Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 8
In fantasy football, there are must-start players and there's everyone else. Managers who have Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Lamar Jackson or Christian McCaffrey aren't pulling them from the starting lineup unless they're injured or on the bye. Second-tier players, on the other hand, require careful consideration involving factors like projected role and matchup.
Unfortunately, several must-start players won't be available in Week 8. McCaffrey remains on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Adams landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, while Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens (along with the Las Vegas Raiders) are on bye.
This means that for many managers, the matchups will be relevant to the majority of their starting spots.
Here, we'll dive into some of the best and worst matchups of Week 8 and determine which second-tier players should start and who should sit.
We'll be looking specifically at players rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues, according to FantasyPros. All picks are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
Week 8 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Buffalo Bills
Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins
Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers
Jared Cook, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
Start 'Em: Kirk Cousins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has been a bit up-and-down this season, but when he's been up, he's been fantasy gold.
Cousins has topped the coveted 300-yard mark three different times, and he's tossed three touchdowns with no interceptions in four of his six outings. Ignoring a two-week stretch against the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, Cousins has been nothing short of fantastic.
The trick this week will be avoiding Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs. He has already snagged seven interceptions, scored twice and allowed an opposing passer rating of 43.1. The rest of Dallas' secondary, though, has been suspect.
The Cowboys rank 28th in both passing yards allowed and yards per attempt surrendered.
Dallas has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, so if Cousins can keep the ball out of Diggs' hands, he should be golden once again.
Sit 'Em: Aaron Rodgers at Arizona Cardinals
Look, we're not going to blame managers who leave Aaron Rodgers in the starting lineup this week. It's hard to bench a guy who has thrown at least two touchdowns in six of seven games this season. However, it's going to be tough sledding for the Green Bay Packers signal-caller if Adams can't be cleared to play.
More than a third (52) of Rodgers' 151 completions this season have gone to Adams. Lazard has caught another 15 passes. The Arizona Cardinals, meanwhile, have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
If the Packers are going to win, they're likely going to do it on the ground. If Arizona has a weakness, it's a run defense that ranks 31st in yards per carry allowed.
Could Rodgers still throw multiple touchdowns via Aaron Jones swing passes and Randall Cobb catch-and-run plays? Sure, but if there's a week to sit Rodgers—aside frm his Week 13 bye—it's this one.
Start 'Em: Damien Harris at Los Angeles Chargers
The New England Patriots are starting to settle in as a run-first, run-often and run-heavy team. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones has been more than serviceable, but New England's blueprint for success involves smart defense and a strong dose of the ground game.
While New England is going to utilize multiple backs, Damien Harris is a solid start in Week 9. He's rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the past two weeks and has scored three touchdowns over that span.
Admittedly, Harris is a better option for standard-scoring leagues—he's seen only three targets in the last three weeks—but the floor is high here. The Patriots will look to attack the Los Angeles Chargers on the ground, and L.A. has struggled against good rushing attacks.
The Chargers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Sit 'Em: Jaylen Waddle at Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins rookie wideout Jaylen Waddle has leaped onto the fantasy stage over the past couple of weeks. In Week 6, he caught 10 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 7, he caught seven for 83 yards.
Unfortunately, Waddle faces a brutal matchup against the rival Buffalo Bills. The Bills have dominated the Dolphins in recent years, and it was no different in this year's early meeting. Waddle had six catches in Week 2, but he only managed 48 yards—Buffalo won in a 35-0 romp.
This is likely to be Waddle's ceiling in Week 8, which isn't awful, but managers should strive for more. It's not like the Buffalo defense has fallen off since the first meeting, and no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing receivers.
And Waddle emerging as a top target means that he's likely to see a lot of Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White—who has allowed an opposing passer rating of only 67.5 this season.