Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).
Good luck with your Week 8 lineups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans
Start: Cameron Brate, A.J. Brown
Jameis Winston has struggled against zone defenses like Tennessee this season, but he had a long history of targeting tight ends before O.J. Howard became one of this season’s biggest busts (with huge help from a clueless new coaching staff). Brate has two touchdowns over the last three games, will see expanded work with Howard out Sunday and is a viable fantasy option in Week 8.
Brown has impressed when given the chance his rookie season. He’s coming off a game in which he saw a season-high eight targets and now gets a Tampa Bay defense that’s been shredded for the second-most fantasy points by wide receivers. It’s a nice setup with the Bucs also possessing arguably the league’s best run defense, and while Corey Davis is also a strong Week 8 start, he’s somehow more popular despite Brown having the higher WOPR since Ryan Tannehill took over at QB.
I have Brown as a top-25 WR this week, and with Delanie Walker ruled out, tight end Jonnu Smith is a top-10 option and a near must-start in DFS ($10). Smith is a potential beast in the waiting, and the Bucs have been one of the most fantasy friendly defenses for tight ends this season.
New York Giants @ Detroit Lions
Start: Golden Tate, Ty Johnson
Tate has seen 20 targets over the last two games and should remain busy Sunday with Sterling Shepard out again. He’s lined up in the slot 88% of the time this season, and Detroit SCB Justin Coleman has allowed a healthy 0.40 fantasy points per route while seeing a target share (27%) that’s among the highest in the NFL.
Many FAAB budgets were rightfully blown on Ty Johnson this week with Kerryon Johnson landing on IR, as the rookie should take over as Detroit’s feature back. He’ll cede some passing-down work to J.D. McKissic, but Johnson sports impressive workout metrics and should get the majority of touches for a run-heavy team that enters Sunday with a huge advantage up front and against a Giants defense that’s been gashed for the fifth-most fantasy points by running backs this season. The Lions are touchdown favorites at home in a game with one of the highest over/unders on the slate (49 points), so I have Johnson as an RB1 and a must-start in DFS ($13) this week.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Chicago Bears
Start: Mike Williams, David Montgomery
Williams is still searching for his first touchdown after scoring 10 times last year, but the targets and air yards suggest he’s the single biggest regression candidate in football, and that was before Keenan Allen suddenly became iffy to play Sunday. It’s not an ideal matchup in Chicago, but LA’s utter inability to run the ball could lead to more passing, so Williams is a sneaky candidate to go off Sunday.
Montgomery is coming off a game in which he saw just two carries, but he remains Chicago’s feature back and should see a much different game script this week against the Chargers’ 24th ranked run defense in DVOA.
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons
Start: DK Metcalf
Start in DFS: Austin Hooper ($25)
Metcalf is tied for sixth among wide receivers in red-zone targets as a rookie and gets an Atlanta defense that ranks 31st against the pass and fourth versus the run in DVOA. In a dome game with this week’s highest total (53) versus a Falcons defense that’s trying to become the first team ever to go five straight games without a sack, Metcalf is a top-20 WR on my board.
Hooper has emerged as the top fantasy tight end this year and should remain busy with Mohamed Sanu traded and in a projected high-scoring affair. Matt Ryan returned to practice Friday, and in a season filled with tight ends not living up to their ADPs, Hooper is on pace for 1,200+ yards and nine touchdowns.
New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sit: Jamison Crowder
Start in DFS: Leonard Fournette ($34)
Crowder has seen a bunch of targets with Sam Darnold under center this season, but the Jets’ offensive line is likely to be overmatched by Jacksonville’s front, and slot corner D.J. Hayden has been stingy in coverage this season.
The touchdowns haven’t been there, but the volume is making Fournette a weekly borderline top-three fantasy back and a foundation for DFS lineups. Over the last five games, Fournette has a whopping 27 red-zone carries (only Ezekiel Elliott has more for the entire season), and the Jags enter Sunday as near touchdown home favorites.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Buffalo Bills
Start: Jordan Howard, Duke Williams
Howard is coming off a couple of quiet games in tough matchups but should bounce back versus a Buffalo run-funnel defense that ranks fifth against the pass and 23rd versus the rush in DVOA. With an advantage up front, expect Howard to hit pay dirt Sunday.
The Eagles enter allowing the most fantasy points to outside receivers this season (and the third-fewest against the slot), so this is a prime matchup for John Brown and makes Williams a sneaky flier in deep leagues. The Bills may be forced to throw more than usual facing a Philly team with a strong run defense and an offense that’s due for a big rebound performance.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Los Angeles Rams
Sit: Joe Mixon
Start: Darrell Henderson
Mixon somehow has 12 rushing yards on 18 carries over the last two games and gets a Rams run defense that comes in ranked second in DVOA. He also routinely loses passing down work to Giovani Bernard, and the Bengals are 12-point underdogs.
Malcolm Brown is out again, Todd Gurley hasn’t gotten 4.0 YPC in a game since Week 1, and Henderson is coming. The Rams are big favorites against a Bengals defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints
Sit: David Johnson
Start: Josh Hill
Johnson burned everyone rostering him in an epic way last week and runs the risk of doing the same Sunday while coming down to a true game-time decision. He’s dealing with two legitimate injuries (back and ankle) and faces a New Orleans defense that’s playing extremely well lately and has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs this season. The Cardinals also have a more than capable backup alternative in Chase Edmonds, who can be fired up in DFS ($16).
Jared Cook continues to miss practice and has been officially ruled out on Sunday with New Orleans’ bye up next. Hill played nearly 70% of the snaps without him last week. He gets an Arizona defense that’s been annihilated for the most fantasy points by tight ends by a wide margin this season, making Hill a worthy flier.
Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans
Start: Tyrell Williams, Kenny Stills
Williams may not be 100%, but he’s likely to return Sunday and he’s scored in all four games he’s played this season. Williams has the same WOPR as Julio Jones this season and gets a Texans defense that’s tough against the run yet has ceded the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
Stills is Pro Football Focus’ #4 graded wide receiver this year (out of 117), and he’s set to see a big increase in targets with Will Fuller going down. Stills gets a mouth-watering matchup against a Raiders secondary that’s been gashed for the most fantasy points to his primary side over the last month, so I have him as a top-15 WR this week.
Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers
Sit: D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel
Start in DFS: Tevin Coleman ($19)
Moore and Samuel face a tough task against a San Francisco pass defense that’s ceded the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season and just 5.8 YPA. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Terry McLaurin have combined for 15 catches, 154 yards and one touchdown against the 49ers this season.
Coleman has become the clear lead back for the NFL’s most run-heavy team, and he’s a strong Week 8 start against a Carolina defense that enters ranked third against the pass yet 30th versus the run in DVOA.
Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts
Sit: Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, Jacoby Brissett
Fire up Courtland Sutton in DFS ($20) and treat him as a top-10 WR this week with Emmanuel Sanders out of town, but consider sitting Lindsay and Freeman, as the two backs continue to split work and are near-TD underdogs on the road against an Indy defense that’s been stingy against the run over the last five games.
Brissett has 14 TD passes over six games this year, but his poor 6.7 YPA suggests regression is coming like Omar Little. He faces a Denver defense that’s allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Cleveland Browns @ New England Patriots
Sit: Odell Beckham Jr.
Start: Mohamed Sanu
This is extremely league-dependent, but there are plenty of fantasy teams out there with 2-3 better options at wide receiver than OBJ this week. Beckham has scored just once all year and has failed to reach 75 yards in four of six games with his new team, and this week he’ll be shadowed by Stephon Gilmore and a Pats secondary that’s yielded the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. He’s not a top-25 WR on my board in Week 8, while Jarvis Landry belongs firmly on benches.
I’m not saying start Sanu over Beckham (although they are actually close in my rankings this week), but for those in deeper leagues looking for WR help, Sanu isn’t a bad gamble during his first game with the Patriots, who certainly weren’t shy feeding Antonio Brown earlier this year during his debut. Sanu owns good separation% numbers this year, has earned praise from Bill Belichick for picking up the Pats’ offense and should be immediately involved with Josh Gordon gone.
Green Bay Packers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Start: Jamaal Williams, LeSean McCoy
Aaron Rodgers is coming off a six-touchdown game, and the Packers are now up against a run-funnel KC defense that ranks fourth against the pass yet 29th versus the rush in DVOA and will be without Frank Clark and Chris Jones on Sunday night. Green Bay comes in with a huge advantage in the trenches, and no Patrick Mahomes should lead to a run-heavy game script, locking in Aaron Jones as an RB1 and making Williams (who has five targets and a receiving TD in each of the last two games) a sneaky flex start (GB’s receiving corps remains banged up as well).
Kansas City is going to rely heavily on its ground game with Matt Moore starting at quarterback, and Andy Reid is historically good with extra time to prepare (the Chiefs last played on a Thursday). McCoy loses value with Mahomes going down thanks to fewer scoring opportunities, but he’s become the team’s clear lead back and is looking at extra volume Sunday night against a Green Bay defense that’s much tougher against the pass than run.
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Start: DeVante Parker
Start in DFS: James Conner ($32)
Parker has an admittedly tough matchup with Joe Haden, but it’s too boring picking all Dolphins to sit every week, and Ryan Fitzpatrick injects at least a little life into Miami’s offense. Parker ranks top-12 in air yards this year and saw a season-high 10 targets during Fitzpatrick’s start last week, so he’s a worthy WR flier.
Any SNF/MNF DFS slate needs to be built around Conner, who should be healthy coming off a bye with the Steelers 14-point favorites at home against a Dolphins run defense that ranks last in DVOA.