to the listless Broncos offense. The big headline of that Denver offense, however, is that QB Russell Wilson declared himself “ready to rock” after putting in a limited practice on Wednesday. It has certainly not been a smooth ride in Broncos country so far, as the team ranks dead-last in scoring with 14.3 points per game. This backfield remains a mess after Javonte Williams’ devastating seasoning-ending torn ACL, so it’s possible that head coach Nathaniel Hackett may have no choice but to try letting Russ cook more with his arm even if it’s only been some lukewarm soup so far.


    Perhaps a jaunt across the pond will breathe some new life into the Jags, who after a hot start to the season are now mired in a four-game losing streak. They had a decent chance to finally cool off the scorching Giants with a narrow lead entering the final frame last week, but surrendered 10 points to fall at home. The biggest development on the Jags offense this week was that they traded away RB James Robinson to the Jets to fill the void left by Breece Hall (torn ACL). This frees up Travis Etienne to be the clear-cut workhorse in this backfield for the rest of the season and firmly gives him a high-end RB2 floor with potential for much more if the Jags passing game can take a step forward too.


    Top Starts


    WR Jerry Jeudy

    If there’s a get-right matchup for the Broncos passing “attack” in Wilson’s return, this is it. The Jags have given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and Jeudy has been heating up for four straight games now. The slippery receiver has established a decent floor of no less than 53 yards receiving per game over the past month. Jeudy will match up primarily with Darious Williams, who has so far allowed a catch rate ten percentage points above Jeudy’s year-to-date rate and also has the highest yards per route covered among all of the Jags corners.


    RB Travis Etienne

    The Broncos are much less generous against fantasy backs than they are with receivers, and now Etienne will get his first chance to enjoy as many backfield touches as he can handle with Robinson now jettisoned to Jersey. A red-hot three week stretch in which he’s averaged 113 yards from scrimmage has Etienne humming at the perfect time to stake a claim to this backfield. Despite only catching one ball for five yards last week, he’d recorded multiple catches for at least 22 receiving yards in four of the previous five games. They haven’t been cheapies either, as Etienne is now third among all running backs with 10.8 yards per reception. Perhaps the most impressive stat to-date is that even while battling Robinson for touches, Etienne has made the most of it by leading all rushers with 6.9 yards per touch and a 10.3% breakaway run rate (percentage of runs that are 15-plus yards) that ranks fourth overall. ETN SZN is here.


    Boom/Bust Dart-Throw


    WR Christian Kirk

    Kirk bounced back admirably last week against a tough Giants secondary, reaching double-digit fantasy points for the first time since Week 3. While he’s expected to avoid emerging shutdown corner Patrick Surtain III (who will mainly cover Marvin Jones Jr. and Zay Jones), Kirk will still draw slot corner K’Waun Williams, who has limited fantasy receivers to just 0.17 fantasy points per route run. Kirk’s still top-20 in the league in targets which will give him an ample floor, but his ceiling is a bit capped by the tough matchup. It’s worth noting that even if he struggles in this one, much greener pastures are ahead with top-11 worst pass defenses on the horizon for four of the Jags’ next five matchups.


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    Raiders (-120) @ Saints (+1) O/U 49.5


    Key storylines/What to Watch

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