Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2017
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Drew Brees, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Philip Rivers (LAC, QB)
Quarterbacks have averaged 23 fantasy points against New England this year. In fact, only one QB has failed to throw over 300 yards on them. With six teams on bye, Philip Rivers becomes a great fantasy start this week.
Start 'em Tyrod Taylor (BUF, QB)
Tyrod Taylor is ranked 11th this week making him a borderline QB1 and a good bye-week filler against an Oakland defense that gives up 246 yards per game through the air. Alex Smith put up 25 points last week. Taylor is in a good spot because he can also get some points for you with his feet.
Start 'em Joe Mixon (CIN, RB)
Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Joe Mixon has led a crowded backfield in touches and comes into this week's FFN rankings at #12 (ppr) nudging him into RB1 territory. The matchup is great as the Colts have been in shambles and give up 124 yards on the ground. In Week 6, they coughed up 40 fantasy points to the combo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Expect the run game to get the Bengals moving this week.
Start 'em Jay Ajayi (MIA, RB)
Ajayi is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, and outside two 100-yard games, he hasn't lived up to expectations from fantasy owners this year. Fortunately for Ajayi owners, nobody gives up more yards on the ground to running backs than the Baltimore Ravens. Every starting running back that has faced them this year has produced double digit fantasy points. We're expecting a solid game from Ajayi on Thursday.
Start 'em Keenan Allen (LAC, WR)
We suggested sitting Keenan Allen last week and that ended up working out as we expected, but feel free to dust him off and plug him in your lineups against the Pats who have given up the most yards per game through the air. He's ranked 4th overall among wide receivers and should bounce back nicely from last week's disappointment.
Start 'em Pierre Garcon (SF, WR)
With C.J. Beathard under center, there's not much to get excited about with the passing game in San Francisco. Garcon went 5 for 49 yards last week, but should have a decent matchup this week against the Eagles who are giving up the 4th-most yards through the air this year. He's a solid WR2 this week.
Start 'em Hunter Henry (LAC, TE)
Hunter Henry has certainly emerged as the #1 tight end for the Chargers besting Antonio Gates in both targets and receptions. We've already listed all the reasons why a matchup with the Patriots is favorable, so keep Henry dialed into your lineups. He's ranked 4th this week and should finish as a TE1.
Start 'em Cameron Brate (TB, TE)
Even though OJ Howard put up a monster stat line last week, it was his first time seeing that much action. Cameron Brate still out-snapped and out-targeted him as he has done every game this year. Brate comes into the rankings this week at #10 and Howard finds himself at #29 meaning that the industry thinks Brate is still the guy to play.
Start 'em Cincinnati Bengals (CIN, DEF)
Even though the Cincinnatti Bengals messed the bed against the Steelers, they are in line for a nice bounce back game against the Colts. No other team has given up more fantasy points to defensive/special teams this season than Indianapolis.
Start 'em Jake Elliott (PHI, K)
With the exception of an injured Dan Bailey, four of the six kickers who faced San Francisco this year have put up double digit fantasy points. In fact, kickers are averaging 10.3 fantasy points. Elliott has been a top fantasy option this season and should remain so this week.
Sit 'em Trevor Siemian (DEN, QB)
The Broncos have confirmed that they are going to stick with Trevor Siemian. Other than a Week 6 shootout that had Siemian throwing 50 times, Siemian has averaged a paltry 182 yards per game and hasn't had a multi-TD game since Week 2. Even though Kansas City gives up the 5th-most yards through the air, Siemian's been terrible on the road this year and too tough to trust. He's ranked 19th and should ride the bench this week.
Sit 'em Alex Smith (KC, QB)
Lining up across the field from Siemian this week will be Alex Smith who has been the top fantasy quarterback
this year. He'll have his work cut out for him as the Broncos secondary has been brutal to QBs giving up just an average of 12.4 points per game. Smith will be back to fantasy relevance after this week.
Sit 'em Lamar Miller (HOU, RB)
Lamar Miller hasn't been able to rush for more than 75 yards all year, and outside the Week 4 game against Tennessee, he hasn't put up more than 11 fantasy points (ppr). His schedule for the second half of the season is more favorable than the first half, but first he'll need to get past a difficult Seattle defense.
Sit 'em Thomas Rawls (SEA, RB)
Houston has been tough on running backs this year giving up an average of just 8 fantasy points to them. Rawls hasn't rushed for more than 36 yards per game and found himself in the doghouse after coughing up a fumble against the Giants. He's ranked 42nd this week in a timeshare with Eddie Lacy making him an RB4 and not someone to trust.
Sit 'em Golden Tate (DET, WR)
It's a late kickoff for the Lions, and Golden Tate is still questionable to play. If he suits up, he'll face the league's toughest pass defense so don't be surprised if he's only able to turn in single-digit fantasy points. Tate is a risky play this week.
Sit 'em Danny Amendola (NE, WR)
It's tough to bench a Patriots receiver, but Danny Amendola hasn't seen the kind of targets that we were hoping he'd get. There are a lot of mouths to feed in New England, and the matchup is tough. The Chargers give up the 5th-fewest yards through the air. Combine that with the fact that Amendola is dealing with a knee issue and he's a WR3 at best and will likely finish as a WR4.
Sit 'em Coby Fleener (NO, TE)
The Bears have been tough on tight ends this year keeping all but two under double-digit fantasy production. Fleener should be fantasy relevant in a high-powered offense like New Orleans, but we just haven't seen him show up yet. That's not likely to change as the Bears give up the 9th-fewest yards through the air.
Sit 'em Ed Dickson (CAR, TE)
Fantasy owners who rushed out to the waiver wire to pick up Ed Dickson after his Week 5 blowup (5 for 175 yards) have seen his production come back down to Earth averaging just 3.5 receptions for 27 yards the last two weeks. No TE has scored more than 8 points STD/12 points PPR on Tampa Bay this season. Dickson is ranked 15th putting him outside that starting TE territory.
Sit 'em Chicago Bears (CHI, DEF)
The Chicago Bears defense has been spooktaculer (Halloween is right around the corner) as of late putting up monster points the last two weeks. They are going to be challenged this week facing Drew Brees and company.
Sit 'em Matt Prater (DET, K)
Matt Prater is ranked 15th this week against the Steelers who give up the 3rd-fewest points on the board. No kicker has put up more than 7 points against them. In fact, kickers have been able to put up just 4 fantasy points. Ouch.