Week 8 brings us to the midpoint of the fantasy football regular season in most leagues. It is at this point where truth separates itself from dreams. The picks that have yet to produce probably won’t, and if playoffs are the end game, now is the time to embrace facts and either set them free or bench them.
On the other hand, if the sleeper pick has worked out and the waiver wire has become a pot of gold, then cheers.
START: Josh Allen, QB, Bills: The normally run-oriented Buffalo offense will happily take to the skies against an Eagles pass defense that has allowed the third-most yards (1,884) in the league. Allen has yet to pass for more than 254 yards in a game this season, a fact that could be corrected quickly.
SIT: Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Rivers has averaged 310.6 passing yards on the road, yet will be hard-pressed to maintain that pace against the Bears’ defense ranked third in the league in fewest yards allowed per completion at 9.9. Chicago is also fifth overall in fewest net yards gained per pass attempt (5.7).
START: Latavius Murray, RB, Saints: Alvin Kamara (ankle) remains uncertain, so feel comfortable plugging in Murray, who accounted for 150 yards from scrimmage and two rushing scores in last week’s win at the Bears. Murray also ranks among the top 10 in rushing yards before contact per attempt (2.8).
SIT: Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: In his last two games, Mixon has rushed for 12 yards on 10 carries, a 1.2-yard average that pales in comparison to the 3.4 yards the Rams run defense allows, the third-best total in the league. Mixon does have two receiving touchdowns yet manages just 6.6 yards per catch.
START: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: Tied for sixth with nine receptions of better than 20 yards, Lockett faces a Falcons defense that is the fifth-worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing receivers. Atlanta has given up 17 touchdown passes, tied with the Cardinals for the league’s highest total.
SIT: Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs: Kansas City’s prolific passing numbers have to be tempered without Patrick Mahomes. Robinson’s numbers had been fading even before Mahomes’ injury, managing just 10 receptions for 97 yards over the past four games.
START: Darren Waller, TE, Raiders: The Texans have done a good job containing the fantasy production of opposing tight ends, but that will change as Waller has recorded at least six receptions in all but one game this season, including a pair of 100-yard outings. If WR Tyrell Williams (foot) stays sidelined, Waller could be in for 12-14 targets from QB Derek Carr.
SIT: Gerald Everett, TE, Rams: Winless Cincinnati is sixth-best in fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. Everett has recorded 26 targets over the last three games yet could see the frequent connection from QB Jared Goff slowed this week, especially considering the Bengals have the league’s worst run defense.
START: Sonny Michel, RB, Patriots: Michel’s paltry 3.3 yards per carry could find a welcome tonic in the form of the Browns, who have allowed five yards per carry while yielding 154 yards on the ground. Michel, who scored three times in Monday’s win over the Jets, is positioned to record his first 100-yard game of the season.
SIT: Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: The Patriots defense has an unreal 18:1 INT:TD margin this season. Considering that Mayfield has thrown at least two interceptions in three of his six starts this season, playing him is a gold-plated fool’s errand.
START: Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos: With Emmanuel Sanders dealt to the 49ers, Sutton becomes the undisputed receiver of choice in Denver. Sutton averaged nearly eight targets per game opposite Sanders, so expect him to become a consistent 10-12 targets per game presence beginning against a Colts defense ranked 21st in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing receivers.
SIT: Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins: A lingering high ankle sprain will already limit Peterson, who hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since Week 2. Further limiting his production will be a Vikings run defense that is fifth-best in fantasy when it comes to slowing down opposing running backs.
START: Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: The Giants allow the fifth-highest yards per completion (12.6), which sets up well for Stafford, who has thrown seven touchdowns in his last three games and has an impressive 13:3 TD:INT rate this season. He’s averaged 327.5 yards and 3.5 touchdown passes in his last two home starts.
SIT: Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: Over the last three games, Anderson has caught just seven of 19 passes targeted to him (36.8%). Don’t expect a sudden upswing in fortune as the Jaguars defense has the fifth-lowest completion percentage (59.4%) in the league.
START: John Brown, WR, Bills: No defense is as fantasy-friendly to opposing receivers than the Eagles, who will have to contend with the deep speed of Brown, who has produced at least 72 receiving yards in four of his six starts. He scored his first touchdown since Week 1 in last week’s win over the Dolphins and stands a great chance to find the end zone against the Eagles, who have allowed 14 passing touchdowns.
SIT: Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers: At some point, the Chargers will give Austin Ekeler more touches than Gordon, who has averaged 2.3 yards on 36 carries and doesn’t have a run longer than seven yards. Chicago has the fifth-lowest yards average yards per carry at 3.6, making the task of starting Gordon even more daunting.
START: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans: A high-risk, high-reward play, Tannehill threw for 312 yards and two scores in last week’s win over the Chargers. A bigger day awaits him against a Buccaneers defense that is sixth-worst in fantasy against opposing passers.
SIT: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: He’s thrown for less than 200 yards in three of his last four games and gets the unwelcome task of facing a Bills pass defense that’s allowed the third-fewest yards while allowing just four touchdown passes.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com