Fantasy Football: Week 8 start/sit

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) evades a tackle by Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Rich Barnes/AP)

Larry Fitzgerald came into last week as the No. 3 wide receiver in half-point per reception (half-PPR) fantasy scoring. Sitting him last week was bold, but hopefully you listened. Fitzgerald only caught three passes for 29 yards, a dreadful fantasy day that can be partly attributed to Carson Palmer’s injury.

Last week’s other sits didn’t work out so well. Derek Carr absolutely tore up the Chiefs defense on Thursday night with the help of Amari Cooper’s breakout game. Bilal Powell was decent, with 43 yards rushing and two catches for 40 yards.

Week 7’s starts were Tyrod Taylor, Duke Johnson and Kelvin Benjamin. Taylor performed the best of the three, scoring 20 fantasy points as the quarterback No. 9 on the week for anyone lucky enough to grab him off waivers. Johnson was solid as well, catching six passes for 45 yards to go along with his 26 rushing yards and finishing as RB18 in half-PPR scoring. Benjamin had an average week, managing just three catches for 65 yards.

Believe it or not, we’re halfway into the fantasy season… Here’s Week 8 start/sit.

Start: QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

I’m riding the hot hand with Taylor again this week. If you grabbed him for last week’s matchup or he’s still available on waivers, plug him into your lineup again this week against the Raiders. The Bills stay at home this week, where Taylor has yet to post a game with less than 17 fantasy points. Taylor got back on track with rushing yards last week, running for 53 yards after three consecutive weeks with no more than 13 yards previously. Taylor is a must-start this week against the Raiders’ average defense.

Sit: QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

Smith has been fantastic all season and you probably don’t have a better option, but I would definitely start somebody like Tyrod Taylor over Smith this week. Smith has performed significantly better against defenses in the bottom-half of the league this year. In his only two matchups with top-half defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, Smith has produced just 15 points; still a good number but far from his norm. His opponent this week, Denver, comes in at No. 13 against quarterbacks, so I don’t love Smith despite a home matchup on a long week.

Start: RB James White, New England Patriots

Usually I try to stay away from the Patriots’ mess of running backs, but White has been sneakily safe the past four weeks, averaging 9.9 points per game in half PPR. This week, White plays the Chargers at home, a team that just gave up 10 receptions for 73 yards to the Broncos’ running backs. White only played 23 of 74 snaps last week so his ceiling is limited, but he’s a good bet to catch four passes, making him a good start in any PPR leagues.

Sit: RB Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears

Cohen played a similar role to White earlier in the season, playing less than half the team’s snaps and making most of his fantasy impact in the passing game. The problem with Cohen is that he’s not involved anymore. Last week, he only had one reception and was in the game for a season low 18.4 percent of offensive snaps (just seven plays). That reception went for 70 yards, which is the only reason Cohen still has any fantasy value. Keep him on your bench this week against the Saints while Jordan Howard gets another 20 carries.

Start: WR Bennie Fowler, Denver Broncos

With Emmanuel Sanders injured, Fowler hauled in a season-high five receptions. This week, Fowler returns to Monday Night Football – the stage where he caught two touchdowns in Week 1 – for a matchup against the Chiefs. Kansas City is giving up the second-most points to wide receivers this year, and in this matchup last season, Fowler caught a 76-yard touchdown pass. If you’re in the market for a wide receiver with all the byes this week, Fowler has a good shot at a quality week.

Sit: WR Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins

If Devante Parker is out this week, many Parker owners will turn to the red-hot Stills. Stills has had two good weeks in a row, catching three touchdowns combined. But those games were against the mediocre pass defenses of the Jets and Ravens. This week, Miami takes on the Ravens, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Going into Baltimore on a short week, there are better options than Stills this week (see Bennie Fowler above).


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.