The 2016 Fantasy Football schedule enters Week 8, and Jake Ciely (@allinkid) of RotoExperts.com *is providing exclusive expert Fantasy coverage for NewOrleansSaints.com. Throughout the season, Jake will give you the expert deal on Saints players from Fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which performers will help you take home a championship.
The Saints head into Week 8 for an important matchup, as they host the Seattle Seahawks at noon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints will be looking to notch their third win of the season against a Seahawks team that tied the Cardinals in Week 7.
Even on the road, quarterback Drew Brees showed once again that he's among the best at the position. Brees threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns against a solid Chiefs defense and in Arrowhead Stadium, which is a tough place to play. That 300-yard game was Brees' 100th of his career, and he is the first quarterback ever to have 100 career games with 300 passing yards. That is just one of the reasons why Brees is always must start, even against a strong Seahawks defense.
The top three Saints receivers had nice games yet again. Brandin Cooks finished with 58 yards and a touchdown, giving him four scores this season. With his deep-play ability, Cooks is always a threat for a Top 10 performance. Willie Snead also had 87 yards on nine catches, but it was all about Michael Thomas, who continues to impress as a rookie. Thomas led the team in targets, receptions and yards with 13, 10 and 130. Thomas has now scored double-digit Fantasy points in four straight games and is proving to be the most reliable option in the passing game. Thomas truly is the next Marques Colston for this offense and is worthy of starting every week. Keep all three receivers in your lineup this week, as matchups mean little when it comes to the Saints and Fantasy production. Coby Fleener had a quieter week, but there could be an opportunity to score, even though it's the Seahawks. In Week 6, the Seahawks allowed 85 yards and a touchdown to the Falcons duo of Jacob Tamme and Levine Toilolo.
Mark Ingram had another good game, finishing with 12.2 Fantasy points on NFL.com with 62 rushing yards and 20 receiving. In fact, Ingram caught his second receiving touchdown of the season and of his career. Ingram now has 12-plus Fantasy points in three of the last four games and is a mainstay of Fantasy lineups. The Seahawks run defense may be strong, but the Chiefs were a tougher matchup than usual too, and Ingram pushed his way to a Top 20 RB performance.
This is the first of consecutive six-team bye weeks, so roster construction is going to be a tad tougher. The Texans host the Lions if you are needy at quarterback, as the Lions allow the most Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) to quarterbacks. This gives Brock Osweiler his best chance for a nice Fantasy game. Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting again for the Jets, and he has a terrific matchup against the Browns. The Browns have allowed every quarterback to throw for at least two touchdowns this season. Russell Wilson hasn't looked to be his normal self, but it will be hard not to use him in this week's matchup, as this Seahawks-Saints game has the makings of a high-scoring affair. Each of those options is a stronger play than Jay Cutler is, as he returns from injury only to face the Vikings defense.
Spencer Ware continues to put up great numbers with or without Jamaal Charles active. That will continue this week, as the Chiefs face the Colts, a team that has already given up more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns to opposing running backs. Back to the Jets-Browns matchup, Matt Forte rebounded in a big way last week, and the matchup with the Browns means you can keep him in the lineup (or put him back in). The Browns allow 23.6 FPPG to running backs, and the game script would point to another Forte-heavy game for the Jets. The Packers backfield is still unclear with Knile Davis and Don Jackson, but Ty Montgomery's role is clear, and the Falcons are weak against the run. You can trust Montgomery as your Flex option for at least one more week. The Cardinals continue to be one of the toughest team against the run, but you might need to play Jonathan Stewart anyway given the number of teams on a bye.
As seen with the Saints game last week, the Chiefs defense is not only more susceptible to receivers than in years past, they actually allow the most FPPG to WRs at 28.1 on NFL.com. That bodes well for T.Y. Hilton obviously, but if Donte Moncrief returns this week, he should automatically go back in your lineup. The Bears defense allows the fourth most FPPG to receivers with 1,357 yards and seven touchdowns allowed already. Those numbers should not only help Stefon Diggs get back on track but will help Cordarrelle Patterson continue his recent run with deeper league value. The Raiders' numbers are inflated by early-season struggles, and they've played much better of late. Be careful before using Russell Shepard in your Week 8 lineup. The same goes for the Chargers receivers. It's tough to predict weekly usage between the three, and a matchup with the Broncos makes the situation even riskier.
As mentioned, with six byes, finding ideal options can get difficult, especially at tight end. If you are digging deep, Richard Rodgers can put up the occasional good game with a touchdown, and the Falcons have given up five so far with the fourth most FPPG allowed. Zach Ertz hasn't broken out to the degree many wanted, but the Cowboys have struggled to stop tight ends with the fifth most FPPG allowed on NFL.com (9.9), so put him in your lineup this week. Even though the Cardinals are the toughest matchup for tight ends, don't think about benching Greg Olsen. He's matchup proof and one of the few truly trustworthy options. As for the Eagles, they too have shut down tight ends, so you may be able to find a better option than Jason Witten, although that could be difficult in PPR formats.
Streaming defenses will be especially tough this week. The Jets give up the most FPPG to DSTs, but the Browns unit is a risky play, even at home. Those that picked up the Bengals for the Browns matchup should hold onto them, as they host the Redskins. The Titans have some upside in a Thursday night matchup with the Jaguars, and the Cowboys could force turnovers and come out of their bye strong. For kickers, Josh Lambo is the second highest scorer, but still owned in just 12.3 percent of NFL.com leagues. Surprisingly, Matt Bryant is also low owned – just 37.7 percent of leagues – despite being the third highest scoring kicker. Both are great options this week.
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