Week 8 doesn't offer too many "can't miss" fantasy starts, but astute owners who have worked the waiver wires or patiently waited for a slow starter to finally gain steam will be rewarded, as the slate provides a handful of under-the-radar performers who will deliver quality numbers. On the flip side, those players who struggled during the first seven weeks won't see much of a respite. As the midway point of the season — and the NFL trade deadline next week — approaches, most of this season's disappointing fantasy players are likely to continue showing their true, frustrating colors.
Week 8 doesn't offer too many "can't miss" fantasy starts, but astute owners who have worked the waiver wires or patiently waited for a slow starter to finally gain steam will be rewarded, as the slate provides a handful of under-the-radar performers who will deliver quality numbers.
On the flip side, those players who struggled during the first seven weeks won't see much of a respite. As the midway point of the season — and the NFL trade deadline next week — approaches, most of this season's disappointing fantasy players are likely to continue showing their true, frustrating colors.
START: Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: Yes, the turnovers (seven in three games) is cause for concern, but Winston has also thrown for 760 yards and four touchdowns in his first two starts and gets a Bengals defense that is 28th in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks. What puts Winston high atop the must-start mountain is a renewed effort to run, as he has rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown in the last two games. It's hard to envision Winston, who has attempted 93 passes in his two starts, not finding the end zone multiple times in what should be a high-scoring affair.
SIT: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars: His pass-catching skills have made him a darling in PPR leagues, but Yeldon has yet to eclipse 60 rushing yards in a single game, a feat that becomes even less likely with the addition of Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville backfield. The trip to London becomes less fruitful for Yeldon as he contends with an Eagles defense that is second in fewest fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs and seventh overall against the rush. There will be some flex appeal to Yeldon in PPR formats, but the prospect of Hyde cutting into his touches diminishes his value in other types of leagues.
START: Marlon Mack, RB, Colts: Mack has averaged nearly 7 yards per carry in his last two games and will face an Oakland defense that is 27th in yards per carry allowed (4.7) and 22nd overall. He's shown potential as a pass catcher out of the backfield, and while rookie Nyheim Hines will get the bulk of snaps in passing situations, expect Mack to be targeted a few times. Mack is an RB2 with a chance to produce RB1 numbers.
SIT: Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles: Part of the reason why the champs have struggled offensively, Agholor has just one touchdown this season and has been held under 30 receiving yards four times, including last week's feeble 20-yard effort in the loss to the Panthers. Don't expect Agholor to find his 2017 form in London against a Jaguars defense that leads the league with 195.4 passing yards per game. Although he's averaging nearly eight targets per game, Agholor has done little to justify Carson Wentz throwing in his direction.
START: Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots: The prospect of his first monster game in a New England uniform is rising. Gordon caught four passes for 100 yards in last week's win over the Bears and he has seen his targets rise from six in his first two games to 16 over the past two outings. The Bills are fourth in receiving yards allowed, but they have given up 13 passing touchdowns, tying them for 20th overall. While Gordon has only one touchdown in New England, that is likely to increase on Monday night.
SIT: Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: Detroit's gunslinger has thrown at least two touchdowns in five straight games, a streak that will be tested by a Seattle pass defense that is tied for second with only eight scoring passes allowed. No longer the "Legion of Boom," the Seahawks still lead the league in fewest net passing yards allowed and are in the top 10 in interceptions. An improved ground game has led Stafford to throw a combined 48 passes in the last two games, and if the Lions are able to remain balanced offensively, then Stafford's prolific yardage totals will also take a sizable hit.
START: Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers: If Matt Breida (ankle, hamstring) can't go, then Mostert gets a great matchup against the Cardinals, who have the worst run defense in the league. Arizona also is dead last with 12 rushing touchdowns allowed, further bolstering Mostert's value. He has averaged 7.6 yards per carry over the past two weeks and is a solid receiver out of the backfield; even if Breida happens to play, Mostert should still get enough touches to get RB2 status in PPR formats.
SIT: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Jets: With Bilal Powell (neck) facing potential retirement, Crowell will get his share of the 13 touches per game that Powell totaled. However, Crowell must face a Bears defense that is third against the run and is the only team that has yet to allow a touchdown on the ground. Crowell has rushed for a combined 69 yards on 24 carries in the two games since he ran through the Broncos for 219 yards, making him a longshot of an RB2. He still won't be heavily involved in the passing game, further dampening his value in PPR formats.
START: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears: He's proven the six-TD outburst he had against the Buccaneers wasn't a fluke, as Trubisky has thrown for 649 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games. The Jets are 25th in receiving yards allowed and have given up 13 touchdown passes, and with coach Matt Nagy taking the gloves off Trubisky, this makes for a great opportunity to run with the budding fantasy standout.
SIT: Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: The Steelers are 29th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and while that makes starting Mayfield intriguing, he's best off on the fantasy bench. He's averaged just 226.5 passing yards per game in the last two weeks and could remain near that total if the Browns make a commitment to getting running back Nick Chubb an extensive workload.
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