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NFL Fantasy Football: Who to start and sit in Week 8

Who you should start and sit during Week 8 of the NFL season.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It is getting down to the nitty gritty in the NFL fantasy season. Most leagues’ regular seasons end around Week 13, so teams who have had a rough start need to pick it up starting now. This week has a ton of teams on a bye, so you may be looking deeper into your bench than you expected.

Bye weeks: Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants and Titans

Must starts

Le’veon Bell (Steelers RB): The Lions don’t have the worst run defense in the world. In fact they rank about 10th in total fantasy points allowed to running backs according to Fantasy Pros. Still with how slow the running back started the season after his holdout, he has been making up for it as of late. He has gotten over 30 carries in the past two weeks that combined for over 300 yards rushing.

Demaryius Thomas (Broncos RB): Thomas has been stuck in bad-quarterback-purgatory with the Broncos. Still with the Broncos going up against the Chiefs this week he should see his share of points without Emmanuel Sanders taking away targets. As of now the Chiefs allow the most fantasy points to receivers in the NFL.

Favorable Matchups

Devonta Freeman (Falcons RB): The Jets defense hasn’t been great at stopping running backs, and Freeman has been playing well pretty much all season. He hasn’t scored in two weeks, but that has a good chance of changing against the Jets.

Kelvin Benjamin (Panthers WR): It seemed like Devin Funchess was starting to become Cam Newton’s favorite target, but that has seemed to cool off the past two week as Funchess has four catches total over that time. Benjamin seems to be back in favor as the Panthers take on the Bucs’ defense that can’t stop anyone through the air.

Jason Witten (Cowboys TE): If Witten is still on the waiver wire pick him up. He caught nine passes two weeks ago and a touchdown last week. Dak Prescott seems to have rediscovered Witten who will probably be a viable fantasy option until 2117.

Good but not great

Joe Mixon (Bengals RB): If the Bengals didn’t completely screw over Mixon last week he would probably be a must start this week. However, Marvin Lewis refuses to unleash the rookie, and that hurts his value against the Colts who have just been a doormat on defense.

Keenan Allen (Chargers WR): Allen has had about as average of a year as you could have. He has been decent in points per reception leagues, but otherwise he has been unplayable. The Chargers have a great matchup against the Patriots who have been fairly soft in the secondary, but last week they shut down the Falcons.

Trevor Siemian (Broncos QB): Siemian hasn’t been good for a couple of weeks, so he should be back on the waiver wire. Considering how many teams are on a bye, you may be forced to plug and play him for a week. It isn’t a bad gamble as the Chiefs allow the fourth most points to opposing quarterbacks.

Unfavorable matchups

Kareem Hunt (Chiefs RB): Hunt has been the darling of this fantasy season. Still the Broncos have only let one running back have a successful game against them so far this season. They are the stingiest run defense. It will be be a tough decision to play Hunt this week, but odds are with all the bye weeks and injuries you don’t have a better option.

Any Lions receiver: Golden Tate will probably miss this game, so this is more for Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay owners who will try and take advantage of his absence. The Steelers’ defense is very good. You’re really just hoping for garbage time points playing these guys.

Just sit them

Doug Martin (Buccaneers RB): Those who waited for Martin to serve his suspension this season haven’t been rewarded yet, and that trend will continue this week. The Bucs will be going up against a stout Panthers’ run defense that allows the third fewest fantasy points to running backs. Although Martin owners should feel secure knowing he should pay off more when the schedule eases up.

Any Dolphins Receiver: This is the busiest week in terms of bye weeks, and you may feel like trying to sneak in a Dolphins receiver tonight. Just don’t do it. Jay Cutler is out. The Ravens have a very good secondary. Leave them on your bench if you can.