It’s Week 8 of the fantasy football season and we are getting pretty close to crunch time for those of you who are on the fringe of making the fantasy playoffs. That makes choosing the right wide receivers and tight ends more important than ever. So, should you really start Jordy Nelson this week?
Plus, you won’t believe the tight ends that you should sit this week, especially considering that you probably drafted them somewhere in the first eight rounds of your fantasy draft.
And don't forget about the WRs and TEs that aren't available this week because they are on bye. You know, guys like Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, Corey Davis, Calvin Ridley, Mike Williams, Austin Hooper and even Amari Cooper, who was just on bye last week too.
Anyways, before jumping into this week, let's take a quick look to see how my Week 7 start/sit advice for WRs and TEs turned out.
Good Calls for Week 7...
Alshon Jeffrey (21.8 PPR fantasy points) – That’s back-to-back 20-plus fantasy point games for Jeffrey and there will be lots more to come,
Sit Corey Davis (1.0 FP) – Once again, the Titans' passing offense was miserable, as Mariota could only connect with Davis for three catches and 10 pathetic yards.
Start David Njoku (15.2 PPR FP) – Njoku is looking like Baker Mayfield’s favorite target and now has touchdowns in back-to-back games.
Bad Calls for Week 7...
Start Michael Crabtree (11.6 PPR FP) – Wrong Ravens wide receiver. I meant to go with John Brown. My bad.
Sit George Kittle (20.8 PPR FP) – Kittle is the only consistent receiving threat on the 49ers.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee
START THESE WRs...
Jordy Nelson, OAK (vs. IND)
With Amari Cooper being dealt to Dallas earlier this week, Nelson is now the de facto No. 1 WR for the Raiders. And he'll debut in his new role in what should be a favorable matchup against the Colts. Prior to Week 6 against Seattle, Nelson had three games with at least 14 PPR points. In two of those games, he had eight targets, and it would be a surprise to see him below that total on a weekly basis moving forward. The Colts have struggled with No. 1 receivers all season, as A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins and Josh Gordon have all found the end zone. Nelson isn't on par with those guys at this point in his career, but he can still be successful provided he gets enough targets.
John Brown, BAL (at CAR)
Last week, Brown caught all seven of his targets for 134 yards and a touchdown. That performance would be good for a top-three finish among wide receivers. Awaiting the Ravens in Week 8 are the Panthers, who are in the middle of the pack when it comes to fantasy points allowed to the position. However, over the last three weeks, Carolina has given up big games to Odell Beckham Jr. and Alshon Jeffery. While Michael Crabtree has 10 more targets this season than Brown, the latter has put up better numbers overall. Expect for that trend to continue on Sunday.
Doug Baldwin, SEA (at DET)
Baldwin was seemingly back to his old self in Week 6 prior to the Seahawks' bye. He had six catches on eight targets for 91 yards, good for a season-high 15 PPR points. You can expect more of the same this week at Detroit, and as a bonus, he should avoid All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay. The Lions have struggled with slot receivers at times this year, including Danny Amendola going off last week (six catches, 84 yards, TD). Baldwin has actually led Seattle in targets in two of three games since coming back from his knee injury, and he hopefully is poised for a strong finish this year.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Donte Moncrief, JAC (vs. PHI, London)
Moncrief led Jacksonville’s wideouts by playing 81 percent of the snaps as the offense imploded last week thanks to Blake Bortles. Moncrief caught seven of 10 targets for 76 yards in Week 7 but he also did nothing in Week 6, so he has a low floor. I don’t think anyone rostering a Jacksonville WR is afraid of low floors at this point, though. Moncrief has 345 air yards over the last four weeks, good for 17th among WRs alongside a healthy 10.5 aDOT (average depth of target) and a 20 percent target share in that span (compared to 16 percent for Dede Westbrook, 15 percent for Keelan Cole).
SIT THESE WRs...
Devin Funchess, CAR (vs. BAL)
This Baltimore-Carolina tilt has the Ravens favored by roughly two points on the road with a game total of 43. With the way Baltimore's secondary is playing, Funchess will have his hands full getting open. The Ravens have allowed one receiver to gain more than 70 yards against them (Tyler Boyd in Week 2). Funchess is good, not great, and this game has 17-14 written all over it, which makes Funchess a touchdown-dependent WR4 at best.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN (at KC)
Thomas has come on of late with at least 14 PPR points in two of his past three games, after basically being non-existent to start the season. He's scored two touchdowns over that span, but his production has been minimal this season when he's failed to score. He only has one game this season with more than 63 receiving yards, and he's averaging just 5.3 targets a game in his past three outings. Thomas already faced Kansas City in Week 4, and he finished that game with four catches for 24 yards on seven targets. And in his past five meetings with the Chiefs, Thomas has just 23 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown.
Robby Anderson, NYJ (at CHI)
Anderson has caught just 17 of his 36 targets thus far, including a meager 3-of-10 (for 44 yards) last week in a game that Quincy Enunwa didn’t play. The Jets’ terrible offensive line could be even worse this week as center Spencer Wood suffered a leg injury against Minnesota, which means Sam Darnold may have 1.2 seconds per snap before Chicago’s front gets to him. Anderson’s biggest draw is his speed, but he needs time to get downfield. That’s time he’s unlikely to have in Week 8, and it’s not wise to trust him to rack up the short- and mid-range catches.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Alshon Jeffrey, PHI (vs. JAC, London)
Since coming back from an injury that derailed the start of his season, Jeffrey has been on fire, scoring at least 21 PPR points in three of his past four games. In his past two outings (Giants, Panthers), Jeffery has 15 catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns on 22 targets. But this should be a tough test for him against the Jaguars in London. The Jaguars allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers, as the secondary is the least of Jacksonville's problems right now. He's still worth starting as a WR3 or flex in most leagues, just don't expect big numbers against Jalen Ramsey and his cohorts.
START THESE TEs...
C.J. Uzomah, CIN (vs. TB)
Uzomah has unquestionably stepped into Tyler Eifert’s role, logging snap counts of 92, 92 and 97 percent in Cincinnati’s last three games. He’s only notched more than two targets in a game twice, but this week’s matchup against Tampa Bay is too good to pass up and Uzomah has caught 17 of the 19 targets he has seen thus far. The Bucs are giving up the most fantasy points to tight ends per game and have yielded more than 50 yards to six opposing TEs in their last five contests. They also have a surrendered a TD to a TE in four straight and just lost middle linebacker Kwon Alexander to a torn ACL.
O.J. Howard, TB (at CIN)
Lots of people thought that with Howard’s MCL injury and the return of Jameis Winston, Howard would fall behind Cameron Brate in the pecking order. However, that is not the case. In the two games since Winston’s return, Howard has scored double-digit fantasy points both times. Next up for Howard is a trip to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team that has been victimized by the tight end position. After seven weeks, the Bengals have surrendered the most fantasy points overall to the position, including 17 catches and nearly 200 yards in the last two games alone. While Brate has always appeared to be Winston’s favorite target, Howard represents the more dynamic option.
Vance McDonald, PIT (vs. CLE)
The Browns are on the ropes after a 38-14 loss to the Chargers and a sloppy 26-23 overtime defeat to the Buccaneers. Now they are tasked with going on the road and facing the Steelers, winners of their last two games and a team that is coming off of its bye healthy and refreshed. This spells disaster for Cleveland, who could be on the hook for a blowout. That makes all Pittsburgh skill position players fantasy viable, including McDonald, who has 20 catches for 274 yards and a touchdown on the season.
MIGHT WE WORTH THE RISK...
Dallas Goedert, PHI (vs. JAC, London)
Goedert has been boom or bust all season on the fantasy side. He just caught four passes for 43 yards and a score Sunday and added seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. However, in his other five games combined, Goedert has just six catches for 40 yards. But the Eagles seem to be catching the Jaguars at the right time. Jacksonville ranks just 19th in defensive efficiency versus tight ends, per Football Outsiders, so maybe Goedert can break through again.
SIT THESE TEs...
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. NO)
After seven weeks, Rudolph is ranked 12th in scoring at his position. This week though, trouble may be on the horizon for those who start him. Up next for the Vikings are the Saints, currently on the hook for a league-low 211 receiving yards to tight ends. When you couple that with just one touchdown, that's why New Orleans has been among the stingiest to TEs this season.
Greg Olsen, CAR (vs. BAL)
Olsen has just six catches for 53 yards in his last two games since returning from another foot injury. While Olsen can produce better numbers (he had three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-16), it's hard seeing him do much better Sunday against the league's No. 1 scoring defense (14.4 ppg). That alone handicaps Olsen's chances of finding the end zone, so his fantasy outlook isn't great for Week 8.
Michael Roberts, DET (vs. SEA)
With the tight end position being so terrible and Rob Gronkowski hurting, many fantasy owners might have been excited about Roberts' two-touchdown performance a week ago. But as I've said before in this space – don't go out and chase the points. The truth is that he played the third-most snaps among Lions' tight ends and ran just eight routes. Give him credit for making the most of his THREE targets, but there are better alternatives on the waiver wire. And that's saying something considering the state of the position.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jordan Reed, WAS (at NYG)
Reed’s 259 air yards rank him 13th at the position, which is disappointing considering the Redskins lack playmakers in the passing game and Chris Thompson, Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson have all missed time because of injuries. Take last week when all three sat out. That left Reed as the best option to throw to and yet he got four targets and finished with 43 yards on two catches. He hasn’t done much when he finds the ball either, as his 97 yards after the catch are 19th among TEs. He’s finally staying healthy but now he’s not good! It’s hard to trust Reed, Alex Smith or Jay Gruden for that matter right now.
— 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.