Week 8 is here, and for many teams this may be their last chance to make a run for the playoffs. With several teams on bye weeks and many more going through COVID outbreaks, it really has made planning on a lineup pretty hard for fantasy players this season. Here are this week’s starts and sits to help you through.
Mike Davis, Panthers: The last time these two teams met in Week 5 Davis had his best game of the season. He ran for 89 yards, but more importantly, he also caught nine of 10 targets for 60 yards and a touchdown. He may not have quite as many catches this week, but it is hard to ignore that kind of production.
Jonathan Taylor, Colts: Taylor is coming off a bye week, and he looks like the most effective back in Indianapolis. He will get to face a Lions defense that is allowing 25.1 fantasy points to opposing running backs per game, according to Fantasy Pros. He has also averaged over four yards per carry in his last four games. It could be time for this offense to really start utilizing him more.
Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson, Chargers: Neither of these guys are playable. They both had a great matchup last week against the Jaguars defense, and They both barely even got to 10 points on the day. Now they will be facing the second toughest defense for running backs in fantasy football, the Broncos. Los Angeles seems content to work in both backs regularly, which has seemingly killed their value, and it especially hurts when they have such a tough matchup.
Chris Carson or Carlos Hyde, Seahawks: The only reason Hyde is listed is because Carson is currently day-to-day with a foot injury. It seems like he will be a game time decision for an afternoon game. That already is frustrating for fantasy players, but they can rest easy this week. You can just take Carson out of your lineup and not even worry about picking up Hyde, because they are going up against a 49ers defense that only allows 12.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (the fewest in the NFL).
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers: With Deebo Samuel out, that puts Aiyuk in prime position to take advantage of a great matchup against the Seahawks. Aiyuk went over 100 receiving yards last week on six catches, and those number could be even more impressive without having to share the spotlight with Samuel. San Francisco has proven to be very imaginative in how they get their playmakers involved, and when you also include their amazing offensive line, it isn’t too crazy to think Aiyuk is in line for a career game.
Travis Fulgham, Eagles: Anyone who was lucky enough to pick up Fulgham after exploding onto the scene three weeks ago has to be pretty happy. He has gotten double digit targets and at least 70 receiving yards each of the past three weeks. Last week was his first without a touchdown since being activated by the Eagles in Week 4. It is hard to imagine he doesn’t get back on track against a Cowboys’ defense that gives up 30 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins: This goes for other wide receivers for Miami as well. Tua Tagovailoa will get the first start of his career this week, which plays a slight part in why you should avoid playing these receivers. The bigger problem is the Rams are the second toughest matchup for opposing wide receivers in fantasy. That is a recipe for trouble in fantasy. Also Parker has had a slow couple of weeks before the bye. He has five catches for 85 yards in his previous two games.
Tre’Quan Smith, Panthers: Smith had an outstanding chance to show he deserved a bigger role last week with Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out of the lineup. He only caught four passes for 54 yards. That was matched by undrafted free agents Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris. Starting any of these receivers this week shouldn’t be any more profitable as they’ll be matched up with the Bears who allow the third fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
Tight ends to play
Jonnu Smith, Titans: Smith has cooled off since his extremely hot start to the season when he had four touchdowns in three weeks. The Bengals have proven that they are still liable to give up some big games to tight ends, and over the past two weeks tight ends have accounted for six touchdowns. The odds are very good that Smith gets at least one this week.
Ian Thomas, Panthers: This is a pretty deep sleeper right here. Thomas hasn’t done much this season, but the Falcons allow the most fantasy points to tight ends per game. This is really for players who need to stream a tight end to play, because I get Smith is owned in most leagues. The one thing in Thomas’ favor is he is available for pickup.
Joe Burrow, Bengals: Burrow has proven he can take advantage of a great matchup in fantasy. He had his best game of the season last week when he went over 400 yards passing and had three passing touchdowns as well as a rushing. The Titans allow just over 20 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, but honestly it is getting to the point that Burrow should be viewed as a replacement for any team with a struggling quarterback following the Bengals bye week in Week 9.
Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers: Bridgewater has had a fairly successful season with the Panthers despite not lighting up the box score. It doesn’t feel like that long ago we all wondered if we’d ever see him in the NFL ever again. The last time Bridgewater played the Falcons he went over 300 yards passing, completed 75 percent of his throws and tossed two touchdown passes. He should be quite the streaming option this week.
Eagles defense against Cowboys