Quarterbacks: Case Keenum is rising. He led the Vikings to 75 offensive snaps, which was a league-high in Week 8 in a win over the Browns. That is an increase of seven snaps from Week 7. Keenum and the Vikings are sustaining drives. He may be just a temporary answer for Minnesota, but the journeyman is giving them results. Any offense that is on the field for 75 snaps is getting efficient quarterback play.
Staying in the NFC North, Chicago Bears’ rookie Mitch Trubisky made a much more efficient in Week 8 in a loss to New Orleans than he did in a Week 7 win over Carolina. Trubisky and the Bears were on the field for 67 snaps. It was an immense increase from 38 snaps the week before. Yes, it’s difficult to call someone a riser in a loss over a win. But, in the long term, the only way Trubisky is going to effectively lead this offense is if he can sustain some long drives.
Running Backs: The Saints are consistent in the way they use rookie Alvin Kamara. He had 31 snaps against Chicago. In the two previous weeks, he had 30 and 37 snaps.
Some new red-zone fantasy options emerged in Week 8. Carolina’s Cameron Artis-Payne, Detroit’s Dwayne Washington, Baltimore’s Javorius Allen and Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell all four red-zone touches Sunday.
Wide Receivers: Washington’s Jamison Crowder was targeted 13 times on Sunday in a loss to Dallas. It was the most in the NFL in Week 8 among receivers. WR target leaders, WR Targets
In Minnesota, Adam Thielen continues to be a favorite target of Keenum. Thielen was targeted 10 times and he has been targeted 35 times in the past three weeks. He was targeted a combined 30 times in the past four weeks combined. Expect Thielen to continue to be a top target in Minnesota when the Vikings return from the bye.
Tight Ends: Jake Doyle is clearly developing chemistry with Colts’ quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Doyle had an NFL high 14 targets for tight ends Sunday. He has been a big part of the Colts’ offense in recent weeks, He has been targeted 32 times in the past three weeks. He will clearly be a focal part of Houston’s defensive game Sunday.
Quarterbacks: Derek Carr and the Oakland offense reverted to its troubling ways in a Week 8 loss to Buffalo. The Raiders had just 65 snaps. In Week 7, Oakland broke a season-long offensive slump and was on the field for 82 snaps. Oakland went into that game averaging a season-low 54 snaps. It was on pace for the lowest offensive snap number by a team since the 2005 San Francisco 49ers. The performance against Kansas City was encouraging. However, the Raiders went backwards against the Bills. Of course, 65 snaps are much better than 54, but it is clear that Carr and Raiders, who play at Miami on Sunday, still have to improve in sustaining and extending drives.
Running Backs: Kamara’s fellow New Orleans’ running back Mark Ingram is seeing a snap decrease. Like Kamara, Ingram had 31 snaps against the Bears. In his three previous games, Ingram played 46, 47 and 42 snaps. So, we may be seeing more of an even play-time distribution at running back in New Orleans. The Saints play Tampa Bay in Week 9. The Buccaneers allow 111.7 yards a game on the ground. So, both Kamara and Ingram will get their chances to make an impact in Week 9.
Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell just two touches in the red zone at Detroit after getting his number called a whopping 10 times inside the 20 in Week 7. Thus, a week after setting his season high for red-zone touches, Bell tied his season low in the category in Week 8.Packers at Redskins 8/19/17
Wide Receivers: While Crowder was the featured receiver for the Redskins against Dallas, Terrelle Pryor have fallen out of favor in the Redskins’ playbook. Pryor, a big-money free-agent pickup, was targeted once Sunday. But that has been his tend. Pryor has been targeted just 10 times in the past five games. He was targeted 11 times in Week 1 and 19 times total in the first three weeks. Most alarming for Pryor is, he played a season-low 19 snaps in Week 8. The Redskins play at Seattle on Sunday. Surely, the Seahawks will be game planning for Crowder more than Pryor based on Week 8.
The Raiders continue to try to get third-year receiver Amari Cooper more involved. Cooper broke a slump than carried over from the second half of last season in Week 7 where he had 11 catches for 201 yards on 19 targets against Kansas City. Derek Carr went to Cooper 10 times against the Bills. However, Cooper was only able to catch five of them for a modest 48 yards. Watch for Oakland to stick with the Cooper game plan at Miami in Week 9.
Tight Ends: Tampa Bay’s offense is struggling and tight end Cameron Brate suffered Sunday. He was targeted a total of 26 times in the past three weeks. However, in Week 8, Jameis Winston looked for Brate just five times while receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson’s targets were in their usual ranges. Getting Brate more involved has to be a goal this week against the Saints.