Stancil’s Week 8 sleepers features under-the-radar players that are not being started in a majority of fantasy football leagues. These players could produce good fantasy numbers this week due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. With that in mind, here are our top fantasy football sleepers for Week 8.
Welcome to the century club!! This marks my 100th Fantasy Smack Talk article, so I hope you fantasy gurus and fantasy football buffs continue to enjoy my weekly Stancil’s Sleepers column. Let’s start with Stafford and the Lions coming off their bye-week. The Steelers travel to Ford Field riding a bit of a high after a couple of big wins over the once undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and division rival Bengals. Blitzburg’s strong pass rush will force Stafford to get the ball out earlier and I expect the yards in the passing game to come from quick outs to Golden Tate and dump offs to the myriad of Lions running backs. While the Steelers can put Stafford on his back with eight players in the box approach, it will also give Stafford the opportunity to pick on the man-to-man coverage with some deep balls. Stafford has QB1 stuff especially given the right matchup, and while the Steelers have a stout defense, this style of defense plays right into Stafford’s strength of getting the ball out early and often.
It’s been a while since Jordan Howard’s two touchdown effort against the Steelers in Week 3, but Howard has been seeing the carries early and often in Chicago’s backfield. Last week the Saints gave up a whopping 130+ yards to fifth round rookie Aaron Jones from UTEP. Howard’s speed, versatility in the passing game and volume of carries make him a must start, especially against the Saints’ powder-puff defense. Multiple touchdowns and over 100 yards rushing this week will make Howard a bust out performer against New Orleans and should help erase last week’s 65 yard effort in fantasy owners’ short-term memory. Don’t sleep on Howard this week and remember to put him in your lineup.
Blount really punished defenses the second part of last year with the Patriots. As the season progresses it’s Blount that appears to get stronger against increasingly beat-up and exhausted defenders. Speaking of beat-up, the 0-7 49ers will be welcomed to the City of Brotherly Love by the Eagles who are flying high off their dominant victory over the Redskins on Monday night. San Francisco was thoroughly dominated on both sides of the football Sunday against the Cowboys and expect the same from another NFC East foe in Philadelphia Sunday. Wentz has been orchestrating the passing game so well that it’s hard to not envision Philly getting up on San Fran early and then pounding the Niners with a heavy dose of Blount in the second half to finish them off. The carries and goal lines make Blount a very appealing sleeper on Sunday.
While I would normally not recommend any passing options in the Chargers offense, outside of Hunter Henry possibly, this is a dream matchup against a leaking Patriots secondary. The Patriots are coming off another wide receiver gashing from Julio Jones. While Keenan is definitely no Julio, he possess the abilities of a No. 1 receiver in that offense, which equals more targets coming his way. The Allen fan club is probably small, he’s been injured much of his brief NFL career. So while he’s healthy, take advantage in an advantageous matchup in Foxboro, which will hopefully be a little less foggy on Sunday afternoon.
Will the real Redskins receiver who wants to catch the football please stand-up? Seriously, outside of an oft-injured Jordan Reed, there’s not much support for Kirk Cousins in this spread offense being run in our nation’s capital. The Cowboys will be riding into FedEx looking to hand the Redskins another division loss and seriously cripple their long-time rival’s playoff chances. Doctson has the potential to go off if he can just stay healthy and keep his head in the game. The Cowboys might concentrate more on Reed, shifty slot receiver Jamison Crowder or presumed No. 1 wideout in Terrell Pryor. All it takes is one Cousins toss – DeSean Jacksonesque – like Week 3 against the Raiders to make Doctson a stud. I see it happening this week.
Tony Romo’s favorite target has become Dak’s go-to as well in the red zone. An incredible one-handed catch last weekend against San Francisco reminded us all that Witten has plenty left in the tank. Although it seems Witten has played over 20 years in the NFL, this dinosaur has been a Redskins thorn in the side for many years. The bigger the game in the rivalry, it always seems Witten produces the most in these situations. While Witten probably won’t land in the top 12 of many fantasy experts top tight end options, he should wind up with numbers one expects from a low-end tier 1 tight end.
The other tight end in Cincinnati named Tyler for the Bengals is Kroft. He’s also a big target for Dalton to hone in on in the red zone. With Eifert on injured reserve and other receiving options outside of A.J. Green being banged up, it’s Kroft’s gain in a juicy matchup in Cincinnati against the Colts. The Colts have been trying to tread water with Andrew Luck still sidelined, but their defense has not been up to the task. They will have a difficult time defending the jump balls that Kroft will out leap in the end zone and his sneaky quickness should allow for some opportunities to get behind the Indy defensive backs.
Not often should you think about starting one team against another, but both the Dolphins and Ravens are great options on Thursday night football. The Ravens are bleeding from a lack of offensive weapons with Wallace and Maclin injured and a bunch of second-tier options for Flacco to find. The Dolphins have surprised the pundits and are off to a 4-2 start. Expect a defensive struggle in Charm City Thursday night, something like 13 to 10 wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
Please see above. The Ravens gave up 44 points the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year, but toss that out this week. Journeyman back-up Matt Moore will be starting with Jay Cutler ailing. M&T Stadium should be packed with a team of hungry Ravens flying around on defense trying to help save Coach Harbaugh’s job. Expect Suggs and Company to show up and put a licking on Miami’s back-up signal caller.