Last updated: October 25th at 12:00am ET.
Team Totals: Texans 29, Raiders 22
Derek Carr’s best to-date fantasy outcome is QB17 in a smashmouth Raiders offense severely short on receiving weapons. In line with his career norms, Carr has continued to lack downfield aggressiveness – he ranks 28th among 34 qualified signal callers in percentage of 20-plus-yard attempts (9%) – and adds nothing on the ground with 4.5 rushing yards per start. Yet Carr’s Week 8 matchup is enticing on paper in a projected high-scoring affair against a Texans defense that’s given up top-12 QB1 results in 6-of-7 games and is still dealing with hamstring injuries to starting CBs Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby, forcing coach/GM Bill O’Brien to swing a Monday trade with his Week 8 opponent, acquiring CB Gareon Conley from the Raiders for a 2020 third-round pick. Ultimately, I’m viewing Carr as a better two-QB-league play than usual but fading him as a season-long streamer. … Week 7 showed little change in Josh Jacobs’ passing-game usage; his 14 routes run matched his season average, and Jacobs played just 56% of Oakland’s offensive snaps in its three-score loss to Green Bay. As the Raiders are seven-point dogs at Houston, Jacobs remains at risk of playing-time loss in what amounts to a two-down role. With enemy backs managing 122/496/2 (4.07 YPC) rushing against the Texans, Jacobs is again a low-floor RB2 start.
Update: Coach Jon Gruden revealed that Josh Jacobs is legitimately questionable for Week 8 due to a shoulder injury. Jacobs did not practice on Wednesday. Behind Jacobs, Jalen Richard has out-snapped DeAndre Washington 99 to 69 on the year, although Washington holds a 37-to-22 lead in touches. My sense is they’d form an even timeshare as PPR-oriented RB2/flex options if Jacobs can’t play against the Texans.
Carr’s target distribution: Darren Waller 50; Hunter Renfrow 26; Tyrell Williams 24; Foster Moreau 14; Jacobs and Derek Carrier 11; Jalen Richard 10; DeAndre Washington 9; Keelan Doss 8; Trevor Davis 6; Marcell Ateman 1. … Teams targeting tight ends against the Texans are 17-of-26 passing (65.4%) for 205 yards (7.9 YPA) and a touchdown over the last three weeks, including Eric Ebron’s Week 7 season-best game (4/70/1). Leading all NFL tight ends in target share (26%) and catches per game (7.3), Waller is the perfect “bring it back” candidate in DFS-game stacks featuring Texans. Waller’s lowly 6.3-yard aDOT ensures he’ll stay collecting short passes from checkdown-machine Carr in comeback mode. … Renfrow is scoreless on the year without a game above 30 yards, lacking any tangible upside. … Williams may try to gut out his painful plantar fascia injury but hasn’t cleared 50 yards since Week 1 and would be no lock to make it through Sunday’s game. If active, he’ll be a boom-bust WR3 option. … Sort of the Raiders’ version of Dallas Goedert to Waller’s Zach Ertz, Moreau has strung together consecutive stat lines of 3/30/1 > 4/46/0 > 2/24/1, albeit on target counts of 3 > 4 > 3 and route totals of 11 > 12 > 14. Oakland’s wideout shortage has forced coach Jon Gruden to deploy more two-tight end sets, but Moreau’s usage falls just short of viable-streamer levels. … These were Oakland’s wide receiver route totals in Williams’ Week 7 absence: Davis 22; Renfrow 16; Doss 15; Ateman 13. Doss led the unit in targets with five.
Fraudulently “3-2” in their first five games, the Raiders were exposed in last Sunday’s loss at Lambeau, where Aaron Rodgers’ Pack sunk Oakland’s season-long point differential to -38 by harpooning DC Paul Guenther’s defense for six all-purpose TDs, even without Davante Adams (toe). Deshaun Watson is an even more-intimidating foe with Kenny Stills back and just three sacks taken in his last three starts. In clean pockets, Watson is averaging 8.6 yards per attempt with a 10:4 TD-to-INT ratio, notable since the Raiders have generated the NFL’s eighth-lowest sack rate (4.7%) and sixth-lowest QB Hit Rate (11.3%) and allowed top-15 fantasy quarterback outcomes in four of their last five games, including three top-six results. Watson should be Week 8’s most-popular DFS play. … More reason to buy Watson is Oakland’s pass-funnel profile; Guenther’s defense has held enemy backs to 124/481/3 (3.88 YPC) rushing but allowed the NFL’s fifth-most receiving yards per game (51.8) to the position. This game theoretically sets up better for Duke Johnson than Carlos Hyde, yet Johnson still hasn’t topped 10 touches since Week 1 despite outgaining Hyde 7.0 to 4.1 in yards per touch. Hyde has one target or fewer in 6-of-7 games, rendering him a touchdown-dependent RB2/flex option. Johnson is a leap-of-faith PPR flex.
Watson’s 2019 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 68; Will Fuller 49; Johnson, Keke Coutee, and Darren Fells 22; Jordan Akins 20; Stills 19; Hyde 9. … Even as Hopkins’ ceiling games have been fewer and further between than expected, he enters Week 8 with five-plus receptions in 7-of-7 weeks to face a Raiders secondary that’s been gashed for wideout lines of 6/172/2 (Demarcus Robinson), 2/133/1 (Marquez Valdes-Scantling), 7/120/0 (Courtland Sutton), 7/97/2 (Allen Robinson), 5/86/1 (Emmanuel Sanders), 4/72/0 (Zach Pascal), 4/61/1 (Mecole Hardman), 3/55/1 (Adam Thielen), and 2/54/1 (Jake Kumerow). Let’s go right back to Watson-Hopkins DFS stacks. … As Fuller left Week 7 and didn’t return, Stills operated as Hopkins’ bookend with Coutee in the slot. Stills set season highs in routes (40) and snaps (94%) and will be a legitimate WR2 play with Fuller on the shelf with what appears to be a severe hamstring pull. The Raiders have allowed a league-high 32 completions of 20-plus yards and traded top CB Gareon Conley on Monday. I noticed Stills available on several waiver wires in my season-long leagues and made aggressive bids to land him. In my top-money league, I got him for 24% of our budget. Per Sports Info Solutions, Stills leads the Texans in receiving yards gained on 20-plus-yard targets (229) in his five 2019 appearances. … Coutee also set year highs in routes (32) and playing time (70%) in last week’s loss to the Colts and warrants PPR-specific WR3/flex consideration. Coutee runs 70% of his routes inside, where the Raiders have been thumped for 46 completions on 60 slot targets (77%), 583 yards (9.7 YPA), and five touchdowns. … I continue to throw my hands up trying to decipher which Texans tight end is stream-able week to week. As usual, their Week 7 usage was virtually identical with Fells and Akins each commanding two targets and Akins running 27 routes Fells’ 18, but Fells seeing 17 Air Yards to Akins’ 8.
Score Prediction: Texans 34, Raiders 20