Week 8 of the fantasy football season is here, and so are loaded bye weeks. With four more teams off this week, guys like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, and Ezekiel Elliott are all off, and that will create more lineup decisions for fantasy owners. That will make these start ’em, sit ’em calls even more important and identifying potential sleepers will be critical (especially in NFL DFS contests).
But don’t worry, the Decider is back again with his midweek dose of recommended players to play and avoid based on matchups and other factors. Here’s help with all of the critical fantasy decisions that will be coming up during Week 8.
Week 8 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker
Fantasy Football Week 8 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at LAR), Tom Brady, Patriots (at BUF), Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. DEN), Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. CLE), Cam Newton, Panthers (vs. BAL), Drew Brees, Saints (at MIN), Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. NO)
Andrew Luck, Colts (at OAK). Luck’s pretty much the hottest QB south of Mahomes, and he gets another great pass-rush free spot to produce big.
Andy Dalton, Bengals (vs. TB). He’s back in his comfort zone at 1 p.m. ET at home against a further-depleted Bucs defense that has been money for quarterbacks.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (at CIN). He can make it ugly like last week, but he will keep throwing a ton to make up for mistakes.
Jared Goff, Rams (vs. GB). He’ll need to pour in at least a couple scores in a shootout with fellow Cal Bear Rodgers.
Mitchell Trubisky, Bears (vs. NYJ). He’s feeling it in this offense with his arm and legs. He’s getting easier to trust, especially at home.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (at PIT). He’s getting his groove with his key targets and occasional running. He can give the Steelers fits, despite taking more sacks.
Two deep: Eli Manning, Giants (vs. WAS), Alex Smith, Redskins (at NYG)
Fantasy Football Week 8 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Deshaun Watson, Texans (vs. MIA). Houston would be smart to stay heavily grounded against the Dolphins’ reeling run defense with a banged-up QB and receiving corps — especially on a short week.
Carson Wentz, Eagles (vs. JAX in London). He’s a pretty weekly guy with his production, but this is one spot where you can fade him against a still elite pass defense overseas.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (at DET). They should come in heavily running on the road against a tricky pass defense with a good pass rush.
Matthew Stafford, Lions (vs. SEA). They should want to stay heavily running at home against a tricky pass defense with a good pass rush.
Joe Flacco, Ravens (at CAR). He’s very hard to trust on the road, and the matchup is middle of the road.
Two deep: Derek Carr, Raiders (vs. IND), Case Keenum, Broncos (at KC)
WEEK 8 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Fantasy Football Week 8 Start ‘Em: Running backs
Todd Gurley, Rams (vs. GB), Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (bye), David Johnson, Cardinals (vs, SF), Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, Saints (at MIN), Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (vs. BAL), Saquon Barkley, Giants (vs. WAS), Melvin Gordon, Chargers (bye), Kareem Hunt, Chiefs (vs. DEN), Joe Mixon, Bengals (vs. TB), James White, Patriots (at BUF), James Conner, Steelers (vs. CLE), Nick Chubb, Browns (at PIT)
Marlon Mack, Colts (at OAK). He returned at full strength with absolute explosiveness, and the Raiders will have a hard time slowing him down.
Lamar Miller, Texans (vs. MIA). The former Dolphin should see another big workload, and his former team can be worn down against the run.
Kerryon Johnson, Lions (vs. SEA). The breakout carries on with enough carries even without the short TDs.
Raheem Mostert, 49ers (at ARI). He looks darn good as a runner and receiver, and Matt Breida shouldn’t be playing against a bad run defense.
Chris Carson, Seahawks (at DET). He’ll be healthy after a bye to lead their backfield against a shaky run defense.
Phillip Lindsay, Broncos (at KC). Lindsay is in for another all-around strong game with his receiving pop and Royce Freeman now dealing with a bad ankle.
Alex Collins, Ravens (at CAR). He’s not the most inspiring matchup, but he’s getting the ball a lot and has a good chance to get back in the end zone.
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars (vs. PHI in London). They’re probably going to need to check down and throw to the RB regardless of the QB because the Eagles can straight up stop their regular running.
Three deep: Jalen Richard, Raiders (vs. IND), Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at CIN), Chris Ivory, Bills (if LeSean McCoy doesn’t play vs. NE)
Fantasy Football Week 8 Sit ‘Em: Running backs
Mark Ingram, Saints (at MIN). He really struggled against this nasty run defense in the playoffs, and game flow makes it more of a Kamara game. So, sit him if you can.
Carlos Hyde, Jaguars (vs. PHI in London). He’s not suddenly going to be the best version of Leonard Fournette with a new team against a tough run defense.
Latavius Murray, Vikings (vs. NO). The Saints are really good against the run, so he’ll cool off here, even as an outlet receiver.
Jordan Howard, Bears (vs. NYJ). If you’re not getting a TD, you’re not getting anything. The matchup isn’t good for that.
Adrian Peterson, Redskins (at NYG). He’s not going to break free for any good gains between the tackles here.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins (at HOU). The Texans are in position to dominate TNF defensively.
Isaiah Crowell, Jets (at CHI). He’s got a bad foot and now a bad matchup, too.
Aaron Jones, Packers (at LAR). He’s not going to be suddenly unleashed after the bye and they’ll need Jamaal Williams in there more for pass pro in catchup mode.
Three deep: Corey Clement, Eagles (vs. JAX in London), Duke Johnson Jr. Browns (at PIT), Kenjon Barner, Patriots (at BUF),
WEEK 8 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
Fantasy Football Week 8 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers
Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (vs. CLE), DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (vs. MIA), Michael Thomas, Saints (at MIN), Julio Jones, Falcons (bye), Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (vs. WAS), Davante Adams, Packers (at LAR), A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, Bengals (vs. TB), Keenan Allen, Chargers (bye), Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Vikings (vs. NO), Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (vs. DEN), Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay, Lions Ivs. SEA), Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, Rams (vs. GB), Jarvis Landry, Browns (at PIT), Alshon Jeffery, Eagles (vs. JAX in London), Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at CIN), Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, Patriots (at BUF), Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos (at KC), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (at OAK)
Sterling Shepard, Giants (vs. WAS). He’s a borderline every-week start with his strong play. This is a no-brainer with the Redskins’ secondary hurting.
DeSean Jackson, Buccaneers (at CIN). He and Winston haven’t been on the same page, but the Bengals have had a hard time stopping deep-shot plays.
John Brown, Ravens (at CAR). You can also extend to Willie Snead, but Brown’s speed and quickness will be tough for the Panthers to handle.
Allen Robinson, Bears (vs. NYJ). He’ll get the best outside cornerback matchup this week with Trumaine Johnson likely to miss another game.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (vs. SF). He scored last week, and he should be used better with new offensive play calls.
Jordy Nelson, Raiders (vs. IND). There’s no more Amari Cooper. Expect Carr to be throwing often, as he’s most the familiar receiver, and he should get high-target volume lining up everywhere.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos (at KC). He has the best shot to score a garbage TD outside late.
Kelvin Benjamin, Bills (vs. NE). He was viable with his former Panthers teammate and current QB Derek Anderson last week, and he’s their best bet to get in the end zone late in the game.
Three deep: Chris Hogan, Patriots (at BUF), Tre’Quan Smith, Saints (at MIN), Danny Amendola, Dolphins (at HOU),
Fantasy Football Week 8 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers
Marvin Jones Jr., Lions (vs. SEA). He’s not scoring and he’s fading badly behind Tate and Golladay. The plan should be a lot of running.
Taylor Gabriel, Bears (vs. NYJ). They’re not forcing things to him, and he will get a tricky matchup vs. Morris Claiborne.
Devin Funchess, Panthers (vs. BAL). The Ravens’ coverage is strong outside, and he won’t get free for a good standard day.
Michael Crabtree, Ravens (at CAR). He’s just been “meh” in most games as a low-ceiling PPR guy when he isn’t scoring. This spot against the Panthers isn’t so good for him.
Marquise Goodwin, 49ers (at ARI). Patrick Peterson will still be a Cardinal this week and has the speed to take Goodwin away.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles (at JAX in London). The Jaguars are weak in the slot with injuries there, but it’s still hard to trust him inside or outside in a disappointing season.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at DET). The Lions’ pass rush will limit any shots for big plays.
Sammy Watkins, Chiefs (vs. DEN). He won’t see much work as they stomp all over the Broncos with Hunt, Hill, and Travis Kelce.
Three deep: All Redskins (at NYG), Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, Packers (at LAR), All Jaguars (vs. PHI in London)
WEEK 8 DFS GPP LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
Fantasy Football Week 8 Start ‘Em: Tight ends
Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. DEN), Zach Ertz, Eagles (vs. JAX in London), Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (if he plays at BUF), Jimmy Graham, Packers (at LAR), Eric Ebron, Colts (at OAK), George Kittle, 49ers (at ARI), Trey Burton, Bears (vs. NYJ)
David Njoku, Browns (at PIT). He’s starting to live up to his immense potential with Mayfield, and has caught TDs in consecutive games. Plus, this matchup is outstanding.
Greg Olsen, Panthers (vs. BAL). He scored last week and it’s easier to throw on the Ravens inside then to test their cornerbacks.
O.J. Howard, Buccaneers (at CIN). The Bengals can’t really cover him with their linebackers hurting and smaller-sized safeties.
Jared Cook, Raiders (vs. IND). He will become the 1A target for Carr with Cooper in Dallas, and the Colts’ corners will force more things to funnel inside.
C.J. Uzomah, Bengals (vs. TB). Seemingly, Uzomah has a good chance to get a big play or score every week. The opponent lines up for another good day.
Two deep: Vance McDonald, Steelers (vs. CLE), Benjamin Watson, Saints (at MIN)
Fantasy Football Week 8 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (vs. NO). The Saints are among the stingiest defenses against the position.
Jordan Reed, Redskins (at NYG). He’s been awful of late with limited trust from Smith.
Evan Engram, Giants (vs. WAS). He looked out of sync during his return on Monday, and the Redskins won’t help him break out.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals (vs. SF). It’s really hard to go down this well again with any confidence you’ll get something.
Two deep: Michael Roberts, Lions (vs. SEA), Chris Herndon, Jets (at CHI)
MORE WEEK 8 DFS: Values | Stacks | Lineup Builder
Fantasy Football Week 8 Start ‘Em: Defense/special teams
Texans (vs. MIA), Bears (vs. NYJ), Eagles (vs. JAX in London), Patriots (at BUF)
Cardinals (vs. SF). San Francisco the other way is getting buzz, but Arizona is the one at home and has better playmakers and delivered in their first matchup.
Steelers (vs. CLE). The Browns are putting up more points, but they’re giving up sacks and starting a rookie QB on the road.
Chiefs (vs. DEN). They were a sneaky streamer at home in Week 7 and will get it done again vs. the Broncos as their offense keeps putting pressure on teams to make mistakes. As a programming note, they’ve got the Browns and Cardinals next.
Redskins (at NYG). They’ve been solid except for that Saints game, and the Giants tend to be sloppier with sacks and giveaways at home.
Jaguars (vs. PHI in London). They’ve dropped down far at midseason, but here’s a feeling they’ll play more inspired with a change of scenery and challenge by their coach in desperation mode.
Fantasy Football Week 8 Sit ‘Em: Defense/special teams
Broncos (at KC). Hope you had fun with that Cardinals game.
Vikings (vs. NO). We saw the Ravens’ ineffectiveness against the Saints last week.
Ravens (at CAR). The Panthers don’t give up much and the schedule ahead doesn’t inspire a good reality defense to be that playable.
Browns (at PIT). They keep getting it done by doing a ton, but the Steelers’ offense should be lit after a bye.
Seahawks (at DET). They’re coming off a bye and headed to a matchup against a suddenly ball-control Lions offense.
Get more Vinnie Iyer’s fantasy football analysis with his four times-a-week Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.
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