In case you missed it last night, Jamey Eisenberg's Start of the Week for Week 8 is Tony Pollard, and with good reason: Ezekiel Elliott is likely to miss Week 8 and Pollard has a great matchup against the Bears on the way. This is exactly why you drafted Pollard -- to have a must-start Fantasy option if anything happened to Elliott.
But, of course, it required patience to take advantage of, and that's a good lesson to remember. Fantasy Football is a game that, in many ways, rewards reacting strongly to new evidence, often to the point where risking an overreaction has value. But, it's also worth remembering that, in the case of someone like Tony Pollard or Alexander Mattison, playing the long game has plenty of upside, too. Patience is going to pay off with Pollard this week, just like it did with Eno Benjamin last week, and it'll probably pay off at some point with Mattison or A.J. Dillon or maybe even someone like Jaylen Warren at some point.
Of course, being patient is easier said than done when you've got to win games to keep your season alive and make the playoffs. The rest of today's newsletter is all about helping you do that. We've got Dave Richard's start and sit picks for you today, along with a preview of tonight's Ravens-Buccaneers game, plus the latest injuries from around the NFL you need to know about.
And if you have other questions you need answers to, make sure you subscribe to the Fantasy Football Today YouTube channel and join Adam Aizer, Dave and I at 2 p.m. ET for our start/sit live stream. We'll be discussing all of the latest news and answering your toughest lineup questions.
In tomorrow's newsletter, I'll have previews of every game on the Week 8 schedule, including the latest injury updates, plus all of the key takeaways from tonight's game. Get ready for Week 8 with all of our preview content here:
- Week 8 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: QB | RB | WR
- Starts, sits and sleepers for every game
- Week 8 Position Previews: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Week 8 Rankings: Jamey | Dave | Heath
- My rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE
Here's what else today's newsletter will cover:
- 8️⃣Dave Richard's Week 8 Preview
- 🆚TNF Preview: Ravens at Buccaneers
- 🚑Week 8 Injury Watch
8️⃣Dave Richard's Week 8 Preview
There are the obvious calls, and then there are the ones you need help with. Dave Richard goes through each game to identify the most interesting matchups and biggest lineup dilemmas for Week 8. Here are some of his top picks for this week. You can find the rest of his advice for Week 8 here:
- Gus Edwards -- "Edwards isn't a dazzler in terms of making guys miss and racing at over 21 miles per hour. He's not a sports car, he's a bus, and the Ravens intend to keep riding him as a punishing force in their offense. He also has relatively fresh legs coming into a short-week game -- I assume he will be rested and ready while the Bucs will be worn down. It's a recipe that's worked out well for running backs on Thursday nights lately. Edwards is a start in all formats over Jamaal Williams, Michael Carter, Kareem Hunt and the Panthers running backs, but should go ahead of David Montgomery and Tony Pollard in non-PPR."
- Tua Tagovailoa -- "If you're starting Tagovailoa, you're hoping he needed last week to knock some rust off and will throw better this week in one of the easiest matchups you could ask for. Detroit doesn't pressure quarterbacks enough to be a threat for Tagovailoa, making the matchup all the better. I'd chance it with Tagovailoa over Geno Smith, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, and I'd even start him over Tom Brady based on the upside."
- Kyle Pitts -- "Pitts has basically devolved into a touchdown-or-bust tight end. Sure, there's a chance he breaks out for 50 yards, but we could have said that for any of his first seven games and would have been right once. If his name was Marcedes Lewis or Geoff Swaim, you wouldn't even think twice about starting him. Dream if you want to, but a guy who's barely scored in his NFL career and has one game this season with more than 20 yards (!!) probably doesn't warrant much trust. I'd rather take my chances on Greg Dulcich, Cade Otton or Harrison Bryant."
- Damien Harris -- "Harris will still see some work, but it's not quite like it was before his injury, and he's not quite as efficient as Stevenson has been anyway. He's on the wrong side of a running back split workload against a run defense that's been improving by the week. If you start him, you have to pray to Ye Olde Fantasy Gods that he scores."
- Latavius Murray -- "Murray seems to have an edge on Gordon when it comes to touches near the goal line (he hasn't fumbled there yet; Gordon has), and the Broncos might see the edge Murray has on Gordon in terms of efficiency. Both of these things make him no better than a low-end starting option in the mold of a touchdown-or-bust back, but there is some hope he can pick up more work and take advantage of the matchup."
- Tom Brady -- "Brady has one or zero touchdowns in every game but one this year (Week 4 against the Chiefs). The short week preparation and his uneven passing, especially in the face of standard pass rushes, are troubling. The matchup against an improving Ravens defense doesn't help. He has not yet burned all of his trust with Fantasy managers, which is why I still rank him as a top-10 quarterback, but I'd feel a little better riding this week out with Tua Tagovailoa in a dream matchup against the Lions or Kyler Murray versus the Vikings."
🆚TNF Preview: Ravens at Buccaneers
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook
- Line: Buccaneers -1; 45.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Buccaneers 23.25-Ravens 22.25
When the schedule makers were drawing it up, I bet they thought this was going to be one of the most exciting matchups on the entire Thursday night slate. Instead, the Ravens limp in having failed to top 23 points in any of their past four games, which makes them seem relatively explosive in comparison to the Bucs, who just scored three points against the Panthers have just one game all season with more than 21 points. I have faith both of these teams are going to figure things out eventually, but things do not look great right now.
- Toughest lineup decision: Tom Brady -- Start. It's weird that Brady doesn't seem to have benefitted much from having Chris Godwin available so far this season. His only multi-touchdown game came when Godwin played just 52% of the snaps in Week 5, in fact. I feel pretty confident that part of the Bucs offense is going to get figured out before long, but there is that nagging question hanging out in the back of my mind -- "What if this is just the end of the line for Brady?" I'm not ready to accept that reality, and, given how bad the QB position is overall, I'm not going to feel comfortable sitting someone averaging 48-plus pass attempts over the past four games. It's been ugly, but Brady deserves more of the benefit of the doubt, especially against a Ravens team allowing the seventh-most points to opposing Fantasy QBs. He's still a top-12 option for me, though with considerably less certainty than I've had in the past.
- Injuries: Mark Andrews (knee) -- Andrews is the kind of player who can probably play without practicing, and he'll need to this week because he missed each day in the lead up to the game. You'll need to make sure you have an alternative in case Andrews isn't able to play, and the good news is, the Ravens have a talented young tight end in Isaiah Likely who would likely step into a big role if Andrews is out. I might rank Likely as a top-12 option this week if Andrews is out, even with his lack of a track record ... Rashod Bateman (foot) -- Bateman got in a full practice Wednesday and should be good to go for this one, but he is listed as questionable, for what it's worth. I'm expecting him to play, but he's a boom-or-bust WR3 even when healthy ... Gus Edwards (knee) -- Edwards has been listed as limited all week, but I'm assuming that is just maintenance coming off his season debut. However, the short turnaround between games definitely concerns me here -- I wouldn't be surprised to see Edwards fall short of last week's 16 carries. This should be a three-way split, and I'd start Edwards over Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill, but he's a touchdown-dependent RB3 for me even if he plays ... Julio Jones (knee)/Russell Gage (hamstring)/Cameron Brate (neck) -- Brate and Gage have already been ruled out, while Jones is questionable but would likely be limited even if he is able to play. Brady still has Godwin and Mike Evans, which is enough, but this isn't an ideal situation right now. Hopefully the mini-bye coming up helps them get healthy.
🚑Week 8 Injury Watch
The Big News: As always, there are plenty of injuries we're keeping an eye on for Week 8, but two wide receivers stand above the rest right now. Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and DK Metcalf both missed practice Wednesday, and while neither has been ruled out yet, it's an ominous sign to start the week. Samuel's role of late has left a lot to be desired, while Metcalf is naturally pretty hit or miss, so it'll be hard to trust either at less than 100%. We'll watch both of these over the coming days, but Metcalf's knee injury seems like more of a concern at this point. I would definitely make sure I have alternate plans for both, but especially Metcalf.
I'll have a full breakdown of the injury report in Friday's newsletter along with my previews of each game, but here's a look at the first practice participation reports of the week.
- FP = Full participation in practice.
- LP = Limited participation.
- DNP = Did not practice.
Injuries to watch for Week 8
It's not clear what these injuries mean quite yet.
- Derek Carr (Back) -- LP. This is the first we're hearing of this injury, and since Carr was able to practice at all seems to indicate it isn't much of a concern.
- D'Andre Swift (Ankle/Shoulder) -- FP. With Swift upgraded to full practice, it seems likely he'll be able to make his return to the field for the first time since Week 3. I'm worried Swift might have his workload managed even more than usual coming off this injury, given his struggles to stay healthy, but he's such an explosive player that he can be worth starting even if he only gets 10 touches. I think he'll get that many, and is an RB2 for me this week.
- Josh Jacobs (Foot) -- LP. This is a new issue for Jacobs, and I really hope there's nothing to be too concerned about here – Jacobs is playing well enough right now to be in consideration for the No. 1 overall RB spot. I don't have any reason to think this is a serious issue, but it's worth watching, given the stakes of Jacobs' current level of play.
- James Conner (Ribs) -- LP. Darrel Williams (knee) was also limited Monday, a sign that both could be back for Week 8 against the Vikings. That's good news for Conner, but bad news for Eno Benjamin, who would go from a potential top-12 RB to a flex at best. Conner would be in the RB2 conversation if he's healthy enough to play his typical role.
- Chuba Hubbard (Ankle) -- DNP. D'Onta Foreman had just four carries through the first three quarters of Week 7's win over the Buccaneers, so it sure looked like Hubbard was the lead back here. If he's unable to play, Foreman will see a significant role, and the matchup against the Falcons should make it so the Panthers can lean on the running game if they choose to. That would make Foreman a decent RB2 option – he and Hubbard are both RB3s if he plays.
- Darrell Henderson (Illness) -- DNP. Illnesses usually don't lead to absences, especially early in the week, but we'll keep an eye on this one. With Cam Akers not expected to play for the Rams in Week 8 – or ever again, frankly – Malcolm Brown would likely see a significant role against the 49ers if Henderson can't go. He would rank below the likes of Foreman and Hubbard in an offense that has struggled to generate much production for running backs so far.
- Allen Lazard (Shoulder) -- DNP. Lazard seems like a long shot to play this week, though the Packers have not ruled him out yet. He was seen wearing a sling after the game, though the team hasn't given any indication of the nature of the injury. I don't really think anyone on this offense is trustworthy enough to elevate in the event Lazard does have to miss this week's game against a tough Bills defense, but Romeo Doubs is a fringe starter either way.
- Davante Adams (Illness) -- DNP. As with Henderson, it doesn't seem like this is much reason to be concerned right now, but we'll keep an eye on his status in the coming days just to be sure. Adams is a No. 1 Fantasy WR when healthy.
- Van Jefferson (Knee) -- LP. Jefferson is working his way back from preseason knee surgery, and the hope is he'll be able to provide a badly needed spark to an offense that just has not been able to move the ball down the field consistently. Jefferson was largely an afterthought in Fantasy drafts this summer, but seeing how badly the Rams need a non-Cooper Kupp option to step up, Jefferson is worth stashing in all leagues just in case he can step in as the No. 2 option here.
- Darren Waller (Hamstring) -- LP. This is Waller's first practice since suffered the injury in Week 5, and it's a promising sign for his chances of playing. It's too early to know for sure, and a full practice at some point this week would be a very welcome sign, but if Waller is active for Week 8 against the Saints, you probably won't have a better option than him, given the state of the TE landscape.
- Dalton Schultz (Knee) -- LP. Schultz continues to struggle with his PCL injury, and he aggravated it again in Week 7. That makes it awfully tough to trust him at this point, though there's certainly upside with a healthy Dak Prescott if he can stay healthy.
- Pat Freiermuth (Ankle) -- LP. Freiermuth has the look of a must-start TE in Fantasy right now, assuming this injury isn't serious enough to cost him time in Week 8. We'll watch it.
- Logan Thomas (Calf) -- LP. Thomas hasn't played since Week 4, and this is his first appearance at practice since the injury. He's a TE2 if he plays.
Trending up for Week 8
This doesn't mean they will play, but we got good news about them Wednesday.
- Russell Wilson (Hamstring) -- LP. Wilson told reporters he expects to play against the Jaguars in London this week, and his limited practice Wednesday bodes well for his chances. Not that you'd be excited to start Wilson at this point – he has just one game with multiple touchdowns all season.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown (Concussion Protocol) -- LP. St. Brown left Sunday's game against the Cowboys in the first quarter, but apparently didn't actually suffer a concussion. He'll have to remain symptom-free this week to be cleared to play, and he should get a chance to practice Thursday. If he can make it through that session without issue, St. Brown should be good to go this week against the Dolphins, and he's a top-10 WR if he does play.
- Christian Watson (Hamstring) -- LP. Given the Lazard injury, this is one worth keeping an eye on. Watson hasn't proven much at the NFL level, but he has obvious upside if he can get (and stay) healthy. In deeper leagues, he is well worth stashing, just in case.
Trending down for Week 8
This doesn't mean they won't play, but they aren't moving in the right direction yet.
- Ezekiel Elliott (Knee) -- DNP. Elliott is not expected to play this week after suffering a partially torn MCL, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Tony Pollard is Jamey Eisenberg's Start of the Week for a reason.
- Michael Thomas (Foot) -- DNP/Jarvis Landry (ankle) – DNP. This duo continues to miss practice, and seeing as they haven't played since Week 3, it's fair to wonder why they were never placed on injured reserve. It's not clear how much more time they'll miss, but you can't expect to use either until they either get in a full practice or we see them in a game for ourselves.
- Josh Reynolds (Knee) -- DNP. Reynolds played through this issue last week after being held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, but the fact that he had just one catch makes it tough to trust him, even in a pretty good matchup against the Dolphins.
- Corey Davis (Knee) -- DNP. What's going to be interesting to see this week is whether a potential absence for Davis might mean an opportunity for Elijah Moore to get back on the field. Moore was inactive in Week 7 following a trade request, but he remains worth stashing in pretty much all leagues, whether he gets traded or not. There's too much upside to give up on unless the Jets announce he just isn't going to play.
- Nico Collins (Groin) -- DNP. Collins left last week's game with the injury, and the best we've heard from coach Lovie Smith is that the injury is not a season-ender. That's good news, as far as it goes, but it doesn't make me feel particularly hopeful about Week 8. Collins is a decent stash, but you can drop him if you need the roster spot, especially if it doesn't look like he's going to play this week.
- Jahan Dotson (Hamstring) -- DNP. Dotson also has some upside, but is also fine to drop if you need.
- Kenny Golladay (Knee) -- DNP/Kadarius Toney (Hamstring) -- DNP. Ditto for those of you still holding on to Toney. He has upside – perhaps more than Collins or Dotson, given his potential role as the No. 1 option for the Jets – but his inability to get and then stay healthy makes him more trouble than he's been able to prove worth so far.