Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 8: Breaking Down Fantasy Studs with Tough Matchups

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) celebrates with fans after catching a pass for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, when the NFL schedule-makers drew things up, they left quite a few lopsided matchups in Week 8. Most of the good teams in action are playing the pretty bad ones, and the compelling contests are few and far between.

That also means that a large portion of fantasy studs have tasty matchups they should exploit this week. But as always, there are a few fantasy stars who will battle tough defenses. 

So, should you start these players or keep them riding the pine? Let's break it down.


Alfred Morris, RB, Washington

Oct 20, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) runs the ball as Chicago Bears linebacker James Anderson (50) chases during the first half at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup: Denver Broncos

Analysis: On one hand, the Denver Broncos allow the fewest rushing yards in the NFL (77.1) in large part because teams have to abandon the run to make up the large deficits they often face against Peyton Manning and his array of weapons.

Add in the fact that Roy Helu has gotten 37 touches in the past three games and scored three touchdowns last week against the Chicago Bears, and you can understand why Alfred Morris owners might be nervous this week. 

On the other hand, the Broncos still give up 17.3 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week in standard-scoring leagues, 24th in the NFL. And despite Helu's increased usage, Morris has failed to rush for less than 70 yards just once this season. 

He might not be an RB1 by the end of the season, but for now you should be starting Morris with confidence.

Verdict: Start


Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Oct 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) runs after a catch in the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup: Carolina Panthers

Analysis: The Panthers play some defense, folks. They are fifth in both passing yards allowed per game (217.7) and fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers (14.7).

But can you really afford to sit Vincent Jackson if you have him, even when he has a tough matchup? Things have really clicked between rookie quarterback Mike Glennon and Jackson in the past two weeks, as the wide receiver has 19 receptions for 252 yards and four touchdowns in that span. 

Jackson will probably attract a lot of attention Thursday evening, especially with Doug Martin unable to play. But unless you are stacked at wide receiver, you don't have much of a choice but to start him and hope the good times keep on rolling.

Verdict: Start (and hope for the best)


Josh Gordan, WR, and Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns

Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis: Any way you slice it, this is a tough matchup for Cleveland's top weapons. The Chiefs allow just 194.7 passing yards per game (third in the NFL), have given up just six passing touchdowns (tied third) and give up a paltry 2.3 fantasy points to opposing tight ends per week, best in the NFL.

The matchup statistically is a bit better for Gordon than Cameron, as the Chiefs give up 18.6 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week (11th in the NFL) and have given up a passing touchdown to a wide receiver in five of the seven games they've played. 

Then again, Gordon will likely draw talented corner Brandon Flowers for most of the game.

And with Jason Campbell under center, you probably want to stay away from both players this week unless you absolutely have to start them due to the bye weeks. At this point, Gordon owners should probably hope he gets moved before the trade deadline.

Verdict: Sit both


Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions and crack hilarious jokes about the St. Louis Rams contacting Brett Favre's agent while Tim Tebow toils in obscurity. 

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