Week 7 is now history. As a result of Week 7 Carson Palmer will be out for a while with a broken arm, Jay Cutler has cracked ribs and DeShone Kizer has been benched, again! Marshawn Lynch has been suspended Week 8 for running onto the field while the refs worked to breakup a small melee and pushing a referee, which could make Jalen Richard and/or DeAndre Washington relevent for the next week. Martavis Bryant is upset about usage and playing time, and may see more snaps this week if Juju Smith-Schuster cannot clear the concussion protocol.
In Week 8 the Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants and Titans are all on bye. Receiver’s Corey Coleman and Dede Westbrook are expected back soon, but Golden Tate is still out, and we don’t yet know if Emmanuel Sanders and DeVante Parker will play. Terrelle Pryor has been replaced in the Washington starting lineup by 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson, which leads me into my Week 8 Start ‘Em picks for receiver and running back below…
Chris Hogan – New England vs LA Chargers – (Draft Kings $6,500 / Fan Duel $7,400) – The Chargers are 5th against the pass, but Hogan should be less of a focus than Brandin Cooks for the Chargers’ defense. This should be a Gronk and Hogan day for the Patriots!
Michael Crabtree – Oakland @ Buffalo – (Draft Kings $6,300 / Fan Duel $7,200) – It appears that Oakland plans to continue to target Amari Cooper often, but Buffalo’s 26th ranked passing defense should yield good fantasy days to both Cooper (if heavily involved) and Crabtree this week. Cooper was targeted 19 times to Crabtree’s 7 targets, but I’d expect those numbers to even out a bit this week, and Carr always looks Crabtree’s way in the end zone.
Will Fuller – Houston @ Seattle – (Draft Kings $5,300 / Fan Duel $6,500) – DeAndre Hopkins should draw Richard Sherman’s attention this week. The other side of the Seattle defense has not always been reliable. The Seahawks have the 8th ranked pass defense, but I expect Will Fuller to continue his touchdown streak this week in Seattle. The Texans shouldn’t be able to put away Seattle early, so Fuller may see more targets as well this week.
Josh Doctson – Washington vs Dallas – (Draft Kings $3,900 / Fan Duel $5,200) – Doctson is now the number one receiver in Washington, and Dallas is the perfect match-up for a breakout game. The Washington run game has been non-existent of late, and even though Dallas has struggled against the run, the return of Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens will help. In this rivalry game I expect a lot of yards through the air for both teams, and Doctson could shine.
Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina vs Tampa Bay – (Draft Kings $6,400 / Fan Duel $6,600) – Tampa Bay hasn’t been able to stop anyone on the ground or in the air. Carolina is coming off of two straight losses and the Buccaneers are the right medicine to get things turned around. I expect a big week for Kelvin Benjamin this week against the NFL’s 30th ranked pass defense.
Duke Johnson – Cleveland vs Minnesota – (Draft Kings $4,500 / Fan Duel $5,500) – The return of Cody Kessler to Quarterbacking duties for the Browns should help Duke Johnson. They are already familiar with one another, so Duke’s receptions should be on the rise. The team has a tough match-up this week against Minnesota, and their current number one receiver, Ricardo Louis, will have trouble to get open if assigned Xavier Rhodes. This should make Johnson one of the focal points in the passing game this week and a safe start in PPR leagues.
Bilal Powell – NY Jets vs Atlanta – (Draft Kings $4,800 / Fan Duel $6,100) – Powell hasn’t got enough touches to really breakout this season, but lately he has done a lot with the ones he’s received. Forte and Powell could lead the team in targets again this week against Atlanta who should fare well against Safarian-Jenkins and the Jets receivers, and I like Powell, who is the more explosive back, more at this point in their careers.
LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia vs San Francisco – (Draft Kings $5,100 / Fan Duel $6,100) – Blount and the Eagles face the 29th ranked rush defense this week. They may be without left tackle Jason Peters, but should still be able to run the ball against the 49’ers who gave up 147 yards to Ezekiel Elliot last week. I think this game will be out of hand early and we will see a lot of Blount and Smallwood in the second half.
Jay Ajayi – Miami @ Baltimore – (Draft Kings $5,900 / Fan Duel $6,900) – Initially I was going to go with Joe Mixon in this spot, but I just can’t pass up the match-up against Baltimore’s 32nd ranked rush defense. Of course most of their yards were given up while the team was without defensive tackle Brandon Williams, but he returned this past week and the team still gave up 169 yards on the ground to Minnesota. Ajayi should get over 20 carries in this game, and some larger chunks of yardage in the second half. It would be nice to see him more involved in the passing game, and maybe with Matt Moore at Quarterback we will see a couple more targets there as well.
Running Back Tandems
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara – New Orleans vs Chicago – (Draft Kings $7,400, $5,900 / Fan Duel $7,200, $6,400)
The New Orleans running game is on fire since the trade of Adrian Peterson. This week I don’t think Chicago will be able to slow them down. Ingram is the most likely yardage and touchdown winner here, but Kamara hasn’t disappointed even with his limited role. Ingram could again be around the 100 yard mark, and I expect Kamara to also be around the 100 yard mark in yards from scrimmage.