By: Jamy Bechler @WinningDFS101
Start/Sit – 2018 Fantasy Football – Week 8
When it comes to season-long fantasy football, you play your studs unless there is an injury, or you are loaded at a position and have other studs on your bench. Don’t overthink it. You are playing head-to-head against one opponent each week. You just have to beat that opponent (who also probably has weaknesses in their lineup). Unless you are a huge underdog that week, don’t get cute.
This article is to provide some additional information as you set your lineups this week. If you have a player that we list in the “sit” category, you shouldn’t automatically sit him because you might be replacing him with a much worse player. Think of Start/Sit rather in terms of “Confident/Cautious.” These are players that we seem to be getting a lot of questions about. We offer our take on whether you should take a confident or cautious approach to playing them this week.
In most cases, we don’t touch upon the obvious plays. There are other Start/Sit articles (I won’t name names) that will tell you to start James White because he is going against a Bills defense that are susceptible against opposing running backs. He is in a plus matchup and the Patriots will be without Sony Michel this week, but that’s not why you start him. You start him because he has been a stud!!! This is obvious to anyone that follows football in any form. We don’t list obvious plays so we can look like we are smart when the obvious plays do what obvious plays do. That doesn’t help you. We try to look at some of the plays that are questionable and give you insights on those.
Remember to check the news and injury reports, leading up to roster lock for the various game times. Nobody knows exactly what will happen from week to week in the NFL but use all the information and resources available to you to make the best decisions possible for your lineup. Good luck and have fun!
Start – Jameis Winston @ Bengals
He has not reached every week starter status yet, but Winston is my choice for the third straight week. If you don’t have one of the top 4 or 5 sure fire stud QB’s, then I suggest you fire up Winston again. He has all the offensive passing weapons one could want, with no run game, and a bad defense. That is a recipe for fantasy goodness. Even though he didn’t pass for a touchdown last week in the overtime win against the Browns, he still went over 20 fantasy points and threw for 356 yards. This week, he gets a Bengals defense that is not playing very good. They have allowed a Top-13 quarterback performance in 6 of their 7 games this season (per Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros). The Bengals also have a potent offense that should move the ball and put up numbers against this Buccaneers defense. I like the shootout potential of this game. The 53.5 o/u is the 3rd largest spread on the slate.
Notables – Andy Dalton vs. Buccaneers, Ben Roethlisberger vs. Browns , Drew Brees @ Vikings
Sit – Case Keenum @ Chiefs
It might be attractive and tempting to stream the quarterback facing the Chiefs hoping for a shootout and lots of fantasy points but be very cautious. Normally we wouldn’t consider Keenum but with the opponent being the Chiefs and Keenum’s backup (Chad Kelly) getting cut, he would appear to be a possibility. Don’t fall for this thinking. Though I don’t think he is as bad as some may think, I am not willing to roll the dice. Remember that these teams played already this season and Keenum didn’t reach 300 yards and also didn’t have a touchdown pass.
Notables – Alex Smith @ Giants, Eli Manning vs. Redskins, Derek Carr vs. Colts
Start – David Johnson vs. 49ers
In case anyone still has DJ on their bench because he started off shaky and had a coaching staff that didn’t appear to understand what kind of weapon they had, now is the time to fire him up with complete confidence. I would even try to trade for him if you could as an owner might not realize that he might’ve been freed over this past week. The Cardinals finally fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy (who gets the axe for the second straight year in mid-season). Byron Leftwich takes over. Leftwich was on Bruce Arians staff last year and should more fully understand how to utilize pass catching talents of DJ’s caliber (as opposed to running him up the gut on every play). He scored twice against the 49ers a few weeks ago, and that was with McCoy’s questionable play calls. He may not go off and be 2016 DJ just yet but he should provide some excitement this weekend against a bad 49ers defense that just gave up 3 touchdowns to Todd Gurley. I have been waiting all season for #DJFreed
Notables – Adrian Peterson @ Giants, Tarik Cohen vs. Jets, Nick Chubb @ Steelers
Sit – T.J. Yeldon vs. Eagles
There is a reason that the Jaguars just acquired Carlos Hyde. At the very least, they wanted depth and someone to split carries with T.J. Yeldon. More than likely, they don’t believe that Yeldon is a 3-down Running Back. Hyde was having a good season with the Browns and should fit in nicely with the Jaguars ground-and-pound approach. Yeldon is a top-10 fantasy back this season but he may be unreliable from a fantasy perspective moving forward. For this particular game, at the very least, he faces an Eagles’ defense that have given up only 55 ypg to Running Backs this season. The Eagles are susceptible to the passing game but are stout against the run. The opponent and the questionable role makes Yeldon a risky start this week.
Notables – Isaiah Crowell @ Bears, Aaron Jones @ Rams, Peyton Barber @ Bengals
Start – Tyler Boyd vs. Buccaneers
If you are a Wide Receiver (or any offensive player, for that matter) facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you are probably salivating. Fourteen different receivers have either scored or gained 100 yards against the Buccaneers this season. Tampa Bay has an old school defense in that they try to stop the run first. Tampa Bay is ranked in the bottom five vs. Wide Receivers in nearly every metric possible. Overall, Boyd has had a good year as he has earned at least 21 fantasy points in four games this season. Even though he struggled this past week, he is in a prime bounce-back spot. Specifically, he should be matched up with rookie M.J. Stewart in this game. Stewart has been terrible this season giving up 5 touchdowns and 330 yards to receivers (per Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros).
Notables – T.Y. Hilton @ Raiders, Jarvis Landry @ Steelers, Julian Edelman @ Bills
Sit – Marvin Jones, Jr. vs. Seahawks
Kenny Golladay has clearly passed Marvin Jones, Jr. as the second-best (some would say best) wide receiver for the Lions. Jones, Jr. is talented but not reliable. If you need upside, he can provide it but if you are looking for certainty you will want to look elsewhere. Jones is completely touchdown dependent at this point. Touchdowns are hard to predict, especially in an offense that spreads the ball around. Plus, they have all of a sudden discovered what all of us already knew – that Running Back Kerryon Johnson is good and should be getting the ball more. Jones, Jr. hasn’t caught more than 4 balls in any game this year with a high of 69 yards. Yes, he has caught 3 touchdowns in 6 games but, once again, it is hard to predict scores. Even at that, one of those games that he caught a touchdown, it was his only catch of the game (for 8 yards). The Legion of Boom is not what it once was but the Seahawks have only given up 8 receiving touchdowns this year so I would think twice before using Jones, Jr. as a starter this week.
Notables – Marquise Goodwin @ Cardinals, Taylor Gabriel vs. Jets, Robby Anderson @ Bears
Start – David Njoku @ Steelers
Only two teams have given up more yards to Tight Ends this season than the Steelers. This week they face off against Njoku who has been a target monster since Baker Mayfield took over as the Browns’ QB. In the four games that Mayfield has started, Njoku has been targeted 36 times. He has scored in back-to-back games. Njoku has reached double-digit fantasy points in each of Mayfield’s starts. Njoku is quickly becoming an every-week starter.
Notables – O.J. Howard @ Bengals, Jordan Reed @ Giants, C.J. Uzomah vs. Buccaneers
Sit – Evan Engram vs. Redskins
Yes, Engram’s talent says he should be an every-week starter. Yes, Engram’s promising rookie year (without OBJ and without a real Running Back, however) gave us hope that he should be an every-week starter. But be warned. If you have someone else that is playable then consider sitting Engram this week. If you don’t have a good option on your bench or available as a streamer in your league, then start Engram and be prepared to live with the results. Engram’s return from injury this past week was not anything to write home about. There are too many mouths to feed with OBJ, Sterling Shepard, and Saquon Barkley in New York. Engram could have a big game but the reality is that he will have to hit pay dirt with a missed tackle or blown assignment. He probably won’t get the volume necessary to warrant the must-start status that we might think his name deserves. Washington has been fairly stingy against Tight Ends this season as they are allowing only the 7th most yards to the position. Just like Greg Olsen last week (who, by the way, caught the game-winning TD or else he’d have been a total bust as he totaled 2 catches for 5 yards), we need to be careful firing up players blindly because of their talent or name. Don’t automatically sit Engram but be cautious if he is on your roster. I repeat … don’t automatically sit Engram because he is listed as a “sit”. But also don’t automatically start him because he had a great rookie year. Then again, Eli Manning can’t throw the ball downfield and OBJ and Josh Norman might get ejected for fighting and then Manning will be forced to dump down to Engram all game long. It’s the Giants after all so who really knows.
Notables – Greg Olsen vs. Ravens, Ricky Seals-Jones vs. 49ers, Cameron Brate vs. Bengals
Unless you have one of the top defenses that are probably an automatic start each week, then you might want to consider streaming your defense each week with a team that has the best matchup. Remember, low scoring games is not the only factor for a good defense. You can’t predict fantasy defensive scoring but you can predict opportunity. You typically want defenses that are aggressive and get pressure on the quarterback. This pressure can lead to turnovers. It is also a decent gamble to target defenses going against rookie or inexperienced quarterbacks. Playing at home is a plus. Finally, game flow matters. A game that will be slow with a lot of rushing attempts is not good for fantasy scoring. Also, it is possible for a defense and an opposing Quarterback to both put up good fantasy numbers in the same game (e.g. Andrew Luck throwing for a bunch of yards and touchdowns, but also getting sacked a lot and throwing interceptions). Here are three teams that you might want to consider streaming for this week, along with three teams you’ll want to be a little cautious with.
Start Notables – Patriots DST @ Bills, Colts @ Raiders, Eagles @ Jaguars
Sit Notables – Packers DST @ Rams, Broncos @ Chiefs, Jets @ Bears
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About the Author-
Jamy Bechler is a fantasy contributor for CouchPotatoGM and FantasyPros. His DFS twitter is @WinningDFS101 and his website is FantasyFocusFootball.com. He once won vacation money in a fantasy league despite having Tyrod Taylor as his starting quarterback, having the last pick in the draft, and trading away Ezekiel Elliott. When he is not playing fantasy sports, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and is a leadership trainer, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). You can also follow his personal twitter account @CoachBechler. Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommends.