Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 8: Should we pause “Tua Time”?

We are more than halfway through the fantasy football season, and as playoff possibilities get tighter, bye weeks cause more headaches, and injuries stack up, getting a weekly win becomes that much more critical. It might feel like dire straits for some or easy sailing for others, but no fantasy manager should take any week for granted at this point because a lot can still happen. That is why we here at Pro Football Network take a comprehensive look at things by using our Fantasy Football Consistency Score (CS) and Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score (D-PAC) to highlight the top Week 8 matchups and players to start or sit for your fantasy lineups.

If you would like more detailed information on how the CS and D-PAC works, please refer to the Introduction to the Fantasy Football Consistency Score, but the basic premise is, the higher the CS, the more consistent a player is scoring high-level fantasy points. In the case of D-PAC, the higher the number, the more consistently that team allows high-level fantasy points to the position.

PSA: I don’t feel the need to tell you, the savvy fantasy G.M., to start a player like Patrick Mahomes every week. I abide by the golden rule: start your studs. However, if there is glaring evidence to sit a bona fide starter, we will discuss that as needed.

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Quarterbacks to Start/Sit in fantasy football Week 8

Start Justin Herbert

Few players have been a more pleasant surprise or more fun to watch than Justin Herbert in 2020. The situation that thrust him into the starting role is regrettable, but having Herbert on my TV Sundays has been a bright spot this year. More importantly, having Herbert on my fantasy teams in 2020 has been a saving grace this season.

Related | Fantasy Football Week 8 Rankings: PPR 1QB and Superflex

Since taking the reigns of the Los Angeles Chargers offense, Herbert has been a fantasy football stud, and honestly, is creeping into that weekly “must-start” territory. Since Week 2, Herbert is averaging 25.16 fantasy points a week, has the sixth-highest CS (11.09) among QBs, and the fifth-highest Fantasy Points Differential (FPD) with a +26%.

With a Week 8 matchup against the Denver Broncos, I feel even more confident starting Herbert in fantasy. The Broncos allow the 11th most points on average to the QB position (20.25), but their 16.31 D-PAC is the second-highest versus QB. This is a week where you can pencil in 20 points for Herbert before we even get the weekend started.

Sit Tua Tagovailoa

We don’t have enough data on Tua Tagovailoa yet, considering he has only thrown two NFL passes thus far. But we have plenty of data on the Los Angeles Rams, who Tua will have to face off against in his first career start. Talking about “jumping into the deep end” for an NFL Debut. The Rams are 24th in average points allowed to the quarterback position, and their 5.78 D-PAC ranks 25th.

In six games this season, the Aaron Donald-led Rams defense has yet to allow a 300-yard passing performance, are tied for the second-fewest passing touchdowns on the season per game and allow the second-lowest yards per attempt in the NFL (6.5). Meanwhile, the team is tied for third in the NFL in quarterback sacks with 24 and has 45 registered QB hits. This is not how I would have planned to start Tua’s career, and fantasy football managers should sit him in Week 8.

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Which running backs should you start/sit in Week 8?

Start Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs has felt like a bit of a fantasy disappointment seven weeks into the season, as demonstrated by his 4.54 CS, ranking 21st among running backs and his FPD of -9% coming in 48th at the position. However, Jacobs 97.6 half-point PPR points on the season are 14th, even though he has had his bye and many others have not, and his 16.3 points per game average rank 12th. Needless to say, it’s been a mixed bag so far this season. But it seems to boil down to this; Jacobs does well when the Las Vegas Raiders win and bottoms out in losses.

Related | Is Gus Edwards a safe start in fantasy for Week 8?

In Week 8, the Raiders are 2.5 point favorites in a game with a nice and juicy 54 point over/under against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are averaging 23.09 PPR points to opposing running backs and have the second-highest D-PAC score to the position at 15.53. Cleveland just gave up 20.6 fantasy points to Cincinnati Bengals backup Giovani Bernard in Week 7, as well as101 yards on the ground and a touchdown to James Conner the week before. The Browns have given up a touchdown, either on the ground or through the air, to the team’s top running back for the past three weeks in a row. Fire up Jacobs with confidence and enjoy the show, this should be a fun matchup.

Sit Joshua Kelley/Justin Jackson

Many fantasy football teams are heading into Week 8 hurt at the running back position; I get it. And many managers might not have the luxury of being able to sit Joshua Kelley or Justin Jackson this weekend. Still, if you can pivot to a different player, especially if they have been in your flex spot, you should do it. Since Austin Ekeler left the lineup due to injury, the snaps and touches have been split at an alarming rate for fantasy football. 

Since Jackson returned from injury in Week 4, neither back has had a clear grip on the lead role. In Week 5, Jackson was on the field for 50% of the snaps and led the two in opportunities, 21 to 12. After their Week 6 bye, however, Kelley came back to eek out an edge in snaps, 40% compared to Jacksons 33%, and also led in opportunities, 17 to 11. Since Week 4 in total, the two are tied for snap percentage at 39%, and Kelley leads the two in total opportunities, 41 to 40. It’s messy, to say the least.

On top of that nebulas workload, the Chargers are heading to mile-high to face off against the Broncos. Denver is averaging the second-fewest points per game to the position and rank 28th in D-PAC. They are consistently shutting down the position. This game also has the third-lowest over/under (44.5) on the week. Not only do you not know who will get the work out of these two backs, but the opportunities this week are not high value at all. This is an overall situation to just avoid for now.

What receivers should you start/sit in fantasy football for Week 8?

Start Brandon Aiyuk

Rookie Brandon Aiyuk has had a strong campaign thus far and is currently WR35 when it comes to CS and WR14 in terms of FPD. When you consider he’s had a hobbled Jimmy Garoppolo, and a chorus of backups throwing him the ball on a low volume offense, the San Francisco 49ers are 24th in terms of pass attempts per game, it is pretty impressive what Aiyuk has been able to do on the field so far. Now the Niners and Aiyuk travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, who are just hemorrhaging fantasy points to the receiver position.

Related | Buy Low, Sell High: Fantasy trade targets for Week 8

The Seahawks are easily first in average points allowed to the receiver position at 60.15, 11.44 points higher than the second-highest in the NFL. They are also, to no real surprise, boasting the highest D-PAC to the position as well, 27.05. In the most fun game of the season, the Seahawks just surrendered 14+ fantasy points to Larry Fitzgerald (14.2), Christian Kirk (20.7), and DeAndre Hopkins (24.3) in Week 7.

With Deebo Samuel likely missing Week 8, or at least being a step behind with his hamstring injury, Aiyuk is in line for a lead role in the passing game against one of the most porous secondaries in the entire NFL.

Sit Robert Woods

Robert Woods has been the most in line with his ADP this season that I have ever seen. His 2020 ADP was as the 20th receiver drafted, and Woods’ 97 points on the season make him the 20th receiver in terms of total points. And when you look at how he has got there, his 4.28 CS is 23rd. His +29% FPD makes him the WR20 in that metric too. It’s just uncanny. I’ve never seen someone the fantasy community as a whole was able to nail so accurately. 

The Los Angeles Rams now travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins in Week 8. The Dolphins are, ironically, 20th in average points allowed to the receiver position but are 29th in D-PAC. Their Week 2 meltdown against Buffalo, when they allowed 73.8 points to Stefon Diggs and company, is artificially raising their average points allowed. If you remove that game, their average points allowed plummets from 35.48 to 27.82, which would be second-lowest in the NFL.

Considering Woods hasn’t hit 100 yards since Week 1 and is only averaging four receptions per game, he has been a touchdown-dependent receiver this year. He has come through with a touchdown in three out of the last five games to his credit. However, with a bad matchup and middle of the road consistency, fantasy GMs should look for other options and sit Woods in Week 8.

Which tight ends should you trust or be cautious of in Week 8?

Start Drew Sample

Tied for the highest over/under on the week, the Bengals host the Tennessee Titans in what should be an entertaining AFC matchup. Drew Sample’s 0.9 CS certainly doesn’t impart much confidence, but his 25 targets are 19th most among tight ends, and the Bengals average 42 pass attempts per game, second-highest in the NFL.

Related | Cam Akers Fantasy Value: Is it time to worry about his lack of touches?

On top of the volume, the Titans are actually a plus matchup for tight ends. They are a top-10 defense in average points allowed to the position, ranking seventh at 15.4. In addition, they are 11th in D-PAC with 4.6. Sample has every box checked off for a great streaming start: high-volume offense, top 20 in targets, high over/under, and a positive defensive matchup.

Sit Trey Burton

After exploding in Week 6 for 21.9 PPR points, many fantasy managers are hoping Trey Burton can be the new tight end security blanket for Philip Rivers. Over the past three games, Burton has 16 targets, which easily crushes any other tight end on the Indianapolis Colts for any three week period of time. At least for Week 8, do not chase the points. 

The Colts travel to the motor city in Week 8 to take on the Detroit Lions. The Lions defense has been shutting down opposing tight ends this season. Their 1.71 D-PAC versus tight ends is second-lowest, and they are also averaging the second-fewest weekly points to the position with 7.4.

The Colts are a low volume passing attack, ranking 23rd in pass attempts per game, and are now up against a bad defensive matchup for the week. Pivot away from Burton, if at all possible.

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