Fantasy Football Week 8 reactions and Week 9 early waiver wire: Does it matter who starts at QB for Tampa?

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Week 8 brought us another great Todd Gurley game (but it could have been a little bit better, just get into the end zone, Todd), a return to form for Deshaun Watson, Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald and Jack Doyle, a fourth-quarter Tyreek Hill injury and, what we'll really come away scratching our heads over, another baffling performance by Jameis Winston.

Winston followed up a weak outing against the Browns with a four-interception stinker at Cincinnati on Sunday. He was so bad, head coach Dirk Koetter pulled him late in the third quarter, inserting Ryan Fitzpatrick back into the lineup — and the Bucs nearly came back and won!

Tampa Bay has an offense that Fantasy owners are focused on. They have a stud receiver in Mike Evans, a couple of fringe starters in touchdown-hog Chris Godwin and big-play guy DeSean Jackson. Tight end O.J. Howard has become a popular starter as well. And whoever they start at quarterback winds up being in the starting lineup discussion.

Koetter won't say who his starting quarterback will be in Week 9 at Carolina, but Fantasy owners should root for Fitzpatrick. Here's why:

(Keep in mind that the Bucs have effectively played 15 quarters with Fitzpatrick and 14 with Winston. Winston attempted four more passes than Fitzpatrick this season.)

Mike Evans with Fitzpatrick: 27 catches, 483 yards, four touchdowns (73 percent catch rate)
Mike Evans with Winston: 19 catches, 287 yards, no touchdowns (63 percent catch rate)

DeSean Jackson with Fitzpatrick: 18 catches, 427 yards, three touchdowns (82 percent catch rate)
DeSean Jackson with Winston: 8 catches, 167 yards, one touchdown (36 percent catch rate)

Chris Godwin with Fitzpatrick: 14 catches, 191 yards, three touchdowns (58 percent catch rate)
Chris Godwin with Winston: 14 catches, 149 yards, one touchdown (70 percent catch rate)

O.J. Howard with Fitzpatrick: 12 catches, 240 yards, two touchdowns (67 percent catch rate)
O.J. Howard with Winston: 12 catches, 179 yards, one touchdown (75 percent catch rate)

It goes without saying that if you own any of these Bucs players, Fitzpatrick is who you want under center. And it makes sense — he's played better, he's turned the ball over less and it sure seems like his teammates love him:

Sure looks like this team likes playing for one of these QBs. @daverichard pic.twitter.com/OPZwxqyiGe

— Dewey Singleton (@mrsingleton) October 28, 2018

Four big questions from Week 8

Le'Veon's not gonna get his job back, is he?

Nope.

Can we count on Lamar Miller? Kenyan Drake? Nick Chubb?

That's three questions in one, but it's cool. The Texans offensive line has played better over their last two games and should hold up at Denver in Week 9. That's a huge key to Miller's success since he's not as explosive as he once was.

Speaking of explosiveness, Drake has been a big positive for the Dolphins' otherwise disappointing offense over the last two games. We'd like to see the Dolphins give him more touches, but for the time being he's an acceptable No. 2 running back against the Jets in Week 9.

The silver lining to Chubb's weak statistical game at the Steelers was the amount of touches he had: 18 carries and two catches. He still has a must-start feel, if only because the Browns' next three opponents (Chiefs, Falcons, Bengals) all struggle against the run. Unfortunately for Cleveland, all three opponents all thrive offensively, so if they get behind early it could be tough for Chubb to rack up work.

Volume matters here, which is why Chubb and Miller have an edge over Drake. Chubb has playmaker potential, making him the best of the bunch. Don't be swayed by his rough outing at Pittsburgh — better games are ahead for him.

Was Sunday the start of Jordan Howard's comeback?

Anytime the Bears' expected game script is favorable — meaning they're expected to win and playing against either a bad run defense or a bad offense — Howard is going to be solid. That was the case on Sunday when they found themselves with a decent lead against the Jets and Howard notched 53 yards and a score on 10 fourth-quarter carries — finishing with 22 carries for 81 yards total. A similar situation should play out in the Bears' next two games against the Bills and Lions. He should be reliable as runner with 15-plus touches then.

Is it ever going to happen for Jordan Reed?

There aren't any excuses today. The Redskins really tried hard to get Reed involved in the offense, focusing 12 targets on him and connecting seven times. But the veteran could only amass 38 yards, his third-worst tally of the year. Now's not the time to get pessimistic, however — he'll play the Falcons in Week 9. If he can't do it against that defense then it's time to kick him to the curb.

Six big waiver pickups for Week 9 and beyond

  • D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers (15 percent owned): Moore started and had his most prolific game as a pro, totaling 129 total yards. It's an exciting game for Moore, who has seen his targets increase over the last four weeks, notching at least four grabs in three of those games. On Sunday, he got an opportunity to play more with Torrey Smith sidelined. He's worth speculating on.
  • Keke Coutee, WR, Texans (37 percent owned): Whether the Texans add another receiver or not, Coutee will get on the field when he returns from his hamstring injury. That return might not be until Week 11 following the team's bye week, but he should get back into a good-sized role. Coutee caught 21 of 30 targets for 196 yards and a score in just over three games.
  • DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins - maybe (15 percent owned): The Dolphins need help at receiver and Parker delivered. His 134-yard game was a career-high and he could be leaned on for the rest of the season in Miami. Or, if the Dolphins get a decent trade offer for him, they'll let him go and he'll wind up with a contender.
  • Anthony Miller, WR, Bears (13 percent owned): Last week, Miller led the Bears in targets. This week, he was the only receiver to catch a touchdown. Since the bye week he's been a regular part of Chicago's offense and should continue to be when he plays at Buffalo in Week 9.
  • David Moore, WR, Seahawks (9 percent owned): How many more touchdowns does this guy have to score in order to get some love in Fantasy?! He's found pay dirt four times in his last three, including a lucky-bounce score Sunday at the Lions. Maybe we'll see more consistent playing time for Moore moving forward — and an uptick in targets to boot. He's had just 11 of those in his last three, catching nine.
  • Josh Adams, RB, Eagles (1 percent owned): For those who like to speculate on running backs, Adams sparsely played but did well when he did get touches. On a stat line of 9-61-0, Adams led the Eagles in all rushing categories, adding a six-yard catch. With Corey Clement doing nothing special for the second week in a row, perhaps Adams will step into more playing time when the Eagles come out of their Week 9 bye.

So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 9? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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