Check out our fantasy football Start’em or Sit’em picks for Week 8 of the NFL season before setting all of your lineups.
The NFL season is coming into full swing as Week 8 approaches. Many fantasy teams are starting to become established with some key waiver claims being made and trade deadlines passing by. But it is always important to make good Start/Sit decisions, as these are truly what can be the difference between a win and a loss. With the Cardinals, Jaguars, Titans, Packers, Rams and Giants on bye this week, here are my Start’em and Sit’em candidates for Week 8.
QB Start of the Week: Carson Wentz (PHI) vs. SF
Fantasy Football’s newest star shined bright once again on Monday night versus Washington. Carson Wentz finished the night with 268 yards, four TDs and one INT and had a big impact on many fantasy football lineups this week. After having a rookie season that did not have a lot of fantasy impact, Wentz has become one of the best quarterbacks of 2017, and surely one of the best values in fantasy. He ranks as the QB2 and looks to continue that ranking throughout the rest of 2017.
This week the Eagles take on the 49ers, the 31st ranked team against the QB position and a defense that just allowed Dak Prescott to over 230 yards and three TDs. Look for Wentz to continue his hot streak against this beatable San Francisco defense. Keep starting Wentz this week.
QB Start’em: Dak Prescott (DAL) vs. WAS
Though there have been a lot of questions about one member of the dynamic duo in Dallas throughout this season, one of those players has had a good start to his fantasy football season. Dak Prescott is ranked as the QB4 so far in 2017, keeping up his pace with what he established his rookie year last season. In Week 8, Dallas takes on Washington, the 23rd ranked defense against the QB position and is a defense that just allowed Carson Wentz to have a big game last week. Prescott will have another strong game this week and is a good start for week 8.
QB Start’em: Derek Carr (OAK) vs. BUF
Derek Carr, after suffering what looked like to be a very severe back injury in Week 4, was back for his second consecutive start post-injury last week. He vastly improved his numbers from the previous week and looks to be no longer in injury concern. Carr finished the night with 417 yards and three TDs, which ranked him as the QB2 for the week. This week the Raiders take on the Bills, a defense that was just decimated by Jameis Winston last week, allowing over 380 yards and four TDs. Look for Carr to keep things rolling in this matchup and be a good start this week.
RB Start of the Week: Dion Lewis (NE) vs. LAC
One of Fantasy Football’s most frequently asked questions is which running back from the New England Patriots is going to be the one that performs well and be fantasy relevant this week? It’s been asked as long as I’ve been playing and it’s been asked quite a bit so far this season. After looking like Mike Gillislee was going to be the far and ahead lead rusher for the Patriots, he has tapered off in recent weeks and a new running back has materialized. Dion Lewis has reemerged on the Fantasy Football scene after having an impressive 2015 campaign prior to his ACL tear and having a lackluster 2016 campaign. He seems to be back in the good graces of Bill Belichick, which is always a very good thing to have going for you. In the past four weeks Lewis has outperformed all of the other New England Patriot running backs, averaging 9.1 points (0.5 PPR scoring) in that timespan and looks to be the lead rusher going forward with some pass-catching abilities when James White is not in the game.
In week 7 New England faces off against the Los Angeles Chargers, the 17th ranked defense against the RB position. While the Chargers did a good job of preventing the Broncos running backs last week from getting much fantasy production, I feel as though that had more to do with Denver’s inability to establish the run game versus the Chargers run defense, as they have been exposed, such as with their Week 5 performance versus the Giants (30.9 fantasy points allowed to running backs in that game).. With a large role in the Patriots offense, his recent production and a good matchup this week, this would be the time I would invest in Lewes and start him this week and going forward.
RB Start’em: Joe Mixon (CIN) vs. IND
In a year of top production from rookie running backs across the NFL, one newcomer has not quite blown up like some of his other fellow rookies. Joe Mixon did not start the year as the starting running back in Cincinnati, which obviously hampered his fantasy production at the beginning of the year, but ever since he was given the keys the starting gig in Week 3, he has been an okay running back with 190 yards on 57 rushes for one TD in that time. With his usage going up in recent weeks, look for Mixon to have a good game this week in a favorable matchup against the Colts, the 31st ranked defense against the RB and a defense that allowed to Jaguars to rush for 177 yards and two TDs in Week 7. Start Mixon this week
RB Start’em: Doug Martin (TB) vs. CAR
Since coming back from his suspension, Doug Martin has been sensational. Martin has gotten double-digit points each week since his return in Week 4 and has been a top RB for anyone that held onto him to start the year. Martin will continue this trend this week as the Buccaneers face off against the Panthers, the 5th ranked defense against the RB. With the Buccaneers looking good as a whole on offense and Martin having an important role in said offense, I would start Martin this week and expect a big game from him in week 8.
WR Start of the Week: Adam Thielen (MIN) vs. CLE
In the absence of the dynamic Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen has been a very productive fantasy WR, continuing his trend from 2016. So far this season Thielen has 43 receptions on 65 targets for 530 yards and zero TDs, ranking him as the WR16. He seems to be once again a favorite target of the Minnesota QB, after having a successful season with Sam Bradford under center in 2016, he is continued this momentum with Case Keenum, receiving 28% of the total targets so far in 2017. This target share has had a large impact on his season and will continue to do so this week.
In Week 8, Minnesota takes on the Browns, a defense that has allowed an average of 121 yards and one TD to wide receiver groups so far this season. Thielen will continue his success across the pond in this Week 8 matchup, feel confident in starting him this week.
WR Start’em: Dez Bryant (DAL) vs. WAS
Dez Bryant has had a slightly disappointing 2017 fantasy football campaign. He ranks as the WR17 this season and has not quite lived up to expectations this season. Most of this has had to do with the tough defensive back matchups Bryant has faced in the beginning of the season. Bryant was matched up against the likes of Janoris Jenkins, Chris Harris, Patrick Peterson, Xavier Rhodes to start the season, and his fantasy production suffered because of that. However, he did have a good game last week against San Francisco with 63 yards on seven receptions and one TD, which is encouraging to see. Bryant will not face an elite defensive back this week, as Josh Norman still looks to be out for Washington in their Week 8 matchup. With a hot Dallas offense and this improved matchup for Bryant, he should have a big game in week 8 and will be a productive player in Week 8.
WR Start’em: Robby Anderson (NYJ) vs. ATL
One of the better quarterbacks over the past two weeks has surprisingly been Josh McCown. He has had 563 yards and five TDs in that time frame, which is impressive for an offense that not many expected to be good this season. One of the benefactors of this recent streak is Robby Anderson. Anderson has been second on the team in targets since week 5 with 17 only behind Austin Seferian-Jenkins. These targets have led to some quality fantasy finishes, including an 11 point game (0.5 PPR scoring) for him in Week 7. This week the Jets face off against the Falcons, the 14th ranked defense against the WR position. This matchup between these teams could realistically go one of two ways, which both benefit Anderson. With the Falcons recent struggles, there is a chance that this game could be competitive all throughout, which would give McCown a chance to spread the ball around and would give Anderson lots of production. Or, since the Falcons are a more talented team, they could get an early lead on this Jets team, forcing McCown to throw a lot to get the Jets back into the game, which obviously would be good for Anderson and the other Jets pass catchers. Either way I see this as a good opportunity for Anderson, who will build off of last week’s production and be a player to start in week 8.
TE Start of the Week: Jared Cook (OAK) vs. BUF
Jared Cook has had an up-and-down season so far in 2017. Many thought he could be a weekly start at the position after transitioning from Green Bay to Oakland this offseason. While there have been some disappointing games this season, last week was not one of those. Cook finished with six receptions for 107 yards, ranking is the TE5 for the week. One thing in Cook’s favor that should be a plus going forward are his targets. If you discount the games where Derek Carr was injured (part of Week 4 and all of Week 5), Cook has 27 targets from Carr, which means he has an important role in this Raiders offense and should continue to do so moving forward.
In Week 8, Oakland takes on Buffalo, the 24th ranked defense against the TE so far in 2017. With Cook being a main factor in the offense and his positive matchup, I would look to start him this week and would expect a big game from him.
TE Start’em: Tyler Kroft (CIN) vs. IND
In the face of the season-ending injury to tight end star Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft has become the starting TE in Cincinnati. While he is nowhere near as talented an athlete as Eifert, Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati coaches have shown that they like to use the tight end and their offense, meaning Kroft is due for targets in what can be a good offense at times. This showed last week when Kroft got four receptions for 23 yards and one TD against Pittsburgh. He was good in the red zone, where Eifert did a lot of his damage, so while Kroft may not be the same player as Eifert, he will at very least fill that role and looks to do it well the season. In Week 8 the Bengals face off against the Colts, the 22nd ranked defense against the TE. Look for Kroft to continue to get red zone targets and be an effective weapon for the Bengals this week.
TE Start’em: Vernon Davis (WAS) vs. DAL
In the search for the new WR that was going to take over the targets left by the departing Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson, one option was overlooked by experts and fans alike. Vernon Davis has stepped in to this role and has become a fantasy relevant player even though he is a backup TE. His numbers since Week 3 have been great with 14 receptions for 279 yards and one TD and he seems to have some role in the passing offense for Washington. Cousins has always favored his tight ends and has especially done so this year with 51 targets going to Davis and Jordan Reed thus far (26% of the target share) showing he has the ability to carry then both and give them enough production to be good fantasy tight ends. While this matchup may be tough for the Redskins tight ends, Dallas is the 9th ranked defense against the TE, Davis’ role in the offense will give him a safe enough floor to fantasy relevant in Week 8. Start Davis this week.
D/ST Start of the Week: Minnesota Vikings vs. CLE
The Minnesota Vikings are in a great spot this week for a fantasy D/ST. Not only are they an elite group that possesses a lot of top-tier talent and great coaching, they get the pleasure effacing one of the NFL’s premiere dumpster fires in the Cleveland Browns. Their QB flip-flopping has led to bad production for their offense and a lot of turnovers to boot, which is very good for the D/ST facing them. While the Vikings D/ST only ranks as the 10th unit in fantasy, look for them to have a massively productive day in London and be a top option this week for the D/ST position.
QB Sit of the Week: Philip Rivers (LAC) vs. NE
Philip Rivers is a QB that that has had trouble throughout his career maintaining fantasy relevancy. He has shown flashes, but has never been a QB you could rely on consistently. So for this season Rivers is the QB9 with 1816 yards, 12 TDs and five INTs. He has not been able to establish himself as a fantasy impact yet in 2017, and with his upcoming schedule and lackluster performances from his offensive weapons in recent weeks, Rivers will stay in his murky situation.
In Week 8, the Chargers take on the Patriots, a defense that started the season poorly but has come together recently and has held quarterbacks to less than 20 fantasy points in most formats over the past three weeks. Sit Rivers this week and look for better options on the waivers.
QB Sit’em: Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. NYJ
After his stellar 2016 campaign, Matt Ryan has largely disappointed so far this season. With only 1590 yards, seven TDs and six INTs he ranks as the QB25, which is far lower than his owners need for his draft position. Part of his struggles has to do with new OC Steve Sarkisian. His offensive style and playcalling has varied from what the Falcons had success with last season with Kyle Shanahan. Sarkisian’s inability to utilize his offense weapons, such as Julio Jones, has had an effect on Ryan’s 2017 numbers and has lessened his fantasy relevance. This week, the Falcons take on the Jets, the 21st ranked defense against the QB. With his decreased production and the less than favorable matchup, I would bench Ryan this week and look for different options.
QB Sit’em: Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. PIT
Matthew Stafford is another one of those quarterbacks this season that have struggled to find fantasy consistency. His owners experience the highest of highs, such as his 292 yard and four TD game in Week 1, but can also experience very low lows, such as his 209 yards and zero TD performance in Week 4. Stafford ranks as the QB17 in 2017 and has proven to be a quality QB when in the proper match up. However, this week does not fit that mold. This week the Lions face off against the Steelers, the 2nd ranked defense against the QB position and a defense that held Andy Dalton to less than 150 yards last week. Another factor that makes us a bad matchup is this game is a Sunday night primetime game, a time slot that has proven troublesome for Stafford in the past. These factors both have me benching Stafford this week and looking forward to better matchups for him.
RB Sit of the Week: C.J. Anderson (DEN) vs. KC
One of the roughest places to be in Fantasy Football is in a running back committee. While C.J. Anderson started this season as one of the main men in Denver, in recent weeks the Denver coaches have reduced Anderson’s role in the offense and have expanded the rules of running backs Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker, giving Charles more rushes (nine in the past two weeks) and Booker more of the pass-catching duties (seven receptions in the past two weeks). This obviously puts a damper on Anderson’s fantasy production going forward, if he can no longer get a large percentage of the rushing attempts or receptions, then it will be hard for his owners to rely on him.
In Week 8 the Broncos face off against the Chiefs, the 11th ranked defense against the RB position. With both of decrease in his role along with the tough matchup he faces, I would bench Anderson this week and look for different options.
RB Sit’em: Deandre Washington (OAK) vs. BUF
One of the big storylines from last week’s games was the actions of Marshawn Lynch. He came off the bench and was involved in an altercation with a referee, resulting in him being suspended for this upcoming game. One of his backup running backs in Oakland, DeAndre Washington, benefited from this increase in field time and was able to produce 11.5 fantasy points (0.5 PPR scoring) last week. Some owners will be looking to add Washington and look to plug him into their starting lineups for Week 8, but I would be cautious in this action. For one, he will not be the clear-cut top running back option for Oakland this week. He will likely split the starting RB responsibilities with Jalen Richard, who is also shown to be productive when given the ball. This watered down role for Washington will more than likely result in a decreased fantasy production versus his expected production. Secondly, the matchup is not great for the Oakland backfield. This week the Raiders play the Bills, the 6th ranked defense against the running back position. With these factors in mind I would sit Washington this week.
RB Sit’em: Carlos Hyde (SF) vs. PHI
Carlos Hyde has certainly dealt with his fair share of drama both this offseason and during the regular season. It started in the offseason when some experts predicted that he could be a surprise cut candidate for the 49ers. He obviously made the full roster and has played and started in all seven of the 49ers games this year. However the rumor mill did not quit churning for Hyde, it was rumored two weeks ago that the 49ers were looking to trade and or cut Hyde to make room for some of their young talent. During his time on the field, Hyde has had a fairly good season so far with 428 yards on 100 rushes for four TDs, ranking him as the RB8. He has also once again been bitten by the injury bug, costing him time throughout the season, which has led to frustration from both fantasy owners and 49ers management. While Hyde is still on the team at this moment, that could change soon and the something to monitor going forward. In week 8 San Francisco takes on Philadelphia, the 7th ranked defense against the RB. Both of the off-the-field distractions and his on-field injury concerns along with this week 8 matchup have me sitting Hyde this week.
WR Sit of the Week: Jarvis Landry (MIA) vs. BAL
The Miami WR corps was projected by a lot of fantasy experts to be one of the most productive and high-powered groups in the league this offseason. While part of that is correct with Kenny Stills still being the big home run wide receiver we have known for years, both DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry have disappointed owners so far this year. Parker has more so dealt with injuries that have kept him off the field, obviously lowering his fantasy production. Landry on the other hand has been healthy this year but has still let owners down. So far this season Landry ranks of the WR13 with 45 receptions for 365 yards and three TDs. This is had a lot to do with the inconsistency of Jay Cutler, who has also been a letdown for the Miami Dolphins so far. Cutler will not be playing this week after being injured in the last game, with all signs pointing to Matt Moore starting this week versus the Ravens. While this change at QB could bring an improvement for the Dolphins as a team, I don’t see it as an improvement for Landry until he can gain a new chemistry with Moore.
This week the Dolphins face off against the Ravens, the2nd ranked defense against the WR position. Both of the uncertainty of Landry’s new role in the offense along with this tough matchup has me benching Landry in Week 8.
WR Sit’em: Marvin Jones (DET) vs. PIT
Marvin Jones is the new lead wide receiver for the Detroit Lions with a recent injury to Golden Tate. Tate will miss this upcoming matchup and could potentially miss more games going forward with a shoulder injury, meaning that Jones will be the top dog in a very pass-happy offense. While this seems like a promotion, it does come with some downsides. One of which being that Jones will likely now face the top defensive backs of each team the Lions face moving forward. This is especially problematic in this upcoming matchup as Detroit faces off against Pittsburgh this week meaning Joe Haden will very likely shadow Jones throughout the day. Not to mention the Steelers defense in general has also been good as a group against wide receivers this season, ranking #1 defense against them in 2017. With such a difficult matchup I would bench Jones this week and look for better matchups ahead.
WR Sit’em: Ted Ginn (NO) vs. CHI
The New Orleans Saints wide receivers have been disappointing for fantasy football this year, between Michael Thomas not being as elite as last season and Willie Snead being both suspended and injured for the season, it has been a mess for owners to deal with this team. Another Saints WR that has caused headaches for owners is Ted Ginn. Many fantasy experts saw his skill set and thought he could fit seamlessly into the offense and could be a productive player off the bat. This proved not to be true with Ginn only getting 11 receptions, 146 yards and one TD through Week 4. He has been able to get some production in the past two weeks with 11 receptions, 207 yards and one TD since Week 6. But his production in that time seems to be unsustainable due to most of this production coming on large, and often broken plays (Ginn had four receptions of over 17 yards in Week 7, two of which were over 40 yards). This week the Saints take on the Bears the 11th ranked defense against the WR. Ginn’s unsustainability along with his tough matchup have me benching him in Week 8.
TE Sit of the Week: O.J. Howard (TB) vs. CAR
One of the top producing tight ends for Week 7 was O.J. Howard with six receptions for 98 yards and two TDs. This was an amazing stat line for the rookie TE who out produced his veteran teammate Cameron Brate. While these fantasy numbers look impressive, when you look deeper into his statline you can see that this type of game isn’t something to be relied on for a weekly basis. Howard. Even though Howard may have finished the day with more production than Brate, he still got more targets with nine compared to Howard’s six. Plus, one of Howard’s TDs was a 33 yard play in fourth quarter, which is something that cannot be expected to be repeated on a weekly basis. While Howard is a talented player and has the potential to be a great TE in the future, he is not currently in the forefront of the offense and is still behind Brate as the go-to TE.
In Week 8 the Buccaneers take on the Panthers, the 8th ranked defense against the TE. While some of you will want to pick up Howard and want to plug him into your lineup this week, I would fight the urge and keep him on the bench this week.
TE Sit’em: Zach Miller (CHI) vs. NO
With the new QB in Chicago starting in Week 5, Zach Miller saw a large increase over what he saw when Mike Glennon was under center to start the year. In that time Miller has had seven receptions for 93 yards for two TDs, which has raised his ranking all the way up to the TE14. While some have gotten excited about this uptick in production and are looking to Miller as a sneaky weekly startable TE for the rest of the season, I do not view him in this same light. When you look closer at Millers numbers for this season, he is yet to have a game with over 50 receiving yards and his only game with over five receptions was in Week 2 (when Glennon was still the starter). His recent success has had to do with his TD scoring ability. Miller’s only two games of over 10 fantasy points (0.5 PPR) were when he scored TDs in Weeks 5 and 6. When his is kept out of the endzone he is not a fantasy relevant player. This week Chicago faces off against New Orleans, the 9th ranked defense against the TE. This matchup along with his usage is enough for me to keep Miller on the bench this week.
TE Sit’em: Coby Fleener (NO) vs. CHI
Coby Fleener was a TE that burned bright to start the season. Through the first two weeks Fleener had eight receptions for 87 yards and two TDs and looked to be on his way to a top 12 TE finish for 2017. This train fell off the tracks however as Fleener has seen quite the decrease in his fantasy production since week 3 with five receptions for 64 yards and zero TDs since Week 3, including two zero point performance in Week 6. While Fleener has shown in the past that he has the ability to be fantasy relevant, there is no reason to think that he will be in the near future. In Week 8 New Orleans takes on Chicago, the 14th ranked defense against the TE position and a defense that held at Ed Dickson to less than 30 yards last week. Things are not looking good for Fleener this week and he is a TE you can keep on your bench for Week 8.
D/ST Sit of the Week: Houston Texans vs. SEA
The Houston Texans D/ST, when healthy, is one of the best units in all of the NFL and is a force to be reckoned with both on the actual football field and the fantasy football field. So far in 2017, the Texans defense ranks as the 7th unit for fantasy, which is not bad but is not good enough to start in negative matchups, with this week falling under the later. This week the Texans face off against the Seahawks, who have improved recently on the offensive of side of the ball and have also had two weeks to prepare for Houston since Seattle was on bye last week. While the Texans are a good enough unit to start often in fantasy, this is one matchup I would stay away from and I would look for better options on the waivers this week. Sit the Houston D/ST in Week 8.