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START: Aaron Rodgers ($9000) – This week, Rodgers is the most expensive player in any position. Is it worth it? I’d say yes. In his last four games, Rodgers averaged 25.1 fantasy points, and has 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s thrown three or more touchdowns in each of those games as well. His lowest score since Week 4 has been 18.24 fantasy points. If that’s his floor, I’ll take it. This week he faces a Saints defense that’s been awfully nice to opposing quarterbacks. Their defense is allowing quarterbacks 17.7 fantasy points per game and has surrendered 11 touchdowns in six games. The have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in their last three games. This Green Bay offense is red hot right now, and it appears that nobody can stop them. If consistency and points are what you’re looking for, then Rodgers is your man. Unless you’re planning on paying for a mid-level quarterback this week, don’t overthink it and get one of the elite passers in the NFL with a great matchup.
I’d start him over: All quarterbacks
SIT: Cam Newton ($6600) – The Panthers are hosting the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8. The Seahawks have lost back-to-back games. Their defense hasn’t been playing up to par this season. In fact, they’ve allowed two or more passing touchdowns in all but one game. However, Cam Newton hasn’t been playing his best football either. He’s only thrown for more than one touchdown in a game just twice this season. Besides his huge Week 6, where he threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns, along with rushing for 107 yards and one touchdown, scoring 38.06 fantasy points; he hasn’t scored more than 19.14 fantasy points in a game. He’s rushed for over 45 yards just once this season and hasn’t thrown for 300 yards once. When you have other quarterbacks a few of hundred dollars more expensive but with much higher ceilings, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to spend the extra cash to avoid an underwhelming game out of Newton. Let’s not forget that at any moment this Seahawks defense can get back on track and be that dominant defense they were last season.
I’d rather start: Tony Romo $7400, Tom Brady $7200, and Jay Cutler $7000
START: Carson Palmer ($6500) – Since returning from injury Palmer has thrown 503 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception in two games. This week, the Cardinals host the Eagles which allow 19 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. They have allowed 13 passing touchdowns and have intercepted the ball just three times. Quarterbacks are averaging 257 yards per game against them. Besides a dominant Week 6 performance, the Eagles have allowed two or more passing touchdowns in every game this season. In all three games Palmer has played in, he’s scored 17 or more fantasy points. He’s thrown for at least 250 yards and threw two touchdowns in each of those games. He has yet to throw an interception at home, and when you have a defense that doesn’t force many picks, it’s very likely he’ll keep that streak going. Palmer’s price is a good value based on his floor. If you’re talking about a player that, at worst, gets you 17 fantasy points at this price, now we’re talking bargain.
I’d start him over: Joe Flacco $6500, Ben Roethlisberger $5800, and Andy Dalton $5600
SIT: Andy Dalton ($5600) – His price may make it tempting for fantasy owners to consider taking a shot at Dalton, but don’t fall for the trap. Dalton has been hit or miss for nearly the entire season, and there are far more misses than hits in his stats sheet. This week he faces a stingy Ravens defense that allows the fifth fewest passing yards per game (258 ypg) and just 14.4 fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Ravens have permitted just one quarterback to throw for more than one touchdown in a game this season. Keep in mind they held Andrew Luck at Indy to just one passing touchdown. Dalton is coming off the worst performance of the season with just 5.04 fantasy points. He’s failed to throw a touchdown in two of his last four games. In his defense, he has been without A.J. Green, but it’s likely that Green will miss another week with his toe injury. There’s not much to like about Dalton’s matchup this week, especially when you look at his history against the Ravens. He’s thrown seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions in seven games against them, including seven in the last three meetings. Disregard his alluring price and go with a better quarterback this week.
I’d rather start: Ryan Tannenhill, $6700, Kyle Orton $6300, and Nick Foles $6300.
SNEAKY START: Teddy Bridgewater ($5100) – This is a big risk, but in a GPP this could pay off. Bridgewater has struggled in the last two weeks, but the last time he had a matchup like the one he has this week, he threw for 317 yards and rushed for a touchdowns. The Bucs are allowing opposing quarterbacks 20 fantasy points per games. They have given up 15 passing touchdowns and are yielding 295 passing yards per game. They have surrendered three or more passing touchdowns three times in the last four games. If there’s a game that Bridgewater can produce some fantasy points, this is it. If you’re looking for a cheap flyer with a great matchup, he’s your guy. Just keep in mind that he has a low floor.
START: Marshawn Lynch ($7100) – Last week I had Lynch as a sit and he produced just 9.2 fantasy points, but in Week 8 I’m starting him. In the last two weeks he’s failed to score 10 fantasy points. This week he faces a Carolina defense that allows the third most fantasy points per game to running backs (22.1). Running backs have scored seven times in the last five games against the Panthers. Prior to the last two weeks, Lynch was averaging 23.8 fantasy points per game. Lynch hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since the first week of the season and hasn’t scored since Week 3, but that will likely change this weekend. He should get back on track against a defense that can’t stop the run. He’s the fourth most expensive back this week, but has one of the better matchups. If you’re thinking of paying for a high-level back this week, Lynch is a great investment.
I’d start him over: DeMarco Murray $8600, Arian Foster $8400, and Giovanni Bernard $6100
SIT: Giovanni Bernard ($6100) – This is the cheapest that Bernard has been all season. He’s coming off the worst game of the year and has a very tough matchup ahead of him. Last week, he rushed for 17 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for – 1 yards. In the season opener, Bernard faced this Ravens defense and rushed for just 48 yards. He did record six catches for 62 yards, which is why he scored double digit fantasy points. The Ravens defense allows the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backs (9.6 fppg). Since week three they have not allowed a running back to score a touchdown. They’re allowing just 87.4 rushing yards per game. There’s just not much to be excited about when a back faces this defense. The Bengals offense could have another off day this week. There are backs with much better matchups and at just as good of a price, I’d target some of those before thinking of starting Bernard.
I’d rather start: Jamal Charles $6700, Lamar Miller $6000, and LeSean McCoy $5800.
START: Eddie Lacy ($5200) – He hasn’t lived up to expectations this season, but he’s been solid as of late. Lacy has scored four touchdowns in the last four games, and has 256 rushing yards in that span. For the season, he’s rushed for 369 yards on 92 carries and has scored four touchdowns. This week, he faces a Saints defense that’s allowing 18.8 fantasy points per game. They’ve allowed a running back to score in all but one game this season. The Saints are giving up 103.2 rushing yards per game. As mentioned above, the Packers offense is on fire and it’s only a matter of time before Lacy joins the fun. He’s currently the 13th most expensive back and can easily finish amongst the top 10 in fantasy points at his position this week. This is a great bargain for a back that’s beginning to get back on track. If you’re looking for a relatively cheap back that has a good chance to have a productive day, then Lacy is your guy.
I’d start him over: Chris Ivory $5000, Denard Robinson $4600, and Tre Mason $4400.
SIT: Alfred Morris ($4200) – I was expecting Morris to turn it around last week against the Titans. Boy was I wrong. Morris rushed for a whopping 54 yards on 18 carries. He’s failed to rush for 100 yards in all of the games this season. He has also scored fewer than seven fantasy points in the last three weeks. In five games this year, he’s averaged fewer than four yards per carry. It’s safe to say that he is struggling. Morris has a good history against the Cowboys which makes it tempting to start him, but don’t let that fool you. The Cowboys defense has been surprisingly decent against the run. They’re allowing just 13.1 fantasy points per game to opposing backs and they haven’t allowed a running back to score in the last two games. Colt McCoy is expected to start for the Redskins this weekend which means they’ll likely stack the box. The Redskins are also playing from behind often which takes away from what Morris does best, run the ball. The price is great, but his continuous struggles can’t be overlooked.
I’d rather start: Jerick McKinnon $4900, Ben Tate $4600, Doug Martin $4400,
SNEAKY START: Travaris Cadet ($3000) – Pierre Thomas is expected to miss at least two weeks with a shoulder injury, and Cadet is likely going to fill in that role. Last week Cadet caught six passes for 51 yards, he was targeted nine times. The Packers are allowing 17.9 fantasy points per game, which helps his case. He’s probably going to be used similarly to how Thomas is used and how they used Darren Sproles in previous years, that is heavily involved in the passing downs. He should see a fair amount of receptions and possibly have a shot at getting in the end zone. In a potential shootout, a pass catching back can have busy day on the field, that would be Cadet.
START: Dez Bryant ($6900) – Bryant is one of the elite receivers in the NFL, but this week he isn’t priced like one. He’s $1100 cheaper than Antonio Brown and could easily put up similar numbers. This week, the Cowboys host the Redskins, in a division battle. The Redskins defense is giving up 22.4 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. They have yielded nine touchdowns and 233.6 receiving yards per game. In the last two home games, Bryant has scored a combined 50.6 fantasy points. He has 22 catches for 299 yards and a touchdown in the last three games. In seven career games against the Redskins, Bryant has scored four touchdowns and is averaging 73.1 yards and 5.1 catches per game. There’s nothing like a stud player at a great price with a really good matchup. Besides Jordy Nelson, there’s no elite receiver I’m higher on than Bryant.
I’d start him over: T.Y. Hilton $6800, Ashlon Jeffery $6000, and DeSean Jackson $5700.
SIT: Mohamed Sanu ($5600) – His price dropped $1400, but it could have been because he was a tad overpriced last week. Sanu finds himself in consecutive weeks as a sit. He came back to reality in Week 7 against a solid Colts defense. He caught three passes for 54 yards. This week, the matchup isn’t all that much better. The Bengals will host their division rivals, the Ravens. Sanu has been hit or miss to a certain extent. In three games this season, he’s scored below 10 fantasy points in PPR formats, but in the other three games he has scored more than 17 fantasy points per game. The Ravens have only allowed more than one touchdown to opposing receivers in one game this season and just six total touchdowns. In the first game of the season, Sanu caught four passes for 36 yards against this Ravens defense. He is too risky of a play against this defense for a 50/50 chance at a decent game, and there’s plenty of good value at this price ranger to settle for Sanu
I’d rather start: Mike Wallace $5800, Sammy Watkins $5700, and Andre Johnson $5300
START: Michael Floyd ($4900) – Floyd’s price is $100 more than the cheapest it’s been all season. In the three games that Carson Palmer has played in, Floyd had 12 catches, 213 yards, and two touchdowns. He has scored a touchdown in every game since Palmer’s return from injury. In three home games this season, Floyd has 14 catches for 280 yards and a touchdown. This week, the Cardinals host the Eagles defense that isn’t that good against receivers. They’re allowing 24.5 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. They have given up eight touchdowns to receivers this season and are surrendering 278.2 receiving yards per game. There’s not much to dislike about him this week, if anything at all. The price is good, the matchup is good, and his quarterback is healthy. All signs point to another solid week from Floyd. He has a high floor and a high ceiling this week. Take advantage of the discounted price.
I’d start him over: Kelvin Benjamin $5000, Brandon LaFell $4800, and Eric Decker $4600
SIT: Brian Quick ($4600) – This looks as if it’s a great value for Quick, but not if you look at his recent performances. In the last two weeks, Quick hasn’t played so well, catching just three passes for 43 yards. This week’s matchup is not the most eye-catching one either. The Chiefs defense has yet to allow a group of receivers to get more than 194 receiving yards in a game. They were able to keep all of the Chargers receivers out of the end zone in Week 7. In fact, they haven’t allowed more than one touchdown in a single game to opposing receivers. In essence, they’ve been an above average defense. Quick has caught two or less passes in three of his last four games. His inconsistencies as of late and a tough road game are enough reasons to fade Quick this week. Especially when there are several other options at around the same price with better matchups and higher ceilings.
I’d rather start: Terrence Williams $4700, Julian Edelman $4600, and Larry Fitzgerald $4400
SNEAKY START: Justin Hunter ($3100) – Ok, ok, he’s let me and everyone who’s plugged him in down for the most part. However, Hunter is pretty much at a minimum salary. The Titans announced that they are going to roll with Zach Mettenberger as their starting quarterback this week. My initial thought was: it can’t get worse than Charlie Whitehurst. Mettemberger has a great arm, which is exactly what a receiver like Hunter needs. The Texans have yielded two touchdowns to receivers in three of their four last games. They’re also giving up 24.9 fantasy points per game. I’m going to fire up Hunter one more week at this low price.
START: Jordan Reed ($4000) – Since returning from injury in Week 6, Reed has caught 13 passes for 146 yards. This week, he faces a Cowboys defense that allows the second most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (12). They have also given up the second most touchdowns (7) and yards (541). The only two tight ends that didn’t score against the Cowboys were Garrett Graham and Luke Willson. In his only game against the Cowboys, Reed was targeted six times and caught four passes for 58 yards. Reed has an immense amount of upside and is a rare talent. His problem has always been staying healthy. The good news is that he is healthy, so make sure you have him in your lineups.
I’d start him over: Clay Harbor $4100, Dwayne Allen $3900, and Gavin Escobar $3900
SIT: Jermaine Gresham ($3700) – Gresham has scored 12 or more fantasy points in the last two games. The Bengals are hurting on offense and have leaned a bit more on Gresham in recent weeks. This week, he faces a stingy Ravens defense. They’ve only allowed one touchdown to tight ends this season. In fact, besides just two games where they gave up 80+ yards, the Ravens haven’t given up more than 55 yards to any other tight ends. Tight ends are averaging 4.7 fantasy points per game. In their first meeting this season, Gresham caught two passes for 16 yards. Don’t get blinded by the $3700 price tag, because he’s not the best value in the market.
I’d rather start: Jordan Cameron $3700, Charles Clay $3500, Niles Paul $3300
SNEAKY START: Zach Ertz ($3200) – This is one of this week’s best values if you ask me. Yes, Ertz hasn’t lived up to expectations, but that doesn’t mean he can’t turn it around. What better way to start, than against the eighth worst defense against tight ends in the league. The Cardinals are allowing 9,2 fantasy points per game to tight ends. They have allowed tight ends to go for over 80 yards in four games this year. Ertz is coming off of a bye week, but prior to that, in his last game, he caught three passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. I’m expecting him to have a better second half of the season and he should start as early as this week. Take this discounted price this week, because it’s unlikely it’ll be around next week.
I’ve provided you with low-risk, high-reward players for each position. If you’re drafting a lineup that’s top heavy in salaries and need to find some inexpensive players to plug in, then my sneaky starts can be useful.