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Fantasy Football: Week 8 starts, sits

10.25.13 at 11:26 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 8 starts and sits. This is one ugly week, especially if you play in a big league with a weak waiver wire. With all the byes and all the injuries, there are a lot of fantasy GMs looking for answers. This week is more about finding options than eliminating them. For this reason, you’€™ll see more starts than usual and fewer sits. I’€™ll also make an effort to get into the lesser-known options. If you need more lineup clarity, go to Rotobahn.com for full Week 8 lineup rankings. We’€™ve got you covered.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Tom Brady, Patriots vs. Dolphins

I have to say that I am a bit surprised by all the Brady doubters out there. I am sure there are less of them in the Boston area, but there’€™s more anti-Brady buzz then I have ever heard, and it might be time to use it to your benefit. I’€™ve made deals for Brady in two leagues this week. In both deals, the owner of the team trading with me thought they were getting a QB upgrade. I gave up Matt Stafford in one deal and Tony Romo in the other. In the Romo deal, I got back Eddie Lacy in addition to Brady, and all I had to throw back was Fred Jackson. I think I’€™ll end up winning both sides of that deal. In the Stafford deal, I got Matt Forte in addition to Brady, and I threw the guy T.Y. Hilton. I feel even better about that deal. The point is, in typical leagues, you might be able to get Brady below his true value. I expect him to post better numbers over the second half, and I am willing to gamble on it and buy low right now. I also like Brady a lot as a starter this week. He’€™s a QB1 in any league size.

Michael Vick, Eagles vs. Giants

He has some risk because of the re-injury factor. Hamstring recoveries always carry that risk. Still, this is a very nice home matchup, and it’€™s a big game for the Eagles and for Vick, who wants to re-stake his claim to the starter’€™s job. He’€™ll do what it takes to get the job done, and he’€™ll make some big plays to DeSean Jackson. He’€™s a QB1 in 12-team leagues.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Patriots

Beggars can’€™t be too choosy this week, and though he may not be sexy, Tannehill will keep your team in the game. They let him throw the ball a lot, and we project them to be chasing the Patriots on the scoreboard, which means they should be throwing all game. Tannehill may not have a stellar day, but he should get you decent fantasy numbers.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Falcons

He’€™s had a tough time this year, but it’€™s not all his fault. The Cardinals have serious issues on the offensive line, and it probably will be some time in 2014 before coach Bruce Arians gets this offense where he really wants it to be. That said, Palmer has a solid matchup this week against an Atlanta defense that has been fantasy-friendly so far in 2013. He can help you if you are in a jam.

Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Browns

Smith lacks upside this week and on most weeks. However, he does provide a nice floor, because the Chiefs offense has been consistent and he gets enough balls to the backs and with his feet to cobble together decent fantasy output. He can help you this week if you need a QB. He’€™s nothing sexy and a big game is unlikely, but he’€™ll be solid.

Terrelle Pryor, Raiders vs. Steelers

He lacks his typical upside, because the Steelers are disciplined on defense and cut down on big plays. That being said, Pryor is dynamic and he makes things happen one way or the other. He won’€™t run all over the Steelers like he might on some teams, and his receivers will have trouble getting behind the defense, but they will make their share of plays. Pryor is a viable option in 12-team leagues.

SITS

Geno Smith, Jets at Bengals 

He’€™s been up and down and, realistically, this is going to be one of the down games. Smith needs a great effort by his running game if he is going to have much success against the Bengals defense — and even in that scenario we don’€™t see a big day. You can do better than Geno this week in most leagues.

RUNNING BACKS

STARTS

Fred Jackson, Bills at Saints

Check his status because he is battling a knee injury, but Jackson is a definite start if he plays. That’s because, once again, C.J. Spiller is not healthy and may not play at all. Jackson will have a big day against the Saints if he’€™s active. He can start for you in any league.

Andre Ellington, Cardinals vs. Falcons

He’€™s not a great play by any stretch, but he can help you as an RB2 or flex option this week in 12-team leagues especially. Ellington has been very good on a per-touch basis and he could see a few extra touches in Week 8 with starter Rashard Mendenhall banged up with a toe injury.

Roy Helu, Redskins at Broncos

It’€™s a bit counterintuitive, but Denver’€™s tough run defense could help Helu, because he’€™s better suited to play a diverse role than starter Alfred Morris. Helu could continue to see extra touches as he has the last few weeks. He’€™s a nice reach play if you need him in.

Chris Ivory, Jets at Bengals

He’€™s a decent option this week, but a big game will be a tough task. The Bengals are very stout against the run. That being said, the Jets’€™ strength on offense is their run blocking, so they are not backing down in that area. Ivory will get his chances. In Week 8, that makes him a startable commodity. Just don’€™t expect the numbers he posted last week against a beat-up Patriots front seven.

Peyton Hillis, Giants at Eagles

Barring a miraculous recovery by Brandon Jacobs, Hillis will draw a second consecutive start, and he could do some damage against a very ordinary Eagles defense. He can help you in large formats, but he obviously has a bust factor. He’€™s a notorious fumbler, and Tom Coughlin has a quick hook.

Brandon Bolden, Patriots vs. Dolphins 

Stevan Ridley is a solid fantasy play this week, obviously, but Bolden can help you, too, especially in leagues with 12 or more teams. He gets plenty of red zone snaps, so he has a chance to score, and he’€™s very active in the passing game. On a week like this you could do worse, especially in PPR scoring.

SITS

Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals vs. Falcons

Don’€™t let the good home matchup suck you in. Mendenhall has been less than stellar all year, and he currently is nursing a toe injury. He’€™s a guy to play only if you have to this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

STARTS

Jarrett Boykin, Packers at Vikings

If you picked Boykin up last week because of the injuries to Randall Cobb and James Jones, then you should definitely get him active for Week 8. The injury situation in Green Bay has only gotten worse, and Boykin looked very good in Week 7. He’€™s got WR2 value this week.

Michael Floyd, Cardinals vs. Falcons

He is playing better and better every week, and the fantasy numbers are starting to come. I’€™d get Floyd active this week in a plus matchup unless you really have strong alternate options. I see a score in his immediate future.

Harry Douglas, Falcons at Cardinals

Douglas looked very good last week, and he has WR2 value in week 8 as the second option in the Falcons offense behind Tony Gonzalez. Douglas will be heavily targeted by Matt Ryan, who is playing some of his best football in a lost year, ironically.

Rueben Randle, Giants at Eagles

Randle has been making big plays pretty consistently over the last month, and he has a very nice history against Philadelphia. Randle is a player to start in Week 8 unless you have an outstanding group of receivers. He has a very good chance to score.

Brandon Gibson, Dolphins at Patriots

In deeper formats, Gibson can help you as a WR3 option or flex play, and he’€™s even better in PPR formats. The big game is a long shot, but he’€™s been very scrappy all year and averages just under seven targets per game, and he’€™s turning those targets into just under six receptions per game. Gibson can help you in Week 8 if you are in need.

Kris Durham, Lions vs. Cowboys

No, he is not a sexy play, but he has been consistently involved in the Lions offense, and that won’€™t change in Week 8. He’€™s averaged over 10 targets per game since Week 5. He may lose a lot of his role when Nate Burleson returns, but that won’€™t be this week. He’€™s a nice emergency option.

SITS

Miles Austin, Cowboys at Lions

He looks like he’€™s been passed by Terrance Williams, no matter what the Cowboys say on their depth chart. Austin also is nursing a hamstring injury. Look for better options this week if you can — even if he plays.

TIGHT ENDS

STARTS

Jordan Reed, Redskins at Broncos

He’€™s for real, as we’€™ve been saying at Rotobahn all year. Last week was no fluke. Reed can do it again. Get him active this week in all leagues against a Broncos defense that has given up plenty of production to tight ends so far this year.

Charles Clay, Dolphins at Patriots

This guy is still a bit under the radar. He makes a good weekly play in deeper formats, and he can be your starter in all leagues this week with so many quality players missing via bye or injury.

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings vs. Green Bay

Do you feel lucky? Rudolph is a nice play if you do. He has big scoring potential, and he has plenty of bust potential, too. Just look at his 2013 stats. The thing is, he could be the best option they have this week in the passing game. If I am looking to attack the Packers, I am looking at the secondary and the safeties in particular. Rudolph can definitely start for you in 12-team leagues.

Tyler Eifert, Bengals vs. Jets 

It’€™s a good matchup, because the Jets tend to struggle with tight ends and because Eifert is starting to heat up. He’€™s got a solid chance to score, and his role is slowly expanding. Eifert’€™s worth starting if you are looking for options, especially in larger formats

Ben Watson, Saints vs. Bills

Watson still can play at a high level, and he may start if Jimmy Graham can’€™t go. Graham is still nursing a sore foot and has yet to practice this week. Unless he shows up at practice today, he is unlikely to play, and that will make Watson a very sneaky fantasy option with solid upside. He makes for nice insurance for Graham owners or a nice plug-and-play option if you are hurting at tight end. Rotobahn will be all over the Graham situation this weekend. Follow us on Twitter and we’€™ll keep you updated.

SITS

Scott Chandler, Bills at Saints

The Saints send a lot of pressure, and Chandler may be asked to pass block more than normal. He also has a weak QB to work with in Thad Lewis. He’€™s a viable play, but you should be able to find something better.

Read More: Alex Smith, Carson Palmer, Fred Jackson, Geno Smith
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