Week 8 of the fantasy football season could prove to be quite the challenge in choosing which quarterback to start. That is of course assuming that you have two quarterbacks on your roster, which you should at this point because of the bye weeks.
Speaking of byes, there's no Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott or Marcus Mariota this week. And while Carson Wentz and Cam Newton are usually no-brainer must-starts every week, can you really trust them in Week 8 as both very difficult matchups?
Before I dole out another installment of start/sit advice for QBs (and defense/special teams), let's see if was on or off target in Week 7.
Good Calls for Week 7...
Start Baker Mayfield (20.9 fantasy points) – Mayfield rebounded in a huge way after his worst fantasy performance the week before.
Start Mitchell Trubisky (31.42 FP) – It’s starting to look like Trubisky can play and might be a back-end QB1 for the rest of the season.
Bad Calls for Week 7...
Start Andy Dalton (7.92 FP) – In a game that should have been a shootout against the Chiefs, it was completely one-sided as Dalton and the Bengals forgot to show up.
Sit Jameis Winston (20.1 FP) – Winston has now had back-to-back 20-plus fantasy point games and he’s going to continue being a fantasy force because the Bucs' defense is so bad.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee
START THESE QBs...
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. TB)
Yes, Dalton was terrible Sunday night in a great matchup against the Chiefs, but this week’s matchup isn’t in primetime and it's against the Buccaneers' awful defense. The Bucs are allowing the second-most fantasy points to the quarterback position. It’s important to remember that on top of two 300-yard games, Dalton has been a top-20 fantasy QB in all but two weeks this season. Last week, the Buccaneers were on the other end of Baker Mayfield's top-10 fantasy showing and in Week 6, Tampa gave up 355 passing yards to Matt Ryan. You have every right to be upset with Dalton’s dud against the Chiefs, but don’t let that cloud your judgment. The Buccaneers are an ideal matchup for a bounce-back week.
Russell Wilson, SEA (at DET)
Wilson has thrown three touchdowns in each of his last two games, where he also sprinkled in a total of 41 rushing yards. His six carries in Week 6 were a season high, but at this point it's all about how many times he throws the football. After attempting 33 and 36 passes in the first two games, Wilson has averaged just 24 over the past four games. He's also completed more than 20 passes just once thus far. His 13 TD passes are helping his fantasy value and the pass protection (sacked seven times in last four game vs. 12 in first two) has been better. Wilson also could get a boost if Doug Baldwin comes out of the bye healthy and ready to make some plays.
Jared Goff, LAR (vs. GB)
If everything goes as planned on Monday night, we could see an epic shootout between Goff and Aaron Rodgers. The over/under total for this game is 56.5 points, which is the highest mark in Week 8. Although Goff will likely be without Cooper Kupp (dealing with an MCL sprain that sidelined him in Week 7), he still has running back Todd Gurley and wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. Expect another explosive outing for a Rams offense that is third in the NFL in scoring (33.6 ppg) this season.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (vs. NYJ)
Trubisky benefits from Jordan Howard’s continued ineffectiveness, which means the quarterback is not only getting to throw the ball all over the field, he's also running it. Allen Robinson is getting over a groin issue but Trubisky also has the speedy Taylor Gabriel, tight end Trey Burton and running back Tarik Cohen (among others) to throw to. Trubisky would easily be a QB1 if he could just execute better, but he is throwing the ball downfield plenty. His rate of pass attempts of 20 yards or longer (18.5 percent) is second only to the injured Josh Allen (18 percent), as Trubisky is ahead of even Patrick Mahomes (16.3 percent). Couple that big-play potential with his added value in the running game and he's a borderline must-start this week.
SIT THESE QBs...
Cam Newton, CAR (vs. BAL)
Newton had fantasy owners terrified through three quarters in Week 7 before tearing the Eagles defense apart in the fourth quarter en route to a huge comeback victory. This week Newton and the Panthers return home for a date with the Ravens, who just held Drew Brees to 212 yards and two TDs and have given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to QBs. Newton and his legs usually ensure a strong fantasy showing, but don’t bet on it because the Ravens know this too.
Derek Carr, OAK (vs. IND)
Remember two years ago when Carr was a serious MVP candidate until he got hurt late in the season? That seems like a decade ago as Carr has failed to score more than 16 fantasy points in all but one of his first six games, and the Raiders just traded Amari Cooper, his supposed No. 1 WR, to the Cowboys. This week's matchup against the Colts isn't all that favorable either, as quarterbacks have averaged just 16.6 fantasy points per game against their defense.
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. SEA)
Stafford has not been a consistent fantasy QB1 so far this season, scoring fewer than 18 fantasy points in four of his first six games. Stafford and the Lions' passing attack face a feast-or-famine Seattle secondary in Week 8 that has allowed two opposing quarterbacks to top 300 yards while holding five others to 200 or fewer. For the season, the Seahawks are third in the NFL both against the pass (206.0 ypg) and opponents' passer rating (79.9). Keep Stafford on the bench this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Carson Wentz, PHI (vs. JAC, London)
With 10 touchdowns in five starts, Wentz is getting back to his MVP form from last year, but this week in London against the Jaguars is not an ideal matchup. While it may seem like the Jaguars are an easy target, that is the case only in the win/loss column. In seven games this season, the Jaguars are allowing a league-low six touchdown passes and are giving up the fewest passing yards per game as well. It still holds true that with the exception of Dak Prescott in Week 6, the Jaguars haven’t allowed a quarterback to finish in the top 15 in fantasy points. From an NFL perspective, the Jaguars are trying to regain control of their season, but from a fantasy perspective, they aren’t cracking against quarterbacks.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN)
They were a sneaky streamer at home in Week 7 and will get it done again vs. the Broncos as the Kansas City offense keeps putting pressure on teams to make mistakes. As a programming note, the Chiefs have the Browns and Cardinals next.
Arizona Cardinals (vs. SF)
The Cardinals might be awful as a team, but this DST is pretty good form a fantasy perspective. Arizona's DST has produced a combined 38 fantasy points over its last three games and should continue to roll this week against the 49ers. Opposing DSTs have averaged almost 12 fantasy points per game versus San Francisco, which has turned the football over a league-high 18 times this season.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Minnesota Vikings (vs. NO)
The Vikings' DST has scored at least 12 fantasy points in each of the last three weeks, but this stretch of high point totals is about to come to an end. That's due to a brutal matchup against Drew Brees and the Saints, who have allowed just nine sacks and have committed an average of just one turnover per game thus far this season.
Cleveland Browns (at PIT)
The Browns DST is matchup-dependent and this week’s against the Steelers is not a good one. Opposing DSTs have averaged less than one full fantasy point (0.33) per game against the Steelers at Heinz Field, so the Browns should be left on the waiver wire.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.