Seahawks at Falcons (at 1 ET)
Start: WR Julio Jones; TE Austin Hooper; WR D.K. Metcalf
Beware: RB Devonta Freeman; WR Calvin Ridley;
Key Game Facts
-- Atlanta has allowed a QB1 (top-12) performance in six-straight games
-- Over the last month Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, and Jared Goff have each finished as a top-5 fantasy QB against Atlanta
-- Atlanta has also allowed a WR2 or better performance (top-24) in six-straight games
When the Seahawks have the ball: Coming off of his worst fantasy performance of the season, this is an obvious blow-up spot for Russell Wilson against Atlanta. Chris Carson is also a lock play in Week 8. Seattle has fully committed to their workhorse back over the last month, loading Carson up with 26, 28, 28, and 24 touches. Carson has played over 75 percent of Seahawks snaps in four-straight games while Rashaad Penny took a backseat to C.J. Prosise last week. Tyler Lockett is arguably a top-5 player this week and D.K. Metcalf is worth a home-run swing as a WR3/FLEX play against the Falcons. Atlanta's only good cornerback, Desmond Trufant, hasn't played since Week 5 -- leaving Metcalf free to run circles around Atlanta's secondary. Metcalf hasn't had many big games yet, but the rookie leads the NFL in end-zone targets (9) and figures to continue to be heavily involved in the red-zone without Will Dissly (Achilles; IR). Metcalf also has 9 red-zone targets this year, tied for seventh-most.
When the Falcons have the ball: Atlanta's outlook on offense this week is obviously dependent upon Matt Ryan's status. HC Dan Quinn mentioned earlier this week that he expects Ryan to play and, on a positive note, Ryan did practice for the first time on Friday. Matty Ice be a game-time call, but the Falcons offense will take a massive hit if Matt Schaub is forced to start. Ryan is a borderline QB1 if he plays, though, and his status most directly impacts Calvin Ridley and Devonta Freeman since Julio Jones is a WR1 every week and Austin Hooper is impossible to bench. Ito Smith (concussion) will miss this week so Freeman's volume appears to be safe, at the very least. Ridley is a strong WR2 if Ryan plays but becomes a shaky WR3/4 bet if Schaub is under center. Mohamed Sanu's departure opens up 14 percent of the Falcons targets, paving the way for Ridley to see more consistent targets as the season moves forward.
Broncos at Colts (at 1 ET)
Key Game Facts
-- Denver is allowing the fifth-fewest PPR points per game to wide receivers aligned out wide (17.1) and in the slot (14.3)
-- Courtland Sutton quietly ranks top-15 in targets, air yards, receiving yards, and red-zone targets among WRs
-- Emmanuel Sanders' departure opens up 19 percent of Broncos targets, 27 percent of their air yards, and 30 percent of their red-zone targets
When the Broncos have the ball:Royce Freeman has out-snapped Phillip Lindsay in back-to-back games, earning 61 percent of Broncos snaps in Weeks 6-7. Lindsay's snap count has been down at 43 percent. I'm not sure what has caused Lindsay's usage to slip -- but he's still seen 12 or more touches in every game and with running back looking fairly thin in fantasy this week, both he and Freeman fit in as low-end RB2's. Courtland Sutton is the Broncos defacto No. 1 receiver without Emmanuel Sanders in town and Sanders' departure should open up more looks for both Daesean Hamilton and Noah Fant. Both Hamilton and Fant are PPR-specific sleepers in 12-team leagues this week. Fant is a particularly interesting streamer this week since the Colts have gotten touched up for the third-most PPR points per game to enemy tight ends.
When the Colts have the ball: The Broncos defense may not be as dominant as it once was, but they have yet to allow a top-12 fantasy passer all season long and are limiting opposing QBs to the fifth-fewest points per attempt. Brissett has been living off of short scores this year -- his 9 TDs inside of the 10-yard line leads the league -- so I'm inclined to look elsewhere for a Week 8 QB streamer. You likely can't bench T.Y. Hilton in season-long, but you have to hope Hilton lives off of volume this week with a tough matchup with Chris Harris on deck. Harris will shadow Hilton and the Broncos star CB has allowed over 40 yards in his coverage just once all year. Marlon Mack has 18 or more touches in 5-of-6 games this year and needs to be in all lineups as a home-favorite this week. Ideally, you're continuing to avoid Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle in fantasy. Doyle has 20 targets while Ebron has 18 over the Colts last month worth of games.
Buccaneers at Titans (at 1 ET)
Must Play: WR Chris Godwin
Start: WR Mike Evans
Key Game Facts
-- Chris Godwin is averaging 2.59 yards gained per route run, fourth-best among WRs behind Stefon Diggs (3.04), Amari Cooper (3.0), and Michael Thomas (2.74)
When the Buccaneers have the ball: The Titans have allowed just one top-12 (WR1) performance in fantasy all season long, but this secondary will have its hands full with Godwin and Evans this week. Godwin has been un-coverable out of the slot and even though Evans goose-egged in Week 5, he's cleared 60 yards in four of his last 5 games and is averaging 10 targets per game in this span. With Godwin running two-thirds of his routes from the interior, Evans has a slightly better matchup on the boundary against Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson. Outside of Evans and Godwin, you'd ideally like to avoid the rest of the Bucs' in fantasy. Jameis Winston is always unpredictable, but this road matchup against the Titans looks like a classic "Bad Jameis" spot. Winston has been lights out against the blitz this year but has struggled when teams sit back and force him into tight window throws. Tennessee blitzes just 17 percent of the time (second-lowest rate). Both Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber are unplayable in this Bucs' 3-man backfield committee. Jones scored in London in Week 6, but played just 16 percent of the team's snaps while Dare Ogunbowale continues to play on passing downs. Through six weeks, O.J. Howard has compiled 13/176/0 (18 targets) on 174 routes run while Cameron Brate has 12/119/2 (14 targets) on 105 routes run. Gross. Howard popped up on the injury report with a hamstring injury on Thursday and will not play this week, immediately making Brate this week's top streaming option. I'd consider streaming Brate over Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, and Vance McDonald to name a few options.
When the Titans have the ball:Corey Davis (6/80/1) and A.J. Brown (6/64) both came to life with Ryan Tannehill under center last week, as Tannehill heavily targeted this talented Titans duo. While Mariota holds the ball forever and doesn't pull the trigger on tight window throws, Tannehill actually gives his receivers a chance to make a play on the ball. Meanwhile, Tampa's secondary is allowing the fifth-most PPR points (27.8) to receivers aligned out wide and the third-most points (25.6) to slot wideouts. It's far easier to throw on the Bucs than run on them as their front-seven is allowing an NFL-best 2.72 YPC and stuffing 29 percent of runs at or behind the line of scrimmage (most). Derrick Henry has seen consistent volume, but this is a brutal matchup. If Walker misses this week, Jonnu Smith is in play as a deep league streamer against this Bucs' side that is allowing the second-most YPG to TEs (82.8).
Cardinals at Saints (at 1 ET)
Injuries to monitor: QB Drew Brees (thumb); RB Alvin Kamara (ankle, knee); TE Jared Cook (ankle); RB David Johnson (ankle); WR Christian Kirk (ankle)
Key Game Facts
When the Cardinals have the ball:Kyler Murray's poor fantasy performance against the Giants last week was due in large part because he only had to throw the ball 21 times, a number he should far exceed here against the Saints. New Orleans' defense has really started to tighten recently, but Murray can still be safely trusted in fantasy lineups because of his scrambling ability. Larry Fitzgerald only saw 2 targets last week and that figures to rebound in a game where the Cardinals should be trailing. It also helps that Marshon Lattimore plays exclusively outside and won't cover Fitz in the slot. If David Johnson (game-time decision) can't suit up, Chase Edmonds will play nearly every snap for Arizona and is a borderline RB1 on volume alone. Even if D.J. is active after not practicing all week, we will have no idea how many touches to expect. Arizona likely tipped their hand on D.J.'s status earlier this week after signing veterans Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner.
When the Saints have the ball: Even though New Orleans' bye is next week, Drew Brees is apparently pushing to play against Arizona. If Brees plays, you're starting him in fantasy against a Cards' secondary that has allowed a top-10 fantasy QB in 5-of-7 games. It also sounds like Alvin Kamara will return after a one-week absence, but with an off-date upcoming, it's fair to expect a committee here between him and Latavius Murray. Murray was explosive and decisive behind the Saints offensive line last week and even if Kamara plays, I'd expect Murray to see somewhere between 10-15 touches. That's enough to warrant RB2/FLEX consideration against a Cardinals defense that has given up 188 (McCaffrey), 145 (Carson), 119 (Mixon), 118 (Freeman), and 80 (Barkley) yards from scrimmage over the last five weeks. Michael Thomas will see shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson this week, but that likely won't matter much with Brees returning and how the Saints find creative ways to get him the ball. Thomas aligns out of the slot on nearly one-quarter of his snaps and Peterson does not cover the interior when Arizona goes into their Nickel package.
Bengals at Rams (at 1 ET; in London)
Must Play: QB Jared Goff; WR Cooper Kupp
Start: RB Todd Gurley; WR Robert Woods; TE Gerald Everett
Beware: WR Brandin Cooks; WR Tyler Boyd
Sit: RB Joe Mixon
Key Game Facts
-- Gurley had previously been held under 3.5 YPC just five times during the 2017-18 seasons
-- The Bengals are allowing the fourth-most YPC (4.88) and the most explosive runs (10 or more yards) to RBs
When the Bengals have the ball: In a perfect world, you're avoiding this Bengals offense at all costs in Week 8. The volume has been there for Tyler Boyd -- he has double-digit targets in 5-of-7 games -- but the Rams will use Jalen Ramsey in shadow coverage against Boyd on Sunday. Auden Tate and Alex Erickson have plus individual matchups against LA's inferior defenders with Ramsey on Boyd, but both are desperation-only plays. Speaking of desperation, the night is cold and dark for Joe Mixon at this point of the season. There just aren't many positives to hang your hat on here. The Bengals offensive line is going to get man-handled against the Rams front-seven, Cincinnati is rarely getting into scoring range, and Gio Bernard remains involved on passing downs. After playing over 65 percent of Bengals snaps in 10-of-14 games last year, Joe Mixon has yet to meet that mark once this year.
When the Rams have the ball:Todd Gurley and the Rams rushing offense has lacked their usual explosive pop this season, but a matchup against the Bengals swiss cheese front-seven should allow Gurley to get loose. Jared Goff predictably went off for a QB5 weekly finish against the Falcons last week and he is arguably in a better spot here. The Bengals have allowed four-straight QB1 (top-12) performances to the position and are barely generating heat on quarterbacks, forcing pressure at the league's fourth-lowest rate (21 percent). You don't anyone to tell you to start Cooper Kupp this week, so let's focus on the rest of this Rams pass-catcher corps. Robert Woods is still a buy-low candidate who has just gotten unlucky in the touchdown department so far. 16 receivers have seen 50 or more targets this season and Woods (58 targets) is the only one without a score. While Woods has remained highly involved in the Rams passing attack, Brandin Cooks has seen his targets slip significantly with the emergence of Gerald Everett. In fact, Everett has 40 targets to Cooks' 38 over the last six weeks despite Everett playing significantly fewer snaps than Cooks in this span. Cooks could certainly get loose against these slow Bengals boundary corners, but his target share has been precariously low all season long. Cooks saw at least 20 percent of Rams targets in 11-of-16 games last season and he has met that mark just once this year.
Eagles at Bills (at 1 ET)
Sit: QB Carson Wentz
Key Game Facts
-- Brown has 50 or more yards receiving in every game this season after meeting that mark just five times in 2018
When the Eagles have the ball: After getting thumped on the road in Dallas on Sunday Night, Philadelphia now has the brutal task of turning around and playing in Buffalo. Over their last 10 home games, the Bills have held opposing passers to a fantastic 6:11 TD-to-INT ratio. This year, only the Patriots are allowing fewer fantasy points per pass attempt than the Bills secondary. It's tough to sit Carson Wentz on a week where both Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson are out on bye, but this is likely not the week for Wentz to go off. Speaking of which, you also can't bench Zach Ertz, but the Bills have been tough against tight ends for two years running -- ranking dead last in YPG allowed to TEs in 2018 and they are allowing the second-fewest YPG to the position this year. It doesn't help that Dallas Goedert has quietly siphoned 18 targets away from Ertz over the last month now that he's healthy. Alshon Jeffery has seen a strong 27 percent of Eagles targets with DeSean Jackson out of the lineup over the last month, so you're hoping that volume carries him in this tough matchup. Miles Sanders played on a season-high 52 percent last week with the Eagles falling behind early, but turned his 9 touches into just 33 yards from scrimmage. Meanwhile, Jordan Howard saw 13 touches and played on 38 percent of snaps. Neither Eagles back is a particularly inspiring Week 8 play.
When the Bills have the ball:Josh Allen has scored 18 or more fantasy points in 10 of his last 12 games dating back to last year with his two failures coming against... the Patriots. The Eagles front-seven has the talent to frustrate and slow Allen down, but this is another blow-up spot for Allen against an Eagles secondary allowing the second-most passing yards per game. John Brown has newfound consistency as the Bills No. 1 wideout and is a fantastic WR2 start this week. Outside of Allen and Brown, there really isn't a whole lot to like on the Bills side. In their first game without Zay Jones, the Bills went with a receiver by committee behind John Brown as Cole Beasley (21 routes), Duke Williams (20), and Isaiah McKenzie (11) all split snaps. Buffalo also ran out a running back committee with Devin Singletary back from injury last week. This may be Singletary's backfield in the future, but Iron Born Frank Gore led the Bills in both snaps (30 to 22) and touches (12 to 7) over Singletary. Neither back is playable with Philly allowing just 3.32 yards per carry (third-fewest).
Chargers at Bears (at 1 ET)
Key Game Facts
-- The Bears have passed on 68.6 percent of their plays when the game is within a score this season (8 points), which is the highest rate in the league
When the Chargers have the ball:Keenan Allen did not practice on Thursday and Friday with a hamstring injury and is a game-time call to play on Sunday. Late additions to the injury report are never good, so hopefully, the Chargers are just playing it safe with their star wideout. Obviously, if Allen were to miss, both Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, and even Austin Ekeler are all liable to see a significant uptick in targets. The Bears have not allowed a QB1 (top-12) performance all year long and have limited 5-of-6 passers to a weekly finish of QB16 or worse. This is not the week to start Philip Rivers in 10- and 12-team fantasy leagues, especially if Allen does not suit up. Melvin Gordon's longest gain on his 36 carries this season is 7 yards. Even though the Bears run defense has struggled a bit as of late, I have no confidence rolling Gordon out in lineups. With Ekeler heavily involved in the passing game, Gordon's fantasy floor is brutally low.
When the Bears have the ball: The only viable fantasy starts on the Bears side of the ball are Allen Robinson and David Montgomery. Even though Trubisky has regressed in his third season, volume is fueling Allen Robinson's ascension back into low-end WR1 status in fantasy. Robinson's 9.8 targets per game is fifth-most among all wideouts while Michael Thomas, Cooper Kupp, DeAndre Hopkins, and Robinson are the only four receivers to earn 20 percent of their team's targets in every game. The Chargers defensive line has been ravaged by injuries as DE Melvin Ingram, DT Justin Jones, and NT Brandon Mebane are all questionable for Week 8. The Chargers have allowed three-straight top-10 fantasy scoring weeks to opposing RBs, allowing a monster 532 scrimmage yards to Broncos, Steelers, and Titans backfields in this span. After last week's disaster of a game-plan, Matt Nagy should hopefully commit to David Montgomery in Week 8. I'm starting Montgomery for one more week and hoping he comes through in this matchup.
Giants at Lions (at 1 ET)
Start: WR Kenny Golladay; WR Marvin Jones; WR Golden Tate; RB Ty Johnson
Beware: TE T.J. Hockenson
Sit: QB Daniel Jones
Key Game Facts
-- Saquon Barkley was on the field for 86 percent of Giants snaps in his return from ankle injury last week
-- The Lions have allowed the seventh-most yards per carry, fourth-most yards per game, and second-most fantasy points per attempt to opposing RBs
-- Detroit is also allowing the fifth-most receiving yards per game to opposing RBs
When the Giants have the ball: New York's side is extremely straight-forward this week. Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram are must-starts and Engram in particular is in line to bounce back in a big way. After catching one pass for six yards last week largely due to Daniel Jones ineffectiveness, Engram is in another amazing matchup against a Lions defense permitting the third-most yards per game to opposing TEs. Sterling Shepard is out again this week, locking in Golden Tate for another big role yet again. Tate has seen 30 percent of the Giants targets with Shepard off the field these last two weeks and has 6/102/1 and 6/80 receiving stat lines to show for it. Daniel Jones' last four fantasy finishes are QB19, QB21, QB24, and QB20 since he diced up the Bucs' in his debut. The G-Men should move the ball effectively this week, but I'd sit Jones and look for a little more upside if you're streaming the position this week.
When the Lions have the ball: Arguably only Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson are better quarterback plays in fantasy than Matthew Stafford this weekend. New York has already allowed five top-10 fantasy performances to QBs this year, with only Redskins signal-callers and Kyler Murray failing against them. Kenny Golladay maddeningly flopped last week (1/21) as Marvin Jones went nuclear (10/93/4), but Golladay had seen at least eight targets in the Lions previous five games before seeing just two passing looks last week. Golladay is a bounce-back WR1 candidate this week while Jones is a high-upside WR2 against a Giants secondary that is allowing the fourth-most yards per game to opposing wideouts. It took the Lions over a year and C.J. Anderson getting cut to make Kerryon Johnson their bell-cow back, so I'm not exactly sold that the Lions will immediately entrust Ty Johnson with Kerryon's role. However, the matchup and game-script are firmly in Ty Johnson's favor this week -- leaving him on the RB2 radar. I'd start Ty Johnson over James White, Royce Freeman, and Melvin Gordon but would roll with Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman over Johnson, for example.
Jets at Jaguars (at 1 ET)
Must Play: RB Leonard Fournette
Start: WR D.J. Chark; RB Le'Veon Bell
Stream: QB Gardner Minshew
Sit: QB Sam Darnold
Key Game Facts
-- Fournette is averaging 6.0 yards per carry when he faces seven or fewer defenders in the box (best in NFL)
-- The Jets have played with 7 or fewer defenders in the box on 49 percent of their rush attempts faced (seventh-highest rate)
When the Jets have the ball: You can't trust Sam Darnold anywhere near lineups after last week's debacle, but Darnold can be somewhat useless for fantasy and still provide Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson enough volume to get loose. This Jags' secondary has been extremely giving without Jalen Ramsey over the last month, allowing Courtland Sutton (6/62/2), Emmanuel Sanders (5/104), D.J. Moore (6/91), Michael Thomas (8/89), and Bengals WRs (16/257 combined) all finding plenty of success against them. I'm rolling Crowder out as a high-end WR3 in PPR leagues and playing Anderson if I need upside in the FLEX spot. Meanwhile, Le'Veon Bell remains a bet-on-volume RB1. Only Christian McCaffrey's snap rate (96 percent) is higher than Bell's (92 percent) among RBs.
When the Jaguars have the ball: The Jets run defense is tough, but Leonard Fournette's volume is impossible to bet against. Fournette is on pace to handle nearly 400 touches this season and is a no-brainer RB1 play this week as a home-favorite. This is a potential blow-up spot for D.J. Chark after disappointing last week, with the Jets allowing the 11th-most PPR points to receivers aligned out and the 7th-most points to slot wideouts. Dede Westbrook got in a limited practice on Friday and is expected to play in Week 8 after battling through his shoulder injury and posting 6/103 last week. He's a PPR-only WR4. Gardner Minshew has now posted top-16 or better fantasy results in 6-of-7 games and is, once again, one of this week's top streaming candidates.
Panthers at 49ers (at 4:05 ET)
Key Game Facts
-- The 49ers are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per pass and the second-fewest fantasy points per carry this season
-- San Francisco is allowing just 2.0 red-zone drives per game, second-fewest behind only New England (1.4 red-zone drives allowed)
When the Panthers have the ball: Besides Christian McCaffrey, you would ideally like to avoid Carolina entirely in fantasy this week. Outside of the one random game where Andy Dalton and the Bengals fell behind and had to throw over 40 times in garbage-time, San Francisco has completely stymied opposing passing attacks. Kyle Allen has kept the ship afloat for Carolina's weapons, but I'd leave D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel on the bench this week and would even consider streaming Cameron Brate over Greg Olsen.
When the 49ers have the ball: You're obviously starting George Kittle, Tevin Coleman is a top-20 Week 8 option with touch counts of 16, 20, and 22 since returning in Week 5, and Matt Breida is always in the FLEX conversation -- but there isn't a whole lot to like on the Niners for fantasy in this game, either. Kyle Shanahan will scheme a few plays for Emmanuel Sanders in his debut, but I'm still expecting Sanders to play around 50 to 60 percent of snaps as he tries to get acclimated to the offense. Meanwhile, Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, and Deebo Samuel -- who is expected to return from a groin injury -- are all droppable if you've been holding on hope.
Raiders at Texans (at 4:25 ET)
Key Game Facts
-- Will Fuller (hamstring; out) has seen 46 percent of Texans deep targets (20 or more yards) this season
-- Kenny Stills has seven deep targets this season while DeAndre Hopkins has 6, despite the fact that Stills has played in two fewer games
-- Oakland is allowing a league-high 58.6 percent of deep passes to be completed against them
When the Raiders have the ball: Unfortunately, Oakland's outlook is muddied by injuries this week. Josh Jacobs hurt his shoulder last week against Green Bay and did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. HC Jon Gruden expects Jacobs to suit up, but this game's late start complicates things a bit. Jacobs has handled 19, 29, and 24 touches over the last three weeks since the Raiders inexplicably played him on just 44 percent of snaps in Weeks 2-3. I'd stick with Jacobs as an RB2 play for now, but make sure you check-in on Jacobs' status before Sunday's games starts. Tyrell Williams might return this week after getting over 3 weeks to rest his foot injury. Williams scored in every game prior to going down with his injury, but had just 111 yards combined in Weeks 2-4 after going for 6/105/1 in Week 1 against Denver. Williams' floor may be low, but this secondary continues to be extremely burnable. Houston is coughing up 30.4 PPR points per game to boundary receivers (third-most) and Williams is almost exclusively a boundary receiver, aligning out wide on 82 percent of his snaps per Next Gen Stats.
When the Texans have the ball: Watson and Hopkins have nuclear upside against this Raiders secondary that is getting absolutely ripped on deep passes. They are your no-brainer top Week 8 plays at their position. Kenny Stills was the top waiver wire receiver target this past week, and I'd be willing to fire him up as a WR3 or FLEX play if you're down Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup. Stills dropped 4/105 on five targets last week after Fuller left the game after just 3 snaps, and this matchup can't get any better. Keke Coutee will get more snaps with Fuller out and even though he is too thin for season-long lineups, Coutee is a great value in daily formats. Carlos Hyde has been an entirely game-script dependent option this season, earning just 10, 12, and 12 carries in the Texans' three losses this season. The Texans are favored to win by 7 points on Sunday, putting Hyde back on the high-end RB3/FLEX radar.
Browns at Patriots (at 4:25 ET)
Start: QB Tom Brady; WR Julian Edelman; RB Sony Michel; RB James White (if Burkhead DNP); RB Nick Chubb
Desperation TE Streamer: TE Ben Watson; TE Ricky Seals-Jones
Key Game Facts
-- Stephon Gillmore has allowed a 36.0 passer rating in coverage this season while J.C. Jackson is allowing a 31.0 rating
-- No team is allowing fewer PPR points per game to opposing receivers aligned out wide than the Patriots (12.7)
When the Browns have the ball: It's highly unlikely that you have significantly better options at receiver than Odell Beckham this week, but this has the makings of a one-sided affair. The Pats are going to put white-hot Stephon Gillmore on OBJ on every play and likely force Baker Mayfield to beat them with Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, and Ricky Seals-Jones. Good luck with that. I'm confident in Nick Chubb's volume and talent for the Browns... and that's about it. Vegas' implied point total (based on the over/under and spread) for the Browns is 16.3 points. Only the Dolphins (15.0) have a lower Week 8 implied total.
When the Patriots have the ball: New England's side is extremely straight-forward this week, with Tom Brady and Julian Edelman being auto-starts. The Browns will get both of starting CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams back for the first time since Week 3, but Edelman will avoid those two out the slot this week. Edelman saw 15 targets in Week 6 after Josh Gordon left early and 12 targets last week with Gordon out of the lineup entirely. Mohamed Sanu's addition might hurt Edelman's target volume as the season rolls along, but Edelman is a WR1 in PPR leagues this weekend. Gordon getting put on I.R. cements Phillip Dorsett as the Patriots field-stretcher, but I'd beware of him this week with both Browns corners returning and Sanu's addition. Ben Watson made his 2019 debut last week, drawing 5 targets and playing on 76 percent of snaps. If Cameron Brate or Jonnu Smith aren't available, Watson makes sense as a desperation streamer. Rex Burkhead has missed three-straight games, which has made it much easier to project the Patriots backfield. Sony Michel has 19, 24, and 20 touches and has compiled an absurd 12 red-zone carries without Burkhead in this span. Michel has forced just nine missed tackles and has averaged 3.3 YPC on his 119 attempts, but he has multiple TD upside as the Pats are double-digit home-favorites. Meanwhile, James White has finished as a top-24 PPR fantasy option in every game he has started this season and has 22 catches on 26 targets without Burkhead in Weeks 5-7.
Packers at Chiefs (at 8:20 ET)
Sit: RB Damien Williams
Injuries to monitor: WR Davante Adams (toe); QB Patrick Mahomes (knee); WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring)
Key Game Facts
-- Kansas City is allowing the most yards per carry (4.99) and the highest rush success rate (61.2 percent) in the league
When the Packers have the ball:Aaron Jones will continue to lose passing-down work and will have TDs frustratingly vultured by Jamaal Williams from time to time, but the fact remains that he's still seen a robust 16.5 touches per day in Williams' full starts this season. Jones has explosive upside in a game the Packers should control against the league's worst run defense. Aaron Rodgers had a day for himself last week, absurdly hitting 6 different Packers for a gain of 20 or more yards against the Raiders. Even though Rodgers remains an obvious QB1 this week, his pass catchers are all relatively thin plays. Here is how Rodgers has distributed his targets without Davante Adams (toe) over the last three weeks: Aaron Jones (19), Geronimo Allison (18), Jimmy Graham (12), Jamaal Williams (10), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (9), and Allen Lazard (9). MVS only played 20 snaps in Week 7 and should get close to a full-time allotment of plays this week, but with Rodgers spreading out his targets and the Chiefs quietly playing well on the boundary, I'd tread lightly. Per Next Gen Stats, Kansas City is allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to receivers aligned out wide. MVS runs 75 percent of his routes split out on the boundary.
When the Chiefs have the ball:Matt Moore will start under center for the injured Patrick Mahomes this week. While the QB change severely ticks Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill's ceiling downwards, I'm confident HC Andy Reid will have more than a few plays schemed up for his star players. Reid has had nearly 10 days to prepare for this game, too. Ultimately, Moore's presence harms the Chiefs backfield outlook more than anything. LeSean McCoy (39 percent) has led Damien Williams (35 percent) and Darrel Williams (21 percent) in snap rate over the last two weeks after McCoy got zero carries in Week 5. We can chase this committee when Mahomes is on the field because of all the Chiefs red-zone scoring chances, but a 3-man committee with the backup QB doesn't sound particularly appealing. This is just a housekeeping note because you can't play Mecole Hardman or Demarcus Robinson without Mahomes, but Sammy Watkins is tentatively expected to return this week.
Dolphins at Steelers (at 8:15 ET on Monday Night)
Key Game Facts
-- The Dolphins defense has allowed a touchdown on 75 percent of their red-zone drives, the highest rate in the league
-- The Steelers have scored a TD on just 38 percent of their red-zone drives, the third-lowest rate in the league
When the Dolphins have the ball: I want to continue to believe that Josh Rosen has a chance to become a solid NFL starter, but it doesn't bode well for him that Ryan Fitzpatrick at least makes the Dolphins offense competent when he has been on the field. You'd have to be really desperate to start either DeVante Parker or Preston Williams, but Parker turned his 10 targets into a solid 5/55/1 last week while Williams went for 6/82 on 8 targets against Buffalo. Mark Walton led the Dolphins backfield in snaps (52 percent) and touches (15) over Kenyan Drake (41 percent snaps; 9 touches) in Week 7, continuing the trend of Miami elevating Walton into a bigger role. Walton's snaps have now increased in three-straight games and even though he's a thin play this week, Walton needs to be stashed in 12-team leagues with trade rumors swirling around Drake.
When the Steelers have the ball:Gardner Minshew and Ryan Tannehill are ranked higher on most lists this week, but Mason Rudolph is an equally appealing streaming option for Week 8 as he returns from his concussion. Miami has allowed every single quarterback they have faced to post a top-15 scoring week against them, with five signal-callers tallying top-10 results. JuJu Smith-Schuster's season has not gone to plan, but this matchup obviously elevates his ceiling back into WR1 territory... even if it's only for a week. No team is allowing explosive gains through the air (20 or more yards) more often than Miami. Meanwhile, the bye came at a perfect time for James Conner after he battled through knee, ankle, and quad injuries in Weeks 1-6. Surprisingly, it also looks like Jaylen Samuels will return for the Steelers after getting his knee scoped two weeks ago. Initial reports had Samuels slated to miss at least a month. Even with Samuels returning, Conner should be the focal point of Pittsburgh's attack in this smash spot.
- -- Graham Barfield is a fantasy editor and analyst for NFL.com. Catch him on the NFL Fantasy Football podcast with Marcas Grant and Michael Fabiano, Fantasy LIVE on NFL Network, watch him on Fantasy League One, and follow him on Twitter @GrahamBarfield. *