Start’em Sit’em Week 8
Week 8 represents the halfway mark for a lot of NFL teams. Much like those NFL teams, you and your fantasy football teams are in the thick of it. Despite the numerous injuries, and bye weeks, this week’s slate of games still has some pretty solid matchups for to take advantage of. So if you’re looking for some week 8 answers, we have got you covered.
Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
As always, one of the biggest things to keep in mind when figuring out who to start and who to sit is to take a look at the teams that have a bye week. In week eight, it will be the Falcons, Chargers, Cowboys, and Titans all having the week off. Despite those teams being unavailable, there are still plenty of several serviceable options at your disposal. Just a friendly heads up though, next week, there will be a nauseating six teams on bye. With that mind, it can’t hurt to plan ahead on a waiver wire.
Last week was a good week for my start’em and sit’em picks. The highlight of last week’s column would have to be Mitch Trubisky who finished with over 300 yards passing and 81 yards rushing. Other solid recommendations was starting David Njoku at tight end, and sitting DeShaun Watson against the Jaguars. Being perfect isn’t easy in fantasy however so if I came up short, it was in recommending to start Michael Crabtree at wide receiver or to plug in the Detroit Lions defense. Let’s get back to the here and now though and discuss some start’em and sit’em options for week 8.
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Bengals vs. Buccaneers
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 47.4%
I wholeheartedly understand that given his performance on Sunday night football, Andy Dalton’s name is the last name you want to see grace this column. Given his week 8 matchup though, it may be best to forgive and forget as the Dalton and the Bengals welcome in a Buccaneers defense that is allowing the second most points to the quarterback position. It’s important to remember that on top of two 300-yard performances, Dalton has been a top 20 quarterback in all but two weeks this season. Last week, the Buccaneers would be held accountable for Baker Mayfield having a top 10 week, and in week 6, the Buccaneers would allow 355 passing yards to Matt Ryan. Truth be told, you have every right to be upset with Dalton’s dud outing against the Chiefs, but don’t let that cloud your judgment. The Buccaneers are an ideal defense for a bounce-back week.
Eagles at Jaguars (London)
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 61.9%
With 10 touchdowns in five starts, I would like to preface all of this by saying this has more to do with Carson Wentz’s opponent than it does Wentz himself. While it may seem like the Jaguars are an easy target, that is only in the win/loss column. In seven games this season, the Jaguars are allowing a league-low six touchdown passes. On top of that, they are allowing the second-fewest passing yards in the league. Last week, I recommended that you sit DeShaun Watson against this same Jaguars defense and he wound up finishing outside the top 20. It still holds true that with the exception of Dak Prescott in week 6, the Jaguars haven’t allowed a quarterback to have a top 15 week. From an NFL perspective, the Jaguars are trying to regain control of their season, but from a fantasy perspective, they aren’t cracking against quarterbacks.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Texans vs. Dolphins
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 34.0%
While Lamar Miller was once employed by the Miami Dolphins, No, this is not a revenge game. While the revenge narrative is not my reasoning for choosing Miller, there are several other notable reasons. One of them is due in part to my skepticism on how healthy his quarterback is. DeShaun Watson has been dealing with a lingering chest injury, and against a defense that has done pretty well against quarterbacks, the game script may lean the way of Miller. Last week, for example, would be one of those times in which the Texans chose to lean on the run, and Miller delivered. Against the Jaguars in week 7, Miller would carry the ball 22 times and would have his first 100-yard rushing performance since December of 2016. That offensive output would have Miller finishing week 7 just outside the top 10 among his position. Circling back to his opponent, the Dolphins are allowing the fourth most points to the running back position and are just one of four teams to allow over 800 rushing yards on the season. While he isn’t the sexiest of options, Lamar Miller will deliver in week 8.
49ers at Cardinals
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 0.6%
When discussing players that came up short this past week, it wouldn’t take all that for Matt Breida’s name to come up. The second-year back looked to be defying serious injuries left and right this season and was taken off of the injury report this past Friday. Then came the 49ers game against the Rams this past Sunday as Breida looked to be injured after just one carry. He went on to only have four more carries in that game and left his fantasy owners stupefied. While it remains unclear what Breida’s week 8 status is, there is most certainly a need for another back to help carry the load. I say, in week 8, that back is Raheem Mostert. Lucky for Mostert, the next opponent for the 49ers is an Arizona Cardinals defense that is currently one of the best running back matchups that the league has to offer. The Cardinals are only one of two teams to allow 900 yards or more on the ground and are the only team to allow double-digit rushing touchdowns. Most recently, the Cardinals were thrashed by Phillip Lindsay on Thursday night football to the tune of 91 yards rushing and a touchdown. If Breida is unable to play a full game, Mostert could be in line for a big game.
This is a tweet from last year, but still a nice sample of Mostert’s speed
Jaguars vs. Eagles
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 81.7%
If you’re a fantasy owner of TJ Yeldon, the proverbial walls are closing in on you. This weekend, the Jaguars are headed to their home away from home in London as they prepare to square off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Following that, they will have their bye week which is expected to be followed by the return of Leonard Fournette. In the here and now, however, Yeldon could be sharing the backfield with the newly acquired, Carlos Hyde. On top of his workload being eaten into, his week 8 opponent, the Eagles are allowing the eighth-fewest points to the position. So between the crowded backfield, and facing a defense that is only allowing 55.2 rushing yards per game, Yeldon appears to be a sure-fire sit option this week.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Ravens at Panthers
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 44.2%
If there was someone in the NFL that a vast majority of the fantasy community was rooting for this season, it seemed to be John Brown. In previous seasons, the former Arizona Cardinal had his playing time continuously hindered by a sickle cell disorder, but with the Ravens, he finally looks to be hitting his stride. Last week, Brown would catch all seven of his targets for 134 yards and a touchdown. That performance would be good for a top three performance among his position. Awaiting the Ravens in week 8 are the Carolina Panthers, who are in the bottom half of points allowed to the wide receiver position. That being said, over the last three weeks, the Panthers are allowing two touchdowns and an average of 83.3 receiving yards to the opposing team’s lead receiver. While Michael Crabtree has 10 more targets this season than Brown, he has yet to grab a firm hold as the top wideout in Baltimore. Brown will ultimately surpass Crabtree and I expect that to become apparent in week 8 as he has another solid outing.
Patriots at Bills
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 63.4%
This Monday, the Patriots will head to Buffalo to take on a reeling Bills team. While the quick assumption would be to start all of your Patriots, the Bills aren’t a complete catastrophe against wide receivers. After seven weeks this season, the Bills are allowing the fifth fewest points to the position. While Julian Edelman, since his suspension, has had a touchdown in each of his last two games, he has had just 91 yards total in the process. On top of that, he is splitting targets with an inconsistent Chris Hogan, and Josh Gordon, who is becoming more reliable with each passing week. Given the opponent and the distribution of targets in New England, I think Edelman is in line for a down week.
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Buccaneers at Bengals
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 46.9%
Some people, this writer included, were of the mindset that an MCL injury and the return of Jameis Winston meant regression was coming for O.J. Howard. In the two games since Winston’s return though, Howard has had double points scored. Next up for Howard is a trip to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team that has been victimized by the tight end position. After seven weeks, the Bengals are allowing the most points to the tight end position, including 163 yards over the last two weeks. While Brate has always appeared to be Winston’s favorite target, Howard represents the more dynamic option.
Vikings vs. Saints
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 62.2%
After seven weeks, Kyle Rudolph is ranked twelfth in scoring at his position. This week though, trouble may be on the horizon for those who start the Vikings tight end. Up next for the Vikings are the Saints who currently are allowing a league-low 211 receiving yards to tight ends. When you couple those receiving yards with the lone touchdown they have allowed this season, the Saints are allowing the third fewest points to the position. So while the Saints may be in for a bit of a shootout, I still think they are able to phase out the tight end position leaving Rudolph as a buyer beware in week 8.
Start’em Sit’em Defenses
Colts at Raiders
With Marshawn Lynch sidelined, and Amari Cooper off to Dallas, the floodgates have officially opened on what has been an abysmal season for the Raiders. Going up against the one win Raiders this week is the Indianapolis Colts. This is a Colts defense that finished third in scoring last week and they are sitting just outside the top 10 in scoring this season. Going forward, the Raiders may become the offense to stream against.
Broncos vs. Chiefs
In fantasy, this season, the Denver Broncos defense is sixth in scoring. Last week, the defense obliterated a dazed and confused Cardinals offense as they were the number one scoring defense in week 7. While things have gone well for the Broncos defense and those who have started them, this is the week to sit their defense. In week 8, the Broncos will take on the Kansas City Chiefs. In week 4, the last time the Broncos played the Chiefs, the defense would finish outside the top 20 in scoring. Honestly, unless you have been living under a rock, you should know that it is best to sit any defense against Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs.
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