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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 8


Welcome to our Week 8 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other important information.

Spencer Aguiar will start off by covering the first set of games that begin at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, and Chris O'Reilly will take you home with his analysis of the late afternoon and evening games.

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @Teeoffsports and @cjoreillyCLE and feel free to ask away! Without further ado, let's get started.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

Matchups We Love:

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

Russell Wilson didn't have his best stuff available during Seattle's 30-16 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The QB struggled throughout the game, throwing his first INT of the year, not to mention that he completed his lowest percentage of passes of the season at 48.8%. That rate was his lowest since Week 15 of the 2017 season and was just the fourth time he posted a completion percentage in the 40s in the last six years. Luckily for Wilson and company, a matchup against the Atlanta Falcons might be just what the doctor ordered. The Falcons enter the week ranked 31st in the NFL in success against the pass and 28th in percentage of explosive plays allowed through the air. Vegas has this game pegged as the highest total of the week at 54 points, and we should expect Wilson to get his MVP season back on track in Week 8.

Julio Jones (WR, ATL)

Whether Julio Jones gets the luxury of receiving passes from Matt Ryan or is left with inferior attempts from Matt Schaub, the 30-year-old is going to be a focal point for the offense on Sunday. The Seahawks' defense entered Week 7 as a team in the bottom-half in receptions (22nd) and receiving yards (20th) allowed to opposing wideouts, and despite a quality performance against the Ravens, ended Sunday ranked 14th in success rate against the pass. I do worry about the potential of Jones moving forward with the Falcons getting further and further out of the playoff picture, but this feels like the last stand for Atlanta. Expect Jones to give it all he has to keep this team afloat.

Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

Tyler Lockett, the most efficient receiver in the NFL, will take his talents to Atlanta for Seattle's Week 8 showdown in the dome. Lockett has managed to haul in an absurd 83.3% of his targets on the year, and there are openings available for the 27-year-old to slice apart a Falcons Defense that ranks in the bottom-five in explosive passing plays allowed. Fire Lockett him as a WR1.

D.K. Metcalf (WR, SEA)

DK Metcalf caught four of nine targets for 53 yards in Sunday's 30-16 loss to the Ravens but did suffer a crucial fumble late in the fourth quarter. With all that being said, it was still a promising day for the rookie, leading the team in targets. As mentioned with Tyler Lockett, Metcalf will have a chance to beat a Falcons defense for big plays often in Week 8. The 21-year-old has back-end WR2 value.

Matchups We Hate:

Rashaad Penny (RB, SEA)

'A penny saved is a penny earned.' Rashaad Penny owners might need to repeat the classic saying if they want to convince themselves that everything is going to be alright moving forward. The second-year back was able to get in a full week of practice and looked like he was on track to enter his normal role after dealing with a nagging hamstring injury that sidelined him in Week 6, but that was not to be the case with Penny only seeing the field for two snaps, failing to produce anything on the stat line. From a fantasy perspective, things might turn around here shortly, but the 23-year-old is nothing more than a bench stash for the time being. Coming into the year with an ADP of the last pick of the ninth round in ESPN leagues, it appears that Rashaad was not worth every penny.

Luke Wilson / Jacob Hollister (TE, SEA)

There doesn't appear to be a clear replacement for injured Will Dissly. Luke Wilson contributed an empty stat line in Week 7, while Jacob Hollister did manage to put together three catches for 20 yards. With so many question marks around the situation, neither option is startable for the time being.

Other Matchups:

Matt Ryan / Matt Schaub (QB, ATL)

Matt Ryan hasn't missed an NFL game since his second season in the league in 2009. Unfortunately, Ryan's Cal Ripken type streak might be coming to an end in Week 8 when the Falcons host the Seattle Seahawks. Head Coach Dan Quinn confirmed on Monday that his QB suffered a sprained ankle during the teams' 37-10 loss to the Rams in Week 7, but it is important to note that Ryan has not been ruled out for Week 8 at the time of writing this article. I wouldn't put much stock into practice reports early in the week because 34-year-old isn't going to be on the field to take reps with his teammates in preparation for their clash against Russell Wilson and crew, but with the Falcons' season on the line after beginning 1-6, I would place the odds at right around 50/50 that we see Ryan attempt to gut this out on Sunday. If he doesn't start, Matt Schaub will get his first start since 2015.

Chris Carson (RB, SEA)

Anytime a volume back like Chris Carson gets a matchup with a point total that is one of the higher numbers on the board, we have to consider that player in the RB1 range due to the sheer number of opportunities they will get to produce in a contest that is expected to yield scoring. While that remains the case with Carson fully entrenched in that spectrum this weekend, Atlanta's run defense has been better than advertised. Ranked ninth in the league in success rate against the run and explosive runs allowed, the Falcons could do a better job than most assume in Week 8. However, that doesn't detur me from viewing Carson as an RB1 because multiple scores are definitely on the table for the 25-year-old.

Devonta Freeman (RB, ATL)

Anything is possible with the NFL, but I am going to assume the league doesn't decide to add an additional suspension on top of his ejection that he suffered in Week 7 at the hands of Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams. Freeman's removal from the contest scorned fantasy owners who started him, but you should try your best to not allow the chaos that took place to alter your mindset on the RB going forward. The 27-year-old had been showing momentum with three straight PPR fantasy performances of at least 18 points, and we could see him in line for even more work after Ito Smith suffered a concussion in Week 7 - which was severe enough that the Falcons ruled him out on Monday for their game on Sunday. Running back Brian Hill will see some playing time himself, but Freeman has the chance to bounce back nicely in a potential shootout.

Brian Hill (RB, ATL)

Brian Hill is one of the best adds on the waiver wire for RB desperate teams this week. At a bare minimum, we will see him play the Ito Smith role against the Seattle Seahawks, and while unlikely, he could be asked to step into a featured position if the NFL decides to suspend Devonta Freeman for the clash.

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL)

I believe Matt Ryan not being able to suit up would have the largest impact on Calvin Ridley. Ridley has turned himself into a bit of a boom-or-bust option on a weekly basis, and the absence of Ryan would push the second-year wideout into nothing more than a flex option, albeit one with a decent matchup. With all that being said, Mohamed Sanu getting traded to the New England Patriots should help him to find a higher floor going forward during most contests.

Austin Hooper (TE, ATL)

Austin Hooper had his fantasy day saved with a late touchdown reception at the hands of QB Matt Schaub. That connection might bode well for Sunday if Matt Ryan is unable to go, but a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks isn't a favorable one. The team held TE Mark Andrews to just two receptions and 39 yards in Week 7, making Hooper's fantasy outlook cloudy.

 

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Joe Flacco (QB, DEN)

I don't know how you can make an argument for playing Joe Flacco in any situation right now. The 34-year-old has only scored over eight fantasy points once in his past five games, and with rookie Drew Lock eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 9, Flacco's days look to be numbered.

Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)

With Marlon Mack back at full strength, Nyheim Hines is nothing more than a third-down back that will require a positive game script to find success. A home clash against the Denver Broncos isn't the right matchup for Hines to profit in, so look elsewhere if you are desperate for RB help this week.

Zach Pascal (WR, IND)

If you want to pluck Zach Pascal up on the waiver wire, I won't talk you out of it. But picking him up with the intention of playing him against the best defense against PPR WR scoring this season is a different story. The 24-year-old wide receiver has shown flashes of ability, but he's been unable to carve out a consistent week-to-week role in a run-heavy offense.

Other Matchups:

Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND)

Coming off of one of the best games in his career, Jacoby Brissett will get a stingy Denver Broncos Defense that has allowed under 10 fantasy points to the position three times this season, which includes only one QB that has exceeded 15 points (Gardner Minshew 16.7 points in Week 4.) If you are an owner of Brissett, it is nice to see that the team is allowing their QB to be more aggressive, but it is difficult to advocate the 26-year-old as anything more than a QB2 in Week 8.

Phillip Lindsay / Royce Freeman (RB, DEN)

The split of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman has taken turns stymying both players throughout the year on the ground, but it hasn't hurt either with their PPR production. Both men are currently producing as RB2s on the year, which can be best explained by the usage that each has seen through the air. Freeman's 25 receptions (13th best) and Lindsay's 20 receptions (18th best) have kept their floors high, even if their weekly ceilings are somewhat capped.

Marlon Mack (RB, IND)

Let's not forget that the Colts have been built to be a bruising running team behind one of the best offensive lines in football. That didn't come to fruition with Marlon Mack struggling against the Texans last week, taking 18 carries for only 44 yards, but better days will be ahead. A Week 8 matchup against the Denver Broncos isn't necessarily the rebound spot you are hoping to see as a Mack owner, but look for Indianapolis to go a little more run-heavy from start to finish, allowing Mack to be counted on for quality RB2 production.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

So much for the downfall of T.Y. Hilton without Andrew Luck. The wideout has been phenomenal this season, scoring over 14 PPR points in five of his six starts - including five touchdowns in as many games. A showdown against the Denver Broncos is far from ideal, but Hilton has earned his WR2 status.

Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN)

Courtland Sutton has been one of the bright spots for the Denver Broncos this year. His ceiling remains capped with Joe Flacco at the helm, but the second-year wideout has produced over 11 fantasy points in six of his seven games this year - including at least 76 yards through the air in four of his past five games. Sutton is transforming into a legitimate WR2 option weekly.

*** UPDATE: With Emmanuel Sanders getting traded to the San Francisco 49ers, Courtland Sutton will take over as the unquestioned WR1 for Denver. While you could make the argument that he already was in the eyes of the team, Sanders will be a slight loss for Sutton. This isn't quite the same situation as Antonio Brown/ JuJu Smith-Schuster, but the removal of Sanders will not only place the top corners on Sutton for every game but will also send increased coverage. The second-year wideout has enough volume to maintain his perceived value, but things won't be as easy for him going forward. 

Daesean Hamilton (WR, DEN)

To all the preseason DaeSean Hamilton truthers, the time might finally be here! Hamilton has been a huge disappointment after a rookie season in 2018 that showed promise, but with Emmanuel Sanders out of town, the second-year wideout will have a chance to work his way back up the pecking order. Consider him worth a pickup on the waiver wire, but I would avoid starting him until there is more clarity to his new role.

Jack Doyle / Eric Ebron (TE, IND)

Denver has been stout against TEs this season, only allowing one touchdown on the year. Eric Ebron's performance last Sunday is encouraging if you own him, but there are warning signs looming in a matchup against the Broncos. I'd prefer to look elsewhere if possible, but it isn't always so easy to do so at the position.

Noah Fant (TE, DEN)

If you are looking for a TE to stream, Noah Fant is intriguing. The Indianapolis Colts have struggled consistently this year to defend the position and could present a ripe matchup for Fant to get back on track after only catching six passes for 60 yards in the past four games.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Peyton Barber / Ronald Jones II (RB, TB)

The Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones II timeshare hasn't gotten easier to figure out as the season has gone on. A bye week should help to rejuvenate both men and provide them with a little extra boost, but the Tennessee Titans make both practically unstartable this week. Tennesee ranks third in success rate against ground attacks and seventh in explosive rushes allowed.

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

A lack of usage in the passing game caps Derrick Henry's upside on a good week, and fantasy points could be difficult to come by against the number one ranked defense in run efficiency. The Buccaneers have yet to allow any combination of RBs to go for over 100 yards on the ground, which has been against running attacks such as Christian McCaffrey twice, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and the plethora of backs that the 49ers employ weekly. If you are looking for a floor for Henry on Sunday, there isn't one if he fails to find the endzone.

O.J. Howard (TE, TB)

Did anyone tell Bruce Arians during the bye week that he has a tight end named O.J. Howard? If they did, a hamstring injury will not do the 24-year-old any favors in getting more work this weekend. Howard has been one of the biggest busts in the NFL this season, but I am curious to see if he is able to get any positive momentum this weekend - assuming he is even able to suit up. However, until we see it, it might be a good idea to leave him on your bench.

UPDATE: O.J. Howard has been ruled out for Week 8

Other Matchups:

Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

Oh, Jameis. What do you have in store for us this weekend? In fairness, Winston has yet to have an extremely poor fantasy performance since Week 1, but his five real-life INTs the last time the team played sure helped to sink the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ship in London against the Carolina Panthers. A matchup against the Tennessee Titans won't be an easy one, as the Titans are ranked just inside the top half of the league in success rate against the pass and explosive throws allowed. It is not an unwinnable battle for Winston and crew, but it is still difficult to view him better than a QB2 this weekend.

Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN)

I mentioned last week how if Ryan Tannehill was given the starting gig, Marcus Mariota would never see the field as a member of the Tennessee Titans again. Barring injury, that looks to be a cemented fact after Tannehill was able to lead the Titans to a victory in Week 7 over the Los Angeles Chargers. The 31-year-old looked sensational at times, throwing for 312 yards and two touchdowns on 23 of 29 pass attempts. A showdown against the Buccaneers does provide Tannehill with a shot to find success again, making him a mid-end QB2 option at home.

Corey Davis / Adam Humphries / A.J. Brown (WR, TEN)

Ryan Tannehill helped to provide more consistency for all three wideouts during his first start. It will be interesting to see if they are able to maintain their level of success during his second outing, but all three players present flex potential for desperate teams. Davis would be our favorite of the mix, followed by Brown than Humphries.

Mike Evans / Chris Godwin (WR, TB)

The matchup isn't necessarily ideal, but there should be enough volume available for both men to seize WR2 caliber performances on Sunday. Tennessee ranks 15th in the league when it comes to success rate against the pass, and while some of the passing issues for Bucs have stemmed from Jameis Winston not having a clean pocket to throw, the Titans just rank towards the middle of the pack in pressure. A little extra time to throw would do wonders for every playmaker the team has.

Delanie Walker / Jonnu Smith (TE, TEN)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the week ranked second-worst in the league when it comes to fantasy points per game given up to the tight end position. Their 60 targets are worst in the league and their 41 receptions surrendered are 31st. Delanie Walker is dealing with an ankle injury and might not be able to go, so if you are looking for a streaming option, Jonnu Smith might provide some firepower to your lineup.

UPDATE: Delanie Walker has been ruled out for Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints

Matchups We Love:

Teddy Bridgewater / Drew Brees (QB, NO)

If the Saints were desperate for a win, I believe we would see Drew Brees as the starting QB this week. But with a 6-1 record and a bye week looming, there is no reason to rush their veteran back against a struggling Arizona Cardinals squad. I'd expect head coach Sean Payton to allow his replacement to sling the ball up and down the field against a defense ranked 30th in success rate against the pass, so consider this Teddy Bridgewater's last hurrah before we finally see Brees return to the lineup in Week 9

UPDATE: Brees will get the start in Week 9

Alvin Kamara / Latavius Murray (RB, NO)

I think we are looking at a 50/50 proposition on if Alvin Kamara will suit up in Week 8. Similar to Drew Brees, the team might want to give him another rest with their bye week just around the corner. If he does sit, Latavius Murray would jump right back into high-end RB2 consideration.

Michael Thomas (WR, NO)

Despite a tough road contest against the Chicago Bears in Week 7, Michael Thomas was able to bring in 82 percent of his targets for nine catches and 131 yards. Thomas has been the best wideout in the NFL this season and is a must-start anytime he is active.

Matchups We Hate:

David Johnson / Chase Edmonds (RB, ARI)

So, uh, something is very wrong with David Johnson, right? A strange usage last weekend would make me believe that he aggravated something during the start of the game, and the signings of running backs Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner do not add any optimism to the situation. The Saints have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 29 games, so whether it is David Johnson or Chase Edmonds handling the majority of the work, this is not an ideal matchup.

Other Matchups:

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

The consensus this week is that the New Orleans Saints are an easy matchup for Kyler Murray. However, I'd be very careful in viewing this contest under those terms. If we look at just the past four weeks, the Saints have held QBs to under 12.5 points per game - good for almost four points below league average. Kyler Murray's legs can salvage fantasy performances for him, but the Saints are a top-five team in success rate against the pass for a reason.

Ted Ginn Jr. (WR, NO)

If you are looking for a random dart throw on Sunday, Ted Ginn Jr. does have some upside against the Arizona Cardinals. Still, though, the 34-year-old is a tough sell as anything more than a WR4 with upside.

Christian Kirk (WR, ARI)

Christian Kirk has been practicing in a limited capacity so far this week, making a return questionable after missing the past three weeks with a right ankle injury. The Cardinals' wideout would help give Kyler Murray another target on offense but should be viewed as nothing more than a risky flex play this weekend because of his current ailments.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

Larry Fitzgerald was held to a single catch last weekend against the New York Giants for the first time since Week 1 of the 2014 season. It seems likely that Kyler Murray will count on him more this Sunday, but Fitzgerald is just a WR3/flex against a stingy Saints secondary.

Jared Cook / Josh Hill (TE, NO)

Starting a TE against the Arizona Cardinals has become the way of the land in fantasy leagues, but Jared Cook does provide some hesitation with his current ankle injury. Cook missed the game last week and should be questionable once again for Week 8. If he can't go, Josh Hill would carry some streaming appeal.

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Rams (London Game)

Matchups We Love:

Jared Goff (QB, LA)

Jared Goff was far from efficient during the teams' Week 7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, but his 25 fantasy points surely made owners happy. Home/road splits are legit when it comes to Goff and his upside, and a home matchup against the struggling Bengals should be good enough for QB1 numbers.

Todd Gurley (RB, LA)

Frustration as a Todd Gurley owner continued in Week 7 when the former Georgia Bulldog was held to just 41 yards on 18 carries. The positive news is that injuries that have plagued him recently looked to have subsided some, so there is optimism we see the Rams start slowly increasing his workload. Upcoming is a matchup against a Bengals Defense that entered the weekend ranking among the NFL's six worst units in carries, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards and receiving scores allowed to opposing running backs.

Cooper Kupp / Robert Woods(WR, LA)

The Cincinnati Bengals have allowed the ninth-best passer rating to quarterbacks this season - making Cooper Kupp a WR1 and Robert Woods a high-end WR2

Matchups We Hate:

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

Ok, it might be time to panic over Joe Mixon finally. Mixon has taken 18 carries over his past two games for just 12 yards and has only exceeded 11.9 PPR points once on the year. Perhaps the 23-year-old will turn this around once A.J. Green returns and adds some life to the offense, but a poor offensive line has tanked Mixon's season. I am not sure how you can justify playing him until things turn around.

Other Matchups:

Andy Dalton (QB, CIN)

Andy Dalton has been full of flaws this season, but his volume has provided at least QB2 numbers in all weeks but one this year. The Rams' secondary has been strengthened with the addition of CB Jalen Ramsey, but Dalton's garbage time potential keeps him in QB2 consideration.

Brandin Cooks (WR, LA)

It has been a strange season for Brandin Cooks. The Rams wideout had four receptions for 59 yards, but it was his first time in three weeks that he brought in over three targets. Cooks has struggled to find a big play since Week 3 but is a back-end WR2 until he manages to turn things around.

Tyler Boyd / Auden Tate / Alex Erickson (WR, CIN)

Despite seeing 14 targets, Boyd was only able to haul in five receptions for 55 receiving yards in Week 7. The 24-year-old likely will draw CB Jalen Ramsey against the Rams in Week 8, which limits his ceiling to that of a fantasy WR2. Auden Tate and Alex Erickson will be more in the WR3/flex range but will have an opportunity to find garbage time work in a game that the Bengals should find themselves trailing early.

Gerald Everett (TE, LA)

Gerald Everett has started to emerge as a go-to target for Jared Goff. He has received 34 targets over the last four games and currently is ranked inside the top-10 at the tight end position on the season in PPR leagues. If you own Everett, you can consider him a mid-to-backend player at the position in Week 8.

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Rumors of dysfunction have taken place for the Philadelphia Eagles. An anonymous player reportedly questioned Carson Wentz's ability, offensive tackle Lane Johnson said players have been late to meetings and all of this has led many to believe that head coach Doug Pederson has lost the locker room. The Eagles like to use their passing game to set up everything else for them, but it won't be easy against a Bill defense that enters the week ranked top-five in efficiency and success against the pass. To find success, Philadelphia might need to lean on their running attack against the 23rd ranked defense in rushing efficiency, which would limit Wentz's upside to the potential of another sub-200 yard passing game.

Devin Singletary / Frank Gore (RB, BUF)

The Bills have needed some frantic comebacks against inferior opponents to get themselves to their current 5-1 record, which has limited the upside for Singletary or Gore to find success. A showdown against a strong Eagles front four won't do either man any favors and could present a long fantasy day for both.

Alshon Jeffery / Nelson Agholor (WR, PHI)

Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor are more along the lines of B and C type options for a team that will need them to perform as A and B talents. Buffalo is ranked inside the top-10 in most of the valuable defensive passing statistics, and it will not be easy for Jeffery or Agholor to find lanes on their route in Week 8.

Other Matchups:

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Both teams present something on defense that will limit what the other does well. For Philadelphia's defense, they rank inside the top-10 in the league in both rushing efficiency and success rate against the run. Buffalo likes to use their run game to open up Allen for play-action pass attempts, so if the Eagles can play sturdy defense with their front-four, the walls could cave in slightly on Josh Allen. The second-year QB has a 10% higher completion percentage when play-action takes place but sees his passer rating drop to just 51 when pressured. His 32% completion percentage on deep throws places him just 27th in the NFL, so while this is a beatable matchup for the Bills, I don't view this as a shoo-in for success. Allen has the upside to succeed but is a dangerous back-end QB1 for me this week.

Jordan Howard / Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)

The Eagles will need to get both Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders going if they want to find some openings on offense. The Bills rank just 29th in explosive rushes allowed - providing Sanders with an opportunity to hit a few home run plays on the day. Philadelphia's offensive line is no doubt talented, but will they be able to come together for a complete performance? The upside is there against the 23rd ranked defense in rushing efficiency, but the team will need to execute properly.

Cole Beasley / John Brown (WR, BUF)

With all the speed that John Brown possesses, would it shock you to hear that Cole Beasley is creating the most separation of any Bills wideout? It is safe to say that quality route running is not dead in the NFL. The Bills desperately need Josh Allen to show up for their Week 8 showdown, and an opening is there for their passing offense to find success against a team that has allowed 24 or more points in all but one of their games. The common denominator for Philadelphia's inefficiencies has stemmed from poor secondary play - which places Brown as a WR2 and Beasley as a WR3/flex.

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

Buffalo has only allowed 17 receptions to tight ends on the year - good for a passer rating of 78 when the position is targeted. If you are looking for Zach Ertz to break out of his slump, you might need to wait another week. The position is desolate enough that Ertz is still a TE1, but he isn't a must-start if you have premier alternatives.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears

Matchups We Love:

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Loving Austin Ekeler requires faith that head coach Anthony Lynn will do the right thing. I understand the feeling that the team is better when Melvin Gordon is humming on the ground, but the return of their Pro-Bowl back has stunted some intricate parts of their offense because Lynn has forgotten how to use Ekeler. The Chargers are struggling with offensive line health and wide receiver depth, so it would only seem natural to line their pass-catching back out wide to create extra space. When the Chargers did that late in the game against the Tennessee Titans last weekend, their fortunes quickly began to change. Against my better judgment, I'll anticipate that Anthony Lynn will think the same thing to provide the offense with a surge - giving Ekeler high-end RB2 upside on

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Philip Rivers (QB, LAC)

For as poor as the Los Angeles Chargers have looked offensively in recent weeks, Philip Rivers is probably the only thing that is currently holding them together. Injuries to offensive linemen Mike Pouncey, Forrest Lamp and Russell Okung have decimated their ability to pass protect or run the football, but early reports have indicated that Okung might be healthy enough to return for their game against Chicago. Rivers has been pressured on 40% of dropbacks - fifth-worst in the league and could really use his Pro-Bowl offensive tackle on Sunday. Despite some positives forming for the team, it is difficult to trust Rivers as anything more than a QB2 in Week 8.

Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)

Where do we begin with Mitch Trubisky? Ranked 26th in the league in passer rating and only having recorded one game over 250 yards this season, the 25-year-old has taken steps in reverse in 2019. I believe most people that evaluate talent could have told you that this was a possibility for Trubisky after his somewhat breakthrough 2018 campaign. Despite his at times explosive nature last season, there were a lot of red flags from a mechanics standpoint and tons of irregularities in his results. It hasn't helped that the Bears offensive line has looked non-existent by allowing 35% of dropbacks to result in pressures, but these have been the spots historically where we have seen Trubisky record a surprise performance. The Chargers have allowed 52% of passes to grade successfully this season (fourth-worst in the NFL), so there will be some openings for Trubisky to get back on track.

Melvin Gordon III (RB, LAC)

A lot of the blame for the Chargers' rushing inefficiency will fall on the shoulders of Melvin Gordon, but there are bigger problems at hand than whether the 26-year-old ruined the momentum for the team with his holdout and return. Since returning to the team, the Chargers have only rushed for 35.3 yards per contest, but offensive line woes have been the stem for practically all their issues as a unit. Los Angeles enters the week ranked 30th in both rushing efficiency and success rate, which places them eight percent below league average. However, there will be an opening with the loss of Chicago Bears' defensive end Akiem Hicks to injury.  Chicago's front four has turned into a unit that has been exposed on a few occasions, so there will be an opening for the Chargers to get back on track against a defense that is allowing 55 percent of runs to grade successfully during their past two games - especially if Russell Okung is able to make his first start of the year.

David Montgomery (RB, CHI)

At some point, head coach Matt Nagy will realize that throwing the ball 65% of plays is not good for the team with Mitchell Trubisky as your quarterback. Perhaps it will be this weekend, but it is a tough sell with how low the rookies' floor has been in games where he doesn't score a touchdown. The Bears are ranked fourth-worst in the league in adjusted line yards and only 40% of runs have graded out successfully. The return of Los Angeles' defensive end Melvin Ingram seems probable, which would only add to the issues Chicago's offensive line might face. Montgomery will avoid the hate list because there is touchdown potential available from him on Sunday, but he is a very risky flex play until this offense figures out their issues.

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)

Similar to my sentiments on Austin Ekeler, the Bears would be best served to create some space by using Tarik Cohen in more passing situations. It has become impossible to start Cohen in non-PPR settings this year, but he does have flex potential available when given a full point per reception.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

It has now been four straight subpar performances from Keenan Allen, who caught an atypically low 36.4% of his targets in a tough loss to Tennessee. His 11 targets from the game do provide optimism that things will turn around shortly, but a matchup against Chicago will present another stern test for the wideout. Allen receives enough volume to be considered as a WR2 at worst during most weeks and can be slotted into that range on Sunday.

UPDATE: Keenan Allen was added to the injury report on Thursday with a hamstring injury. Late week designations are always troublesome, so this will be a situation worth monitoring. 

Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

The Mike Williams breakout has failed to come to fruition throughout the season so far. Williams hasn't been bad with an average of five catches, 64.3 yards and 9.6 targets over his past three games, but a lack of touchdowns has stunted his upside. Positive touchdown regression is in store for this offense in general, but it might not come in Week 8 against a stingy Bears squad.

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)

Nobody has benefited more from a surprise game plan than Allen Robinson has this season. The Bears have thrown the ball on 65% of plays, allowing Robinson to shine with nearly 10 targets per game. I do worry that as we get into more cold-weather football, head coach Matt Nagy will turn this team back into a run-first unit. That would hurt Robinson's value- making him someone that you should at least consider selling high. However, a matchup against the Chargers this week does provide some boom potential, so you might want to wait a week before going down that route.

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

Unless you have one of the few additional premier tight ends to go along with Hunter Henry, it is difficult to bench the 24-year-old in practically any matchup. The Bears have been beaten by tight ends this season on a few occasions, so Henry should be fine to produce TE1 numbers again.

 

New York Giants at Detroit Lions

Matchups We Love:

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

Coming off of his best game this year, Matthew Stafford will look to keep the momentum going against the New York Giants. The Giants rank 27th in success rate against the pass, making Stafford an intriguing streaming option this week.

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

After missing just three games due to a high-ankle sprain, Saquon Barkley produced 80 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 7. Next on the table will be the Detroit Lions, who have allowed 31.0 RB fantasy points per game - the second-highest mark in the league. Barkley is a must-play anytime he takes the field, but this is a particularly robust chance for him to explode.

Kenny Golladay (WR, DET)

Kenny Golladay had to watch Starvin' Marvin get fed 10 receptions and four touchdowns last weekend, even though he was only served the leftover scraps of one catch for 21 yards. The Giants have allowed the second-most yards per attempt this year, and it seems likely Golladay should be the main beneficiary of the extra helpings available against a porous defense.

Evan Engram  (TE, NYG)

Let's just forget about Evan Engram's one-catch performance last weekend against the Arizona Cardinals and move on. The TE position is a wasteland that is difficult to find talent, so unless you have one of the other three or four other premier options, Engram should be making your lineup again. Detroit's defense has allowed tight ends to produce 9.9 yards per target and 12.8 fantasy points per game.

Matchups We Hate:

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

So you are saying that talent shouldn't be assessed from a one-game sample size? It remains to be seen if the pre-draft Daniel Jones naysayers will end up being right about him, but his first start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is beginning to look more and more aberrational by the second. Jones has failed to surpass 225 yards since that outing and has not exceeded 12.3 fantasy points.

Other Matchups:

Ty Johnson / J.D. McKissic (RB, DET)

Early indications would point towards Ty Johnson handling the early-down work, with J.D. McKissic playing more of your standard passing down role. It is a bit of a question mark to what that will exactly mean from a productivity standpoint, but Johnson should be viewed as a back-end RB2 against the Giants for the time being. McKissic, on the other hand, is more of an RB3/desperation flex option. With that being said, the roles have some volatility to them.

Golden Tate / Darius Slayton (WR, DET)

There seems to be a strong possibility that Sterling Shepard will remain unavailable for New York's game this weekend, which would give a slight boost to both Golden Tate and Darius Slayton. Tate has a revenge game on his hands against his former Detroit team, so that is something to keep in mind if you are considering playing him. Tate has WR2/WR3 appeal, while Slayton shouldn't be viewed as much more than a desperation WR3/WR4.

Marvin Jones Jr.  (WR, DET)

A lot of the same sentiments for why I like Kenny Golladay could apply for Marvin Jones Jr., but I've seen this story from him one too many times. Jones Jr. is a volatile fantasy option that can provide boom-or-bust games, and I worry we see owners left stranded when he decides to put up on of his classic clunkers. Jones is a WR3/flex, but remember he had only exceeded 10.7 PPR points once before his explosion last Sunday.

T.J. Hockenson  (TE, DET)

The Giants have been one of the best teams against the tight end position in 2019. If we exclude their first game of the year, they have not allowed a touchdown or allowed an entire TE unit to exceed 73 yards. T.J. Hockenson is a unique talent that might be able to find success, but he is an extremely challenging option to trust in Week 8.

 

New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars

Matchups We Love:

Gardner Minshew (QB, JAX)

It has been a slippery slope these past few weeks for Gardner Minshew, who has failed to exceed a completion rate of over 60% in his past four games. While that isn't necessarily ideal for fantasy purposes, Minshew's legs have more than carried him to find fantasy success. If we exclude his poor outing in Week 6 against the New Orleans Saints, the rookie has scored more than 16 points in ESPN standard leagues every game this season and should provide another quality display against the lowly New York Jets.

Leonard Fournette (RB, JAX)

Leonard Fournette has been held back by his inability to find the endzone, but there aren't too many running backs in the league that get the luxury of his workload. Fournette has averaged an impressive five yards per carry on 144 attempts this season and is ascending up the RB1 leaderboard. If you own him, keep starting him.

Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)

There haven't been too many bright spots for the New York Jets this season other than Le'Veon Bell. His statistics aren't currently overwhelming, but volume should lead him to a much higher ceiling in the next few weeks as his schedule begins to ease. The Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most yards per carry (4.87) to backfields this year, and Bell should get his season jumpstarted slightly on Sunday.

Matchups We Hate:

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)

Sam Darnold's performance on Monday night was definitely spooky. Seeing ghosts aside, his 11 completions on 32 attempts resulted in 84 yards and a frightful four INTs. In standard ESPN scoring leagues, Darnold's performance yielded him a whopping negative 6.7 points. Darnold's schedule is about to easy up in the upcoming weeks, but a showdown against the Jaguars doesn't provide loads of optimism after what transpired in Week 7.

Other Matchups:

D.J. Chark (WR, JAX)

DJ Chark has done a phenomenal job of establishing a floor for himself in fantasy football. He hasn't had under 43 yards receiving in a game, recorded at least three catches and has scored five total touchdowns. Gardner Minshew and Chark appear to be on the same page, which could allow the 23-year-old to end his two-game touchdown drought.

Dede Westbrook (WR, JAX)

A neck/shoulder injury could not have come at a worse time for Dede Westbrook. After struggling to begin the year, the 25-year-old has averaged 5.2 receptions, 70 yards and 8.6 targets in his past five games. With no practice time under his belt so far this week, Westbrook is questionable for the showdown with the New York Jets.

Jamison Crowder / Demaryius Thomas / Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ)

I really am liking everyone on this team as ultimate buy-low options after the game this week. The schedule is going to soften up and things should begin to click on offense. Unfortunately, it is going to be extremely difficult to trust anyone against the seventh-ranked defense in passing success rate. I'd prefer to wait a week before employing the Jets wide receivers into my lineups, but stay patient with them if you can.


Chris Herndon IV (TE, NYJ)

Is this the week we finally see Chris Herndon make his debut this year? A four-game suspension and then untimely hamstring injury has caused the 23-year-old to disappoint during his supposed breakout season. Herndon has a decent shot of suiting up for the first time in 2019, but he may need to put in a full practice Friday to guarantee his availability.

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:00 PM ET Games

Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots

Matchups We Love:

James White (RB, NE)

James White has been targeted at least eight times and caught at least six passes in his last four games, so I'm taking the over on 4.83, which is the number of receptions per game the Browns are allowing to RBs. With the Browns potentially blitzing Brady like crazy, I like White to see a ton of opportunities to create yards after the catch in the short-range passing game. Pencil him in for another double-digit PPR outing.

Matchups We Hate:

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

Baker Mayfield has been inefficient across the board, but his woes on third down are especially alarming in this matchup. Mayfield is completing just 52.8% of his passes on all third downs, and 47.4% on third downs of four-to-six yards. New England has allowed a comically low 12 conversions on 84 third-down attempts. Mayfield can reasonably be expected to find himself in a ton of third down situations on Sunday against a Patriots team holding their opponents to 4.3 offensive plays per possession--the lowest average in the league.

Other Matchups: 

Jarvis Landry / Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)

Nothing about the Browns offense through six games suggests they are poised to go off against the Patriots. Odell Beckham Jr. will likely have to escape the clutches of Stephon Gilmore a few times to return WR1 value this week, a task nobody else has been able to accomplish this season. The Patriots are giving up just 4.69 air yards per completion, setting Jarvis Landry up for a potentially productive day in the short-range passing game. Maybe Cleveland’s bye week preparation translates into a competitive game here, but New England’s ruthless secondary figures to limit the upside of Beckham and Landry.

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)

Two teams have yet to allow a running back to score a touchdown in 2019. One of them is the 49ers; I'll give you one guess on the other. While you're thinking about your answer, consider that the Patriots are also holding opposing RBs to 3.66 yards per carry and just over four receptions per game. Truthfully, the Browns should all be lumped together among the hates this week. I'm trusting in the talent of guys like Chubb and Beckham to find a way to produce at least non-week-losing numbers, and perhaps a little misguidedly, I'm betting on Cleveland to be a different team coming off their bye. That doesn't mean I expect them to win, but it's about high time for this team's pride to start shining through. Chubb is a volume-based RB2.

Ricky Seals-Jones (TE, CLE)

Ricky Seals-Jones has six catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games. Take away the touchdowns and factor in that he caught zero passes on one target in one of those games, and that output doesn't sound quite as inviting. The Patriots are holding opposing tight ends to slightly over two receptions per game. Seals-Jones is as touchdown-dependent as they come in Week 8.

Tom Brady (QB, NE)

The rare instances in which Tom Brady has "struggled" this season have come against the blitz. He's completing 61.1% of his passes when the opposing team blitzes, and the Browns blitz at the fourth-highest rate in the NFL. That could potentially create some problems for Brady early on, but the Patriots are the best in-game adjustment team in the league. If Brady isn't getting time in the pocket, they'll simply settle for short passes to James White and Julian Edelman. All this said, I think this could be a relatively low-scoring game, so look at Brady as more of a high-floor fantasy option for Week 8.

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

Sony Michel has recently been involved sparingly in the passing game, having seen eight of his nine targets this year in the last three weeks. He's also provided enough in the touchdown department to offset his inefficiency on the ground; he's only averaged four yards or more per carry in two of seven games. Cleveland might give him a chance to make it three of eight, as they're permitting 4.91 yards per rushing attempt to RBs. Also working in Michel's favor is that the Browns have allowed 65% of opposing red zone opportunities to end in touchdowns; Michel leads the league in carries inside the five-yard line with 10. I'd have him among the loves if he was more productive overall as an individual player.

Julian Edelman / Phillip Dorsett / Mohamed Sanu (WR, NE)

It would be the most Patriots thing ever for Mohamed Sanu to catch 12 passes for 130 yards in his first game with the team, and there actually is a decent level of PPR appeal in his profile for Week 8. We've already touched on Cleveland's tendency to bring the blitz, which in turn opens the door for the short and intermediate passing game. That said, let's defer to the proven Julian Edelman here. Edelman already has the well-established rapport with Brady, meaning he'll get the first look when Brady gets rushed in the pocket. The player I like the least in this one is Phillip Dorsett, who leads this trio in yards per target at an even nine. The Browns have allowed the fourth-fewest air yards per completion in the league. Give me Edelman as the safe PPR option, with Sanu coming in as a pretty risky play and Dorsett probably needing to spring a big one.

 

Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

The Panthers have the second-highest sack rate and sixth-highest pressure rate in the league. They're holding opposing teams to 225 passing yards per game, and have recorded more interceptions than they've allowed passing touchdowns. The 49ers don't throw the ball much to begin with, and Jimmy Garoppolo hasn't even looked all that impressive as a game manager. I have a hard time believing this matchup is the one in which he suddenly goes off.

Kyle Allen (QB, CAR)

I mentioned that Carolina sacks opposing QBs at the second-highest rate in the NFL. Well guess what--the 49ers are the one team that gets there more often. San Francisco is holding its opponents to a ludicrous 133.5 passing yards per game, and have not allowed a passing touchdown since September. Even if I need a streaming option, I'm passing on Kyle Allen.

Other Matchups:

Tevin Coleman / Matt Breida (RB, SF)

Tevin Coleman looked like he took the workhorse job over in last Sunday's game against the Redskins, but Kyle Shanahan has fooled us before. Matt Breida could just as easily pace the team in carries this week. Until we're presented with more than a one-game sample of one or the other being the preferred option, it's best to treat this backfield as a relatively even split. Whoever (if anyone) sees the bulk of the rushing workload against Carolina this week gets a favorable matchup allowing 4.55 yards per carry. If that means both guys get 10-15 touches, flex value enters the equation.

Emmanuel Sanders / Marquise Goodwin / Dante Pettis / Deebo Samuel (WR, SF)

Deebo Samuel remains questionable after missing Week 7, so keep an eye on his status if he's on your radar. Even if he's active, it's hard to trust any of these receivers, including newcomer Emmanuel Sanders. We can probably throw out last week's game--which was played in a monsoon--as a gauge for what to expect from San Francisco's pass-catchers, but no 49ers WR has more than 15 catches or 22 targets after six games. This is the most clear-cut case in the NFL of a run-heavy offense, and I can't even get enthused for a matchup against a Panthers team that has allowed the second-most receptions to opposing receivers.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

Despite San Francisco's near refusal to throw the ball, one thing we know is that George Kittle is going to get his on a weekly basis. Coming into last week's rain game, Kittle had been targeted a total of 24 times in his last three. The volume should once again be there to overcome the matchup, but you don't love the upside: the Panthers have permitted tight ends to haul in just 20 catches in six games.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)

Volume will keep Christian McCaffrey's floor high this week, but this matchup caps his ceiling. The 49ers have allowed zero running backs to cross the goal line, and are holding the position to just over three receptions per game. Factor in a yards-per-carry average mere decimal points over four, and McCaffrey has his work cut out for him in this one. That said, if anyone can turn the tables and remind everyone that San Francisco's defense is, in fact, a collection of human beings, it's him.

D.J. Moore / Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR)

Wide receivers are averaging 8.5 receptions per game against the 49ers. That number is admittedly skewed by last week's game in which the Redskins attempted just 12 total passes in a downpour, but the moral of the story here is that San Francisco's suffocating pass defense isn't to be trifled with. I'm comfortable enough with D.J. Moore's volume to roll him out there as a flex (he's seen at least eight targets in four of six games and double-digit targets in three), but if we start heading toward WR2 territory I'm jumping off the train unless you promise me a touchdown. Curtis Samuel is averaging 6.5 targets in his last four games, so he comes in as a slightly riskier option than Moore.

Greg Olsen (TE, CAR)

Greg Olsen hadn't done anything of consequence for two straight games before catching four of seven targets for 52 yards in London two weeks ago. You like that he bounced back into the equation in that contest, but I can't help but feel like he's destined for another dud in Week 8 unless he sees a ton of chances. The 49ers are allowing 3.5 receptions per game to tight ends for a whopping 22.3 yards. Olsen's a low-end starter for me, and this is one instance in which I'm not opposed to throwing a dart at a more dangerous option with higher upside. Might I interest you in the ghost of Vance McDonald against the Dolphins?

 

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans

Matchups We Love:

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Did you see what Aaron Rodgers did to this Oakland defense last week? With a JV receiving corps? If you want numbers, consider these: 289.8 passing yards allowed per game (second-worst), 14% pressure rate (worst), 16 passing touchdowns given up (tied for second-most). That's the defense Deshaun Watson is up against this week. After a pedestrian (by his standards) Week 7, Watson is the QB1 this week.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)

DeAndre Hopkins found the endzone for the first time since Week 1 last Sunday. Even if he goes through another scoring drought, his workload keeps him in undeniable WR1 territory. He's caught 25 of 32 targets for 249 yards in his last three games. The Raiders are giving up 15.84 yards per reception to receivers, and are one of seven teams to have given up double-digit touchdowns to the position. Hold Hopkins in high regard going into this matchup.

Kenny Stills (WR, HOU)

I worry that slotting a lesser thought-of player among the loves will send the wrong message, so let me be clear here: I love Kenny Stills as a flex option. In the two games Stills has been targeted at least five times (small sample, I know), he's gone for four catches and at least 89 yards in each. With Will Fuller expected to miss Week 8 due to injury, I like Stills to see five-plus targets for a third time. Stills is averaging 19.5 yards per reception, and only the Lions have allowed more air yards on completed passes than the Raiders.

Darren Waller (TE, OAK)

Darren Waller has thrust himself into elite tight end territory as Oakland's undisputed number-one pass-catcher. He has achieved double-digit PPR production in five of six games, and finally found the endzone in Week 7. Houston hasn't been super-exploitable by tight ends, but the guy is averaging more than eight targets a game. Sometimes you just have to trust the volume.

Derek Carr (QB, OAK)

I have admitted at least once in this column that I am a Derek Carr apologist, so take whatever I have to say about him with a grain of salt, but he's actually got a ton of upside in this one. The Texans blitz a lot, but they create a relatively low rate of pressure on the quarterback. Carr should have a decent amount of time to go through his reads and build on a league-best 74.1% completion rate. Houston is also allowing 275.6 passing yards per game, along with 15 total passing touchdowns. Those soft numbers are inviting on their own, but then remember that we just finished talking about how equally bad the Raiders are against the pass. This game has shootout written all over it, and I like Carr as a streaming option if I'm looking for a one-week Lamar Jackson or Dak Prescott fill-in.

Josh Jacobs (RB, OAK)

Houston is a mediocre fantasy defense against the run, and has allowed a league-high 54 receptions to RBs. Josh Jacobs' role in that aspect of Oakland's offense has very slowly begun to pick up, as he's been targeted three times each in both of his last two games and caught all of them. If that usage rate continues to rise, just... watch out. Jacobs is already a monster on the ground, but if he becomes a PPR threat? Oh boy. Houston is just as bad defensively in the red zone as Oakland, so I can see Jacobs bullying his way into the endzone for the fifth time this season.

Matchups We Hate:

Carlos Hyde (RB, HOU)

I'm fine with Carlos Hyde as a flex from a volume perspective, but the Raiders have been tough to run against and we've already established how easy they are to beat through the air. Working in Hyde's favor is that the Raiders are the second-easiest team to score on in the red zone. Hyde is tied for fourth in the NFL with seven carries inside the five. With Oakland holding opposing backs to 3.88 yards per carry, I'm hoping Hyde sees 15-plus touches and falls into the endzone.

Other Matchups:

Jordan Akins / Darren Fells (TE, HOU)

Jordan Akins and Darren Fells continue to find themselves in a relatively even and not especially fantasy-relevant split at tight end for the Texans. Fells has the more recent productive fantasy day, which came two weeks ago, but neither of these guys is jumping out ahead of the other on a consistent basis. It's a shame, because the Raiders are allowing touchdowns on 68.4% of opposing red zone opportunities, which is where one or both of these guys could be expected to bring back start-worthy fantasy value. If I have to lean one way or the other, I'll go Fells based on the fact that he trails only Hopkins in red zone targets among Texans pass-catchers.

Duke Johnson (RB, HOU)

I'd like Duke Johnson a lot more in this one if he wasn't largely being ignored in Houston's offense. The Raiders are allowing 6.67 receptions and 51.83 receiving yards per game to RBs. Johnson has seen an uptick in opportunities recently (targeted four and five times in his last two games, respectively), but he hasn't caught more than two passes in a game since Week 1. He's not a safe bet for Week 8.

Keke Coutee (WR, HOU)

Fuller's expected absence should open the door slightly for Keke Coutee, but I can't confidently bank on him as anything more than a desperation flex play in deep leagues. Regardless of which secondary pass-catchers are active for Houston on a weekly basis, Hopkins owns this pass offense with a 28.8% target share.

Raiders Wide Receivers (WR, OAK)

I love this matchup: Houston has given up the third-most receptions, fifth-most yards, and is tied for the second-most touchdowns allowed to receivers. The problem is I'm not sure who to trust with it. A potentially hobbled Tyrell Williams? He was the clear number-one option for Derek Carr early in the season, but he hasn't logged a full practice this week and has missed Oakland's last two games (so keep an eye on his status going into Sunday). Zay Jones in his first game as a Raider? Hunter Renfrow, whose single-game high in receiving yards is 30? I'd rather let this mess sort itself out on the waiver wire if the alternative is giving any of these guys a chance to torpedo my fantasy lineup.

UPDATE: Tyrell Williams is now expected to make his return this week.

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football, 8:20 PM ET

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs

Matchups We Love:

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

Kansas City is allowing 4.99 yards per carry to opposing backs and well over 100 yards per game. Aaron Jones mercifully out-touched Jamaal Williams 16-7 last Sunday, so for the time being it appears as though the even split two weeks ago was more of an in-the-moment decision. Jones is averaging 4.86 yards per carry in his last three games, and has scored at least one touchdown in five of seven. His recent involvement in the passing game further lifts his fantasy floor, and he is an RB1 with a great matchup on Sunday night.

Jimmy Graham (TE, GB)

Only the Vikings and Cardinals have allowed tight ends to catch more passes than the Chiefs, and Kansas City has surrendered the fifth-most receiving yards to them as well. Jimmy Graham hasn't been a model of consistency, but he's produced when called upon. In his last four games, he's caught 15 of 21 targets for 184 yards and two touchdowns. I like him to see enough volume to bring back low-end TE1 numbers.

LeSean McCoy (RB, KC)

Speaking of defenses that can't stop the run, how's this for a coincidence? The Packers are also allowing 4.99 yards per carry to opposing backs. LeSean McCoy appears to have stepped out ahead of Damien Williams for the lead role in the Chiefs backfield, so he's the guy to look to in Week 8. Despite not having seen more than 12 carries in any game this season, McCoy has been efficient enough with relatively limited touches to bring back flex value against the Pack. It's also worth remembering that Kansas City is likely to lean more heavily on him with Patrick Mahomes out, so perhaps his touch count goes up significantly in this contest.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

When in doubt, simplify things and throw the ball to your power forward of a tight end. I expect a lot of that from Matt Moore on Sunday night, and the Packers haven't been the toughest defense against the tight end position. They're allowing 5.42 receptions and 54.57 yards per game to opposing TEs, and are in a six-way tie for second-most touchdowns surrendered. It's easy to envision Kelce getting enough volume to exploit this matchup and return TE1 value.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

After he carved up the Raiders for six total touchdowns, it's probably safe to stop worrying about whether Aaron Rodgers is still a top-tier fantasy quarterback. That said, he could be looking at a middling ceiling on Sunday night. The Chiefs haven't been frequently torched through the air, and they've surrendered just eight passing touchdowns on the season. Stack that up against their total inability to stop the run, and I see a heavy emphasis on the ground attack from Green Bay in this contest. He's Aaron Rodgers, so you're starting him. Just know that all shootout potential went out the window when Mahomes got hurt.

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB)

The matchup is fine if Jamaal Williams sees enough touches, but last week's outing seemed to render him more of a pass-catcher than a threat to cut into Jones' rushing workload. Green Bay's backfield has been frustrating often enough that this could easily revert back to a closer split between Williams and Jones, but for now we have no choice but to operate under the pretense that Jones is the guy.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling / Geronimo Allison (WR, GB)

Things aren't looking promising in regard to Davante Adams suiting up for Week 8, so the Packers are likely rolling with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison as their top two wideouts. Kansas City hasn't provided a soft fantasy landing for opposing WRs this season, giving up just 11 catches per game and 12.6 yards per catch. With Aaron Rodgers chucking them the ball, it's safe to take the over on catches for this WR pair on Sunday. Valdes-Scantling is averaging 19.8 yards per catch, so he's also a safe bet to break through the Chiefs' secondary for chunk yardage a couple of times. Valdes-Scantling is the safer fantasy play due to target share, while I'd be hesitant to look on Allison as anything more than a risky flex.

Damien Williams (RB, KC)

Maybe Damien Williams climbs back into fantasy relevance with Kansas City's MVP quarterback set to miss time, but his recent lack of involvement is tough to ignore. He's seen just 25 total touches in his last three games, and McCoy hasn't done anything to give away the lead role. If you choose to roll with Williams in your fantasy lineup, you're definitely hoping the Chiefs go with a run-heavy approach--and that they don't give a large majority of that work to McCoy.

Matt Moore (QB, KC)

Patrick Mahomes is listed as doubtful, so I'm going to proceed with the idea that the Chiefs are smart enough not to risk further injury to the only real reason they are considered a Super Bowl contender. Backup Matt Moore doesn't inherit the softest matchup, as the Packers are holding opposing teams to 1.28 passing touchdowns per game and have the sixth-highest interception rate in football. Moore obviously has the weapons around him to put up decent numbers as long as he doesn't turn the ball over, but he's not going to be asked to run this offense the same way Mahomes does. Don't overthink this one.

Chiefs Wide Receivers (WR, KC)

Tyreek Hill is an obvious must-start, but let's tap the brakes on expecting another huge day with Moore throwing the ball to him. As for Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson, it's difficult to get excited without Mahomes' dynamic ability at QB. Most of the secondary options in Kansas City's receiving game are dependent on touchdowns and/or big plays to begin with, and those chances take a real dent with a backup quarterback expected to suit up. The Packers have allowed the fourth-fewest receptions to WRs, further detracting from the PPR potential of a WR corps that isn't PPR-friendly in the first place. It's not that I don't believe in any of these guys; it's that I'm not sure which one to trust in a given week, and all of their floors are low. If you're starting any Chiefs wideout other than Hill, take solace in the fact that Green Bay is allowing 17.9 yards per catch to receivers--so the big play is potentially there.

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Week 13 was a pretty chalky one with just three underdogs winning outright. The biggest upset was the Broncos absolutely annihilating the Houston Texans who were still celebrating their "Super Bowl" win against the Patriots the week prior. Three weeks remain and I'd be a fool to think there are hundreds who are reading this... Read More


The Tape Tells All - Robby Anderson Fantasy Outlook

Welcome to another edition of "The Tape Tells All," where I break down some film of an NFL's player performance and try to draw some fantasy football conclusions from that film. This week, I'm looking at New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson, who's shaken off a slow start to the 2019 season by going... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers, Fallers - Zach Ertz, Emmanuel Sanders, Robert Woods

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Sit Your Studs?

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More


Week 15 Warning Signs: Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Julio Jones

You made the playoffs. Awesome. Now you have even won your first game. That is even better. But now what? There are many players, some of whom performed in the first round, who may not be so fortunate this week. Whether it is a bad matchup or injuries to key players around them, this could... Read More


WR/TE Leaderboards After The First Playoff Round - NFL Next Gen Stats

Things finally got serious. If you're here, it's only because one of two reasons: 1) you have followed the series all along and want to keep reading just so you don't feel bad with yourself, or 2) you won your first round of the fantasy playoffs and are still on the lookout for the smallest... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 15

The first week of the fantasy playoffs is in the books, and hopefully you're still writing another chapter in it. Week 14 was absolutely brutal from an injury perspective, with several big name players getting carted off the field and burying multitudes of fantasy teams in the process. Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley, Devante Parker, Alshon... Read More