Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 8: Smart Sleepers to Exploit and Lineup Advice

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 23, 2018

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 15:  Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on October 15, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons capped off Week 7 NFL action with a 23-20 win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.

Attention now shifts to Week 8, which begins Thursday when two 4-3 teams (the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans) play each other.

Here's a look at Week 8 from a fantasy perspective, with recommendations to start and sit players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. You can also find a sleeper for each position below.



Start 'Em: Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff vs. Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff may engage in an offensive shootout with Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. Per OddsShark, the over/under total for their matchup is 56.5 points, which is the highest mark on the Week 8 ledger.

Although Goff may be without wideout Cooper Kupp (he suffered an MCL sprain in Week 6 and missed Week 7), he still has running back Todd Gurley, wideouts Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods and a sleeper pick we'll discuss below.

Expect another explosive outing for a Rams offense that has scored the third-most points per game in football this season.


Sit 'Em: Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson vs. Miami Dolphins

All credit goes to Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for fighting through a chest injury significant enough to preclude him from flying. Watson has helped lead the Texans to a four-game win streak after the team started 0-3.

However, Watson has clearly been limited by his injury, as he's averaged 158 passing yards per game in his last two outings alongside a 55.1 completion rate and just 15 rushing yards. Watson should be on the bench until further notice.


Sleeper: Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz vs. Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, London

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is having an excellent season. Through five games, the third-year pro has completed 70.8 percent of his passes and thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception.

Now Wentz faces a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has lost three straight games and allowed an average of 30 points during that span. Wentz could be catching Jacksonville at the right time en route to another productive day.


Running Back

Start 'Em: Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones at Los Angeles Rams

Packers running back Aaron Jones has 5.9 yards per carry through four games. His efficiency is excellent, but Jones is part of a three-man backfield committee alongside Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams. Because of that timeshare, Jones hasn't had more than 12 touches in a game in 2018.

That could change Sunday, as Jones may be a big part of the game plan against a Rams team that has allowed 4.7 yards per carry, which is the sixth most in the league. If Jones gets upward of 20-plus carries, he can help the Packers control the clock and keep the dominant Rams offense off the field.


Sit 'Em: Oakland Raiders RB Doug Martin vs. Indianapolis Colts

Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin will take over for Marshawn Lynch in the backfield after Beast Mode suffered a groin injury that landed him on injured reserve.

Martin has averaged just three yards per carry in his past three seasons, and he's now on a Raiders team that just traded wideout Amari Cooper. He and Lynch were two of the top three weapons on the Silver and Black (the other being tight end Jared Cook, who is still on the team).

Oakland's offensive outlook was already rocky after the Raiders scored just 13 points in two games, but it will only get worse going forward. That's bad news for Martin.


Sleeper: Oakland Raiders RB Jalen Richard vs. Indianapolis Colts

Although Martin may not find success on Sunday, Raiders running back Jalen Richard could given fantasy players a ton of cheap points in point-per-reception leagues moving forward.

If Oakland finds itself down more often than not (and that could be the case Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, who are brimming with confidence following a 37-5 win over the Buffalo Bills), Richard should be the beneficiary of some checkdowns to safely move the ball down the field. He already has 31 catches for 253 yards on the year and scored 11.8 or more fantasy points in PPR leagues in four games.


Wide Receiver

Start 'Em: Oakland Raiders WR Jordy Nelson vs. Indianapolis Colts 

Numerous Raiders have to absorb Cooper's targets, with one of them being veteran Jordy Nelson. The ex-Green Bay Packer is now the team's top wideout and could see plenty of looks from quarterback Derek Carr.

Much like Richard, Nelson could see an increased workload if the Raiders fall behind early in games as they undergo what looks to be a fire sale. That means a point per reception for every short catch Nelson can snag.

For the season, Nelson has 22 catches (on 31 targets) for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Expect his average of just over five targets per game to increase by a few.


Sit 'Em: Houston Texans WR Will Fuller V vs. Miami Dolphins

This pick is connected to the one of Watson above. With the Houston signal-caller hurt, the offense is taking a hit as the quarterback guts his way through injury.

Fuller did catch six passes for 68 yards on Sunday versus Jacksonville, but he had just two catches for 33 yards the week before. He didn't score in either game.

When Watson's health improves, Fuller should be an auto start every week, as the two have shown an excellent rapport (Fuller had 10 touchdowns in his first seven games played with Watson). For now, he's best on the bench.


Sleeper: Los Angeles Rams WR Josh Reynolds vs. Green Bay Packers

If the aforementioned Cooper Kupp is out, Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds will take his place in the lineup. Reynolds did so against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, although he caught just one pass (on one target) for 19 yards.

A few encouraging signs exist for Reynolds moving forward, though. First, he was on the field 84 percent of the time Sunday, so it's not as if he was warming the bench. Second, the Rams had no need to go pass happy as the run game was effective (35 carries for 146 yards and two scores) and the defense dominant in a wire-to-wire 39-10 victory. Goff only threw 24 passes on the afternoon.

That may not be the case Sunday with the Packers rolling into town, as both teams could cross the 30-point barrier. Therefore, Reynolds could be busier and produce a solid outing.


Tight End

Start 'Em: Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald vs. Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns are on the ropes after a 38-14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and a sloppy 26-23 overtime defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now they are tasked with going on the road and facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of their last two games and have the benefit of bye-week rest.

This spells disaster for Cleveland, who could be on the hook for a blowout. That makes all Steeler offensive skill players fantasy viable including tight end Vance McDonald, who has 20 catches for 274 yards and one touchdown.


Sit 'Em: Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen vs. Baltimore Ravens

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has just six catches for 53 yards in his last two games following a foot injury that kept him sidelined for four weeks.

While Olsen can produce better numbers (he had three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-2016), it's hard seeing him do much better Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, who have the league's best scoring defense (14.4 points allowed per game).

That handicaps Olsen's chances of finding the end zone, so his fantasy outlook isn't great for Week 8.


Sleeper: Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert vs. Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, London

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert has been boom or bust on the fantasy side. He just caught four passes for 43 yards and a score Sunday and added seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. However, in his other five games combined, Goedert has just six catches for 40 yards and no scores.

As noted in the Wentz section, though, the Eagles are catching the Jaguars at the right time. Jacksonville ranks just 19th in defensive efficiency versus tight ends, per Football Outsiders, so maybe Goedert can break through again.


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