START EM / SIT EM: WEEK 8

I’ll be honest. Most weeks I wait until the last-minute and churn out this article in 2 long nights. And while I say to myself every week that I am going to start on Tuesday, life and kids always get in the way. When I do get going and building some momentum on the starts, I always burn out and lose interest on the sits. Probably because the good matchups play for both fantasy and DFS, while the sits are really no help to anyone.

With that in mind, this week I decided to reverse things, starting things off with my recommended SITS for the week. No one is reading this anyway, so you should sit Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley:

SITS

  • Matthew Stafford, QB DET: Seahawks DST allowing 12.3 Fantasy Points per Game to QB (1st)
  • Cam Newton, QB CAR: Ravens DST allowing 13.3 Fantasy Points per Game to QB (2nd)
  • Christen McCaffrey, RB CAR: Ravens DST allowing 11.0 Fantasy Points per Game to RB (1st )
  • TJ Yeldon, RB JAX: Eagles DST allowing 12.5 Fantasy Points per Game to RB (2nd)
  • Latavius Murray, RB MIN: Saints DST allowing 12.7 Fantasy Points per Game to RB (3rd)
  • Alshon Jeffrey, WR PHI: JAX DST allowing 17.9 Fantasy Points per Game to WR (1st)
  • Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram RB NO: MIN DST allowing 20.1 Fantasy Points per Game to RB (4th)

START

QUARTERBACK

ANDY DALTON, QB CINCINNATI BENGALS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
24.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Andy Dalton is the chalk this week. Actually, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense is the definition of chalk this season, allowing 27.2 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (1st) with DFS players making their QB decisions around this defense on a weekly basis. They are allowing a league high 18 passing touchdowns to opposing QBs and the 5th most passing yards. The Bucs defense currently ranks 23rd against #1 Wide Receivers (AJ Green), #21 against slot receivers (Tyler Boyd) and 30th against pass catching running backs (Joe Mixon). The entire Bengals offense will be a popular DFS play this weekend and all skill positions are worth starting.

KIRK COUSINS, QB MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ Minnesota Vikings
21.7 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

This is obviously a no brainer, but Cousins has not been great of late, averaging 17.6 fantasy points per game the last 3 weeks, which is good for QB15. However, in his first 4 games, he averaged 25.0 fantasy points per game, which was QB5. Cousins will face a New Orleans Defense who really can’t stop anyone. They are allowing 25.3 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, which is 2nd most in the NFL. Adam Thielen will line up across from PJ Williams, who has allowed a 146.4 QB Rating on the season. The Saints defense is currently ranked 32nd against #1 WRs (Stefon Diggs) and 32nd against #2 WRs (Adam Thielen). Both Diggs and Thielen should be popular plays in DFS this week, for good reason.

BAKER MAYFIELD, QB CLEVELAND BROWNS @ Pittsburgh Steelers
18.5 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Baker is airing it out and throwing a ton. In Mayfield’s last 4 games, his Average Depth of Target (aDOT) was 9.8 yards (5th in NFL) and is averaging 41.0 pass attempts per game (3rd in NFL). But his fantasy production is minimal and his ceiling is limited by having 3 of his top skill positions in the Top 20 in drops (Njoku 7, Landry 4, Callaway 4). His 18.5 fantasy points per game over the last 4 weeks make him QB14. The Browns will face off against the Steelers in Pittsburgh and may see a more favorable matchup. The Steelers defense is allowing 23.9 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (4th in NFL) and are currently ranked 20th against slot receivers, so look for Jarvis Landry to be heavily targeted.

RUNNING BACK

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS RUNNING BACK, TBD
N/A PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Raheem Mostert, a recently converted special teams player, led this backfield in Week 7 with 11 touches and played 38% of the snaps. Matt Breida is questionable with an ankle injury and most likely won’t play. Whoever starts, start them. The Arizona defense is allowing 29.3 Fantasy points per game (1st in NFL) which is 3 full points more than the 2nd worst team. They are also allowing 959 yards to RBs (2nd in NFL) and 10 TD (1st in NFL).

CHRIS CARSON, RB SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ Detroit Lions
10.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Chris Carson continues to be RB1 in Seattle, running 50% of the offensive snaps on the season (Mike Davis 35%, Rashaad Perry 26%). He is averaging 22.6 touches per game in his last 3 games, but that is drastically out of whack due to a 34 touch effort Week 3. He is not involved much in the passing game, averaging 1.8 targets per game, but his carries are increasing. The Lions defense is allowing 24.6 fantasy points per game (5th) to opposing running backs and Carson could be in for a decent day.

MARLON MACK, RB INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ Oakland Raiders
14.1 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Marlon Mack broke out of his shell Week 7 with a 21 touch 126 yard 1 TD outburst, flashing that long-awaited potential we have been hearing about. The Colts are only running the ball 33% of the time this season, which is in the bottom 5 in the league. Mack had little involvement in the passing game Week 7, only running 9 receiving routes, which was 42nd among RBs (Frank Gore ran 12). The raiders are allowing 23.3 points per game to opposing RBs (7th in NFL) and Mack should see a ton of volume in attempt to get this struggling run game going.

PHILLIP LINDSAY, RB DENVER BRONCOS @ Kansas City Chiefs
15.7 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

You have probably been hearing all week how great of a play Phillip Lindsay is this week. But why is he a good play:

2018 Kansas City Chiefs Defense against Running Backs:

  • Allowing 25.7 Fantasy Points per Game (3rd in NFL)
  • 64 Targets Against (6th in NFL)
  • 49 Receptions Allowed (2nd in NFL)
  • 511 receiving yards (2nd).
  • Ranked 27th overall against pass catching Running Backs

Lindsay is averaging 10.2 routes run per game this season (46th among RB) but is averaging 12.5 routes run per game in his last 2 games. Small sample size, but improvement none the less. Freeman is already ruled out for week 8 and Devontae Booker (29% snaps) should not factor in. Lindsay could be in for a big day. .

WIDE RECEIVER

DOUG BALDWIN / TYLER LOCKETT, WR SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ Detroit Lions
8.9 / 9.0 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Doug Baldwin may never be 100% healthy this season, but he saw 75% of the snaps last week and has been targeted 7.5 times in his last 2 games (not counting his 1 target effort at the Rams Week 5). The Lions Defense is pretty solid against opposing WRs, allowing 21.8 fantasy points per game, which is 10th best in the league. But the sum is greater than the parts:

  • 30th against #1 WR
  • 31st against slot receivers (Tyler Lockett)

TYLER LOCKETT is currently running 60% of his snaps from the slot and is playing 89% of the offensive snaps this season. Look for Tyler Lockett to outshine Baldwin in this one, but both should feast this week.

STEFON DIGGS, WR MINNESOTA VIKINGS vs. New Orleans Saints
12.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

I’m aware this is a no brainer. The Vikings are throwing the ball 40.2 times per game, which is the 4th highest rate in the league. Adam Thielen is receiving all the accolades, but Diggs is quietly having a career year, averaging 9.6 targets per game and is on pace for his first 1000 yard season. The Saints defense ranks 32nd against #1 WR, 32nd against #2 WR. Diggs is running 43.8 receiving routes per game, which is 5th most in the league. He will square off against Marshon Lattimore, which is allowing a 117.5 QB rating this season. Diggs should be a great play week 7.

AJ GREEN / TYLER BOYD, WR CINCINNATI BENGALS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18.1 / 12.9 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Tampa Bay Defense for the win. The Bucs defense ranks 23rd against #1 WR and 21st against slot receivers. They also rank 30th against TE and 30th against pass catching running backs. AJ Green is 7th in the league in targets with 69 and Tyler Boyd is 18th in targets with 51. The entire Bengals offense is in play this week.

CHESTER ROGERS, WR INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ Oakland Raiders
8.2 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Chester Rogers is averaging 9.0 targets per game in his last 4 games. He is also run 65% of the offensive snaps this season and is an important part of this offense. Rogers has run 90% of snaps from the slot (2nd in NFL), where 41 of his 45 total targets have come. He is averaging 34.4 routes run per game, which is Top 25 in the NFL and 38.5 routes run in his last 4 games, which is 15th in the NFL. Oakland currently ranks 32nd against slot receivers and this could be a coming out party for Chester Rogers. Take a flier on him as a Flex play.

ZACH PASCAL, WR INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ Oakland Raiders
4.1 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Who? Zach Pascal is owned in 2% of CBS leagues, 1% of ESPN Leagues and 1% of Yahoo leagues. But he has been targeted 23 times in his last 3 games (7.6 targets per game), which is 20th among WRs in the NFL. Since Week 5, he has been in on 76% of the offensive snaps and is developing a rapport with Andrew Luck. I should tell you that he played 62% of the offensive snaps in Week 7 against Buffalo, but wasn’t even targeted. Not sure what happened there, but he could be a solid add off the waiver wire and could develop into something more.

DEEP SLEEPER

DAMION RATLEY, WR CLEVELAND BROWNS @ Pittsburgh Steelers
4.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

has played 88% and 59% of the snaps and has been targeted 11 times (5.5 per game) in his last 2 games. He is running 34% of his snaps from the slot and is averaging 38.0 routes run per game, which is 13th in the NFL in that span. He will line up across from Artie Burns, CB who is allowing a passer rating of 149.5 on the season, which is the 2nd highest among cover corners.

TIGHT END

CJ UZOMAH, TE CINCINNATI BENGALS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8.2 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

CJ Uzomah is not what we thought he was. He ranks 25th in the league with 19 targets and has exceeded 50 receiving yards only 1 time. In fact, he has only exceeded 2 targets twice this season (4 in Week 2 and 7 in Week 6). But he is getting involved in the pass game, averaging 31.0 routes run per game, which is good for 9th among Tight Ends. I think it is only a matter of time before he starts to produce, since the Bucs defense is allowing 13.0 fantasy points per game to opposing Tight Ends (1st in NFL), 40 receptions (4th in NFL) and 538 yards (2nd in NFL). This may be the week to really get him going.

DAVID NJOKU, TE CLEVELAND BROWNS @ Pittsburgh Steelers
8.4 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

And you know this man. Njoku is the 5th highest targeted Tight End in the league this season and the 3rd highest in his last 4 games. Njoku is running the 2nd most receiving routes among tight ends. The Steelers are allowing 11.0 fantasy points per game to opposing Tight Ends (2nd in NFL), the 2nd most receptions and the 6th most receiving yards. He continues to be Baker’s go to guy and his stock will only increase from here. Not much else to say.

OJ HOWARD, TE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEER @ Cincinnati Bengals
8.5 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

OJ Howard is an athletic freak and he is starting to pull ahead of Cameron Brate, playing 66% of the snaps in Week 7 compared to Brate’s 41%. He is only averaging 22.8 routes run per game this season (23rd among TE), but is averaging 30.0 routes run per game in his last 2 games. He has been targeted 6.5 times in his last 2 games and that is sure to increase. The Cincinnati Bengals are allowing 10.7 fantasy points per game to opposing Tight Ends (4th in NFL), 48 receptions allowed (1st in NFL) and 521 yards (3rd). This is a great matchup for Howard and hopefully a showcase of his talents.

 

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Matt Bishop

Written by 

Matt Bishop is a graduate of Rider University and currently works as a Project Manager for an Electrical Supply Distributor. He lives in North NJ with his wife and 2 children and is a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies fan. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1997 and Fantasy Baseball since 2003. He recently discovered Fangraphs and his obsession for baseball metrics and how they can be used to draft a championship caliber team.

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