Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 8: How to Handle Last Week's Biggest Underachievers

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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 8: How to Handle Last Week's Biggest Underachievers

With a slew of injuries devastating a number of NFL teams in Week 7, there was no shortage of underachieving fantasy football performers.

But while injury is a legitimate excuse for a bad day at the office, some healthy superstars left fantasy owners scratching their heads in the wake of dismal outings last week.

Here, we'll highlight some of last week's biggest underachievers and break down the best way to handle them in Week 8.

*Standard-league scoring statistics according to ESPN Fantasy.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings, RB

/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings offense has struggled immensely since returning from its bye week. As a result, superstar running back Adrian Peterson has failed to put up the impressive numbers fantasy owners have become accustomed to seeing. 

While Peterson's six-point standard-league average over the past two games is disconcerting, his 28 total touches over that time are just as troubling. 

And with Peterson set to square off against one of the league's most fearsome rush defenses in the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, he doesn't appear set to break out of his slump anytime soon. Only the New York Jets and Denver Broncos are allowing fewer yards per carry than Green Bay and only six teams in the NFL have allowed fewer rushing touchdowns than the Packers in 2013.

Just like the Panthers and Giants have done over the past two weeks, watch for the Packers to crowd the box and force the Vikings to beat them with the pass in Week 8. 

Fantasy Play: Sit

Running Backs
Player Average Points Week 7 Points Fantasy Play
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals 6.3 2 Sit
Joique Bells, Lions 8.3 4 Sit
Kendall Hunter, 49ers 4.0 0 Start

ESPN Fantasy

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants, WR

/Getty Images

Since breaking loose for 142 yards on nine receptions against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5, Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks has flown under the radar, catching a combined six passes for 98 yards over the past two games.

Fortunately for Nicks owners, the Giants will take on the Eagles again this weekend, the same secondary Nicks torched three weeks ago.

The veteran will also have an excellent shot to score his first touchdown of 2013 when he goes up against an Eagles defense that has surrendered 14 touchdowns through the air in seven games this season.

Despite five underwhelming performances over his last six outings, Nicks is a must-start at wide receiver in Week 8.

Fantasy Play: Start 

Wide Receivers
Player Average Points Week 7 Points Fantasy Play
DeSean Jackson, Eagles 12.7 2 Start
Pierre Garcon, Redskins 9.3 5 Start
Justin Blackmon, Jaguars 14.3 5 Sit

ESPN Fantasy

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys, TE

/Getty Images

Tony Romo's second-favorite target, Jason Witten has been ineffective over the past two weeks against division rivals Washington and Philadelphia, recording just 75 total yards on seven receptions since the start of Week 6.

But look for that to change in Week 8 as Witten and the Cowboys prepare to go up against the Detroit Lions.

Detroit is allowing 282 yards passing per game this season (fifth most in NFL) and surrendered nearly 110 yards and a touchdown to Cincinnati Bengals tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert in Week 7.

With Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams stretching Detroit's secondary deep, watch for Witten to reemerge as a popular target in the middle of the field in Week 8.

Fantasy Play: Start

Tight Ends
Player Average Points Week 7 Points Fantasy Play
Vernon Davis, 49ers 11.4 6 Start
Jeff Cumberland, Jets 4.7 4 Start
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings 5.2 2 Sit

ESPN Fantasy

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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