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Fantasy football Week 8: Start ‘em, Sit ‘em

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Let Sosa help guide you through Week 8 of your fantasy football seasons.

Oakland Raiders v Green Bay Packers Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

We’ve now reached the halfway point of the 2019 NFL season, and it’s time to set your lineups for the week as Thursday Night Football kicks off tonight with the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins opening the week.

Let’s get into the starts and sits for Week 8:

Quarterback

Start ‘Em:

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff versus Cincinnati Bengals

Goff got back on track in Week 7 as he was the 5th-highest scoring QB, totaling 25.02 points. The Bengals are the 29th-ranked pass defense by DVOA and are allowing 8.1 yards per pass attempt (YPA), good for 27th in the league. As if those numbers weren’t juicy enough, the Bengals will miss both starting cornerbacks (William Jackson, Dre’ Kirkpatrick) in this contest.

New Orleans Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater versus Arizona Cardinals

Bridgewater has quietly become a viable starter, and this week gets a great matchup against the Cardinals. The Cardinals are ranked 26th in both pass defense DVOA and YPA allowed (7.5). Bridgewater put together a 19.94-point performance in Week 7, which placed him 13th among all QB’s for the week.

Other potential starts: Ryan Tannehill versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kirk Cousins versus Washington Redskins

Sit ‘Em:

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield versus New England Patriots

Mayfield has been one of the bigger fantasy disappointments in 2019, and it surely doesn’t get any easier with the Patriots up next. The Patriots’ defense is ranked 1st in both pass defense DVOA and YPA allowed, by a wide margin. Head Coach Bill Belicheck’s guys have stifled every opponent thus far, and the struggling Mayfield isn’t likely to change that.

Carolina Panthers QB Kyle Allen versus San Francisco 49ers

Not much of what the Panthers do falls on the shoulders of Allen, though the 49ers will do their best to force the backup QB to beat them. The 49ers’ defense is ranked 2nd in both pass defense DVOA and YPA allowed. Allen has been an interesting surprise, but he’s best kept on the bench in this one.

Other potential sits: Jimmy Garoppolo versus Carolina Panthers, Philip Rivers versus Chicago Bears

Running Back

Start ‘Em:

Los Angeles Rams Todd Gurley versus Cincinnati Bengals

Gurley has had an up-and-down season, but his matchup against the Bengals is an incredibly easy one that should lead to a productive game. The Bengals are ranked 28th in run defense DVOA and dead last in yards per carry allowed (5.2). The Rams would be wise to allow Gurley to get back on track — as well as Darrell Henderson — with this easy of a matchup on the docket.

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay versus Indianapolis Colts

I don’t have much faith in the Broncos as a team, but Lindsay is a good player stuck in a bad usage situation with a terrible QB, yet, he’s still a start against the weak defense of the Colts. The Colts are ranked 31st in run defense DVOA and tied for 29th in YPC allowed, providing Lindsay with a premium opportunity to get back his touchdown-scoring ways.

Other potential starts: James Conner versus Miami Dolphins (if healthy), Tevin Coleman versus Carolina Panthers, Aaron Jones versus Kansas City Chiefs, Ty Johnson versus New York Giants

Sit ‘Em:

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It may be tough for you to bench Henry, and maybe you shouldn’t (depends on your backups), but I wouldn’t anticipate a highly productive game from the mountain of a man. The Buccaneers are ranked 1st in run defense DVOA and YPC allowed, proving they’re the best run defense in the league by a wide margin.

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon versus Los Angeles Rams

This season has proven to be an absolute disaster for both the Bengals and Mixon, as he’s scored in the double digits only three times. Mixon draws the tough run defense of the Rams, which ranks 2nd in run defense DVOA and 3rd in YPC allowed. He is a must-sit this week.

Other potential sits: Ronald Jones II versus Tennessee Titans, Frank Gore versus Philadelphia Eagles, Jordan Howard versus Buffalo Bills

Wide Receiver

Start ‘Em:

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster versus Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are the worst team in football, ranking 32nd in both pass defense DVOA and YPA allowed. JuJu isn’t an automatic play at this point with the QB depth chart in shambles, but he needs to be in your lineup with this matchup in Week 8, regardless of who’s under center.

Seattle Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf versus Atlanta Falcons

Accurately predicting Metcalf’s workload is tough, particularly because his best plays come from vertical routes where he catches deep passes. Still, the Falcons defense is ranked 31st in pass defense DVOA and 30th in YPA allowed, and are coming off a game where they allowed the Rams to do whatever they pleased.

Other potential starts: Brandin Cooks versus Cincinnati Bengals, John Brown versus Philadelphia Eagles, Corey Davis versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sit ‘Em:

Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry versus New England Patriots

Landry has yet to score a touchdown this season, and I wouldn’t count on it coming against the almighty Patriots. Obviously, as I mentioned before, the Patriots defense — specifically the pass defense — is in it’s own world, making for the toughest matchup possible. Landry has only scored double digit points three times this season, and this isn’t likely to be one of those weeks.

Carolina Panthers WR’s Curtis Samuel/D.J. Moore versus San Francisco 49ers

There isn’t much trust in anyone on the Panthers’ offense this week outside of Christian McCaffrey, which is why I suggest benching both Samuel and Moore (whichever you’ve got). The 49ers defense is incredible, and I don’t see Kyle Allen being the one to suddenly dice them up.

Other potential sits: Nelson Agholor versus Buffalo Bills, Mike Williams versus Chicago Bears

Tight End

Start ‘Em:

Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett versus Cincinnati Bengals

Everett has quietly become a featured weapon in the Rams’ offense over the past few weeks, and that should remain the case against the lowly Bengals. The Bengals field some of the worst linebackers and shoddy tacklers at safety in football, giving Everett every opportunity to take advantage.

Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Walker has been tough to peg this season, though Ryan Tannehill showed interest in targeting the stud tight end (six targets) in his first start, giving us hope he might be able to salvage his usage rate. Walker is a QB’s best friend and the Buccaneers’ pass defense can be susceptible, ranking 25th in pass defense DVOA.

UPDATE: Walker has been ruled out. Feel free to start Jonnu Smith as his replacement.

Other potential starts: Jimmy Graham versus Kansas City Chiefs, Irv Smith Jr. versus Washington Redskins

Sit ‘Em:

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert versus Buffalo Bills

The Bills’ defense ranks 5th in pass defense DVOA and 3rd in YPA allowed. They’re as tough of a matchup as the Eagles will see all season. Proceed with major caution, though I’d avoid majority of the Eagles’ offensive players, including Goedert.

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen versus San Francisco 49ers

Just like everyone else on the Panthers’ offense (sans McCaffrey), Olsen should be on your bench this week.

Other potential sits: Eric Ebron versus Denver Broncos, Vance McDonald versus Miami Dolphins

Defense

Start ‘Em:

Minnesota Vikings versus Washington Redskins

The Redskins are an awful football team that’s led by a QB who’s mistake-prone. Meanwhile, the Vikings field one of the best defenses in the league. The Vikings are a surefire start in Week 8.

Los Angeles Rams versus Cincinnati Bengals

Just like the rest of the Rams’ roster, their defense is a major play due to the matchup against the Bengals. The defense took a major step forward with the addition of CB Jalen Ramsey, and that should continue against a team that lacks any firepower in the Bengals.

Other potential starts: Seattle Seahawks versus Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots versus Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers versus Miami Dolphins

Sit ‘Em:

Kansas City Chiefs versus Green Bay Packers

The Chiefs’ defense ranks 4th in the league in scoring, and although it feels fluky, the results are real. Yet, still, the Packers are a potent offense that simply doesn’t make many mistakes in the form of turnovers.

New York Giants versus Detroit Lions

The Giants are ranked 11th in scoring among defenses, though they get a sneaky offense in the Lions in Week 8. Matt Stafford doesn’t turn the ball over often, and the Lions do pose a major threat in the passing department.

Other potential sits: Denver Broncos versus Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns versus New England Patriots