Thursday Night Football Preview: Week 8

By: Stepmom Lauren

Week 8 Thursday Night Football Fantasy Breakdown

It’s time for Thursday Night Football!  Are you all ready for the Brocktober REEVEEENGE game?! How about the Lamar Miller Fantasy Revival? Maybe the Mean Girls drama between head coach Adam Gase, DeVante Parker, and his agent? Anyone? No?

Yawn.  Well, it was worth taking a shot at the narratives circulating throughout the NFL rumor mill.

Let me tell you what I am looking forward to seeing during Thursday Night Football. Please, please give me some bloody-faced J.J. Watt destroying Brocktober and screaming to the sack gods high in the fantasy football heavens.

Aaah. I feel better already.

All right, all sarcasm aside, there are some pretty serious fantasy implications between these two teams.

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans

On the Texans side of the ball, fantasy GMs are scratching their heads raw trying to figure out what happened to quarterback DeShaun Watson. At the same time, how and why did Lamar Miller leisurely stroll into Jacksonville then continue said stroll straight up the middle… on the Jags! What? What on Earth do we do with Will Fuller? With Watson’s struggling quarterback play, is he reliable? And, oh, Keke Coutee is hurt and ruled out for Week 8 Thursday Night Football.

Ugh.

The Miami Dolphins are heading into Thursday Night Football not looking that much better. You know, scratch that. It looks much worse, in my opinion. Brocktober. Unfortunately for Brock Osweiler, his boo Albert Wilson is busted up with a hip injury and there are even rumors that injured reserve has not been ruled out. Wide receiver Kenny Stills is also injured and expected to miss week 8, according to head coach Adam Gase.

Speaking of whom… I wonder what Devonte Parker did to make Gase so mad that he made Parker a healthy scratch. Did Parker not invite him to his birthday party or something? After Wilson and Stills went down, they really could have used him. And do you want to know what Gase said about Parker’s start in week 8?

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“We have no more receivers.”

That’s it.  Jay Ajay, much? Don’t worry, Parker will get traded to a team that will go on to win the Super Bowl.  And let’s not forget the situation between the Ageless One, running back Frank Gore and goal-line butter fingers, Kenyan Drake. What? Too soon?

Give me a moment to picture J.J. Watt crushing Brock Osweiler.

….

Okay, now I am ready to go.

Houston RBs: Lamar Miller & Alfred Blue

Total Rush/Receiving 2018 Regular Season per Pro Football Reference.

Snap % Touches Yrds TDs Tgts Rec TDs Ctch%
Lamar Miller 58.4% 106 371 1 16 11 1 68.8%
Alfred Blue 42.8% 75 216 0 15 11 0 73.3%

All right, let’s all just take a hot minute here. In case you missed it, Lamar Miller finally had his first break out game of the 2018 season. Let me remind you, in the last 3 games prior to last Sunday’s game against the Jags (ugh.. still can’t believe that), Miller totaled 105 yards combined, according to CBSsports. Combined! Plus, this was his first touchdown yet in the 2018 regular season.

So, what does this mean for fantasy owners? It means you should start Lamar Miller with confidence in this matchup, hope he has another great game, then you start to shop him out to your league mates. While Miami’s defense against running backs is abysmal, and week 9 against the Broncos looks juicy as well, Miller goes into a bye week then faces Washington and Tennessee who are ranked 10th and 3rd respectively. Plus, week 9 gives us another huge bout of the bye-week-blues. That means you can get some great value for Miller heading into week 9 with fantasy owners desperate for the all-elusive running back starters.

Final Analysis: Start Lamar Miller and take ibuprofen when Alfred Blue gives you a giant headache.

Miami RBs: Frank Gore & Kenyan Drake

Total Rush/Receiving 2018 Regular Season per Pro Football Reference

Snap% Touches Yrds TDs Tgts Rec TDs Ctch%
Frank Gore 39.71% 77 332 0 6 5 1 83.3%
Kenyan Drake 62.71% 83 282 2 39 25 1 64.1%

I know, I know. For fantasy owners, this whole split-role backfield sucks. A lot. Why can’t these head coaches and offensive coordinators take our feelings into consideration and just make it clear that there will be one bell cow RB? Wah! Alas, I’m fairly certain they don’t give a hoot about what we think so we shall persevere and curse at the television every Sunday.

For Drake owners, though, this week actually looks pretty good for you. Adam Gase has made it clear that Frank Gore will take on the bulk of the rushing work while Drake will be utilized as the pass-catching back in this Dolphins’ backfield. I mean… he really doesn’t have a choice if he wants to win games. Anyway, the Texan’s defense against the rush is ranked 14th but only allowing 1 rushing touchdown, making this a tough outing for Gore, in my opinion.

The Texans defense against receiving running backs… (cough, cough – Drake), makes this more tantalizing. In the 2018 regular season, they have allowed 44 receptions on 61 targets for 316 yards and a whopping 4 TDs. Yes, I promise. Look it up on ESPN. That is the most TDs allowed to receiving running backs in the NFL tied only with the Bengals and the Giants.

Final Analysis: You can start Kenyan Drake in this matchup. Be a good person and cheer for Gore, the Ageless One.

Ken Murray – Icon Sportswire

Houston’s WRs: DeAndre Hopkins & Will Fuller (No KeKe Coutee)

 Total Receiving 2018 Regular Season per Pro Football Reference

Snap % Targets Recpt’s Yards Catch % TDs
DeAndre Hopkins 99.8% 71 47 707 66.2% 4
Will Fuller 66.2% 39 27 379 69.2% 3

 

(Keke Coutee ruled out for Week 9 – FYI)

I really hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to people, but start Hopkins. I know his numbers were low last Sunday against the Jags, but they simply didn’t need him in the passing game with Miller gracefully pirouetting through the Jacksonville’s defense. Fire up Hopkins, and plop him in your lineup.

So, what about Will Fuller? For me, this is very tricky. Fuller did have a nice game, especially with Keke Coutee exiting with the injury. He led the Texans in yards with 68 yards on 6 catches and that could have been even higher if it weren’t for the penalty calling back a 20 yard catch-and-run, according to CBSsports. If his numbers are going up and his competitor is out, shouldn’t that mean Fuller has another great game?

My hesitance is partially due to Miami’s pass defense, ranked 11th, but it mostly has to do with DeShawn Watson. He put another bad stat line in their win against the Jags, but the supernova that was Lamar Miller shadowed Watson’s mediocre performance in the second straight game.

Final analysis: Start Hopkins, but understand this may be another game for Miller. If you feel confident in Watson (I don’t) you could consider Fuller a flex option. I believe there other, better options than Fuller until we can see Watson start to really get going. Yeah, that doesn’t help much. Sorry.

Miami WRs: (Headache alert!) Danny Amendola, Jakeem Grant, & DeVante Parker

(Sigh). Allow me to waste my time… and yours with the following numbers breakdown for Total Receiving Stats for the 2018 Regular Season per Pro Football Focus…. yay.

Snap% Targets Recpt’s Yards Catch% TDs
Danny Amendola 83.5% 38 30 294 78.9% 1
DeVante Parker 8.96% 4 2 40 50% 0
Jakeem Grant 44.07% 23 16 216 69.6% 2

Grant does quite a bit on offense and special teams, hence the mini-breakdown of his kick and punt return numbers.  Grant has had 14 kick returns for 452 yards and a touchdown as well as 9 punt returns for 162 yards and a touchdown.

I have no idea what to make of these 3 wide receivers. I can definitely tell you I don’t hate Amendola. He should be a WR3 with Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills out, but what does that mean for Parker and Grant?

Grant should see an uptick in targets, sure. My gut is telling me I shouldn’t have eaten a kale salad and had a pizza for lunch, but it’s also saying that DeVante Parker is going to be “thing” for a while as injuries reign and Brocktober rolls on.

See? Headache alert. Good thing we all will have taken meds, probably with beer, as we deal with Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue.

Final Analysis: Start Amendola… maybe? I don’t hate it, but compare him to your bench or the waiver wire. As for Grant and Parker, I personally would hold off until we see how the target share and Brock Osweiler shake out.

Houston & Miami TEs: Wait… They have Tight Ends?

I kid, I kid. But, not really. Ryan Griffin for the Texans is still suffering an illness and didn’t practice Monday.

Mike Gesicki for the Dolphins might see an increase in snaps and targets with the injuries to Wilson and Stills, but even so, there are still better options on the waiver wire. If you’re in a deeper league, with no other options, plug your nose and grab a beer or 5 if you plan on starting him.

Final Analysis: Don’t. I just can’t.

Houston & Miami QBs: DeShaun Watson (Grr) & Brock Osweiler (excuse me, Brocktober)

All right, so Houston and Miami are ranked 12th and 9th respectively against the quarterback position, according to ESPN. The stat line I found fascinating was the 11 interceptions by Miami’s defense tying only the Bears and the Browns.

That number looks awfully daunting for DeShaun Watson who played injured against the Jags. Plus, the injuries are in Watson’s lungs and ribs… not only are those important for living, but that is a pretty important area for a quarterback.

And then there’s good old Brock Osweiler in the “revenge” game. Do you hear my excitement? Unless you’re really desperate or carry a torch for Osweiler (he is handsome, after all), avoid starting Brocktober.

Final Analysis: I wouldn’t start either quarterback if I didn’t absolutely have to. There are plenty of good matchups this week with quarterback riches ready for the taking. I would scour the waiver wire.

Houston & Miami Defenses

To make a long analysis short (too late, I know), start the Texans if you have them. It’s still Brock Osweiler… month be damned.

Avoid starting Miami. Despite DeShaun Watson’s faltering numbers, he can still exploit the Dolphins horrific run defense.

Want to get in touch with me?  You can find me on FaceBook at StepmomLauren or on Twitter

Let me know how you liked the article and if there are any improvements or changes you would like to see!

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