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The Fantasy Life: Week 8 start/sit

Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life?

NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Some players are must starts (Aaron Rodgers, Alvin Kamara, and Rob Gronkowski, to name a few), but here we work to give you value and over-performers, depending on what type of fantasy format you are playing. At this point we are breaking up start/sit for Thursday and Sunday/Monday games. We apologize to those who must have complete lineups in by Thursday’s game.

Matt Phillips is a multiple fantasy football champion, and co-host of the podcast “Pigskin Dynasty: Your Podcast for All Things Fantasy Football”. You can find him on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, and other podcast mediums. He also has live episodes on Facebook every Sunday morning at 9:00 am EST.


QB Kirk Cousins, Vikings

The “Minneapolis Miracle” rematch.

Sunday night football is going to be high scoring! The Vikings have a bad pass defense (16th ranking at 256.1 ypg) and the Vikings have a worse pass defense (28th ranking at 293.7 ypg). The winner of this game could whomever scores last. New Orleans has allowed 9 passing touchdowns and have given up around 27 points per game on the road.

Oh, and New Orleans is first against the run, yielding only 72.3 ypg. Start him!

Projection: 325 yards and 3 touchdowns

QB Russel Wilson, Seahawks

The offense has been running more run first, but that didn’t stop Wilson from throwing 3 touchdowns last week. The Lions defense has given up 8 touchdown passes over the last three games so I expect another multi TD game for Russel.

Projection: 245 yards with 3 touchdowns and 35 yards rushing

QB Andy Dalton, Bengals

Another week big Andy is on the start list. He has become indrecibly reliable, like Dalton from Road House (a favorite of both Matt and me). Prior to last weeks dud against the Chiefs he has been good for no less than 229 yards, and is good for at least two touchdowns. Even in his four interception game against Carolina he went for 352 yards and two touchdowns. The matchup favors a rebound as he goes against the Bucs defense giving up up the most fantasy points per game to opposing QBS.

I’m adding one interception to the stat line.

Projection: 305 yards passing, two touchdowns, and 1 interception

RB Philip Lindsay, Broncos

My start of the week!

He has became what Freeman was suppose to be, the all around back. Lindsay was a serviceable start in a week four loss where he had 79 total yards and one touchdown. Freeman was in a walking boot earlier this week so you have to like Lindsay to get a heavy load.

Projection: 105 total yards on 17 touches (4 receptions) and 1 touchdown

RB Jalen Richard, Raiders

It’s French, not Richard; it’s produced RE-Shaard. Maybe it’s Richard, I don’t know but I do know he is the back for the Raiders when it is negative game scripted. Andrew Luck should keep the Raiders playing from behind. Jalen’s had at least five targets in the last four games, but as the second most targeted guy on the team I think he will be the Raiders leading receiver this week, and a good flex in PPR leagues.

Projection: 8 receptions for 75 yards along with 15 yards rushing

RB Kerryon Johnson, Lions

Theo Riddick is out. If there was a time for him to majorly break out, this will be the time.

He did get 179 yards last week so I guess that constitutes a breakout, but I am talking touchdowns. Fantasy gold.

Multiple scores! Mark it! Done deal! Start Johnson.

Projection: 22 touches (5 receptions) 85 rushing yards and 1 touchdown along with 45 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown

WR Taylor Gabriel, Bears

The Patriots did a remarkable job in stopping the quick slot receiver that is Gabriel. He gets back on track this week, especially with Alan Robinson not being 100%.

The Jets rank 21st in passing yards allowed.

Projection: 4 receptionis for 132 yards and 1 touchdown

WR Josh Gordon, Patriots

At times it can be hard to figure out which Patriots to start.

If you’ve been hesitant to make Josh a much start, no longer. He played 95% of the snaps last week and went over 100 yards. Brady even mentioned that he’s more comfortable and confident throwing to him. The Bills defense has been stingy against the pass this year, but edge Brady.

Matt and I disagree on the yardage. I think he goes over 100 yards again, but I’m leaving Matt’s stat line here.

Projection: 5 receptions 65 yards and 1 touchdown

WR Doug Baldwin, Seahawks

It appears the knee injury he suffered at the beginning of the season has healed. Last week he posted a 91 yard effort against the Raiders on 8 targets. I believe he has a pretty good game this week as I think Darius Clay is going to somewhat shut down Tyler Lockett. Pencil him in as a PPR must start, and a sneaky start in regular leagues.

Projection: 7 receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown

TE Jared Cook, Raiders

He is the lone weapon on the team. He has to be the biggest beneficiary of Amari Cooper being traded. The only question is which Cook are you going to get? He has been really good then really bad. Not very consistent. Expect “Good Cook” this week as he faces a Colts defense giving up the third most points to tight ends on the road this season.

Projection: 4 receptions for 50 yards and 1 touchdown

TE Benjamin Watson, Saints

He is a sleeper pick this week,and I expect him to exceed expectations this week. As I noted above, this game should find this being a scoring cavalcade. The Vikings defense has given up over 500 yards to opposing tight ends this season, and with his size he is a nice red zone threat.

Projection: 5 receptions for 45 yards and 1 touchdown

TE Vance McDonald, Steelers

Between Vance and Jesse James, Vance has been the better fantasy tight end this season. In the rematch of week one that ended in a tie, the Steelers are easily the better team. The Browns have given up the 7th most passing yards per game.

Projection: 4 receptions for 45 yards and 1 touchdown

Indianapolis Colts Defense

They are my sleeper pick of the week. I’m benching the Rams and starting the Colts in one of my leagues. It may be risky, but I love the matchup. I also benefited form Hopkins and Miller going off on Thursday so I can take a little risk. The Oakland offense isn’t that good as the team is trading everyone. I believe Carr will throw picks and get pressure. I’m not expecting last weeks stat line, but Oakland is better than Buffalo.

Projection: 17 points allowed with 3 sacks and 2 turnovers

K Dustin Hopkins, Redskins

He has been very quiet scoring 8 points or more in three straight games. As much as I bash the Redskins offense, and in particular Alex Smith, they do move the ball enough to where he will get plenty of opportunities.

Projection: 2 for 2 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points


QB Carson Wentz, Eagles

I bet you have Wentz starting. The Jaguars are missing the vast majority of their starting defensive backs. It should be Wentz’s playground.

The Jaguars are a seasoned London team. The Eagles are not. The Jaguars are not allowing opposing quarterbacks to score touchdowns through the air. Wentz and the Eagles offense are not clicking, and this matchup favors the Jaguars.

Projection: 215 yards passing, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception

QB Derek Carr, Raiders

This may just be obvious; no Lync, no Cooper and while the Colts defense may not be great, but oppposing quarterbacks are only averaging 17 points against them. I expect a multi interception game here

Projection: 260 yards passing 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions

QB Joe Flacco, Ravens

Flacco will go back to his normal fantasy self this week as the Panthers defense at home has allowed a 76 passer rating and only 14 points per game to opposing QBs

Projection: 255 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception

RB Nick Chubb, Browns

Matchup sit right here folks. The Steelers have been good against the run, only allowing 3.6 rushing yards per carry. They also allowed the second fewest PPR points to the running back position. I’ll fade him this week.

Projection: 18 carries for 75 yards

RB Aaron Jones, Packers

It pains me to put Aaron Jones on this list. I love Aaron Jones. If you are in a dynasty league, get Aaron Jones because it’s only a matter of time before Mike Mccarthy realizes Jones needs to be the workhorse. It may not be this season, but if he continues to deliver he will be the balance Rodgers needs.

That being said, they’re going up against the Los Angeles Rams. I expect a lot of passing for the Packers and not that much rushing.

Projection: 11 carries for 65 yards

RB Peyton Barber, Bucs

He still hasn’t had a rushing touchdown this year, and came out with an ankle injury last week. Reports are that Ronald Jones took the majority of the snaps during practice which leads me to believe Barber may not be 100%, or the organization may be changing things up. Too much mystery in Tampa.

Projection: 15 carries for 55 yards and 1 reception for 8 yards

WR Alshon Jeffery, Eagles

This may be tough, because Jeffrey has been a beast ever since he came back from his injury, but I believe he gets covered by Jalen Ramsey. DeAndre Hopkins barely got away with a good fantasy day thanks to that touchdown, and I don’t know I can say the same for Jeffrey this week. I think the Eagles will exploit the tight end in this game as a Jags are more susceptible to the tight end than they are with the receivers.

Projection: 4 receptions for 52

WR Tyler Lockett, Seahawks

As I mentioned in the Doug Baldwin post, I believe locket will get Darrius Clay. The Detroit Lions have gave up the fourth fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and he has always been a big play type of guy to make his fantasy day. He is a risky play this week.

Projection: 4 receptions for 60 yards

WR Allen Robinson, Bears

Robinson has yet to show he was worth the money. Once again he’s been bitten by the injury bug. He had only one catch on five targets last week in a shootout. That tells me either his injury is a big deal or Mitchell Trubisky does not like throwing to him. At this point he’s an every week sit until proven otherwise.

Projection: 3 receptions for 32 yards

TE Jordan Reed, Redskins

I don’t get this, When he is injured they throw the ball to Reed a lot, but when he is finally healthy they don’t throw him the ball. He isn’t getting consistent looks, and Alex Smith isn’t the Alex Smith we thought he was going to be. Over the last three week Smith has targeted Reed 2, 9, and 4 times. Reed only has one touchdown pass on the season.

Despite a good matchup against a Giants team week against tight ends, he is a risky start. I’m sitting him.

Projection: 4 receptions for 42 yards

TE Greg Olson, Panthers

He has yet to top 50 yards this season and he barely saved owners last week with a touchdown to the end game. Against the stellar Ravens defense I believe he will be a bust.

Projection: 4 receptions for 55 yards

TE Jimmy Graham, Packers

This is my bold call of the week.

I know what you are thinking: bench Graham in a match up where it could be very high-scoring? That’s right, Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb are healthy and expected to play meaning targets will go there way. I believe that hurts the value of Jimmy Graham a bit to a point where he may be considered just a touchdown or bust play. With that being considered, and the fact that the Rams defense has only allowed one passing touchdown to opposing Tight ends, I am sitting him

Projection: 5 receptions for 65 yards

Los Angeles Rams Defense

After their amazing game last week against the 49ers I am sitting them against the Green Bay Packers. Two high powered offenses, and I don’t think there will be enough turnovers or sacks to justify starting them.

Projection: 31 points allowed with 1 sack

K Graham Gano, Panthers

The Ravens have given up the second fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers, averaging just below five points per game.

Projection: 1 for 1 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points