What We Saw: Week 8

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season.

Rams @ Dolphins

 

Tua Tagovailoa picked up a win in his first NFL start, but it was the defense and special teams that led the way for the Dolphins on Sunday. Miami scored on offense, defense and special teams for the first time in exactly 11 years. Tagovailoa had his “welcome to the NFL” moment on the first drive of the game when Aaron Donald powered through the notorious Ereck Flowers and slapped the ball out of Tagovailoa’s hands for a strip-sack. The Rams converted that turnover into a touchdown, but it was all downhill from there. Jared Goff committed four turnovers in the first half, three of which turned into Miami touchdowns. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp were the main beneficiaries of Goff’s 61 pass attempts, both producing quality starts in the 28-17 loss.

 

Los Angeles Rams

 

Quarterback

 

Jared Goff: 35/61, 355 yards, 1 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 fumbles, 2 sacks

 

This game may have been Tagovailoa’s NFL debut, but it was Goff who played like a rookie. His only touchdown drive of the first half began on Miami’s 15-yard line, and he looked lost for most of this game. Goff threw his first interception at the end of the first quarter, and the wheels came off in the second. An abysmal second quarter featured a series of drives that went fumble-interception-fumble for Goff. Los Angeles was forced to throw the ball a ton in the second half, and Goff ended up with enough passing yards to support both Woods and Kupp. Goff will use a much-needed bye week to reset and look ahead to a mouth-watering matchup against a Seattle defense that allows an NFL worst 368.7 passing yards per game.

 

 

Running Backs

 

Darrell Henderson: 8 carries, 47 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards

Malcolm Brown: 10 carries, 40 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Cam Akers: 9 carries, 35 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 19 yards

 

After eight weeks of football, it is still impossible to tell which one of these three backs to trust in your lineups. As soon as it looked like Henderson was starting to take the reigns in the Los Angeles backfield, Sean McVay deployed a true committee approach to a vulnerable Miami run defense. To be fair, however, Darrell Henderson left the game late in the 2nd quarter with a thigh injury and did not return, leaving Malcolm Brown as the next man up. The three backs combined for 122 yards but none were able to turn in a productive fantasy performance. Darrell Henderson was the only one of the three with a carry of more than 15 yards, and none of the three backs were able to separate themselves from the pack. Rookie Cam Akers should remain on the waiver wire, and the guessing game shall continue  Henderson still holds value as a flex, and Malcolm Brown should remain rostered due to his relatively steady role in the passing game. Sean McVay now has a bye week to decide whether he wants to change up his approach or stick with the committee.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Cooper Kupp: 21 targets, 11 receptions, 110 yards

Robert Woods: 8 targets, 7 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD | 2 carries, 9 yards, 1 TD

Josh Reynolds: 9 targets, 4 receptions, 44 yards

Gerald Everett: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 32 yards

Van Jefferson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards

Tyler Higbee: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 13 yards

 

No, that is not a typo. Kupp was targeted by Goff a whopping 21 times, surpassing the league-high of 20 set by Tyler Lockett last week. Due to Miami protecting over the top with a big lead for most of this game, Goff was able to find Kupp underneath and in the intermediate areas repeatedly. Robert Woods scored the first touchdown of the game on a jet sweep and secured seven of the eight passes thrown his way. He then picked up a touchdown through the air in garbage time to finish the game with a season-high 28.4 fantasy points. Both Woods and Kupp should be in all of your lineups at home against Seattle in Week 10.

 

Miami Dolphins

 

Quarterback

 

Tua Tagovailoa: 12/22, 93 yards, 1 TDs, 1 fumble, 1 sack | 2 carries, 0 yards

 

With this start, Tagovailoa became the first left-handed quarterback to play in an NFL game since now Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore in 2017. After an early fumble put his team behind, Tagovailoa bounced back by capitalizing off of a Los Angeles fumble and delivering a strike to Davante Parker for his first NFL touchdown pass.

 

 

That touchdown seemed to settle Tagovailoa down, as he looked much more poised and in control after that drive. He was at his best while moving out of the pocket on designed roll-outs, throwing darts to receivers who made the transition to a Southpaw oriented offense look seamless. Nursing a large lead in the second half, Tagovailoa went into game manager mode to ease his team to victory. Tua did not quite look like the offensive weapon we saw in Tuscaloosa, but he looked promising against a talented Rams defense in his first start despite a mediocre stat line. There was a clear drop off in fantasy production from Ryan Fitzpatrick, so Tagovailoa should dwell in free agency for the time being.

 

Running Backs

 

Myles Gaskin: 18 carries, 47 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble | 6 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards

Matt Breida: 4 carries, 13 yards

Malcolm Perry: 1 carry, -5 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 10 yards

 

The introduction of Tagovailoa to the Miami offense did not change the makeup of the backfield. Myles Gaskin is the clear lead man for the Dolphins and had a grind it out type of day in this one. He averaged just 2.61 yards per carry and had a fumble that led to a Rams touchdown in the first quarter. None of that stopped Flores from feeding his workhorse 18 times, and he was rewarded for his efforts with a one-yard touchdown run. The Miami rushing attack is by no means lethal, but as long as Gaskin is healthy he can be plugged in as an RB2/Flex nearly every week.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Durham Smythe: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards

Preston Williams: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 13 yards

Jakeem Grant: 2 targets, 1 reception, 15 yards

Isaiah Ford: 1 target, 1 reception, 10 yards

Mike Gesicki: 2 targets, 1 reception, 8 yards

Davante Parker: 2 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards, 1 TDs

Adam Shaheen: 1 target, 0 receptions

 

The decision to start Tagovailoa is a negative development for those who roster Miami pass catchers. Outside of Preston Williams, no receiver was targeted more than twice and no receiver had a reception of longer than 15 yards. Granted, this should be taken with a grain of salt. This was a sloppy game overall for the Dolphins offense and should be an outlier going forward. That is not to say Parker’s production will not be hurt in the long term, but expect Tagovailoa to become comfortable enough to support at least one fantasy option in the passing game. Tagovailoa loved his tight ends during his tenure at Alabama, but it is yet to be seen if he will develop a rapport with Gesicki as he progresses throughout the season.

 

— Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)

One response to “What We Saw: Week 8”

  1. Really good website, thank you very much for showing us

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