Fantasy Football: Start em/Sit em – Week 8

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, October 29th, 2016

LeVeon-Bell-300x213
By Michael Fabiano
NFL.COM

Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em is the ultimate look at the weekly NFL
matchups and how they’ll affect your fantasy football team. All starts
and sits are based on standard scoring leagues. Obvious fantasy
starters like Cam Newton and Antonio Brown will not be featured.
Byes: 49ers, Dolphins, Giants, Rams,

QUARTERBACKS
Start of the Week – Matt Ryan vs. Green Bay Packers
Ryan’s matchup against the Packers looks bad on paper, but don’t
let that fool you. This defense has faced two struggling quarterbacks
(Blake Bortles, Eli Manning), not to mention Brian Hoyer and Matt
Barkley. In games against Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford and Dak
Prescott, Green Bay has given up an average of 21 points.
Russell Wilson vs. New Orleans Saints                                                                                                          Wilson has been an absolute bust this season, scoring fewer than
15 fantasy points in all but one of his six contests. If there’s a
week to start him though, it’s this week against the Saints. Their
defense hasn’t held a visiting quarterback to fewer than 19.9 points,
and just one has scored fewer than 17 points against them overall.
Derek Carr vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carr didn’t meet expectations last week against the Jaguars, but
he’ll have a chance to redeem himself in another Florida battle versus
the Buccaneers. While the matchup doesn’t look great on paper, keep in
mind that the last four quarterbacks to face Tampa Bay include Case
Keenum, Trevor Siemian, Derek Anderson and Colin Kaepernick.
Jameis Winston vs. Oakland Raiders
Winston has been up and down all season long, but I like him as
a streamable fantasy option against the Raiders. Their defense has
surrendered 13 touchdown passes and an average of more than 19 fantasy
points per game to quarterbacks this season. That includes four
contests where the Silver & Black allowed more than 20 points.
Dak Prescott vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Prescott has one of the safest floors in fantasy football, as
he’s scored no fewer than 17.5 points in each of his last five games.
I’d start him against the Eagles, who have allowed 17-plus points
twice in three road games this season. The outlier game was in
Chicago, where Jay Cutler was injured and Hoyer came in to replace
him.
Sleepers: Andy Dalton vs. Redskins, Alex Smith at Colts
Sit of the Week – Philip Rivers vs. Denver Broncos
Rivers has posted two straight mediocre stat lines, one of which
came against this week’s opponent, the Broncos. In that contest, the
veteran was held to a mere 11.1 fantasy points. Denver also allowed a
combined 25 points to Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan in each of their last
two home contests, so Rivers clearly isn’t someone to start.
Carson Palmer vs. Carolina Panthers
This must be a misprint, right? After all, Palmer is facing a
Panthers defense that’s allowed the third-most fantasy points to
quarterbacks. Here’s the concern for me, though. He’s scored no more
than 14.5 fantasy points in four straight games, and one of those
games went five full quarters. I just can’t trust Palmer, even in
Carolina.
Blake Bortles vs. Tennessee Titans
Bortles, like Palmer, has a nice matchup against a Titans defense
that’s allowed 20-plus fantasy points to two straight quarterbacks.
That’s all well and good, but Bortles has regressed and can’t be
trusted even when the matchup is solid. If he can’t thrive against the
Raiders and Bears, I can’t trust him in a Thursday night roadie.
Tyrod Taylor vs. New England Patriots
Taylor put up a fat stat line in last week’s loss to the
Dolphins with over 24 fantasy points. The question is, can he do it
against the Patriots? I don’t like his chances, as New England has
surrendered fewer than 17 fantasy points to four of their last five
opposing quarterbacks. I’d keep Tyrod on the sidelines in this AFC
battle.
Sam Bradford vs. Chicago Bears
Bradford has been tough to trust in fantasy circles, as he’s
scored fewer than 16 points in three of his last four games including
a 6.9-point stinker against the Eagles. While this week’s matchup in
Chicago seems favorable, the Bears have allowed an average of fewer
than 17 points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
Busts: Kirk Cousins at Bengals (London), Jay Cutler vs. Vikings (MNF)

RUNNING BACKS
Start of the Week – Spencer Ware vs. Indianapolis Colts
Ware, listed as a start ’em last week, went off for 131
scrimmage yards, one touchdown and 19.1 fantasy points in a win over
the Saints. He also saw 69 percent of the offensive snaps, compared to
four percent from Jamaal Charles. Next up is a date with the Colts,
who have allowed the fourth-most points (24.7 PPG) to running backs.
Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Oakland Raiders
I’ve been on the Rodgers bandwagon since he took over the
featured role in Tampa Bay, and he’s been a fantasy monster. In his
last two games, he’s played on 80 percent of the offensive snaps and
recorded a combined 62 touches. Owners should keep him active against
the Raiders, who have been vulnerable to opposing backs this season.
Christine Michael vs. New Orleans
The Cardinals put “The Awakening” to sleep last week, holding
Michael to 5.5 fantasy points in five quarters. Still, I consider him
a must-start runner ahead of this week’s matchup against the Saints.
Their defense has been terrible against the run, allowing an average
of more than 26 fantasy points per contest to opposing runners.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Buffalo Bills
    Blount has been a touchdown machine for fantasy owners, scoring
eight times in seven games this season. He’s also remained productive
despite the fact that his snap count has decreased since Tom Brady’s
return. Blount should remain in your starting lineup against the
Bills, who Jay Ajayi rolled for 27.6 points last week.
Latavius Murray vs. Tampa Bay
Murray looked great in his return from an injured toe, scoring
twice against the Jaguars. He also saw 58 percent of the offensive
snaps, while DeAndre Washington (18 percent) and Jalen Richard (six
percent) saw lesser roles. Murray should be in your lineups against
the Buccaneers, who have allowed the eighth-most points to runners.
Sleepers: Devontae Booker vs. Chargers, Mike Gillislee vs. Patriots
Sit of the Week – Jonathan Stewart vs. Arizona Cardinals
Stewart was a fantasy monster in his last game before Carolina’s
bye week, scoring two touchdowns and 20.5 fantasy points against the
Saints. He has a much tougher matchup this week though, against a
Cardinals defense that’s allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to
running backs. Stewart is a major risk as a result.
Jordan Howard vs. Minnesota Vikings
This one pains me, because I was on the Howard bandwagon a few
weeks ago. Of course, that was before Bears coach John Fox ruined it
and started to use Ka’Deem Carey more often. Regardless of his loss in
offensive snaps, Howard also has a tough contest ahead against a
Vikings team that is not to be fooled with in 2016.
Ryan Mathews vs. Dallas Cowboys
Mathews, listed as a sit ’em last week, posted a mere 6.3 fantasy
points and had an even share of offensive snaps (45 percent) with
Darren Sproles. Next up is a huge NFC East matchup in Dallas, who have
surrendered just two rushing touchdowns and an average of 13.1 fantasy
points per game to runners. Keep Mathews on the bench.
Jerick McKinnon vs. Chicago Bears
Remember when McKinnon went off for 15.5 fantasy points against
the Giants? Seems like a while ago now, as he’s scored a combined 9.4
points in his last two games while also being outscored by Matt
Asiata. Couple that with a matchup against a Bears defense that’s
allowed the sixth-fewest points to backs….McKinnon is a sit.
T.J. Yeldon vs. Tennessee Titans
Yeldon and Chris Ivory have both been massive busts in fantasy
land, and that won’t change when the duo faces the Titans on Thursday
Night Football. Tennessee has surrendered just four total touchdowns
and an average of 15 fantasy points per game to runners, so owners
should continue to keep Yeldon and Ivory on the sidelines.
Busts: Mark Ingram vs. Seahawks, Isaiah Crowell vs. Jets
RECEIVERS
Start of the Week – Brandon Marshall vs. Cleveland Browns
Marshall has struggled over his last two games, scoring a
combined 10.9 fantasy points with no touchdown catches. Still, I’d
keep the faith in him against a Browns defense that has allowed 10
different wideouts to score 11-plus fantasy points. That includes
games with cornerback Joe Haden, who is now slated to return this
weekend.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Carolina Panthers
I don’t have a ton of faith in Carson Palmer, but I still like
him to find Fitzgerald enough to make him a productive option for
fantasy fans this week. That’s due in large part to a matchup against
the Panthers, who surrendered an average of 33.3 fantasy points (three
TDs) to opposing wideouts in the two contests before their bye week.
Michael Crabtree vs. Tampa Bay
Crabtree, listed as a start ’em last week, went off for a
touchdown and 15.6 fantasy points in a win over the Jaguars. Next on
the schedule is a date with the Buccaneers, who have given up more
than 28 fantasy points to wide receivers four times in six games this
season. I like both Crabtree and Amari Cooper to shine.
Doug Baldwin vs. New Orleans Saints
A top-10 fantasy wideout last season, Baldwin has regressed big
time in the first seven weeks of 2016. Regardless, it’s tough to bench
him this week with a matchup against the Saints up next on the
schedule. New Orleans has allowed 10-plus points to six different
wideouts in their first six games, so keep Baldwin in your starting
lineup.
Ty Montgomery vs. Atlanta Falcons
Montgomery has seen his snap percentage rise in the last two
weeks, and that’s due in large part to his expanded role out of the
backfield with both Eddie Lacy and James Starks injured. He also ranks
second on the team in targets (25) in that time, so Montgomery’s
opportunities have been plentiful. He’s now on the WR2 radar.
Sleepers: Cordarrelle Patterson at Bears (MNF), Quincy Enunwa at Browns
Sit of the Week – Alshon Jeffery vs. Minnesota Vikings
Jeffery has been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy
football this season, and a matchup against the Vikings isn’t going to
reverse his fortunes. Minnesota has been tough on wide receivers,
allowing an average of 14 fantasy points per game to the position.
That ranks as the second-fewest in the NFL behind the Broncos.
Jeremy Maclin vs. Indianapolis Colts
Maclin has failed to live up to the expectations of owners this
season, scoring fewer than eight fantasy points in all but one of his
first six contests. While a matchup in Indianapolis seems favorable on
the surface, the Colts have actually allowed an average of just 8.3
fantasy points per game to opposing No. 1 wide receivers this season.
DeSean Jackson vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Jackson started the season on fire, but his numbers have been
plain awful in recent weeks. In fact, he’s scored a combined 13
fantasy points in his last four games. Next on the slate is an
overseas matchup against the Bengals, who have allowed the
sixth-fewest yards (973) and the seventh-fewest points to (19.9) to WRs.
Golden Tate vs. Houston Texans
Tate has seen 27 targets over the last three weeks, compared to
just 26 in the first four games of the season. Despite this increase
in opportunities, I’d still beware of the Golden Domer against a
Texans defense that’s surrendered just four scores and the
third-fewest fantasy points (17.6 PPG) to opposing wide receivers in
2016.
Michael Thomas vs. Seattle Seahawks
Thomas has been on absolute fire in recent weeks, scoring three
touchdowns and a combined 50.3 fantasy points. While that makes it
tough to bench him, keep in mind that the Seahawks have allowed just
three touchdowns and the eighth-fewest fantasy points (20.3 PPG) to
opposing wideouts. The rookie could be in for a tough week.
Busts: Julian Edelman at Bills, Tyrell Williams at Broncos

TIGHT ENDS
Start of the Week – Jimmy Graham vs. New Orleans Saints
Revenge! Graham put up just 53 yards in last week’s tie with the
Cardinals, but I like him to rebound in a matchup against the team
that traded him, the Saints. You know he wants to stick it to New
Orleans, and the matchup is favorable. Their defense has allowed an
average of 11.1 points per game to tight ends since Week 4.
Travis Kelce vs. Indianapolis Colts
Kelce has failed to score more than eight fantasy points in all
but two games this season, and his 5.6 combined points in the last two
weeks leaves a lot to be desired. Regardless, he should remain in your
lineup ahead of a solid matchup against the Colts. Their defense has
given up the third-most yards (487) to opposing tight ends in 2016.
Jack Doyle vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Doyle doesn’t have a great matchup on paper, but it’s tough to
ignore a tight end who’s had 17 targets in the last three weeks in an
offense that loves to utilize the position. With Dwayne Allen (ankle)
banged up, Doyle should continue to see a big role in a matchup
against the Chiefs. Consider him a legit No. 1 option this weekend.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Chicago Bears
Rudolph has seen his numbers decline in recent weeks, but he’s
still been on the field for 95 percent of the snaps. He’s also the
third-most targeted player at his position, so the opportunities are
there for Rudolph to bounce back in the stat sheets. With a contest
against the Bears up next, fantasy owners should roll with the
veteran.
C.J. Fiedorowicz vs. Detroit Lions
Fiedorowicz hasn’t been the most consistent fantasy tight end,
but he is worth a spot start when the matchup is favorable. That’s the
case this week against the Lions, who have given up seven touchdown
catches and the third-most fantasy points (12.3 PPG) to opposing tight
ends this year. Fiedorowicz is a free agent in most leagues.
Sleepers: Cameron Brate vs. Raiders, Jacob Tamme vs. Packers
Sit of the Week – Zach Ertz vs. Dallas Cowboys
Ertz is in the midst of his annual disappearing act in the stat
sheets, scoring a combined 7.3 fantasy points in his first three games
since coming back from injured ribs. Things aren’t going to get better
this week against the Cowboys, who have held Ertz to a meager 12.5
points in four career meetings. Keep him on the sidelines.
Coby Fleener vs. Seattle Seahawks
Fleener, listed as a sit ’em in last week’s edition, scored just
4.4 fantasy points in a loss to the Chiefs. He’ll struggle to rebound
against the Seahawks, who have been tough on tight ends so far this
season. In fact, their defense has surrendered one touchdown and the
eighth-fewest fantasy points (5.1) to the position this season.
Zach Miller vs. Minnesota Vikings
Miller had emerged into a viable fantasy starter earlier this
season, but he’s scored a combined 14.9 points with no touchdowns over
his last three games. The veteran is also facing a tough matchup
against the Vikings, who have surrendered an average of 5.3 fantasy
points per game to the tight end position. Keep Miller on ice this
week.
Jason Witten vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Witten has had a lot of statistical success in his illustrious
career against the Eagles, but the past can’t be used to overlook what
is a bad matchup in the here and now. Philadelphia has surrendered
just one touchdown reception to tight ends this season, and the
position has averaged a mere 3.5 fantasy points against them.
Antonio Gates vs. Denver Broncos
Gates has closed the snaps gap on Hunter Henry in each of the
last three weeks, and he’s now seen more targets (21) than the rookie
(15) in that time. Regardless, those targets haven’t turned into
fantasy success as he’s been held to just 12.4 points since Week 5.
Gates also has a brutal road matchup against the Broncos ahead.
Busts: Gary Barnidge vs. Jets, Julius Thomas at Titans (TNF)

KICKERS
Start of the Week – Mason Crosby vs. Atlanta Falcons
Crosby has scored at least eight fantasy points in each of his
last four games, including three contests with double-digit points. I
like him to keep this hot streak alive in Atlanta, where he’ll face a
Falcons defense that’s given up an average of 10 fantasy points per
game to opposing kickers over the last four weeks of action.
Matt Bryant vs. Green Bay Packers
Bryant has been a fantasy monster, ranking third in points among
kickers. He’s also been solid at home, averaging 12 points a game in
Atlanta. Fantasy fans should get him active against the Packers, who
have surrendered an average of 9.2 fantasy points per game to kickers
this season. I’d consider Bryant a must start.
Josh Lambo vs. Denver Broncos
You might not know it, but Lambo ranks second in fantasy points
among kickers after the first seven weeks of the season. He’s scored
10-plus fantasy points in four of his last five games, including a
13-point performance against this week’s opponent, the Broncos. Lambo
is still a free agent in 80-plus percent of NFL.com leagues.
Steven Hauschka vs. New Orleans Saints
Hauschka, listed as a bust last week, had a bad miss and scored
a mere six fantasy points in a tie with the Cardinals. I expect him to
rebound, however, as a favorable matchup in New Orleans awaits. The
Saints have surrendered an average of 8.5 fantasy points a game to
kickers, and this should be a very high-scoring affair.
Sleepers: Cairo Santos at Colts, Blair Walsh at Bears (MNF)
Sit of the Week – Graham Gano vs. Arizona Cardinals
Gano has gone from fantasy hero a season ago to a man who doesn’t
have a ton of job security in Carolina. He’s failed to score more than
seven fantasy points in four straight games, and an upcoming matchup
against the Cardinals makes him unlikely to rebound. Arizona has
allowed the seventh-fewest points (5.7) to kickers.
Dan Bailey vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Bailey had a hot start to the season, but he’s scored seven or
fewer fantasy points in three of his last four games. Next on the
schedule is a date with the Eagles, who have allowed an average of
just five fantasy points per game to opposing kickers this season.
It’s hard to sit Bailey, so temper your expectations at the minimum.
Caleb Sturgis vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sturgis has been a solid fantasy option for owners this season,
scoring 10 or more points in three of his last five games. However,
he’s still a risk against a Cowboys team that has been tough on
kickers this season. In fact, the Boys from have given up an average
of fewer than six fantasy points per contest to the position.
Wil Lutz vs. Seattle Seahawks
Lutz might seem like an attractive fantasy option playing behind
the Saints offense, but he’s scored more than eight points just once
in his last four games. Next on the schedule is a date with the
Seahawks, who have held kickers to an average of 5.7 fantasy points
per game. That’s the sixth-fewest points allowed in the entire league.
Busts:Dustin Hopkins at Bengals, Sebastian Janikowski at Buccaneers

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