After a tough week with six teams on a bye, we have a lot more options to consider in Week 8. This is a mild week for byes, but we do lose a big chunk of the top-tier at tight end with Darren Waller and Mark Andrews on the shelf this week. In order to help fill in the gaps at TE and other injury-plagued positions, we’ve identified some under-the-radar guys with starting potential. Whether these players are on your roster or sitting on the waiver wire, they have sneaky upside to give you an edge. Kenneth Gainwell and Jerry Jeudy are the types of players on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble this week, but we like their chances enough to put them on our Week 8 fantasy sleeper list.
It’s also worth noting that any of our selections could bust this week. We’re taking some chances here, as we don’t want to say anyone too obvious. A list of easy choices wouldn’t do anyone any good. You aren’t going to start the guys below over consistent, proven producers, but you’re probably not searching for fantasy sleepers if your lineup is set. However, even if that’s the case, our sleepers list can help you find value in DFS contests, as the prices of these players should be affordable.
After patting ourselves on the back for a successful Week 6, naturally, our selections were less than ideal in Week 7. Headliners Damien Williams and J.D. McKissic set the tone for our rough day as they combined for 64 yards on 12 touches. But wait, there’s more. Justin Fields, Marquez Callaway, Robby Anderson, Ross Dwelley, and the Jets and Eagles defenses all flat out-busted, too. The only wins we can really claim are the Giants’ defense, Tua Tagovaloa, and Allen Lazard. Jameis Winston, Mo Allie-Cox, and Cole Kmet weren’t all that bad, though.
We’ve followed up a bad week with a good one this year, so maybe this will be our best edition yet.
Week 8 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Michael Carter, Jets vs. Bengals (Jackson Sparks). We warned about getting your hopes too high for Carter early his season, but with Ty Johnson (concussion) likely to be out, Carter should again lead Jets’ RBs in touches. Of course, this offense will be awful (especially under Mike White), but in PPR leagues, Carter has a chance for a lot of garbage-time receiving work. A backup QB plus a blowout loss could very well equal cheap and easy fantasy points.
Zack Moss, Bills vs. Dolphins (Vinnie Iyer). Moss should gather some good digits on a terrible Miami run defense he ripped already once this season with another positive game script.
Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles @ Lions (Matt Lutovsky). There’s a lot to be nervous about here, including: Philadelphia never runs, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard might be more involved than we think, and Gainwell hasn’t shown any level of consistently solid play. But even with all that said, we’re still trusting him to post flex-worthy stats. The Lions allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs, so Gainwell is in a great spot if he even gets just 10 touches in relief of Miles Sanders (ankle).
Week 8 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Daniel Jones, Giants @ Chiefs (Sparks). We’ll see who is healthy for New York in this game, but Kansas City gives up the second-most fantasy points to QBs and has surrendered four rushing touchdowns to the position this season. We know Jones can scramble effectively, and almost any QB facing off with Kansas City is attractive in fantasy.
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos vs. Washington Football Team (Iyer). Like a bridge over a troubled defense, he will provide plenty of streaming punch at home vs. a bad pass defense with Jerry Jeudy back to help.
Carson Wentz, Colts vs. Titans (Lutovsky). Wentz had his first three-TD game last week, but he’s posted at least two scores five times this year, including in each of his past four games. The two games in which he didn’t were in Week 2 when he sprained both ankles and in Week 3 against the Titans when he played through those sprains. He’s healthier now, and even though Tennessee’s much-maligned pass defense is riding high after shutting down Patrick Mahomes, we don’t expect a repeat. The Colts’ superior line will protect Wentz, and he’ll connect enough with his underrated set of weapons to provide low-end QB1 production.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars @ Seahawks (Sparks). Shenault’s production hasn’t been as strong as we hoped with DJ Chark lost for the season, but this could be the spot everything comes together for him. He saw 10 targets in Week 6, and after a Week 7 bye, perhaps the Jags made a plan to get him more involved, as they’ve expressed they would like to. Seattle is technically one of the better teams against WRs, but it’s had one of the easiest schedules this season when it comes to the WR position. Shenault fits the mold of a Deebo Samuel-like YAC specimen, and Samuel went for 156 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks.
Darius Slayton, Giants at Chiefs (Iyer). He might be their default No. 1 because of all the other injuries, and someone has to get garbage time in the second half against a still suspect downfield pass defense.
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos vs. Washington (Lutovsky). Jeudy is set to return after missing the past six games because of an ankle injury. The talented second-year receiver caught six-of-seven targets for 72 yards before exiting in Week 1, so you can assume he’s going to be involved against Washington’s league-worst pass defense.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Evan Engram, Giants @ Chiefs (Sparks). We’re not looking for a nuclear performance here, but Engram could produce as a sleeper against Kansas City. Week 7 again Carolina was his most productive day, as he caught six-of-eight targets for 44 yards. Again, those aren’t amazing numbers, but they’re acceptable for a streamer TE in PPR leagues. The Chiefs’ defense is far Inferior to Carolina’s, and Daniel Jones should have to attempt more passes in this contest.
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts vs. Titans (Iyer). He’s red hot with scoring, and even though the Titans can contain tight ends, Alie-Cox is getting the key red-zone looks when Jonathan Taylor isn’t carrying the ball. See also Uzomah, C.J.
Dan Arnold, Jaguars @ Seahawks (Lutovsky). Arnold is still looking for his first TD, but since going to Jacksonville, he’s averaging five targets per game (6.5 in his past two). The Seahawks allow over 10 FPPG to TEs, a number that came down considerably after facing New Orleans, a team that rarely throws to tight ends. Arnold will get his chances to expose this beatable defense.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Defense
Seattle Seahawks vs. Jaguars (Sparks). It may seem contradictory to list bothLaviska Shenault and the Seahawks defense as sleepers, but there’s a method to the madness. The Jaguars’ offense could have success as far as yards and points but also turn the ball over and allow several sacks. They’ve committed the second-most turnovers in the NFL, as Trevor Lawrence had thrown eight INTS in just six games. Additionally, Seattle’s pass rush is good enough to grab a few sacks here at home.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Giants (Iyer). They’ll give up some yardage, but they also can get a few cheap sacks and turnovers from Daniel Jones based on his high dropback volume.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Patriots (Lutovsky). Despite last week’s 54-point explosion against the Jets, the Patriots are still tied for third in FPPG allowed to D/STs. The Chargers allow a fair amount of points, but over their past four games, they’ve averaged 2.5 sacks and just under two takeaways. They’ll force rookie Mac Jones into some mistakes.