Week 8 games
Fantasy Relevance is on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest.
Bye Weeks: 49ers and Giants.
Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons (Starts at 9:30 A.M. eastern time)
Fantasy Relevance: 6 – Starting with Detroit on offense, Calvin Johnson might play, I don’t
think he does but it will not be known until Sunday morning. Even if he plays I would not start him because I think he would be a decoy. I would not let Calvin Johnson’s status impact any of your decisions. Matthew Stafford is close to top ten this week because of the matchup. Once Calvin returns Stafford should do much better. If Reggie Bush plays you will probably start him for lack of options but I would not expect a lot. If Bush does not play Theo Riddick is the backup to Bell, but I don’t think he would do much. I think Joique Bell will play the majority of the game and do well. Reggie Bush will come back stronger after the bye week, but I don’t think he will be terrific. I think Bush will play enough in the future that it hurts Bell and both will be inconsistent down the stretch. Golden Tate should do well, with or without Calvin this week. Once Calvin returns, Tate’s value will drop some but I still think he is a solid option and good flex play for the rest of the year. Corey Fuller is a deep sleeper if Johnson does not play. I would avoid tight ends for the Lions. The Lions defense is one of the top plays this week, so start them.
For the Falcons, Matt Ryan will not be very good; I would start Tannehill and Flacco over him. One of those players might be out there in your league so I would certainly add them. The only falcon’s running back I would start is Steven Jackson. He is a low running back two or possibly flex but I would try and go wide receiver at flex. Julio Jones is a must start, he should improve a little but as long as their offense struggles Julio will too. Roddy White is a wide receiver two or flex. White had a nice game last week and that might carry over. Ryan, Jones, and White are the only guys I would start for Atlanta. If you have Matt Bryant the kicker for Atlanta, I would drop him. Chandler Catanzaro for the Cardinals is a good replacement.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Fantasy Relevance: 4– The Buffalo Bills running back situation will be interesting to monitor, this week Anthony Dixon will be the better start, but I would try to avoid starting any Bills running back. I think Dixon will be the better long term start, with Bryce Brown being hit and miss. I would drop C.J. Spiller, he might come back at the end of the year but it would not be until very late and who knows if he even gets any time. Sammy Watkins is a solid option and will benefit from the bills running back situation. Scott Chandler is an okay option with the bye weeks for the 49ers and Giants. It is brutal at tight end, but you should be able to find better than Chandler. The Bills defense is a must start.
For the Jets, Chris Ivory is a solid running back two. Chris Johnson should not be started unless you are really desperate. Eric Decker is an okay flex this week. You should be able to find a better start though. I like Percy Harvin a lot, I think the Jets will try to get him to do a lot and try and get him a touchdown. I think Harvin will have some trick plays too. Jace Amaro is only a start if you are really stuck. The Jets defense should be good, I think they are close to top ten because of the Bills offense without a solid running game. They will force Orson to throw and I don’t see that ending well.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy Relevance: 6 – The raven’s offense should be good this week. I like Joe Flacco as a plug in quarterback. Justin Forsett is a low end running back one. He should be good and has potential for a touchdown. Steve Smith is a good wide receiver two and should do well. Torrey Smith is an okay Wide Receiver three. If he doesn’t get a touchdown, you will probably be disappointed. Owen Daniels is out for this game, so that increases the value of Steve and Torrey. It also gives Forsett more opportunities specifically for a few receptions. Crockett Gillmore is the starting tight end now; I don’t see any scenario where you are starting him. The Ravens defense is a good start especially with A.J. Green look doubtful and their offense look dreadful without him.
The Bengals offense was terrible last week. I would not start Dalton this week. Giovanni Bernard will probably be mediocre since the Bengals will be one dimensional. Bernard should improve from last week, but not back to usual. You probably have to start him and hope for a big play. If I owned Bernard, I would absolutely get Jeremy Hill. Bernard gets hit really tough every week and if you don’t have Hill it could ruin your championship hopes if Bernard gets injured. It looks like A.J. Green won’t play; Sanu will be okay but mostly likely a wide receiver three. Jermaine Gresham should not be started; I think the Bengals offense will really struggle. I would not start the Bengals defense unless you are really desperate. I think you could drop them. If I had the roster space I would hold on, but it is unlikely you do.
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Fantasy Relevance: 5 – This should be a good week for the Seahawks offense. Russell Wilson is a must start. I would look into trading Wilson though for the long term. I do not like from a health perspective how much he is running. It is good for fantasy numbers but I think Seattle will stop him from running as much or he will get hurt. Marshawn Lynch is a top five running back. Doug Baldwin is a good wide receiver two option. The Seahawks defense should be better this week, but consider getting another defense because the Seahawks defense is certainly not what is was.
The Panthers offense should be steady this week. Cam Newton is a top ten quarterback. Jonathan Stewart is a flex play. Kelvin Benjamin is a wide receiver one. He will have some matchups with Sherman, but if you own Benjamin you are starting him. Greg Olsen is a great start this week; Seattle has not been great against tight ends this year. I would not start the Panthers defense this week, they are not a must own.
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots
Fantasy Relevance: 7 – The Bears had a tough time last week but should bounce back. Jay Cutler is a good start. Matt Forte is too, along with Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffrey. All of these players should bounce back. This game should be close and high scoring. If the Bears cannot get back to scoring this week against a diminished New England defense it is time to panic. Martellus Bennett is also a must start at tight end this week. I would avoid the Bears defense in this game.
The Patriots should be good on offense against a mediocre Bears team. Tom Brady is a must start. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots running game turns out. Shane Vereen is a must star, Another Patriots back might emerge this week to replace Ridley. Jonas Gray seems most likely. Julian Edelman is a top wide receiver, Brandon LaFell if you are desperate. Rob Grownkowski is a must start tight end. Have a replacement ready for Grownkowski if he gets hurt though. One interesting option is Tim Wright, they might use him a lot if that happened. I would avoid the Patriots defense with all of the injuries they have. The potential Chicago turnovers are appealing though.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
Fantasy Relevance: 3 – Houston’s offense is trying to rebound after a poor performance. Arian Foster is a must start. Andre Johnson is a top twenty guy. DeAndre Hopkins is a solid start also and might outperform Johnson. The Texans defense is a good play this week and should finish in the top ten.
The Titan’s are starting Zach Meetenberger at quarterback, he will not impact fantasy but he could help his wide receivers and Delaine Walker. You can consider Bishop Sankey as a flex play, but he has been pretty disappointing so far. Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter might do better with Meetenberger but it is risky. If you can keep them on your bench, that would be the safest option. Delaine Walker might also improve but he should be started as he should be a top ten tight end.
Dolphins at Jaguars
Fantasy relevance: 2 – The dolphin’s offense should continue to play well against the Jaguars. Ryan Tannehill is a solid start with potential to be in the top ten. Lamar Miller is a good start who is a low end running back one. He should be able to run well on Jacksonville. Mike Wallace is a must start guy who should be a top ten receiver. Brain Hartline is an okay start in a deeper league. One player who you might want to add to your bench is Jarvis Landry who some people think will overtake Hartline as the second wide receiver. Charles Clay is a good option as a replacement for an injured tight end or a tight end on bye. The Dolphins are a must start on defense in a great matchup against Jacksonville.
Jacksonville looks to build off of their first win. The Jaguars running back Denard Robinson is an okay flex start or a second running back if you are desperate. Allen Robinson and Cecil Shorts are low wide receiver threes or high wide receiver fours. Clay Harbor is another okay streaming option at tight end.
St. Louis Rams at Kansas City Chiefs
Fantasy Relevance: 4 – St. Louis wants to repeat with another big win. Tre Mason is a risky running back two or flex player. You should not start Ben Cunningham or Zac Stacy since you just don’t know how much time they will play. Brain Quick is a low end flex play and wide receiver three. Jared Cook is an okay tight end, but there might be a better option out there like Heath Miller, Charles Clay, or Coby Fleener.
Alex Smith is a good bye week replacement for Eli or Kaepernick. His matchup is good after the Rams gave up that big game to Wilson. Jamaal Charles is a start, well Knile Davis gets some work it is not enough to start him. Dwayne Bowe is a low end wide receiver three or a fourth receiver.
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fantasy Relevance: 3 – The Vikings looked good against the Bills, and Jerick McKinnon proved he was close to a running back one. He has a great matchup this week and could be in the top ten. Matt Asiata is not a starter in any format this week. Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Paterson are only starters if you are desperate or wide receiver fours. The Vikings defense has a good matchup this week and should be a steady streaming option.
Doug Martin is an okay flex option or low end running back two. His matchup is good, but he has been pretty bad this year. Bobby Rainey is a guy to have on your bench, another deep stash is Charles Sims who should be back next week and might have a chance at the starting job. Vincent Jackson is a good start this week with a nice matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy Relevance: 7 – Nick Foles should be a start coming off of the bye week. LeSean McCoy should do well too; he might take a step back from the game against the Giants with a tougher matchup. McCoy is still a must start. I don’t think you should start Sproles unless you don’t have anyone else. He is questionable but I expect he will play. Jeremy Maclin is a top ten start. Riley Cooper is a wide receiver four this week. Zach Ertz is a good tight end to start this week. The Eagles defense will be okay but I would try to avoid them because this game could be high scoring. The Eagles Defense could come up with a turnover though.
Carson Palmer is good quarterback fill in for the bye week or injury. Andre Ellington is a must start and could be a top five running back. Stephan Taylor you don’t want to start unless you really need a running back. He is very touchdown dependant. Michael Floyd is a wide receiver two who has been good since Carson Palmer came back. Larry Fitzgerald is a wide receiver three and a low end flex. I would try and avoid him because he is an inconsistent option. The Cardinals defense will be okay, but against the Philadelphia offense it is a risky start.
Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns
Fantasy Relevance: 2 – Darren McFadden is a low end running back two or a solid flex play. He has been playing well since the head coaching change. James Jones is a wide receiver three. There are not many Raiders you want to start.
Ben Tate is a low running back one this week and has a good matchup. Issiah Crowell is a running back if you need one and could be an okay flex. Jordan Cameron should be good this week and is a good start at tight end. The Cleveland Browns are a good streaming defense who should do well at home.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
Fantasy Relevance: 6 – Andrew Luck is a must start. Amahad Bradshaw is a must start also who could improve more with the status of Trent Richardson looking bad. I don’t think Richardson plays and if he does I would try to avoid playing him. T.Y. Hilton is a top ten start for the Colts and has a lot of upside with Reggie Wayne out. There is not a clear wide receiver two for the Colts though. Hakeem Nicks could be better if you are desperate for a receiver. Dwayne Allen is a must start tight end and Coby Fleener should be good too. They should benefit most with Reggie Wayne being out. The Colts defense is a good start this week, I think they are being underrated.
Ben Roethlisberger is okay if you really need someone but a better quarterback should be available like Flacco or Smith. Le’Veon Bell is a must start, like Antonio Brown. Heath Miller is a good tight end option this week.
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints
Fantasy Relavence: 7 – Aaron Rodgers is a must start. Eddie Lacy you are staring who should do well. Nelson and Cobb are both must starts. Davante Adams is a wide receiver four and a good guy to add to your bench.
Drew Brees is a must start quarterback. Mark Ingram is a good running back to or flex play. Khiry Robinson and Travis Cadet are desperation starters. Marques Colston is a low end wide receiver two and Brandin Cooks is a deep flex play or wide receiver three. Jimmy Graham should play and you should start him. He should be able to bounce back and have a solid game.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Fantasy Relevance: 5 – Tony Romo is a top five play in a good matchup. I think the Cowboys will throw a lot in this game. I felt like they threw a little more during the Giants game. DeMarco Murray is a must start and should play well. The Redskins are better against the run then they are given credit for. He should still play well. Dez Bryant should have a solid game as well. Terrance Williams is an okay flex play, but he is touchdown dependant. He is a good sell high. Jason Witten is a good start at tight end. The Cowboys defense is must start against Colt McCoy.
Alfred Morris has a tough matchup; he is a running back two or flex play. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are wide receiver twos. There value is a little hurt by Colt McCoy but when Griffin returns they should be improved, especially Jackson. Jordan Reed is a very good tight end this week and should be relied upon heavily with the quarterback switch.