I can’t believe Week Eight is here already! The season is halfway over, which is sad. (I’ve found that basketball lessens the pain of losing football though – pro tip. And if you’re looking for a favorite basketball team I cannot recommend the Utah Jazz enough.) Halfway through the season most of my fantasy teams are in good shape – I do have one that isn’t doing so hot but the good news is the season is only half over! Plenty of time for things to change. You can never get too comfortable with things … whether you’re in first or last, anything could change in an instant. It’s important to evaluate your team every week to ensure you’re making the best lineup decisions. Speaking of great decisions, let’s take a look at some sleepers and busts for Week Eight.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Quarterback, vs TB
Dalton is coming off a not-so-hot Week Seven against Kansas City. I had higher hopes for Dalton last week against the Swiss cheese KC defense. Lucky for us he has another cake matchup against the Bucs (yay for food analogies!). The Bucs have only held one quarterback under 300 yards all season, and as you can see from the heat maps below, the Bucs allow above average completion percentage, both on short and long passes (Tampa Bay pass completion allowed heat map on top; league average pass completion allowed on the bottom.) These things are a recipe for success for Dalton in Week Eight.
Philip Lindsay, Denver Running Back, @ KC
In Week Eight, Lindsay will benefit from playing the defense who has allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs so far this year. The heat maps below show that Lindsay is an effective runner, and Kansas City is generous to running backs. Per Next Gen Stats, 63% of Lindsay’s runs have been between the tackles and he is averaging 6.1 yards per carry on those runs – the 2nd best average among running backs w/ 20+ inside runs. With Royce Freeman battling a high ankle sprain, it’s likely that Lindsay sees an increase in volume this week. Fire up Lindsay with full confidence in Week Eight.
Hayden Hurst, Baltimore Tight End, @ CAR
I’ll admit right off the bat this is a leap. Hurst has only been back from his foot injury for a few weeks and saw only 18 snaps last week. I was really excited for Hurst in the off-season, it’s too bad about the injury. Now healthy, I think Week Eight is a great spot for Hurst to be peppered with targets and find the end zone. Carolina has allowed the second most points to tight ends this season, and John Harbaugh said this week he wants to get Hurst “rolling” in the offense. Baltimore passes a lot – they have the second most pass attempts so far this year (324). I see breakout potential for Hayden Hurst this week.
Matt Stafford, Detroit Quarterback, vs SEA
We all know Matt Stafford has good weeks and bad weeks. Week Eight is shaping up to be one of his bad weeks. Seattle is a tough matchup – the toughest actually. They allow the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, and they are only allowing an average of 21 completions per game. Seattle has also held 4 opposing quarterbacks to 200 yards or less, and are one of two defenses in the league that have more interceptions than touchdowns allowed. This all adds up to a low volume passing day with the potential for multiple interceptions, and that adds up to a bad fantasy day. Unfortunately, I do have to start Stafford in a league… but I don’t feel great about it. Avoid Stafford in Week Eight if you can.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Running Back, @ PIT
Chubb had a great game last week against Tampa Bay – 80 yards and a touchdown. But this week he faces a much stiffer test .. Pittsburgh. The Steelers are allowing an average of 51 rushing yards. They have held opposing RB1s to 11 carries or fewer since week 2. The heat map below shows that Pittsburgh allows less than 5 YPC across all but one rushing zone. If the Steelers get out to a lead (which seems likely), the Browns will be forced to pass more, nullifying Chubb. I’m fading Chubb in Week Eight.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Tight End, @ JAX
It’s always risky to say a stud will be a bust, so call me a risk taker. Ertz can’t have a great game every week, and the Week Eight matchup is rough. Jacksonville allows the second fewest fantasy points to tight ends. They have held all tight ends they have faced this year to 5 catches or less. They have only allowed one tight end to go over 21 yards. If you own Ertz you’re starting him every week, but all signs point to a down week for Ertz in Week Eight.