FFStatistics Start or Sit: Week Eight
Oh, how the winds of change can bluster, blow, and suddenly topple a week. The ominous omen of things to come was Thursday night’s game that saw Patrick Mahomes exit with a knee injury. That was just the beginning. Between injury, weather, and under-performance, week seven left many fantasy football players in rough spots. Sometimes the start or sit decisions seem to trickle down into just plain luck.
The same is true for fantasy analysts. Week seven’s start or sit article finished with a lowly 45% hit-rate. A full recap is available here for those strong in the stomach. The goal here is to provide solid weekly analysis of the not-so-obvious start/sit decisions that could impact fantasy owner’s teams.
As always, a quick reminder that the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens are both on bye this week.
Start: Kirk Cousins vs. Washington
The season did not start well for Kirk Cousins and his fantasy owners. There were some words from his receivers casually tossed around to the media, immediately followed by the squeaky wheel treatment. The ship has seemed to right itself and Cousins has been legitimately on fire the last several weeks.
In fact, over the last three weeks, Captain Kirk has been the QB5 in fantasy and thrown for 10 touchdowns. This week Cousins and company face a Redskins defense that is allowing the 13th-most fantasy points to the position. They have only allowed two 300-plus yard games to quarterbacks, but have also allowed multiple passing touchdowns in four of seven games.
The immediate concern about Adam Thielen and his availability is certainly a factor, but Stefon Diggs remains a 1B type of receiver who can easily get the job done. Bottom line, with both Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson on bye this week, Cousins is a moderate-floor, high-ceiling option this week.
Start: Ryan Tannehill vs. Tampa Bay
This is a perfect storm type of start decision this week. Allow me a moment to sum it up before casually skipping this section and calling me crazy. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill played very well in week seven. Tannehill is more willing to let a play develop downfield and push the ball to a receiver. This had an immediate impact on left-for-dead Corey Davis; who remains a solid NFL talent, hamstrung by his quarterback. He casually put up a very efficient 312-yard game against the Chargers.
This week, the Titans face a Buccaneers defense that has surrendered four 300-plus yard and multiple passing touchdown games to opposing quarterbacks. As a bit of foreshadowing, the Bucs are not allowing much to running backs, so the plan of attack is a good defense and some air yards.
Starting Tannehill is by no means a sexy pick this week. However, between injury and bye weeks, he represents a safe-floor option for owners this week in a game that should rely on passing for points. He represents a fantastic start in two-quarterback formats, and is a sneaky DFS tournament option, as his ownership should probably still remain low.
Sit: Baker Mayfield vs. New England
Just in case the logic behind this is not clearly obvious, here are some casual statistics to cement Baker Mayfield as a sit candidate this week. Through six games, Mayfield has not thrown for multiple touchdowns. He has, however, thrown multiple interceptions in three of those weeks. The Patriots defense has not allowed a game without an interception this season, and have seven of them in the last two weeks combined. All tolled, they have 15 interceptions through seven weeks.
There is a recipe on the table and all the ingredients are laid out. The Baker Mayfield revival will not occur against this defense.
Start: James Conner vs. Miami
The start of the season has not gone as anticipated for the Steelers as well as James Conner owners. He has not rushed for 100 yards yet this season, despite seeing double-digit carries in each game he has played. He does, however, have five combine touchdowns this season. This includes a two-score performance against the Chargers in week six, before leaving with an injury.
The Dolphins are creatively finding ways to lose and are vulnerable in most aspects of their defense. They are surrendering the second-most points to running backs. Conner is expected to start after carrying the questionable tag through his bye week. The Steelers should get ahead early and will lean on Conner and Benny Snell to chew clock and put the Dolphins away. Both running backs should have fine fantasy days. Consider Conner a fringe RB1 for this contest.
Start: Sony Michel vs. Cleveland
Another back that has not had the hot start that many owners were hoping for is Sony Michel. He has not looked the same as the playoff version we recall from last season.
His 119 attempts are eighth-most in the NFL while his 392 yards are 15th-best among the same peers. The volume is there as are the touchdowns. His six rushing touchdowns are seventh-most in the NFL.
The Browns have not been the electric offense coupled with the stout defense that the preseason hype led so many to believe. They are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. Week seven, Chris Carson diced them up for 124 rushing yards. Week six, the 49ers backfield gashed them for 245 rushing yards.
Michel is averaging 17 rushing attempts per game and facing a defense that cannot defend it. He is a solid top-twelve option operating in a high-powered offense this week, which means more opportunity for touchdowns.
Sit: Derrick Henry vs. Tampa Bay
What do Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley, and Alvin Kamara all have in common? I am sure that most of the answers people are thinking are running back, elite, top fantasy producers, etc. While those answers are all correct, there is something else they all have in common. Zero of those elite running backs have rushed for more than 62 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Only Kamara reached the 62-yard mark, the rest have been held under 40 rushing yards.
Part of the reason to like Tannehill so much this week is the knowledge that the Titans will struggle to run the ball against this defense. Derrick Henry has been consistent in both volume (19 carries per-contest) and production (72 yards per-contest) through the first seven weeks of the season.
Most Henry owners are going to understandably feel compelled to start him this week, but temper expectations and hope for the goal-line carry to make up for the lack of yards.
Start: John Brown vs. Philadelphia
All we have seen from John Brown this season is consistency. He has long been thought of as a field-stretcher that relied on big plays to achieve fantasy value. In his first season as a Buffalo Bill, he has shown that he is more well rounded than that. Through six games, he is averaging 78.8 receiving yards per contest. He only has one 100-plus yard game, and two touchdowns.
Has displayed more Floor than Ceiling this year. Make no mistake the Ceiling is there.
69 rec yds or ^ in 5 of 6 gms
Only 1️⃣ 100 rec yd Gm this yr
wk 8 vs. PHI secondary vs WRs Ranks
LAST rec yds (1383)
LAST rec tds (11)
LAST DK ppg (48)
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) October 23, 2019
The Eagles are surrendering the most fantasy points to receivers and have allowed seven receivers to eclipse the 100-yard mark. They have also allowed 11 touchdowns to receivers.
If there is a week to start John Brown, consider this the best matchup to roll him out there with high expectations.
Start: Kenny Stills vs. Oakland
Deshaun Watson has been rolling. No one has to be reminded to start DeAndre Hopkins, despite have a couple of down games. Outside of one massive game, Will Fuller has been relatively quiet, despite seeing a healthy target share. Both the boom/bust potential and the multi-week injury are what appear to be annual normalcy for Fuller. What has been surprising is the consistent targets and production from Kenny Stills. With Fuller out for several weeks, Stills will take over that role in this offense and he seemingly has the trust of Watson.
Stills should have been on everyone’s waiver-wire radar heading into this week. The matchup could not be better for Stills. The Raiders give up the fourth-most points to receivers. They have allowed 10 touchdowns to receivers. Watson is going to come out firing and while Nuk will get his, the second read is going to be Stills. He is a high-end WR3 sleeper play with WR2 upside in a plus matchup and a value option in DFS lineups.
Sit: Alshon Jeffery vs. Buffalo
Heading into week eight, Alshon Jeffery has been relatively quiet. He has not topped 76 receiving yards in any contest but has managed three touchdowns.
Facing off against the Bills secondary, led by Tre’Davious White, the words “shut down” immediately come to mind. Only two receivers have scored against this secondary and no receiver has topped the century mark against them. While Jeffery may not be completely useless in PPR format, he is a recommended sit this week if there are better options.
Start: Hunter Henry vs. Chicago
Hunter Henry was mentioned in last week’s start/sit article and remained a focal point of the Chargers offense. Week eight, he lands here again. Henry came back to some friendly attention from Philip Rivers and has done well, amassing 197 yards and two touchdowns in two games.
The Chicago Bears defense has not been nearly as scary for opposing offenses recently. Expect Rivers to do what Rivers does and target big-bodied receivers in the endzone. Look for Henry to stay hot and have a good chance at another touchdown this week. He is a TE1 start in all formats this week.
Sit: O.J. Howard vs. Tennesse
Among disappointments this season, the disappearance of O.J. Howard has been near the top. Highly athletic, Howard was headed for what many thought to be a breakout kind of season. Until, well, the season actually started. In five games he has 176 scoreless yards, while Cameron Brate has reeled in two scores already. The Titans are not a defense to avoid for tight ends, but Howard has become a prove-it type of play that should at this point be on the waiver wire.
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