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Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).
Good luck with your Week 8 lineups.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
Start: Myles Gaskin, Zack Moss
The matchup against Buffalo is one of the toughest, but the loss of Malcolm Brown is big news for Gaskin’s fantasy value. Brown started but exited after just five snaps last week, resulting in Gaskin leading all running backs in red-zone snaps (he was second in RZ looks). The last time Gaskin faced a stout run D (the Bucs a few weeks back), he recorded 10 catches. Gaskin is a flex option this week, especially with Tua Tagovailoa playing well.
Buffalo’s backfield was more of an even split between Moss and Devin Singletary before the team’s bye last week, but both can be flex options with Buffalo near two-touchdown home favorites. Miami has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season (and Buffalo will be without red-zone threat Dawson Knox).
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
Start: Robby Anderson, Falcons D/ST
Anderson somehow has turned 20 targets into just 25 yards over the last two weeks, as Sam Darnold’s struggles have really hurt. But those are a lot of targets. Anderson ranks top-20 in air yards this season and he faces a Falcons defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to his primary side (LWR) both this season and over the last month. Anderson is more of a flier, but he also has more upside than his ECR (WR47) would suggest.
Over the last three games, Sam Darnold has gotten just 4.8(!) YPA with two touchdowns, six turnovers and 10 sacks. The combined record of those opponents when not facing Carolina this season is 4-13. It appears Darnold can’t even be helped by the Adam Gase bump. The Falcons are hardly a dominant defense, but as favorites at home versus a Carolina offensive line that PFF grades second-worst in pass blocking, Atlanta is an intriguing fantasy D/ST flier in Week 8.
Also trade for Kyle Pitts, who’s primed to be the No. 1 fantasy tight end moving forward.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions
Start in DFS: Dallas Goedert ($17), D’Andre Swift ($22)
With Zach Ertz traded, Goedert marked season-highs last week in snap%, route% and slot%. The Eagles will likely be missing their lead back on Sunday and get a Lions pass defense that’s allowed an almost unfathomable 9.5 YPA and an NFL-high 114.5 Passer Rating. Goedert should be treated as a top-five fantasy tight end moving forward.
Swift is the No. 2 fantasy back in PPR leagues yet continues to be disrespected by a modest DFS salary. He leads all players in yards after the catch and all RBs in targets. He now gets a home matchup versus an Eagles defense that’s allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season (and the fifth-most catches to the position).
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
Start: Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz
After a slow start with a new play caller, Tannehill has gotten 8.8 YPA over the last three games (while rushing for two scores). The Titans may also rely on passing more than usual Sunday, as the Colts enter with DVOA’s No. 1 rush defense. Tannehill is a strong fantasy option in a matchup indoors with one of this week’s highest over/unders (51 points).
Last week’s stats in poor weather (that also featured many PI yards) may mask it some, but Wentz has also played far better lately after a slow start, getting 9.6 YPA with a 6:0 TD:INT over the last three games. The Colts have Quenton Nelson back, and hopefully, TY Hilton returns as well. The Titans have yielded the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Los Angeles Rams @ Houston Texans
Start in DFS: Van Jefferson ($11), Brandin Cooks ($15)
Jefferson played 61-of-65 snaps last week when the Rams reverted to being a 3-WR team with TE Johnny Mundt out. He finished top-10 in air yards and ran routes on 40-of-42 Matthew Stafford dropbacks, making Jefferson quite attractive at the near-minimum DFS salary. He ranks top-25 in yards per target this season and is looking at more volume moving forward.
Cooks is tied with Davante Adams for the NFL lead in WOPR and hopefully gets Tyrod Taylor back as his quarterback this week. Cooks racked up 14 catches (21 targets) for 210 yards and a touchdown over the first two weeks of the year, when Taylor played six quarters. The Texans are once again big underdogs Sunday, so there should be plenty of passing against a Rams defense that’s been average versus fantasy receivers. Cooks is more valuable in PPR but still a bargain here with a salary outside the top-35 wide receivers.
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets
Start: Tee Higgins, Michael Carter
While Higgins has taken a backseat to rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase, he’s quietly waiting to explode himself. Higgins saw a whopping 15 targets last week when he finished No. 1 in WOPR. He’s also third in the league in red-zone target share (38%) this season. Moreover, when Chase, Higgins and Tyler Boyd have all played together, Higgins has the highest target share this season. After going run-heavy with Joe Burrow returning from surgery to open the year, the Bengals rank first in situation-neutral pass rate over Weeks 4-7. In fact, the Bengals were the most pass-heavy team in Week 7 (through three quarters before the score got out of hand) and Sunday they get a Jets defense with the only secondary in the league yet to record a pick this season.
Carter was already becoming New York’s feature back, and his outlook is further improved with Magic Mike White taking over at quarterback. Carter ranked fifth among running backs in touch% last week, when he saw a whopping nine targets, as White checked down repeatedly to the rookie back after Zach Wilson left injured. Get Carter in your fantasy lineups this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
Start: Ben Roethlisberger
Sit: All Browns pass catchers
Cleveland is a pass-funnel defense, ranking No. 23 against the pass and No. 3 versus the run in DVOA. Put differently, the Browns have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs but the fourth-most to quarterbacks this season. Pittsburgh is unlikely to run with much success Sunday, forcing a refreshed Ben Roethlisberger coming off the bye to throw frequently.
Nick Chubb (or the impressive D’Ernest Johnson if Chubb is inactive) can be safely started in fantasy leagues regardless of matchup, but it’s tough to trust any Cleveland QB/WR/TE against a rested Pittsburgh defense. Baker Mayfield (shoulder), Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) and Jarvis Landry (knee) would all be playing at far less than 100 percent even if they suited up.
San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears
Start: 49ers D/ST
Sit: All Bears but Khalil Herbert
Over five starts, Justin Fields has taken 20 sacks, thrown five interceptions, fumbled five times and thrown just two touchdowns. The 49ers have allowed just 6.8 YPA yet have recorded only one pick all season, which certainly seems unlucky (although a disappointingly low-pressure rate has contributed). The Bears have three total passing touchdowns this season, so it’s possible SF isn’t flagged for a half-dozen long PI penalties this week too. The 49ers enter with a big DL/OL advantage and are my top fantasy defense this week.
While no other Bears player can be trusted in fantasy lineups (and Allen Robinson can be dropped, sadly), the highly impressive Khalil Herbert is a top-20 RB this week. The rookie dominated touches over Damien Williams last week and somehow rushed for 100 yards (5.6 YPC) on the road against a Tampa Bay defense allowing an NFL-low 51.3 rushing yards per game to running backs this season. It’s unclear what happens once David Montgomery returns, but Herbert is a strong fantasy start in the meantime.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Seattle Seahawks
Start: Dan Arnold, Seahawks D/ST
Arnold has seen 13 targets over the last two games and should be featured in Jacksonville’s offense coming out of the bye and with DJ Chark out for the season. Both Seattle and Jacksonville rank bottom-three in total yards allowed per game, so this matchup should be heavy on offense.
Trevor Lawrence has played better lately but defenses facing the Jaguars this season have scored the third-most fantasy points. Up against a rookie QB and led by Urban Meyer as underdogs in a tough environment in Seattle, the Seahawks are a strong fantasy D/ST flier this week.
New England Patriots @ Los Angeles Chargers
Start: Hunter Henry
Sit: Jared Cook
Damien Harris is in a smash spot against the league’s premier run-funnel defense, but Henry is a strong start as well. He’s coming off playing a season-high in snaps, as Jonnu Smith deals with a shoulder injury. Henry is in a revenge game facing a Chargers defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Mac Jones is also a sneaky DFS play this week.
Cook played a season-low in snaps during his last game before LA’s bye, and Justin Herbert may not go to Jared quite as often with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen healthy and with Donald Parham’s further emergence over the second half. Moreover, New England has ceded the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Washington Football Team @ Denver Broncos
Sit: Ricky Seals-Jones
Start: Teddy Bridgewater
I’m as big of an RSJ fan as anybody but can’t get behind him as a top-15 TE like his ECR this week while facing a Denver defense that’s held tight ends to the fourth-fewest fantasy points this season. The targets have been there for Seals-Jones with Logan Thomas out, but the results have been empty aside from one 40-yard TD catch on busted coverage; there are many sleeper alternatives at tight end this week.
Bridgewater hasn’t played great lately but gets Jerry Jeudy back this week in a highly favorable matchup against a Washington defense that’s yielded by far the most passing touchdowns (19) as well as the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Bridgewater should benefit from having two legit wide receivers moving forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Start: All Bucs, Jameis Winston & Adam Trautman
Mike Evans has struggled historically facing Marshon Lattimore, but I still have him and Chris Godwin both ranked as top-10 fantasy receivers this week with Antonio Brown out. Tom Brady leads the NFL with 64 pass attempts in the red zone; no other QB has attempted even 50 (Joe Burrow has thrown fewer than 20 RZ passes this year!). Playing indoors against a secondary that likes to use man coverage, Brady should go nuts again Sunday (he’s on pace to throw 51 touchdowns during his age-44 season).
I also rank Leonard Fournette as a top-10 fantasy back this week even in a tougher matchup given his usage as a receiver and in the scoring area; he has a whopping 17 red-zone opportunities over the last two weeks. That’s right, 17 — more than Miles Sanders and Chase Edmonds have all season.
Winston has gotten 8.7 YPA with a 6:0 TD:INT ratio over two home games this year, and the biggest problem (lack of volume) with his fantasy value shouldn’t be an issue this week against the league’s premier pass-funnel defense (Tampa Bay has allowed an NFL-low 51.3 rushing yards per game to RBs this season). This matchup features one of the highest over/unders this week; Winston will finish as a top-10 fantasy QB during his revenge game.
Trautman is also a sleeper in Week 8; he ran the second-most routes on the Saints last week and gets a Bucs pass-funnel D that’s allowed the most catches to tight ends this season.
Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings
Start: Tony Pollard, Kirk Cousins
Pollard has reached double-digit carries in all five games since Week 1, averaging 13.8 touches over that span. Moreover, the Cowboys will likely concentrate on their rushing attack Sunday night with a hobbled Dak Prescott or Cooper Rush playing QB against a Minnesota defense that leads the NFL in pressure rate. Dallas’ offensive line is healthier and gets La’el Collins back from suspension coming out of the bye, so Pollard is a strong flex option this week against a run-funnel Vikings defense that ranks No. 3 against the pass and No. 24 versus the run in DVOA.
It may end up hurting Cousins’ stats if Dak Prescott is out (and the drastic change ATS doesn’t look promising for Dak’s outlook), but Sunday night’s matchup still features this week’s highest over/under (53.5 points) anyway. I wouldn’t worry about any narrative regarding Cousins struggling during primetime games and fire him up in fantasy lineups against a Cowboys defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
New York Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs
Start: Daniel Jones, Darrel Williams
It’s tough to recommend a Giants WR right now with so many questionable to play Monday night, but Jones is a sneaky QB start assuming a few of the wideouts are healthy enough to suit up (preferably star-in-the-making, Kadarius Toney). The Giants are near double-digit underdogs likely playing without Saquon Barkley and against a Kansas City offense due to bounce back in a big way coming off an “F” performance; KC’s defense is also allowing the most yards per play in the NFL, so Jones should be throwing it a ton Monday night against a shaky D.
Despite leaving one game early and coming off an incredibly tough stretch of schedule, Danny Dimes still has the third-most rushing yards among quarterbacks this season and leads all players in rush yards over expectation. The Chiefs have also been gashed for the second-most fantasy points by QBs this year.
Kansas City entered last week leading the NFL both in points per drive and turnovers per drive, and the latter simply has to regress at some point (especially considering how many of Patrick Mahomes’ league-leading interceptions have come on drops/tips). When the fluky turnovers stop, the Chiefs (who rank top-five in yards per play) figure to start scoring points in bunches, and Williams will benefit as the team’s current feature back (despite ranking among the bottom of the league in rush yards over expectation, one could easily argue he’s more valuable than a healthy Clyde Edwards-Helaire, given CEH catches fewer passes and is also replaced at the goal-line by Williams). Monday night’s game script should be favorable.