Time to Shine or Ride the Pine: Week 8 Start or Sit

Wow, was Week 7 an awesome one! Pittsburgh reigned supreme over Tennessee, Tampa Bay is a legit Super Bowl contender, and the NFC West is wild. Looking at my players, Derrick Henry mirrored my projections but was able to find the end zone with the assistance of a Steelers penalty. T.J. Hockenson almost perfectly matched my prediction minus the 2nd Td, and Josh Jacobs was completely shut down by the Buccaneers. Who is on the list this week? It’s Week 8 Start or Sit.

Time to Shine

Jonnu Smith (Ten@Cin 1pm est)

Prior to being injured during Week 6, Jonnu had seen at least 5 targets with 4 or more receptions in all 4 games played. Along with his heavy involvement, Smith scored 5 touchdowns during this stretch. Yes, Corey Davis is returning, and Tennessee will be at full strength, but this will only help alleviate the attention Smith faces against an already bad Bengals defense.

I know you’re already starting this guy but damn is this matchup delicious. Even before Cleveland TE’s scored 3 touchdowns last week, the Bengals were allowing 13.4 fpts/gm to TE’s and had given up the 3rd most yards (404) to the position. Now they’re going up against a Titans team who has directed 31.5% of all passes to tight ends and Jonnu Smith, who leads the team with 33 targets. With this game potentially being a shootout (over/under 54), and with him being fully healthy, a return to early season form is on the way for Jonnu.

Prediction: 1 car 13 yards, 5 rec 64 yards 1 TD: 16.2 pts  

Le’Veon Bell (NYJ@KC 1pm est)

Oh yes, I am going here. Le’Veon made his Chiefs debut last week in Denver to a surprising amount of snaps and touches. While he saw 10 less snaps than Edwards-Helaire, his 6 carries were only 2 less than the talented rookie. Le’Veon was somewhat surprisingly inactive in the passing game but with KC dominating all day, his skills weren’t needed. This split (60/40) will likely continue going forward, especially in blowouts, but this week is the exception. 

The J-E-T-S, Jets-Jets-Jets are coming to town and Le’Veon will be foaming at the mouth to show his former employers what they messed up. Even with CEH still seeing more work, I am confident that Andy Reid and all the Chiefs will want to allow Bell this fantastic payback opportunity. I’m ringing the Bell in Week 8 against his former team as this might be his best game of 2020.

Prediction: 10 car 43 yards 1 TD, 3 rec 18 yards: 13.6 pts

Brandon Aiyuk (SF@Sea 4:25pm est)

The 49ers just can’t seem to stay healthy but those who are on the field just keep producing. One guy who has stayed on the field is Brandon Aiyuk. Since debuting in Week 2, he has played 72%+ of snaps in every game. He has also played Deebo Samuel’s doppelganger for the 9ers seeing a few rushing attempts. In Week 3 minus Samuel, Aiyuk handled 3 carries for 31 yards, while adding 5 receptions for 70 yards. Brandon will be thrust right back into that role as he and San Francisco meet Seattle. 

Seattle is allowing the most fpts/gm to WR over the last 4 games (45.7) and a 69% catch rate. As San Fran’s best weapon on the outside, expect to see him, along with George Kittle, heavily targeted. Seattle’s NFL worst defense. along with their own high powered offense, give Aiyuk tremendous upside. 10-12 touches combined between receptions and carries should be the floor for Frisco’s exciting rookie.

Prediction: 3 car 25 yards, 7 rec 71 yards 1 TD: 19.1 pts

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ride the Pine

Lions RBs (Ind@Det 1pm est)

The Lions have won two straight games to even their record at 3-3, not solely on the arm of Matt Stafford, but on the ground. They have rushed for 4 TDs over the last two weeks, and have unleashed 2nd round draft pick, D’Andre Swift, in the process. This week’s opponent isn’t the 29th-ranked rush defense, Jacksonville Jaguars, or an Atlanta team who can’t close out games. Detroit hosts the Indianapolis Colts, coming off their bye and getting healthy. 

Indianapolis looks to be getting All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard back this week to bolster its defense. The Colts are allowing the 4th least (16.5) fpts/gm to RBs this year, while also surrendering the 5th least receiving yards (178) to the position. The return of Leonard will limit Swift’s success as a receiver, and slow the pounding attack by AP. Facing a Colts’ defense ranked inside the top 5 in total yards, passing and rushing yards, as well as scoring does not bode well for this inconsistent Lions team. A let down from Swift and the rest of Detroit’s backfield is on tap for week 8. 

Prediction: Nobody over 40 rushing yards nor 30 receiving yards & No TDs

DeVante Parker (LAR@Mia 1pm est)

DeVante has had a revival over the last 2 years in Miami sans Adam Gase. His skill set meshed perfectly with the gunslinger mentality of Ryan Fitzpatrick. This connection has ended and this style of offense has taken an abrupt left turn with a surprising move at quarterback over the bye week.

It’s Tua time! Coming off 2 straight wins the Dolphins have turned to the future and a bright future it is. How this move will affect skill players like Parker is yet to be seen but they get a fantastic test in Week 8 against the Rams. LA is top 10 in rush and pass defense this season while also having an elite shut-down corner in Jalen Ramsey. If Parker plays this week, (dealing with groin issue), he will be keyed upon by LA’s pass D. Jalen Ramsey will likely be charged with shutting him down this week and with an unknown rapport, I’m avoiding DeVante.

Prediction: 4 receptions 51 yards: 7.1 pts

Ezekiel Elliott (Dal@Phi 8:20pm est)

A lot of Zeke will be on the menu for Dallas this week. But with 3rd string rookie, Ben DiNucci at QB, a lot of empty carries will be had. The Cowboys team is an absolute mess right now, and Zeke is one of the culprits, having lost 4 fumbles so far this season. Philadelphia seems to be getting multiple key offensive pieces back this week and is a 10 point favorite over Zeke’s Cowboys. He’ll still be involved, and might luckily find the end zone, but with the week’s 2nd lowest team total of only 15.5, don’t count on it. If at all possible, give Zeke the fantasy week off and hope he and the O-Line find their groove again.

Prediction: 15 car 64 yards, 3 rec 16 yards: 8.1 pts

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