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Fantasy football: Last minute start/sits for Week 8

Lineup help? We’ve got it for you

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If you’re at this point in the season and your start/sit decisions still matter, good for you. We’re about halfway through the season if you start your playoffs in Week 14. These games really start to feel like they mean more for playoff leverage and with the four-team byes in full swing, start/sit decisions can be even more stressful than usual. Hopefully, this can be here to help. Hopefully.

Here’s start/sit for Week 8

Running back

Start: Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins

Peterson is only averaging 16.8 rushing attempts per game, but his 73 rushing yards per game is his best since 2015. He’ll be facing a Giants defense that just traded away Damon Harrison and while B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson are good, they’re not Damon Harrison, at least not yet. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington with a lead fairly early on that will allow the game script to flow through Peterson and the Washington running game.

Start: Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

If the Lions haven’t figured out they need to use Kerryon Johnson more by now...

Last week he had 19 carries for 158 yards against a Miami defense that’s still 11th in DVOA against the run after that performance. Johnson and the Lions will face a Seahawks defense that’s 12th in DVOA against the run and has allowed the 19th most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. It’s not a great matchup, but it’s not terrible and could be a close enough game for the Lions to keep Johnson involved.

Sit: Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts

Mack took over as the clear lead back when he returned from injury — 12 carries for 89 yards in Week 6 and 19 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown in Week 7. But injury might be the issue here. Mack was downgraded to a DNP on Thursday, so his status for the game is unknown. Even if Mack does play and isn’t 100 percent, he’s not so much of a workhorse and the Colts do have more depth at running back that Indianapolis wouldn’t have to continually give him the ball.

Side note: Monitor Mack’s status if you have Nyheim Hines. He’s a good start is Mack is out, but probably a sit even if Mack plays at less than 100 percent.

Sit: Carlos Hyde, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde just before Week 7’s games, but he was inactive on Sunday. This game against the Eagles in London will be Hyde’s first official game with Jacksonville, but until his usage is revealed, it’s probably best to stay away. Against Houston last week, T.J. Yeldon took most of the snaps and touches — 12 rushes and seven targets — over Jamaal Charles, who was released this week. We don’t know if this is going to be a 50-50 split or if Yeldon will still be the lead back with Leonard Fournette sidelined and that’s just not a gamble you should want to take.

Wide receiver

Start: John Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Brown is someone you should almost not think twice about starting every week. He’s the top target on the Ravens, even as opponents don’t treat him like it. Last week against the Saints, Michael Crabtree saw Marshon Lattimore more often than Brown. Brown has been targeted on 39.3 percent of Baltimore’s air yards, which is the fifth-highest share in the league per Next Gen Stats. He’s also going up against a Panthers defense that ranks 30th in big play rate.

Start: Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

Don’t let last week’s bummer of a performance stop you from being excited about a wonderful matchup against the Buccaneers defense. While the Chiefs have been moderately improving on defense — especially against the pass — the Bucs have not. Tampa ranks 32nd against the pass and a change at defensive coordinator isn’t really going to help the lack of talent in the secondary. Boyd has been a fantasy dud in two of the past three weeks, but there’s nothing like a game against a terrible pass defense to turn that ship around.

Sit: Michael Crabtree, Baltimore Ravens

Crabtree leads the Ravens in targets, but his actual role isn’t all that appealing. He’s targeted downfield signifcantly less than Brown — 25.1 percent of Baltimore’s air yards — and he hasn’t been great after the catch, averaging just 2.6 YAC per reception against an expected 4.2, per Next Gen Stats. He’s a better play in PPR leagues because of the volume, but against a defense that gives up long plays as often as the Panthers do, it opens up the chance for Crabtree to be overshadowed by Brown.

Sit: Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin’s production really hasn’t been there since Week 3 and he hasn’t been one of Jameis Winston’s top targets since the quarterback change was made. Godwin saw six targets last week against the Cleveland Browns, but that was only fourth on the team. He’s going against a Bengals team that has fared better against WR3’s in coverage than 1’s and 2’s, so this could be a high target game for Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. With Godwin now you’re banking on a touchdown for him to be startable and he’s only had two targets inside the 20 since Week 3, both of which came in Week 5.

Tight end

Start: Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders

With Amari Cooper gone, there aren’t many other reliable options for the Oakland passing game. Cook only had two targets in Week 6, but he still leads the team in targets for the season and his biggest competition is now gone. Cook is third among tight ends in red zone targets (12) and leads them in red zone receptions (9). The problem, of course, is whether or not this Raiders offense is ever getting back to the red zone, especially against a surprisingly above average Colts defense this week, but Cook should still be targeted often enough on the way there to be worth the play.

Sit: C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals

The matchup is great, as we discussed with Tyler Boyd, but C.J. Uzomah just hasn’t been a part of Cincinnati’s offensive game plan this season. He had seven targets in Week 6, but that’s the only time he’s topped two targets since taking over as the starter at tight end. Last week there was a touchdown, but just two receptions for 13 yards. With so many other receiving options for the Bengals and so little secondary depth for the Bucs, you’re really stretching for that touchdown if you’re starting Uzomah this week.