Week 8 Where to Put'em

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm ET

This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 8 of the 2015 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Start 'em Philip Rivers (SD, QB)
Coming into this week's QB rankings at #2 overall is Philip Rivers who is averaging 20 points a game facing a Ravens defense that gives up the 5th-most passing yards in the NFL. The Ravens have given up an average of 26 fantasy points over their past 5 games including 22 to Colin Kaepernick and 33 to Josh McCown. Rivers is a great play this week.
Start 'em Eli Manning (NYG, QB)
It's not always easy to predict what you'll get from Eli each week, but his #8 ranking is indicative of what the industry thinks of his chances this week against a New Orleans secondary that have given up the 7th-most passing yards this season. Andrew Luck bounced back last week for 24 fantasy points. Eli can do the same.
Start 'em Doug Martin (TB, RB)
Doug Martin looks like a rejuvenated version of the running back who took the NFL by storm in 2012. He has outplayed his projections the past 3 games putting up an average of 23 points in std scoring and 27 points in PPR. Atlanta has been tough against the run this year, but you gotta play the hot hand and Martin is playing well right now.
Start 'em Chris Johnson (ARI, RB)
Even without the questionable 60+ yard run last week, Chris Johnson was dominating the backfield situation in Arizona. His #12 ranking on FFN this week is because he's clearly the lead back and has a fantastic matchup against a Browns defense that gives up more points to opposing running backs this year than any other team.
Start 'em John Brown (ARI, WR)
Has the torch been passed now? Larry Fitzgerald is still listed atop the depth chart and will still command defensive attention, but it's time for John Brown to shine. There's no better opportunity than against the Browns.
Start 'em Jeremy Maclin (KC, WR)
Coming into this week's FFN rankings at #14 among wide receivers is Jeremy Maclin who missed last week's game due to the concussion protocol. He should be fine for this week and what a tasty matchup he'll have against a Detroit secondary that gives up the 8th-most passing yards and the 6th-most fantasy points.
Start 'em Ladarius Green (SD, TE)
It may be tough to run against Baltimore, but it's not so difficult to throw on them. When your QB is Philip Rivers, it gets even easier. With Antonio Gates missing practice again this week, it's likely going to be the Ladarius Green show. He should see plenty of targets this week.
Start 'em Benjamin Watson (NO, TE)
It's no secret that Drew Brees has always favored his tight ends. Benjamin Watson was done a decent job filling the void left by Jimmy Graham's departure. The Giants have surrendered an average of 10 points (std) and 16 points (PPR) to opposing TE's this year. Watson could put up similar numbers.
Start 'em Green Bay Packers (GB, DEF)
Just slipping into the Top 10 spot among defenses this week are the Packers who will face an undefeated Broncos team with a Peyton Manning under center that most of us don't recognize. The Packers have allowed the fewest team points on the season and will likely keep that going at Mile High Stadium.
Start 'em Matt Bryant (ATL, K)
Matt Bryant may not have put up the kinds of numbers this year that we were hoping, but he has an opportunity to shine this week against a Tampa Bay team that has allowed opposing offenses to put up the 2nd-most points on the board.
Sit 'em Peyton Manning (DEN, QB)
I'm not sure if Peyton has ever been on the Sit list, but look at the FFN rankings this week and you'll find him hanging out at #20 overall. When we combine his poor play this year with a matchup against a resurgent Packers defense, it doesn't look good. No defense has allowed fewer points on the board this year than Green Bay.
Sit 'em Matt Cassel (DAL, QB)
There's a small chance that we could see Dez Bryant this week, but sorry Cowboys Nation - this is not the QB that you were looking for. With 227 yards and 3 picks last week, Cassel put up a disappointing 7 points. His deep throws were short. His short throws were slow and often off-target. Even if we chalk that up to rust, the Seahawks give up the 3rd-fewest passing yards per game.
Sit 'em Darren McFadden (DAL, RB)
Yes, he has the starting job now in Dallas, and yes, he's still freakishly talented, but with no real passing threat and a matchup against a Seattle defense that gives up the 6th-fewest rushing yards per game, Run DMC will run into a tough day.
Sit 'em Jeremy Hill (CIN, RB)
This hasn't been Jeremy Hill's year. He's averaging just 10 points per game and just 3 yards per carry compared to Gio Bernard's 14 points per game and 5.5 yards per carry. A matchup against the Steelers isn't likely to boost those numbers as Pittsburgh has held lead running backs to an average of 8.8 points a game.
Sit 'em Travis Benjamin (CLE, WR)
In addition to TE Gary Barnidge, Travis Benjamin has been one of the few bright spots on a dismal Cleveland team this year. With their QB situation murky (McCown should start) and a crushing Arizona defense that is difficult to throw on, Benjamin is likely to have a rough day.
Sit 'em Amari Cooper (OAK, WR)
As talented as Amari Cooper is and as much as Derek Carr loves throwing to him, it's going to be tough to do much when you're stuck on Revis Island. Julian Edelman managed 5.4 points, Pierre Garcon had 8.8, Jarvis Landry had 6.9, Jordan Mathews had 4.9, and TY Hilton pulled in 4.5 points this year against Revis. This will be a tough game.
Sit 'em Coby Fleener (IND, TE)
Look all the way down to #22 among TE's this week and you'll find Coby Fleener. With an Indy offense that hasn't really found its stride yet and a defensive matchup against a Carolina team that has only allowed double digit fantasy points once this year, there's not much to get excited about here.
Sit 'em Larry Donnell (NYG, TE)
Larry Donnell reminds us of Jermichael Finley from the Packers a few years ago. He's big and talented, but catching the ball consistently was not always a trait they possess. The Giants should be able to throw on the Saints and we expect Eli to have a decent day, but if exclude Greg Olsen's Week 3 statline, the Saints give up an average of just 2 points to TE's.
Sit 'em Miami Dolphins (MIA, DEF)
The Dolphins have been pretty middle-of-the-pack as far as points allowed per game this season. Ending the day somewhere in the middle will be a blessing against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Sit 'em Adam Vinatieri (IND, K)
A staple of fantasy kickers for many years, Adam Vinatieri has been consistently good. He may have some difficulties this week against a Carolina team that gives up the 5th-fewest points per game.

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