2023 Fantasy Football Week 8 Stock Up/Stock Down

by Ryan Kirksey
2023 Fantasy Football Committee Backfields

If you are researching stocks in the market to invest in, how long are you looking at their profit/loss sheet? Weeks? Months? Keep that in mind with the 2023 Fantasy Football Week 8 Stock Up/Stock Down article.

One single week in the NFL is often the definition of overreaction theater, much less the week-to-week game of Fantasy Football. Each player has data from which we draw conclusions. We are forced to use that information to make decisions moving forward.

We tend to evaluate each week's Fantasy Football performances thinking about the short term. What does the data tell us about what to expect for a defined period of time, or for the rest of the season? But we can also draw conclusions from a longer-term Dynasty perspective.

Who saw their stock rise based on usage or opportunity in Week 7? Who saw it fall due to their own performance, lack of usage, or because of a change in role? Let’s dive in and find out.

2023 Fantasy Football Week 8 Stock Up/Stock Down

Stock Up

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Detroit Lions

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Even in a horrific game for the Lions, Jahmyr Gibbs is the clear headliner of a stock-up, stock-down article this week. Getting the full role in place of an injured David Montgomery, Gibbs accumulated 126 total yards on 20 touches plus a touchdown. Some might say it was just a product of a negative game script, but I say it was the perfect opportunity to showcase his pass-catching abilities and what he can do with the ball in space.

Even in just limited work this year, Gibbs is proving his worth as the 12th-overall pick in the NFL draft. He ranks fifth in the position in target share (16.4%), he is ninth in breakaway run rate (7.7%), and he is 14th in yards per touch (5.1). With Montgomery out another week or so, it should be the Gibbs show until his return. After that, his play right now will ultimately warrant a fuller role in this typically dynamic offense.

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

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After a shaky first season and a half as the shiny new stud wide receiver for the Steelers, the last couple of games for George Pickens have been elite. Over the last three weeks, Pickens leads all wide receivers with a 64.6% share of this team's air yards. He is also fifth in total air yards despite playing only two games (everyone else in the top 12 has played three games). Kenny Pickett is starting to pepper him downfield with targets (33.3% target share) and Pickens has been up to the challenge.

The best thing about Pickens has always been his ability to make plays downfield and in traffic. Pickens ranks fourth in yards per reception this year and 17th in yards per route run. He is now a top-ten wide receiver in yards per team pass attempt and that is where we should draw the most hope.

The issue with Pickens has never been with skill, it was with opportunity. Even with Diontae Johnson back in Week 7, Pickens caught five balls for 107 yards. With Pittsburgh now up to 15th in passing rate this year, there should be plenty to go around for Johnson and Pickens.

Rashee Rice, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

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For the first time this season, Rashee Rice broke 60% of snaps played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Based on how he is performing, I would be surprised if we see a number below 60% in any healthy game he plays the rest of the season. Rice now has a streak of three games going with at least 60 yards or a touchdown. He led all non-Travis Kelce Chiefs in targets on Sunday with six and is seeing a growing role each week.

Perhaps most importantly, however, he leads all wide receivers and running backs on the team with eight red zone targets this season. Patrick Mahomes already trusts him in the high-leverage area and his three touchdowns in seven games are the proof.

The Chiefs offense looked to be back to its efficient ways on Sunday against the Chargers and that's partially because Mahomes is starting to develop some rapport with other receivers besides Kelce. Rice is at the top of that list and looks to be a great add in any fantasy format at the moment.

Stock Down

Deshaun Watson, QB, Cleveland Browns

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There are apparently now two different injuries where Deshaun Watson has been cleared and able to play in games but chose not to for some reason or another. After hitting his head, Watson cleared the concussion protocol, he was able to come back in the game against the Colts, but Coach Kevin Stefanski held him back.

It's possible that Watson and Stefanski wanted to be ultra-sure that Watson did not reinjure his shoulder. But it's also possible that P.J. Walker was playing well and they didn't want to ruin the momentum with Watson.

On the season (after missing two games), Watson ranks 33rd in total fantasy points at the position, just ahead of Ryan Tannehill. His 13.7 fantasy points per game when he does play ranks 23rd among quarterbacks.

I suppose if you're looking for a silver lining, Watson has over 21 fantasy points in two of the four games he has played this year. Something seems amiss in Cleveland, however, and I'm selling Watson where I can right now.

Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

Aaron Jones played in just his third game of the season on Sunday. In none of those games has he eclipsed 47% of the snaps and his last two games have produced 79 total yards. Jones was fantastic in the season opener with 127 total yards and two scores, but injuries have derailed his season. Now just one month away from his 29th birthday, we have to wonder if the cliff has already found Jones or if these are just temporary setbacks.

His yards per carry this year (4.3) are a full yard below last season. His true yards per carry ranks just 21st at the position; not something you want from a borderline RB1 when he was drafted. Jones is also being dragged down by the general malaise that is the Green Bay offense. The Packers rank 21st in yards per play this year and just 25th in first downs per game as Jordan Love has not been able to extend drives.

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