Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 8: Advice for Fringe Flex Fantasy Football Starters

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    In fantasy, it’s never fun to have to play second- or third-tier players. Stars are drafted early for a reason—managers expect them to be weekly lineup staples. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.

    Injuries and bye weeks often force bench players into the starting lineup. The good news is that only the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens are on bye in Week 8. The bad news is that players like Christian McCaffrey, Kareem Hunt, David Montgomery and Russell Wilson are still injured.

    The Green Bay Packers, meanwhile, could be without both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard for Thursday night’s game with the Arizona Cardinals. Adams was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. Lazard, who is unvaccinated, was deemed a close contact and is officially out.

    We’re here to help navigate some of the week’s trickier flex decisions. We’ll examine some fringe flex starters—players who fall outside of the top 50 but inside the top 100 of FantsyPros point-per-reception (PPR) rankings—and determine some of the best starts and sits of the week.

    All picks are based on PPR scoring.

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    Start ‘Em

    Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills

    Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team

    Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans

    Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos

    Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears

    Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

    Sit ‘Em

    Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

    Myles Gaskin RB, Miami Dolphins

    Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

    Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets

    Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers

    Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Managers who watched the New Orleans Saints on Monday night know that Leonard Fournette could have some tough sledding ahead of him in Week 8. The Saints rank first in yards per carry allowed and have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.

    However, managers should also have faith in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ball-carrier because of his PPR upside. In games that are close, Fournette has regularly been a significant piece of the passing attack.

    This wasn’t the case in Week 7, as Fournette had two catches in the 38-3 blowout win over the Chicago Bears. In each of the three previous contests, though, Fournette saw at least five targets and topped 40 receiving yards.

    Fournette has also seen no fewer than 12 carries in any of the last four games, so his workload against New Orleans should be solid. Managers should expect no fewer than 4-5 receptions and 60-plus scrimmage yards in Week 8.

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    After having two solid outings in the last three weeks, Miami Dolphins running back will entice some managers.

    In Week 5, Gaskin caught 10 passes, compiled 99 scrimmage yards and reached the end zone twice. Last week, he had four catches, 77 yards and a score. However, sandwiched between those games, Gaskin had a 14-yard performance.

    While it’s unlikely that Gaskin will be held below 20 scrimmage yards in Week 8, his inconsistent usage is a problem. It won’t help that Gaskin is going up against a Buffalo Bills defense that has allowed the third-fewest (tied) fantasy points to opposing backs.

    The last time Miami and Buffalo did battle, Gaskin had four receptions but only 46 total yards. That’s probably his ceiling this week as well—not awful but not the sort of production managers should be striving for.

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Like the rest of the Denver Broncos offense, wideout Tim Patrick was largely absent in Week 7. Against the Cleveland Browns, he managed only two receptions on five targets for 16 yards.

    However, this shouldn’t scare managers away from playing Patrick in Week 8. He had two strong games leading up to the Browns matchup—seven receptions in Week 5 and a touchdown in Week 6—and he remains an integral part of the Broncos passing attack.

    Patrick has been targeted at least five times in each of the past five games. Week 7 marked the first time this season he’s had fewer than three receptions.

    Expect Patrick to turn things around this week against a Washington Football Team defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The Carolina Panthers benched quarterback Sam Darnold in Week 7, though he is expected to return to the lineup this week.

    “Sam will be the quarterback,” head coach Matt Rhule said after the game. “I just wanted to get something going today.”

    Just because Darnold will be under center, though, doesn’t mean that it’s safe to start wideout Robby Anderson. While Anderson has a decent fantasy matchup against the Atlanta Falcons—who have allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers—he’s been wildly unreliable this season.

    Anderson has scored touchdowns in two games but hasn’t topped 50 yards since Week 1. He also cannot seem to team up with Darnold. Over the past two weeks, for example, he’s been targeted 20 times and has only six receptions.

    Things could always click for Anderson and Darnold, but the floor is too low here to justify a start.

    *Fantasy information via FantasyPros. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.

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