Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 8
We are officially one week away from midseason, which means as NFL fantasy owners we now start to invest in players for down the stretch when the playoffs are nearby. As always, I would like to congratulate the fantasy teams who won this weekend and offer comfort to those who did not. After witnessing trades and injuries this weekend, starting lineups for fantasy teams may have changed. A few players that I mention below put on good performances in week 7 and will continue to have a significant impact on their team’s success and will become a key piece of a playoff run for your fantasy team. Here are my recommendations for start/sit week 8.
Panthers @ Falcons | 1:00 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 0.4%
I am in absolute awe of what this man did to the Tampa Bay defense on Sunday. Walker’s performance was outstanding against the number 6 passing defense in the league as he kept throwing dimes to his receivers. Walker completed 16/22 passes for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns in Carolina’s 21-3 over Tampa Bay. Next week the Panthers travel to Atlanta who is another NFC South division rival, as Carolina looks to build on their dominant performance against a weak passing defense that on average allows 21.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. The Falcons defense was absolutely obliterated by the Bengals offense who saw quarterback Joe Burrow complete 34/42 passes for 481 yards and throw 3 touchdowns, along with rushing in for a touchdown himself in Cincinnati’s win over Atlanta 35-17. After witnessing the Panthers offense move down the field with ease on Sunday against a top-10 defense, it would not surprise me if Walker performed even better this week against a much weaker defense becoming a high-end QB2 at his floor and a low-end QB1 at his ceiling in week 8.
Cardinals @ Vikings | 1:00 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 44.9%
It seems like every time Benjamin touched the ball magic happened. In last Thursday night’s matchup against the Saints, Benjamin rushed for 92 yards on 12 carries, averaging 7.7 yards per carry and scored 1 touchdown in the Cardinals win. Many fantasy owners are raving about Benjamin’s performance last Thursday calling for him to become a must-add on fantasy rosters this week, especially if James Conner who has a past history of numerous injuries continues to sit out due to his rib injury. Keep an eye out on Arizona’s running back situation because if Conner is still injured and not fully recovered, there is a chance he could injure himself again in the near future, further solidifying Bejamin’s role on this offense. Benjamin is a surefire RB2 and could even slot him into the flex spot if you would like going into week 8 against Minnesota who on average allow 15.7 fantasy points to opposing running backs in what I believe will be a close matchup.
Steelers @ Eagles | 1:00 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 16.3%
After the Eagles week 7 bye, I expect them to pickup right where they left off, as the dominant and only undefeated team in the league who we last saw defeat the Cowboys 26-17 in week 6. In their last game before their bye, Brown secured 5 receptions for 67 yards, averaging 13.4 yards per reception, and scored 1 touchdown. I am truly impressed by this Eagles team this year as they are now the betting odd favorites to win the Super Bowl this season as they are performing very well. It seems as if the trade during the NFL Draft with the Titans which saw Brown join the Eagles has been in favor of the Eagles as Brown has led the team in targets with 53 and in receiving yards with 503 and has scored 2 receiving touchdowns which is tied with fellow wide receiver DeVonta Smith. On the other hand, the Steelers defense on average allows 28.6 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, which means that Brown should not have any issues becoming a solid WR1 this week against Pittsburgh.
49ers @ Rams | 4:25 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 5.4%
As teams start to lock down Cooper Kupp a little more, quarterback Matthew Stafford has no choice but to throw to his other offensive weapons. Higbee has seen his fair share of targets the past few weeks. During their last game in a loss to the Cowboys in week 6 Higbee recorded 7 receptions for 46 yards which is not bad in comparison in that he was barely targeted last year when he was due to a major breakout but ended up a fantasy dud. In a week 7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the 49ers defense allowed tight end Travis Kelce to secure 6 catches for 98 yards and would have scored a touchdown if not for an offensive penalty that brought the touchdown back. Higbee is a high-end TE3 at his floor, and potentially a low-end TE2 in a favorable matchup against the 49ers in week 8.
Giants @ Seahawks | 4:25 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 59.6%
The Giants defense has really stepped up this season only allowing an average of 16.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks which has helped the team have a winning record of 6-1 being the second-best team in the NFC East behind the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. This past week in a win over the Chargers, the Seahawks offense lost wide receiver D.K. Metcalf to a patellar tendon injury that has him out for an unspecified amount of time, in what head coach Pete Carroll stated, “Metcalf will not need surgery”, but is not optimistic for a return any time soon. Smith has played very well over the past few weeks, but this has been against weaker defenses, yes, including the Chargers who I honestly thought would be performing better this year. The fact that the Giants defense was a major factor in them beating the Packers and Ravens who were favorites to win both of those games, I do not expect Smith to do anything spectacular against one of the most dominant defenses in the league in week 8.
Packers @ Bills | 4:25 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 89.0%
I honestly cannot believe I am saying this, but the Packers offense has folded completely, and Jones has become a casualty of that. His stat line was great in week 7 against the Commanders because Rodgers literally cannot complete any passes to his inconsistent receivers, resulting in Jones recording most of the receptions, which is more valuable in a PPR league. To answer any questions of if I believe he will receive a target share similar to week 7 this week against Buffalo, the answer is no, I do not believe he will receive a target share similar to his last performance in week 8 against the Bills who are one of the best run defenses in the league. In a very unfavorable matchup against Buffalo who on average only allows 11.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, I am recommending fantasy owners to bench Aaron Jones this week.
Steelers @ Eagles | 1:00 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 66.2%
The Steelers offense has officially become a dumpster fire no matter what quarterback they start. Pickett has been unimpressive in my opinion and needs to stop turning the ball over, otherwise there is no chance the Steelers are going to perform even decently this season. Against a weaker passing defense in the Dolphins, Pickett turned the ball over twice and cost the Steelers the game in their week 7 loss. Johnson has seen a fair target share, but it has not accumulated to anything spectacular as he recorded 5 receptions for only 42 yards Sunday night against the Dolphins. In week 8’s matchup against the Eagles defense who on average only allow 17.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers and have shut down opposing offenses this season, my recommendation is to sit Johnson in an unfavorable matchup this week against Philadelphia.
Cardinals @ Vikings | 1:00 pm EST Sunday
ESPN Starting Percentage: 84.2%
Now that quarterback Kyler Murray’s favorite target DeAndre Hopkins has returned, Ertz’s production has dipped as he only recorded 2 receptions for 21 yards in a shootout matchup where the Cardinals beat the Saints 42-34 last Thursday night. Even in a decent matchup against the Vikings, I do not believe Murray will look Ertz’s way as this has already been proven as Hopkins and Moore are taking away a significant amount of target share from Ertz. I do not expect him to perform well this week against a good passing defense, and I recommend sitting him this week against Minnesota.
Lawrence is a fan of the Green Bay Packers. He is currently a graduate student at William Paterson University pursuing a master’s degree in Financial Planning. His hobbies include all things fantasy football, weightlifting, collecting Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards, and playing Madden. He specializes in dynasty fantasy football having won two championships in the past five years. He is also a college football fan who loves to watch his Buckeyes play on Saturdays while drinking pumpkin-flavored coffee. He is always looking to evolve his game as a fantasy football player and one of his goals is to help other players do the same.