Heading into Week 8 Fantasy Football action, here are the top 5 sleepers discussed between Luis Tirado Jr. and Genna Preston of The Jet Press.
Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos running back Devontae Booker (23) runs the ball during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Week 8 is here and so far this fantasy football season, things are about to heat up from here on out. Sleepers truly define the rest of the way as November approaches and fantasy players start to heat up with their contributions.
Genna Preston, Contributor for The Jet Press, truly knows everything and anything when it comes to fantasy football. She’s always spot on in her predictions and since I also love fantasy football, I figured it would be great to see which players she thought would be huge sleepers this week and well, every week from here on out.
If you’d like to read her amazing work, here is her FanSided author page. Also, check out her Facebook author page as well as her Twitter account. She enjoys interacting with fellow fantasy football owners and loves to help others with their lineups.
Without further ado, here is a sit-down we had over the top five sleepers heading into Week 8 action in fantasy football.
Next: 5. The bearded one at quarterback
5. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick – New York Jets
LTJ: This week, the New York Jets hit the road to take on the Cleveland Browns. This matchup has “trap game” written all over it and well, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jets lose but quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has much to prove. He made some pretty harsh comments straight to the higher ups of Gang Green. Will he have a big game to prove his worth, much to the delight of fantasy owners everywhere?
GP: Fitzpatrick does have some big shoes to fill this week. As a Jets fan, I was particularly offended by his comments and the way he acted. However, I do believe he will and needs to have a great week. Last week after stepping in for Geno Smith, Fitzpatrick seemed to have more control of his decisions on the gridiron.
I will not say he’s had a sudden turnaround but, he did show improvement from his dreadful interceptions and incomplete passes. He also has an ideal matchup with the Cleveland Browns. They have given up 18 touchdowns this season. Last week, the Browns gave quarterback Andy Dalton over 300 yards and two touchdowns. I can’t imagine Fitzpatrick not doing well.
LTJ: I do know the Browns play with a lot of heart and well, looking at the rest of the schedule, they have the highest chance of beating the Jets than anyone else. Hopefully, the Jets take care of business on the road. Fitzpatrick plans to continue playing “pissed off” which is fine by me in the grand scheme of things. Could we see a huge performance by Fitzpatrick in fantasy this week to silence his critics?
GP: If he can’t do it this week, he can’t do it at all! This is the make or break week for Fitzpatrick and I’m leaning toward the make it side. Let’s just hope he stays pissed off!
Next: 4. A Bronco ready to step up and deliver
Oct 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Devontae Booker (23) celebrates with running back C.J. Anderson (22) after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 27-9. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
4. Running Back Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos
LTJ: Running back Devontae Booker and his Denver Broncos welcome the San Diego Chargers to Sports Authority Field on Sunday. This game has the makings of being a real shootout between two top offensive teams. Such a tough break for running back C.J. Anderson who is most likely out for the next 6-8 weeks. What should fantasy owners expect out of Booker this week against the defense of the Chargers?
GP: The first thing C.J. Anderson owners need to do is draft Booker! Although I thought this was a given, I was shocked his ownership didn’t increase more than it did. Booker is on track for a great season! This week as well as weeks to come.
Last week, Anderson played through his injury as the Broncos allowed Booker more snaps, 17 to be exact. He also had his first career touchdown. If this is coming from a backup, sign me up. Even though no running back has had a 100-yard game against the Chargers, Booker is looking at almost 20 touches which should be worth a start on its own.
LTJ: I think fantasy owners are looking at other options than trusting Booker, this week, however, he’s definitely worth starting. Something about stepping in when the guy ahead of you is out due to injury usually inspires one to really push the envelope. Booker in Week 8 to me is a must-start regardless, though. What final stats do you predict for him?
GP: There are six teams on a bye and with injuries, the pickings are slim. I put Booker at RB2 borderline RB1 this week. I can definitely see him having 80 yards with a touchdown.
LTJ: Nice prediction there as I agree. I also feel bad for Anderson since I don’t think he’ll be the same since earlier this week, he refused to admit that he’d miss significant amounts of time. Now it’s from here until the end of the season. Should fantasy owners completely drop him or somehow, someway, stash him in case he makes a return to the Broncos if they make the NFL Playoffs?
GP: I read today that they were hopeful Anderson would return in time for the playoffs. With that said, we can’t always trust what is out there. However, if that is the case, Anderson should be stashed on your bench. I’d track his status for a couple weeks and then decide from there.
Next: 3. A workhorse running back that should be started
Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) and New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana (71) celebrate Forte
3. Running Back Matt Forte – New York Jets
LTJ: Running back Matt Forte of the New York Jets finally scored a touchdown this past week! Of course, the Jets are a hot mess this season but Forte looked like the one we all loved from Week 2. What should fantasy owners expect out of Forte against the Browns this week?
GP: I was embarrassed by his performance last week after I told everyone to sit him. But, who really expected that given his past few games? I am expecting Forte to have another great outing. I can’t imagine him going from 30 rushes and 100 yards last week to being a bust this week.
Forte and the Jets also have a perfect matchup for success as long as they stay focused. The Browns are giving opposing running backs over 130 yards per game. That is enough of a reason on its own to start Forte this week.
LTJ: Completely agree, think the Jets’ offense will finally wake up and stick to actually running the football. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey should hopefully stop trying to be cautious with Forte and unleash him since we’re already at Week 8. The Jets can’t afford to lose here and well, they should win if they feed Forte a good amount of touches. Is he an RB1, RB2, or FLEX option this week in your opinion?
LTJ: I think Forte is developing into a week-to-week situation since not many predicted for him to do what he did last week against the banged up Baltimore Ravens. I do however think that he’s definitely an RB1 this week. I mean, after all, it’s the Browns we’re talking about. Trap game or not, the Jets have everything they need to leave this game victorious. Think Forte drops a pair of touchdowns in his Week 8 matchup?
GP: Yes! It’s long overdue. We haven’t seen double touchdowns since Week 2!
Next: 2. A Bill that should turn things around
Oct 23, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Mike Gillislee (35) is tackled by Miami Dolphins strong safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (24) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins won 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
2. Running Back Mike Gillislee – Buffalo Bills
LTJ: Running back Mike Gillislee is heading into one of the biggest games of Week 8. His Buffalo Bills welcome the New England Patriots to town. He was a dud last week in fantasy football, should owners consider trusting him this week or bench him?
GP: It’s hard for me to trust Gillislee. Especially after his dud performance was against the Miami Dolphins. Running back LeSean McCoy left last week’s game with a lingering hamstring injury, and Gillislee still didn’t have a good week. He rushed five times for 20 yards. What a disgrace! And now you want me to trust him against the Patriots? Never!
The Patriots rank 11th at defending the run. The haven’t given opponents more than 92 rushing yards a game. Gillislee is also a bit banged up. Although he will be starting, he’s been limited in practice and I am just not comfortable starting him this week.
LTJ: Very interesting, Genna. I know you absolutely are against starting any players in your fantasy lineups that are banged up or limited in practice. So if owners plan to not trust Gillislee this week, what other fantasy options would you recommend this week? I’m sorry but I think Gillislee will see a good amount of action against the Patriots and finally have a breakout game. With running back LeSean McCoy out, think Gillislee is going to ball out against the leading team in the AFC East.
LTJ: Solid choices there, Genna. I just think head coach Rex Ryan wants this win against the Patriots since well, not many teams in the AFC East can brag about sweeping the reigning division champions. What fantasy projections do you have for quarterback Tyrod Taylor who could easily be an x-factor in this matchup?
GP: It’s definitely a bittersweet game. I don’t want anything more than to watch someone in the AFC take down the Patriots, I just wish it wasn’t the Bills. I usually don’t think highly of Taylor but given the matchup, I am expecting 300 yards from him; that’s including rushing yards and two touchdowns. Last time he played the Patriots, he had 246 passing yards and a touchdown, so it’s possible.
Next: 1. A familiar tight end
Oct 23, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) runs past Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (59) in overtime at the Georgia Dome. The Chargers defeated the Falcons 33-30 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
1. Tight End Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers
LTJ: Tight end Antonio Gates has been a bit lackluster so far this season. No doubt due to his age and well, the San Diego Chargers committed to their ground game led by running back Melvin Gordon. In Week 8, however, the Chargers face the Broncos as I honestly see Gates returning to form and being a catalyst on offense. What are your fantasy football thoughts on Gates this week?
GP: I get very nervous starting players against the Broncos. It’s no secret they have one of the best defenses in the league. Lackluster is an understatement. He saw his most targets last week and still only managed to earn about six fantasy points if you were lucky.
He’s had more busts than booms this season. As he prepares to take on the Bronco, I just can’t help but pass on starting him. The Broncos have only given one touchdown to the position this season. I’m sitting the touchdown dependent tight end this week.
LTJ: I still think quarterback Philip Rivers is going to continue being a touchdown-producing machine and we all remember how much of a connection the two had during their prime. Think Gates will get a few more looks in this matchup to keep the Broncos on their feet. Don’t get me wrong, the defense of the Broncos is flat out incredible but Rivers has quite the fast release. I can see Rivers-to-Gates in red-zone situations to really keep them in this game. If you’re passing on Gates, who would you rather prefer starting this week as a sleeper at tight end?
GP: It’s funny you mention Rivers as he’s on my sit ’em list this week because I think the Broncos will finally stop the everlasting Philips. I do think Gates is a red zone target but, I don’t see them having enough red zone action to offer fantasy value this week. If I had to choose a tight end to start this week it would be Travis Kelce or Gary Barnidge.
LTJ: Oh man, Barnidge is going to have a field day against the defense of the Jets. They don’t know how to use a tight end and forget about trying to defend against them! I would say Barnidge is the better option to use this week if fantasy owners are worried about trusting Gates this week. I’m hearing quarterback Josh McCown will be back for the Browns and well, Barnidge is their only and viable weapon to use against the struggling defense of the Jets. Should fantasy owners be aware of any other tight ends they should stash for later on this season?
GP: Barnidge should definitely have a good week. Kelce had two touchdowns against the Jets. Good tight ends are hard to come by. So, if I had to stash someone for later it would be Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings are looking like playoff contenders and should that happen, his fantasy value will skyrocket.