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Analysis Paralysis: Week 8 Start & Sit

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Do you dare risk starting Carson Palmer this week? Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Do you dare risk starting Carson Palmer this week? Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With six bye weeks this week, our start/sit options are pretty limited this week -- especially when it comes to running backs. How bad has it gotten? Mike James (who was on waivers in approximately 150 percent of leagues last week) was a consensus RB2 for most fantasy experts. Wide receiver is obviously a deeper position and has some good options for us, but I've seen guys like Andy Dalton and Joseph Fauria listed as Top 10 players at their respective positions by some analysts. Yuck...

And with that, let's get into the Week 8 players who deserve to be in your lineup (or on your bench).

12-Pack of Goodness
(12 players who are primed to outplay their normal value this weekend)

Michael Vick: It’s tough to recommend a guy who is about as durable as a piece of peanut brittle, but Vick has one of the best matchups a quarterback can have this week against the Giants. The G-Men have allowed 20-plus fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in five of their seven games, which should help Vick finish as a Top 10 quarterback this week – as long as he can stay upright.

Carson Palmer: Before you “x” out of this article, hear me out. I know Palmer has played like an extra from The Walking Dead so far this season, but he has the good fortune of playing a Falcons defense that hasn’t allowed less than 13 fantasy points to a quarterback this season (which would actually be Palmer’s third-highest output to date). He’s still throwing interceptions as if opposing defenses were his wide receivers, but Palmer should be able to ride his matchup to a Top 15 quarterback spot this week.

Chris Ivory: In a week where Zac Stacy’s horrible matchup against the Seahawks still has him as a consensus Top 20 running back, Ivory’s 34 carries in Week 7 make him a factor. He’d literally done nothing all season before that (and has a relatively tough matchup against the Bengals), but it’s hard to ignore any running back getting such a huge volume of carries (even though they only led to 3.1 yards per carry last week).

Fred Jackson: Raise your hand if your preseason rankings had Fred Jackson as RB9 through eight weeks of the season. Don’t worry, my hand is still by my side too. With C.J. Spiller listed as (very) questionable this week, Jackson should see his workload increase against a Saints defense that has allowed four rushing touchdowns in its last four games. He’s an obvious start, but I’m listing Jackson here because I think he finishes as a Top 10 running back this week.

Daniel Thomas: Who’s the better Dolphins running back to own? Gun to my head, I’d say Lamar Miller… but the numbers say otherwise right now. Thomas actually had three more carries than Miller did last week and just doesn’t seem to be going away like we all thought he would. He has a great matchup against a severely depleted Patriots defense this week and should be able to find the end zone for those of you digging deep for a running back to start.

Jarrett Boykin: This seems like a no-brainer if you look at most rankings lists, but most people would be saying, “Who?!” if you mentioned Boykin two weeks ago, so I figured I’d include him. After a game in which he caught eight of his 10 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown, it would seem that Boykin has earned Aaron Rodgers’ trust and makes for a great start against a Vikings defense that has allowed at least one receiving touchdown in each of its last five games.

Brian Hartline: With Aqib Talib nursing a hip injury, Hartline may very well get to face a combination of Kyle Arrington and Marquice Cole this weekend (that’s not a good thing for Patriots fans like me). I worry a little bit about how much the Dolphins spread the ball around, but Hartline has been getting consistent targets and should be able to do some damage against the Patriots this weekend.

Cole Beasley: Terrance Williams has been getting all the attention from fantasy analysts lately (and rightfully so), but Beasley has been putting together a good couple weeks in catching at least four balls in his last three starts. He’s a better PPR play, but Beasley has also been getting some red zone looks and makes for a decent start in deeper leagues.

Charles Clay: If it seems like I’m picking on the Patriots defense, it’s because I am. Without Jerod Mayo, their linebacker corps (which already struggled in coverage) is almost inept at covering tight ends. If he didn’t have hands of Dobson last week, Jeff Cumberland would have had himself a huge day, and I’d look for Clay to repeat that what-should-have-been success this week.

Rob Housler: Once a preseason sleeper, Housler’s ankle injury took him off most fantasy radars, but it’s time to take a look again. Housler has had 12 targets over the last two weeks, and gets to face a Falcons team that has allowed a touchdown to every tight end (not named Timothy Wright and Jared Cook) that they’ve faced this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST: The Steelers defense has been more like The Aluminum Foil Curtain this season, but they’ve been relatively better the last two weeks and get to face a mistake-prone Raiders offense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses this season.

Green Bay Packers D/ST: The Packers defense frankly hasn’t been all that good this season, but I’ll give you two words that will change your mind for one week: Christian Ponder. Moving on…

6-Pack of Sorrow
(Six players you should think about benching if you have better options)

Tom Brady: Whether it’s his receiving corps, health, or age (or all three), there’s something wrong with Brady. He’ll benefit from having Rob Gronkowksi back for his second game in a row, but Brady only has one passing touchdown in his last three games and should probably be on your bench this weekend unless you’re devoid of better options.

Lamar Miller: Miller’s draft status would have him as a must-start, but fantasy football is a game of adjustments, and I think it’s time to adjust that Miller is barely a flex option at this point. The talent is there, but it’s probably time to consider other options when your running back is averaging less than 10 carries a game.

Any Giants Running Back: Hills, Jacobs, Cox… it sounds like a law firm of fantasy atrociousness. I like the matchup against Philadelphia this weekend, but I’m not one for playing guessing games and I’d stay away from this triumvirate of frustration this week if you can avoid it.

Danny Amendola: It looks like Amendola is going to play this weekend, but he’s only made it through two games this season and can’t be relied on right now. I like Amendola’s talent, but he just can’t seem to stay out of the trainer’s room… which is something that shouldn’t make fantasy owners eager to start him.

Joseph Fauria: I know there aren’t many good tight end options this week with all the bye weeks and Jimmy Graham’s questionable status, but Fauria is basically the tight end equivalent of starting a goal line back at this point. I’m not saying a touchdown is out of the question, but five touchdowns on 13 total targets on the season doesn’t exactly make Fauria a sure thing.

Denver Broncos D/ST: Remember when the Patriots were scoring all those points last season and their defense was giving up monster stats to opposing offenses? That’s basically the Broncos this season. They have Von Miller back now, but opposing teams are still forced to throw the ball a lot, and that doesn’t bode well for anyone looking to start the Broncos against the Redskins this week.

Your Questions. My Answers.

@Mike_Wilmoth: hey nick, Michael Vick or Colin Kaepernick this week?

Nick: I think they’re both Top 10 options this week, Mike, but I’d err towards safety and start Kaepernick – especially with his great matchup against Jacksonville.

@FNTSYEnthusiast: Josh Gordon, Stevan Ridley or Julian Edelman, pick 1. League that rewards return yards same as receiving and rushing yards.

Nick: Edelman is tempting in that type of league, but I like what Ridley’s been doing lately and would expect another rushing touchdown (and some good yardage) from him as the Patriots try to alleviate the pressure from Tom Brady’s shoulders.

@pswillett22: Should I bench Jordan Cameron vs KC for Heath Miller?

Nick: That’s a toss-up for me this week, but the Chiefs have been great against tight ends so far this season (actually, the best in the NFL right now). I also don’t trust Jason Campbell as far as I can throw him, so I’d go with Miller.

@PhilthysMouth: Giovani Bernard or Andre Ellington this week? Higher ceiling?

Nick: I think Gio always has the higher ceiling over Ellington and while his matchup might be tougher, I’d feel a lot better going with Bernard.

@dbennyvikes: Matt Forte or Adrian Peterson rest of season?

Nick: Forte is certainly tempting (especially in PPR leagues) since he’s outscored Peterson by 22 points so far, but Peterson has also had his bye week and I’d expect him to pick things up. It’s close, but I’d still stick with Peterson.

As always, I’ll be checking the comments section for start-sit questions all week, so drop them in there below this post and I’ll make sure I get back to you!