For a lot of fantasy owners, now is the time to either look towards the playoffs, or go into damage control and try to salvage your season while you can. Both decisions are important, but for now, let’s talk about this week. One of the matchups I’m keeping an eye on is the Rams at home against the Bengals. It’s been an up-and-down season for Los Angeles, but this is still a good team that will play well against weaker opponents that we can take advantage of in fantasy. And to say that the Bengals are a weaker opponent… is putting it mildly.
Let’s get to the rest of this week’s matchups.
Coming off of a fantastic 364 yard/4 TD performance against the Vikings, Stafford’s Week 8 matchup sets up very nicely for him to string together another fine performance. The Giants secondary is one to take advantage of, as they rank 27th in pass defense DVOA and passing success rate allowed, and 30th in explosive passing rate allowed. At home, Stafford brings Top-5 upside this week.
While Goff hasn’t nearly been as productive this season as he was last year, he did perform well last week against Atlanta. It was definitely an easy opponent that everyone has taken advantage of this year, which wouldn’t bode well for Goff’s future matchups… except for the fact that this week, he’s facing the Bengals. Cincinnati should provide another easy matchup for Goff to perform well, and should be another solid streaming option, as the Bengals rank 29th in pass defense DVOA, and 29th in explosive passing rate allowed.
A lot of this depends on whether or not Drew Brees suits up on Sunday for New Orleans. As of now, he’s listed as Questionable. If he suits up, then obviously Bridgewater isn’t an option. But for now, Teddy Two Gloves is a great starting option for this week if you have a QB on bye, or need a replacement (especially for the Mahomes owners). This Arizona secondary hasn’t been good all season, ranking 26th in pass defense DVOA, 30th in passing success rate allowed, and 27th in explosive passing rate allowed. With very impressive performances against Tampa Bay and Chicago, Bridgewater is a great starting option at home before Brees comes back.
One of the stories of the season so far, at least for Carolina, was the emergence of Kyle Allen as the replacement for an injured Cam Newton. After a strong performance in London against Tampa Bay, Allen is now 4-0 as the Panthers starter this season, but now faces a tough test on the road in San Francisco. I don’t think he is an attractive starting QB option this week, as the 49ers defense is a very tough one, ranking 1st in passing success rate allowed, and 2nd in pass defense DVOA. You can afford to leave him on your bench.
Another week, another devastating loss for the Los Angeles Chargers, as they have now lost 3-straight games. They now will head on the road to face Chicago, a team dealing with their own struggles. While they did give up a good performance to Teddy Bridgewater, I do think that they still will be a tough matchup for the Chargers. Rivers isn’t a QB1 option this week.
Wentz has been struggling in fantasy the last few weeks, failing to perform well against the Vikings or Cowboys. He’ll face a very tough opponent in the Bills this Sunday, on the road. The Bills secondary ranks 5th in pass defense DVOA, and 3rd in passing success rate allowed. It could be a long afternoon, and with a rank of #22, he’s far from being a starting option.
It hasn’t been an all-worldly season for Gurley, but I do like him quite a bit this week against Cincinnati. For one, Malcolm Brown has already been ruled out, which will see both Gurley and Darrell Henderson get a bump up in usage rates. Second, it’s a great matchup for the running back, as the Bengals rank 28th in rushing success rate allowed and 31st in explosive rushing rate allowed. Gurley is a great option on Sunday.
Thanks to the injury suffered by Kerryon Johnson, Ty Johnson has been thrust into the starting role in Detroit. With a full workload, this is a prime matchup against a Giants rush defense that ranks 24th in explosive rushing success allowed, and is coming off of a week in which they allowed Chase Edmonds to rush for 126 yards and 3 TD’s. He’s a great option this week and moving forward, thanks to his newfound role.
First off, I’m going to say that Montgomery is best used this week as an RB2/Flex option. However, I’m hopeful I can go 2/2 on risky start recommendations after I recommended to start Adam Thielen against the Giants, a week after they played against Chicago, and became squeaky wheels. Right now, it can’t get much worse for David Montgomery a week after Chicago only ran the ball 7 times. However, everyone knows that they ran the ball 7 times, especially coach Matt Nagy. Well, I think they’re going to dial the run up a lot, and what better way to do so than against a defense that ranks 24th in rush defense DVOA, and over the past 3 weeks, 23rd in explosive rush rate allowed. I like Montgomery to get a good workload and put together a find game, as Nagy will look to establish the run after failing to do so these past few weeks.
Unless you need him, I would advise against starting Derrick Henry. This is one of the toughest matchups on the slate, and while they are at home, I don’t see how Tennessee will be able to establish the run. The Bucs rank 1st in rush defense DVOA, 1st in rushing success rate allowed, and 8th in explosive rush rate allowed. After a week off, I think their unit will shut Henry down.
It’s been a decent year so far for Gore, who has looked rejuvenated at times while playing for Buffalo. This week, I don’t think he’s an option to consider against the Eagles. The Eagles rush defense is a whole lot better than their secondary, as they funnel production through the air, ranking 20th in pass defense DVOA, but 10th in rush defense DVOA. While it’ll be hard for Buffalo to try to win through the air, that’s what they’re going to have to attempt to do in order to beat Philadelphia. I don’t think Gore will be very productive on Sunday.
Both Lindsay and Royce Freeman have been eating into each other’s production in fantasy this season, which doesn’t help us fantasy owners. Freeman had far the more productive game last week against Kansas City, but I don’t think either will be as productive this week. While the Colts don’t have a tough rush defense, like KC, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will have the more productive week. I’ll bet on Freeman, as he could see a slightly larger workload, and more success on the ground, like last week. Lindsay should remain on most owner’s benches.
This Falcons secondary has just been downright awful the entire season, ranking 31st in passing success rate allowed, 31st in pass defense DVOA, and 28th in explosive pass rate allowed. Lockett should have no issues feasting in this dream matchup, even if they are on the road on the east coast. The Seahawks should fly on Sunday.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (vs. MIA) – Razzball Projection: #25 WR
It hasn’t been a great season for JuJu, or the rest of this Steelers offense, but they did perform quite well against the Chargers in Week 6 before their bye, and now they get to face the tanking Miami Dolphins. This is a matchup for JuJu to take advantage of, and he should have no issues putting together a fine performance.
Brown has been a great addition for the Bills this season, and has clicked very well with noted scrambler Josh Allen. Last week against Miami, Brown hauled in 5 catches for 83 yards and a score. I think he’ll continue to produce this week against an Eagles defense that struggles in the secondary, ranking 20th in pass defense DVOA, and just got tore up by the Cowboys last Sunday night.
As I mentioned above, it’s a very tough matchup for Kyle Allen and the rest of this Carolina passing attack on the road in San Francisco. I don’t think Moore (or Curtis Samuel, for that matter) is an attractive starting option this week.
On the other side of the ball, it’s a little too early to use Sanders this week, but it’s a tough matchup for all of the San Francisco receivers. This game should be a stout defensive struggle, and against this tough Carolina secondary, I don’t see any 49ers receivers putting together a solid game in this one.
Like I mentioned above, it’s a tough matchup for Jeffery and the Eagles passing attack on the road against Buffalo. This Bills team has a tough secondary unit, and Jeffery isn’t a must-start option on Sunday.
Hooper has had a great season, and Hooper should continue his streak of producing this week against Seattle, who has struggled this year against opposing Tight Ends.
With the injury to Will Fuller, Fells should have an uptick in targets and snap counts, and with a good matchup against Oakland, Fells is a great streaming option.
He made a great catch last week, but it’s a much tougher matchup this week, and he isn’t an attractive starting Tight End option against Denver.
Kickers and D/ST
Steven Hauschka (vs. PHI) – Razzball Projection: #18 K
As we saw last week, Hauschka had a bunch of FG opportunities as Buffalo easily moved the ball into Field Goal range. That should continue once again against Philadelphia’s weak secondary.
Zane Gonzalez (@ NO) – Razzball Projection: #25 K
He is kicking indoors, but Gonzalez isn’t a K worth using in fantasy especially with the tough matchup.
Even if Mahomes isn’t able to go, this Packers secondary hasn’t been as good as I would like, and it’s still a tough opponent on the road.
Good luck to everyone in Week 8, and I will be back on Thursday for another edition of Ambulance Chasers!
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