Trying to figure out who to start and who to sit for Week 8 of the 2014 NFL fantasy football season? Check out our tip sheet to find out which players will lead you to victory this week and which players should be avoided.
Who to start for Week 8
QB: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Carolina Panthers) – The defending Super Bowl champs may have sputtered over the last two weeks, but their quarterback is better than ever. Wilson was dominant in Week 7, throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for an additional 106 yards and a touchdown. His Week 8 opponent, the Carolina Panthers, have struggled mightily on defense this season and surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, according to Yahoo. Start him.
RB: Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (vs. Chicago Bears) – Let the Vereenaissance begin. After six disappointing weeks, a knee injury to fellow Patriots running back Steven Ridley thrust Vereen into a starring role in Week 7, when he recorded five catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns against the New York Jets. It’s hard to predict how head coach Bill Belichick will distribute touches, but Vereen is as good a candidate as any to break out in Week 8 against a beatable Bears defense. Start him.
RB: Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – The former college quarterback has been a revelation for the Vikings in 2014. McKinnon needed just 18 carries to rush for over 100 yards against Buffalo’s top-ranked run defense in Week 7. In Week 8, he faces a Bucs defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Start him.
WR: Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (vs. New York Jets) – The fourth-overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft looks more like a star every week. Watkins dominated the Vikings in Week 7, catching nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, including the winning score on the game’s final drive. Expect Watkins to post similar numbers against the Jets’ vulnerable secondary in Week 8. Start him.
WR: Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. Atlanta Falcons) – We can’t say this enough: Tate is now a must-start player in all fantasy formats. The former Seahawks receiver has flourished in the absence of injured Lions running-mate Calvin Johnson, posting plus-100 receiving totals in three of the last four weeks and at least five catches in every game this season. In Week 8, Tate will face off against a Falcons secondary that has allowed the second-most receiving yards to wide receivers this season, according to ESPN. Start him.
WR: Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. New Orleans Saints) – Green Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver Jordy Nelson is getting the headlines this season, but Cobb has been quietly productive in his own right. He put up 121 yards receiving and a touchdown against the Panthers in Week 7 and should have his way in Week 8 against a Saints defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone this season. Start him.
TE: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (vs. Dallas Cowboys) – The oft-injured Reed has only played in three games this season, but has played well each of the last two weeks. More importantly, he showed a strong rapport with Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy, who favors short-to-intermediate targets. Washington will likely have to throw the ball a lot to keep pace with the red-hot Cowboys in Week 8, and Dallas has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Start him.
Defense/Special Teams: Miami Dolphins (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars) – This is as close to a “no-brainer” as fantasy football owners will find this week. Owned in just 61 percent of Yahoo leagues, Miami’s underrated D/ST unit will face a Jaguars offense that turns the ball over at a rate of more than twice per game. Start them.
Who to sit for Week 8
QB: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Detroit Lions) – Ryan could be in for a long day when he faces the Lions in Week 8. The Falcons’ porous offensive line will have to stop an aggressive Detroit pass rush that has held opposing quarterback to fewer fantasy points than any other team this season. Sit him.
RB: Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Miami Dolphins) – Robinson finally got his chance to carry the load for the Jaguars’ backfield in Week 7 and did not waste it, rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown against a solid Browns defense. Still, fantasy owners should wait another week or two to make sure his performance wasn’t a fluke. Robinson will face a Miami defense in Week 8 that has allowed just one rusher to surpass 70 yards this season, according to CBS Sports. Sit him.
RB: Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams (vs. Kansas City Chiefs) – Stacy has struggled all season, but he bottomed out last week against the Seahawks. Fellow RBs Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason carried the load while Stacy did not receive a single touch. The Chiefs are strong against the run, and it looks like the Rams coaching staff has soured on Stacy. Sit him.
WR: Percy Harvin, New York Jets (vs. Buffalo Bills) – Harvin is certainly a dynamic talent and will likely play a major role in New York’s offense by the end of the 2014 season, but it’s unrealistic to expect a major fantasy output just one week after Seattle traded him. Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will try to get Harvin a few touches, but it’s unlikely that he’ll produce enough points to be worth a start in Week 8 against the Bills. Sit him.
WR: Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Miami Dolphins) – Shorts turned in a disappointing performance in Week 7, catches just three of his nine targets for a paltry 12 receiving yards against the Browns. In Week 8, he and the rest of the Jaguars’ middling offense will face a Dolphins secondary that has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Sit him.
WR: DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (vs. Dallas Cowboys) – It’s difficult to justify sitting a player as explosive as Jackson, but his Week 8 matchup against the Cowboys is less than ideal. Dallas has gotten surprisingly strong play out of its cornerbacks this season, and Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy lacks ideal arm strength to hit Jackson over the top on a deep ball. Moreover, Jackson was targeted just five teams in Week 7 against the Titans. Sit him.
TE: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Indianapolis Colts) – Miller’s days as a reliable fantasy option at tight end may be over. He’s produced a relevant point total just once in seven games this season, and he hasn’t exceeded 50 yards receiving since Week 4. Worse yet, Miller is an afterthought in the red zone and has caught just one touchdown pass this season. The Colts’ defense is generally weak against opposing tight ends, but Miller can’t be trusted. Sit him.
Defense/Special Teams: Chicago Bears (vs. New England Patriots) – The Bears’ defense has allowed more than 24 points per game, but a strong pass rush has allowed them to stay fantasy-relevant. Still, it’s best not to use them in Week 8 against Tom Brady and the Patriots offense that is firing on all cylinders over the last three weeks. Sit them.