Only the best of the best, or the luckiest, survived a brutal Week 7 unscathed. After such a brutal bye week, things will be far less chaotic in Week 8 with only the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders off.
Still, plenty of regular fantasy starters are on those two rosters, which makes knowing which players to start and who to consider sitting as important as ever.
Here are some unheralded starters to consider this week and some other options to consider sitting as we head into Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season.
Daniel Jones (QB) New York Giants
Jones finds himself matched up this week with the league’s worst defense on Monday Night Football in Kansas City. We keep waiting for the Chiefs to get right and they keep not doing it. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, you play him against the Chiefs this year.
With that said, Jones has made progress this year. The touchdowns aren’t where you want them to be for fantasy, however, he’s cut down on mistakes, has solid yardage totals considering what that offense has dealt with and he has a sneaky good rushing floor. There’s no reason he can’t have a ceiling game against the Chiefs and his ceiling is higher than most give him credit for. Especially as his weapons heal up.
Myles Gaskin (RB) Miami Dolphins
Gaskin has been wildly inconsistent and the matchup against the Bills isn’t ideal. Nevertheless, he needs to be started this week coming off a nice outing against the Falcons. He rushed for 67 yards on 15 carries, caught four passes, and scored a TD. Look for these numbers to stay consistent now that the plodding Malcolm Brown has mercifully landed on injured reserve and will miss at least the next three weeks.
Make no mistake, Gaskin is a skilled back and is much better than Brown. Inexplicable coaching decisions are what have been holding him back and that should no longer be the case. I can understand the fear of facing the Bills, but his best game all year was against the Bucs who almost no back can run on. This isn’t because Gaskin is going to gash Buffalo for 100 yards. Tua will need to get the ball out quick and Gaskin will be his outlet. Don’t be shocked if he sees double-digit targets in this one.
Kenneth Gainwell (RB) Philadelphia Eagles
Gainwell has been good this year with limited touches. Miles Sanders went down with an ankle injury this past week and all signs point to him missing Week 8. The logical beneficiary of this injury should and more than likely will be Gainwell. Boston Scott and somehow Jordan Howard could be a thorn in his side, but Gainwell will get more than enough work to make him start-worthy.
Philly is also taking on the Lions who are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Between the juicy matchup and increased workload, Gainwell should be considered a high-end RB2 this week with mid-range RB1 upside.
Jerry Jeudy (WR) Denver Broncos
Many owners will look to wait on Jeudy and see how he looks and what his workload will be. That’s understandable. I’m not one of those owners. I’m looking to throw Jeudy right into the fire upon his return against the Washington Football team.
Courtland Sutton has been the man in his absence, but he’s startable too against the Washington Football team. Only the Titans have given up more fantasy points to wideouts this season. There should be enough value to go around between the two receivers. If you stashed Jeudy since his injury throw him in your lineup. If he’s on waivers he should be the top waiver priority.
Marquez Callaway (WR) New Orleans Saints
The Bucs have been torched by wide receivers this year, although, they’ve been a bit better of late in favorable matchups. I’m still looking to pick on them and Callaway has been the guy in New Orleans. With Deonte Harris now out, Callaway has seen an uptick in targets coming off a seven-target game. He’s not a slam dunk target because of the general volatility of the Saints’ offense, but he’s the best option in that passing attack and solid flex option this week.
Robert Tonyan (TE) Green Bay Packers
The matchup is a bit scary this week against Arizona, but I like Tonyan this week. He finally had a good week last week for the first time since Week 2. However, while last week does build some confidence that’s not why I’m back in on Tonyan. I’m back in because the Packers are running out of options to throw to due to Covid and with the game being on Thursday night, players won’t be able to get cleared in time. Davante Adams and Allen Lazard are both on the Covid list, and there is a concern there could be more to come. Marques Valdez-Scantling is yet to be activated from IR but has a chance to return this week. Tonyan should be a solid streaming option this week on necessity alone.
Tua Tagovailoa (QB) Miami Dolphins
Since coming off IR, Tagovailoa has worked himself from a non-factor to sleeper to start option and has put up nice numbers. Unfortunately, he falls to a sit option this week. The last time Tua played against the Bills he broke his ribs and landed on IR. Neither of these teams has shown any reason why the Bills defense won’t beat up on him again. The Bills defense have done nothing but dominate since these two teams last met and the Dolphins haven’t won a game and most of their top weapons have gotten hurt.
Antonio Gibson (RB) Washington Football Team
Gibson is great but he just isn’t healthy and that disaster of a franchise won’t step in and make sure he gets the rest he needs to get healthy. He was significantly out-snapped by J.D. McKissic last week and came away with a lesser fantasy day. On top of his injury woes, this is a tough matchup against the Broncos. When healthy he’s a must-start, but he’s just not healthy right now and it’s not clear if he will be for the rest of the season.
Mike Davis (RB) Atlanta Falcons
We are at a point with Davis where he is becoming unstartable. Cordarrelle Patterson has fully surpassed him as the top rushing and receiving back in Atlanta and after a dud in Miami last week it’s hard to even consider starting him this week. The Dolphins are at the bottom of the league when it comes to slowing down fantasy backs and Davis managed only 10 yards on four carries and not one target. Park him on your bench until further notice. Especially this week against a brutal Panthers’ defense.
Calvin Ridley (WR) Atlanta Falcons
Ridley is another Falcon who has exponentially underperformed expectations and is coming off a dud verse Miami. After being bad all year, Ridley managed just four catches for 26 against the Dolphins. He did save his day with a short touchdown catch, but that can’t be counted on. This week Ridley has a much tougher matchup with the Panthers. You may not be able to bench him, nonetheless, I’d be hoping to find a better option this week.
Tee Higgins (WR) Cincinnati Bengals
This is that time of the week when we tell you that the Jets are so bad that teams aren’t throwing enough on them to give their receivers those monster days. Well, the Jets got even worse this week when their awful rookie quarterback Zach Wilson went down and now will be replaced with either Mike White or Joe Flacco. They likely won’t hit double-digit points. With the Bengals likely running away with this one, I’m not trusting the passing attack to sustain enough volume to start their WR2.
Mike Gesicki (TE) Miami Dolphins
Gesicki has been outstanding this year and he and Tua Tagovailoa have gotten on the same page the past few weeks. However, the Bills matchup is completely scaring off this passing attack other than dump-offs to the running back. You may have to start Gesicki this week because of how the tight end landscape looks right now, but at the very least browse the free-agent tight ends and see if you can stream someone with a more upside this week.