Fantasy Football Blog

As fantasy football surges into back nine, here are extra play ’em & sleeper options

It’s hard to believe but we’ve already seen seven weeks in the books of the 2017 NFL season.

Many fantasy football leagues run playoffs in Weeks 15 and 16. Thus, we’ve hit the halfway point and are now heading into the second half of the regular season in Week 8.

This is a tough week with six teams on a bye. There are a lot of top-shelf running backs on a bye, plus many wide receivers questionable to play. With that in mind, we have an expanded list of play ’em and sleeper candidates.

Week 8 Play ’Em and Sleepers

▪  Cam Newton (Carolina) comes off a very disappointing game but this is a good chance for a rebound against Tampa Bay, which allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

▪  Alex Smith (Kanas City) has a tough matchup but he remains on the low-end starter radar anyway. Smith comes into this one arguably as the leading candidate for NFL MVP with 15 touchdowns to zero interceptions.

▪  If you are thinking of sitting DeShaun Watson (Houston) at Seattle as it’s one of the toughest places to play – don’t do it. Watson has been simply too explosive to consider sitting.

▪  New England shut down Matt Ryan last week though they still allow the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. So, start Phillip Rivers (LA Chargers) with confidence in a potential AFC shootout.

▪  Joe Mixon (Cincinnati) is a good candidate for a breakout game this week against an Indianapolis defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

▪  Marlon Mack (Indianapolis) simply seems too talented not to get an uptick in touches – he can bust a long touchdown on any given play and the Colts need more impact on the offense.

▪  LeGarrette Blount (Philadelphia) should have a strong game and has a strong chance for a score against a 49ers defense that allows the most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

▪  Denver would typically sound like an avoid matchup, but Tyreek Hill (Kansas City) scored four times in two games against them last year (one on a punt return) and you can’t sit a guy who has an amazing eight touchdowns of 60-plus yards in his past 13 games.

▪  Tedd Ginn (New Orleans) comes into this week off an impressive 141-yard game catching all seven of his targets; Ginn has been the second-best wide receiver over the past two weeks.

▪  Demaryius Thomas (Denver) has now gone 12 straight games without a touchdown (dating to last year) but perhaps Thomas gets off the schneid this week against a Kansas City defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing wire receivers. Thomas is certainly due.

▪  Adam Thielen (Minnesota) is one of only two players (he and the Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry) to have at least five receptions in every game this season, though Thielen is still looking for his first touchdown of the season. Thielen is a safe every-week No. 3 fantasy receiver.

▪  Juju Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh) is a strong sleeper this week set to have an expanded role after Martavius Bryant has been suspended this week by the team. Smith-Schuster has averaged three receptions for 44 yards and should easily surpass that this week.

▪  Tyler Kroft (Cincinnati) is worth a start – he’s had at least four passes in three straight games and three touchdowns on the season.

Sit ’Em

▪  You’d would like to think Matt Ryan (Atlanta) can and will rebound at some point (after all, he was the NFL MVP last season averaging 309 yards per game with 38 touchdowns), but Ryan has just seven touchdowns in six games.

▪  With just three receptions in his past two games, T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis) is in sit territory. The next time he has a strong game, Hilton would be a good sell candidate if you can get anywhere near brand-name recognition.

▪  It looks as though Josh Doctson has taken Terrelle Pryor’s (Washington) job – Pryor is best left on the bench until we see a reason to re-consider otherwise.

Alan Satterlee is in his fourth year of writing about fantasy football for The Charlotte Observer. Find him on Twitter at @Speedkills_DFW.