Start Bengals’ Andy Dalton, Sit Vikings’ Jerick McKinnon for Week 8
The Start’em Six
Josh Doctson (WSH) vs. Cowboys- Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Terrelle Pryor went from as high as a third-round draft pick in many Fantasy circles to completely irrelevant. Perhaps Pryor’s demise is just another casualty of the many who’ve fallen victim to, what I call, “The Great Offensive Depression of 2017.” Maybe this is just a bump in the road for Pryor’s relatively fresh career but Josh Doctson will now fill his role. Doctson, a first-round pick in 2016, has the build and athletic ability to become a big-time playmaker in the NFL. A match-up at home against the rival Cowboys presents a golden opportunity for Doctson to make his initial mark. He’s a high-upside streaming and long-term option in all formats.
A.J. Derby (DEN) at Chiefs- If anyone is flying under the radar in Fantasy right now, it’s Derby. Overall consistency at the Tight End position is virtually non-existent, which is mostly the case every season, but especially in 2017. Derby has 11 catches, 151 yards, and a TD in the last three games, which is as consistent as you’ll get at the position. This match-up versus a Chiefs defense that’s allowed three 100-yard games to tight ends so far bodes well for the trending Derby. He’s a solid bye week filler in Week 8.
Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. Colts- Dalton’s had an up and down season in 2017. Frankly, he hasn’t lived up to his potential in either the NFL or in Fantasy. Simply put, Dalton’s a QB2 who possesses a decent floor with sporadic high-ceiling games sprinkled in. In Week 8, against a woeful Colts passing defense, Dalton should produce at his maximum potential.
Lamar Miller (HOU) at Seahawks- Lamar Miller hasn’t bounced back like all his advocates thought he would, but he hasn’t been as bad as all his critics thought either. In PPR leagues, Miller’s been relatively stable, scoring between 10.9 and 11.7 Fantasy points in four out of the six match-ups he’s played in. The Seahawks started the year off terribly against the run, but have played better recently. Still, if the Seahawks have a weakness on defense, it’s stopping the run. With rookie QB Deshaun Watson proving to be a threat through the air and on the ground, Lamar Miller should find space to run. Expect Miller to produce his second-biggest scoring output of the year.
Bilal Powell (NYJ) vs. Falcons- “Boom Boom” Bilal Powell, as my colleague likes to call him, hasn’t really panned out as well as we all hoped. But, there’s still plenty of season left and Powell has shown glimpses and chunks of why he’s a dynamic RB. I give respect and credit to Matt Forte for holding his own as he closes in on age 32, especially with the wear and tear his body’s been through, but the time has come for the guard to change. Powell’s no spring chicken either, he turns 29 tomorrow. However, he might as well be four years younger considering how little he’s been used throughout his career. Even if Powell splits duties with Forte this week, he should produce at a flex-worthy level at home against a Falcons defense that’s allowed 296 yards rushing in their last two games.
DeSean Jackson (TB) vs. Panthers- In the bizarre world that is the 2017 NFL, rookie running backs look like five-year vets, pigs fly, and D-Jax is a consistent PPR option. I know, it doesn’t make much sense, but facts are facts. Jackson’s put up 12 Fantasy points or more in four of his six games thus far in PPR formats. A date with cornerback Daryl Worley puts D-Jax in the driver’s seat again. Can he really go four straight weeks with 12-plus Fantasy points? DeSean Jackson and the word consistency have never appeared in the same sentence, yet this boom or bust standard league hero has become a reliable PPR option… enough said.
The Sit’em Six
Jerick McKinnon (MIN) at Browns- The McKinnon explosion finally died down recently, and it was about time. I’m not a hater. McKinnon has some nice burst and can hit home runs from time to time as well as catch passes. However, we’ve seen this before from McKinnon. He shows flashes of brilliance and then fades away into the abyss of mediocrity. A match-up with the Browns may seem like a terrific opportunity for Fantasy points scored, but they’re one of the stingiest run defenses around. Of course, in PPR leagues or deeper leagues, he’s a good flex just based on volume, but don’t expect too much production from McKinnon in Week 8.
Buffalo Bills D/ST vs. Raiders- The Bills’ defense has slowly but surely fallen back down to earth. They started the year very strong, but lately the Bills defense has been bending - a lot. They’re still a solid all-around unit, and they have streaming potential when the match-up is right. This week, the Bills face off against a rejuvenated Raiders offense that could easily put up big numbers. Don’t risk starting the Bills if you don’t have to; there are always plenty of defenses to stream.
Deshaun Watson (HOU) at Seahawks- It’s very difficult for me to defend this one since I’m one of the biggest Watson advocates out there, but the match-up is simply too risky. Everyone’s holding their breath, waiting for the day Watson puts up a dud because we all know it’s coming. This will most likely be that day. If you truly have no better options to roll with in Week 8, then plug Watson in. Otherwise, if you have someone like Andy Dalton in a great match-up, you should easily go in that direction. It’s not about Watson completely tanking, it’s how depressed his ceiling will be against this stingy Seahawks secondary. Yet, his high floor still exists.
Jalen Richard (OAK) at Bills- Jalen Richard the “One-Hit Wonder,” is what we’ll say after he goes off in his one and only opportunity while Lynch serves his suspension. Not so fast, there’s plenty of question marks for Richard as he prepares for this golden opportunity. Volume is the biggest question for Richard, since it could vary greatly depending on multiple factors. To put even more of a damper on Richard’s value is the match-up itself; the Bills’ defense is among the Top 10 against the run and could easily shut the ground game down. Don’t forget that the Raider’s run game is secondary to their pass attack, and it looks like an all systems go for Derek Carr and his two talented wide receivers.
Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. Steelers- Quietly, the Steelers have been one of the best defenses all season, specifically versus the pass. Stafford has had a solid floor all year in Fantasy, but even at home in this one, he’ll have an extremely tough time. Steer clear of Stafford in Week 8, especially considering his limited ceiling under normal circumstances, let alone versus the Steelers.
Will Fuller (HOU) at Seahawks- There will rarely be a bigger fall from grace than what we’ll see in Week 8 from Will Fuller. The signs are everywhere with Fuller - eight catches and five TDs in three games?! Fuller’s stats just aren’t sustainable, and there will be no truer test the one the Texans will face this week against the hard-nosed, veteran secondary of the Seahawks. I believe Fuller will get zero points this week, proving he’s the quintessential boom or bust player of the year.
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