Let’s talk Week 8 Start ’em Sit ’em! With his two TDs Sunday night, Ronnie Hillman has already outscored early Fantasy draft pick Zac Stacy. That is just one example out of many, on how this season has been the year of the waiver wire. There have been so many fantasy pickups this season that have dominated already, such as Odell Beckham, Branden Oliver, and many others.
On the other hand, those breakout performances have come at the expense of many former fantasy stars. There are too many stars to name that have been complete fantasy busts. It is disappointing; however, it is something we have to deal with. As we enter Week 8, it’s time to accept these busts and begin playing those breakout players, so that we could get production for our Fantasy teams.
In Week 8, the bye-week teams are the 49ers and the Giants, so keep that in mind as you read through this column. There are also injuries to key stars like Fred Jackson, Calvin Johnson, and others that force you to plug in replacements. I’ll give you advice on whom your replacement should be, so that your lineup decisions are easier. Let’s get going.
Week 8 Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em
Start Of The Week: Marshawn Lynch at Carolina
Projected Fantasy Points: 19
The “Start Of The Week” and “Bust Alert Of The Week” are both new additions to this column, and I start it off with Lynch against the Panthers. Lynch has struggled over the last 2 weeks, only putting up 6 fantasy points in each of those games. However he only received 10 carries in a tough matchup against the Cowboys, and although he got 18 carries last week, the Seahawks were forced to throw the ball a lot since they were trailing. That shouldn’t happen this week, as the Panthers’ defense has been brutal this year. Not only should Lynch take advantage of their vulnerability to the run, but also he should receive tons of touches, as Seattle should have a lead on Sunday. I know most would never sit Lynch, but I’m just letting you know he’s going to have a monster day.
Bust Alert Of The Week: DeMarco Murray vs. Washington
Projected Fantasy Points: 10
Let me get this straight, I am in no way telling you to sit the best running back in the league. However, I am just saying he may not produce as much this week. Murray has obviously been on a tear as of late, but he faces a Redskins’ defense that has quietly allowed the least fantasy points to opposing running backs. I still expect Murray to be productive, but expect Washington to make it tougher than usual. Start Murray, but don’t be shocked if he struggles.
Quarterbacks Start ‘Em: Tony Romo vs. Washington
Projected Fantasy Points: 26
Romo, and the Cowboys’ offense are on fire as of late. Romo threw for 279 yards and 3 TDs last week against the Giants, and he has put up at least 20 fantasy points since Week 4. Look for him to continue that trend in Week 8 against the Redskins, who have allowed the 30th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Although Dallas is still a run first team, they have also established a very good pass game; which has helped Romo put up favorable numbers. Romo shapes out as a top 10 quarterback this week, and a must-start in most cases.
Quarterbacks Sit ‘Em: Matt Ryan vs. Detroit (In London)
Projected Fantasy Points: 13
Ryan has been a huge fantasy disappointment over the course of this season, putting up just mediocre numbers over his last 3 weeks. Ryan hasn’t scored over 20 fantasy points since Week 4. His struggled should continue against Detroit, whom are allowing just 12.7 fantasy PPG, which is best in the NFL. Detroit limited Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Rodgers, and Eli Manning all to subpar games. Ryan has not played well at all way from the Georgia dome, and he’ll be in London on Sunday. Not only should you sit Ryan, but also if you need a roster spot; I’d consider cutting him.
Running Backs Start ‘Em: Jerick McKinnon at Tampa Bay
Projected Fantasy Points: 16
McKinnon looks like he is finally the starting back in Minnesota, as he received 19 carries in Week 7, and was the premier back. McKinnon shined in his role, as he ran for over 100 yards, and that was in a tough matchup against the Bills. He has a very favorable matchup this week when he travels to play the Bucs, who have allowed 22 fantasy PPG to opposing running backs this season. It seems like almost everyone has torched Tampa, even the veteran Steven Jackson scored against Tampa. Now that he has over-took Matt Asiata, McKinnon should have a feast on Sunday. And he should be in your fantasy lineup.
Running Backs Start ‘Em: Lamar Miller at Jacksonville
Projected Fantasy Points: 14
With the injury to Knowshon Moreno, Miller continues to thrive as the Dolphins’ number 1 rushing option. Miller has not only scored in every game as the starter, but he has scored under 10 fantasy points just once this season, and that was when he was splitting carries with Moreno. “Miller time” should keep on rolling against the Jaguars, a team that is very vulnerable against the run. Jacksonville coughs up 21 fantasy PPG to opposing running backs, ranking 25th in the league. Follow my advice here, and keep on starting Lamar Miller; it’ll pay off.
Running Backs Sit ‘Em: Tre Mason at Kansas City
Projected Fantasy Points: 6
Everyone, including myself, got excited over Mason this week after the 18 carries he received in Week 8. However, that excitement melted on Tuesday, when Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher said that the Rams will keep going with a committee approach at running back, despite Masons’ success. He even indicated that Zac Stacy, who received no touches last week, would be a lot more involved. That being said, I wouldn’t trust Mason this week, frankly because he might not get the touches. It’s also a tough matchup, on the road at the Chiefs, who rank 6th in the NFL against opposing fantasy running backs. Those two factors combined, make me shy away from Mason, and you should too.
Wide Receivers Start ‘Em: Sammy Watkins at N.Y. Jets
Projected Fantasy Points: 15
Amazing is an understatement for the performance Watkins put together last week against Minnesota. He caught 9 of his 14 targets for 122 yards and 2 TDs on Sunday. The rookie is turning into star right before our eyes. Watkins has had a very descent year fantasy wise, as he had many bad matchups, but has taken advantage of his good ones. This week is another good one, as he matches up with the horrid Jets secondary, which has allowed 23.1 fantasy PPG to opposing receivers this season. Watkins of course will see the targets from Kyle Orton, and should definitely take advantage of this juicy matchup. I am without a doubt starting him, and so should you.
Wide Receivers Start ‘Em: Dwayne Bowe vs. St. Louis
Projected Fantasy Points: 13
There are not a lot of times where Bowe is going to be on this list, so this is special. Anyway, Bowe has actually been solid lately. Bowe caught 5 balls for 84 yards last week, and has accumulated 19 targets from Alex Smith over his last three games. So, it seems the Chiefs are finally using Bowe enough, and he has been their number one target. That being said, Bowe gets the Rams this week, who have given up the 29th most points to opposing fantasy receivers. In a home game, and with this great matchup, I like Bowe a lot this week.
Wide Receivers Sit ‘Em: DeSean Jackson at Dallas
Projected Fantasy Points: 5
From what I’ve heard, it is ‘unlikely’ that Robert Griffin III returns this week against Dallas, which means Colt McCoy will start for the Redskins; which is not good news for Jackson. Jackson as we all know is a big play receiver and gets a lot of his production from long TD passes. That shouldn’t happen this week because McCoy does not have a strong arm, which means no long passes will be thrown, or likely drawn up. In addition, the Cowboys have allowed an average of just 15.4 fantasy PPG to opposing receivers, and that ranks 2nd in the NFL. Trust me on this one; don’t start Jackson on Monday night.
Tight Ends Start ‘Em: Owen Daniels at Cincinnati
Projected Fantasy Points: 9
Daniels has started to put together some good performances, including last week where he caught 6 balls for 58 yards and a TD. With Dennis Pitta out, he continues to receive targets from Joe Flacco, as he has 25 targets in his last 4 games alone. He also gets a juicy matchup this week, as he faces the Bengals. Although the Bengals defense has been good, they have struggled against tight ends, ranking last in the league in that category. The Bengals have shown a very strong run defense, so the Ravens could be throwing the ball a lot in this game, one of those targets being Daniels. If you’re like me, and you stream tight ends, Daniels is a very good play this week.
Tight Ends Sit ‘Em: Jermaine Gresham vs. Baltimore
Projected Fantasy Points: 3
Staying in this game, Gresham didn’t take advantage of a big opportunity last week. Gresham saw 12 targets last week, and caught 10 balls, but for just 48 yards. He shouldn’t get better this week against the Ravens, who have allowed the 4th least fantasy PPG to opposing tight ends. Like I said before, if you stream tight ends, Gresham isn’t the guy you want this week; there are plenty of better options.
Defense/Special Teams Start ‘Em: Texans at Tennessee
Projected Fantasy Points: 13
Let’s face it the Titans’ offense has been bad, really bad this season. With backup QB Charlie Whitehurst expected to be under center once again, expect tons of turnovers, and maybe even one taken back for a TD by J.J. Watt. The matchup screams yes, and the Texans defense is very talented, especially if Jadeveon Clowney is back this week. There will be a whole lot of sacks, turnovers and tackles; which is why you’re starting the Texans’ D on Sunday.
Defense/Special Teams Sit ‘Em: Panthers vs. Seattle
Projected Fantasy Points: 1
So many people are hanging onto the Panthers’ defense because they for some reason believe that they are as good as they were last season; which isn’t true. The Panthers’ defense has ranked among the worst in the league in almost all categories. This week it won’t get any better against the Seahawks, whose offense has been very good this season and should have no problem putting up points against Carolina. Don’t start the Panthers’ defense; you’ll regret it.
I hope everybody enjoyed this Week 8 Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em, and I’ll be back next week! Follow me on Twitter: @Nadelman99 for Fantasy talk, advice, or any questions you may have. Feedback on my articles is always appreciated.