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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 8

Welcome back for the Week 8 edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, your matchup guide for all of this weekend’s (and Monday’s) NFL contests. While this piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used for some of those decisions as well.

In each NFL Week 8 game profile below, players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options for the week. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious concerns, and need to have expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory this week.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system.

Bye Week Teams: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee

Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars (Wembley Stadium, London)

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Eagles Jaguars
Quarterback 11th 30th
Running Back 24th 25th
Wide Receiver 4th 32nd
Tight End 29th 30th
Defense/Special Teams 17th 5th
Vegas Line: Eagles -3
Vegas Over/Under: 43
green-light
  • Eagles D/ST – The Jaguars have committed the second-most giveaways this season (17), and their offense is currently in a funk, having scored just 28 points over the past three weeks.
yellow-light
  • Carson Wentz – Just one quarterback has thrown for more than 240 yards against Jacksonville all season (hint: he plays for the Chiefs), while the Jaguars are also ranked dead last in passing touchdowns allowed (6). Update: Upon learning that A.J. Bouye (calf) is out, I’ve upgraded Wentz to yellow light status. Jacksonville will now be down three of their top four CBs (Bouye, D.J. Hayden, Tyler Patmon)
  • Zach Ertz – Has at least 73 receiving yards or a touchdown in every game since Week 2, and hasn’t seen fewer than 25 percent of the Eagles’ total targets in any single contest this season.
  • Nelson Agholor – Has gone over 45 receiving yards just once over his past five contests, however, Agholor should be able to take advantage of coverage from Jacksonville’s fourth and fifth string cornerbacks.
  • Donte Moncrief – Somebody is going to catch passes for Jacksonville this weekend, as the Falcons are the only team that has allowed more receiving yardage to opposing wideouts this season than the Eagles. Moncrief has at least 76 receiving yards in three of his last four contests, and leads all Jags wideouts in target share. However, Moncrief’s Week 6 goose egg is a reminder of the downside involved.
  • T.J. Yeldon – Despite the acquisition of Carlos Hyde, Yeldon should retain his role as a receiver. The Eagles have allowed the third-most receptions (47) to opposing backfields this season.
  • Jaguars D/ST – Averaging 30 points against over the past three weeks, this unit continues to be negatively impacted by the teams’ dysfunctional offense, as Jacksonville ranks near the bottom of the NFL in terms of time of average time of possession. The Eagles’ offensive line has struggled this season with OTs Lane Johnson (ankle) and Jason Peters (bicep) playing injured.
red-light
  • Alshon Jeffery – Has been nothing short of suberb since returning in Week 4, as he’s on pace to finish the season with a 81-994-13 line. Expect Jeffery to see plenty of coverage from CB Jalen Ramsey, who’s likely fed up with the Jags’ losing streak.
  • Eagles Running Backs – Week 7 was supposed to be Corey Clement‘s time to grab control of the Eagle’s backfield, except he mustered just 22 total yards while being out-touched 11-10 by Wendell Smallwood, whose 38 total yards weren’t much better. Even more discouraging was seeing undrafted rookie Josh Adams carrying the ball four times for 17 yards last week, while Darren Sproles (hamstring) could return any day now. This backfield is currently a complete mess.
  • Dallas Goedert – Re-emerged with a 4-43-1 line on five targets last week. Goedert needs an Ertz injury to see consistent volume though.
  • Blake Bortles – He’s been announced as the Jags’ Week 8 starter after being benched last week, but how long will the leash be this time? Over his last five games, Bortles has thrown just four touchdown passes and committed 9 turnovers.
  • Carlos Hyde – The recently acquired Hyde is expected to immediately start siphoning carries from the incumbent Yeldon, however, the Eagles have allowed just the third-fewest rushing yards per game to opposing backfields.
  • Keelan Cole/Dede Westbrook – A preseason sleeper for many (including me), Cole has gone over 41 receiving yards just once in his past five contests, while failing to score at all over that span. Westbrook has just 110 receiving yards combined over his last three games after going 9-130 in Week 4.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Broncos Chiefs
Quarterback 26th 7th
Running Back 8th 2nd
Wide Receiver 23rd 13th
Tight End 16th 7th
Defense/Special Teams 16th 32nd
Vegas Line: Chiefs -10
Vegas Over/Under: 
53.5
green-light
  • Kareem Hunt – After a slow start to the season, Hunt is averaging 148.8 total yards per game since Week 4, and has scored six times over that span. Over that same span, Denver has 182.8 rushing yards per game, including 121 to Hunt the last time these two teams faced each other.
  • Travis Kelce – His 7-78-1 against Denver in Week 5 gives Kelce a 33-472-3 line over his last four contests where the Broncos were the opponent.
yellow-light
  • Patrick Mahomes – Easily leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (22), though faces a tough Denver secondary that is allowing the 10th-fewest passing yards and 1.4 passing touchdowns per contest.
  • Chiefs D/ST – This unit isn’t very good, but they’re sitting as 10-point home favorites against a shaky offense.
  • Tyreek Hill – Caught a season-high 9 balls the last time these two teams met in Week 5, though they only resulted in 54 receiving yards. Per Football Outsiders, Denver is only allowing 53 receiving yards per game to opposing no. 1 wideouts.
  • Emmanuel Sanders – Sitting on two straight games with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs have actually tightened up in pass defense over the past five weeks, as they’ve allowed just four wideouts to total 70 receiving yards or more over that span.
  • Case Keenum – Has five touchdown passes over his last three games after throwing none between Weeks 2 and 4. This game is projected to be a blowout so Keenum should benefit from second-half garbage time against a Chiefs defense allowing the second-most passing yards per contest (317).
  • Phillip Lindsay – Should see an expanded role with teammate Royce Freeman (ankle) banged up. The Chiefs are a great matchup having allowed the 7th-most rushing yards to opposing backfields this season, however, game script could cause Lindsay’s usage to become an afterthought in the second half.
  • Demaryius Thomas – He’s scored in two of his past three contests. Thomas won’t be as attractive a fantasy option as teammate Sanders, but should at least be able to post respectable numbers against a poor pass defense.
  • Sammy Watkins – Seems to alternate decent weeks with poor ones, and seeing as Watkins went 4-74 last Sunday evening, he’s due for a clunker. The matchup against Denver doesn’t help, who held Watkins to a bagel back in Week 5 (to be fair, this was due to Watkins leaving the game early due to injury).
  • Courtland Sutton – Just a reminder that he has yet to catch more than three balls in any 2018 contest.
  • Royce Freeman (ankle) – Injured late in Denver’s Week 7 loss to Arizona, Freeman has been getting outplayed by Phillip Lindsay on a weekly basis anyhow.
  • Broncos D/ST – The Chiefs have made every defense they’ve faced look silly.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Browns Steelers
Quarterback 20th 4th
Running Back 11th 31st
Wide Receiver 8th 5th
Tight End 11th 3rd
Defense/Special Teams 8th 29th
Vegas Line: Steelers -8
Vegas Over/Under: 
49
  • James Conner – The James Conner show will remain in town for at least one more week with Le’Veon Bell still absent from the Steelers. The Browns have allowed three different running backs to hang at least 130 rushing yards on them, including Conner’s 135 back in Week 1.
  • Antonio Brown – Had scored at least one in each of his previous four contests prior to the Steelers’ bye week. Despite being just 16th in NFL receiving yards per game, Brown is tied for second in targets.
  • Jarvis Landry – Sprung back to life with a 10-97-1 line on 15 targets last Sunday. Pittsburgh allows the fourth-most air yards per game, while Landry currently sits top-10 in that category.
  • David Njoku – Has at least 52 receiving yards in four Mayfield starts, and touchdowns in each of his last two contests. Pittsburgh have allowed the sixth-most targets and second-most receptions to opposing tight ends.
  • Ben Roethlisberger – His last matchup with Cleveland was a disaster (335 passing yards with one touchdown and five turnovers), though this time Big Ben has the benefit of playing at home. Cleveland is ranked 7th in terms of most passing yards allowed per game.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster – Has been held to under 100 receiving yards in just two of six games played. Per Football Outsiders, Cleveland holds no. 2 wideouts to just 52.7 receiving yards per game.
  • Vance McDonald – Averaging 62 receiving yards per game over his last four, and that includes a 1-6-0 dud in Week 5. Cleveland gave up a 3-60-0 line to McDonald’s counterpart Jesse James back in Week 1
  • Steelers D/ST – Cleveland is ranked first in sacks allowed (31) and and fourth in QB hits permitted (51). Pittsburgh can certainly force the rookie Mayfield into some errors if the game script goes the way the point spread indicates it should.
  • Baker Mayfield – Pittsburgh have a 15:4 ratio of passing touchdowns to interceptions this season. Mayfield has yet to have a three touchdown performance, though the possibility for one here is enhanced as the Browns figure to be in pass mode for most of this contest.
  • Nick Chubb – Pittsburgh is giving up a paltry 66.6 rushing yards per game to opposing backfields, and Chubb has been a non-factor in Cleveland’s pass game thus far.
  • Duke Johnson – Even with Carlos Hyde out of the picture, Johnson saw just five touches in Week 7, which was just one shy of his season-high of six. Cleveland continues to preach how they plan to get their scat back involved, though it’s hard not to view that as anything other than empty words at this point.
  • Antonio Callaway – Trending down big time with just 6-45-0 over his last three games.

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Redskins Giants
Quarterback 14th 16th
Running Back 23rd 15th
Wide Receiver 14th 19th
Tight End 19th 25th
Defense/Special Teams 20th 11th
Vegas Line: N/A
Vegas Over/Under: 
42.5
  • Adrian Peterson – With 198 rushing yards over the past two games, Peterson has essentially been the majority of Washington’s offense. The Giants trading away DT Damon Harrison weakens an already leaky run defense.
  • Redskins D/ST – The Giants are allowing 3.4 sacks per game. If you throw out the Saints game on “Drew Brees Night), the Redskins are allowing just 15.6 points per game.
  • Saquon Barkley – Washington hasn’t allowed more than 53 rushing yards to any running back this season, though Barkley is always a solid bet to vacuum up receptions as a checkdown option.
  • Sterling Shepard – Averaging 87.2 receiving yards per game over his past five.
  • Eli Manning – Averaging 294 passing yards per game, though most of those numbers are a result of junk time. Washington ranks in the bottom third of the League in terms of passing yards allowed per game.
  • Evan Engram – Went just 2-16-0 on four targets in his first game back following a three game layoff due to a knee injury. Washington has only allowed one tight end to put up for than 48 receiving yards against them.
  • Alex Smith – Has been held to 178 receiving yards or less in each of his last two contests, as Washington is content to win via defense and the run game.
  • Jordan Reed – He’s been nearly invisible with just 100 receiving yards combined across his last three contests, and no touchdowns since Week 1.
  • Washington Wide Receivers – Josh Doctson‘s 42 receiving yards last week were a season high, though he’s caught just 11 balls all year. Paul Richardson (knee) and Jamison Crowder (ankle) aren’t guaranteed to return this week, and haven’t been particularly impressive when they have played.
  • Chris Thompson (ribs) – Hasn’t played since Week 5, and a return this week is far from certain despite logging limited practice all week. Thompson could split passing down snaps with Kapri Bibbs if active.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.