Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 8
Last week we avoided some major potholes like Jameson Williams, Justin Herbert, and Hunter Henry. Some of our start options didn’t go as planned, but a full slate without byes brings new opportunities. After scouring the waiver wire and getting the latest injury news, let’s explore the top Fantasy Football Start’ Em Sit’ Em Week 8 options.
Week 8 Byes: NONE
C.J. Stroud (Houston Texans) at Carolina
Stroud had been displaying robust performances leading up to the Texans’ Week 7 bye, delivering multiple passing touchdowns in four of his previous five games. He exceeded 20 fantasy points in three of those outings, establishing a base of around 14 fantasy points per game.
Nonetheless, this week might mark the pinnacle of his rookie season as he faces the Panthers, who allow 7.6 yards per attempt, ranking sixth-highest in the NFL. Also, the Panthers play mostly cover 3, which is a defense Stroud has consistently beaten all season.
Derek Carr (New Orleans Saints) at Indianapolis
Could this be the week where Carr achieves his first smash game of the season? His recent performances have just been meh, with three consecutive games yielding at least 18.3 Fantasy points against New England, Houston, and Jacksonville. In two of those games, he amassed over 301 passing yards.
Carr has only recorded multiple touchdowns in one game this season. However, this week, he faces the Colts, who have allowed at least two touchdowns to four of seven opposing quarterbacks, with five of them scoring more than 18.2 Fantasy points. Carr should be regarded as a high-end No. 2 fantasy quarterback in all leagues for Week 8.
Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Cleveland
Despite throwing multiple passing touchdowns for just the second time this season, In week 7 Smith managed to accumulate less than 14 fantasy points. In the 2023 campaign, he has exceeded 16 fantasy points on only one occasion. That is a significant drop from his 2022 average of nearly 18 fantasy points per game.
Lastly, facing the Browns, who have conceded the fewest passing yards in the NFL this season, and allowed just one passing touchdown per game while restricting QBs to the fifth-lowest fantasy PPG, makes it a wise decision to bench Smith in fantasy.
Dameon Pierce (Houston Texans) at Carolina
Pierce’s season has been challenging thus far, as he has managed to reach double-digit fantasy points only on two occasions. In his last appearance before the bye, he lost playing time to Devin Singletary. Nevertheless, considering the matchup in Week 8, it’s worth giving him another chance. Singletary doesn’t scare me either and Piece is better than Singletary at everything.
The Panthers have surrendered the third-most rushing yards and the highest number of rushing touchdowns, despite having already had their bye week. They concede 5.3 yards per carry, the second-most in the NFL, and particularly struggle against outside runs, allowing the highest yards per carry in the league. Pierce leads Houston in outside carries, making him a viable RB2 or flex option.
Jaylen Warren (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Jacksonville
Warren found the end zone and achieved double-digit fantasy points for the third consecutive game last week, marking the fourth time in his last five outings. Warren serves as the Steelers’ primary pass-catching back, garnering 27 targets, 22 catches, and 165 receiving yards this season, in contrast to Harris’ 12 targets, eight catches, and 52 yards. Also, he significantly outperforms Harris in these categories when the team is trailing.
The Steelers may need to play catch-up against the Jaguars, who have allowed the most completions and the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs this season. Warren is a reliable streaming option with a high ceiling this week.
Javonte Williams (Denver Broncos) vs. Kansas City
Williams had a promising performance against the Packers in Week 7, achieving his best game of the season with 12.6 PPR points. However, he only managed 10 carries for 52 yards in Week 6 against Kansas City. And another challenging outing is expected in the upcoming rematch at home.
Williams has yet to find the end zone this year and is still sharing touches with Jaleel McLaughlin and Samaje Perine. The Chiefs have allowed just three total touchdowns to running backs this season, and only three running backs have surpassed 9.9 PPR points against Kansas City in seven games. If you can, bench Williams in Week 8.
Zack Moss (Indianapolis Colts) vs. New Orleans
Moss has delivered four top-10 finishes over a span of five weeks, even with Jonathan Taylor in the picture. In the last two weeks, Moss and Taylor have split the backfield duties evenly, with Taylor showing better performances. Even if the backfield remains a 50/50 split, the matchup against the New Orleans Saints is challenging for both players. The Saints have yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs and possess the fifth-best team run-defense grade. They have allowed only three rushing touchdowns, tied for the fifth-fewest among defenses. While the Colts are still expected to win, the combination of limited efficiency and potentially reduced workload makes it unlikely for Moss to provide significant fantasy value.
Garrett Wilson (New York Jets) at New York Giants
The Giants have struggled to contain opposing No. 1 receivers for the majority of the season, and Wilson should be no exception. Since Week 2, Marquise Brown, Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, and Terry McLaurin have all had outstanding performances against the Giants’ secondary.
Wilson has scored a minimum of 14.4 PPR points in four of his six games this season. Also, he is coming off an impressive game against the Eagles in Week 6, where he recorded eight catches for 90 yards on 12 targets. Expect Wilson to have another nice outing while visiting his home field.
Rashee Rice (Kansas City Chiefs) at Denver
We mentioned last week that Rice was on the verge of a breakout. And he delivered a standout performance in Week 7 against the Chargers, securing five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Rice has now achieved at least 13.3 PPR points in two of his last three games and played a season-high 59 percent of the snaps against the Chargers, indicating growing trust from Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.
In Week 6 against Denver, Rice had four catches for 72 yards on four targets. Also, the Broncos have been merely average at defending wide receivers. Subsequently, Denver has allowed a league-high nine touchdowns to wideouts. Rice is in a good position to make that 10.
Tyler Lockett (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Cleveland
Lockett is off to his slowest start in years. Although his target rate has remained consistent in recent years, his yards after the catch per reception have declined by a yard over the last four seasons. He averaged 1.94 yards per route run last season. But this year, he stands at 1.54 through seven weeks.
Also, the Seahawks face the Cleveland Browns, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Lockett is better against zone defense, whereas the Browns predominantly employ man coverage, which makes it more challenging for Lockett to thrive.
Jerry Jeudy( Denver Broncos) vs. Kansas City
Jeudy is still searching for his first touchdown this season. And he struggled against the Chiefs in Week 6, recording just three catches for 14 yards. Courtland Sutton has emerged as the primary receiver for the Broncos, and Jeudy’s future with the team appears uncertain.
Finally, the Chiefs rank tenth in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, making Jeudy a risky option in a difficult matchup.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys) vs. L.A. Rams
Although Ferguson’s statistics were not particularly impressive in Week 6. However, the increase in his playing time was a positive sign. He had been rotated out in various personnel packages throughout the season, even on third downs. But, with Peyton Hendershot sidelined and on injured reserve, Ferguson’s playing time increased in Week 6.
The Rams have posted the second-lowest team coverage grade this season at 46.2. Additionally, Ferguson leads all tight ends in forced missed tackles per reception, while the Rams are the worst tackling team in the league.
Luke Musgrave (Green Bay Packers) vs. Minnesota
Musgrave ran 21 routes last week and was targeted five times, securing four receptions for 30 yards. He has failed to reach double-digit fantasy points in five of his six games this season, with his best performance yielding only 10.9 fantasy points.
This week, the Packers face Minnesota, who has been relatively stingy against tight ends until a matchup with George Kittle. Given the absence of bye weeks, there are better streaming options available, like Jake Ferguson or Donald Parham.