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We’ve arrived at Week 8.  Where has the time gone?  This week is unique in that it’s sandwiched between two major bye weeks.  We welcome back all those fantasy players on the Bengals, Panthers, Cowboys, Texans, Jets and Titans that we missed last week.  Players like Ja’Marr Chase, Adam Thielen (yes, Adam Thielen), Tony Pollard, Nico Collins, Breece Hall, and the RB formally known as Derrick Henry are all back in our lineups – hopefully for the duration of the season.    

We also need to keep an eye on next week where we’ll be without our Lions, Jaguars, 49ers and Broncos players.  If you’re sitting with a sub-.500 record, it’s more important than ever to stay on point.  If you prepare, bye weeks tend to normalize rosters and give opportunities for struggling teams to get back in the playoff races.  Try to be one of those teams.  All of us here at Razzball are here to help.

And that is a great segue to this article.  As I’ve done for the previous 7 weeks, here are your critical things to know, along with my recommendations, for this week’s matchups.  I’ll even try to identify a few players you may be able to stash now for Week 9. 

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1.

A number of QBs have excellent matchups this week.  Most are auto-starts anyway, but a few will make for difficult decisions for their fantasy managers.  Here are the top 10 QBs, in order of points given up by their opposing defenses: 

On the flip side, here are the bottom 10 QBs, in order of points given up by their opposing defenses:

2.

Unless you’re new to Razzball NFL, you’ve heard us talk about our Adjusted Line Yards Matchup Metric.  This tool is free on our website HERE.  The tool provides adjusted line yards of the offensive and defensive lines to identify matchups to exploit or avoid.  The table can be sorted by offensive line push, defensive line push, and the matchup ranks as a whole.  I tend to look for starting RBs based on this last metric. 

As I evaluate the tool, here are some of my favorite RBs this week: 

  • Ranked #2 (4.55), Lions RB Jaymyr Gibbs gets a choice matchup against the Raiders. Gibbs made the most of his first start as a lead back, totaling 126 yards and a score.  Expect more of the same in this one.
  • Ranked #5 (4.47), Broncos RB Javonte Williams has retaken primary RB duties over Jaleel McLaughlin and Samaje Perine. He logged snaps at a clip of 3:1 over the other two but has yet to taste the end zone.  We like the snap data, but that latter stat is disconcerting to his fantasy owners.  Perhaps this is the week.     
  • Dameon Pierce has largely been a disappointment to his fantasy owners. When last we saw him in Week 6, he and Devin Singletary split carries almost evenly, despite being out-snapped by Singletary 3:2.  Alas, coming out of the BYE, Pierce draws the 6th best adjusted line yard matchup this week in Carolina (4.46).  This is a matchup that should allow Pierce, if given the opportunity, to start over and become the dominant RB he was projected to be.  Should that happen, the schedule looks decent between now and December, where he could propel a fantasy team into playoff contention.  You heard it here first…
  • Based on our metrics, the Gus Edwards/Justice Hill tandem has the best RB matchup of the week. Your guess is as good as mine on how their workload will play out.  Gus appears to be the “starter” after erupting for 144 total yards and a score last week.  I would caution chasing those stats…he only has 4 receptions on the year, so that 1-80 last week is clearly a one-off.  The 16-64 on the ground is more his ceiling than floor so keep him in your RB#2 territory at best.  Hill has settled into a change-of-pace back with some upside if given a larger role.  He’s a flex option in deeper leagues, at best, this week.         

3.

Here are the slot WRs I like this week:

  • Browns WR, Elijah Moore, should be the principal beneficiary of facing the worst slot defense in the league. The Seahawks give up a whopping 20 fantasy PPG to slot WRs.  Moore runs 71% of his routes from the slot and scores twice as many fantasy slot points than his closest teammate.  The limiting factor here?  You guessed it, the QB. 
  • The Buccaneers give up the second-most slot WR PPG (17.9). That suggests Bills WR, Stefon Diggs, is lined up for a big game.  Also, don’t sleep on Dalton Kincaid.  Yes, I realize this is the WR section, but look at this stat…Kincaid has run more routes from the slot position than in tight.  I’m sure (I hope) the Bills focus on that too.  He was a popular waiver add this week, so may not be available anymore but go take a minute to check.  You’ll thank me later.    
  • Generally, the Saints have a tough defense, but slot WRs have found some success against them, to the tune of 15.6 fantasy PPG. Colts WR, Josh Downs, is scoring about the same number of fantasy points as Michael Pittman Jr., but 61% of them come from the slot position.  Get him in your lineups. 
  • Christian Watson and Jayden Reed should both thrive from the slot versus the Vikings, ranking 5th worst at 15 PPG. Each is scoring over 60% of their fantasy points from the slot position. 
  • Fantasy slot MVP frontrunner, Adam Thielen, has a tough matchup versus a Texans defense that is only giving up 8.9 fantasy PPG (7th best). Thielen scores 75% from the slot, so fantasy owners should probably temper expectations a bit.   

4.

Same thing, but for wideouts this time: 

  • Ravens WRs get the nod for best “out wide” matchups this week when they visit the Cardinals. We have been telling you for weeks to grab as much stock in Zay Flowers as possible.  76% of his 12+ fantasy PPG average comes out wide.  Think that number will go up after this week?  I do. 
  • When they last met in Week 4, the Eagles and Commanders went to OT and scored a combined 65 points. J. Brown and DeVonta Smith combined for 16 Rec, 253 Yds and 2 TDs.  Not much has changed for them since the Commanders come in as the 2nd worst defense in giving points to wideouts like these two gentlemen. 
  • George Pickens has been rolling lately. In his last two games, his fantasy owners have enjoyed 11 Rec, 237 Yds and a TD.  The Jaguars are giving up over 31 PPG to WRs like Pickens.
  • Courtland Sutton has been a solid fantasy contributor this season, averaging 14 PPG overall. He provides a nice floor but not so much of a high ceiling.  He’ll have his hands full against a Chiefs defense limiting wideouts to just 16.3 PPG, which is 4th best in the NFL. 
  • Same goes for Bills wideout Gabe Davis. The Buccaneers have done well to limit scoring to wideouts to a clip of 15.8 PPG (3rd best).  You may want to look elsewhere for a confident start this week.   If you need to rely on Davis, you’re probably hoping for a TD or significant garbage time to salvage the day.    

5.

To finish out my 5 things to know, let’s go visit the TE position. 

This week, we’re going to look at the best TE matchups based on the number of fantasy points allowed by the opposing team.  With 7 weeks in the books, these stats are beginning to normalize.  Better data = Better decisions. 

Here are my TE notes, some good and some not-so-good:    

  • I already spoke about my #1 TE recommendation above, Dalton Kincaid.  If you missed it, go back up to #3.
  • Darren Waller vs NYJ: According to Fantasypros, the Jets are allowing the most fantasy points to TEs (13.2 pts).  Looking over game stats for their 6 games, I note the Jets’ defense doesn’t give up a lot of yards to TEs, but opposing TEs have a higher probability of scoring a TD.  Waller has been coming into his own lately, averaging more than 8 Tgts and 76 Yds over his last 3. 
  • If you’re looking ahead to Week 9, Gerald Everett and the Chargers travel to face these same Jets on Monday Night Football.      
  • Speaking of Monday Night Football, Michael Mayer and the Raiders travel to the Motor City this week. The Lions are giving up the 3rd most TE points.  Jimmy Garoppolo is expected back under center for this one.  In their last 2 games together, Mayer delivered 12.5 and 13.0 Yards per Target.  He’ll need to show up in a similar way in this one if the Raiders hope to compete with the high-powered Lions attack. 
  • Despite a very good TE matchup against a bottom 5 TE defense (Texans), Panthers TE Hayden Hurst is a risky play. With the exception of Week 1, he’s only getting 3 Tgts per game and yet to surpass 5.1 fantasy points. 
  • While you’re fading Hurst this week, consider Cade Otton next week. The Bucs draw the Panthers in Week 9, and Otton has reached double-digit fantasy scoring in half his games.    
  • With the news of Zach Ertz going on IR, Trey McBride became a waiver priority for many this week. Well, I hope you didn’t pay up too much because he draws the two most TE-stingy defenses over the next two weeks (Ravens and Browns, respectively).  Temper those expectations. 
  • Same goes for Noah Fant. He’s probably not on many radars this week anyway, but perhaps will be in Week 9 due to the byes.  He draws the same two defenses as McBride (Browns and Ravens, respectively), so it looks ominous for him too. 

There you go, another week of insights in the books.  Best of luck in your season-long or DFS action, and don’t forget…

If you have Start/Sit questions leading up to kickoff, don’t forget to subscribe and tune into the one-and-only @RazzballNFL Start/Sit show on Sunday mornings.  Right up to game time, @BobbyLamarco, @SkyGuarco, @Stiles08, and I will be answering all your fantasy football questions.  Don’t miss it.   

Look for my articles right here each week, and be sure to follow me on Twitter/X @Derek_Favret.  I’m now on Bluesky as well (@dfavret.bsky.social).

Until next time, my friends.