Fantasy Football Week 8: Sunday Morning Gameday Preview
With five games having projected totals of 48 points or more, according to Odds Shark, we could be in for a high-flying, offensively driven Week 8 slate on Sunday, which bodes well for our fantasy football teams.
Offense is always a good thing—it results in fantasy points for our teams as we have reached the halfway point of the season.
If you haven't heard, there are a ton of teams on bye this week. To be exact, there are six—the Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers.
Because of this you likely have more players on bye than you can handle, thus you've scurried to the waiver wire this week for fill-in options.
If you play DFS, there are just 10 games on the main slate, which can ironically make things more difficult, though there are fewer players to choose from.
This is bye-pocalypse's world this week, and we're just living in it.
Let's start by jumping across the pond and go over a game I might actually wake up to watch—the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Redskins.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Washington Redskins 'At' Cincinnati Bengals
For the third consecutive week, we'll have a game in London. And for the first time ever, it may actually be a decent one—the Washington Redskins going up against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Usually when the NFL goes to London, we get the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Los Angeles Rams it sees, so to get two teams that are actually quite decent is almost unprecedented.
Though they are considered "decent" on paper, the Redskins come into the week at 4-3, and the Bengals at 3-4.
Both of these teams are highlighted by two of the best receiving options in the NFL—wide receiver A.J. Green for the Bengals and tight end Jordan Reed for the Redskins.
According to Odds Shark, the Bengals are three-point favorites in London.
I'll give the Redskins the points here. This could be a fun one.
The Redskins will be without starting running back Matt Jones. While this may be a big deal on the surface, there have been mutterings of the team reducing Jones' snaps due to his fumbling issues.
Despite his history with concussions, Reed will return after a two-game absence.
Though there is some speculation as to whether he could be limited, you need to play Reed here.
As long as he is healthy, he's a perennial TE1 week-in, week-out.
Green is the play here, of course. Regardless of Redskins cornerback Josh Norman being active, Green is one of the most matchup-proof players in the league.
Sleepers and Streamers
There are quite a few players on each roster that deserve a start, though they are not necessarily sleepers or fixtures. For example, start Cincinnati Bengals running backs Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill, tight end Tyler Eifert and even quarterback Andy Dalton.
The same logic applies here for the Redskins and wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
I do like Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins this week. He hasn't been flashy this season, coming into this week as the QB13 on the season, but the Bengals do give up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and close to an average of 250 passing yards and two touchdowns per game. If you're a victim of the bye weeks this week, give Cousins a shot on a neutral field.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
For some reason I have a feeling this game could result in a shootout.
That's right, we could actually see Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith play competently in a shootout.
Look, the Indianapolis Colts defense is horrible. Outside of cornerback Vontae Davis, the Colts have just a bunch of interchangeable guys on the defensive side of the ball.
A shootout could fare well for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who, to this point, has been relatively lackluster considering his talent level and physical specimen.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will get two more weapons back this week in wide receivers Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett.
At home, the Colts are a 2.5-point underdog.
I'll give the Colts the points. Luck is going to single-handedly take it to the Chiefs in this one.
Two notable injuries include Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and Colts tight end Dwayne Allen.
Charles has been dealing with the after effects of his torn ACL from a year ago, and his surgically repaired knee "acted up" in Week 7.
On the other side, Allen has been dealing with a high ankle sprain, making fellow tight end Jack Doyle a fan favorite in the fantasy community.
Kansas City Chiefs
With Charles out, coupled with an incredible matchup, Chiefs running back Spencer Ware is a must play this week, even in DFS. Again, the Colts are horrid against really any position on defense, and Ware averages nearly 19 touches per game. With Charles out, there is zero threat to his workload.
The tandem of Luck and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is a duo we always seem to underrate, but they just keep performing.
Coming out of the slot, Hilton will be primarily covered by Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson who has shown he can be beat by opposing receivers.
I wouldn't be surprised if Luck threw four touchdowns in this one.
Sleepers and Streamers
He's not so much a sleeper anymore, but Doyle is always a fun option to play, especially in DFS where he is fairly cheap. My only concern with Doyle now, though is that with Dorsett and Moncrief back, he could be relegated to blocking more. With that said, the Chiefs have the least sacks in the league, so they may not be a huge threat to create pressure, although the Colts offensive line is probably worse than their defense.
I'd play Kelce here. I know he's been underwhelming, but if he can't perform here, I don't know where he can.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In Week 8, two young quarterbacks will do battle as the Derek Carr-led Oakland Raiders will travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Each offense is equipped with not only a young pass-thrower, but also a young and extremely talented pass-catcher. I'm referring to Mike Evans of the Bucs and Amari Cooper of the Raiders.
Both defenses have been somewhat exposed this season, although the Raiders have plenty of great players on theirs.
This game has a projected point total of 49.5, with the Buccaneers as a slight home underdog, getting just a point.
I'll take the Raiders here. They have too many skill position guys as well as just better players on the defensive side of the ball, whereas the Bucs will be leaning heavily on Evans to win the game.
I'll take the over, and the Raiders in this one.
The only fantasy injury of note here is Bucs running back Doug Martin who has not played since Week 2. Fellow running back Jacquizz Rodgers will be the lead back for the third week in a row.
I'd start all of the players on offense whose last name starts with "C" here—Carr, Cooper and fellow wide receiver Michael Crabtree. This is going to be an all-out aerial assault on both sides.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Evans is the go-to here. No reasoning needed. Also, Rodgers is probably a high-end RB2 this week considering the workload he has received the past two weeks. There is a little bit of a concern of fellow running back Peyton Barber getting extra work to take some pressure off of Rodgers, but nonetheless.
You can't ignore the Bucs quarterback here in Jameis Winston. He should be started if you own him.
Sleepers and Streamers
Keeping in mind the potential for a shootout, Raiders slot receiver Seth Roberts could be a decent WR3 bye-week flier if you're in need. Raiders running back Latavius Murray got the most work he's had in a single game last week, receiving 18 carries in Week 7. He's not playing as many snaps as you'd like from a team's leading running back, but you could do worse this week.
Keeping the theme of "shootout," target Bucs pass-catcher Adam Humphries because fellow wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy are out, and tight end Cameron Brate could realistically be considered the team's No. 2 pass catching option behind Mike Evans.
There are plenty of opportunities in this game for fantasy points all around.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints
In the words of Bruce Buffer, "Ittttttttttt'ssss time!"
We finally get to experience the revenge game for Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham in his first return to New Orleans since the New Orleans Saints traded the tight end before the 2015 season.
This should be a fun one. Not only because of his return, but this should be another high-scoring contest.
On one side you get the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees who just puts up a ton of points and has a terrible defense, and on the other side you have the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson who don't have quite the high-powered offense the Saints do, but with a much better defense.
Will Brees be able to throw his way to another victory thanks to no help from his defense?
At home, the Saints are a one-point underdog.
Give me the Saints with the points. Brees is going to stick it to Seattle.
Nothing really of note on the injury front. The Seahawks will be without running back Thomas Rawls, but we've gotten used to that, haven't we?
Graham, Wilson and running back Christine Michael are all in play here.
If the Seahawks get at all close to the end zone, they're going to give Graham a shot to overpower his former teammates and put up six for the "bad" guys.
Wilson, though not 100 percent, should still be a valid option this week against a historically bad Saints defense.
Lastly, Michael should be able to run all over the Saints and a defense that gives up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, though he does leave a lot to be desired in the passing game.
New Orleans Saints
We're going to stick with Brees here. At home he's averaging over 420 passing yards and nearly four touchdowns per game. Yeah, it's Seattle, but they're not their same old scary self from a few years back.
Because of his passing prowess, I'm all in on two of his pass-catchers—wide receivers Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks.
Thomas is quietly emerging as the team's No. 1 receiver, having been targeted 26 times over the past three games, catching two touchdowns. Especially in PPR formats, Thomas is a must-play each week.
For Cooks, he has that big-play ability, and we've seen it on display a few times this season, catching a 98-yard touchdown and an 87-yard touchdown in Weeks 1 and 6, respectively.
Get them all going this week.
Sleepers and Streamers
We're going to stick to the theme of pass-catchers here for both teams.
For the Seahawks, this just feels like a game for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to break out this season. Kearse has yet to catch a touchdown this season.
For the Saints, tight end Coby Fleener. Again, averaging well over 400 yards passing per game and his ability to spread the ball around, Brees could allow multiple pass-catchers to have quality fantasy weeks in Week 8.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Detroit Lions at Houston Texans
Coming into Week 8 with a three-game winning streak, the Detroit Lions will do battle with a Houston Texans team that, while 4-3 on the season, is undefeated at home.
Of course, the main storyline here is essentially this: "Will Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler suck again?"
Fair question to ask—he's been dreadful on the season. But hey, to be fair, Osweiler has looked miserable on the road because the Texans have been dealt the three hardest teams on the road to beat—the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings.
Meanwhile, Osweiler is averaging over 250 passing yards per game at home, and will be able to shut some people up against a bad Lions secondary that will be without perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay.
This is a huge chance for Osweiler; let's see how he manages.
Even though his fantasy day might be OK, I'll take the Lions as a small road dog here. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will keep it rolling.
As mentioned above, the Lions will be without Slay in this.
For the Texans, running back Lamar Miller is dealing with a shoulder injury. By the sounds of everything, he should play, but there are legitimate question marks as to his potential usage in this one.
Regardless of it being the Texans, it's hard to count out Stafford at this point. I mean, he's the QB5 and one of the guys ahead of him is Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota who has already played his eighth game of the season.
In addition to Stafford, I'm going to have trouble shying away from wide receiver Marvin Jones who is the Lions' No. 1 option in the passing game. Sure, fellow wide receiver Golden Tate has looked like the go-to guy the past couple of weeks, but that will change this week thanks to the return of running back Theo Riddick.
And there it is—what a professional transition there. Riddick is a bona fide RB2 in PPR leagues this week, especially when you factor in his ability to catch passes.
Stafford, Riddick and Jones are all guys I'm playing this week.
I'd feel comfortable starting either Texans wide receiver—Will Fuller or DeAndre Hopkins. They should cause a headache for a mediocre secondary in Slay's absence.
Sleepers and Streamers
For sleepers and streamers in this game, you have to look to the Texans. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and (gulp) Osweiler are solid streaming options at their respective positions this week.
I mean, come on—if Osweiler can't make anything happen against the Lions secondary, I just give up.
Osweiler is averaging a near league-low 5.7 yards per pass attempt, which bodes well for Fiedorowicz who could see plenty of receptions in this game. After all, he's averaging seven targets per game over his last three games.
Fantasy Football Week 8: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
The battle of bad makes its way to Cleveland this week in the NFL, as the Cleveland Browns will be hosting the New York Jets.
On top of it being two terrible teams, the weather will likely be similar to that of the play of the teams—crappy. According to Kevin Roth of RotoGrinders, we should expect rain throughout the game.
Both of these have terrible secondaries, though the Jets still have a fairly solid run defense.
The Browns? Well, yeah, they're just bad.
As expected, the Browns are underdogs at home.
Guess what? I'm taking the Browns in this one. That's right! The losing stops, and the Browns will be 1-7 on the season.
Let's face it, if they don't win here, 0-16 is happening. This is their final shot.
Although he's getting closer, Browns rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman will not make his return this week.
New York Jets
This game could actually be somewhat of a mini shootout, so we could see fantasy points flying around in this one.
The only fixture for the Browns in this one is Terrelle Pryor Sr. He should be the focal point of the Browns passing attack against a beatable secondary, including cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Sleepers and Streamers
For the visiting team, I'm OK with streaming Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has a lot to prove after being benched for fellow quarterback Geno Smith, and what a game to redeem himself.
Same thing for the Browns—quarterback Josh McCown. Both teams should be passing the ball all around the yard, and it will bode well for both quarterbacks. Last season, Browns tight end Gary Barnidge took the world by storm. He's fallen out of favor recently, but McCown is his best bet to get more involved. He's a great streaming tight end option this week.
Fantasy Football Week 8: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
One of the three divisional matchups on the Sunday docket, the New England Patriots will go on the road against the lone team to beat them this season—the Buffalo Bills.
One caveat, though: The Patriots did not have quarterback Tom Brady in that Week 4 loss.
Things should be different this time.
A six-point favorite on the road, I'm taking the Patriots in a shellacking.
Brady gets his revenge against the Bills and head coach Rex Ryan.
There are several injuries of note in this one.
For the Patriots, tight end Martellus Bennett has been battling an ankle injury. Regardless, Bennett will suit up, though there should be some concern about his overall usage. Bennett has seen reduced snaps over the past few games.
The Bills will be without wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and running back LeSean McCoy in this one, as they battle a concussion and hamstring injury, respectively. The good news for the Bills is the return of wide receiver Robert Woods, who missed Week 7 with a foot injury.
New England Patriots
Given that I think the Patriots are going to obliterate the Bills, it's hard to dispute starting any Patriots. However, I'd definitely go with Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back James White. I do like wide receiver Julian Edelman in this one, but his usage hasn't been quite what we'd like so far. In his 10 career games against the Bills, Gronk has 10 touchdowns. I know you didn't need any reasoning behind why you should start him, but there you go.
There's not a single Bills player I'm sticking my neck out for this week, honestly.
Sleepers and Streamers
Another revenge game that is somewhat flying under the radar: The return of Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan to Buffalo against the Bills. I could very well see Brady and company letting him get more involved against his former team.
With McCoy out, you could turn your attention to backup running back Mike Gillislee. The matchup in and of itself isn't all that great, but he should get the work. In addition to Gillislee, the Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, should find himself playing from behind and throwing, so give him a shot.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
A year ago, this would be a high-profile game. I mean, it's the rematch of the 2015 NFC Championship game—the Arizona Cardinals on the road against the Carolina Panthers.
But, these teams combine for a mere 4-8-1 record. The tie is courtesy of the Cardinals, if you hadn't known.
In what you could consider a transition year in their secondary, the Panthers have struggled to contain opposing teams' passing attacks without cornerback Josh Norman.
For the Cardinals, their offense has been fairly stagnant with quarterback Carson Palmer playing not the best football as of late.
This game is going to come down to the Panthers quarterback Cam Newton against the Cardinals rushing attack led by running back David Johnson.
A three-point dog at home, this is tough one to bet. I'll take the Cardinals on the off chance Palmer finds some kind of rhythm in his passing attack.
Two Cardinals wide receivers could potentially miss this week's game. First, Michael Floyd—he's been questionable all week with a hamstring injury, but finally managed a limited practice session on Friday. For fellow wide receiver John Brown, he missed Week 7 with a leg injury. The Cardinals are expecting him back this week, though it's not a complete definite.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is a must start every week, no matter what. He should draw Panthers defensive back Robert McClain, who is just not a good football player.
The running back, Mr. Johnson. Must I say more?
It's hard to find a better option at tight end than the Panthers' Greg Olsen. He's had at least 64 receiving yards in every game this season, and has seen no less than seven targets in a single game.
Though it could be a rough day for him, it's hard to ignore wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. You likely don't have any better options this week considering all the teams on bye, but expect Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson to shadow Benjamin all afternoon.
Lastly, quarterback Cam Newton—he has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the league with what he can do on the ground.
Sleepers and Streamers
With Floyd all but out for the Cardinals, and Brown not yet 100 percent regardless of if he plays or not, fellow wide receiver J.J. Nelson could find himself getting a couple of shots down the field. He'll go up against a couple of rookies in Panthers cornerbacks Daryl Worley and James Bradberry.
Fantasy Football Week 8: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
We don't see it all that often, but the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers just played in Week 6 but will face off once again in Week 8.
This time, however, we're in Denver.
As we saw in Week 7, the Broncos defense took care of business against the Houston Texans and quarterback Brock Osweiler.
With two losses on the year, one of those came at the hands of the Chargers.
Given how recently they played, the Broncos should turn things around in their favor. I like the Broncos in this one.
The big news of the week leading up to Week 8 has been Broncos running back C.J. Anderson going on injured reserve with a torn meniscus.
He's done for perhaps the season.
Dealing with a concussion all week, the Chargers should get tight end Hunter Henry back. The Broncos certainly don't miss him—he caught six passes for 83 yards and a score against them just two weeks ago.
San Diego Chargers
I'm skeptical of the matchup, but Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has been a short-yardage touchdown magnet this season, accumulating 10 total on the year. He's an RB2 this week in a tough matchup against a Broncos defense that has been the only team the Chargers have faced this season to not allow Gordon into the end zone.
We are not prepared for what we are about to see from Broncos rookie running back Devontae Booker. With Anderson out, he's about to be unleashed.
This is a spot in which I'm looking at wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Tied for sixth in the NFL in targets, Sanders will get a pretty good matchup in Chargers cornerback Steve Williams. Sanders is also being targeted on 28 percent of his routes. He should see quite a bit of work in this one.
Sleepers and Streamers
Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian is a low-end flier, but I don't hate the matchup here. If you're in need of a bye-week flier, you could do much worse than Siemian. He's a decent bet for 225 or more yards and a couple of touchdowns against a Chargers defense that gives up the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
I'm most looking forward to this game right here—the Green Bay Packers on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.
Both of these teams have the potential to put up a ton of points and yards. In particular, the Falcons lead the league in total yards of offense this season, yards per game, points and points per game.
The Packers are dealing with injuries to the running back position, so they could be viewed as one-dimensional this week.
I'll take the Falcons at home and the over at 52.5.
Leading up to this game, Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is questionable with a hamstring injury, though he will more than likely suit up. Fellow wide receiver Ty Montgomery is questionable with an illness. He'll be ready to go.
The Falcons will be without one of their key offensive weapons in running back Tevin Coleman. He too has a hamstring injury.
Green Bay Packers
This could seriously be the most incredible offensive game this season on both sides. With that said, essentially every Packers skill position player is worth a start this week, including Rodgers, Montgomery, Cobb, and fellow wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
Montgomery should see more snaps out of the backfield given the team's woes in that area of their offense. Cobb and Nelson have beatable matchups against a Falcons defense that has been poor so far this season, but I'd put more stock into Cobb in this one if he suits up than Nelson.
Pretty much the same process here with the Falcons as with the Packers. Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones are no-brainers, and with Coleman out, fellow running back Devonta Freeman is a must start this weekend. The matchup against a tough Packers run defense doesn't scare me one iota.
Sleepers and Streamers
I like both of the tight ends in this. In a shootout setting, we could see a ton of players out of nowhere rack up yards and scores. Richard Rodgers of the Packers and Jacob Tamme of the Falcons are two players I'd stream if you're in need of tight end help.
Fantasy Football Week 8: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
The third and final divisional matchup on the Sunday docket comes in primetime—the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the love of God, the quality of this game better be more enjoyable than its past primetime counterparts.
Led by rookie quarterbacks, many have likened the matchup of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz as the second coming of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
I mean, hey, they are in the same division, so they'll get plenty of opportunities to grow this rivalry.
The Cowboys are coming off a bye, while the Eagles took down the final undefeated team in the sport—the Minnesota Vikings—in Week 7.
I'm looking forward to this one, to say the least.
Give me the home team by six in this one.
He's going to play, but Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is officially listed as questionable with a knee injury. Don't worry, though—he's playing. In addition to Bryant, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is out once again with his lingering back injury.
I've got to be honest becuase there's not a single player I'm sticking my neck out for here. Maybe the Eagles defense? Eh. Just not a fan of anyone on their side of the ball in Dallas.
Conversely, I'm in on Bryant and running back Ezekiel Elliott. For Elliott, he's ran for over 125 yards in four straight games, and I don't care if the Eagles have 12 guys on defense—he's not going to stop running.
Since 2011, Bryant has accumulated 49 receptions for 775 yards and eight touchdowns. Granted, this was mostly with Romo at the helm, but still something of note. You would think in his return that Prescott will look to Bryant more often than not.
Sleepers and Streamers
This feels like a nice spot for Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley. Though he isn't by any means leading the league in routes ran, he is averaging 0.56 fantasy points per route ran this season, which only four receivers (min. 160 routes) can say this season. Also, he's third in the league in yards per route ran at 2.63, only trailing guys such as Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
I could go on and on here, but Beasley is a quality PPR option in Week 8. The Cowboys and their offense are definitely using him.
Follow me on Twitter @RichardJanvrin.