Week 8 Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar starts for Week 8

QB

Ryan Fitzpatrick (at CLE) - It might seem crazy to go back to Fitzpatrick after he was benched for Geno Smith and then the Jets decided to ride Matt Forte after Smith went down last week, but the Browns are too good to pass up when looking for a streaming quarterback for Week 8. Every quarterback they have faced has put up at least two touchdown passes and 20 points in typical scoring systems. That includes Carson Wentz, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, and Marcus Mariota.

Brock Osweiler (vs DET) - Much like Fitzpatrick, starting Osweiler this week might seem like a fantasy death wish or a joke, but seven weeks into the season, matchup data doesn’t lie. Every quarterback that has faced the Lions has notched at least two scores, and four have gone over 300 yards. This despite only one making more than 40 attempts, and four having 33 or fewer attempts. Case Keenum accounted for four scores against them and looked like a good deep passer. Adding to the reasons to trust Osweiler this week is the fact that all three of his two score games have come at home, where the Texans play this week. Osweiler is viable if you have to go to the wire for your quarterback this week.

Josh McCown (vs NYJ) - McCown is slated to start this week with Cody Kessler sidelined by a concussion, and he might be a solid start for your fantasy team. The Jets run defense will encourage the Browns to pass and head coach Hue Jackson is not a shy offensive mind. McCown was outstanding in his one healthy quarter of play against the Ravens this year, helping the team jump out to a 20-0 lead. The Jets have allowed 13 passing scores in seven games this year, so McCown is a good bet for at least 200 yards and a score if he can finish the game, which isn’t terrible if you have to go the wire in a week with six teams on bye.

RB

Matt Asiata (at CHI) - Jerick McKinnon missed the first practice this week after missing time last week with an ankle injury. It isn’t like McKinnon has been separating himself from Asiata when he was healthy, and if he’s not 100 percent, Asiata should get the larger share of carries, which also will include goal line carries. He also caught six passes out of the backfield last week. Asiata will draw a Bears run defense that has allowed 100-yard games to Lamar Miller and Ezekiel Elliott, two scores to Ryan Mathews, and otherwise has faced the non-existent running games of the Eddie Lacy-less Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Detroit.

Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson (vs CIN) - Matt Jones has been ruled out for the game in London this week. Washington has been committing to the run with at least 25 running back carries each of the last two weeks. Kelley could have desperation RB2 value if he can get 12-15 carries including goal line love, and Thompson can be a decent PPR RB2 with 8-12 carries in addition to his typical involvement in the passing game. Cincinnati just gave up two receiving scores to James White two weeks ago, so that adds upside to Thompson’s profile this week. Neither Washington back has a high ceiling, but beggars can’t be choosers with four teams on bye.

Dwayne Washington (at HOU) - Washington is in line to return Sunday, and just in time for the Texans defense that is deteriorating against the run. Last week they allowed 190 yards and two scores to the Broncos top two backs. They allowed two scores to LeGarrette Blount and Demarco Murray. They allowed Frank Gore to notch the first Colts 100-yard rushing game since 2012. Even in their “good” games against the run, the Chiefs had 118 yards on 16 carries, Jeremy Langford scored, and Matt Asiata scored. The complicating factor here is Zach Zenner maybe getting some work and Theo Riddick potentially getting snaps in the red zone instead of Washington, but if there is a back to target to take advantage of this matchup, it is Washington.

James White (at BUF) - Buffalo’s run defense has allowed eight rushing scores in the last five weeks, which points to LeGarrette Blount, but they are also getting Marcell Dareus back this week. White had five catches for 50 yards with Jacoby Brissett in at quarterback against the Bills in Week 4, so the Patriots clearly saw something they could exploit against Bills matchup vs. running backs as receivers out of the backfield. White scored twice in the second Buffalo matchup last year, so the precedent is there for a very nice game.

WR

Ty Montgomery, Davante Adams (at ATL) - Maybe it is too obvious to list these Week 7 (and Week 6 in Montgomery’s case) studs as sleepers, but just know that unless Mike McCarthy reverts to a more balanced, traditional offense, they will be in for big games again in Week 8. The offense is a perfect fit for their skills, creating separation with suddenness and sharp breaks early in routes, and flashing aggressive run after catch ability and mentality to maximize the value of numerous quick, accurate Aaron Rodgers targets. Montgomery had multiple chance to score last week, including as a running back, so his already high PPR floor includes a high ceiling.

Jamison Crowder (vs CIN) - Crowder could take a small hit with Jordan Reed in line to return in Week 8 after all, but his matchup is still good against a Bengals defense that allowed Quincy Enunwa and Cole Beasley to score from the slot earlier this year. Crowder is on the same page with Kirk Cousins and Josh Doctson is on injured reserve, so he should remain a mainstay in three-wide sets, including in the red zone.

Chris Hogan (at BUF) - Hogan has multiple factors in his favor here. He is facing his old team and could be featured in a classic Belichick mind game. It makes sense to do that because the Bills have been prone to breakdowns in the deep secondary all season, including two long scores the last two weeks given up to Kenny Stills and Torrey Smith. Matt Waldman also targets Hogan as a player likely to benefit from the Patriots approach to attacking man defenses.

J.J. Nelson (at CAR) - If you have to dig especially deep this week, be open to Nelson, who could go off against a Panthers secondary that has imploded twice this year already, allowing over 450 passing yards to two different offense. Nelson should get more snaps with Jaron Brown sidelined, and if Michael Floyd or John Brown’s leg issues are problems on game day, he could have an even larger role. The Panthers have allowed long scores to Julio Jones, Brandin Cooks, and Torrey Smith already this year. Nelson could be next and make your week with one play.

Quincy Enunwa (at CLE) - Enunwa’s speed was on display last week on his long catch and run score, and he should have a few chances to zoom through the Browns secondary this week. The #2 receiver has scored four times against Cleveland this week, including stars such as Brandon LaFell, Rishard Matthews, Devante Parker, and Nelson Agholor.

TE

C.J. Fiedorowicz (vs DET) - The Lions have allowed seven scores to tight ends this year, and last week they let backup Vernon Davis post a 6-79 line against them. Fiedorowicz is actually one of the hotter tight ends in the fantasy universe, with at least four catches in each of the last four games despite facing Minnesota and Denver in that stretch. He has posted two scores and at least eight PPR points in each game during the stretch.

Cameron Brate (vs OAK) - Oakland has been a great matchup against teams that can utilize the tight in the pass offense. The Falcons had two go over 75 yards against them (Austin Hooper and Jacob Tamme), and the Chargers tight ends combined for over 100 yards and two scores. Travis Kelce was quiet in a low volume passing contest and Coby Fleener was a week 1 dud, but the ceiling is there for Brate to be a good waiver wire tight end play in Week 8. Brate’s target share has slowed to only three in each of the last two weeks with the Bucs going run-heavy, but if the Raiders can make this a high-scoring game, Brate will be more involved.

Charles Clay (vs NE) - Clay might be the #1 target for the Bills this week in a game that should require them to pass a lot to keep up with Tom Brady. He had five catches for 47 yards in the first meeting between these teams, but with LeSean McCoy (six catches) and Robert Woods (seven catches) both limited, if not out, there will more targets to go around for Clay. He has five catches in three of the last four games, so Clay has a high floor in PPR leagues.