Full disclosure coming into the Week 8 start/sit fantasy advice for quarterbacks, tight ends, and defense/special teams (DSTs): I am having my worst seasonal fantasy football season in easily over 25 years. The good news is I am doing well in daily fantasy (DFS), so I do know what I'm talking about week to week. But I felt you should be aware that I am admittedly struggling this season.
I can point to a number of factors. One was my faith in the Denver offense, which between an injury to Javonte Williams and Russell Wilson looking more cooked than doing the cooking, things have not gone well. But that's just one team I got wrong, but I'll save some of the others for below.
Bad luck could also be a factor. After decades and decades of success, you could say that I was absolutely due for a bad season. You could say it's Murphy's Law given my current financial struggles. Whatever the cause, it's been a rough season.
But I will keep plugging away.
Teams on bye: Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers
This column focuses on the options in the "QB2/TE2/DST2" range, i.e. those ranked from around 13 to 24. That's the tier I will be evaluating. And more often than not, I'll try to give you a lower-ranked option for whom to start and a higher-ranked option for whom to sit when possible.
But I think I might have found some options worth starting that should exceed expectations and some others that will fall short of expectations.
Read below to see what they are.
START This QB
Davis Mills, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
Hear me out on this one. This is not a recommendation in standard (i.e., start one QB) leagues. But for those of you in Superflex and 2-QB leagues, I would lock in Mills. Here's why:
For one, the Titans have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs this season. And I can't overstate how bad the secondary and the Titans' overall pass defense have been. They have allowed the second-most passing yards and the third-highest completion rate.
Mills meanwhile is coming in hot, coming off his first 300-yard game of the year to go along with two touchdown passes. He also completed more than 68 percent of his throws. Is it possible that head coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton are starting to figure out how to use Mills to his fullest? I would say yes.
SIT This QB
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills (SNF)
This is going to get worse before it gets better. But the secret is out that this Green Bay team is not very good:
But you can't blame the books for making them a double-digit underdog. The Bills have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks per game this season. Rodgers meanwhile is struggling through one of his worst seasons ever. We can point to a lack of receiving weapons but either way, Rodgers has completed barely two-thirds of his passing attempts. For reference purposes, P.J. Walker, Kenny Pickett, and the recently benched Matt Ryan have a better completion rate.
The bigger concern however is Rodgers' yards per attempt. More than 25 other quarterbacks have a higher mark than the back-to-back league MVP. Rumor has it that Green Bay is making all kinds of WR inquiries before the trade deadlines. So things might get better. But until it does, I'd leave Rodgers on your bench.
START This TE
Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions
Typically listed outside of the top 15, this is an easy recommendation amongst all the "borderline" TEs. For one, Detroit is giving up the fifth-most fantasy points per game to the position this season. Secondly, Gesicki is coming off two straight games of seven targets. He's also doing a lot with those targets, as Gesicki is also tied for third in touchdown catches by a tight end.
My guess is most of you have a better TE option, but for those of you streaming one this season, there are not many better options this week.
SIT This TE
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers
Exiting one of my drafts, I was absolutely ecstatic. I had Lamar Jackson, Jonathan Taylor, A.J. Brown, and Pitts as my core. Yet this has been my most disappointing team so far, and Pitts is a big reason for that. I'm not ready to drop him just yet, but he'll be sitting on my bench until he proves otherwise.
I could have included a hundred different memes in this spot, but here is all you need to know:
That doesn't even make me angry, just incredulous. Jody Fortson for crying out loud has more touchdowns! You probably don't even know who that is. And that's exactly the point.
There has to be some positive regression coming at some point, right? Unfortunately, I don't see it happening against the Panthers, who have been the 10th-stingiest defense in allowing fantasy points per game to TEs. I'm not sure when Pitts becomes fantasy-worthy again, but I don't see it happening this week.
START This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Washington Commanders at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are scoring just 16 points per game. That ranks them 30th in the NFL. It's also a good explanation for why Matt Ryan has been relieved of his starting quarterback duties. But a rookie making his first start for a team with so few points is not the only reason I like the Washington DST this week.
The Commanders have 19 sacks, giving them a high floor for that category. They've also allowed the fifth-lowest pass completion rate in the league. But they're pretty good against the run as well, as only two teams have allowed fewer rushing TDs than Washington's three.
There is no love lost between these two teams' owners. We likely won't see any fireworks as they avoid one another this week. But expect Dan Snyder to love the way his defense plays this week and I wouldn't avoid them in fantasy if I were you.
SIT This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
New Orleans Saints vs. Las Vegas Raiders
I really liked the New Orleans defense coming into this season. The Saints were a top-five unit last season and I suspected they could build on that. Just one of the many suspicions I got wrong this season.
The Saints are allowing nearly 29 points a game, the second-most points per game this season. They are under the league average in sacks, have forced the third-fewest fumbles, and have recorded just one interception so far.
You hopefully have better options, but for those of you in a pinch perhaps thinking the Saints could surprise, stop thinking that. Given just how bad they've been, it's just not worth the risk.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.