Welcome to the Week 8 edition of The Inside Look for the 2022 NFL season. This will be a data driven article and will go under the hood to see if the box scores tell the whole story about what transpired during the weekend. My goal here will be to either calm your nerves about a player that may have underperformed or cause you to rethink some of the spots you may have taken.
We are getting close to the midway point of the 2022 season. It’s been an exciting one folks. This was one of those weird weeks where almost all of the chalk hit. Guys like Alvin Kamara, Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, D’Onta Foreman all had monster days, just as they were expected to.
Let’s dig in to the data!
Before we dig into individual player performances I wanted to take a moment to talk about why we focus so heavily on Targets. Targets equal opportunities and in fantasy opportunity more often than creates production. The more targets that a player gets the better chance there is that the player will return on value.
Tyreek Hill did everything but score a touchdown this weekend. He was the most heavily targeted person in all of football in Week 8. Hill was targeted 14 times and ended up catching 12 of them for 188 yards receiving. He has 42 targets over the last 3 weeks and only has 2 games this season with less than 10 targets.
This was also Hill’s fourth time going over 160 receiving yards this season. There is no player in the NFL with the sheer upside that Hill has. Up next will be a much tougher task for the Hill and the Dolphins. The Bears have been one of the better teams in defending the pass.
Another player that has as much upside in the league as anyone is DeAndre Hopkins. Playing in only his second game of the season, Hopkins had a monster game. He was targeted 13 times this weekend and was able to catch 12 of them for 159 yards and 1 touchdown. That was Hopkins’ first touchdown of the season. Hopkins and his teammates will have a tough go at it next weekend as they’ll face off against the Seahawks. Another team that has been very good at defending the pass.
What a first quarter for A.J. Brown! This was the Brown the Eagles expected when they traded for him this off-season. Brown had arguably his best game for the Birds as he caught 6 of his 11 targets for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns. The 156 yards were the most he’s had this season, as were the 3 touchdowns. The 3 touchdowns more than doubled his season total, now at 5. Next will be a matchup vs. the Texans, a team that has done fairly well defending against wide receivers.
Alvin Kamara was the chalk running back going into Week 8 and he did not disappoint. He was the most heavily targeted running back at 10 targets. He was also the only running back with double-digit targets, a theme we have seen often this season for running backs. Kamara converted 9 of those 10 targets into catches for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. The targets, receptions, and yards were all season-highs for the Saints running back.
For a second consecutive week, tight ends played a lesser role in the passing game for teams. Only Tyler Conklin of the New York Jets had double-digit targets. He led all tight ends with 10 targets in Week 8. Conklin caught 6 of the 10 targets and finished with 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 79 yards were the most he’s had since Week 3 against Cincy and his 2 touchdowns were the first ones since Week 1 vs. Baltimore.
Conklin has now been targeted at least 7 times in 4 of his team’s 8 games. Up for the Jets in Week 9 will be the Bills. The Jets will surely be passing quite a bit in that one, leading to more targets for Conklin.
Now that Christian McCaffrey is in San Francisco, we’re going to see a shift in the way they pass the ball. That was evident in Week 8 as nearly half of Jimmy Garoppolo’s passes went to his running backs. Jimmy G only threw the ball 26 times, but 11 went to his running backs. 9 of them specifically went to McCaffrey as he was the leading target monster on the 49ers this weekend.
Even though Mark Andrews went down early, Lamar Jackson still heavily used his tight ends in the passing game. It’s just something he feels more comfortable doing, especially with his top receiver in Bateman out. Isaiah Likely was second on the Ravens in targets this weekend with 7. 13 of Jackson’s 34 passes went to his tight ends.
Then we have Tua Tagovailoa. Tua threw the ball 34 times in Week 8. 80% of those passes went to his wide receivers. The combo of Hill and Waddle accounted for 23 of the 34 passes. Only 6 of Tua’s passes were spread between his tight ends and running backs.
Get used to it folks. As long as the Titans play, Derrick Henry will be numero uno in terms of carries. I mentioned it last week, but the Titans are slowly beefing up the workload for Henry. After topping out at a season-high 30 carries last week, he got it all the way up to 32 this week. He did some amazing things with those 32 carries as he finished with over 200 rushing yards, something he hadn’t done since the 2020 season. He also finished with a pair of rushing touchdowns. The Titans’ offense runs through Henry. Up next will be a tough test against the Chiefs.
With Christian McCaffrey shipped off to greener pastures in San Francisco and Chubba Hubbard out, D’Onta Foreman was a chalk running back on Sunday. He did not disappoint. Foreman finished with a season-high 26 carries and for the second straight week finished with 118 rushing yards. Unlike last week though, he made the most out of those 118 yards and found the end zone 3 times.
The ‘Playbook’ as I like to call it shows a breakdown of the play splits that teams used this past weekend.
I mentioned it in the running back section, but the Titans’ offense runs entirely through Derrick Henry. The Titans ran 53 plays this weekend, 48 of which were run plays. 85% of the Titans’ plays this weekend were runs, a trend we’ll continue to see as long as Ryan Tannehill is out.
On the opposite side, we have the Bengals. With the Bengals down the entire game and Joe Mixon being essentially useless last night, Joe Burrow was forced to throw the ball 35 times. 77% of the Bengals’ play last night were pass plays. They had just a crushing defeat last night, dropping them to a game behind the Baltimore Ravens for first place in the AFC North.
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I've been playing fantasy sports since I was 12, which means I've been playing for over half of my life. I love DFS and season-long formats and have been writing for nearly a decade. I started my writing career at RotoWire and currently write for FantasyPros, Rotoballer, Razzball and DFSR. I cover NBA, MLB and NFL and follow all major sports. I generally cover primarily DFS but I also do game previews, recaps, player write-ups, injury updates etc.
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