Week 8: Start ‘Ems/ Sit ‘Ems

By: Alex Michael (DynastyGuruNFL)

QB – Start ‘Em

Baker Mayfield (CLE vs Las Vegas Raiders)

Baker Mayfield entered into Week 7 as someone who we were unsure would a) escape the injury report and b) could be replaced by Case Keenum if he underperformed. He started off the game against the Bengals in Week 7 throwing 0/5 and an INT and a replacement seemed somewhat imminent but, credit where credit’s due. He threw an franchise record of passes completed consecutively and threw for 297 yards and 5 TDs! He is up against the Las Vegas Raiders team who allowed 4 passing touchdowns in their Week 7 matchup against the Buccaneers. Even with Beckham Jr. out, Mayfield has shown he likes working with the new blood in Harrison Bryant and Donovan Peoples-Jones, so could be a positive matchup as his confidence is high.

Josh Allen (BUF vs New England Patriots)

In what was a very stagnant game against the New York Jets in Week 7, Josh Allen led the team in rushing, with 61 yards on 11 attempts and passed for 307 yards. The only thing missing was a touchdown. This was extremely rare for Allen as he has passed for at least 2 TDs in every other game this season, including 4 passing TDs against both the Dolphins and Rams in Week 2 and Week 3, respectively.  In Week 8, the Bills will be battling it out against an under-par Patriots team who have three QBs on their roster, all of whom don’t seem to fit into this offensive system. This can only mean good things for Allen as it’ll give him and the Bills offense a lot more time on the field.

Tom Brady (TB vs New York Giants)

After a standout performance against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, Tom Brady finds himself on this list going into Week 8. The Buccaneers will face-off against the Giants on Monday Night Football and the current QB6 now has Antonio Brown as a target, Brown will likely be filling in for Chris Godwin who is out (fractured finger). Brady passed for 4 TDs as well as a 1 -yard rushing TD in Week 7 and hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 4, against the Chargers. The Giants defence have grown in confidence over the last couple of weeks but, ultimately when up against Quarterbacks famed for their passing skills, the Giants defense has crumbled, and allowed a lot of points n the field.

QB – Sit ‘Em

Matthew Stafford (DET vs Indianapolis Colts)

Matthew Stafford has had a really great season so far, even though he looked to put up a dud until saving himself with a last-ditch TD pass to tight-end T.J. Hockenson in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons. Stafford however, comes against the ever-strong Indianapolis Colts defense in Week 8. The Colts’ defense have proven difficult opponents for quarterbacks this season and have only allowed 4 passing TDs from opposition quarterbacks in the last five games. Surprisingly, the only quarterback to effectively dominate the Colts’ defense was Garnder Minshew in Week 1. Whilst Stafford has a lot of options to throw to, this could be a day in which the Lions QB struggles to score fantasy points.

Tua Tagovailoa (MIA vs Los Angeles Rams)

The boy wonder finally gets his shot in the NFL as the Miami Dolphins announced in Week 6 that after their Week 7 BYE, Tua would be taking over the reign from veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. We can imagine that for the Dolphins to announce this change Tua must be up-to-date with the playbook and he has a solid rapport with the receivers. However, fantasy-owners have to account for the fact that Tua’s introduction to the league will be up against none other than the Rams’ Aaron Donald who has 4.5 sacks against opposition quarterbacks in the last two games. The entire Rams’ defense have also racked up 17 sacks in their last four games so Tua had better be ready, else it may not be a day to remember.

Cam Newton/ Jarrett Stidham (NE vs Buffalo Bills)

This should come as no shock as the New England Patriots underwent one of their most underwhelming performances in a very long time against the Denver Broncos in Week 6 and followed up with an even more forgettable showing whereby Cam Newton threw for just 98 yards and 3 INTs before being benched for Stidham who performed no better, throwing for 64 yards and 1 INT. The Patriots stand little chance against a high-performing Buffalo Bills defense who in their last game against the New York Jets sacked Sam Darnold six times as well catching two interceptions.

RB – Start ‘Em

James Conner (PIT vs Baltimore Ravens)

Now, this may not look like a good match on paper but, James Conner has 4 rushing TDs in the last five games. Along with his scores, he has 442 rushing yards in those five games and is playing for a Pittsburgh team who are on a rampage. With the threat of interceptions on passes against two of the most prolific corner backs in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters of the Ravens, it is very likely that the Steelers will try to run the ball leaving Conner as the biggest beneficiary of the night, as far as the Pittsburgh offense is concerned. The Ravens have allowed. The Ravens have held-off running-backs this season, but in their Week 6 match-up against the Eagles it is encouraging to know what Sanders ran for 118 yards.

Leonard Fournette (TB vs New York Giants)

I don’t know if it’s too early to say it but, Leonard Fournette is back! In Week 7, Fournette from 11 touches carried for 55 yards as well as getting 6 receptions (from 7 targets). It is the first game that Fournette has been active since Week 3. Although it’s not ground-breaking statistics and Ronald Jones has performed well in his absence, Fournette on his return reduced Jones’ contribution in the running game. It will also help Fournette’s case this week that the Buccaneers are facing-off against the New York Giants this week who have done well not to concede rushing touchdowns. Fournette however, is poised to feature in the passing-game which can give his stats a boost this week in PPR leagues.

Dalvin Cook (MIN vs Green Bay Packers)

Goes without saying that Dalvin Cook has been on fire, evidenced by his sterling performances in Weeks 1-5. In those five games, Cook has scored 7 rushing TDs this season and although he had to sit out Week 6 with an adductor problem, he has had two weeks to return to full-health and prepare for a divisional bout against the Green Bay Packers, who in Weeks 4 and 6 conceded 2 rushing touchdowns to opposition running backs. The Minnesota team have been a bit hit-and-miss and this has been somewhat tied to the performance of Kirk Cousins. However, Dalvin Cook has been somewhat immune to bad performances and anyone in doubt, should squash that doubt and start Cook this week.

RB – Sit ‘Em

David Montgomery (CHI vs New Orleans Saints)

I’m one of those people who is still on the fence with David Montgomery. I’m quietly rooting for him but, still waiting for him to arrive. Montgomery has “upped his game” on the receiving side which is a very strong positive, to the extent that his receiving stats after Week 7 are almost identical to his entire 2019 season. It doesn’t help Montgomery’s chances that in their last two games the New Orleans Saints haven’t given up a touchdown to a running back. Montgomery only has two touchdowns this season, one rushing and one receiving. I’ll still have my fingers crossed for him but, if I’m owner of the second year back, I would consider benching him this week.

Jerick McKinnon (SF vs Seattle Seahawks)

The 49ers backfield changes drastically from week-to-week and whilst this is largely attributed to injuries Jerick McKinnon managed to get a great run of games, scoring a touchdown in the first four weeks of the season. Since the Week 4 match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles however, McKinnon has underwhelmed with both Mostert and Wilson leading the charge in Weeks 5-7. With JaMycal Hasty sneaking his way into the frame and Kyle Jusczcyk running in for two touchdowns in the past three weeks it doesn’t bode well for McKinnon owners this week against a Seahawks defense who only have allowed 1 rushing TD in their last three games.

Mike Davis (CAR vs Atlanta Falcons)

This may be a little unfair on Mike Davis but, the Falcons defense are slowly improving under the tutelage of Raheem Morris. In Week 7, Matthew Stafford was lucky that Gurley took the ball over the line and gave the Lions the opportunity for a last-ditch score. Mike Davis in contrast saw his production decline in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints and for the first time since taking the hot-seat in Week 3, it is the first time that Davis has had less than 10 touches. Those 7 touches only gained the Panthers all of 12 yards and his confidence will have taken a hit not to mention the imminent return of McCaffrey expected in Week 9. It might be the right time to drop/ bench Davis who is unlikely to feature upon the return of CMC.

WR – Start ‘Em

Tyler Lockett (SEA vs San Francisco 49ers)

Need I say more. The Seahawks are on fire, Russell Wilson is on fire and Tyler Lockett is on fire. After accumulating 200 yards from 15 receptions (20 targets) scoring 3 TDs made Lockett the highest scoring fantasy player in Week 7. It is very likely that the 49ers secondary won’t know who to double-up against this week against the Seahawks but, with DK Metcalf considered the biggest threat, this could leave openings for Tyler Lockett who has scored a hat-trick of TDs in two separate games this season already. The 49ers have conceded two receiving touchdowns to wide receivers in 2 of their last three games (this also includes last weeks demolition of the Patriots).

Adam Thielen (MIN vs Green Bay Packers)

Alongside Tyler Lockett, Adam Thielen is the holder of the title, “most receiving touchdowns in 2020” after Week 7. They both have 7 touchdowns in 6 games and Thielen now will line-up against divisional rivals Green Bay for the second time this season. In Week 1, Thielen had himself a day to remember catching 6 balls (from 8 targets) for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. Thielen will have his hands full as the Packers won’t want a repeat but, in a game that’s important for the Vikings’ season, it is likely that Thielen will be going all-out.

D.J. Moore (CAR vs Atlanta Falcons)

Needless to say that wide-receivers have a great season so far when facing the Atlanta Falcons and D.J. Moore has picked up in form considerably in the last three weeks. After a slow start to the season, Moore has 93 receiving yards in each of his last three games (weird coincidence, I know!) and with it Moore has found the end-zone three times in those three games, including two scores against the New Orleans Saints in Week 7. Having participated in 86% of offensive snaps this season, which is considerably more than his counterpart Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore has built up a lot of trust with Bridgewater as the season has gone by and in what is a favourable match-up for Moore and the Panthers, we can still expect to see much of the same.

WR – Sit ‘Em

JuJu Smith-Schuster  (PIT vs Baltimore Ravens)

Smith-Schuster seems to have fallen off the radar (maybe a slight exaggeration) and it is slightly concerning given that they are facing up against one of the tougher defences in the league. Although, JuJu accumulated 9 receptions (from 14 targets) for 85 receiving yards last week against the Tennessee Titans, he is still without a score since before the Steelers’ early BYE-Week, in Week 4. We can expect JuJu to see the field for a considerable amount of snaps but it is likely that the coverage on him will be strong, which may allow for plays from “gadget players” such as Chase Claypool, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud, which we have seen in recent weeks.

Henry Ruggs (LV vs Cleveland Browns)

I’m still not sold on Henry Ruggs. The rookie has so far been the recipient of two receptions per game on average and his production is highly limited to being open for a long-field scoring pass. In recent weeks, Nelson Agholor has really stepped up the plate scoring a TD in his last three games minimising opportunities for Ruggs who is also competing for targets with Hunter Renfrow and TE machine, Darren Waller. Even though the Browns have allowed at least two receiving touchdowns in their last two games, it is likely that Ruggs won’t be the end-zone target.

A.J. Green (CIN vs Tennessee Titans)

A.J. Green had a solid game in Week 7, racking up 82 yards from 7 catches (13 targets) but, in the past few weeks Tee Higgins has been building up a somewhat formidable relationship with rookie quarterback Joe Burrow and is looking to usurp some of Green’s role as part of his growth. Green has only really shown some solid returns in Weeks 6 and 7 and has otherwise been disappointing for fantasy owners as he is still without a TD since returning from the injury that kept him out for the entire 2019 season. This essentially means that A.J. Green’s last TD came in Week 8 of 2018!

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