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2017 Fantasy Football: Week 8 Fire or Flop

Which fantasy football players are likely to catch fire, and which ones might flop during Week 8?

Los Angeles Chargers v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This is the Week 8 “Fire or Flop” series, highlighting my favorite and not-so favorite fantasy football plays of the week. I am not going to mention elite players because you will usually be starting them every week anyways (Def/ST, the exception). I will list five players from each position group (excluding K) that I feel good about each week, followed by others that I don’t. As always, my thoughts are with PPR in mind.

*An insane work week pushed this back to Friday rather than its usual Thursday slot. Keep that in mind for those that were starting players from the Dolphins and Ravens.


QUARTERBACK

FIRE

Carson Wentz vs. San Francisco 49ersWentz has basically become a matchup-resistant, weekly must-start at this point. He is fantasy’s QB2, averaging 27.52 FPPG and leading the NFL with 17 passing TD’s. He gets a great matchup this week against the 49ers, who give up the seventh-most FPPG (19.7) to QB’s.

Dak Prescott @ Washington RedskinsNot far behind Wentz is Prescott, fantasy’s QB4. He, too, has 17 TD’s, but 3 of them are on the ground. In this week’s division matchup with the Redskins, Prescott should have yet another solid outing. He is averaging 27.87 FPPG, including going over 35.0 points in each of his last two games.

Tyrod Taylor vs. Oakland RaidersTaylor should be looked at as one of the safest fantasy QB’s going forward. Oakland allows 17.3 FPPG to QB’s, and Taylor has exceeded 20.0 fantasy points three times this year. His prowess on the ground always gives an added bonus, as he is averaging 2.9 FPPG just from running. That’s not a ton, obviously, but it’s half of a TD.

Philip Rivers @ New England PatriotsRivers is fantasy’s QB10 and takes on the league’s worst Def/ST against QB’s (New England, 23.88 FPPG). Between a solid ground game behind him and having a deep group of pass-catchers, there’s no reason why Rivers shouldn’t have a good fantasy game.

Andy Dalton vs. Indianapolis ColtsThis is arguably my start of the week. The Colts have allowed six of seven opposing QB’s to throw for 300 yards. All seven have scored at least 1 TD, and two of them also scored rushing TD’s. Dalton-to-A.J. Green should be a huge connection this week. Plus, Dalton might be getting rookie WR John Ross back finally.

FLOP

Ben Roethlisberger @ Detroit LionsIt’s hard for me to trust Roethlisberger at all right now, especially this week. Detroit has only allowed one 300-yard passer so far this year, and Roethlisberger has only thrown one 300-yard game himself this year. His TD-to-INT ratio is 9:8.


RUNNING BACK

FIRE

Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara vs. Chicago BearsThe Bears give up 17.23 FPPG to RB’s, which ranks 15th in the league. Since the Saints traded Adrian Peterson away, Ingram has averaged 24.25 FPPG, and Kamara has averaged 11.7. A balanced attack with these two both on the ground and in the passing game has been the Saints’ bread and butter lately. No reason to think the duo won’t continue to be productive against a so-so run defense this week.

Jordan Howard @ New Orleans Saints — Now that Tarik Cohen Mania has subsided, Howard has gone back to being the man. In the last five weeks, Howard has averaged 25 touches per game, and that includes 37 two weeks ago against Baltimore. The Saints are giving up 18.6 FPPG to RB’s, so I really like Howard this week.

Joe Mixon/Giovani Bernard vs. Indianapolis Colts — I don’t often list duos, but here’s my second one for the week. For starters, the Colts surrender the second-most FPPG to RB’s (24.26). Secondly, they have struggled with smaller passing-down backs like Bernard. They’ve allowed Duke Johnson to score 16.4 points, J.D. McKissic to score 18.5, and Matt Breida even had 7.1. In general, if an RB can catch then they’re probably going to have a good game against the Colts. Both Mixon and Bernard can catch and have break-away ability on the ground.

Chris Thompson vs. Dallas CowboysThis is starting to become a no-brainer each week. Fantasy’s RB7 has gone over 13.5 points in every game except for one this year. His ability to make plays in both the run and pass game make him a nightmare for defenses to keep up with.

Jay Ajayi @ Baltimore Ravens — Baltimore may have a good defense but they are giving up a bunch of points to RB’s — fourth-most (21.76 FPPG), actually. With QB Jay Cutler out with broken ribs, Matt Moore and the Dolphins offense are almost certainly going to rely heavily on Ajayi the workhorse.

*Ajayi had a paltry 13 carries for 23 yards (1.8 avg) in 40-0 a blowout loss to the Ravens on Thursday night. He also caught 4-of-4 targets for 18 yards, giving him 6.1 total half-PPR points. The blowout loss forced Miami to abandon the run, although Ajayi clearly wasn’t getting anything going before it was out of hand.

FLOP

Lamar Miller @ Seattle SeahawksFor the Texans offense, this game is all about QB Deshaun Watson. Miller isn’t a tall order to take out of the gameplan, which the Seahawks should be able to do. This is about if Watson can continue his hot streak against one of the best defenses he’s faced thus far.

Frank Gore @ Cincinnati BengalsThe Colts are in trouble, yes. However, that isn’t the only reason to shy away from Gore. First, you’ve got to consider that the Bengals could build a heavy lead on the Colts, forcing them to abandon the run game. Then, look at the fact that RB Marlon Mack saw more snaps last week, 32-22. Mack is the more explosive option. If the Colts coaches are smart (not always the case), they’ll stick to Mack and get him more touches.


WIDE RECEIVER

FIRE

Keenan Allen @ New England Patriots — The target machine (9.6 per game) takes on one of the league’s worst pass defenses (26.3 FPPG to WR’s). Allen is averaging 5.1 catches (9.6 targets) for 69.6 yards per game, so the chances that QB Philip Rivers and Allen connect significantly are pretty high.

Chris Hogan vs. Los Angeles ChargersHogan has had a couple of disappearing acts this year (5.4 combined points in Weeks 1 and 6) but overall has been a great fantasy option. Outside of those two weeks, he’s averaging 5.2 catches (7.6 targets) for 70.2 yards and 1.0 TD. From Weeks 2-5, he scored 5 TD’s. It also helps that Hogan has the third-most red-zone targets (10) and second-most red-zone TD’s (4) in the league.

Alshon Jeffery vs. San Francisco 49ers — I don’t love to rely on Jeffery, but because I think so much of Wentz this week, I think it’ll have a direct affect on Jeffery’s game. He’s being targetd 7.7 times per game and is going against the league’s 22nd-ranked Def/ST against WR’s (21.57 FPPG).

Adam Thielen @ Cleveland BrownsThielen’s production hasn’t been consistent all year, but he has been targeted consistently. In fact, he’s getting thrown to 9.3 times per game. Also, it’s optimistic that WR Stefon Diggs makes his return to the field this week, which will take attention off of Thielen.

Nelson Agholor vs. San Francisco 49ers — We’ve gone through seven games now and Agholor is still a solid fantasy producer. Fantasy’s WR10 has averaged 14.77 FPPG over the last three weeks and has 5 TD’s on the season. Like with Jeffery, the Wentz factor helps make me confident in Agholor this week.

FLOP

Dez Bryant @ Washington Redskins — There aren’t many WR’s that have a totally bleak outlook this week, so I wanted to take a look at this matchup for Bryant. This is mostly dependent on if Josh Norman plays this week, which it looks like he’s getting closer. If Norman plays, I do not like Bryant this week.


TIGHT END

FIRE

Hunter Henry @ New England Patriots — It looks like the days of Henry being a fantasy no-show are over. If you take away Weeks 1 and 3 when he was targeted 0 times, he’s averaging 4.2 catches (6.0 targets) for 60.2 yards and has scored twice. This week he gets the Patriots, who give up the eighth-most FPPG to TE’s (9.51) and just lost LB D’Onta Hightower for the season.

Jordan Reed vs. Dallas Cowboys — We finally saw the Jordan Reed that many of us had been waiting for last week when he caught 8-of-10 targets for 64 yards and 2 TD. When he’s on and healthy, he’s matchup-proof. Without an injury designation this week, let’s bank on Reed continuing to play well.

Cameron Brate vs. Carolina PanthersBrate is basically a must-start, currently sitting at TE4. He’s averaging 4.5 catches (6.5 targets) for 56.8 yards per game and has scored 4 times. Since Week 3, he is averaging 71.0 YPG.

Tyler Kroft vs. Indianapolis Colts — The Colts are giving up the ninth-most FPPG to TE’s (9.01) and Kroft has been a fantasy stud since taking over for Tyler Eifert. He has totaled 14 catches (16 targets) for 129 yards and 3 TD in that time. The Colts defense is falling apart even further after losing starting defensive backs Malik Hooker and Rashaan Melvin, and starting outside linebacker John Simon last week. All three are likely out this week, Hooker for the entire season. This game could get ugly.

George Kittle @ Philadelphia EaglesA change at QB for the 49ers hasn’t affected Kittle’s fantasy value much, although he tied a season-low 2 targets last week. The Eagles give up the sixth-most FPPG (9.61) to TE’s, so there is a good chance that Kittle has a strong rebound this week.

FLOP

Zach Miller @ New Orleans Saints — Miller is in an ABYSMAL passing offense right now. He found the end zone in Weeks 5 and 6, which saved his fantasy value, but in Week 7 when Mitchell Trubisky only passed for 107 yards, Miller had 29 of those yards on 2 catches. Miller’s season high in yards is 45, so unless he scores a TD he’s got no value. The Saints allow just 6.93 FPPG to TE’s, 12th-lowest in the league.


DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

FIRE

Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns — The Browns lead the league in giveaways (19), and it’s really not close (next closest has 14). They’ve also allowed the sixth-most sacks (20). In general, the Browns give up the second-most FPPG to Def/ST’s (13.0). Since Week 3, the Minnesota Def/ST hasn’t scored fewer than 7.0 points in a week.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers — Philadelphia has a relatively playmaking defense, as they’ve got a dozen takeaways and 18 sacks. That basically means that they have a consistent defense and should usually do well in good matchups like the one they have this week. 49ers QB C.J. Beathard is playing in his third game on Sunday and has displayed plenty of inexperience thus far.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts — The Colts allow the most FPPG to Def/ST’s (13.14) and have another tough matchup this week. The Colts’ offensive game-planning has been questionable, to say the least. They also face a Bengals defensive front that has 18 sacks so far this year. I do not like this matchup in the Colts’ favor.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins — For starters, the Dolphins are without Cutler and WR DeVante Parker. Their offense in general has been lethargic, ranking last in total offense (252.4 YPG) and points per game (13.1). Baltimore’s Def/ST has been solid and has gone over 10.0 fantasy points four different times this year. This is a recipe for it to happen again.

*The Ravens Def/ST absolutely dominated this game, only allowing 196 yards, 0 points, getting 3 sacks, 2 takeaways and 2 TD’s. They scored 29/30 points for most owners.

New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears — New Orleans’ Def/ST has been really, really good lately, averaging an allowance of 270.3 yards and 17.0 points per game over the last four games, also averaging 3.5 sacks and 2.5 takeaways in that time. The Bears have almost no passing game right now with Trubisky (he’s only averaging 116.0 passing YPG) so I don’t see how the Saints Def/ST won’t have a nice game.

FLOP

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay BuccaneersThe Panthers are a popular play this week, but I don’t buy it. Give me an offense with Jameis Winston, Doug Martin, Mike Evans and Cameron Brate to foil a Def/ST’s fantasy day.


Have any fantasy football questions? Jake puts out a fantasy Q&A video on Facebook Live every week where he answers your questions. Drop him your questions on his Facebook page here.