Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 8
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In a week with six teams on bye, you sometimes have to look in places you typically wouldn't for your starters.
With running backs like Ray Rice, Arian Foster and Matt Forte among others on bye, I started Carolina's Mike Tolbert in a couple of leagues and fortunately Touchdown Mike paid off. For the third consecutive week, Tolbert scored a touchdown and has scored at least nine fantasy points in those games.
Every week, I put together a list of players that may be worthy of starting in your fantasy league(s) and those that deserve to be on your fantasy bench.
Of course, a huge factor in determining which players to start (or sit) is the composition of your roster and depth of your league.
Especially with six teams on bye this week, however, it's certainly possible you're forced to start players you'd typically never start.
Looking ahead to the rest of the games, here are some players to consider starting in Week 8:
QB - Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (at DEN)
Mostly based on his success as a runner last year, Griffin III had the sixth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks. While he was a very efficient passer as a rookie, he rushed for 815 yards, which ranked 20th in the NFL, and seven touchdowns. Coming off his torn ACL injury, RG3 had only 72 rushing yards in his first four games this season, but he now has more than that in each of his past two games.
Partly due to opposing offenses being forced to try to keep up with the Broncos' league-leading offense, the Broncos have allowed the most passing yards and most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
RB - Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at JAX)
Drafted in the offseason as low-end RB2 by many, Gore has become a solid RB1 and is a top-five option for me this week.
Over the past four games, no running back has more carries (86) or rushing yards (405) than Gore, who has also found the end zone four times during that span.
Only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Jaguars, who have given up five rushing touchdowns in their past two games.
RB - Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at MIN)
While Gore leads the NFL in rushing over the past four weeks, Lacy leads the league in rushing over the past three weeks (301 yards). Since the team's bye in Week 4, Lacy has been a workhorse back with 22-plus carries in all three games.
After a couple of difficult matchups against the Ravens and Browns, Lacy gets a softer matchup this week against the Vikings, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
RB - Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at NO)
Whether C.J. Spiller has been healthy or not, it's been Jackson — not Spiller — that has been the one that has produced as an RB1. Only eight running backs have scored more fantasy points this season than Jackson. With the exception of Week 6, Jackson has double-digit fantasy points in his other six games played this season.
With Spiller listed as doubtful on the injury report, we should see even more of Jackson against the Saints. Jackson has 595 yards from scrimmage, 25 receptions and five touchdowns this season.
RB - Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (at OAK)
Coming off the best performance of his young career, Bell gets a much more favorable matchup this week. Against the Ravens in Week 7, Bell rushed 19 times for 93 yards. This week, he faces the Raiders, who have allowed five touchdowns to RBs in their past four games.
WR - Eric Decker, Denver Broncos (vs. WAS)
With a talented trio of wide receivers, it was thought by many that each other's presence would limit the fantasy value of the other two. While Decker has the third-most fantasy points among the team's receivers, he ranks 10th in the NFL at the position in fantasy scoring.
Not only is Decker coming off his best performance (8/150/1) of the season, but he currently ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards (627) behind Baltimore's Torrey Smith (629).
This week should be another productive week for the trio as they face a Redskins secondary that has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
WR - Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders (vs. PIT)
Although he does not have a favorable matchup against the Steelers this week, Moore has been highly productive over the past four games. During that stretch, he has 20 receptions for 356 yards and three touchdowns. He has at least 66 receiving yards in all four of those games and has three games with double-digit fantasy points.
WR - Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons (at ARI)
More than likely, Douglas will never score as many fantasy points as he had last week ever again in his career. With Julio Jones out for the season and Roddy White out for the game, Douglas had seven receptions for a career-high 149 yards and a touchdown last week. With White sidelined another week, Douglas should see plenty of targets.
WR - Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers (at MIN)
Like Douglas, Boykin may never have another performance like he had last week, but he should also get plenty of targets in Week 8. Boykin had eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. With James Jones doubtful for Week 8, Boykin will be the team's No. 2 receiver once again and I have him ranked as a WR2 for this week in fantasy.
TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at DEN)
Earlier this week, Reed was listed in my waiver-wire post and available in three-quarters of Yahoo! leagues. A few days later, he's now owned in 70 percent of leagues. If you own him, you should start him.
The rookie had nine catches for 134 yards and a score last week and now has 50-plus receiving yards in his last three games played. With this game expected to be a shootout, Reed could see double-digit targets this week.
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Here are some players to possibly sit for Week 8:
QB - Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. MIA)
Even though Brady is technically just inside my top-12 fantasy quarterbacks, Brady is no longer a lock starter even in a week where six teams have a bye. After throwing a touchdown (or more) in 52 consecutive games, Brady has thrown only one touchdown, granted it was a game-winner versus the Saints, in the past three weeks.
Neither the Ravens nor the Bills have an explosive passing offense, but the Dolphins have not allowed a passing touchdown in back-to-back games.
RB - Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at CIN)
Ivory exploded for 104 yards, the second-highest total in the league, last week. Ok, "exploded" is not the right word as he averaged only 3.06 yards per carry. It was purely based on volume.
Not only did he have 10 more carries than any other back last week, but no running back had a higher workload this season. Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy is the only other back to have 30-plus carries this season (31 in Week 1).
Considering Ivory had as many carries (34) in his first five games combined, I'd like to see him get another significant workload (18 to 20 carries) before I buy in. That said, he is my RB25 for the week and a decent flex option.
RB - Willis McGahee, Cleveland Browns (at KC)
Turning 32 years earlier this week, McGahee is averaging only 2.90 yards per carry this season in five games. In fact, he has yet to average four yards per carry in any game this season. McGahee has less carries in the past two games combined (21) than he had three weeks ago (26).
To make matters worse, the Chiefs have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
WR - Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (vs. MIA)
Provided that Amendola finishes a game he starts, he has the potential to be highly productive. But are you willing to bank on that?
With an injury-prone tag before he arrived in Foxborough, Amendola has struggled to stay healthy for a 60-minute stretch with the Pats. He sustained a groin injury in Week 1 that forced him to miss several games and a concussion two weeks ago that forced him to sit out last week.
WR - Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)
Here's what I wrote in my wide receiver rankings about Bowe: "The good news is that Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe had a season-high 66 yards last week against the Texans. The bad news is that 66 yards is his season high [through Week 7]. The worst news is that Bowe has another tough matchup this week against Cleveland's [Joe] Haden."
Adding to the list of things to dislike about Bowe from a fantasy perspective is that he enters Sunday's game with a questionable injury tag and sat out of practice on Friday.
WR - Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings (vs. GB)
It has come full circle at quarterback for the Vikes as Christian Ponder will once again get the start. Ponder will be the third Vikings quarterback to start in as many games.
In four of his six games this season, Jennings has had 43 yards or less. Although he has a favorable matchup against his former team, it's unlikely that the duo of Jennings and Ponder will be able to capitalize on it.
TE - Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams (vs. SEA)
Since recording a line of 7/141/2 in the season opener, Cook has six consecutive games with less than 50 yards and is averaging just 33.8 yards per game during that stretch. Considering the Rams will start Kellen Clemens, not Sam Bradford (or Brett Favre), there is no reason to have any confidence in Cook this week. To be fair to Clemens, there was no reason to confident in Cook last week either.
More Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Week 8 Fantasy Football QB Rankings
- Week 8 Fantasy Football RB Rankings
- Week 8 Fantasy Football WR Rankings
- Week 8 Fantasy Football TE Rankings
Week 8 Daily Fantasy Football Salary-Cap Analysis: