Week 8 NFL Matchup Preview Part Two
Be sure to check out Part One of our Week 8 NFL Matchup Previews.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Derek Carr: The Tampa Bay secondary has been abused this season, but actually ranks in the middle of the league in yards and TDs allowed. They are allowing the 12th most points to opposing QBs, making Carr a good, but not great QB starter this week.
RB Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard: Earlier in the year, it was looking like a split at RB, but neither DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard took advantage of Latavius Murray’s missed time. Murray returned to a heavy workload and capitalized. Expect Murray to lead the way again, but the Buccaneers are stingy against RBs, allowing just 3 TDs thus far. Murray is an RB2 and neither Washington or Richard should be started.
WR Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree: Amari Cooper was looking like he took over the primary receiving target, but Michael Crabtree led the way in Week 7. It’s clear that Derek Carr is not forcing the ball to either WR, making both solid WR2 plays in a good matchup.
QB Jameis Winston: The Oakland Raiders are allowing the most passing yards (302/gm!) and almost 2 TDs per game (13TDs allowed in 7 games). It’s a great matchup and Winston is a great QB1 start at home.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers: The Buccaneers have no problem force-feeding Jacquizz Rodgers the ball and he’s ‘taken the opportunity and run with it’ (bad pun intended!). He’s a must start in a matchup against the team allowing the 5th most rushing yards and a TD per game.
WR Mike Evans: Must-start stud WR1. If you have Winston and Evans in your lineup, you should fully expect to see the scoreboard start spinning early and not stop for 3+hours. Enjoy!
TE Cameron Brate: The Oakland Raiders have been extremely soft for opposing TEs, allowing the 8th most points per game to them. Brate is a great start this week with TE1 upside.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
QB Carson Palmer: The Panthers secondary has been a great source of fantasy points for opposing offenses. While Palmer hasn’t been the same this year, this is a great spot for him to be started as a borderline QB1 in a week with multiple starting QBs on bye.
RB David Johnson: The matchup is tough, but David Johnson is a must-start stud RB1.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Michael Floyd: The Panthers have been susceptible to WRs playing in the slot, where Larry Fitzgerald spends most of his time. He’s a high-end WR2. With the injuries to other WRs in Arizona, John Brown is a decent WR3/flex option while Michael Floyd is more of a TD-dependant boom/bust flex option.
QB Cam Newton: The rushing opportunity for Cam Newton decreased coming off a concussion, but the Panthers will need a stud performance from Newton to have a chance to win. He’s a must-start QB simply for his upside, but the Cardinals allow the 3rd least passing yards per game and just 5 TDs this year.
RB Jonathan Stewart: The reduced red zone rushing for Cam gave Jonathan Stewart a nice bump. If that continues, he is a high-end RB2 start.
WR Kelvin Benjamin: Kelvin Benjamin is the only man in town, making him the focus of opposing secondaries. He’s a WR2 in a tough matchup.
TE Greg Olsen: This year’s must-start stud TE.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2016
4:05 PM EST
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
QB Philip Rivers: The Denver defense has been stifling this year, limiting opposing QBs to 175 passing yards per game and just 5 TDs. With the bye weeks, Rivers might be the best option, but his upside is severely capped. In their matchup two weeks ago, Rivers was limited to 178 yds and 1 TD.
RB Melvin Gordon: The Denver rush defense is the complete opposite of their pass defense. Teams have been able to rush the ball well, especially up the middle against the Broncos. Gordon should have a high volume opportunity, making him a solid RB start. Two weeks ago, Gordon received 27 carries, but the lack of involvement in the passing game and no TDs kept him out of the RB1 ranks.
WR Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman: All signs are pointing to benching all three Charger WRs. On a week-to-week basis, we can’t figure out which WR will be the WR du jour and in a terrible matchup against the team allowing the least points per game to opposing WRs, none of them are more than a flex option.
TE Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry: The Broncos were torched by Hunter Henry in their Week 6 matchup, but he suffered a concussion in Week 7 and was not cleared to play as of this writing. If he plays, he’s a solid TE start. Antonio Gates appears to be healthy now, and if Henry misses the game, Gates is a must-start TE.
QB Trevor Siemian: The Chargers secondary is allowing the 9th most yards and 11TDs thus far, making Siemian a decent start in a week with six teams on bye. The Chargers are allowing the 10th most fantasy points per game this season.
RB Devontae Booker: Devontae Booker has been getting more involved in the offense each week, capping off his Week 7 stat line with 17 carries for 83 yards and a TD. With C.J. Anderson ruled out for this game, Booker should be a high-end RB2 start against a San Diego defense who has been decent at limiting yardage but has allowed 9 rushing TDs this year.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders: The Chargers secondary has been a good matchup for opposing WRs the past few weeks, except the Week 6 game against the Broncos. Both WRs are low-end WR2’s.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2016
4:25 PM EST
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
QB Aaron Rodgers: Aaron Rodgers looked completely different with the change at RB. He’s a must-start stud QB1 in an obvious shootout with the high-flying Falcons and their secondary allowing 294 passing yards per game and over 2 TDs per game.
RB Ty Montgomery, Knile Davis: Ty Montgomery has been classified as an RB/WR in ESPN leagues, while remaining strictly a WR on most other platforms. The Falcons are one of the friendliest defenses in the league to pass catching RBs, making Montgomery a must-start player, regardless of his positional designation. It would be fair to expect Knile Davis to see a bigger role this week, but his touches may be limited to short yardage. He’s not startable.
WR Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams: The new trend for the Packers has been to focus on the short passing game and Jordy appears to be struggling to separate on those routes. While he’s still startable, it’s more as a low-end WR2. Randall Cobb has always excelled in the short, quick passing game and the transition to this style of offense has clearly benefited Cobb, who is WR5 in ppg since their Week 4 bye. He’s a must-start WR. The other revelation for the Packers passing game has been the emergence of Davante Adams who is coming off a monster performance in Week 7. He’s a boom/bust WR2.
QB Matt Ryan: Ryan has cooled off a bit in two of his past three games, but a great matchup against the Packers decimated secondary makes him a high-end WR1.
RB Devonta Freeman: With Tevin Coleman probably out this week, Devonta Freeman is a must-start RB1. While the Packers are very stout against the run, Freeman should have enough volume to be a great start.
WR Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu: Obviously Julio is a must-start with #1 WR upside this week. Mohamed Sanu is a spot flex start in a great matchup in a week with 6 teams on bye.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
QB Carson Wentz: The Cowboys are mid-pack in yards, TDs and fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. Carson Wentz is 25th in average ppg and has not exceeded 10 fantasy points over the past two weeks. Even in bye week purgatory, Wentz is at the end of the list of options at QB.
RB Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles: Eagles RB position has not been a boon of fantasy points for owners and the Cowboys are allowing less than 100 yards per game to opposing RBs. They have also allowed just 2 rushing TDs, placing them in the #2 slot of least fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. Neither Mathews or Sproles should be considered more than a flex option.
WR Jordan Matthews: The passing volume for the Eagles has decreased and rookie QB Carson Wentz has been spreading the ball around. While Jordan Matthews is still the primary WR in theory, he’s no more than a flex option in fantasy and no other Eagles WR is startable.
TE Zach Ertz: Since returning from his injury and the Eagles bye week, Zach Ertz has not exceeded 3 targets or 6.7 PPR fantasy points. That said, the Cowboys are allowing the 5th most points to opposing TEs, making Ertz a sneaky start if your primary TE is on a bye.
QB Dak Prescott: Since Week 2, Dak Prescott has been hyper-consistent, albeit not a must-start QB. In a very tough matchup against an Eagles Defense allowing the least amount of fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, he is best left on the bench.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: Even in a tough matchup, Ezekiel Elliott is a must-start. Be aware that the Eagles have allowed just 3 rushing TDs thus far, limiting the upside of Elliott.
WR Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams: The expectation is that Dez Bryant will return this week, but his involvement and chemistry with Dak Prescott is in question. If he plays, he’s a must-start due to his TD potential. The return of Bryant should not impact Beasley too much, keeping him in the WR2 range in PPR leagues, while Terrance Williams will return to bench or waiver wire status.
TE Jason Witten: The Eagles have been absolutely shutting down opposing TEs and Witten’s lack of TDs reduces him to a very low TE option, even in the big bye week.
Monday, OCTOBER 31, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
QB Sam Bradford: Sam Bradford ranks 30th in QB PPG between Trevor Siemian and Case Keenum, however, he brings a decent floor to your lineup with at least a TD in every game while exceeded 224 passing yards in 4 of 5 games. A friendly matchup against the Bears mid-pack secondary makes him an ok option if you’re really desperate.
RB Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata: The Bears rush defense is right in the middle of the NFL. With Jerick McKinnon suffering an ankle injury, Matt Asiata lead the team in rushing and receiving out of the backfield. While McKinnon is the more exciting player on paper, Asiata has proven to be to be the more reliable source of fantasy points and becomes a must-start RB2 if McKinnon cannot play.
WR Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Cordarrelle Patterson: Stefon Diggs appears to be over his groin injury and should be a decent WR2 start this week. Adam Thielen continues to get just enough work to keep him on the radar for a flex option, especially on a week with 6 teams on a bye. The Fantasy Gods are a fickle bunch. After everyone left Cordarrelle Patterson for dead, he’s become a focal point for the offense in a gadget play role. He’s dangerous in the open field and always a threat to score a TD on a kick return. Add in the 19 targets of the past 3 games where he’s posted 16 receptions, 144 yards, and 2 TDs ranking in as a borderline WR2. But just when we might start to consider him a viable flex play, he missed Thursday’s practice and is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol. With the Monday kickoff, he should be benched for another player if not cleared by Sunday morning.
TE Kyle Rudolph: The one constant for the Vikings has been their TE. Rudolph has exceeded 10 PPR pts in 5 of 6 games this season. While the Bears have been tough on TEs, Rudolph has proven to be a primary target and should remain a solid TE start.
QB Jay Cutler: Jay Cutler vs the 2nd best pass defense in the league. That is all.
RB Jordan Howard, Ka’Deem Carey: The Vikings defense is basically a no-go zone for all but the must-start studs in the NFL. Neither Chicago back is in that category, limiting Jordan Howard to flex status if you have no other options.
WR Alshon Jeffery, Cameron Meredith: The Vikings defense has shut down many great players this year, but the possibility of some garbage points is always present. Alshon Jeffery is a mid-low WR2 while Cameron Meredith is a flex option.
TE Zach Miller: While Miller has been ok this season, the Vikings defense hasn’t allowed more than 12 PPR points to a TE since league leaguer Greg Olsen went 6/64 in Week 3. You may be forced to start Miller, but a tough matchup and a subsequent bye in week 9 means he could be benched or perhaps even dropped for a better streaming option, depending on your league and roster.