Fantasy football sit-and-start advice should always be relative and league-dependent. Note that some players are targeted for DFS. Good luck with your Week 8 lineups!
Start: Greg Dulcich
Sit: Trevor Lawrence
Dulcich has immediately taken over as Denver’s top tight end, recording nine targets in the second game of his career last week. That qualifies him as a top-12 fantasy tight end right away. Denver should get Russell Wilson back and will be forced to throw this week thanks in part to having a rushing attack ranking bottom-three in EPA/rush.
Lawrence’s fantasy value has been boosted by three short rushing scores over the last two weeks, but he has a 1:2 TD:INT ratio over three games since losing an NFL-record four fumbles. All that, despite a relatively easy schedule too. This week, the Jags get a Broncos defense allowing the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and the least EPA/pass this season. This game is tied for the lowest over/under (39.5 points) of the week in a matchup with a hobbled Russell Wilson leading a Denver offense with the second-worst EPA/play. Lawrence historically performs better against zone (the Broncos have used that coverage the third-most among defenses), but he also struggles mightily when pressured; Denver ranks top five in pressure rate.
Expect Travis Etienne to carry Jacksonville’s offense in London, with Lawrence failing to produce top-12 QB fantasy stats this week.
Start: DJ Moore
Sit: Marcus Mariota
Moore led the NFL in target share last week with a whopping 48 percent, as he continues to enjoy more success with PJ Walker as his quarterback. Moore gets a significant fantasy boost with Christian McCaffrey gone, and he’s a top-20 WR this week playing indoors against a Falcons defense allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers. They also rank last in pressure rate.
Mariota has averaged 13.5 pass attempts over the last two games (despite trailing by 10+ points over the final 50 minutes last week) and hasn’t thrown 30 times in a game since Week 1. Running is a big help to his fantasy value, but this week the Falcons face a Panthers defense allowing just 8.3 rushing yards per game to quarterbacks (second lowest in the league). Their schedule hasn’t been the reason either, as Carolina has held Daniel Jones to 2.1 YPC and Kyler Murray to 2.2 this year.
Sit: All Bears
Start: Cowboys D/ST
Justin Fields is coming off arguably the best game of his career, helping cost me $6 Million that I had already begun spending. Fields is averaging 8.3 YPA and 67.3 rushing yards over the last four games despite three of them coming on the road, so there’s good reason to be excited about his fantasy prospects over the rest of the season.
But this week might be a step back. The Bears are traveling during a short week after pulling off an upset (thanks in part to a mini bye) to face a dominant Cowboys defense allowing the second-fewest EPA/play and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Moreover, Dallas has ceded the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, and Khalil Herbert saw just one fewer opportunity than David Montgomery in a timeshare last week.
Tony Pollard is an obvious start and a borderline top-five fantasy back this week with Ezekiel Elliott out and facing a Bears team that’s produced the highest run rate against them this season. Dallas’ D/ST is also in a smash spot. The Cowboys are easily leading the NFL in pressure rate, while Chicago’s offense is allowing the highest pressure rate in the league — by a mile.
Start: Tua Tagovailoa, Jared Goff
Tagovailoa benefited from at least four dropped interceptions last week but should be better during his second game back from a couple of scary head injuries. He leads the NFL getting 8.6 YPA this season, and this week the Dolphins play indoors against a Lions defense allowing easily the highest EPA/pass and the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.
Tua is a top-three QB on my board in a matchup with the highest total (51.5 points) of the week.
This game should be fast-paced and Goff has been far better at home this season (10:2 TD:INT ratio over three games in Detroit compared to 1:4 over three road games). He’s expected to get D’Andre Swift and a healthier Amon-Ra St. Brown back, while the Dolphins are a pass-funnel defense yielding the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Start in DFS: DeAndre Hopkins ($27)
Start: Kirk Cousins
Hopkins immediately led the league in target share (48%) during his return from suspension last week, and he’s going to continue being among the leaders with Marquise Brown sidelined. Kliff Kingsbury even moved Hopkins around unlike last season, giving him 46% of the snaps out of the slot. D-Hop should be treated as a borderline top-five fantasy WR in this week’s matchup.
Cousins has played much better at home (7.3 YPA, 6:1 TD:TO ratio) compared to the road (5.9 YPA, 4:4) this season, and this week he gets a fast-paced matchup against a pass-funnel Cardinals defense allowing the fewest EPA/rush in the league. Minnesota should also be well prepared coming out of its bye.
Start in DFS: Josh Jacobs ($29), Chris Olave ($22)
Jacobs has totaled 523 yards while getting 6.4 YPC and scoring six touchdowns over the last three games. He’s averaging at least 30+ rushing yards per game more than any other back this month. This week he gets a crumbling Saints defense allowing 4.6 YPC this season and 34.7 points over their last three games. Jacobs is also seeing more targets than ever, has suddenly become one of the league’s biggest workhorses and has become the biggest beneficiary of Davante Adams joining Las Vegas.
He’s also been really good, ranking third in Juke Rate this season. Jacobs’ DFS salary remains too low.
Olave leads the NFL in air yards and ranks third in the league in target per route run rate when Michael Thomas has been off the field. Thomas and Jarvis Landry have remained sidelined from practice throughout the week, while Olave plays indoors Sunday against a pass-funnel Raiders defense.
Start: Patriots D/ST, Michael Carter
Zach Wilson has a 9.1 YPA and a 75.7 completion% when clean this season but sports a 1.7 YPA and a 16.1 completion% when pressured. The Patriots rank third in pressure rate. Breece Hall and Alijah Vera-Tucker are massive recent losses to injury and could dramatically affect New York during the team’s first game without them. New England should be focused coming off an embarrassing performance in primetime, so there’s a good chance the Pats finish as the top fantasy defense in Week 8.
Carter is still worth starting this week even after the Jets traded for James Robinson, who will be learning a new system, is dealing with knee soreness and has struggled mightily while returning from Achilles surgery. It’s simply unreasonable to expect him to be a big part of Sunday’s game plan.
Meanwhile, Carter is set to take over the Jets’ backfield with Hall out for the season, and New York has turned into a run-heavy team since Wilson returned. Carter could see a ton of dump-offs this week given New York’s likely pressure issues.
Start: Pat Freiermuth
Start in DFS: Jalen Hurts ($39)
Freiermuth saw nine targets during his return from a concussion last week, running the most routes of any game this season. Teams have the second-highest pass rate against Philadelphia this year, and Pittsburgh is double-digit underdogs, so expect them to be passing frequently Sunday.
Hurts stands out in a DFS slate missing Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow. The Steelers aren’t the same defense without T.J. Watt, having allowed the third-most passing touchdowns (13), the sixth-highest EPA/pass and the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Hurts is getting 8.5 YPA at home and will be fresh coming off a bye, so he’s going to be a popular building block in a slate without many star quarterbacks.
Start in DFS: Derrick Henry ($40), Phillip Dorsett ($10)
Henry is averaging 28.3 touches over the last four games and continues to see more work than ever as a receiver. In fact, King Henry remarkably ranks top three among running backs in yards per reception and yards per route run. And that’s with easily the most volume of his career, as Henry hasn’t shown signs of decline as feared coming off the foot injury at 28 years old.
This week the Titans face a Texans defense yielding 5.2 YPC and the most fantasy points to running backs this season, including an NFL-high 135.5 rushing yards per game to RBs. Henry has averaged more YPC (6.1) against Houston than any other team during his career, is set for even more work than usual with Ryan Tannehill banged up, and the Texans rank last in run defense DVOA this season. He’ll be a popular DFS play this week.
Dorsett has the minimum DFS salary this week, and there’s a chance both Nico Collins (injured) and Brandin Cooks (on the trade block) don’t play Sunday. Dorsett caught a touchdown last week when he saw nearly 80% of the snaps after halftime (Collins left early in the third quarter). Davis Mills plays significantly better at home, and the Titans have the third-highest pass rate against them this season. Dorsett is a real sleeper this week.
Start: Terry McLaurin
Start in DFS: Sam Ehlinger ($20)
McLaurin saw his highest target rate of the season last week with Taylor Heinicke at QB, and it resulted in the wideout’s best fantasy game of the year. Heinicke starting has been good news for McLaurin since last season, and he should be busy again this week with Jahan Dotson still sidelined.
Ehlinger is a complete unknown, but he had a monster preseason and rushed for nearly 1,900+ yards and 33 touchdowns in college. The Colts have gone uptempo and pass-happy over the last two games, and supposedly Frank Reich isn’t planning to slow down (Jonathan Taylor’s high-ankle sprain may keep him from being 100% for a bit).
Ehlinger taking over at QB could actually be good news for Michael Pittman, who should see far more targets downfield now. This game isn’t projected to be high scoring but, playing indoors against a Washington defense allowing an NFL-worst 14:2 TD:INT ratio, Ehlinger is an intriguing DFS option at the minimum.
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams
Start in DFS: Brandon Aiyuk ($18), Tyler Higbee ($15)
Aiyuk has seen 11 targets in back-to-back games and could see even more volume Sunday with Deebo Samuel battling a hamstring injury (the 49ers have incentive to be cautious with the team’s upcoming bye). San Francisco is facing a Rams defense that ranks second against the run in DVOA and has also ceded by far the fewest fantasy points to tight ends — not one TE has exceeded even 45 receiving yards against them this season. Christian McCaffrey will get his, but he’s also still learning an entirely new playbook on the fly.
That leaves Aiyuk, who quietly was among the leaders in expected fantasy points last week. All three of Aiyuk’s touchdowns have come on the road this season, and the key with Jimmy Garoppolo is pocket cleanliness; the Rams rank second to last in pressure rate this season.
Higbee should be healthier following LA’s bye, and he should once again be busy given the team’s lack of options on offense outside of Cooper Kupp. The Rams really struggle to run, and Allen Robinson ranks 159th out of 166 pass catchers in yards per route run. Van Jefferson is likely to be limited if he makes his season debut as hoped, so Higbee could easily see double-digit targets indoors during a week without Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews on the main DFS slate.
New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks
Start in DFS: Daniel Jones ($27), Kenneth Walker ($25)
Jones is quietly on pace for one of the best rushing seasons ever by a quarterback, and he gets a terrific matchup this week against a Seattle defense allowing the fifth-most EPA/pass. Jones’ Passer Rating jumps from No. 32 versus man to No. 3 when facing zone coverage this season; the Seahawks have played zone coverage at the sixth-highest rate in the league this year (and only two teams have used less man). Jones is getting 7.8 YPA on the road this season, so expect him to finish as top-five fantasy QB for the second week in a row — if weather cooperates.
Walker finished as fantasy’s No. 3 RB last week and has completely taken over Seattle’s backfield with Rashaad Penny out. K9 reached the fastest speed by any ballcarrier this season during his long touchdown run, and he’s now the favorite to win Rookie of the Year while leading the league in rush yards over expectation per attempt. Walker is the real deal, and he’s going to be featured in Seattle’s offense with DK Metcalf likely sidelined and Tyler Lockett recovering from a hamstring injury. Walker should be treated as a top-five fantasy back this week facing a Giants defense allowing an NFL-high 5.7 YPC and sporting DVOA’s 30th-ranked run defense.
Green Bay Packers @ Buffalo Bills
Sit: Aaron Rodgers
Start: Devin Singletary
The winner of the last two MVP awards, Rodgers is missing Davante Adams even worse than expected and can’t be trusted in fantasy lineups Sunday night. He’s getting just 6.2 YPA on the road this year and will face a Buffalo defense that owns a 5:10 TD:INT ratio. Rodgers is also playing through a real thumb injury, and Green Bay will likely be without Allen Lazard and possibly David Bakhtiari this week. Rodgers is a double-digit underdog for the first time in his career and barely a top-20 fantasy QB option this week.
Singletary’s played significantly more during close games this season compared to blowouts, but he’s still a recommended start this week even with Buffalo 10.5-point favorites. Singletary is one of eight running backs with at least 75% of his team’s touches over the last month, and Sunday night gets a Green Bay run defense that ranks 31st in DVOA. Singletary is getting 5.1 YPC at home this season and is a strong start this week.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
Start: Tyler Boyd, Amari Cooper
Boyd gets an obviously huge fantasy boost with Ja’Marr Chase suffering a hip injury that unfortunately sounds like it could cost him the season. Boyd has been playing extremely well and is about to see a lot more volume. The Bengals have benefitted greatly from going shotgun-heavy over the last two weeks and have the highest neutral pass rate over the last month. That will change some with Chase down, but it’s still a terrific situation for Boyd now.
Cooper has 20 more catches, 30+ more targets, has averaged nearly 50 more yards and has scored all four of his touchdowns at home this season. He’s now almost doubled his career TD total when playing at home (33) compared to the road (17). Cooper is top10 in first-down target share this season, and he plays in Cleveland on Monday night.
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Fantasy Football: Sit/Start tips for Week 8 of the NFL season
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