Saturday, October 31, 2020

Fantasy Football Week 8 QB Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Carson Wentz is listed below as a "start" for Week 8. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 8 with him as my starting quarterback.

Then again, Wentz may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own both Russell Wilson and Wentz, you should start Wilson and, in turn, bench Wentz.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 8 Fantasy Football QB Start'em

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (at CIN)

Last year's NFL's Comeback Player of the Year, Tannehill has picked up where he left off in 2019. Starting a combined 16 regular-season games for the Titans, the former first-round pick has now thrown for a total of 4,188 yards, 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions in those starts while adding 263 rushing yards and five more scores.

Currently fourth in the NFL in passer rating (112.3) in 2020, Tannehill has thrown for multiple touchdowns in all but one game this season. On the year, he has compiled a 15-to-two TD-INT ratio. Tannehill has a pair of top-three fantasy performances in his past three starts and he's set up for a big outing in Week 8 as well.

The Bengals secondary has allowed a total of eight passing scores by Philip Rivers (three) and Baker Mayfield (five) over the past two weeks. Only the Green Bay Packers have a higher implied total than the Titans based on Vegas odds in Week 8.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL)

Wentz threw for a season-high 359 yards against the Giants last week and he now has three consecutive games with multiple passing scores. Before that stretch, he had thrown only four touchdowns in his first four games of the season. More impressively, Wentz has been scoring a significant portion of his fantasy points on the ground with 185 rushing yards and five touchdowns this year.

Not only does Wentz have 29.42-plus fantasy points in back-to-back games, but he now has more than 22 fantasy points in four of five games and the exception was a 19.42-point performance. The only concern with Wentz's outlook is that this game won't be close as Philadelphia is a double-digit favorite. In the past two weeks, where the Cowboys have lost by a combined 50-point margin, they have limited both opposing quarterbacks in those games to less than 200 yards.

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (at DEN)

Before the season, I wrote that Herbert could be Josh Allen-esque once he earned an opportunity to start. In other words, even if he weren't a good "real" quarterback early in his career, his mobility and arm strength could generate useful fantasy production once he became the starter. That said, he's exceeded expectations across the board since becoming the unexpected starter in Week 2.

Herbert has more than 300 passing yards and/or multiple touchdowns in all five of his starts. Scoring a minimum of 23.24 fantasy points in four of those five weeks, Herbert has been playing even better recently. The No. 6 overall pick has 10 passing touchdowns to only one interception over his past three games and finished as fantasy's QB1 (40.48 points) in Week 7.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (at CLE)

While Carr has never been an elite fantasy quarterback (and still isn't), he's been more productive than most have realized as he's never finished worse than fantasy's QB20 (2014, rookie season). Since Week 2, Carr has averaged 297.4 passing yards per game and thrown multiple touchdowns every week. During that five-game stretch, the veteran quarterback has compiled a 12-to-two TD-INT ratio.

Carr has now scored 20-plus fantasy points in three consecutive games and four of his past five. To help maintain his current hot streak, the Raiders quarterback gets a favorable matchup in Week 8 against the Browns, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game this season. In addition, they have allowed four games of 24-plus fantasy points to opposing signal-callers in 2020.

Week 8 Fantasy Football QB Sit'em

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. IND)

Stafford threw for a season-high 340 yards against the Falcons last week and his lone touchdown (for the last-second victory) was a dagger in the hearts of Falcons fans. Despite the yardage total, however, Stafford only managed to finish as fantasy's QB15 in Week 7.

This season, there have been 23 quarterbacks that have finished with top-12 performances in multiple weeks, but Stafford is not one of those quarterbacks. Aside from his QB9 outing in Week 4, Stafford has finished as fantasy's QB15 or worse in every other one of his starts this season.

With a matchup against the Colts, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, it's possible that Stafford delivers another middle-of-the-road performance for his fantasy owners.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at CHI)

On a positive note, Brees has scored 22-plus fantasy points and has finished as a weekly top-10 fantasy quarterback in three of his past four games. Coincidentally, the future first-ballot HOFer has yet to finish any better than QB10 this season. Despite having zero rushing yards this season, rushing touchdowns in back-to-back games have buoyed Brees' fantasy production recently.

Brees will be without top receiver Michael Thomas, who hasn't played since Week 1. In addition, the Saints won't have receivers Emmanuel Sanders or Marquez Callaway either. Meanwhile, it's a challenging matchup for Brees as the Bears have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)

Not only are the Steelers the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, Roethlisberger has thrown multiple touchdowns in all but one game this season. That said, his virtually non-existent rushing production (six rushing yards in six games) means he's been a mediocre fantasy quarterback this season. While Brees has yet to finish any better than the weekly QB10, Big Ben has yet to finish higher than QB11 in any week. In fact, he's finished outside the top-20 fantasy quarterbacks in each of the past two weeks and draws a tough matchup against the Ravens in Week 8.

Cam Newton, New England Patriots (at BUF)

Newton has three top-12 weekly performances in his five starts this season. That success has been tied to his rushing production as all three of those games came when he rushed for a touchdown (or two). That said, Newton has thrown for 162 yards or less in four of five games and he had only 98 passing yards before getting benched last week.

The Patriots have one of this week's lowest implied totals and Newton will be without Julian Edelman and N'Keal Harry. While Buffalo allowed three 300-yard passers in their first four games, they have limited the three most recent they've faced to 225 yards or less -- Tannehill (195), Patrick Mahomes (225) and Sam Darnold (120).

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