Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 8
Ryan Tannehill vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m starting this week’s article with a bang ladies and gentlemen. Ryan Tannehill finished Week 7 as the 11th overall QB in fantasy points. That was against a stout Chargers defense that is currently 5th overall against the pass. Tannehill enjoys the spoils of Tampa this week and we all know the kinds of numbers they have allowed opposing QBs. In the past four weeks of play the Bucs have given up 39.6 points to Daniel Jones Week 3, 33.9 to Jared Goff Week 4, 32.9 to Teddy Bridgewater in Week 5 and 19.7 to Kyle Allen in Week 6. Last week they had a bye and still they lead the league in worst passing defense.
Obviously, if Tannehill is having a good day, his weaponry should get a highlight as well. Both Corey Davis and A.J. Brown have had subtle impacts this season, but in Week 7, both WRs pulled in 6 receptions for over 60 yards. Tannehill should be a start this week if you have any bye week issues.
Kirk Cousins vs Washington Redskins
Who would have thunk it? Kirk Cousins is actually a good QB when he’s not handing the ball off 25+ times a game. We all knew of Cousins’ skills to pay the bills. Indeed he got paid to do such but this season he has hit some speed bumps that have made many fans uneasy. Week 7 should have been the deciding factor in this thrown argument because it has been his third week of destroying defenses.
This week shouldn’t be any different. With Adam Thielen out, Stefon Diggs becomes the only viable fantasy WR on the Vikings sideline but that’s alright. Diggs himself has had some breakout games after his complaints went viral. In this case, it could be considered a reward for bad behavior but we’re only fantasy managers people, not life coaches. Cry your eyes out Diggs, Cousins seems to be listening and getting you the ball.
To add to the fire, Cousins is returning to his place of “birth” when he lines up against the Redskins. The Skins have had a middle of the pack kind of passing defense but things should change when Kirky comes to town. Play Cousins and don’t look back.
Kyle Allen @ San Francisco 49ers
Besides his breakout game of 29.0 points in Week 3, Kyle Allen hasn’t repeated such a performance throughout his win streak. Not only that, each game after his Week 3 debut, Allen has been put to the test with his arm and has narrowly been winning some games. Every week that Allen throws more than 30 attempts proves to be the signifier that the Panthers are overusing their backup and putting too much in his hands. In Week 3, Allen and Christian McCaffrey had the same amount of touches (24) and they were magnificent. McCaffrey came out of it with 153 rushing yards and a TD, while Allen walked away with 4 TDs and a little over 260 passing yards.
Last week the Panthers had a bye and the Niners played in some puddles in Washington. This, no doubt, improved the defense that Frisco already had on paper, but even more so, it proved that maybe the 49ers aren’t the team of the past. San Francisco is the only other undefeated team in the NFL besides the Patriots, and I think it’s in their defense. The 49ers are the only team in the NFL that hasn’t given up 1,000 total passing yards and they sit at the top of the league in passing yards defended. Additionally, the 49ers have only given up 5.8 yards per completion which is the second-lowest to the Patriots.
Baker Mayfield @ New England Patriots
It has got to be common knowledge by now that the Patriots are on a rampage when it comes to the defensive position. They lead the league in practically all forms on the defensive side but a couple of stats stick out more to me than the rest. The first would be the Patriots leading the league in interceptions with 18. The next closest team would be the Panthers with 9. They have double the amount of interceptions as the next team in line and that’s with only 7 weeks in the books. They are averaging a little more than 2 picks a game at this rate.
The next stat that intrigued your humble writer would be the single TD that they have given up all season. That’s ONE score through the air.
The Patriots have been aiding many of you managers in your wins and this week may be some of the same. Baker is coming off an injured hip that has put a hitch in his giddy-up, but even more so, Baker hasn’t had the season beginnings that we thought he would. Currently, Mayfield has thrown 15 interceptions; one more than he had all of last season. There are notes on Mayfield that he needs to work through but this week isn’t one of those weeks to grind it out. Leave Mayfield on the bench and explore other options.
Austin Ekeler @ Chicago Bears
With Melvin Gordon’s return, it has made the decision to start Ekeler a coin flip. “Will he be in the game as much as Gordon or get as much playing time?” I am sure stuff like that has come up when debating whether or not to play him. I am here to say to do so. In PPR formats especially, Ekeler hasn’t lost too much value after Gordon’s return. In Week 5, Ekeler had 15 receptions on 16 targets. Then last week Ekeler still found the points with his 25.5 fantasy point performance. Of course, I purposely left out week 6’s lackluster numbers but only because they don’t represent the true points that Ekeler has been putting up.
This oddity on the Chargers could be flipped when looking at the Bears defense. They have the beasts on the field, but they still end up coming short. Last week Chicago got destroyed by Latavius Murray as he put up some Alvin Kamara numbers. Then in Week 5 Josh Jacobs got in on the action and slapped the Bears D around for 123 rushing yards and 2 TDs. The list goes on and on and as we can see, the Bears have been struggling when it comes to run defense. Currently, they sit top 10 against the rush but that is with two or three straight weeks of RBs scoring some monster points. I would go with the gut feeling on Austin Ekeler and play him this week.
Ty Johnson vs New York Giants
Kerryon Johnson went down last week in the Lions divisional game against the Vikings but without missing a beat, Ty Johnson stepped in to do as much as he could. Ty Johnson sits in this purgatory of sorts because of his hand-cuff capability. So far this season we have seen three big-name RBs, Saquon Barkley, David Johnson, and Alvin Kamara go down with injuries. But more importantly, we have seen their replacements take off. Wayne Gallman had fantasy relevance for about a week, Chase Edmonds continues to be the workhorse back in Arizona, and then Latavius Murray just had his breakout game last week.
The Giants might be just the team to pull this wild card on some opponents because of their unimpressive defense. Right now they are the 7th worst rushing defense in the NFL and that’s giving up around 130 yards a game on the ground. We all witnessed Edmonds’ huge game last week, 126 yards with 3 TDs. If we look at the tape from just a week before, both New England RBs, James White and Sony Michel, scored double digits in their showdown with the Giants. The Giants have a fluffy defense that makes Ty Johnson a definite play.
Carlos Hyde / Duke Johnson vs Oakland Raiders
If there is a huge question mark on your face about what to do with Duke Johnson or Carlos Hyde, fear not. Let me reveal why both might not be playable this week against the Raiders. When we shine some light on the Houston offense we can see that running the ball just isn’t their forte. Last week, for example, both Johnson and Hyde didn’t even rush for more than 40 yards. Their total together was 69 total rushing yards. There might have been some hope to play either RB from their Week 6 performance but when it came to the week that had just passed, both players fell flat.
The Raiders, on the other hand, are actually sitting 5th in rushing defense. Quite a surprise I do agree but when you’re only giving up 86.7 yards a game, there should be some kind of celebration. The longest run they have allowed is 26 yards and opposing teams have only scored on the ground five times. Not only have their average yards a game been low, so has their yards per attempt. Currently, the Raiders are 4th on yards per attempt with just 3.6 yards, that’s less than teams like the 49ers or even the Patriots. Avoid the play against the Raiders with the RBs, Houston’s going to have to win this one through the air.
Frank Gore vs Philadelphia Eagles
Frank Gore has been just a gem in the NFL. For fantasy owners, we could say he has been more of a “Wet Floor” sign for Devin Singletary. There is no doubt that after the rookie’s injury, Gore’s value began to creep off the ground, but with each week of progress comes the inevitable return of the rookie. Singletary has come back and has been taking some of the playing time from our dinosaur of a back but has yet to completely leave him extinct. Gore and Singletary’s numbers last week were subpar and that was to a weak Miami defense. This might help us to make the decision for this week.
The Eagles have also been subpar with their sketchy offense, but it has been their defense that has been keeping them in games. I know this is after news hit of their shaky secondary but when it comes to rushing defense, the Eagles sit 6th. Like the Raiders, the Eagles have relinquished very low yards on attempt with 3.7 and when that is mixed with an offense like Buffalo’s, this spells out big trouble. Normally if it were a team that had a workhorse back I would say to play the man and keep moving along, but with a backfield by committee the decision becomes staggered. Don’t play around with the Eagles this week, sit Frank Gore and find a more viable option.
Kenny Stills vs Oakland Raiders
Remember what I said about injuries? Yeah, well the Texans have been feeling that on the offensive side of the ball with Will Fuller being hurt again. Things like injuries make fantasy ridiculously aggravating because one week a man might put out 40+ points but get hurt the next. This is nothing new to Fuller since he has been plagued with having great talent but injury-prone like no other. This makes Stills such a nice little cash grab because with Fuller out, Still will step in as the deep threat alongside DeAndre Hopkins. Before the injury, Stills was getting a consistent three to four targets a game, but with the devastation on the Houston sideline, his production will definitely grow.
These ingredients work well when you consider the Texans opponent and how lousy they have been in passing defense. As good as the Raiders have played in the rush, their passing defense is where opponents tend to overcome them. Aaron Rodgers had the game of his career against the Raiders last week and something like that is very likely to happen again. On average the Raiders give up a little more than 13 yards per reception, as well as, over 300 receiving yards per game.
John Brown vs Philadelphia Eagles
Think that it’s odd that both the RBs in the “Sit” column, see their fellow WRs on the “Start” column? It shouldn’t be because if a team is doing super good in one aspect of the defense, they are usually lacking on the other. There are of course exceptions like Frisco and the Pats, but for the most part, having a defense that plays well against both offensive threats is rare.
With all that being said, Brown has had quite the renewal of fantasy life since joining Buffalo. Somehow Josh Allen has made an inconsistent fantasy option, suddenly very appealing. John Brown has only scored twice this season but has only failed to score double digits once. He is undoubtedly the only player Allen can throw the ball to but more importantly, he has kept fantasy relevance as a Buffalo Bill. Luckily for the Bills, they are going against the 6th worst defense against receivers. The Eagles have been averaging 287.9 yards a game through the air and a little more than 12 yards a reception. John Brown is the play this week that could get you the victory.
Alshon Jeffery @ Buffalo Bills
Alshon Jeffery has been in my “I hate you” folder for many weeks this season. I have him in a league or two of mine and as a surprise to me, has been garbage (fantasy speaking). It is clear that the Philly offense hasn’t found what made them so good a season or two ago and it is being reflected this year primarily on Jeffery and Zach Ertz. The Eagles have been averaging just above 200 yards receiving per game, as well as a little more than 100 yards rushing. Initially, these numbers came to me as a surprise because I thought they were far too large. When you divvy up some yards I guess you could succumb to 200 but it is nowhere where it once used to be.
With all that being said, the Eagles take on the Bills defense who have only turned over a defeat to the New England Patriots. Currently, they sit 4th in the league against receivers averaging out only 215 yards a game with 10.1 yards per reception. Not only that, but the Bills have only given up four scores through the air this season making their weekly average less than one TD a game. Truly an impressive feat. If you haven’t already, benching Jeffery might be the move of your week.
Julio Jones vs Seattle Seahawks
Julio makes his way on my list not because of a defensive disadvantage but because of another injury on the team. Matt Ryan had a bit of a spill last week and this no doubt will affect our number one pick Julio Jones. We all remember when Matt Schaub was mowing down defenses with Andre Johnson but this is a different time in the football timeline, with a lot of different moving pieces. Of course, Schaub is a more than capable QB to start and finish the game but what I am concerned about is the amount of love he will give to our boy Julio. Undoubtedly, Julio has been a little less becoming than his first-round draft pick status but week in and week out we could at least depend on some kind of points coming from Matt Ryan’s beautiful arm. Consider benching Julio until after the bye when Ryan could return.
Jonnu Smith vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I should have named this column “Band-aides from the injury graveyard” because of the downfall that some of our guys have been through. Delanie Walker is one of those lower-tier TEs that has some real talent to rally around. Last season he and Corey Davis were Marcus Mariota’s favorite targets but this season seems to tell a different story. Now with Walker teetering playability his replacement Jonnu Smith has some real upside.
This week especially, Smith takes on a Bucs defense that has been rather cushy against TEs. Currently, they are second-worst giving up just over 67 points. The receiver qualities mentioned earlier also fall on Smith with Tampa being less than par, but as of right now they have given up 41 receptions for 497 yards and 3 TDs. Play yourself some Jonnu if you’re struggling at TE this week, he may keep you alive.
T.J. Hockenson vs New York Giants
It may come to you as a surprise because it surprised me, but the Giants aren’t doing too bad when it comes to defending opposing TEs. Right now they are ranked 6th against TEs giving up only 35 points in seven weeks of play. They haven’t been super crazy where the player hasn’t caught the ball, as opponent completion percentage is just above 50%, but in whatever defense they are running the TE doesn’t get many fantasy points.
This parallels Hockenson and his inconsistent production. Since his Week 1 performance, the only time Hockenson has been relevant is when he scores. And that’s not a whole lot, very boom or bust. I should mention that where Hockenson hasn’t been getting production, fellow pass-catchers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. have been feasting. All starters have had a blossoming beginning but Hockenson seems to be the only Lion that cannot keep consistency. Find other options besides Hockenson this week, and possibly for more to come.
Pittsburgh Defense vs Miami Dolphins
Guess who’s turn it is to ride the fantasy merry-go-round of points. That’s right, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only do they go against the sad Dolphins, but the Steelers defense hasn’t had too bad of a year starting out. In rush and pass defense, the Steelers are about middle of the pack. In the passing game, they have averaged four sacks a game, as well as at least one pick a game. And in the rush defense, the longest breakout run they have allowed was 37 yards, but the most impressive part of their rushing game is the fact that they have only been scored on four times through the ground game. These would all be things to consider when selecting them against the soft Miami Dolphins. Play the Steelers this week and maybe even for a few more down the line.
Kansas City Defense vs Green Bay Packers
I know this one might be tough to swallow but I think KCs big defensive game last week might have been Denver dropping the ball. The Chiefs looked as if they could step toe-to-toe with the Patriots once upon a time but even with last week’s defensive triumph, they still don’t have the same kind of vitality that could compete with the best in the league. This illusion is definitely going to fade away this week when the Packers come to town. Without Patrick Mahomes playing to outscore other teams, the Kansas City defenders might become every man for himself. The Packers don’t have a run-heavy offense like the Broncos, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers who just played the Oakland defense like a fiddle. Rodgers finished last week’s game with 6 total TDs and an almost 50 point game in fantasy. All of which should make you shiver if considering KCs defense this week. Find another defense to stream, Kansas City should be off-limits.