Fantasy Football: Start 'em or Sit 'em Week 8

Many teams are on bye this week, so be sure to adjust your lineup to remove all Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans players from your lineup. Don’t be that guy who doesn’t adjust his lineup.

The following is a Start ‘em-Sit ‘em list for Week 8. This is just a guide and shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Trust yourself and don’t be a rankings slave.

These rankings assume a standard ESPN 10-team fantasy league; 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end, 1 Flex, 1 Defense. If I missed a player or you have a question, sound off in the comments.

Panthers at Buccaneers

Start ‘em:

Panthers: Cam Newton, QB; DeAngelo Williams, RB; Steve Smith, WR; Greg Olsen, TE; Panthers D

Buccaneers: Vincent Jackson, WR

These should all be obvious starts, even if everyone but Smith and Jackson are a low-end plays this week. The Panthers are actually fourth among fantasy defenses in standard ESPN leagues, yet are owned in less than 60 percent of leagues. They’ve also got a good matchup against the Bucs.

Sit ‘em:

Panthers: Brandon LaFell, WR;

Buccaneers: Mike Glennon, QB; Mike James, RB; Mike Williams, WR; Timothy Wright, TE; Buccaneers D

If you are desperate, you could play LaFell or James, but you might be able to find better options. The rest of these guys should rarely be played, if ever.

Cowboys at Lions

Start ‘em:

Cowboys: Tony Romo, QB; Joseph Randle, RB; Dez Bryant, WR; Terrance Williams, WR; Jason Witten, TE

Lions: Matt Stafford, QB; Reggie Bush, RB; Calvin Johnson, WR

Williams has looked great recently, and can be a low-end play going forward. Randle isn’t normally worth a start, but with so many teams on bye, you can play him this week. The rest are obvious starts.

Sit ‘em:

Cowboys: Cowboys D

Lions: Joique Bell, RB; Kris Durham, WR; Joseph Fauria, TE; Lions D

Since both teams struggle stopping the pass and have prolific offenses, avoid both defenses. Fauria, Bell and Durham aren’t reliable enough to start.

Browns at Chiefs

Start ‘em

Browns: Josh Gordon, WR; Jordan Cameron, TE

Chiefs: Jamaal Charles, RB; Chiefs D

These are obvious starts; if you have them, you’re playing them.

Sit ‘em:

Browns: Willis McGahee, RB; Browns D

Chiefs: Alex Smith, QB; Dwayne Bowe, WR; Donnie Avery, WR

These are obvious sits. Bowe is in the running for most disappointing mid-round fantasy pick.

Dolphins at Patriots

Start ‘em:

Dolphins: Lamar Miller, RB; Mike Wallace, WR; Charles Clay, TE

Patriots: Steven Ridley, RB; Julian Edleman, WR; Rob Gronkowski, TE; Patriots D

Miller and Clay are risky plays, but in week with teams on bye, you might not have any better options. Edleman is one of Brady’s favorite targets, and Gronk is finally back! Ridley, Wallace and the Patriots D are usually safe bets.

Sit ‘em:

Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB; Brian Hartline, WR; Dolphins D

Patriots: Tom Brady, QB; Brandon Bolden, RB; Aaron Dobson, WR

These are obvious sits except for Brady, who has struggled in recent weeks. If you have a better option this week, don’t be afraid to sit him; he just hasn’t looked like his usual self lately. Dobson is one of my deep sleepers this week. If you’re truly desperate, you might be able to play him, but it’s very risky.

Bills at Saints

Start ‘em:

Bills: Fred Jackson, RB; Stevie Johnson, WR

Saints: Drew Brees, QB; Darren Sproles, RB; Marques Colston, WR; Jimmy Graham, TE; Saints D

These are all obvious starts; even with the Bills, start Thad Lewis.

Sit ‘em:

Bills: C.J. Spiller, RB; Scott Chandler, TE; Bills D

Saints: Pierre Thomas, RB

You could get away with starting Thomas if you have to. The same goes for Spiller, but I’m done with him. Until he proves something, I’m not recommending him anymore. He’s not healthy and he’s averaged less than six points per game this season.

Giants at Eagles

Start ‘em:

Giants: Victor Cruz, WR; Hakeem Nicks, WR; Rueben Randle, WR

Eagles: LeSean McCoy, RB; DeSean Jackson, WR

Sit ‘em:

Excluding Randle, these should be obvious starts. Randle has played well lately, and he gets a good matchup against the poor Eagles defense.

Giants: Eli Manning, QB; Brandon Jacobs, RB; Brandon Myers, TE; Giants D

Eagles: Mike Vick, QB; Bryce Brown, RB; Brent Celek, TE; Eagles D

I’m not trusting Vick until he proves he’s fully healthy. The rest should be obvious sits.

49ers at Jaguars

Start ‘em:

49ers: Colin Kaepernick, QB; Frank Gore, RB; Anquan Boldin, WR; Vernon Davis, TE; 49ers D

Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB; Justin Blackmon, WR; Cecil Shorts, WR

Given the matchup, these are all obvious starts. Kaepernick should have a nice day against the awful Jaguars. Blackmon and Shorts can both be started as long as Chad Henne is not the quarterback. And the 49ers defense is 11th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, so you can play MJD if you have a starter or two on bye.

Sit ‘em:

49ers: NONE

Jaguars: Jaguars D

All potential 49er players can be started, and the Jaguars D can never be started.

Jets at Bengals:

Start ‘em:

Jets: Chris Ivory, RB; Jeremy Kerley, WR; Jets D

Bengals: Giovanni Bernard, RB; AJ Green, WR; Bengals D

Bernard and Green are obvious plays. Ivory got the majority of the touches last week, and can be played since so many teams are on bye. Both defenses can be started, but they are low-end plays. Kerley has played well lately, and the Bengals will be without Leon Hall.

Sit ‘em:

Jets: Geno Smith, QB; Bilal Powell, RB

Bengals: Andy Dalton, QB; BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB; Tyler Eifert, TE

These are obvious sits. Despite Dalton’s recent performances, you should still not start him.

Steelers at Raiders

Start ‘em:

Steelers: Le’Veon Bell, RB; Antonio Brown, WR; Steelers D

Raiders: Darren McFadden, RB

Bell, Brown and McFadden are quality starts this week. The Steelers D has picked up its play recently, and they are a low-end play.

Sit ‘em:

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, QB; Emmanuel Sanders, WR; Heath Miller, TE

Raiders: Terrelle Pryor, QB; Denarius Moore, WR; Raiders D

Pryor, Moore and Miller tempted me as starts, but I think there are better plays out there this week. The rest are obvious sits.

Redskins at Broncos

Start ‘em:

Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB; Alfred Morris, RB; Roy Helu, RB; Pierre Garcon, WR; Jordan Reed, TE

Broncos: Peyton Manning, QB; Knowshon Moreno, RB, Eric Decker, WR; Demaryius Thomas, WR; Wes Welker, WR; Julius Thomas, TE

This should be a high-scoring affair, as both defenses are not very good. Reed has burst onto the scene and is worth at least a pick-up, if not a start. Helu is in the same category. I’m going to toot my own horn, but last week I mentioned him as someone to watch out for.

Sit ‘em:

Redskins: Redskins D

Broncos: Ronnie Hillman, RB; Montee Ball, RB; Denver D

These are all obvious sits, especially since Ball didn’t get a carry last week and Hillman had a costly fumble.

Falcons at Cardinals

Start ‘em:

Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB; Steven Jackson, RB; Harry Douglas, WR; Tony Gonzales, TE

Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, WR

These are obvious starts, except for Jackson. If he plays, I think he’s worth a start. If he doesn’t Jaquizz Rodgers should replace him.

Sit ‘em:

Falcons: Jaquizz Rodgers, RB; Falcons D

Cardinals: Carson Palmer, QB; Rashard Mendenhall, RB; Andre Ellington, RB; Michael Floyd, WR; Rob Housler, TE; Cards D

These are obvious sits, except for Rodgers and Ellington. Rodgers was mentioned above, and I’m still waiting for Ellington to take over as the lead back in Arizona.

Packers at Vikings

Start ‘em:

Packers: Aaron Rodgers, QB; Eddie Lacy, RB; James Jones, WR; Jarrett Boykin, WR; Packers D

Vikings: Adrian Peterson, RB

These are obvious starts, assuming Jones is good to go this week. Boykin looked great last week.

Sit ‘em:

Packers: Jermichael Finley, TE

Vikings: Greg Jennings, WR; Kyle Rudolph, TE; Vikings D

Finley has another concussion, while Rudolph and Jennings don’t the consistent quarterback play they need.

Seahawks at Rams

Start ‘em:

Seahawks: Russell Wilson, QB; Marshawn Lynch, RB

Rams: Zac Stacy, RB

These are obvious starts this week.

Sit ‘em:

Seahawks: Golden Tate, WR; Percy Harvin, WR

Rams: Everyone else

The Rams are going to have to start Kellen Clemens, so avoid all of their players. Harvin may be this week. If he were not playing on Monday night, I’d have him as a starter this week. But if he can’t go, you’ll be hard pressed to find a suitable sub. Sit him this week, but grab him if you still can.

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