Punch Drunk Wonderland

Week 8 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

We’re halfway through the NFL regular season and now beyond the midpoint of most fantasy leagues. Each week I’ve taken a look at some players with favorable matchups that are start-worthy and others with not-so-favorable matchups that you should keep on the bench. Be sure to check back often for updated player rankings, weekly waiver wire targets, and weekly deep sleepers.

If you have Sit/Start questions, try out the Sit/Start Tool, contact me, or hit up @PDWonderland on Twitter.

Start ‘Em

Alex Smith (QB, Kansas City Chiefs) vs. St. Louis Rams

Icon-Thumbs-UpSmith has looked sharp so far in 2014, and he’s surprisingly shown that he can get things done with his legs when necessary. That rushing bonus is always nice for your fantasy QB. Smith and the Chiefs will be facing a Rams defense that is giving up the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks plus they are giving up the third most rushing yards to QBs. This is a multi-faceted good matchup for Smith.

Kyle Orton (QB, Buffalo Bills) at New York Jets

Aside from the unfortunate turnovers, Orton has gotten off to a nice start in his first three games as a starter in 2014. He’s had 280+ yards in each game and has put up 5 touchdowns. The Buffalo offense can be haphazard and they are suffering through injuries in their running game, but Orton has shown that he can make things happen. Having a start like rookie Sammy Watkins helps. In Week 8 Buffalo will be facing a Jets defense that is giving up the third most fantasy points to QBs. It’s going to be a good matchup for Orton.

Ben Tate (RB, Cleveland Browns) vs. Oakland Raiders

Cleveland has a good problem in that they have great depth at running back, and they’re one of the top rushing teams in the league this season. That solid run game is going to be facing a bad Oakland run defense in Week 8. The Raiders are giving up the second most fantasy points in the league to opposing running backs. That’s good news for Ben Tate and to a lesser extent Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. Look for the Browns to run all over Oakland this week.

Jerick McKinnon (RB, Minnesota Vikings) at Tampa Bay Bucs

McKinnon is a versatile back and everyone has been waiting for him to breakout as the fill-in in the absence of Adrian Peterson for the Vikings.  He’s had some solid performances and has shown that he’s skilled, but he hasn’t had a true monster game yet. That could change in Week 8 as Minnesota will be facing a Tampa Bay defense that is giving up the third most fantasy points to opposing running backs. This could be McKinnon’s breakout week. He’s a great play.

Jordy Nelson (WR, Green Bay Packers) at New Orleans Saints

We have the makings of a Week 8 shootout between star quarterbacks as Aaron Rodgers will face Drew Brees. That means good things for the receivers involved, and particularly good things if you’re Jordy Nelson. Nelson will have his best matchup of the season as he and the Packers face a Saints defense that has struggled to contain opposing wide receivers. The Saints are giving up a monstrous 44.8 fantasy points to WRs. This could be a high scoring game, and Jordy could go nuts.

Doug Baldwin (WR, Seattle Seahawks) at Carolina Panthers

With Percy Harvin out the door Baldwin has become the de facto number one in Seattle. He’s going to be getting the primary looks and the majority of targets going forward this season. Volume creates opportunity. Baldwin had a very solid week last week in which he caught 7 passes on 11 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. Look for his success to continue with a good matchup against a Panthers defense that is giving up the fifth most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Jordan Reed (TE, Washington Redskins) at Dallas Cowboys

There isn’t much to like in the Washington offense right now, but a good thing is that Jordan Reed is seeing snaps and targets again.  Over the last two weeks Reed has caught 13 passes for 146 yards. Going into Week 8 he and the ‘Skins will be facing a nice matchup against a Dallas defense that has struggled to contain tight ends. The Cowboys are giving up a whopping 19.9 fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Miami Dolphins D/ST at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Dolphins are the team who will get the Jacksonville bump this week.  Fantasy defenses are scoring the most points in the league against the Jags, so that makes Miami an immediate nice spot play in Week 8.

Sit ‘Em

Matt Ryan (QB, Atlanta Falcons) vs. Detroit Lions

Icon-Thumbs-DownRyan and the Falcons offense has been struggle to get anything significant going of late. The hits keep coming as Week 8 puts them in a rough matchup against a very tough Lions defense. Detroit is giving up the fewest fantasy points to QBs this season.

Tre Mason/Benny Cunningham/Zac Stacy (RB, St. Louis Rams) at Kansas City Chiefs

Tre Mason was given a surprising number of carries last week and was a hot waiver wire pickup this week. That said, the running back situation in St. Louis is going to be murky for awhile. If that isn’t bad enough, they have a terrible matchup this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City is giving up the third fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs. You should probably steer clear of all running backs with a Ram on their helmet in Week 8.

Roddy White (WR, Atlanta Falcons) vs. Detroit Lions

As mentioned above, Atlanta has a bad matchup against the Detroit this week. The passing game is going to suffer. You have to figure Julio Jones will have to see at least some success if anyone does, but I expect him to struggle as well. That leaves the dregs of the dregs for everyone else. Roddy has been a mid-to-low range WR2 this season, but in Week 8 he gets a downgrade.

Martellus Bennett (TE, Chicago Bears) vs. New England Patriots

Bennett was red hot in the first quarter of the season, but his production has dipped of late. Actually, it’s a trend with him. He has a history of fizzling out as the season progresses. After putting up big numbers in the first part of the season, Bennett has only managed 127 receiving yards a zero touchdowns over the last three games. The Bears will be facing a Pats defense that is giving up an average of 12.2 fantasy points to opposing TEs. I’m not expecting a big day from MartyB.

Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST vs. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts offense has been hot this season and they have been rough on defenses. Through seven games they are allowing the second fewest fantasy points in the league to opposing defenses. This isn’t the week to risk the Steelers’ D.


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K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...