The fantasy football season is rolling on into Week 8, and another four-bye week will make some tough lineup decisions for fantasy owners. Washington, Arizona, Houston, and Jacksonville are all off, which means the likes of Deshaun Watson, Chase Edmonds, James Robinson, DJ Chark, Terry McLaurin, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and more will be unavailable. With the depth now lacking a bit and numerous players dealing with injuries (especially at the RB position), fantasy owners are going to have to scour our Week 8 fantasy rankings for some worthwhile sleepers, like the emerging La’Mical Perine or injury fill-ins Rashard Higgins and Scotty Miller, in key start ’em, sit ’em decisions.
Perine might be the best long-term sleeper of the bunch, but Week 8 may be Le’Veon Bell’s time to shine. In a revenge game against the Jets, Bell should be motivated to put up big numbers and could make Adam Gase look foolish by carving up his defense. Elsewhere, receivers like Miller (@ Giants) and Greg Ward Jr. (vs. Cowboys) have favorable prime-time matchups against NFC East teams that could help them put up some solid numbers and emerge as good replacements for the likes of McLaurin, Hopkins, and Fuller.
Last week, our sleepers did pretty well. RBs Boston Scott and Giovani Bernard each found the end zone through the air thanks to their expanded roles in the Eagles and Bengals offenses, respectively. At quarterback, Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater had two-TD outings, while Matthew Stafford went for over 340 yards against the Falcons. Christian Kirk found the end zone again for the Cardinals, while Marvin Jones racked up 80 yards against the Falcons. Also, Logan Thomas and David Njoku each scored at the tight end spot.
Our D/ST sleepers were the weak link of the group this week. While the Browns were able to create some turnovers, they didn’t make quite enough big plays to be top-tier options. Meanwhile, the Saints allowed 23 points to the Panthers and only had one sack and no turnovers. The Eagles were solid, but they alone don’t make up for the other two defenses being only mediocre, so we’ll try to do better there this time around.
Week 8 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Le’Veon Bell, Chiefs vs. Jets (Jacob Camenker). So far this season, the Jets have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs. Bell may be splitting carries with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but this is a massive revenge game for the Chiefs runner who was cut by the Jets just a couple of weeks ago. Expect him to come ready to play and the coaching staff to give him plenty of touches to help spark their offense. He’ll be a flex play most weeks, but in a favorable matchup with this type of motivation, Bell can be trusted as an RB2.
Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers at Giants (Vinnie Iyer). He’s getting more involved, and game script should call for Tampa to win more with running and defense once it grabs a big first-half lead.
La’Mical Perine, Jets @ Chiefs (Matt Lutovsky). Perine saw more snaps than Frank Gore for the second straight game last week, and he received the same amount of carries (11) and three more targets. It appears he’s starting to take over in the Jets backfield, and in a game that should feature some garbage-time yards against Kansas City’s below-average run defense, Perine should work as a high-upside flex, if not an RB2.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Baker Mayfield, Browns vs. Raiders (Camenker). Mayfield is coming off a crazy five-TD game against the Bengals, and while many will point out that he has lost Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) for the season, he did just fine without him in a favorable matchup against the Bengals last week. The Raiders are allowing the third-most FPPG to QBs this season (23.5), so Mayfield is a usable streamer as he should stay hot in a good matchup.
Derek Carr, Raiders at Browns (Iyer). This is a sneaky high-scoring game on the slate with two bad defenses and very competent offenses that are more explosive than you think. Darren Waller and others will help him have a big day on the road.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers @ Seahawks (Lutovsky). Garoppolo has posted at least 268 passing yards in each of the past two games, and while his touchdowns have been inconsistent all year, he has significant upside against Seattle’s league-worst pass defense, especially given the injuries to San Francisco’s RBs.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Scotty Miller, Buccaneers @ Giants (Camenker). Miller hasn’t been consistent this year, but he does have at least 73 receiving yards in four of his seven outings this year. He’s also coming off a 109-yard, one-TD performance against the Raiders. With Chris Godwin (finger) out this week, Miller should see solid volume and will have a chance to rack up catches against a Giants defense that has allowed 101 receptions to WRs this year, good for the fourth most in the NFL.
Rashard Higgins, Browns vs. Raiders (Iyer). He gets his big opportunity with OBJ down, and he’ll be busy immediately as their best outside option against shaky cornerbacks. His hands and route-running aren’t fluky at all.
Greg Ward Jr., Eagles vs. Cowboys (Lutovsky). Ward has scored in three of the past five games and had at least four receptions in four of the past five games. He’s much better suited for PPR leagues, but Ward can have standard-league value against a Cowboys defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to WRs.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Richard Rodgers, Eagles vs. Cowboys (Camenker). Carson Wentz loves throwing to his tight end, no matter who it is. Rodgers led the Eagles with six catches and 85 yards against the Giants last week and will get a chance to be the top tight end against an awful Dallas defense in Week 8. Feel free to fire up Rodgers one last time as a top-10 TE before Dallas Goedert (ankle) presumably returns after Philly’s Week 9 bye.
Jimmy Graham, Bears vs. Saints (Iyer). This might the last time he faces his former team, and he won’t pass up scoring in a revenge game with a great matchup.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys @ Eagles (Lutovsky). Schultz is a risk given the Cowboys QB woes, but it’s possible rookie Ben DiNucci leans on short passes to his TE more than usual. Either way, it’s a favorable matchup for Schultz, as the Eagles allow the eighth-most FPPG to TEs.
Week 8 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses
Detroit Lions vs. Colts (Camenker). The Lions have limited opponents to an average of 19 points in their past two games. Granted, those games came against the Falcons and the Jaguars, who don’t have great offensive lines, but the fact of the matter is the Lions are getting healthier and better on defense. They may not be a top streamer, but given that Philip Rivers isn’t very mobile and is prone to untimely interceptions, Detroit could be worth a gamble if you need a defense.
Tennessee Titans at Bengals (Iyer). They’ll likely give up some good yards and points, but they will also get some key sacks and takeaways as they eventually tee off with the lead because their offense will not be stopped.
Green Bay Packers vs. Vikings (Lutovsky). Minnesota has turned it over multiple times in four of the past five games, including three turnovers in three of the past four games. They’ve also allowed 12 sacks in that span. Green Bay hasn’t done much this year, but it’s worth a start in this home matchup.