Fantasy Football

2019 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview: Ghosts


This week, I want to talk briefly about cross-purpose streaming in your lineups. This is a case for example where you decide to stream a defense which happens to play against your quarterback or your other main fantasy starters.

Sometimes it is unavoidable, but it’s easy enough if you have a kicker to just grab a different guy for the week. Try and stream your defense apart from as many of your guys as possible.

For example, the Steelers host the Dolphins. I’m sure you can easily sit any of the rare fantasy relevant Dolphins that happen to occupy your roster if you are streaming the Steelers defense.

The strategy is just common sense. Keep your lineup consistent with the defense you start. It isn’t so important during the regular season, but in fantasy playoffs every edge counts.

2019 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview 2019 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview

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Games to Watch 2019 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview

A brief rundown of the games this weekend. You have your fantasy lineups set, now it’s time to watch ’em play.

Byes: Cowboys, Ravens

Early Sunday: Cardinals (3-3-1) at Saints (6-1) -10.5 48.5

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Drew Brees is a game time decision according to Sean Payton. I’m not sure how quarterbacks practice for this situation. Obviously Teddy Bridgewater needs his readiness with the first team in case Brees sits out another week. With the Saints on a bye in Week 9 and Bridgewater holding the fort well with five straight wins, it seems odd, but not at all unreasonable to start Brees under these circumstances.

Whatever the case, Michael Thomas can sustain his fine production with either Brees or Bridgewater. As for Alvin Kamara, the release of Zach Zenner must mean the arrow points up for Kamara to play on Sunday. Latavius Murray is of course a straightforward fantasy start if Kamara sits.

The Cardinals have some issues going on at the running back position. Chase Edmonds staked a claim on the backfield in the injury absence of David Johnson. With some rather head turning RB additions to the team this past week, there’s a murky situation developing. Edmonds is a must-own, but holding David Johnson is a must as well.

Kyler Murray has avoided sacks dramatically since early in the season; 20-7 in his first four games versus the last four. He leads the distant pack of quarterbacks in rushing far behind Lamar Jackson.

His primary target remains Larry Fitzgerald, but minus Christian Kirk (questionable), Fitz will face blanket coverage from Marshon Lattimore and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson when he lines up in the slot.

Fun Fact: This is the Cardinals’ first visit to the Superdome since Week 3 of 2013. The Saints won 31-7.
Sleeper: Ted Ginn, WR, Saints

Other Early Sunday Games in Brief…

Bengals (0-7) vs Rams (4-3) -13.0 48.5 (in London)

The Todd Gurley fantasy saga continues as his preservation usage continues to slide around. The team is recovering from a bad early season three-game losing streak which harmed their post-season hopes. Your coffee table had four less yards from scrimmage than Joe Mixon last week.

2019 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview

Broncos (2-5) at Colts (4-2) -5.5 43.0

Jacoby Brissett has his hands full against the Broncos who allow the 4th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Broncos are relying on Courtland Sutton following the trade of Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers this week. The Colts are stingy against running backs, therefore Joe Flacco‘s repertoire will likely include tight end Noah Fant.

Jets (1-5) at Jaguars (3-4) -6.0 41.0

Sam Darnold needs fewer ghosts. The Jags aren’t entirely defanged without Jalen Ramsey and their pass rush is one of the most persistent. Meanwhile, Gardner Minshew has the charmed life of a solid running game with excellent receivers. They’re underachieving, but continue to play very competitive football. Expect another bundle of yards for Leonard Fournette‘s solid season.

Eagles (3-4) at Bills (5-1) -1.5 43.0

The Bills barely escaped a loss to the Dolphins last week. Here come the unhappy Eagles looking to breath some life into a flat offense. DeSean Jackson remains questionable, so the spark they hope to get from him may have to wait another week. Josh Allen could torch the Eagles secondary if only he had more weapons himself.

Chargers (2-5) at Bears (3-3) -4.0 41.0

The Bears had a players only meeting this week to try and sort out their issues. The Chargers may need their own. Matt Nagy announced the obvious of the need to run the ball more, so I expect we’ll see that against the Chargers. For their own part, Melvin Gordon isn’t getting the blocking for breaks into the secondary. Austin Ekeler continues to look like a better own.

Giants (2-5) at Lions (2-3-1) -7.0 49.5

Saquon Barkley simply cannot carry this team to respectability on his own. Defenses have the tape on Daniel Jones and are taking aim at his continuing habit of relaxed ball security. Sterling Shepard (doubtful) is the answer and not Benny Fowler. The main interest in fantasy for this game is the timeshare between Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic.

Seahawks (5-2) at Falcons (1-6) +6.5 51.5

If Matt Schaub starts, the Seahawks DST make for a great sleeper. Devonta Freeman is in decline and Ito Smith is out, so Brian Smith is the next up. The trade of Mohammed Sanu may increase Calvin Ridley‘s load only slightly, so instead look for Russell Gage or Justin Hardy to make up those targets. Julio Jones and Austin Hooper are the lone bright spots among the Falcons.

Buccaneers (2-4) at Titans (3-4) -2.5 45.5

The quarterback change in Tennessee is a fantasy tonic for Corey Davis and A.J. Brown. The Buccaneers continue a ground committee because Peyton Barber is just close enough to Ronald Jones to merit near equal work. The passing game has a similar paradigm with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The result of all this is fantasy up and down weeks for all the Bucs on offense.

Late Sunday: Panthers (4-2) at 49ers (6-0) -5.5 42.5

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The 49ers are for real. Time to forget about a pervasive meme that they haven’t played anybody. You could say the Patriots haven’t played anybody either. Winning is winning.

The deluge of rain in Washington produced a 9-0 stinker win, but we don’t judge margin of victory in the NFL like NCAA polls.

The part of the 49ers that is most responsible for their success is clearly the defense. Jimmy Garappolo and the offense are moving the football, but they aren’t explosive. Sure, Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman had some big runs during the 49ers’ rise, but overall it’s a punch and grind offense.

The fact that George Kittle is the star receiver exemplifies this. With the inclusion of Emmanuel Sanders, the 49ers want to expand out of that. They must figure they have something going and want build on it with a bit of extra veteran inclusion.

The Panthers return from London and an extra week off to play this team. Christian McCaffrey has shredded everyone, with the exception of the Buccaneers to an extent. The 49ers are the toughest versus the run, but McCaffrey gets most of his yardage from designed play pass running. It’s a versatility which makes him so hard to cover.

Fantasy observers are getting impatient with the Panthers and Cam Newton. Newton had a green light for Week 8 practice, but apparently unless he isn’t 100%, Rivera isn’t putting him out there.

Fun Fact: The 49ers have lost five their last six versus the Panthers at home.
Sleeper: Kendrick Bourne, WR, 49ers

Other Late Sunday Games in Brief…

2019 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview

Browns (2-4) at Patriots (7-0) -12.5 45.5

The Browns visit the league litmus test. The Patriots have a way of exposing everything wrong with your football team. Only the Bills have demonstrated significant resistance against them so far this year. Can you sit OBJ? Probably not…

Raiders (3-3) at Texans (4-3) -6.5 51.5

Kenny Stills takes over the Will Fuller role for a few weeks for the Texans. The Raiders are without some receivers themselves, but the recently acquired  Zay Jones should be active. Josh Jacobs looked doubtful early in the week, but they expect he’ll play. A mish-mash of run and pass in what could turn out giving DeAndre Hopkins an enormous day.

Featured Games

Sunday Night: Packers (6-1) at Chiefs (5-2) +3.5 48.0

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Patrick Mahomes is out for this one, though he and the Chiefs did everything they could to get him ready during the week. They understand the importance of this game.

The Chiefs haven’t a tight enough grip in the AFC West to just ride out Mahomes’ absence. This is a toughie as well.

Aaron Rodgers did a mid-season barrage to tell everyone in the league he’s still there. His perfect passer rating, with gluttonous fantasy numbers to go with it in Week 7, could mark another watershed moment.

Matt Moore is an old veteran ‘camp arm’ coaching type of backup and the Chiefs feel comfortable with him instead of the UDFA rookie Kyle Shurmur. Shurmur will have to come in as Moore’s backup in any case.

The bottom line is that the Chiefs secondary has to give Matt Moore some kind of chance to keep up. It won’t be easy. The Chiefs built their offense around Mahomes and his ability to force teams to keep up.

Well, wouldn’t you know. At the very worst time, guess who shows up. The Packers.

Aaron Rodgers, like Mahomes, doesn’t need specific receivers to crush it. I allude to Davante Adams being out.

The ground game for the Packers chugs along with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, but the Chiefs 1A and 1B aren’t quite as strong. Just the same, we might see extra from LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams in an attempt to slow the game down and keep Rodgers with as few offensive series’ as possible.

Fun Fact: Tony Gonzalez and Johnny Robinson will receive their HOF rings in a ceremony at halftime. Robinson is a member of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV team.
Sleeper: Allen Lazard, WR, Packers

Monday Night: Dolphins (0-6) at Steelers (2-4) -14.0 43.0

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The Dolphins actually held a lead last week against the Bills. The ball is in the hands of Ryan Fitzpatrick, which helps. What doesn’t help this week is that the Steelers are number one against quarterbacks in fantasy.

Trade rumors surround Kenyan Drake in the backfield, but so far nothing is in the works. The deadline is Tuesday at 4pm ET.

For the Steelers, they will get a bunch of guys back after their bye. Mason Rudolph returns after his scary concussion and both of their main running backs have healed up. Most notable is Jaylen Ramsey whom they expected a much longer absence.

The main concern for fantasy in this game is the wide receiver target share. We can see how Juju Smith-Schuster really misses that big presence of Antonio Brown. The Steelers are trying develop Diontae Johnson quickly to help unblanket Juju. When you’re trying to develop a quarterback at the same time, well that’s hard.

Can I say this this? Mason Rudolph reminds me of Neil O’Donnell from the 1990s Steelers.

Fun Fact: The Steelers have won their last eight Monday night games.
Sleeper: Devante Parker, WR, Dolphins

In the Booth on Sunday

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Rich Gannon

CBS Early

Bengals vs Rams: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Broncos at Colts: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Cardinals at Saints: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Jets at Jaguars: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

FOX Early

Eagles at Bills: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Chargers at Bears: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Giants at Lions: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Seahawks at Falcons: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
Buccaneers at Titans: Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen

CBS Late

Browns at Patriots: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Raiders at Texans: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

FOX Late

Panthers at 49ers: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth

Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. He ranked 6th in draft rankings on Fantasy Pros in 2020.

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