Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire
Welcome to Week Eight, dear reader, I am Brennen Gorman and I am in charge of our On the Bubble column. These articles will focus on bubble and bench players that could make an impact this week, even if they might not make an impact every week, and on bubble and bench players that might not make an impact this week.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals [ESPN Own: 66% / Start: 38%]: Andy Dalton fits squarely in the streaming quarterback category despite inconsistent results against even the softest of defenses this season. For the third week in a row, Cincinnati is facing off against a poor defense. Tampa Bay is not significantly worse than the Kansas City and it is unlikely that Dalton repeats his paltry 15 passing attempts. Dalton is in line for a bounce-back week in Week Eight.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears [ESPN Own: 62% / Start: 34%]: Mitch Trubisky is propping up his fantasy value with his legs and that trend is likely to continue into Week Eight. Turnovers continue to plaque Trubisky, but he is a good bet to continue to find ways to score. Chicago is a volatile team this year – but Trubisky is every reason why the offense is able to boom as well as it has.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles [ESPN Own: 94% / Start: 55%]: Jacksonville came back swinging, showing that Week Six against Dallas was an anomaly. Despite Wentz’ solid play to-date, Jacksonville’s pass defense will likely prove too much for Philadelphia to handle. Wentz may end up with a fantasy score in the mid-teens as Jacksonville has only let up 20 fantasy points to one team this season. Jacksonville has only had two weeks with 200+ passing yards allowed and one with 300+. In Week Eight there are less risky streaming options.
Start: Running Backs
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts [ESPN Own: 73% / Start: 38%]: We are doubling down on Marlon Mack in Week Eight after predicting his boom in Week Seven where he ran for 126 yards and caught two passes for 33 yards. Mack has been sidelined most of the season with injuries and Week Seven was his first week back in earnest – he did not disappoint. Week Eight against a poor Oakland team should have Mack’s fantasy value sky high come this time next week.
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions [ESPN Own: 83% / Start: 50%]: This should be the last week Kerryon Johnson will qualify for this column with Johnson finally bringing a successful run game to Detroit. Johnson has been increasingly involved on the field, culminating in a career-high 19 rushing attempts for 158 yards. Detroit is committed to the run and Johnson is the lead back. Seattle still has an elite pass defense, look for Detroit to run early and often in Week Eight.
Sit: Running Backs
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks [ESPN Own: 83% / Start: 28%]: Chris Carson is a popular play in Week Eight given Detroit’s propensity for letting up the run, but he represents a riskier play than most. While Detroit has let up the 7th most rushing yards (836) a whopping 223 of those yards (27%) came on only four plays. While every team will let up a big play, removing these four plays would rank as the 7th fewest rushing yards in the league. Detroit has a sneaky good run defense that only got better this week with the acquisition of Damon Harrison.
Start: Wide Receivers
John Brown, Baltimore Ravens [ESPN Own: 76% / Start: 44%]: Although Baltimore’s receiving core is a three-headed beast, John Brown see’s a consistent enough target share and more importantly key looks to get yardage and touchdowns. It is this that separates him from Willie Snead IV for fantasy purposes despite a similar target share. Brown has inherent risk because of the spread, but has as much of a chance to succeed in Week Eight as any on the bubble.
Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers [ESPN Own: 83% / Start: 41%]: Devin Funchess is underrated given his performance to-date. While much of it has relied on touchdowns and Greg Olsen‘s return has not impacted Carolina’s offense the way it had hoped – Funchess has continued to produce. Funchess is good for about eight targets a game and several red zone looks – solid flex material even against a stout Baltimore defense.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ESPN Own: 46% / Start: 16%]: Chris Godwin is still the #2a receiver on Tampa Bay, contending with DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Tampa Bay has a great matchup against Cincinnati in Week Eight and Godwin has a high floor.
Sit: Wide Receivers
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos [ESPN Own: 94% / Start: 53%]: Nearly half of Demaryius Thomas‘ fantasy value this season has come from just three plays (three touchdowns and 52 yards). Thomas has seen a decline in targets and has not been productive with the targets he has seen. Kansas City is a good matchup, but Thomas has yet to prove that he can overcome a good matchup in 2018.
Start: Tight Ends
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ESPN Own: 49% / Start: 42%]: Despite his showing to-date, O.J. Howard is a boom or bust tight end that has managed to get a few targets and turn some into big plays – that is, until Week Seven where he saw a season-high nine targets. While it is too soon to tell whether this is Jameis Winston‘s new norm – it does add value to Howard’s outlook, enough to stream with confidence.
Sit: Tight Ends
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings [ESPN Ownership: 91% / Start: 62%]: Kyle Rudolph is still considered a top tight end, but his usage so far in 2018 has not supported the claim. Rudolph is still seeing about six targets per game, but they are short yardage and rarely in the red zone with top catchers Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs getting first priority. A tough match in New Orleans leaves much to be desired in Week Eight.
Detroit Lions D/ST [ESPN Own: 8% / Start: 4%]: As I listed above in Chris Carson‘s section, Detroit has a better defense than its record reflects and at some point, it will be corrected. A lack of turnover and no individual standout week has prevented Detroit’s D/ST from reaching higher in the rankings, but in Week Eight a match against an underwhelming Seattle offense makes for a stable floor.
Denver Broncos D/ST [ESPN Own: 46% / Start: 28%]: Against an overwhelming Kansas City offense and stock bolstered by a 33 fantasy point week against Arizona will make Denver’s D/ST a trap for those not paying enough attention.