Every week of the NFL season, fantasy gamers juggle players to insert into lineups at each position. Are you questioning which players face easy matchups and which players face tougher paths to production? You are in the right place! Week 8 has no teams on bye, putting a brief stop to tougher lineup decisions when your superstars are not available. We have a larger field of players to pick from for the first time in a few weeks, and that brings more lineup questions. For seasonal leagues, DFS, and more, this week’s must start and sit picks give guidance on setting your lineups. Good luck!
Start: Kenny Pickett
The Steelers offense has not had the best showing, and Kenny Pickett is barely a QB2 on the season. His numbers typically make him a borderline start only in Superflex leagues, but his matchup this week pushes him into high-end QB2/back-end QB1 territory. Jacksonville has allowed four games of over 300 passing yards this season, with opponents throwing at least 40 passing attempts in those games. Opponents still threw at least 30 passes against the Jaguars in their other three games. Pickett has faced some tough defenses in the 49ers, Browns, and Ravens this season, but is coming off a solid game against the Rams. He completed 68.0-percent of his passes, averaging 9.2 Yards Per Attempt and rushing for a touchdown. Pickett finally has Diontae Johnson back and has the matchup to push him into start territory if you need an injury streamer (for managers of Anthony Richardson, Deshaun Watson, Justin Fields, etc.).
Sit: Gardner Minshew
Filling in for Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew has strung together a few serviceable games for the Colts. Last week, he had four total touchdowns, but also committed a few turnovers, leading to 28.1 fantasy points against a good Browns defense. Busted tackling on a long 75-yard touchdown from Michael Pittman helped inflate that total. Minshew is averaging 0.41 (No. 24) Fantasy Points Per Dropback. He has never been a prolific runner and is not likely to repeat last week’s rushing production.
This week, Minshew faces a Saints defense that is allowing the 28th-most fantasy points to QBs through the air this season. Opposing QBs average less than 200 yards passing against New Orleans and have a 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Minshew Mania may be back, but he is a sit this week with no bye week crunch.
Start: Isiah Pacheco
The Chiefs are heavily favored to beat a subpar Broncos team in Week 8. The Broncos are 2-5 and allowing over 140 rushing yards per game. That metric is inflated by the Dolphins’ 351 rushing yards in a Week 3 beat down, but the Broncos defense is still susceptible to the run.
The Denver Broncos defense has been bad this season, but especially bad against running backs
They've allowed the most rush yards and rush TDs to opposing backs this season and every RB since Week 2 has scored at least 22 fantasy points
How many points will Isiah Pacheco get? pic.twitter.com/B1MnmgQ5ja
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) October 12, 2023
Opposing RBs have gotten over 20 carries in all but one game against Denver this season. That one game was against the Chiefs in a surprisingly low-scoring affair from Patrick Mahomes and company. Isiah Pacheco carried the ball 16 times and caught six passes for a top-15 finish in that matchup. Pacheco runs hard, averaging 4.12 (No. 9) Yards Created Per Touch. Against a soft Broncos defense, Pacheco is a good start this week.
Sit: Javonte Williams
On the opposing side of the Chiefs-Broncos matchup is Javonte Williams. Coming off ACL, LCL, and PCL tears from last season, Williams has just one game over 10 fantasy points. It came last week against the Packers, where he amassed a season-high 18 touches. However, Jaleel McLaughlin and Samaje Perine remain involved as Williams has yet to see a Snap Share over 60.0-percent.
The Chiefs are yielding less than 20 carries, 90 rushing yards, and four receptions per game to opposing RBs. Williams got 10 touches for 7.2 fantasy points against the Chiefs in Week 6. Kansas City allows just the 25th-most fantasy points to RBs on the ground. Williams is not a workhorse for the Broncos yet and faces a Chiefs team allowing limited RB production this week. Sit him in a tough matchup.
Start: Jayden Reed
Christian Watson is nursing an apparent leg injury, meaning there are more targets to be had in the Packers offense. Jayden Reed is the foremost beneficiary. With Watson out Weeks 1-3, Reed saw 20 total targets and had a two-touchdown Week 2. He was one of the Packers’ top offensive options during that span.
It is time to BUY Jayden Reed in all formats 💰 pic.twitter.com/FFsFeaNE1X
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) October 12, 2023
Often working out of the slot, Reed has seen nine (No. 4) red zone targets this season. This week, the Packers face the Vikings, who are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs this season. Minnesota’s secondary is porous and a favorable matchup for Packers pass-catchers. Even if Watson plays, he won’t be at full health and Reed will see a boost in opportunities. Fire him up in a favorable matchup this week.
Sit: DeAndre Hopkins
The Titans are primed to sell at the NFL trade deadline, and DeAndre Hopkins is on the list of veterans that could be dealt. However, as of this writing, he is stuck with the Titans. Hopkins has seen a 29.2-percent (No. 12) Target Share this season but has seen 6.3 (No. 68) Target Accuracy from his QBs. The Titans are a run-first team, giving Hopkins a large slice of a small pie. He may also be catching passes from Malik Willis and/or Will Levis, further tanking his fantasy value. Hopkins faces a Falcons defense that is allowing just over 11 WR receptions per game this week. In a matchup against a solid defense and catching passes from a backup QB, Hopkins is a sit this week.
Start: Michael Mayer
The Lions have allowed a few solid games to tight ends. Mark Andrews just had a big output against them, while Noah Fant, Josiah Deguara, and Kyle Pitts each had four or more receptions against Detroit. The Raiders offense is, admittedly, not great, and has had to rotate QBs a couple times this season. Jimmy Garoppolo missed Week 7 and is in danger ofmissing Week 8.
Raiders TE Michael Mayer caught five passes on six targets with Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer in Week 6. Although his output fell to two receptions for 13 yards last week, Mayer saw four targets, meaning he still has a relevant role in the offense. He saw just two targets in the first four games of the season but has earned 13 targets in the last three games. Mayer is an upside start against a softer Lions defense in Week 8.
Sit: David Njoku
The Browns offense has rotated between Deshaun Watson and P.J. Walker the last few games. David Njoku has stayed afloat, getting 20 targets over his last three games. However, Njoku has yet to score a touchdown this season, finishing under seven fantasy points in four out of six games. This week, he faces a Seahawks defense that has yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end this season. Seattle has yielded over six TE targets just once – last week against the Cardinals. Njoku has one game over 50 receiving yards, when he saw a 3.7-yard (No. 32) Average Target Distance. For Week 8 against a good Seahawks defense, Njoku is a sit.
Full (Almost) Rosters Again
Your stars are back after bye-mageddon! Week 8 is a break in the byes, meaning you can pick from any non-injured/suspended player again. There are still many injuries (Kyren Williams, David Montgomery, etc.) that shuffle rosters, and keeping up with injury reports can help navigate that. Get guys like Breece Hall, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tony Pollard back into lineups and good luck this week!