Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 8
It was difficult to see Arian Foster’s season end on a non-contact ACL injury. One has to wonder if this could be the end of his incredible career. If you need to replace Foster work your waiver wire and trade negotiations before your league deadline arrives.
WEEK 7 RECAP
Let’s take a look at a quick recap from Week 7.
I Knew It
Carson Palmer – QB – Arizona Cardinals – 275 yds, 2 TD
I did believe Palmer would have his first 20-point game since Week 2, and he came close enough with 19.
Todd Gurley – RB – St. Louis Rams – 19 att, 128 yds, 2 TD, 4 rec, 35 yds
Gurley was an absolute beast last week and I liked him for his first professional touchdown. He hit pay dirt twice.
Eric Decker – WR – New York Jets – 6 rec, 94 yds
Despite not scoring for the first time in a game he has appeared in this season Decker was still a solid play, finishing with 15 fantasy points.
Jordan Matthews – WR – Philadelphia Eagles – 4 rec, 14 yds
I recommended benching Matthews, who added two more drops to his six on the season. He may be suffering from a hand injury which would explain his poor play.
Joe Flacco – QB – Baltimore Ravens – 252 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
The Cardinals picked Flacco off and held him to 14 fantasy points. He was the QB15 last week.
Anquan Boldin – WR – San Francisco 49ers – 3 rec, 39 yds
His back to back 100-yard game streak came to a halt in the San Francisco 49ers 20-3 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
I Blew It
Crockett Gillmore – TE – Baltimore Ravens – 5 rec, 53 yds
I have him as someone I missed on because he scored double-digit fantasy points and had his second best outing of the season.
WEEK 8 START/SIT SUGGESTIONS
Who’s Hot – Start
Fire Starter: Chris Johnson – RB – Arizona Cardinals @ Cleveland Browns
The Browns have had a hard time stopping anyone on the ground. Last week, rookie Todd Gurley ran on them for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson has a chance to run wild on the Browns who are allowing an average of 22 fantasy points per game to running backs. Johnson will have to gain most of his points in the first half of the game. If the Cardinals take a lead we may see Bruce Arians rest his veteran and give opportunities to Andre Ellington and David Johnson. The matchup against this generous defense makes him my fire starter this week, regardless of the late touches he may lose.
Philip Rivers – QB – San Diego Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens
Rivers is the only quarterback in the NFL with over 300 passing attempts this season and over 200 completions. He is throwing the ball at a record pace. When you combine that with the fact that he is facing the worst defense in the NFL against quarterbacks, you strike gold. Keenan Allen, Ladarius Green, and Danny Woodhead are all reaping the benefits of Rivers’ constant passing and they are all elevating Rivers’ scoring. This all sets him up very nicely to finish as the top quarterback this week.
Jonathan Stewart – RB – Carolina Panthers vs. Indianapolis Colts
I swore I would never recommend him again, but of course he is picking up steam and it is hard not to start him against a team that was just shredded by Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert are always a threat to vulture a touchdown from him but there should be plenty of scoring to go around this week. Since the Week 5 bye, Stewart has had consecutive games of at least 20 touches which is something we had not seen prior to the bye. If Riverboat Ron gives him 20 touches again this week and he scores he will finish as a top-tier running back.
Rueben Randle – WR – New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints
Odell Beckham Jr. is the top receiver in New York but anyone who has watched him play the past two weeks can tell that he is hardly 100% healthy. Randle is a boom or bust player this week but his chances at a boom, or 100-yards and a score, are very high for me. The Saints have allowed eight touchdowns to receivers this season and we saw Randle’s big-play ability flash last week against the Dallas Cowboys. He is a risky play with high upside and a great chance to reward on the risk you will take.
Tyler Lockett – WR – Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys
It is my belief that when the Dallas Cowboys saw their schedule for the 2015 season they made plans for rookie Byron Jones to cover tight ends with Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham in mind. Jones held Gronkowski to 67 yards on four catches. Graham should see Jones this week which will open the field up for deep-threat receiver Lockett. Much like Randle he is a boom or bust player with a better chance at booming than busting with the upside to have his first 100-yard game.
Martellus Bennett – TE – Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are allowing an average of nine points to tight ends per games which is what Bennett’s floor should be this week. Minnesota will have to account for a healthy Alshon Jeffery which will give Bennett more opportunity. He has double-digit targets over his past three weeks and will take a trip to the end zone for the first time since Week 4.
Who’s Not – Sit
Ice Cold: Carlos Hyde – RB – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams
It is no secret that Hyde has been dealing with a foot injury that may or may not be a stress fracture. Even if he were at full health I would recommend benching him against Rams who have surrendered just three rushing touchdowns this season. Reggie Bush was factored in last week and will eat into some of Hyde’s touches this week, especially if the 49ers take a cautious approach with his workload.
Jameis Winston – QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons defense has given lower-tier quarterbacks a rough time all season. Brandon Weeden, Sam Bradford, and Zach Mettenberger all struggled against this veteran defense. Winston should have a difficult time this weekend also, especially with the news that Vincent Jackson will likely miss the game. Quarterbacks are averaging just 13 points per game against the Falcons. The matchup is not a good one for the rookie and he should be on your bench.
Texans’ Backfield – RB – Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
It is hard to predict which back between Alfred Blue, Chris Polk, and Jonathan Grimes will take the majority of the carries for the Texans but we saw a bit of a committee approach prior to Arian Foster suiting up for the Texans. He is now out for the season and Houston might give all three backs an opportunity. There may not be fantasy value in this backfield, especially this week against the Titans who rank eight overall against the run.
Amari Cooper – WR – Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets
There is no rookie receiver hotter than Cooper but he will certainly cool off this week against the dominant New York Jets’ secondary. He is a talented stud and Darelle Revis stated he is “impressed” with Cooper, but Revis will show him what it is like to play against a shut-down corner this week. I think Cooper will have a single-digit fantasy day and you will want him out of your starting lineup.
Davante Adams – WR – Green Bay Packers @ Denver Broncos
Adams has missed his past four games with an ankle injury and appears finally ready to go. You have either been stashing him or spent a high waiver claim on him but I would not roll him out quite yet. The Denver Broncos are shutting down receivers, only surrendering one touchdown to wide outs this season. A healthy Adams will still have to compete for targets with Randall Cobb and James Jones. While he certainly has fantasy value, he has little to none this week.
Jimmy Graham – TE – Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys defense is not an intimidating one. I mentioned earlier that rookie Byron Jones wrangled in Rob Gronkowski. Jones has been given the task of covering tight ends this season and he has quietly done a great job at it. Tight ends have one double-digit fantasy performance and one touchdown against the Cowboys this season. They are averaging four points per game. Graham has burned his owners on a few occasions this season and will do so this week.
I do not have a crystal ball and can only rely on research and good old intuition. I may hit or miss on a few, but these are my honest predictions for this week. I’ll keep myself honest with a full disclosure section next week when I give you your “Who’s Hot” and “Who’s Not” for Week 9. Consider my recommendations here, but ultimately trust in yourself. Good luck!
Jen Ryan is a correspondent at FantasyPros, featured writer at Gridiron Experts and contributor at Football Diehards. Click here for her archive and feel free to reach her and talk all things fantasy @FFdeJENerate.