Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 8
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire
Each week, our staff here at QB List will be previewing all the fantasy-relevant things you should be on the lookout for in this week’s games. Today, we preview all the upcoming Week 6 action.
Eagles vs. Jaguars
It seems like every game these days is a pivotal game for the “defending” Super Bowl Champions, but this game in London of all places truly represents a turning point for these Birds. With the Eagles 1.5 games behind the division-leading Redskins, who will presumably feast this weekend on the now rebuilding Giants, they face a truly elite, albeit a bit banged up, defense in the Jaguars. How will the team, and its fantasy studs respond? Let us find out!
Roll With Wentz?
Yes. Why? I’m getting there, jeeeeeez! QB Carson Wentz has now posted 270+ yards, and 2+ TDs in each of the past four games, all while not tossing a single interception (though he likely should have had one at the end of last week’s nightmare against Carolina). Needless to say, the guy is locked in. Yes, the Jaguars’ pass rush is one of the best in the league and the Eagles offensive line has been a shadow of their former selves in pass protection this year, but the fact of the matter is Wentz makes things happen and the offense runs through him. Look for a tight defensive game where Wentz is directly responsible for 14 of the team’s 20 points.
Who’s To Be Trusted?
Outside of WR Alshon Jeffery and TE Zach Ertz, it has been a fool’s errand placing your trust in any other Eagles pass catcher. Of course you’re starting Ertz, and despite coverage by Jalen Ramsey you have to start Alshon given his generous target share and constant red zone looks. As for the rest of the crew, if ever there was a game to trust one of them, it would be this one. The normally fissure-deep Jags defense will be missing three of their top four corners, so the Eagles’ receivers outside of Alshon will all be covered by backups. This being the case, it could finally be time for a WR Nelson Agholor breakout, or even a rare Jordan Matthews of Shelton Gibson sighting. I would only recommend starting the former of the three given the latter two’s shaky target shares, but if you’re absolutely desperate there are worse options. Same goes for Zach Ertz stunt double Dallas Goedert.
Another week without RB Darren Sproles, and we’re left playing the same record over and over again. The tripartite backfield Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and snail-human hybrid Josh Adams will attempt to carve up a Jaguars run defense which surprisingly is only 12th best in terms of yards per attempt allowed. How will they do? Ummm, probably not all that great. Smallwood will likely get the bulk of the carries, which will ALL go for between two and six yards for a putrid average of about 3.5 yards per carry, while Clement will likely come in on 3rd downs and several whole drives. Don’t fret though, the coaching staff will still be sure to sprinkle Adams in for about four to five carries just to spice things up with a blown 3rd and 1 or something. Expect lackluster days from all three with the potential for a decent day from Clement if the screen game can get going.
What’s Left of the Defense
Losing Derek Barnett hurts. A LOT. While this will surely be a large issue in later games against more capable offensive opponents, luckily the Eagles get the luxury of facing a Blake Bortles led offense. Don’t expect the true evisceration that could have been had the whole unit stayed healthy, but a solid day is surely in store for the birds.
Boom, Bust, and BSleeper!
As Doug Pederson claws at his playbook searching for ways to score points in this one, it’ll be the long dormant Nelson Agholor who presents the coach with a truly exploitable matchup. While we’re already not expecting a huge day from Alshon, we’re expecting much less from just about everyone else, so he’ll have to take the fall as the bust. Wentz booms as always. What a hunk!
Boom! = Carson Wentz
Bust! = Alshon Jeffery
BSleeper! = Nelson Agholor
It has been a long time (in NFL time) since the Jaguars were 3-1 to start the year. At the beginning of the year, Jacksonville had two convincing wins (Patriots and Jets), one ho hum win (Giants), and a head-scratcher of a loss (9-6 Titans). It turns out that the 9-6 Titans win was more telling about the true level of the Jaguars offense than any other game. Now 3-4, Jacksonville travels across the pond to London to take on the Super Bowl champion Eagles. Luckily for the Jags, Philly has been struggling lately as well. Once team might end up turning their season around this week and on review, it looks like it will be the Eagles.
Just How Short Will Bortles Leash Be?
After two costly fumbles last week, Blake Bortles was benched for Cody Kessler. The benching wasn’t permanent, as Doug Marrone stated unequivocally that Bortles would start in London. Aside from the statement about starting, no other assurances of status were made, so it is very likely that Blake Bortles has a very short leash on Sunday morning (local time). As of this point in the season, Bortles has 13 turnovers to his name, which is a recipe for team struggles. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, Cody Kessler isn’t much better. If you can avoid Jacksonville QB’s at all, do so. Consider this a no-fly zone for Sunday.
Making Sense of the RB’s in a Post-Trade World
All indications suggest that Carlos Hyde will make his 2018 debut with the Jaguars in London. For all intents and purposes, T. J. Yeldon has performed admirably in relief of the injured Leonard Fournette, but Jacksonville has never been comfortable handing him the reins of the offense. So, what can we expect from this backfield? I expect Hyde to see most of the early down work for the Jaguars while they are ahead, at parity, or just behind. That could translate to 12 touches or 20, based on how effective the QB’s and Defense are at keeping the Jaguars in the game. That type of volume with Hyde’s skill set is worth Flex consideration. As for Yeldon, I think he’ll see a role similar to what Kenyan Drake is currently seeing in Miami, most thirds downs more than 2 yards out and the hurry-up drill. If the Jaguars fall more than a score behind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Yeldon as the sole RB for drives. Predicting game flow is inconsistent at best, but with those expectations and the current byes, Yeldon should have some Flex appeal as well. Both Hyde and Yeldon are going to vulture value from each other, but Jacksonville wants the ball on the ground and out of Bortles hands.
Can You Trust Any WR?
Simple answer, no. You can’t trust Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, or Dede Westbrook to have a safe floor at all. Cole and Westbrook are capable of higher ceilings than Moncrief, so they could potentially be Hail Mary offerings, but you shouldn’t start either as anything more than a deep Flex.
The Jaguars come into this week with momentum against them and it would be foolish to think that they will arrest that given the opponent (even with the Eagles struggles) and the travel. Fade all Jaguars if you can.
BOOM: Don’t Count On It
BUST: Blake Bortles
SLEEPER: T. J. Yeldon