Week 8 brings us to nearly the halfway point of the season. This is going to be a thin week for players with 6 teams on BYE and a Thursday night game not a part of things. DRAFT does give you game options that either includes or doesn't include the London game early Sunday Morning. I will use that game in my analysis. I am also going to change things up in the H2H/3 Person Contest: I'll do a position breakdown, just like I do in the 6 and 10 Person contests.
H2H or 3-Person Contests
Quarterbacks: As usual, there are plenty of good quarterbacks and I would wait on QB until the last round. The Chargers have been tough for quarterbacks to do well against; but, this is Tom Brady at home. Brady is the safest pick to go with. If you don't want to go there, I'll go with a pair of NFC East quarterbacks. Carson Wentz has thrown 11 touchdowns the past three weeks. He now gets a 49ers team giving up over 27 fantasy points to quarterbacks. The only concern here is a blowout; but if that's the case, Wentz is probably a big reason why. The other QB I like here is Dak Prescott. He has thrown for 3 touchdowns in each of his past three games and added a 4th by running one in the past two weeks. He's averaging 20 points a week on the season and in a high scoring game, should be quite busy again.
Running Backs: The recent trend of going RB early on DRAFT continues this week. Last week, I was big on Ezekiel Elliott, and it paid off nicely. His matchup against Washington is average, but the Redskins have given up 6 touchdowns in their past 8 games. My favorite play will be Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers on the road usually means Bell will be the main focus for the Steelers offense. Detroit gives up over 20 fantasy points a game to RB, 8th worst (4th this week if removing BYE teams and Thursday night games).
After these two, Melvin Gordon would be next, as the Patriots are giving up a ton of production to running backs on the ground (4.8 YPC) and 2nd most receiving yards and catches to running backs. LeSean McCoy got his first TD last week and the Raiders aren't a formidable defense to worry about. My final pick in this tier would be Jordan Howard. He's the main focal point of the Bears, and John Fox should run him a lot to keep Drew Bress off the field. It also helps that the Saints give up 4.7 yards a carry.
Wide Receivers: I don't think there are any surprises here. A.J. Green is the top play for me. He didn't put up great numbers against a tough Steelers defense last week, but gets the Colts this week. Indianapolis is giving up 213 yards a game and over 27 fantasy points to receivers the past 8 weeks. Antonio Brown does draw Darius Slay, but Brown is matchup proof, and the Lions do give up over 20 points a game to WR. Julio Jones got his first touchdown of the season last week, and maybe Atlanta has figured out that good things will happen if you throw the ball to Julio.The Jets have given up 9 touchdowns in their past 8 games to WR, 4th worst.
Beyond these three, I can go with Mike Evans. He's scored the past couple of weeks and has neared 100 yards in each of those games. Lastly, Dez Bryant isn't putting up huge games, but he's seeing 8+ targets a game and has scored the past couple of weeks.
6 and 10 Person Games
Quarterbacks: Even after the first 3 Quarterbacks I mention, there are plenty of other options. Kirk Cousins has 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns the past two weeks, and does get a Cowboys team giving up over 21 fantasy points a game. Drew Brees at home is never a bad option, but the challenge here is trying to figure out how good that Bears defense is and can they sustain this level of play in New Orleans. Russell Wilson at home is usually a solid play and while Houston's numbers against QBs aren't bad, they do allow 1.5 touchdowns and 218 yards a game to QBs the past 8 games. Cam Newton is a riskier option against Tampa, but the Bucs are allowing over 300 yards passing a game. This game could end up in a shootout, but I do like Cam better than Winston. Finally, Philip Rivers has a great matchup on paper against the Patriots defense. But, while the numbers don't show it, I feel like the Patriots have been playing better on defense since that loss to Carolina. I get the Rivers play if you are higher on him: I just don't have a good feeling on Rivers (numbers do say otherwise).
Running Backs: In this tier, we start dealing with some tougher matchups. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are the best part of the Saints offense right now. The Bears are average against running backs so it's an ok matchup. Kareem Hunt will be the best running back in this area, but draws the toughest matchup against Denver. You can use Hunt: just lower expectations. Devonta Freeman has not been as productive as we would like this season. The Jets do allow over 20 fantasy points a game to RB, but hard to take Freeman early right now. Opposite of Freeman is the Jets; which is an ugly RB committee. I can take a chance on Bilal Powell, as Atlanta does struggle against RB out of the backfield. Joe Mixon is the best RB in Cincinnati but Marvin Lewis still splits time between him, Gio Bernard, and Jeremy Hill. If you trust Mixon, the Colts are 3rd worst against RB this season, giving up 21.9 fantasy points to the position. Other names I can play include Christian McCaffrey, Chris Thompson, Carlos Hyde, and Jerrick McKinnon.
Wide Receivers: The best matchup of the week goes to DeMaryius Thomas, who gets a Chiefs defense giving up over 30 fantasy points a game to WR. Thomas doesn't have a great history against KC and the QB play is a bit shaky right now. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess should be busy against a struggling Bucs secondary. Keenan Allen, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, and Chris Hogan can all be used in that LAC/NE game. No one really stands out as the best, but all have 15-20 point upside. If I like Carson Wentz so much against the 49ers, I have to like Alshon Jeffery, who is due for a breakout game and the 49ers should provide plenty of opportunities. Keep an eye on the injury reports for Michael Thomas but he's viable against the Bears if he's healthy. I do like Doug Baldwin as he did see 12 targets and a score last week. I'm not sold on the Houston secondary being great. My fade is Amari Cooper. He had that great Thursday night game last week but draws a Buffalo defense that has only given up 3 TD to receivers the past 8 weeks. Add in a cross-country trip for a 1pm start and that's enough for me to fade Cooper. Play at your own risk.
Bell is the clear top choice this week. After him, I think you can go either RB or WR, and then wait on QB until the end, even in 10-team leagues. Make sure to give a like over on the Fantasy National Pregame Show page on Facebook, and see Lou and Michael break down the Week 8 slate. Finally, remember that Fantistics has listener league contests going on all the way up until Sunday. To see these contest, follow FantisticsRadio and you will see the $3, 10-man games appear in the lobby. I will jump in a couple of them throughout the week (skeeter1114). Good luck with all of your week four NFL contests.