The Fantasy Footballers’ Starts of the Week for Week 8
Football time is here again, and the guys brought their Starts of the Week to the table for Thursday’s episode. The Ballers went over their starts as well as the reasoning behind their selections. You can find a summary of who they picked below, and the whole episode can be found here.
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Andy’s Starts of the Week
QB – Kirk Cousins vs. DAL
Andy selects Cousins as his quarterback start for Week 8. Cousins knows how to be elite when he needs to be. He has put up a top-3 performance six times this year. Minnesota is coming off a bye week, something to also keep in mind. There is a 54.5 total predicted for Minnesota vs. Dallas game, the highest total for Week 8. Dallas is giving up the fourth-most quarterback fantasy points while also seeing the second-highest opponent pass rate in the league. In four career games facing Mike McCarthy, Cousins has 15 touchdowns and one interception. He additionally averaged 364 passing yards in those games.
RB – Joe Mixon vs. NYJ
A smash play for Andy this week is the Bengals lead back. In Week 7, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, and JJ Taylor combined for over 60 fantasy points facing the Jets. The Jets have allowed the most rushing scores and highest rush rate inside the 10-yard line in the NFL. Look for Mixon to be a top-5 back this week, finding the endzone being a major possibility for the running back.
WR – Emmanuel Sanders vs. MIA
Sanders currently sits as the WR11 in fantasy football. This week, Sanders takes on Miami, a team playing the most man coverage in the league. Man coverage is not working for the Dolphins as they have allowed the second-most passing yards and the most 20+ yard plays in the NFL. Since the third week of the season, Sanders has averaged 16.3 fantasy points per game. This week, he should put up big numbers.
TE – Hunter Henry vs. LAC
A real revenge game – UNTER’S REVENGE! Henry finds himself in a tasty matchup for Week 8, facing a Chargers team that has not been good at covering tight ends this season. The Chargers surrender the second-most tight end fantasy points, second-highest tight end target percentage, and the highest tight end target success percentage. Tight ends are having a field day playing against the Chargers, with big games from Travis Kelce (7 receptions for 104 yards), Darren Waller (4 receptions for 50 yards and a TD), David Njoku (7 receptions for 149 yards and a TD), and Mark Andrews (5 receptions for 68 yards and a TD). Henry should follow in their footsteps.
Jason’s Starts of the Week
QB – Ryan Tannehill @ IND
When Tannehill is under center, Tennessee games frequently hit the over (70%). That makes for a tempting option at QB this week. He has yet to put up a three-touchdown performance this season, but it looks like he could throw three or more in this game. Tannehill will be up against the Colts defense that allows the highest pass success rate in the league. The Colts are also conceding 2.3 touchdowns through the air this year (tied with Cleveland). Only Atlanta and Washington are allowing more passing touchdowns.
RB – Elijah Mitchell @ CHI
Currently, the over/under for this game is hovering around 39.5. Jason said that Mitchell being on this list might be surprising, but he sees opportunity for Mitchell this week. In the games Mitchell has played, he has averaged 63-percent of the snaps and almost 16 rush attempts. That is a rarity for a Mike Shanahan running back. Although Jimmy Garopolo is not targeting Mitchell, the RB is running routes. Jason would not be surprised if Mitchell caught a few balls this week.
WR – Adam Thielen vs. DAL
Piggybacking on Andy’s selection of Cousins, Jason chose Thielen as his wide receiver start. Minnesota can get its offense to explode at the right time. Thielen will be a significant target for Cousins this weekend. Look for Cousins to lean on him, tossing him the ball, especially in the red zone. Dallas concedes the seventh most 20+ yard pass plays in the league. Take a look at Theilen’s performance versus Dallas in Week 11 of 2020; he had eight receptions for 123 yards and two scores. Remember that one-handed back-of-the-endzone touchdown grab?
TE – Tyler Higbee @ HOU
Higbee might not seem like the choice here. He has only topped 50-yards once this season and has just been “meh.” This week should be a good game for him, as he finds himself facing the Rams. Jason points out that the Rams have a 31-point team implied total while the Texans do not. The Texans additionally allow the fifth-highest tight end target share and fifth-highest tight end target success rate. Quarterback Matthew Stafford can run up the score, so watch for Stafford to locate Higbee in the endzone. There may be other average options out there, but Jason says start Higbee over those guys.
Mike’s Starts of the Week
QB –Teddy Bridgewater vs. WAS
The best quarterback matchup of the moment is playing Washington (surpassing KC for that honor). In six straight weeks, Washington has allowed top-8 fantasy points to the opposing QB. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy will be back in action, ready for Bridgewater to get him the ball. The Broncos will be playing at home this week, adding to the appeal of starting Bridgewater. Teddy B has averaged 40 pass attempts over the last three weeks, something he should be able to do yet again this week.
RB – Kenneth Gainwell@ DET
Scoring fantasy points seems to be a cakewalk for running backs facing the Lions. Detroit is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The split between Gainwell and Boston Scott is not clear, and Mike did mention this. Gainwell is currently seeing the most opportunities and highest snaps of his career, even seeing eight targets. The Eagles RB is a solid low-end RB2 for the week, and the pass-catching element is there for Gainwell as well.
WR – Michael Pittman vs. TEN
PITTY CITY! This week, Pittman takes on the Titans, whose secondary is conceding the most points per game to the wide receiver position. His target share so far has been 23-percent along with an 89-percent catch rate. Carson Wentz needs to get the ball to Pittman more than he has been. Wentz’s QB rating is a solid 116 when he targets Pittman. This game is an excellent contest for Pittman as Tennessee is giving up the highest opponent WR target share in the NFL at 67-percent.
TE – Evan Engram @ KC
Engram faces the Chiefs this week, a team allowing top-9 points to tight ends in five of seven games. The Giants are currently lacking options, so Engram should see the ball in this contest. If Kadarius Toney or Sterling Shepard can go, it might change things a bit. But Mike points out that Engram won’t kill you this week. Engram is a streamer pick for Mike, but he likes the matchup. Keep in mind that trade rumors have been popping up involving Engram, so that could be extra motivation for Engram to have a big game this weekend.