Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview: Gaps


The one thing that makes Fantasy Football so consuming for some is that it’s difficult. It really is. If it were as easy as just connecting the dots, then we’d get bored of it very quick.

With the heavy bye-weeks, like this one and next week are, you really need to use your imagination and cunning to fill those gaps. Sleepers bridge those gaps. No matter what matchup the sleeper has, you cannot dismiss them as a spot start.

You often read or hear things like, “the Steelers give up the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season.” It looks strong and formidable. However, if we look at only the most recent four weeks, the Steelers fall to 7th and it is the Seahawks and Texans who hold the first and second spots for stingy fantasy points allowed.

2017 Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview

Yes, and wouldn’t you know. The Texans visit the Seahawks right here in Week 8. It’s an extreme matchup, as both teams are also at or near the top against running backs these past four weeks.

I wouldn’t fret and just accept the downgraded expectations if your room to manuever isn’t very wide in these thinned out weeks. You never know, these things have a way of turning into something very different than what we see on paper.

Games to watch

Feature Game: Cowboys (3-3) at Redskins (3-3)

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A pivotal game for these division rivals as the Eagles are in the driving seat in the NFC East.

The Redskins having just lost to the Eagles for the second time, cannot win the division except by outright better record. So the Cowboys, having yet to play them, are realistically the only challengers left.

Dez Bryant gets Josh Norman this week – one of the most ‘lights out’ corners in the league. Owners of Bryant have some optimism as Norman will likely play at less than 100% after suffering cracked ribs. On balance, the main efforts should then fall to Ezekiel Elliott against a run defense that has receded in the past four weeks versus running backs.

Josh Doctson moves into the starting role for the second straight game and Pryor owners lament. It is not entirely Pryor’s fault. Cousins surveys the routes and always tends to check his tight ends first in that tiny three second window. This might be the fate of Doctson as well.

With Josh Norman occupied, someone who’s been quiet lately is…

Sleeper: Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys

High OU Game: Chargers (3-4) at Patriots (5-2)

Despite it all, the Chargers remain well within playoff contention in the AFC.

Surprise gameplans can rattle the Patriots defense, so in games like these, it’s really difficult to predict where the Chargers are going to focus their attack.

Melvin Gordon is not 100% healthy (foot) for this one, so we may see some Austin Ekeler help out in the passing downs more than he has done to date. Look for a minor timeshare there at least this week.

The Chargers passing attack is still taking the wraps off Mike Williams. Despite a catchless Week 7, he is clearly beginning to rise into the mix of receivers behind Keenan Allen. Only the daring would start him in contest such as this.

The Patriots continue as always with their usual dynamism. Although the technique looks weary, they still manage to cap off 48% of their possessions with points.

Can you guess which Patriots player has the most targets/receptions over the past four weeks?
Answer: James White (33/26)

Like everything else with the Patriots, the eyes deceive. When you look at the Patriots statistics it is a road to nowhere. Although James White holds that statistic today, in a couple of weeks it may change. The Patriots lead you into trends and then switch the game. The most fantasy frustrating team of all.

I’ll go with the least obvious because sometimes you can carry moonbeams home in a jar…

Sleeper: Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots

Sunday Night Football: Steelers (5-2) at Lions (3-3)

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You would never think a veteran quarterback would need to build confidence in himself. Ben Roethlisberger has returned to the good ol’ Ben we’ve known. I think the Jaguars were a defense playing at a peak against the Steelers in Week 5 and Ben just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

It was out of character too. Ben has only had four games of 55 pass attempts in his career. However, to correct matters, Ben has cooled down on his passing attempts in the last two games to under 30.

As for this game, it lends itself to Ben opening it up again against a Detroit defense that are moderate versus quarterbacks and other fantasy categories.

As for Detroit, this is a team with a bad case of fantasy hiccups. Maybe during the bye-week they’ve found a cure.

Ameer Abdullah is averaging 7.8 standard fantasy points and Theo Riddick about 8.5 PPR. The receivers, apart from the blowout game against the Saints with a lot of garbage time scoring, are pathetic overall so far in 2017.

This game is the first these teams have met in Detroit since 2009; as is typical of the inter-conference scheduling rotation. Hines Ward was about the only player who made worthwhile fantasy points in the game back then with a 7-85-1 line.

Sleeper: none

Monday Night Football: Broncos (3-3) at Chiefs (5-2)

A critical game for the Chiefs. If they drop three straight after a 5-0 start, it’s a severe underachievement. It’s the Broncos however, who have their backs to the wall. Amazingly, a win puts them right back into strong contention in the suddenly crowded AFC West division.

But how do the Broncos win this game? The offense could not keep up with the Giants at home, despite putting up their highest total yardage (412) of the season. What gives with this offense?

The numbers that jump out in Denver’s last two games is team rushing. Without boring you with the stats,  let’s just say CJ Anderson is busting real quick. He is volume dependent and just awful. Jamaal Charles, for all his celebrity, cannot show anything of his youthful talents.

This leaves Devontae Booker. In PPR, he would eagerly be picked up if the Broncos decide to switch the deck chairs – at least for a trial. For those not ruling out anything at this point, keep rookie De’Angelo Henderson watchlisted.

The Broncos really need Emmanuel Sanders to return for this game. He is Siemian’s primo go-to receiver.

The Chiefs, well, they are coming off a classic Thursday night game on the losing end. Their team doesn’t really need any adjustments, but like the Patriots of late, continue to lose control of games. No need for any concern in fantasy, just start your Chiefs.

Sleeper: DeMarcus Robinson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Players to watch

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Jalen Richard/DeAndre Washington, RB, Raiders (at Bills)

TV Guide Oct 29 (My Favorite Marshawn): In this episode, the boys take advantage of their crazy uncle’s suspension and run away to Buffalo to see if they can trade in their carries for a fantasy profit. 1pm (b&w)

Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles (vs 49ers)

After that sack escape from the Redskins last week, I don’t think we can get enough of this quarterback from the Dakotas. Another prime fantasy matchup for him and his fellow Eagles.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts (at Bengals)

We can excuse the two catches out of eight targets last week because the tandem of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are shutting down everyone. Hilton has a good chance to come out of the cold this week.

John Ross, WR, Bengals (vs Colts)

One of the several rookie wideouts having injury problems to start their NFL careers. Ross isn’t redraft fantasy relevant for a long while yet, but dynasty owners are definitely interested to see him out there.

DeShaun Watson, QB, Texans (at Seahawks)

Seattle fans may be wondering if Russell Wilson plays for both teams. Watson shares many traits with his senior rival. In his toughest test yet, Watson will earn his stripe honestly if he can handle the Legion of Boom.

Marlon Mack, RB, Colts (at Bengals)

With Robert Turbin out for the season, Marlon Mack stands tall as one of the best cuffs to own in fantasy. The indestructible Frank Gore, as is his nature, falls to no one.

In the Booth on Sunday

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Greg Gumbel and Bryant Gumbel

NFLN – 9:30am ET in London

Vikings vs Cleveland: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

CBS – Early Games

Chargers at Patriots: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Raiders at Bills: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Colts at Cincinnati: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

CBS – Late Game

Texans at Seahawks: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

FOX – Early Games

Bears at Saints: Justin Kutcher, Chris Spielman
49ers at Eagles: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Falcons at Jets: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
Panthers at Buccaneers: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

Fox – Late Game

Cowboys at Redskins: Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman

Check out the rest of our 2017 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. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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