Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee
Luck had a hiccup against the Cleveland Browns in Week 7 (186 yards, 0 TD and 0 INT, though he did have two rushing touchdowns) and certainly wasn’t stellar against the New York Jets in Week 6 (280 yards, 0 TD and 2 INT).
However, he is a rookie and inconsistencies generally go with the territory. In his four prior games he had thrown for 300-plus yards three times and two touchdowns three times. Throw in a matchup with the Titans, who are tied for the league lead with 16 passing touchdowns allowed, as well as 281.4 yards per game and this is the perfect week to expect a bounce-back performance.
Sit: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
The assumption was that the Jets' passing defense would completely fall apart with the loss of Darrelle Revis. However, Antonio Cromartie has stepped up and the unit as a whole has played better than expected.
Tannehill had one huge game a few weeks ago (431 yards), but otherwise has not thrown more than 223 yards and has four touchdown passes on the season. There’s too much risk to trust him.
Start: Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay
Maurice Jones-Drew is out, meaning Jennings is going to get the bulk of the opportunities. He has long been one of the more desirable reserve running backs in the league, offering both rushing and receiving potential. That means he should produce against a Packers defense that is allowing nearly 110 rushing yards per game, even if it breaks down into a shootout.
Start: Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans
The Broncos and Saints could light up the scoreboard, but New Orleans has been among the worst rushing defenses in the league. They are currently allowing 161.0 rushing yards per game, as well as eight touchdowns. The matchup is favorable so, despite his up-and-down performances, he is worth using.
Sit: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco
Stephens-Howling is a hot target off the waiver wire after exploding for a total of 149 yards and a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings (though, after seeing Doug Martin light them up as well we need to temper our excitement).
However, he’s never been trusted with that type of workload before and it is highly unlikely that he will again. There’s a reason that he hasn’t before in his career and look for this to be a timeshare once again, with William Powell also getting his fair share of carries.
Sit: Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams vs. New England
He is no longer the true lead back, sharing carries with Daryl Richardson. It’s not like the Patriots' defense is stellar, but they are allowing just 86.0 rushing yards per game and have conceded just three touchdowns on the ground.
It’s easy to imagine the Rams trying to play catch-up, meaning they are going to be forced to pass the football. With the timeshare and the risk of abandoning the run, Jackson is more of a FLEX option if you can’t avoid him.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington
Brown hasn’t even performed like a Top 30 option, with 36 receptions for 442 yards and one touchdown this season. However, the Redskins are the worst passing defense in the league (328.4 yards/game, 16 TD). The Steelers should go pass-heavy, with Brown and Mike Wallace both benefiting from the match-up.
Sit: Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers at Chicago
The Panthers draw a very tough matchup against the Bears, so this write-up not only goes for Smith, but other skill players like DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Bears have been lights out on defense and, as the Panthers' offense continues to struggle, it’s impossible to trust any of the skill players this week.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start: Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns vs. San Diego
He’s a big-play receiver with 14 catches for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Lucky for fantasy owners the Chargers have allowed five passes of at least 40 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. He’s proving to be the team’s top receiver and, at this point, is worth using in all deeper formats (despite there being some risk).
Sit: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers at Arizona
I feel like a broken record when it comes to Crabtree, but until he consistently proves capable of putting up numbers it is impossible to trust him. This is a rushing attack with a quarterback that is a game manager and other options to throw the ball to. Sounds like a gamble not worth taking.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: