In this article, we take a look at the slate of games for Week 8 in an effort to give you options that we think can help you get the most out of your lineup. We are looking to maximize your lineup by giving you a few cheaper options that can help you to get your lineup loaded up in other areas.
We give consideration to the script of each of the games to determine how these games will likely play out. We also evaluate the play of the wide receivers and tight ends and how they will match up with the defenses they will face. We also look at players that are injured, or those coming back from injury. We then target plays that we like and a few that we don’t.
With the help of our defensive guru Aaron Rudnicki, let’s take a look at players that we both like and a few that we would avoid this week.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit @ Kansas City ($7,900)
Bischoff: It should surprise absolutely no one when the Lions offense looks better at moments in Week 8 than they have all year. The story of Johnson’s demise is very much premature, as the offensive scheme hurt just about everything on offense in Detroit, from offensive line personnel to the quarterback which obviously limited the production of the Lions pass catchers.
Johnson goes against a struggling secondary and with the changes the Lions made to simplify the offense and get back to doing things that make the personnel comfortable, he has a chance to go off in this game. He’ll need a big game to warrant his price, but this feels like one of those games for him.
Rudnicki: The Chiefs appear to have tightened things up a bit the past couple weeks with just 1 TD allowed to a WR, but they were helped by some favorable matchups. This week, the Lions come to town just as Calvin Johnson and Mathew Stafford appear to be heating up. Rookie CB Marcus Peters has slipped of late, and the veteran CB Sean Smith hasn’t played up to expectations.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego @ Baltimore ($7,700)
Bischoff: Keenan Allen has been targeted 84 times in the Chargers first seven games in 2015 and he is converting 74 percent into catches with 62 on the year. He’s averaging nine catches and 98 yards per game, giving him 19 PPR points without any scoring involved. Choosing him in GPP play simply comes down to whether he gets into the end zone or not, and if he does he gets to value. Looking at a very juicy matchup, I’d consider Allen as a player I’d get into my lineups as much as possible in Week 8. If you’re looking for a cheaper option with great upside in Week 8, fellow Chargers receiver Stevie Johnson is worth a look as well.
Rudnicki: The Ravens have allowed a pair of TDs to opposing WRs the past two weeks, so Allen should have a great chance to get back into the end zone for the first time since week 4. He has been averaging 13 targets per game so you have to love his chances against a struggling secondary here. CB Jimmy Smith is the most likely matchup and he has been the weak spot in the group. Stevie Johnson is also a solid choice at a lower price point.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota @ Chicago ($4,800)
Bischoff: Diggs’ price has got to start creeping higher with his play of late, but this week he is still available at a reasonable price. The Bears don’t generate much pressure via the pass rush and Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater should have time in the pocket, and off of play action to find Diggs enough in this one to warrant his selection.
Rudnicki: The Bears are happy with the play of their young safeties, but the corners are still a work in progress. In their last game before the bye, they were shredded by Matthew Stafford and the Lions as all three receivers got into the end zone and two went over 100 yards. Diggs comes into the game with a ton of momentum and will probably end up being one of the most owned players this week at this price.
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis vs. San Francisco ($4,600)
Bischoff: Austin is an explosive, big-play machine with the ability to score in an instant and he’s done that in the Rams past three games, scoring three touchdowns. The 49ers will do everything to stop the run in this matchup and Austin should have some room to make a few big plays.
Rudnicki: Despite facing some of the weaker passing games in the league the past two weeks, the 49ers still managed to get beaten up pretty good by opposing WRs. Although his stats don’t jump off the page, Austin has become the go-to receiving option in the conservative Rams offense and has 3 TD in his last three games. With Todd Gurley starting to command extra attention, Austin should find plenty of room to run after the catch here.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta vs Tampa Bay ($9,200)
Bischoff: Julio Jones is the best wide receiver in fantasy football right now and he’s playing in an offense tailored to his strengths. He sees plenty of targets and faces a pretty bad Buccaneers defense at home in Week 8, the same defense that just got lit up by the Redskins last week.
Rudnicki: Jones has had double digit targets in all but 1 game this year, and remains a safe play in just about any matchup. He should find very little resistance from a Tampa secondary that couldn’t stop the Washington offense from driving the length of the field for a game winning TD and has given up 10 TDs to opposing WRs in 6 games.
Ted Ginn, WR, Carolina vs Indianapolis ($3,400)
Bischoff: Ginn is a tempting play in this matchup because of his price and his ability to hit on a few big plays which will easily get him to GPP value. He needs four catches for 60 yards and a score to get to GPP value and this matchup favors him as the Colts are struggling to defend the pass in 2015. The Colts are No. 29 in the NFL against the pass, surrendering 285.9 yards per game. There is a significant advantage to the Panthers passing offense in this game.
Rudnicki: The Colts held up better than expected against the Saints last week as they relied more heavily on the RBs and TEs. However, there are still plays to be made in the deep passing game against this defense, especially if they cheat up to try and slow down Cam Newton and the running game. Ginn doesn’t have a high catch percentage, but he’s fully capable of hitting on a big play or two.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee @ Houston ($5,100)
Bischoff: The Texans were absolutely torched in week 7 by Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry. These weren’t long passing plays because of the depth of the throw, they became big plays because of the yards generated after the catch, and that is where Wright comes in this week. He is a similar player to Landry, quick to get open and elusive after the catch.
Rudnicki: Wright has failed to take advantage of favorable matchups in the past, but he gets a Houston secondary this week that appears to have lost their way. They gave up 2 TDs to a similar player in Jarvis Landry last week as they fell behind 41-0 at halftime. It’s still not clear if Marcus Mariota will return to the lineup this week, but it shouldn’t impact Wright’s numbers.
Ben Watson, New Orleans vs NY Giants ($3,500)
Bischoff: Watson enters this matchup having become the focus of the Saints offense over the past few weeks. This game has a high over/under at 49 points, so it is expected that points will be scored in this one. Tight ends are faring nicely versus the Giants this year, and Watson looks like a very nice play with him becoming a go-to guy for New Orleans.
Rudnicki: The Giants have only given up 4 TDs to opposing TEs, but they are giving up 7 catches to the TE position on average each week. That’s a great sign for Watson who comes into the game with 14 catches over his last 2 games as he has emerged as a focal point of the Saints passing game.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh ($5,300)
Bischoff: The Bengals drafted tight end Tyler Eifert to be the matchup nightmare that he has shown this year, and it has helped that he has stayed healthy to become an elite tight end option in fantasy football. This AFC North matchup is always intriguing and this one looks like an offensive shootout. The Steelers don’t have the personnel to match up with tight ends like Eifert and they’ve given up huge numbers to a few tight ends this year.
Rudnicki: The Steelers managed to keep Travis Kelce out of the end zone last week, but they have given up some huge games to opposing TEs this year (5 TDs allowed to Gronkowski and Gates). Eifert has produced like an elite fantasy TE this year with 6 TDs in 6 games, and this game could easily turn into a shootout if Ben Roethlisberger returns as expected.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland vs. New York Jets ($6,700)
Bischoff: Cooper has been fantastic as a rookie in 2015, and he was listed here with a bad matchup last week, but he managed to have a very nice game against the Chargers. This week he gets the Jets and it’ll be his first look at Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis and company. The Jets bring pressure and will make Raiders quarterback Derek Carr uncomfortable, and it’s hard to see Cooper doing much in this matchup.
Rudnicki: Cooper continues to impress as he turned a difficult matchup with the Chargers into 5 catches for 133 yards and a TD. He has just 10 targets over the past two games, however, so he’s relying on a really high catch percentage that should be tough to replicate against the Jets aggressive defense.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland vs. Arizona ($5,300)
Bischoff: There is uncertainty with the quarterback position in Cleveland as starter Josh McCown is day-to-day and backup Johnny Manziel has taken first-team reps at practice this week. Also, the Browns bring in the Cardinals this week and it’s not a good matchup for the Browns passing offense. Look for Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson to follow Benjamin all over the field, limiting his production throughout the game.
Rudnicki: The Cardinals like to shadow the opposing team’s best WR with CB Patrick Peterson each week. That should point to a tough week for Benjamin, who is also coming off a poor outing against the Rams. It’s not clear who the Browns will have at QB this week, but the one factor in Benjamin’s favor is that they will likely have to pass a lot to try and keep up.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay @ Denver ($7,000)
Bischoff: There are zero doubts that Randall Cobb is an elite wide receiver in the NFL, but he’s had a three down weeks in a row. He’s been targeted 19 times over the past three games, catching 10 passes for 105 yards and 0 scores. It won’t get any easier this week against the league’s top pass defense. The Broncos are far and away the best pass defense in the NFL, and they’ve given up a passer rating of 69.6 through six games.
Rudnicki: Cobb has been one of the most disappointing players in the league over the past few weeks. Since posting 3 TDs against the Chiefs in week 3, he has just 10 catches for 105 yards and no TDs over his last 3 games combined. Now he gets to face the league’s No. 1 defense with a great group of corners? Pass.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis @ Carolina ($6,900)
Bischoff: Hilton went off in garbage time in Week 7, but he’s been held in check along with the entire Colts offense through seven games in 2015. Hilton has seen 46 targets over the past four weeks, but he’s only caught 22 of them and it’s clear the Colts offense is just “off”. Hilton gets the Panthers in Week 8, and this is a defense that has stifled wide receivers all year. It looks like Hilton will draw cornerback Josh Norman, and that’s not a positive matchup for Hilton.
Rudnicki: The Panthers defense isn’t as dominant as the Broncos, but that’s mainly because they don’t have the same pass rush. They are still capable of smothering opposing WRs as only 1 WR has gone over 100 yards against them all year and only 3 have found the end zone. Hilton comes into the game with 3 TDs over his last 2 games, but things should be much tougher for him here.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland vs. Arizona ($4,700)
Bischoff: The Cardinals defense has done an amazing job against opposing tight ends in 2015. The hybrid-type personnel the Cardinals deploy makes it very difficult to get tight ends open, whether it is through short passes or down the seam. This is not a good matchup for Barnidge as the Cardinals really haven’t allowed much to the tight end all year.
Rudnicki: Barnidge has continued to post some incredible numbers regardless of the matchup, but this again looks like a tough one for him. The Ravens wound up with solid numbers against this defense last week, but the Cardinals have yet to allow a TD to an opposing TE all year and only 2 TEs have put up more than 3 catches against them.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego @ Baltimore ($3,000)
Bischoff: The Chargers travel to Baltimore to face a team that hasn’t given up much to the tight ends in 2015. I expect the Ravens to limit Green in this game and I’d be looking elsewhere for production from the tight end position.
Rudnicki: The Ravens have been one of the toughest matchups for opposing TEs all year. Maybe they’ve been helped by facing some lesser talent at the position, but Green (and Gates if he’s back) can expect to see much tighter coverage this week than they’ve been accustomed to.