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Fantasy football start/sit advice guide: Best and worst picks for NFL Week 8

Helping you pick your lineups.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: Starts and Sits are relative to where a player is ranked on the aggregate. In other words, a “Start” is someone I like more than most, and a “Sit” is the opposite. So if I say to start DeShaun Watson and sit Drew Brees, that doesn't mean I'd start Watson over Brees, it just means I think Watson will exceed his expectations while Brees will underperform his. Cool? Cool. Let's get it. -Seltz

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Matt Ryan (@ NYJ) – Want to guess how many times Ryan has thrown for more than one touchdown in a game this season? You don't? *Clears throat* You're kind of ruining my thing here. You don't care? Wow. Ouch. Message received – loud and clear. I'll answer the question myself: One. ONE GAME. Here are Ryan's game-by-game TD totals: 1, 2, 1, 1, 1. He's just been...bad. Really, really bad. You may be asking yourself, “Why would Seltz be crapping all over Ryan if he's in the starts section? Did Seltz eff up and put Ryan in the wrong place? I bet he did. That guy's the worst.” That got weird. I have no idea why I took it there. I'm sure it has something to do with deep-seated psychological issues or something. But who cares about that, back to Matt Ryan. Guess what, you were wrong, dear readers. I did in fact mean to put Matty Ice (lol always) as a start and here's why, he can't be this bad. #Analysis. Seriously though, the dude was the freaking MVP last season! Ryan is the consensus ranked #10 QB despite facing a Jets defense that has allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league. I think this is the week he finally exceeds his expected value and potentially gets Atlanta's season back on track.

DeShaun Watson (@ SEA) – Watson has accounted for 17 touchdowns (15 passing, 2 rushing) in the five and half games he's played. He has a high floor thanks to his rushing ability and has shown a knack for making plays out of nothing – kind of like a certain ginger whose team has the best record in the league, except Watson obviously isn't as good. Yet despite all this, Watson is the consensus #13 QB this week. This seems like a clear overreaction to a matchup with a Seattle defense that has played well against QB's. However, if you look a little deeper aka not really that deep just at Seattle's schedule, you'll see that they haven't exactly faced a murderer's row of quarterbacks. You know what, since I'm such a great guy, I'm not even going to make you look it up. I got you. You're welcome. After a Week 1 tilt with Aaron Rodgers, here's the non-murderer's row of QB's the Seahawks have faced: Brian Hoyer, Marcus Mariota, Jacoby Brissett, Jared Goff, Eli Manning. So, yeah. I think I've made my point.


Drew Brees (vs. CHI) – Ok, before you freak out on me, read the disclaimer at the top of the page. I'm not saying to sit Brees in seasonal leagues. Brees at home is impossible to sit. So...why the hell is he a “sit”? Fair question. Very fair. Here's why, because I said so. Just kidding. Well, I mean, that is kind of true. I am the one writing this and thus saying he's a sit. But that's not what I meant...obviously. What I meant is, as the consensus #3 QB (and a high-priced option in DFS formats), Brees is being overvalued for a number of reasons. One, he's steering an offense that has become decidedly more run-heavy than it used to be. Two, Brees has been good, but not great. Three, the Bears' pass defense has actually been pretty good. Four, the Bears' ball control offense (aka never let Mitch throw) should speed up the game and not give New Orleans' offense too many opportunities to put up points. Five, I don't have a five. Four is enough. Let's go with four.

Matthew Stafford (vs. PIT) – Now is the point where I rip myself for being long-winded and promise to do a better job – Andy Reid style. Fair warning, I'm rarely successful in my attempts at brevity, but I swear I'll try. In that vein...The last time we saw Stafford he was hobbling around like...well...someone who hobbles. Granted, he's had a bye week to recuperate, but he'll be without his best weapon (Golden Tate) and facing a Pittsburgh pass defense that has allowed the least passing YPG this season. Alright, that was a little better. Let's keep this brevity train rolling.



Chris Thompson (vs. DAL) – Thompson has been low-key awesome. He's averaging 96.5 total YPG and has scored 5 touchdowns in six games. He's really good. More importantly, the Cowboys’ defense is not good. In fact, it's hot garbage. Gross, smelly, disgusting garbage. And this week, Chris Thompson gets to take out the trash! Nope. Let's move on.

LeGarrette Blount (vs. SF) – There are 32 teams in the NFL. 31 of them have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Niners. Translation: LeGarrette Blount gonna eat. And let's be real, the man clearly knows how to eat. Just look at him. Add in a potential nor'easter (likely limiting the passing game) and the Eagles chance at jumping out to an early lead, and Blount makes for a terrific play in what should (better) be an easy Eagles victory. #GoBirds


Carlos Hyde (@ PHI) – What I said for Blount but the exact opposite. The Eagles have allowed the least rushing YPG in the league. The Niners will likely be playing from behind. Hyde isn't good at eating...probably. Well, he's certainly not as good as Blount. In spite of all this, Hyde is the consensus #11 RB. That's I-N-S-A-N-E. Hyde has failed to reach double digit fantasy points in three of the last four weeks (standard scoring). That will become four out of five after the Eagles are done with him.

Tevin Coleman (@NYJ) – Coleman is the consensus #21 running back and I have no idea why. Not only is he banged up with a knee (hehe), but he hasn't been getting enough of a workload to justify such a high ranking. And sure, you could argue the matchup with the Jets is so good that both Falcons RB's will be successful. I wouldn't, but you could. I love Devonta Freeman this week (and clearly Matt Ryan), but I'm down on Coleman, especially considering his gimpy knee.



Alshon Jeffrey (vs. SF) – Last week I said, “This is it, you guys. It's finally happening. This will be the Alshon Jeffrey bust out week and I cannot freaking wait.” Welp, that wasn't the best call. For what it's worth, I had a pretty good week otherwise, but this miss hurt. I want a monster performance from Alshon so bad. I need it. As a result, I'm doubling down. This is the week it'll happen! Lol. I hope. But the Niners' pass defense has been atrocious, and Alshon seems like the kind of receiver who'd be good in a nor'easter. Right? Doesn't he seem like a nor'easter kind of wide receiver? Ok. I'm clearly too emotionally involved in this one – take this recommendation with a grain of salt. Let's move on.

Adam Thielen (@ CLE) – In case you didn't know, this game is in London. Yup. We sent the Vikings and Browns to London because, obviously, we want British people to hate football. I mean, what other explanation is there? After this barn burner on Sunday, here's list of teams that will have played across the pond this season: Vikings, Browns, Jaguars, Ravens, Saints, Dolphins, Rams, Cardinals. I rest my Case...Keenum. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Back to fantasy – the Browns pass defense is terrible. They've allowed 14 touchdowns through the air (second-most in the NFL) and have done the league's worst job of defending opponent's number one receivers, according to Football Outsiders. Thielen is the Vikings #1 WR (25 targets over the last two weeks) and is good at football. Ipso facto.

Bonus Sleeper Start:

Ju Ju Smith-Schuster (@ DET) – I'll keep this short and sweet. What Ju Ju wants, Ju Ju gets.


Amari Cooper (@ BUF) – Amari Cooper is a jerk. I guarantee you that's what the majority of his fantasy owners are thinking. He was a high pick in drafts, but played so poorly over the first six weeks of the season that he was on many a bench when he busted out for an 11 catch, 210 yard, 2 touchdown performance in Week 7. That's infuriating. However, it's far more infuriating that everyone seems to have jumped right back on the Amari bandwagon after one big week – he's the consensus #14 WR! That is way too high, even in a week with six teams on bye. Outside of last week, the Bills have a done a nice job defending the pass, and the Raiders are traveling west-to-east for a 1pm start. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't let Amari make you sorry. Yup. I went there. And I'd do it again. Don't believe me?

Tyreek Hill (vs. DEN) – Tyreek will make you reek. Damn. That was a spectacular failure. I'm incredibly embarrassed. Please forget this ever happened. Hill faces a terrific Denver pass defense. I think they shut him down. I'm going to leave it at that. I want to distance myself from the reek thing as quickly as possible. Crap, I just brought it up again. Forget about that one too.



Jason Witten (@ WAS) – Jason Witten is ageless. Or not human. One or the other for sure. Either way, he's having his best season in years. He's the #6 scoring fantasy tight end and is third in targets (averaging 7 per game). Only one other team has allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Washington *Redacted because it's racist*s. Somehow, Witten is only the consensus #10 tight end even though he's facing them – and again, he may be a robot or something. If that's not enough for you, I don't know what is. #StartRobotWitten

Kyle Rudolph (@ CLE) – The Browns are almost as bad at defending tight ends as Washington, allowing the third-most fantasy points to them. Kyle Rudolph is a tight end who facing the Browns. He's also gotten 25 targets over the last three weeks, which is more than every other tight end in the league not named Cameron Brate. As a result – hold on to your hats, terrible joke coming your way – you can feel good about Rudolph guiding your fantasy sleigh in Week 8. Hey, I warned you.


Jimmy Graham (vs. HOU) – Jimmy Graham has been aight. He's played six games this season and they went something like this: He sucked super hard in the first two, was mediocre the next two, and scored a touchdown in each of the last two. Obviously, any rational person can see that he's going to start his cycle of two's over and have back-to-back terrible games. I kid, I kid. In all honesty, Graham hasn't impressed me yet and the Texans have done a decent job defending tight ends. As the consensus #5 tight end, Graham is simply overvalued considering his production to date. But really it's the two's thing.

Tyler Kroft (vs. IND) – Kroft is as anonymous as it gets. Until a couple weeks ago, no one had even heard of the guy. More importantly, he's a Bengals tight end not named Tyler Eifert. Even though Kroft has had some moderate success, he's way over-ranked as the consensus #11 tight end – he's only garnered nine targets over the last two weeks and is massively touchdown-dependent.



Pittsburgh Steelers (@ DET) – You already know how I feel about Matthew Stafford. Take that and extend it to the rest of the Lions offense. Plus, Pittsburgh is undervalued as the consensus #8 defense because they are legit and match up well with a less than dynamic Lions offense.


New Orleans Saints (vs. CHI) – The Bears are going to run, run, and run some more. That means less opportunities for turnovers and sacks. It's as simple as that.



Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense.


Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for “Start.”


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