Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. He will be switching up the format a little starting in Week 4. Instead of a full report on every game he will be focusing on one or two things from each game that might be flying under the radar.
2020 Week 8 Review: Searching for Hidden Gems
Falcons @ Panthers:
Jeremy Chinn is already justifying our opinion of him. He's averaging just over 8 tackles a game, he looks fast and instinctive, he can blitz, play deep or in the box, and he's still just a rookie. In addition he looks fairly lean for a 6'3” 220 lb safety. He might be able to add another 5 lbs of muscle and keep his speed. Add it all up and you have the makings of a soon to be star. He's definitely useful for fantasy right this moment, but next year could be a monster breakout for Chinn. How's that Isaiah Simmons pick looking now Arizona?
Titans @ Bengals
Well well well. This game had two interesting players show up. Former FFM favorites D'Onta Foreman and Samaje Perine haven't been seen in quite some time, but here they are taking carries out of nowhere. Neither one is fantasy useful for the moment, but you never know when opportunity could strike.
I'll start with Foreman because the visual of him in the backfield was absolutely shocking. I thought it was Derrick Henry at first! Foreman is all of 6'1” 235 lbs and with that sleeve on his arm and the dreads it was nearly impossible to tell them apart other than their number. Foreman even runs with a similar style to Henry. He took 5 carries for 37 yards at a very nice 7.4 ypc, and it honestly makes you wonder why he wasn't taking significant carries for another team already. Henry led the league in rushing last year and you'd think every team would love to have their own little Derrick Henry, but I guess nobody is really paying attention. I see no reason why Foreman couldn't replicate everything Henry has if given the same opportunity.
Perine didn't quite as good as Foreman, but he didn't have a ton of room to run either. When he did get some space he looked about how I remember him, fairly spry for a guy his size. Looks like he may even have slimmed down a bit. It's been a while since I've seen him but this may be the best shape he's ever been in. Mixon should be back week 10 so Perine probably won't get an extended look, but maybe this was enough to get the attention of another team. Who am I kidding? NFL GM's aren't actually looking for useful players that could be available.
Colts @ Lions
Marvin Hall will be replacing Golladay in the Lions starting lineup. So what can we expect from Hall moving forward? He went 4 for 113 on 7 targets here which seems like good work, but I didn't see a concerted effort to get Hall involved. Most of his targets came fairly late and most of his yards were from one long bomb that Stafford just flung as far as he could. Rhodes lost the ball in coverage and Hall adjusted to it. Hall is a pretty good player, but I have to imagine he's a WR3 with some upside from week to week in this offense. You could do worse, but it might be tough to rely on him for any kind of consistent points.
Jets @ Chiefs
Denzel Mims is a rookie RC and I had high hopes for, but until he gets a new QB he doesn't have a chance. Luckily Darnold should be gone after this year. Mims had a very nice high point catch on the right sideline here. It was a nice play, but honestly it's nearly impossible to guess how good he might be because Darnold is so terrible. I have some hope for next year, but unfortunately Adam Gase might still be running the show and that does not inspire confidence.
Braxton Berrios popped up with 8 catches for a meager 34 yards. Not sure I've ever seen that few yards on 8 catches, but that's Darnold for you. He doesn't have the arm for anything but dump passes. Berrios could be an interesting player with a better QB. He's another Edelman-like slot receiver that could put together a 100 catch 1000 yard campaign under the right circumstances. The 2020 Jets aren't those circumstances however.
49'ers @ Seahawks
DeeJay Dallas somehow fell into 18 carries and 5 catches against the 49'ers. Welcome to 2020 where anything can happen! Dallas is decent enough. He only managed 41 yards on those carries, but it was against a good 49'ers run defense. Most NFL RB's can do fine if given enough carries, and Dallas is no exception. He might have been useful if Travis Homer was out this week, but Homer has been cleared and Alex Collins will be active as well. He'll take a few carries and has shown to be a capable back. I wouldn't chase Dallas, but if you're desperate he might work ok. There's a decent chance he'll fall in for a short TD or two.
Cowboys @ Eagles
I was fairly excited about rookie Jalen Reagor this year, but injuries have really robbed him of much of the season. He only caught 3 balls for 16 yards on 6 targets here, but one did go for a TD. I think he could be a nice add if you've got the room moving forward. He was moving around pretty well although I didn't see the pure speed I was hoping for. This Philly squad has been ravaged by injuries to the point that Travis Fulgham has become a quasi star for them, but Reagor is 10x the talent that Fulgham is. That's not to say he will absolutely be fantasy useful immediately however. I have not been impressed with Wentz this year. Something is going on with him and I don't trust him to get the ball to Reagor with any consistency just yet. Reagor is speculative only at this point.
Steelers @ Ravens
I hope you jumped on Robert Spillane when RC and I mentioned him weeks ago. The guy is a Tasmanian devil out there. He piled up 11 tackles against the Ravens run-heavy offense, 10 of them solo. He also added a nice pick 6 after baiting Lamar into an ill-advised throw over the middle. Spillane stepped right in front of the pass and was off to the races. He is such an impressive player, and I definitely think he's earning a spot on this defense in the future. The Steelers are loaded with Spillane and Devin Bush manning the inside for the next several years. He's probably not going to put up numbers this good every week though for two reasons. First, the Ravens ran the ball a ton this game. That provided Spillane a lot of chances for tackles and he's just not going to have that many opportunities most games. Second, this defense is so loaded with good players that it's tough for one guy to make the majority of the plays. Either way Spillane has gone from nobody to solid starter in just a few short weeks, and it is well deserved.
Chargers @ Broncos
Troymaine Pope is the kind of short, thick Austin Ekeler-lite RB that could put up decent numbers if shoved a whole bunch of carries in a given week but otherwise is just a useful spot player. He's decent but not a star. Unfortunately for Pope he took a nasty shot to the head against the Broncos, and it looks like he'll miss the Raiders game this week. I'd look for Justin Jackson to be a possible shock scorer for the week with Pope out. Rookie Joshua Kelley has been fading.