While you shouldn’t panic, admittedly this week is not ideal for producing optimal fantasy football lineups.
Between mounting injuries and the voluminous bye week wreaking havoc, this is when your fantasy football acumen is put to test, as the starts and sits you make are not so cut and dry this week. You have to be a little savvy and in tune with the waiver wire this week, as many of our favorite and reliable studs may be out.
So, here then are some options to consider for Week 8.
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Robert Griffin III: Washington Redskins
While most owners have been starting Griffin III from the onset, if you are one of the ones who hasn’t, make sure he is in your lineup this week. RGIII’s matchup this week in Denver could pave the way to us witnessing the vintage RGIII of early 2012.
While overcoming his knee injuries, Griffin III was simply not himself early on, but slowly but surely he is coming into his own. A matchup in Denver against the Broncos, who yield a league-worst 319.9 passing yards per game, should allow Griffin III to bring his A-game.
With Mike Shanahan coming back to Denver and the game likely to become a shootout, Griffin III is must-start this week.
Pierre Thomas: New Orleans Saints
With the defensively-challenged Buffalo Bills coming to town, all Saints’ running backs could be solid plays this week, including Thomas.
While not the most efficient rusher, Thomas has been great as a receiver out of the backfield and has racked up 29 receptions thus far on the season. Just three weeks ago against the Bears, Thomas hauled in nine receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bills allow 123.6 rushing yards per game (28th in the NFL) and 256.9 passing yards per game (21st in the NFL) and Thomas can be utilized in a lot of packages. Not to mention, with the game likely to get away from the Bills, Thomas could be used late to grind clock for New Orleans.
Darren McFadden: Oakland Raiders
Back healthy and rested after a bye, McFadden should make for a good play this week.
If you can exploit the Steelers in one area, it’s in the run game. The Steelers allow 109.6 rushing yards per game (19th in the NFL) and have given up six rushing scores thus far on the season. So, if the Raiders have any ideas of beating the Steelers this week they will have to run it on them, and with McFadden fully healthy, he should be put back into lineups this week.
Terrance Williams: Dallas Cowboys
With each game, Tony Romo is starting to gain more trust in his talented rookie receiver, Terrance Williams.
Williams has scored in three straight games to go with 249 receiving yards in that stretch. With a matchup against the Lions, who allow 282 passing yards per game (28th in the NFL), Williams will be certain to get some looks in what is sure to be a shootout.
Jarrett Boykin: Green Bay Packers
With James Jones likely to sit out another week, it opens up the door for Boykin to continue his accent up the Packers wide receiver depth chart.
After busting loose for eight receptions (on 10 targets) for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Browns last week, Boykin could be in line for another explosive outing against the Vikings on Sunday night. The Vikings allow 288.8 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL) and have given up 14 touchdowns via the air.
So, expect Aaron Rodgers to look Boykin’s way on Sunday.
Jordan Reed: Washington Redskins
Like Boykin, Reed has a chance to grow on his Week 7 performance, where Reed reeled in nine receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown against the Bears.
This time he’ll be going up a Denver defense that gives up big chunks of yards through the air, and as an emerging weapon for Robert Griffin III, Reed has the chance to shine in this game—and for the rest of the season.
Terrelle Pryor: Oakland Raiders
For the most part, Pryor has been a very reliable fantasy producer this season, but a matchup with the Steelers may not be conducive for him to succeed this week.
You see, the Steelers stymie opposing quarterbacks and allow just 197.5 passing yards per game while having given up a league-low five touchdowns through the air.
Look for the Steelers to dare Pryor to beat them through the air while preparing to stop the run.
Bilal Powell: New York Jets
Until the Jets backfield situation becomes clearer, you may want to avoid starting Powell and for the matter Chris Ivory, too.
After Powell seized control of the job as lead back for the Jets early on, Ivory threw a wrinkle into the plans last week, running for 104 yards on a whopping 34 carries against the Patriots. Jets coach Rex Ryan said the game plan against the Patriots was for Ivory to get the bulk of the carries. Powell, on the other hand, only carried the ball three times for a measly six yards.
Who knows which way Ryan leans this week in Cincinnati—who are stout against the run by the way— allowing just 97.9 rushing yards per game (8th in the NFL).
Steven Jackson: Atlanta Falcons
Sure, Jackson is expected to be back for Sunday’s game in Arizona, but between rust and the matchup ahead, Jackson is simply not an advisable start this week.
After missing four weeks of action, Jackson will be put back into the fire and he’ll face an imposing Cardinals’ run defense. Arizona is only allowing 97 yards rushing per game (7th in the NFL) and have given up just three rushing scores.
In due time, Jackson will go back to being a dependable fantasy starter, but for this week, leave him on the bench.
Josh Gordon: Cleveland Browns
Scale back your expectations for Gordon this week.
While Gordon has emerged as a stud receiver, he can be in for a rough afternoon on Sunday in Kansas City. The Chiefs are simply awesome on defense and they are especially stingy against the pass, allowing just 194.7 passing yards per game (3rd in the NFL).
Expect standout cornerback Brandon Flowers to shadow Gordon, while the Chiefs front seven cause havoc up front on new Browns quarterback Jason Campbell.
Denarius Moore: Oakland Raiders
Just like his quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, Denarius Moore has been a reliable fantasy producer for much of the season, producing double-digit fantasy points in each game.
However, with what was said earlier about Pittsburgh’s pass defense, Moore (as Pryor’s main weapon in the passing game) should be blanketed with coverage all day and he makes for a less-than desirable start.
Kyle Rudolph: Minnesota Vikings
With the uncertainty at quarterback in Minnesota, Rudolph will be at the mercy of his quarterback—this week being Christian Ponder.
Although Rudolph had a good game two weeks ago (nine receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown), he hasn’t posted more than 42 yards receiving in his other five games. As it has been the case with him for most of his career, he isn’t much of a factor unless he scores.
Although Green Bay can be exploited in the air, try to avoid using Rudolph until the quarterback situation in Minnesota is settled.
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