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Week 8 TNF Fantasy Reaction

The undefeated 7-0 Cardinals hosted the 6-1 Packers in the most anticipated TNF matchup of the season so far. It wouldn’t be a 2021 TNF matchup without any injuries or absences however, so here we go.

In the green corner…Davante Adams and Adam Lazard both missing due to COVID, MVS still not activated off of IR. This left the Packers with a lethal receiving corps of Randall Cobb, Equanimeous St. Brown and Amari Rodgers, with Bob Tonyan occupying his usual TE role.

In the red corner…JJ Watt was announced as being out for the season and Deandre Hopkins was highly questionable with a hamstring injury. Watt in particular had been playing lights out this season, a big loss.

Green Bay came out the eventual victors 24-21, with Rasul Douglas (signed off the Cardinals practice squad just three weeks ago) picking Kyler Murray on a comical AJ Green howler in the endzone, to seal the win with just 14 seconds remaining.

A huge, huge win for Green Bay, who’s defence has really turned it up a notch in recent weeks since the week 1 outlier vs New Orleans, forcing turnovers and getting to the QB often. Not to mention the depleted receiving options. And on the other side, a tough loss for Arizona who are no longer undefeated and will be feeling the pressure mount somewhat after the aforementioned loss of Watt.

Here’s my key fantasy takeaways from last night’s action:

Kyler Murray isn’t running the ball very well.

Kyler has been brilliant thus far, no doubt. But what set him apart was what he does with his legs, which for the last few weeks hasn’t been getting the job done. Instead, it’s been James Conner (who has turned into some sort of annoying combination of Jordan Howard, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Tolbert) punching it in, scoring 6 touchdowns in the last 5 games and ran in scores from 2 and 9 yards out last night.

It’s not even that Kyler isn’t getting the opportunities either:

Weeks 1-3 – 5 carries, 16 yards, 3 TDs

Weeks 4-8 – 8 carries, 2 yards, 0 TDs

On the year his YPC is sub 3.0, which in 2020 was at 6.2 and 2019 at 5.8. There’s probably something to be said about the offensive play calls putting him in positions to succeed on the ground, but it just makes sense putting James Conner on the gritty carries in the redzone, keeping their franchise QB healthy.

So what to do with Kyler? You hope the rushing production picks up and dust last night off as an outlier. The carries are still there for Kyler, sure James Conner will steal some of those touchdowns from him but this is one of the best offences in the league. Don’t panic.

Deandre Hopkins no longer a target hog.

If you haven’t already, it’s probably time we adjust our expectations of Nuk.

The volume and yards just haven’t been there, which has rendered him to a touchdown or bust 2020 Adam Thielen style fantasy WR.

Through 7 weeks this year, Nuk has 47 targets (49 after TNF). That’s two less than Robby Anderson and the same as Marvin Jones Jr who has only played 6 games.

He’s averaging 6.7 targets per game. Last year he averaged 10 per game.

After this weekend’s games, he’s going to be outside the top 30 in target totals and is on pace for 98 targets. In 2020 he had 160 targets.

His 420 receiving yards leave him outside the top 20 for WRs. He also hasn’t eclipsed 90 yards once in a game.

The saving grace is the touchdowns, of which he’s scored 7, all from within the redzone. His 11 redzone targets are good for 5th in the league.

Nuk hasn’t lost it, the Cardinals are just spreading it round so much between the 20s that he is no longer the elite option he was last year. The Cardinals have targeted 4 WRs 30+ times.

I’d be looking to trade Nuk for an elite option using his name value to my advantage.

AJ Dillon is not a threat to Aaron Jones’s fantasy value.

Not that anyone was questioning this, but it’s a worthwhile reminder after seeing AJ Dillon’s carries pick up the last few weeks.

Last night he saw an absurd 11 targets with three starting receivers out, catching 7 of them for 51 yards, which lead the team in both targets and yards. He also tacked on 59 yards on 15 carries and a score on the ground. All this while AJ Dillon received 16 carries.

Jones is a yards per touch monster and doesn’t need much volume to produce for fantasy. It does make it somewhat mucky if AJ Dillon is taking carries from him, but who cares. He’s now scored 7 touchdowns in 8 weeks and the Packers offence runs through him regardless of if Adams is active or not.

MORE: 3 Big Players To Watch As The Trade Deadline Approaches

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