Thomason: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em For Week 8

Teddy Bridgewater and Ty Johnson have favorable matchups this week.

Jack Thomason
October 24, 2019 - 12:31 pm

(670 The Score) "Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em" is a breakdown of some of the best and worst fantasy football matchups to help you navigate setting your lineups for the week.

Listen to your team news NOW.

My goal with this article is to provide you with a player to start who may not be the most obvious of starts and to share a player to sit whom you normally wouldn't consider shying away from regardless of matchup. 

Let's get to it.

Quarterback

START – Teddy Bridgewater, Saints (vs. Cardinals) I’m guessing no one saw the Saints going 5-0 when Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury and Bridgewater took over, but here we are. Bridgewater deserves credit. The Saints aren't winning despite him. They're winning in part because he's doing his job well. Bridgewater is averaging 241 passing yards in his five starts and has thrown nine touchdowns to only two interceptions for the season. The Saints have an implied team total of 28.8 points and are 9.5-point home favorites against the Cardinals. Arizona’s defense got a boost with the return of standout cornerback Patrick Peterson last week, but that won’t be enough to slow down New Orleans. The Cardinals rank 26th in Football Outsiders' DVOA and 28th in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks.

SIT – Carson Wentz, Eagles (at Bills) Wentz was brutal in Dallas last week, and it won't be any easier in Buffalo. The Eagles offense is still missing DeSean Jackson to stretch the field, and Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor aren’t getting the job done. The Bills opened as a one-point favorite, and the line has already moved to -2.5. Look for Bills' stingy defense that ranks fifth in pass DVOA to shut down the Eagles' passing game in this one. Philadelphia is more likely to have success on the ground, where Buffalo ranks 23rd in run DVOA. If nothing else, this game should be a low-scoring defensive battle.

Running back

START – Ty Johnson, Lions (vs. Giants) When Kerryon Johnson went down with a knee injury, it was Ty Johnson who stepped in and played 71 percent of the snaps. Ty Johnson is a good all-around running back and will be a threat on the ground and through the air for the seven-point home favorite Lions, who have an implied team total of 28 points. The Giants rank 27th in aFPA to opposing backs. J.D. McKissic will be involved and I expect Matt Stafford to have a day, but Ty Johnson should sneak into the end zone and put up some nice yardage totals.

SIT – Melvin Gordon, Chargers (at Bears) Gordon's performance has been downright ugly in three games since returning from his holdout. He’s averaging just 2.3 yards per carry and 3.8 yards per reception and has found the end zone just once. Austin Ekeler has been the far superior running back in every facet, and the Chargers are suffering offensively by forcing Gordon into the game. Ranking 16th in DVOA and 20th in aFPA, the Bears aren’t the nightmare defense for opposing running backs that they were in 2018, but I still don’t want to start Gordon. The Chargers are sporting a paltry 18.5-point implied total and are four-point underdogs. While the Chargers' offensive line should see a boost with the return of left tackle Russell Okung, I’m still not interested in playing Gordon.  

Receiver

START – Kenny Stills, Texans (vs. Raiders) The Raiders rank 30th in both pass DVOA and aFPA to receivers, and they just traded their former cornerback Gareon Conley -- a first-round pick in 2017 -- to the Texans to deplete their secondary even more. All that coupled with Will Fuller’s hamstring injury sets up for a great opportunity for Kenny Stills. When Fuller went down last week, Stills stepped in by running similar routes and went on to catch four balls for 105 yards. Looking to rebound after a tough loss in Indianapolis, Houston has the third-highest implied team total (29) and Oakland plays the run well (11th in both DVOA/aFPA,) making the Raiders a pass funnel defense. Fire up Stills and don’t think twice about it.

SIT – Odell Beckham, Browns (at Patriots) I’m not sure how much I have to say here. The Browns can’t pass block for Baker Mayfield, and he and Beckham haven’t been on the same page either. Now Cleveland travels to New England, where the Patriots defense is off to a historic start in their first seven games and where Beckham will likely be shadowed by All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Beckham has underwhelmed this season, including during much easier matchups, so benching him shouldn’t be as hard as it normally would be. 

Tight end

START – Gerald Everett, Rams (vs. Bengals) Quietly, Everett is the 12th-ranked tight end in half-point PPR leagues and has scored double-digit points in three of his last four games. He’s fourth on the team in targets and is just behind Robert Woods for second on the team in targets over the last four weeks. Everett is a big part of this offense, and the Rams have the highest team total this week at 30.5 points. While the Bengals are tied for fifth in aFPA to tight ends, I’d still start Everett with all the projected points for the Rams.

SIT – Greg Olsen, Panthers (at 49ers) If it weren't for the Patriots, we’d be talking a lot more about how dominant the 49ers have been defensively. The 49ers' pass defense is within eight percentage points of the Patriots' pass defense in DVOA. The next closest team is a whopping 35 percentage points behind the 49ers, who also rank second in aFPA against tight ends in allowing just 3.5 points per game in standard leagues and 7.8 points per game in PPR formats. Olsen is usually a decent start, but this is a bad matchup for him.

Other starts: Ryan Tannehill (vs. Buccaneers), David Montgomery (vs. Chargers), John Brown (vs. Eagles) and Dallas Goedert (at Bills).

Other sits: Baker Mayfield (at Patriots), Adrian Peterson/Wendell Smallwood (at Vikings), D.J. Moore (at 49ers) and O.J. Howard (at Titans).

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.​