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The Eagles and Jaguars are in London; can Bortles find his magic?
There have been plenty of low moments in the career of Blake Bortles, but getting benched for Cody Kessler in a home loss to a division opponent has to be near the bottom. Fortunately for him, he heads to his home away from home in Week 8, and he's been awfully comfortable there in the past.
Seem unlikely Bortles could have a good game against the defending Super Bowl champions? Last year he faced the Baltimore Ravens in London and threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns. In the past three seasons he's thrown eight touchdown passes and just one interception across the pond.
None of this is to say you should start Bortles this week, unless you're in a two-QB or superflex league. But you may not want to completely bury this offense. If there's one thing the Jaguars know better than any team in the league, it's how to handle to travel, preparation and environment of a London game.
There are a lot of touches available in Oakland.
Since we last saw them, the Raiders have traded away their No. 1 receiver (Amari Cooper) and placed their No. 1 running back (Marshawn Lynch) on injured reserve. This is not a recipe for offensive success, but there is a positive in Fantasy -- there's a lot of opportunity now.
Lynch and Cooper had combined for nearly 22 percent of the team's targets and more than 63 percent of the team's rush attempts. And while it seems like a big negative for Derek Carr, Lynch and Cooper hadn't exactly been efficient with those targets. You can make a pretty strong case that Carr has been better when throwing to his other top targets.
So who benefits? Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook should see more regularity in their targets, but the hidden riser may be Martavis Bryant. Bryant has averaged 10 yards per target this season, but he's only seen 22 targets. He's by far the best downfield threat in this offense and could be a legitimate flex option on a weekly basis if he sees six targets a game.
In the running game, Doug Martin will get the first crack at replacing Lynch, but Jalen Richard should see a small boost as well. Richard has been heavily involved whenever the team falls behind, and this is a team we expect to play from behind a lot this year. You can use both running backs as a flex in Week 8 against the Colts.
The Giants are even worse.
If you've watched the Giants, this may not seem possible, but after dealing Damon Harrison and Eli Apple, they are even worse than their performance indicates. It's hard to see how they'll stop anyone on defense, as they were merely average with these two players on the roster.
So now you have a team with a below-average defense, a bad offensive line and one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. That doesn't sound like a great recipe for an elite running back and an elite wide receiver, right? You're still starting Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham, but I wouldn't blame you for trying to sell high.
The Seahawks and Lions aren't letting their quarterbacks throw.
At a time when 90 percent of the NFL seems to realize that more passing is optimal, the Seahawks and Lions are going to opposite direction. And it really hampers the Fantasy upside for a couple of very good quarterbacks.
From 2014-2017, Matthew Stafford was fourth in pass attempts in the NFL, averaging 36.7 attempts per game. In the past four games he hasn't topped 36 attempts once. Because of that, Stafford's Fantasy production has been limited, even though he's been pretty awesome on a per-pass basis. With three extremely talented receivers on the team that lack of volume is troubling. But it isn't as bad as Seattle.
Russell Wilson hasn't attempted more than 26 passes in a game since Week 2. Yes somehow he's been awesome in Fantasy his past two games because he's thrown three touchdowns in each game. You do not want to bet on a quarterback tossing a touchdown once every seven passes. The one thing to watch in this offense is whether Doug Baldwin can dominate targets as he did in Week 6. If not, he could be tough to start moving forward.
It should be a shootout in Los Angeles.
The Rams are undoubtedly one of the top teams in the league, but their defense hasn't exactly been stingy, and they're facing Aaron Rodgers this week. This could be fun.
On the Rams side, things are pretty easy. You start Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. You don't even have to think about it. The Packers are a completely different story. Sure, Rodgers, Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham are must-starts, but there are a lot of moving parts beyond that.
Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb are both working their way back from injury, and Mike McCarthy sounds optimistic. That would make Allison a flex, or No. 3 receiver. Cobb and Marquez Valdes-Scantling become receivers who should be owned but can't be started with any confidence until we see how they're all used. The running backs are even more frustrating. Aaron Jones is clearly the best back and would be top-20 with normal usage, but his usage has been anything but. Until McCarthy gives him more work, he's a touchdown-dependent flex.
Watch the Cardinals new offensive game plan.
Byron Leftwich takes over for Mike McCoy, and it's really hard to imagine Arizona's game plan could be any worse. The question is whether it will be better. Most importantly, how will the Cardinals use David Johnson? Johnson has averaged more than 20 touches a game the past month, but far too many of them have been running into the back of his below-average offensive line. Hopefully, Leftwich can get him in space and Johnson can return to being a top-five running back.
I also want to see the target distribution. It's hard for any receiver to be good in Arizona unless they're getting 25 percent of the targets, and so far it's been a very even split between Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald. Let's see if Leftwich instructs Josh Rosen to get one of these guys more involved.
Andy Dalton has another great matchup.
Dalton was disappointing last week against the Chiefs. So was Tyler Boyd. Don't let that dissuade you in Week 8. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been by far the worst secondary in the NFL. Quarterbacks have averaged 31.7 Fantasy points per game against them. Patrick Mahomes is the only quarterback averaging more than 30 Fantasy points per game.
As for Boyd, there have already been 12 receivers reach 100 yards or score a touchdown against Tampa Bay. They've only played six games. You should start your Bengals this week.
Monday Night Football features a pair of useful backup running backs.
There are several backup running backs thrust into bigger roles this week but two of the most interesting will be playing on Monday night, which is more than a little bit stressful.
Kenjon Barner will share the feature role with James White, and we really don't have much reason to have confidence in the split of carries. Last week it was near 50-50, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the Patriots build a three-score lead and then lean on Barner while protecting White. Treat him as a flex that has top-15 upside if he gets in the end zone.
Chris Ivory will fill in for LeSean McCoy if the latter is unable to recover from his concussion in time for Week 8. Ivory has shined in that role when he's been given the opportunity. In Week 3 he had 126 yards against the Vikings, and last week he has 106 against Indianapolis. The key will be Saturday's injury report. If McCoy is ruled out, you start Ivory. If he's questionable, you should probably play it safe with another option on Sunday.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 8?Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 5 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.