Only two teams are on a bye this week, but fantasy owners have plenty of injuries to contend with. Patrick Mahomes should be out for Week 8, which changes the entire dynamic of the Kansas City Chiefs. They face the Green Bay Packers, who probably will still be without their No. 1 receiver, Davante Adams. Both teams, operating at less than 100 percent, should still put up fantasy points, but the teams look a little different than expected. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on who is out and what that means for other players to step up.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Dallas
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
Tannehill is mentioned here because of the matchup. The Titans face the Bucs, who are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. In the past four games, quarterbacks have thrown for 10 touchdowns against them. Tannehill is going to be inconsistent, but he's a player that should be able to take advantage of good matchups (and will struggle with the tough defenses). He’s ranked No. 16, but he should exceed that.
J.D. McKissic, RB, Detroit Lions
In all the hype about Ty Johnson, McKissic made it through waivers in many leagues. In Week 7, McKissic had five carries for 29 yards and two receptions for 31 yards. Johnson will likely be used for between-the-tackles work, but McKissic will be involved in passing downs. In PPR formats, McKissic should exceed his No. 44 ranking. Week 8 is a good matchup for both running backs, and for fantasy owners that missed out on Johnson, McKissic may be a viable flex option for Week 8.
Kenny Stills, WR, Houston Texans
The Texans face the Oakland Raiders, who are a great matchup for opposing wide receivers. In Week 7, two Green Bay wide receivers scored touchdowns and Marquez Valdes-Scantling had over 100 yards. Will Fuller will still be out, which leaves Stills and Keke Coutee left to pick up the slack behind DeAndre Hopkins. In Week 7, both Stills and Coutee had five targets apiece. Stills ended the game with four receptions for 105 yards while Coutee had three receptions for 25 yards. Stills is a WR3 but should exceed his No. 30 ranking.
Golden Tate, WR, New York Giants
After the glow of Daniel Jones' first start has worn off, the Giants have come back down to earth. However, Tate has still managed to get some points for his fantasy owners. In the past two games, he's had six receptions in each and 182 combined yards plus a touchdown. Jones knows to look for him, and that's going to continue, especially with Sterling Shepard out. While there are rumors that Evan Engram may be on the trading block and this could be a game to showcase him, Tate still seems like he should perform better than his No. 33 ranking.
Josh Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints
Assuming that Jared Cook will miss Week 8, Hill should exceed his No. 25 ranking. Fantasy owners desperate for a tight end can look at Hill as a one-week fill-in. The Saints go on a bye in Week 9, and Cook should be back after that so Hill can be dropped after this week. However, for Week 8, the Saints face the Cardinals, who are terrible at defending tight ends. Teddy Bridgewater looked for Hill three times in Week 6, and Hill caught all three passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. That connection should continue this week.
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
In what should have been a good matchup in Week 7, Murray only threw the ball 21 times. He had 14 completions for 104 scoreless yards. Chase Edmonds did all the work, giving him an amazing fantasy day and Murray a mediocre one. In Week 8, the Cardinals face the New Orleans Saints, which is a tougher team to face than the Giants. Murray is ranked No. 7, but especially if Christian Kirk is out, he may not hit that.
Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jones is the highest-ranked Tampa Bay running back at No. 36. However, in Week 6 (before the bye week), Jones had four carries. He managed 10 yards and a touchdown on those carries. Peyton Barber had twice as many carries but still only managed 28 yards. The Bucs face the Titans, who just allowed Austin Ekeler to go for 118 yards. However, those 118 were through the air, not on the ground. The Bucs haven't utilized the running backs as pass catchers and are low RB3s.
Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
While it's likely not possible to sit all Browns against the New England Patriots, it's fair to say that Chubb likely won't hit his No. 8 ranking. He's an excellent player and usually is an RB1, but even coming off the bye, is going to struggle in Week 8. The Patriots have shut down the likes of James Conner, Le'Veon Bell (twice) and Adrian Peterson. While Frank Gore did have over 100 yards, the Patriots also try to shut down the opposing team's best player. In this case, it may very well be Chubb. He's an RB2 this week.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
It looks like Patrick Mahomes will miss this week, which sends Hardman's fantasy value downward immediately. Also not helping his cause is the fact that Sammy Watkins is set to return and Tyreek Hill is back. Hardman is ranked No. 44, but he should be on fantasy benches if at all possible this week. The matchup against Green Bay isn't a bad one, but Matt Moore isn't going to use Hardman like Mahomes would.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Fantasy owners that drafted Ertz in the early rounds of their draft are likely disappointed. He's still ranked No. 8 for Week 8, but he hasn't been performing like the TE1 that fantasy owners hoped for. Ertz has one touchdown so far this year and no games with either 100 yards or more than eight receptions. The Eagles have started using Dallas Goedert more. While Ertz is still seeing more targets, Goedert has two touchdowns this year. If those stats were added to Ertz, fantasy owners would feel better.
Full Disclosure for Week 7
Up (2/5 correct)
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars (Ranked: 11, actual: 9)
Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers (Ranked: 19, actual: 23)
Allen Lazard, WR, Packers (Ranked: 62, actual: 54)
D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars (Ranked: 17, actual: 33)
Evan Engram, TE, Giants (Ranked: 14, actual: 42)
Down (3/5 correct)
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers (Ranked: 7, actual: 1)
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals (Ranked: 18, actual: 22)
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Jets (Ranked: 11, actual: 15)
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans (Ranked: 5, actual: 4)
Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons (Ranked: 6, actual: 7)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.