Fantasy Football Week 8 Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em: Joe Mixon is Jamey Eisenberg’s Start of the Week – CBSSports.com
More Week 8: Rankings — —— — —
This could be a tough week for Fantasy owners. There are six teams on a bye — Green Bay, Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee, the Giants and Rams — which means we’re missing several key players.
Don’t worry, we have you covered.
While it might not be comforting to rely on guys like Andy Dalton, Wendell Smallwood, Ted Ginn and Tyler Kroft, you might not have a choice. We’ll talk about those guys and many more as potential starting options for this week.
While this might feel like a daunting task trying to win in Week 8 with all the talent missing due to the bye, hope is not lost. There are plenty of good players to help you win.
As always, it’s about finding the right ones for your team. And we think a lot of those players are listed right here.
Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.
Start of the Week
The only thing that could hold down Joe Mixon this week against the Colts is Marvin Lewis. And that would be dumb of the Bengals coach to punish his best running back – and second-best offensive player behind A.J. Green – for saying he wants the ball more.
Mixon should get the squeaky wheel treatment here instead and get more work than he can handle, which would be nice. He was playing well against the Steelers last week with seven carries for 48 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and three catches for 20 yards, but he didn’t get a carry in the second half.
Mixon said the play-calling was “frustrating,” and hopefully that’s rectified this week. His usage of late says it will happen since Mixon had at least 15 carries in the three games prior to Week 7, and he averaged 19 touches a game over that span.
It coincides with Bill Lazor taking over as the offensive coordinator, and Mixon has scored at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in two of his past four outings. I expect him to score more than nine Fantasy points this week against the Colts.
Indianapolis has struggled with its run defense in the past two games against Tennessee and Jacksonville, with Derrick Henry, DeMarco Murray, T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory all scoring double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in those matchups.
For the season, seven running backs have scored double digits in Fantasy points against the Colts, and Mixon should be No. 8. Helping his cause will be Indianapolis down two key defenders in linebacker John Simon (stinger) and safety Malik Hooker (knee). We just hope Lewis doesn’t screw this up.
Mixon deserves a heavy workload based on his ability on the field. And if he gets it as expected against the Colts, he should have a standout performance in Week 8.
|17.7 projected points|
|We’ll see if the Patriots turned the corner with their pass defense last week against Atlanta or if Matt Ryan is just not having a good year. Either way, the floor for opposing quarterbacks against New England is 18 Fantasy points, which is what Ryan scored in Week 7. Before Ryan, every other quarterback against the Patriots passed for at least 300 yards and scored at least 20 Fantasy points. Rivers, who has scored at least 19 Fantasy points in five of seven starts, should be in line for a quality outing this week.|
|21.0 projected points|
|Newton has a great track record against the Buccaneers with at least 21 Fantasy points in four of his past five meetings. And he should have the chance for another strong performance this week. The Buccaneers have allowed four of the past five opposing quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points, including Tyrod Taylor in Week 7. And Tampa Bay just lost a key pass rusher with Noah Spence (shoulder) placed on injured reserve. Newton was bad in Week 7 at Chicago with just seven Fantasy points, which snapped a three-game stretch of him scoring at least 22 points. He should get back to that level in this matchup with the Buccaneers in Week 8.|
|20.5 projected points|
|Shoulder injury? What shoulder injury? Winston showed no signs of having a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder in Week 7 at Buffalo when he passed for 384 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, which was good for 29 Fantasy points. He has now scored at least 20 Fantasy points in the past three games he was able to finish (he left Week 6 at Arizona with the initial shoulder problem), and he should keep it rolling this week. The Panthers have allowed four of the past five opposing quarterbacks to score at least 19 Fantasy points, and the lone passer who failed to do so was Mitchell Trubisky, who attempted only seven passes in Week 7. Winston will definitely throw more than that.|
|20.9 projected points|
|In last week’s Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em, we told you that Taylor must love the No. 21 because he was projected for 21 Fantasy points, he scored 21 points in each of his two home games this year and going back to last season, he averaged just over 21 points in his past 10 games in Buffalo. So what happened in Week 7 against Tampa Bay? He scored 21 Fantasy points again. Let’s see if that continues this week against the Raiders, who are allowing an average of 19 Fantasy points a game to opposing quarterbacks this year. Something tells me that average will go up this week when Taylor hits his magic number.|
|20.3 projected points|
|The first two games for Dalton under Lazor went well, and he averaged 27.5 Fantasy points against Green Bay and Cleveland. He’s averaged just 14 Fantasy points in his past two outings against Buffalo and Pittsburgh, and those were much tougher matchups. We expect things to be better for Dalton this week since the Colts are closer to the Packers and Browns with their pass defense, and losing Hooker won’t help Indy’s secondary. Four quarterbacks in a row have passed for at least 295 yards against the Colts, and four of the past five opposing quarterbacks against Indianapolis have scored at least 18 Fantasy points. Dalton is a low-end starting option in all leagues this week.|
- Josh McCown (at ATL): McCown has scored at least 17 Fantasy points in three games in a row, including 54 points in his past two games against New England and Miami. This is a tough matchup against the Falcons, who have allowed just two quarterbacks to score 20-plus Fantasy points this season. But given McCown’s recent level of play, he’s worth using as a streaming option, especially in two-quarterback leagues.
- Trevor Siemian (at KC): It’s hard to trust Siemian, who has scored 13 Fantasy points or less in four of his past five games and hasn’t scored multiple touchdowns since Week 2. But the matchup with the Chiefs is enticing, making Siemian a streaming option. Kansas City has allowed three of the past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 23 Fantasy points, and four quarterbacks have reached that number this year. Siemian is worth a look in two-quarterback leagues.
- Case Keenum (at MIN): Like Siemian, Keenum is hard to trust given his recent level of play. He hasn’t scored more than 14 Fantasy points in any of his past four games, and he actually only has one game this season with more than that total, which was Week 3 against Tampa Bay. He could get a boost if Stefon Diggs (groin) is back this week against the Browns in London, and all but one quarterback (Marcus Mariota in Week 7) has scored at least 17 Fantasy points against Cleveland this year. Keenum will hopefully be in that range, and he’s worth using in two-quarterback leagues this week.
|15.2 projected points|
|We’ll see if Stafford gets Golden Tate (shoulder) back this week after he was a surprise participant at practice Wednesday despite being expected to miss several weeks. That would help Stafford’s outlook. Without Tate, Stafford is someone to avoid in all one-quarterback formats this week against the Steelers, who are giving up an average of just 10 Fantasy points a game to opposing quarterbacks. No quarterback has scored 20 Fantasy points against Pittsburgh, and we don’t expect Stafford to be the first, even if Tate plays.|
|18.5 projected points|
|Smith is averaging just 15 Fantasy points a game against the Broncos in their past six meetings, and he has one game with more than 20 points against Denver over that span. The Broncos haven’t been the same dominating defense this year that we’re used to seeing in terms of Fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks since there have been four times where someone scored at least 19 points. But for the season, opposing quarterbacks are still at just 17.7 Fantasy points allowed on average, which is No. 15 in the NFL. The last time Smith had a matchup of this caliber was Week 6 against Pittsburgh, and he had his worst game of the season with 16 Fantasy points. We could see a similar performance like that this week.|
|18.0 projected points|
|Roethlisberger finally scored 20 Fantasy points in Week 7 against Cincinnati, but that’s just his first game with that total since Week 2. We hope he’s turned the corner and is ready to become a solid No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues, but we need to see consistent production from him first before starting him in most formats. Also, he has a tough matchup in Week 8 against the Lions, who have allowed just Newton in Week 5 to score more than 17 Fantasy points against them in a standard league this year. Roethlisberger is only worth starting in two-quarterback leagues.|
|14.0 projected points|
|Watson has been excellent this season, and he went into his bye in Week 7 with four games in a row scoring at least 24 Fantasy points. But he did that against some bad defenses like New England, Tennessee, Kansas City and Cleveland. This week is a step up in weight class against the Seahawks in Seattle. The only quarterback to score at least 20 Fantasy points against Seattle this season was Marcus Mariota in Week 3. Watson might prove to be matchup proof if he has another big game this week at Seattle, but we don’t expect that to happen. He’s a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback at best in Week 8.|
I was way off about Carr last week when he passed for 417 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs, which was good for 35 Fantasy points. And I could be way off about him again this week since the Bills just allowed Winston to have a big game in Week 7 in Buffalo. But Carr could be a letdown since he scored 11 Fantasy points or less in his past three games prior to Week 7. And the Bills limited every opposing quarterback to 15 Fantasy points or less in every game before facing Winston. I consider Carr a low-end starting Fantasy quarterback this week in the majority of leagues, but I’m not ready to declare he’s back after what he did against Kansas City at home. Going on the road at Buffalo will be tougher, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Carr had a dud performance this week.
|10.5 projected points|
|I’m excited about both Blount and Wendell Smallwood (5.2 Projected points) this week against the 49ers, and you should consider Blount a must-start Fantasy option, with Smallwood more of a sleeper. The 49ers allow the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs, and eight running backs have either scored a touchdown or gained 100 total yards against San Francisco this year. Blount hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3 or gained 100 total yards since Week 4, but he’s due for a big game given his potential to score in this matchup. And Smallwood could do damage with his total yardage and work in the passing game. Both have the chance to thrive in this matchup at home.|
|9.2 projected points|
|Kamara has scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in four games in a row, but he’s been exceptional in the two outings since Adrian Peterson was traded to Arizona. Kamara had 10 carries for 75 yards and three catches for 12 yards in Week 6 against Detroit and nine carries for 57 yards and five catches for 50 yards in Week 7 at Green Bay. Mark Ingram is still the No. 1 running back for the Saints, but Kamara isn’t far behind. And this week he faces a Bears defense that has struggled with pass-catching running backs. There have been five running backs with at least three catches against Chicago, and Kamara could be a big playmaker in the passing game for Drew Brees this week.|
|9.3 projected points|
|Thompson just continues to find ways to produce, and he should have the chance for another good game in Week 8 against Dallas. Thompson has scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in 5-of-6 games this year, and the majority of it has come from his receiving production. He’s scored at least eight Fantasy points just as a receiver in four games this season, and he has four games with at least four catches. The Cowboys have allowed five running backs to catch at least three passes in a game, and last year Thompson had eight catches for 74 yards in two games against Dallas. He’s a solid Fantasy option in all leagues and a borderline No. 1 running back in PPR.|
|7.9 projected points|
|There’s no chance I would have believed you if anyone told me in August that I’d be writing about Forte as a starter in this column in Week 8. But here we are. What’s most surprising is, he’s worth it, especially in PPR leagues. Forte played 50 percent of the snaps in Week 7 at Miami despite Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire both being active, and he finished the game with seven carries for 41 yards and five catches for 41 yards for 82 total yards. This is the second game in a row where he’s had more than 80 total yards, and he has 13 catches in his past two outings. Forte gets to face a Falcons defense this week that struggles with pass-catching running backs, as eight running backs have at least three catches in a game against Atlanta this year. Forte is worth using as a No. 2 running back in all leagues.|
|7.7 projected points|
|It’s a risk to trust any New England running back, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead or James White has the best game of this backfield this week. But Lewis looks like the best Patriots running back right now, and he’s scored at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past four games. He had a team-high 13 carries in Week 7 against Atlanta for 76 yards, and this is a favorable matchup against the Chargers at home. There have been seven running backs to score or gain 80 total yards against the Chargers, and Lewis is worth using as a No. 2 running back or flex option this week, especially with six teams on a bye. Again, he could disappoint you given the volatility of this backfield, but based on his recent production, he’s worth the risk.|
- Marlon Mack (at CIN): Mack played 32 snaps in Week 7 against Jacksonville compared to just 22 for Frank Gore, and we expect the Colts to start leaning on Mack even more. He only had nine total touches (four catches) for 66 yards, but he has double digits in Fantasy points in the two games where he’s had at least 10 touches this year. Let’s hope he gets an increased workload against the Bengals, as Mack is a flex option in Week 8.
- Javorius Allen (vs. MIA): Allen has been great in PPR leagues, and he should be a No. 2 option in those formats this week. He’s also a flex option in standard leagues. Allen has at least five catches in four of his past six games, and he had eight catches in Week 7 at Minnesota. He’s not doing much with his receptions (31 catches for 143 yards on the season), but he’s facing a Dolphins defense that has allowed five running backs to catch at least four passes in a game this year.
- Jalen Richard (at BUF): I’ve gone back and forth on Richard and DeAndre Washington all week, but if you need to start one of the Raiders backup running backs with Marshawn Lynch (suspension) out then go with Richard. He should be the better option in the passing game, and I expect the Raiders to be chasing points this week against the Bills. Richard also has more big-play ability. Buffalo has allowed four running backs to catch at least three passes in a game this year, and Richard has seven catches in his past two games.
|6.2 projected points|
|Kelley played in Week 7 at Philadelphia after sitting out Week 6 with an ankle injury, and he had minimal production with seven carries for 16 yards and two catches for 14 yards. He could have another game with minimal Fantasy production this week against the Cowboys, who have proven to be a good run defense when linebacker Sean Lee is healthy. With Lee back last week at San Francisco, Carlos Hyde was held in check with 14 carries for 68 yards and four catches for 20 yards. We don’t expect Kelley to be involved much in the passing game, and if he doesn’t score a touchdown, six Fantasy points is about his ceiling. He had 14 carries for 37 yards and two catches for 5 yards in his last meeting with the Cowboys in 2016, and he’s only worth using as a flex option this week.|
|8.0 projected points|
|As we stated with Mack, it’s time for the Colts to give the rookie more work and scale things back for the veteran. That may have started in Week 7 against the Jaguars when Gore was limited to 22 snaps and had just nine carries for 34 yards. He’s averaging just 5.5 Fantasy points a game in standard leagues over his past four games, and he only had nine carries for 34 yards against Jacksonville. This week, he’s facing a Bengals defense that has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing running backs, and only three running backs have scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. Mack has a better chance of adding his name to that list than Gore, who is just a flex option at best this week.|
|6.6 projected points|
|Kudos to Murray for having a huge game in Week 7 against Baltimore with 18 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown, but I’m skeptical of him doing it again, especially this week against the Browns. If there’s one thing Cleveland can be proud of this year despite the team’s struggles it’s the run defense. No running back has run for 66 yards in a game against the Browns this year, and they’ve only allowed two rushing touchdowns. Now, there have been running backs to do damage against the Browns in the passing game, which benefits Jerick McKinnon more than Murray, but Murray is likely a touchdown-or-bust Fantasy option this week. I would only use him as a flex in this matchup in London.|
|7.5 projected points|
|Crowell had his biggest workload of the season in Week 7 against Tennessee with 17 carries for 35 yards and four catches for 36 yards on six targets. Maybe there’s some reason for optimism moving forward, but it’s difficult to start him this week, even with all the teams on a bye. He has yet to score a touchdown or gain even 75 total yards in a game this season. And the Vikings have allowed just one rushing touchdown this year and only two running backs to gain double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. Crowell is a flex option at best in Week 8.|
I want Anderson to play well this week, and I hope he proves me wrong here. But I don’t like the situation for him against the Chiefs on the road. While Kansas City’s run defense has been leaky at times — see Gillislee, Melvin Gordon and Le’Veon Bell all scoring double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league — Anderson has been terrible on the road for the past three years. He’s played 12 road games since 2015 and is averaging just 4.0 Fantasy points in a standard league over that span, including just one game with double digits in points. When the Broncos have won this season — three home games against the Chargers, Cowboys and Raiders — Anderson has averaged 14.6 Fantasy points per game and 24.3 touches. In three losses against Buffalo, the Giants and the Chargers, he’s averaging 3.0 Fantasy points a game and 10 touches. The Chiefs are favored to win this game by at least a touchdown. Anderson is also losing work to Jamaal Charles, who is making his return to Kansas City, and Devontae Booker, so this is setting up for a bad scenario for Anderson. He’s a low-end No. 2 running back/flex option this week.
|7.7 Projected points|
|Fantasy owners have soured on Allen a bit since his start percentage was at just 82 percent on CBS Sports as of Wednesday. And it’s understandable why since he’s scored more than six Fantasy points in a standard league just once in his past five games. Still, he’s getting an average of 9.5 targets a game this year, and this is a good matchup to trust him at New England. The Patriots have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers, and nine have scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league. Look for Allen to break out of his slump in Week 8.|
|7.4 Projected points|
|Thielen is still waiting for his first touchdown this year, and so are Fantasy owners. And it could happen this week, especially if Stefon Diggs (groin) remains out as expected against the Browns in London. Thielen has 25 targets in his past two games against Green Bay and Baltimore, and he’s combined for 14 catches for 137 yards over that span. He has three games this year with at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league, and he has a good matchup this week. Cleveland has allowed six of eight receivers with at least five targets to score at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league, and Thielen has at least six targets in every game this year. This should be Thielen’s best game of the season if Diggs remains out.|
|8.2 Projected points|
|Benjamin, like all the Panthers, had a rough game in Week 7 at Chicago with just three catches for 65 yards on six targets. Prior to that, Benjamin had at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in three games in a row. We expect him to get back to that level this week, and the Buccaneers have been terrible against opposing receivers all year. Tampa Bay has allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers, and nine have scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league against the Buccaneers. In four career games against Tampa Bay, Benjamin has 25 catches for 359 yards and two touchdowns. He could go off this week and is a must-start option in all formats.|
|8.7 Projected points|
|It’s hard to get away from Nelson Agholor and his recent production, and Agholor (8.2 projected points) should also be considered a starting Fantasy option in this matchup with the 49ers. But I’m not shying away from Jeffery even though he’s struggled of late. He’s now gone five games in a row with single digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, but Carson Wentz continues to target him with 16 in his past two games against Carolina and Washington, which leads this receiving corps. And No. 1 receivers have excelled against San Francisco of late with Sammy Watkins (22 Fantasy points), Larry Fitzgerald (nine points), T.Y. Hilton (17 points) and Dez Bryant (12 points) all playing well in four of the past five weeks. Jeffery is due for a breakout game, and don’t be surprised if it happens against the 49ers at home.|
|6.8 Projected points|
|I’d prefer to start Smith-Schuster as more of a No. 3 Fantasy receiver than a must-start option, but things are trending in his direction this week. It appears like Martavis Bryant will be inactive for this game following his social media tirade after Week 7. That should open up more targets for Smith-Schuster, who has scored in two of his past four games. And the Lions have allowed six touchdowns to opposing receivers this year and nine to score at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league. If you’re stuck at receiver this week with six teams on a bye, gamble on Smith-Schuster as his role continues to expand.|
- Kenny Stills (at BAL): Keep an eye on DeVante Parker (ankle) and his status for Thursday’s game at Baltimore, but if he’s out as expected then consider Stills a decent option this week. It’s not an easy matchup against the Ravens, but Stills has scored in each of the past four games Matt Moore has played in the regular season going back to last year. Stills is a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside.
- Ted Ginn (vs. CHI): Michael Thomas (knee) is banged up, and if he somehow misses this game against the Bears then Ginn could see an expanded role. He’s played well of late with 11 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in his past two games against Detroit and Green Bay, and he’s the type of player who it only takes one play to become a great Fantasy option.
- Robby Anderson (vs. ATL): Anderson has the potential to be a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week against Atlanta, and he’s scored at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in each of his past two games against New England and Miami. He also has 17 targets over that span with seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, and he’s facing a Falcons defense that has allowed four receivers to score at least seven Fantasy points in the past two games.
- Mohamed Sanu (at NYJ): Sanu came back from a one-game absence with a hamstring injury and immediately had 10 targets at New England in Week 7 with six catches for 65 yards. He’s not a great option in standard leagues, but in the four healthy games he’s played this season he’s scored at least 10 PPR points in every outing. He has a good matchup against the Jets and is worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver.
|5.7 Projected points|
|Fuller has been excellent since coming back from a collarbone injury in Week 4. In three games this year, Fuller has eight catches for 154 yards and five touchdowns on 14 targets, and he’s scored at least 12 Fantasy points in a standard league in every outing. He’s taken advantage of an amazing schedule against Tennessee, Kansas City and Cleveland, but this week should be much tougher against Seattle. The Seahawks have allowed just three touchdowns to opposing receivers, and only three guys have more than 75 receiving yards. It will be a tough day for DeAndre Hopkins as well, but it’s hard to bench him in the majority of leagues. It’s easier to sit Fuller, who is a No. 3 Fantasy option at best this week.|
|7.7 Projected points|
|As we said last week with Hilton when he was a recommended sit against Jacksonville, he’s someone to shy away from when he has a tough matchup as long as Andrew Luck (shoulder) remains out. And this is a tough matchup against the Bengals. Hilton was held to two catches for 27 yards on eight targets against the Jaguars, and he now has four Fantasy points or less in a standard league in 5-of-7 games this season. Cincinnati has allowed six touchdowns to opposing receivers and four guys to score double digits in Fantasy points, but the Bengals allow the fewest receptions to receivers this year. We know Hilton just needs one big play to enhance his Fantasy value, but those plays have been few and far between with Luck out. Hilton is just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.|
|6.4 Projected points|
|I’m OK with Garcon as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in PPR leagues, but it’s not easy to call him a must-start option in standard formats with his lack of production. He hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, and he has one game with more than five Fantasy points in his past four outings. Last week, in his first start with rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard against Dallas, Garcon had just five catches for 55 yards on seven targets. Now, he does have at least five catches in 5-of-7 games, which is good for his PPR value, but he’s gone 10 games without a touchdown going back to last season. He’s a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in standard formats for Week 8.|
|6.1 Projected points|
|Amendola is dealing with a knee injury, which forced him to miss practice Wednesday, and that’s something to keep an eye on heading into Week 8 against the Chargers. He also has struggled of late, especially in standard leagues, with a combined 12 Fantasy points in his past three outings against Tampa Bay, the Jets and Atlanta. He also has just nine targets in his past two outings, which has resulted in six catches for 57 yards, so his PPR value could be slipping as well. We know with the Patriots there are a lot of mouths to feed, and sometimes Amendola will get lost in the shuffle. It could be risky to trust him in standard formats against the Chargers, and he’s a low-end starting option at best in PPR.|
Jones is expected to be the No. 1 receiver for the Lions this week with Tate likely out, although continue to monitor his status since he was able to practice Wednesday. And Jones is coming off a strong game in Week 6 at New Orleans before Detroit’s bye week with six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. He has 22 targets in his past two games, and he should be heavily featured in this game with the Steelers. But Pittsburgh knows that as well, and the Steelers have been tough on opposing receivers this year, especially No. 1 options. Guys like Diggs (two catches for 27 yards on six targets), Tyreek Hill (five catches for 34 yards on seven targets) and A.J. Green (three catches for 41 yards on six targets) have struggled against Pittsburgh, and I expect Jones to follow suit. He’s a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best this week.
|5.7 projected points|
|I’m surprised to see Henry’s start percentage on CBS Sports at just 54 percent as of Wednesday, especially given his recent level of play. He’s been great after a slow start, and he should be started in all leagues with a full level of confidence, especially this week at New England. In his past four games, Henry has either a touchdown or 70-plus yards. He has 23 targets over that span for 14 catches, 221 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s scored at least seven Fantasy points in every game this year where he has at least two targets. Yes, he had that weird two-game stretch early in the season where Rivers went away from him, but you should put that behind you because he’s dominating Antonio Gates in snap count, routes run and targets. And this week he faces a Patriots defense that has allowed five tight ends to score at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league.|
|5.4 projected points|
|Witten has been a dud in two games this year and a relative Fantasy star in four others. With the way Dak Prescott has played this season, it’s probably time to consider Witten a must-start tight end moving forward. He has three games this season with a touchdown and another with eight catches for 61 yards. Witten also has two games where he combined for two catches and 12 yards, and that’s going to happen from time to time with a player at his age (35) at this position. That shouldn’t be the case this week against Washington. The Redskins have allowed a tight end to score at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in 5-of-6 games. It’s a good enough track record, coupled with Witten’s performance this year, to start him in all leagues this week.|
|5.0 projected points|
|If there was ever a week to believe in Rudolph again, this is it. He’s been a disappointing Fantasy option this year with only two touchdowns and one game with double digits in Fantasy points, which was Week 5 at Chicago. But despite his struggles, the targets have been there of late with at least seven in three games in a row and a total of 25 over that span. He also has at least five catches for 43 yards in three consecutive games. So if he scores against the Browns, who are among the league leaders with five touchdowns allowed to tight ends, we’re talking about a solid day. I’m not giving up on Rudolph yet, especially not this week.|
- Nick O’Leary (vs. OAK): O’Leary let us down a little last week against Tampa Bay in his first start in place of Charles Clay (knee) with just two catches for 58 yards on two targets. I’m counting on more production this week against the Raiders, who have already allowed five tight ends to score at least seven Fantasy points in a game this year.
- Zach Miller (at NO): I anticipate the Bears chasing points in this game and not being able to limit Trubisky to only seven passes like he did in Week 7 against Carolina. Of those seven passes, three were intended for Miller, and I expect him to be heavily involved in any comeback effort for Chicago this week. He did score in each of the previous two games for the Bears prior to Week 7, and New Orleans has allowed three touchdowns to tight ends on the season in six games. Miller is a streaming option in deeper leagues.
- Tyler Kroft (vs. IND): In the four games since Tyler Eifert (back) went down, Kroft has 20 targets for 17 catches, 157 yards and three touchdowns, and he’s scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in two of his past three games. The Colts have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends in the past five games, including last week when Marcedes Lewis had two catches for 29 yards and a score on three targets. Kroft is an excellent streaming option in Week 8 and also has long-term appeal with Eifert on injured reserve.
|5.5 projected points|
|Doyle has been heavily involved of late and is worth using as a low-end starting option in deep PPR leagues since he has 25 targets for 18 catches, 121 yards and a touchdown in his past three games. But in a standard league, he’s combined for just 15 Fantasy points over that span, and he has a tough matchup this week at the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed just one touchdown to a tight end this year, which was to Lance Kendricks in Week 3. And he’s the only tight end to score more than five Fantasy points against the Bengals in a standard league. Doyle is just a No. 2 Fantasy option in most formats this week.|
|5.4 projected points|
|I have no problem stashing Howard after last week’s performance at Buffalo when he looked like a first-round pick in the NFL Draft with six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns on six targets. All of those numbers were career highs for the rookie from Alabama, but I need to see more consistency before starting him. This is now two games this season with at least 12 Fantasy points in a standard league and four others with one point or less. He’s also fourth at best for targets in this offense behind Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Cameron Brate. I hope Howard builds off his strong showing from last week, but I’m skeptical of starting him in most standard formats this week.|
|3.8 projected points|
|Kittle went from what looked like being a featured option in the 49ers offense to back to a role player in Week 7 against Dallas. After two games where he had 17 targets for 11 catches, 129 yards and a touchdown prior to facing the Cowboys, he laid an egg in Week 7 in C.J. Beathard’s first start with one catch for 16 yards on two targets. So much for that Hawkeye connection since Kittle and Beathard were teammates at Iowa. We’ll see if he can rebound at Philadelphia this week, and the Eagles have allowed three tight ends to score at least seven Fantasy points this year. But those three were elite options in Henry, Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed. Kittle isn’t in that category yet, and he’ll be hard to trust after last week’s letdown.|
Cook, like most of the Raiders in Week 7 against Kansas City, was awesome with six catches for 107 yards on seven targets, and he nearly scored two touchdowns. But that was just his second game this season with more than five Fantasy points, and he’s had plenty of chances with five games this year with at least six targets. I wouldn’t bench him outright in the majority of leagues, but I would lower expectations for Cook having another monster performance. The Bills have allowed just one tight end to score more than six Fantasy points this season, which was Howard’s surprise outing last week.
Eagles (vs. SF) – 11.9 Projected points
The 49ers have already allowed some big games to opposing DSTs this year, and this week should be a solid outing for the Eagles DST in Beathard’s first road start. Last week, the Cowboys DST sacked Beathard five times, held the 49ers to 10 points and recovered three fumbles. It was the third time this season an opposing DST scored at least 14 Fantasy points against the 49ers. The Eagles DST also comes into this game having scored 10 Fantasy points in three games in a row, and the defense should make this a difficult outing on Beathard in Philadelphia.
- Bengals (vs. IND): The Bengals DST has played well this year, and it should have another strong performance this week against the struggling Colts. The Bengals have at least three sacks in three of their past five games, and they have held two of their past three opponents to 16 points or less. The Bengals DST should do well against the Colts, who were just shut out at home by the Jaguars, and Jacoby Brissett was sacked 10 times in Week 7. Indianapolis has allowed at least three sacks in six of seven games, and this is a great week to trust the Bengals DST as a streaming option.
- Dolphins (at BAL): The Ravens offense is struggling of late, and Joe Flacco has been sacked eight times in the past two games. He’s also passed for fewer than 170 yards in two games and is dealing with injuries in his receiving corps. And the past two opposing DSTs to face Baltimore (Chicago and Minnesota) have averaged 16.0 Fantasy points in a standard league. The Dolphins DST comes into this game having scored at least 12 Fantasy points in two of their past three outings.
- Saints (vs. CHI): The Bears are going to try to keep this a low-scoring affair and limit what rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has to do, especially in a tough road game at New Orleans. But that will be hard to do against the Saints in the Superdome. In Trubisky’s three starts, he’s passed for fewer than 160 yards in each outing, and opposing DSTs have scored at least 11 Fantasy points over that span in a standard league. Trubisky has been sacked eight times in the past two games, and the Saints DST has scored at least 20 Fantasy points in three of its past four outings.
Texans (at SEA) – 10.7 Projected points
The only two times we’ve seen the Seahawks allow double digits in Fantasy points to an opposing DST was on the road, which was at Green Bay in Week 1 and at the Rams in Week 5. At home, opposing DSTs are averaging just 9.0 Fantasy points against Seattle. Wilson only has four interceptions on the season, and he’s been sacked an average of just 2.3 times per game. The Texans DST was great in its last game against Cleveland with 26 Fantasy points, which was the first game without an injured J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, but that’s the Browns. The Seahawks offense is clearly much better and will make things tough on the Texans DST.
Hauschka has been excellent this year for the Bills and Fantasy owners, and he comes into this game with four games in a row with double digits in Fantasy points in every game. He’s averaging 14.3 Fantasy points a game over that span, and he should stay hot this week against the Raiders. Hauschka has made at least three field goals in each of his past two home games, and the Raiders have allowed multiple field goals in all but one game this season.
- Kai Forbath (at CLE): Forbath has been great coming into this game with 43 Fantasy points in his past three games. He’s made 11 field goals and four extra points over that span, including three field goals from at least 50 yards out. This week he faces a Browns team in London that just allowed four field goals to Ryan Succop in Week 7. We expect Forbath to stay hot for another week in this matchup.
- Randy Bullock (vs. IND): Bullock has yet to score double digits in Fantasy points this year, and he’s coming off a disappointing game against the Steelers with no field goals and just two extra points. But he’s facing a Colts team that has allowed four kickers to score double digits in Fantasy points, and the past three opposing kickers against Indianapolis (Robbie Gould, Succop and Josh Lambo) combined to score 38 points.
- Mike Nugent (at WAS): The Cowboys signed Nugent to replace the injured Dan Bailey (groin), and he should have the chance to help Fantasy owners right away. He faces the Redskins in Week 8, and Washington has allowed two of the past three opposing kickers to score at least 10 Fantasy points. Four kickers have scored at least eight Fantasy points against the Redskins this year.
Tavecchio got off to a good start this season with 18 Fantasy points in Week 1 at Tennessee. Since then, he hasn’t made multiple field goals in a game, and he missed two field goals in Week 7 against Kansas City. This week he’s facing a Bills team that has allowed five kickers to make multiple field goals in a game, but only Brandon McManus in Week 3 has scored double digits in Fantasy points. I’d try to avoid starting Tavecchio on the road this week.