With Week 8 upon us, teams like the Packers and Seahawks are coming off a bye and should be welcome additions to the starting lineups of fantasy owners.
Here’s the upcoming schedule for Week 8:
Teams on BYE: Cowboys, Chargers, Falcons, Titans
Thursday, 8:20 P.M.
Dolphins (4-3) vs. Texans (4-3)
Sunday, 9:30 A.M.
Eagles (3-4) vs. Jaguars (3-4) [@ Wembley Stadium in London]
Sunday, 1:00 P.M.
Ravens (4-3) @ Panthers (4-2) —— Broncos (3-4) @ Chiefs (6-1)
Browns (2-4-1) @ Steelers (3-2-1) —— Seahawks (3-3) @ Lions (3-3)
Buccaneers (3-3) @ Bengals (4-3) —— Jets (3-4) @ Bears (3-3)
Redskins (4-2) @ Giants (1-6)
Sunday, 4:05 P.M.
Colts (2-5) @ Raiders (1-5)
Sunday, 4:25 P.M.
49ers (1-6) @ Cardinals (1-6)
Packers (3-2-1) @ Rams (7-0)
Sunday, 8:20 P.M.
Saints (5-1) @ Vikings (4-2-1)
Monday, 8:15 P.M.
Patriots (5-2) @ Bills (2-5)
For me, standout games include:
Dolphins @ Texans because both teams are 4-3 and this game could have big playoff implications down the road (not to mention it might be the first interesting Thursday night game in a while).
Ravens @ Panthers because it seems like one of those true “any given Sunday” matchups and both teams have 4 wins.
Packers @ Rams because of the shootout potential as well as two great offenses going head-to-head.
Saints @ Vikings because it’s a rematch of the NFC Championship Game last year, with both teams doing well mid-way through 2018.
Alrighty, time for those start/sits!
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QB Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Buccaneers
Okay so Dalton threw up a stinker last week against an otherwise generous pass defense. He completed 15/29 passes for 148 yards with a TD and an INT (which ended up being a 33-yard pick-six by Chiefs’ safety Ron Parker). The Bengals had trouble converting on third down, being successful just 4 of 11 attempts. Something to consider; the Buccaneers allow a whopping 53.33% of 3rd-down conversion attempts during away games.
With how bad the Buccaneers’ pass defense has been, this is a prime opportunity for Dalton to rebound.
Prediction: 27/38, 336 yards, 3 TD, INT; 2 rushes, 11 yards
QB C.J. Beathard, 49ers @ Cardinals
Beathard could be a sleeper start at QB this week considering the matchup – the last time San Francisco played Arizona, Beathard completed 34/54 passes for 349 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs while also rushing in a TD.
Things will go Beathard’s way if the running back committee of Matt Breida (ankle), Raheem Mostert and Alfred Morris can establish even a decent rushing attack. Let’s not forget Cardinals’ CB Patrick Peterson requested to be traded before the October 30th trade deadline – if he is indeed traded, the Arizona pass defense weakens tremendously.
Prediction: 33/46, 323 yards, 3 TD, INT; 4 rushes, 17 yards
RB Jalen Richard, Raiders vs. Colts
Marshawn Lynch (groin) is on IR. This leaves Doug Martin and Richard to handle the backfield duties for a struggling Oakland offense. So why Richard over Martin?
Richard has showcased above-average pass-catching ability this season and is more familiar with the offense. He has at least 5 targets in his last 4 games, and 13 receptions over his last 2.
Against the Colts’ run-of-the-mill defense, Richard will likely get his fair share of opportunities. He’s the safer bet between him and Martin for fantasy purposes, especially for PPR leagues.
Prediction: 5 rushes, 19 yards; 6 receptions, 71 yards, TD
RB Raheem Mostert, 49ers @ Cardinals
This start depends on the status of teammate Matt Breida (ankle). I think Mostert is worth a flex-play in deeper leagues regardless of Breida’s status, but if the latter is inactive, Mostert jumps to RB2 territory.
Mostert has rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries in his last two games, adding 4 receptions for 19 yards. With the Cardinals being weak against the run this season (allowing a league-worst 12 TDs on the ground), Mostert has upside this week.
Prediction: 11 rushes, 71 yards, TD; 2 receptions, 9 yards
DEEP SLEEPER – RB Trenton Cannon, Jets @ Bears
This one’s a bit of a long shot, but with Bilal Powell (neck) going on IR, Cannon now sees himself as Isaiah Crowell’s primary backup. In an effort to keep Crowell from getting fatigued, I think Cannon sees more usage down the stretch. This particular matchup might not be that friendly, but the speedy 6th-rounder could make a huge impact if given more opportunity.
Prediction: 7 rushes, 38 yards; 4 receptions, 44 yards, TD
WR Willie Snead, Ravens @ Panthers
Snead has had at least 7 targets in 5 out of 7 games with Baltimore this season, with his last 4 games being among them. With deep threat John Brown a nightmare for defenses and Michael Crabtree a solid possession receiver, Snead could fly under the radar against a middle-of-the-pack Panthers’ defense.
Prediction: 6 receptions, 68 yards, TD
WR Martavis Bryant, Raiders vs. Colts
Amari Cooper’s a Cowboy now, so that opens up targets for Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Bryant.
With Bryant being a reliable deep threat and the Colts being in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed, Bryant could be the primary beneficiary of Cooper’s absence during Week 8 play.
Prediction: 5 receptions, 104 yards, TD
TE Chris Herndon, Jets @ Bears
Tough matchup, but Herndon has been a favorite target of QB Sam Darnold’s of late. With WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) still out and WR Robby Anderson inconsistent with the deep ball, Herndon may be the only option to trust as far as Jets’ receivers.
Hard to expect another TD after 2 straight games with a score considering his overall small target share (9 targets in the last 2 weeks), but Herndon could be a lone bright spot for a Jets team that could very well be smothered by the Bears’ defense.
Prediction: 3 receptions, 47 yards, TD
TE C.J. Uzomah, Bengals vs. Buccaneers
Uzomah should be a good stack with QB Andy Dalton on Sunday. After catching the two targets sent his way for 13 yards and the lone TD against the Chiefs, Uzomah is also primed for a rebound performance. What helps him more is that his teammate Tyler Kroft (foot) remains in a boot and is likely going to be out for a while.
Prediction: 5 receptions, 51 yards, TD
Redskins D/ST @ Giants
Even against a generous pass defense in the Falcons on Monday night, Eli Manning and the Giants seemed to struggle immensely. Granted, head coach Pat Shurmur made a questionable decision to go for 2 after a Saquon Barkley TD made the score 20-12 in favor of the Falcons.. but again, offensive line struggles limited the potential of a Giants team that features talent across its skill positions.
The Redskins got by the Cowboys thanks to a fumble return TD by Preston Smith and a strip-sack by Ryan Kerrigan. Expect this unit to pull off a similar performance against the struggling Giants.
Prediction: 20 points allowed, 5 sacks, 2 INT, 1 FR, TD
Steelers D/ST vs. Browns
While the last time Pittsburgh faced division rival Cleveland, the latter had Tyrod Taylor behind center, Pittsburgh accrued seven sacks and kept the Browns to a 21-all tie.
Maybe the Steelers don’t get 7 sacks, but their front seven will be sure to give #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield some fits.
Prediction: 20 points allowed, 4 sacks, 2 INT
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QB Jared Goff, Rams vs. Packers
Depending on your roster, you might not have the ability to sit Goff.. but there are better options this week. The Packers’ pass defense ranks 3rd in the league in yards allowed (behind Seattle and somehow Jacksonville despite their string of bad games).
Yes, the Rams’ offense is high-flying and this game has huge shootout potential – but like I said, there are better options, especially more so than a QB that’s thrown for a combined 403 yards, 2 TDs and an INT in the last two weeks (yes one of them was in a snowy/rainy Denver but still). Keep in mind that this year, Goff’s never attempted more than 36 passes. Even in a shootout, expect somewhere between 32-38 pass attempts.
Temper your expectations with Goff this week.
Prediction: 21/33, 261 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT; 3 rushes, 9 yards
QB Russell Wilson, Seahawks @ Lions
Right behind Green Bay at 4th in the league in passing yards allowed rests the Detroit Lions. Wilson’s thrown over 250 yards once, and that was Week 1 @ Denver. While the Seattle quarterback has thrown 3 TD passes in his past 2 games, I don’t see that trend continuing even as the team comes off a bye.
While the Lions have only picked off quarterbacks twice this season, their 221 passing yards allowed per game have me holding off on Wilson being a solid option this week.
Prediction: 19/27, 239 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 5 rushes, 27 yards
RB Javorius Allen, Ravens @ Panthers
6 targets out of the backfield in the last two weeks make Allen hard to trust coming into play against Carolina. Until I see more volume, Allen isn’t really on my radar honestly.
Prediction: 4 rushes, 10 yards; 3 receptions, 22 yards
RB Chris Carson, Seahawks @ Lions
This would have been a good play a few weeks ago when he was on his streak of 100+ yard games, but the Seattle backfield situation is too muddled to tell who will come out on top. Detroit represents a good matchup for the Seahawks on the ground, as they rank 26th in rushing yards allowed at a league-worst 5.3 YPC.. but without a clear picture of who will carry the ball more, Carson may not get you as much production as you may like.
Prediction: 16 carries, 62 yards; 1 reception, 7 yards
WR Brandin Cooks, Rams vs. Packers
Not only do I think to sit Cooks because of Goff’s underproduction these last few weeks, but Cooks has seen under 7 targets for consecutive weeks in a row despite the presence of Cooper Kupp on the field.
With the Rams’ offense consistently funneling through Todd Gurley, it’s hard to rely on Cooks even though he’s such a dynamic player.
Prediction: 4 receptions, 55 yards
WR Devin Funchess, Panthers vs. Ravens
Funchess boasts a more consistent usage with the return of TE Greg Olsen to the offense that helps take away defensive attention from him. With TDs in his last two games as well as 11 receptions, Funchess is on a solid streak – but we all know the defensive capabilities of Baltimore’s secondary.
Panthers’ QB Cam Newton (right shoulder) was limited at practice Wednesday and if his shouder injury is bad enough, it could very well limit his ability to throw the ball down field despite reports that he was able to make most of his typical throws. With the matchup concern combined with Newton’s potential limitation, I’d throw caution to the wind with Funchess.
Prediction: 4 receptions, 47 yards
TE Eric Ebron, Colts @ Raiders
Although the target share of Ebron seemed to be unaffected by the return of WR T.Y. Hilton, it could see limitations if TE Jack Doyle (hip) comes back for this game.
The Raiders represent a juicy matchup for Colts’ receivers, given that QB Andrew Luck’s known for slinging the ball downfield. However, 7 receptions over the last two games represents a slim margin for error that I believe will limit Ebron’s upside. There are better TE options this week.
Prediction: 3 receptions, 43 yards
TE Jordan Reed, Redskins @ Giants
Even with all of the injuries to Washington receivers (Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder), Reed seems to be under-performing with QB Alex Smith throwing him the ball. With inconsistent production at an already slim position, Reed is just not the greatest option against a Giants’ secondary that, while allowing 50+ yards to TEs in 4 of their last 5 games, will likely hone in on him as the most dangerous threat in an already weak passing attack.
Prediction: 3 receptions, 32 yards
Jets D/ST @ Bears
The Jets’ defense, while they have incredibly talented personnel in the likes of S Jamal Adams and DE Leonard Williams, have been suspect of late. Allowing 34 and 37 points to the Colts and Vikings, respectively, it’s hard to trust this unit against a Mitchell Trubisky-led Chicago offense that’s finding more and more creative ways to move the chains. Keep in mind that the Jets haven’t notched a sack since their Week 5 battle with the Broncos. Trubisky has thrown for over 300 passing yards, rushed for over 45 yards and passed for 2+ TDs in his last 3 games, and I believe this will be his fourth consecutive successful venture.
Prediction: 33 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 FR
Seahawks D/ST @ Lions
While Matthew Stafford is coming off two sub-par performances with under 220 passing yards, he also hasn’t turned the ball over since the Week 3 win against New England. A lot of pundits have Stafford struggling again this week and the Seahawks being a decent streaming option this week, but their last game was against the struggling Oakland offense. Seattle was able to tally six sacks, recover two fumbles and limit the Raiders to just 3 points all game.
This contest won’t be so easy for them, and I see Stafford limiting opportunities for Seattle by leaning on Kerryon Johnson’s increased usage in the rushing attack. Maybe I’m on the wrong side of this one, but starting Seattle’s defense on the road against the Lions doesn’t seem like the best bet.
Prediction: 24 points allowed, 2 sacks, 1 FR