Fantasy Football Report: Week 8

Gourav Pany, Staff Writer

Updated Oct. 28

No one needs to be told to start Patrick Mahomes or Derrick Henry on their fantasy team. But what about the flex tight-end/wide-receiver position? What about that one running back on waivers that might be able to fill in a spot for a starting running back on a bye week? Well, this is the place to find the important information in terms of fantasy football, as well as to get a second opinion on who to start or sit this week.


QB: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

After back-to-back weeks of QB1 fantasy production from Burrow, it will be hard to not start him given his matchup against the New York Jets, who allowed over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns to QB Mac Jones last week in a 54-13 loss to the Patriots. With Burrow coming off a 416 yards passing effort that was coupled with three passing touchdowns against a stingy Baltimore Ravens defense, this should be a promising matchup that cements Burrow near the top, if not at the top, of fantasy football quarterback rankings, at least for this week.

Projection: 25.58 points (non-PPR)

RB: Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams

In a promising matchup against the lowly Detroit Lions last week, Henderson disappointed with only 64 total scrimmage yards. However, this was because of the Rams trailing for most of the game because of an over-aggressive and lucky Detroit Lions team that converted two fake punts and recovered an onside kick, all in the first quarter. Going up against another soft defense in the Houston Texans, the Rams should be ahead for a good amount of time, leading to more rushes by Henderson to chew clock at the end of the game. This will also be a game in which Henderson will have plenty of goal-line rushes with RB Sony Michel dealing with a shoulder issue, though the presence of WR Cooper Kupp might dim the touchdown chances for Henderson.

Projection: 11.6 points (non-PPR)

WR: Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

WR Calvin Ridley has averaged only 56.2 yards per game this season, and has only scored two touchdowns, leading to a huge decrease in production fantasy-wise. He did have a touchdown against the Dolphins last week, but only posted 26 yards on 10 targets, one of which resulted in a cornerback snatching the ball away from his hands. However, Ridley faces a Carolina defense that has been collapsing ever since Week 4, leading to the presumption that Ridley could have a big week against them. Helping things is the emergence of rookie TE Kyle Pitts, who has posted two straight 100 yard games and will look to draw extra coverage against the Panthers. This should be a bounce-back game for one of the most underperforming players this year in fantasy.

TE: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

As mentioned above, TE Kyle Pitts has been an absolute nightmare against opposing defenses, and nothing about that changed last week against the Dolphins. When matched up against linebackers, Kyle Pitts possesses the speed to run past them and find open spaces in zones, while he can overpower cornerbacks and safeties on deep seam routes, like he did to CB Xavien Howard last week on a 39-yard completion. Pitts faces a collapsing Carolina Panthers defense that has also been middle-of-the-pack against tight ends, leading to a very promising Week 7 outcome for Pitts.

K: Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys

Affecting this projection is the questionable health of QB Dak Prescott, who doctors say is probably going to play. This Cowboys offense has been explosive all-year, and nothing is going to change against a soft Minnesota Vikings defense without CB Patrick Peterson, their starting cornerback. A limited Prescott might be beneficial for Zuerlein, as it would set up more field goals due to a limited offense and more 4th downs. Zuerlein has been next to perfect this season, and that shouldn’t change as he kicks in the U.S. Bank Stadium, an indoor stadium known for its ideal kicking situation.

DEF: Cincinnati Bengals

After demolishing the Ravens last week to the tune of five sacks and only 17 points allowed, the Bengals face the Jets in what appears to be the best matchup of the week for defenses. Rookie QB Zach Wilson is out for 2-4 weeks due to a sprained PCL, and QB Mike White is set to start after an up-and-down game against the Patriots that featured a lot more down than up. White showed promise with 202 passing yards and a touchdown, but threw two brutal interceptions and was never the answer for the Jets after his first two drives. The Bengals, whose defense let only five third down conversions and only one 4th down conversion, look poised to shut down the Jets and post a large fantasy total.

Projection: 11 points (non-PPR)


QB: Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers

If it wasn’t apparent already, the Panthers offense is limited without the presence of RB Christian McCaffery. Though RB Chuba Hubbard has filled in admirably for the highest-paid running back in the league, Darnold hasn’t displayed the chemistry nor the poise that he had in the first three weeks of the season. Darnold will be a sit given his horrid performance against the woeful Giants defense, in which he threw for only 111 yards and a confusing interception that led him to get benched in favor of former XFL star QB P.J. Walker. Although he has been named the starter for the Panthers’ game against the Falcons’ soft secondary, he should be avoided at all costs as a volatile streaming fantasy QB.

Projection: 11.75 points (non-PPR)

RB: Mike Davis, Atlanta Falcons

While Mike Davis had an unexpectedly good season last year for the Panthers, that hasn’t translated this year for him with the Falcons. While he originally looked poised for a bigger role given the scheme HC Arthur Smith runs, the backfield has largely been taken over by WR/RB Cordarrelle Patterson, who has dominated in carries and targets, and does not seem to be looking back. Although fantasy managers may hope for some goal line carries by Davis, they would be better suited in another running back unless they desperately need a RB3 or Patterson’s health status changes.

Projection: 5.30 points (non-PPR)

WR: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

Cooks got off to a good start given the struggles of the Texans organization in general, but has failed to keep up that pace with QB Davis Mills under center. With QB Tyrod Taylor in the game, Cooks had averaged 107.3 receiving yards per game, while he has only produced 45 yards per game with Mills playing at quarterback. While he is worth a bench spot in most fantasy leagues, he should be a desperation WR3, at least until Taylor returns from injured reserve. What makes matters worse is his matchup against a stingy Rams defense that features All-Pro CB Jalen Ramsey, who will be shadowing Cooks all game long.

Projection: 4.30 points (non-PPR)

TE: Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers

Cook was widely considered to be a sleeper option for the tight end spot, especially when combined with QB Justin Herbert. However, he has not lived up to that promise, losing snaps to TE Donald Parham Jr. and not receiving as much volume as expected with the emergence of WR Mike Williams and WR Jalen Guyton. Cook has averaged 39.2 yards per game, which is solid for a tight end, but not nearly as appealing in terms of fantasy, especially with a game against the Patriots coming up, who have blanketed tight ends with S Kyle Dugger and S Adrian Phillips.

Projection: 2.30 points (non-PPR)

K: Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins

While Sanders has been a solid option in fantasy for many fantasy football managers, he might have a struggle against the Buffalo Bills, who have allowed the 2nd least amount of points in the NFL. The last time the Dolphins faced the Bills, they scored 0 points, which meant Sanders also got 0 points. With things not looking much better even with QB Tua Tagovailoa at helm, Sanders looks primed for another disappointing week.

Projection: 4.00 points (non-PPR)

DEF: Arizona Cardinals

Though the Cardinals defense has been spectacular this year with the addition of DE J.J. Watt and the emergence of LB Isaiah Simmons and LB Zaven Collins, they face a Packers offense headed by QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Davante Adams, who can take advantage of a lackluster Cardinals secondary. Although the Packers rank middle-of-the-pack in terms of total offense, Rodgers has the capability and the experience to rip apart this Cardinals defense on a short week on Thursday Night Football. WR Davante Adams and WR Allen Lazard of the Packers have been placed on the COVID-19 list.

Projection: 1.00 points (non-PPR)