Thursday - Feb 22, 2024

Home / Commentary / START/BENCH: Week 8

START/BENCH: Week 8

We have made it halfway through the 2023 fantasy football season — a half that went wildly differently for different managers.

The managers who made an early investment in San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey, Miami wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce have to be relatively pleased. None of those players came cheaply, but all have performed as advertised.

The managers who invested early picks in Cleveland running back Nick Chubb, Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow and Cincinnati wideout Tee Higgins most assuredly are not. Chubb is lost for the season, and while injuries have played a part with Burrow and Higgins as well, neither has come within a country mile of expectations in 2023.

Then there are those who drafted Miami running back Raheem Mostert late. Or snagged Los Angeles Rams wideout Puka Nacua off the waiver wire. Those fantasy managers are over-flipping-joyed — because Top-10 production for pennies on the dollar is how fantasy championships are won.

Still, regardless of your mood at the halfway-point of the season, the only course of action is to keep going. There’s still time for 3-4 and even 2-5 teams to turn things around. There’s also time for 5-2 teams to fall apart unless they are careful.

There’s a lot of fantasy football still to be played. A lot that can go right. Even more that can go wrong.

At least we have a full complement of players this week — for reasons known only to the man upstairs and Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL followed up a six-team bye in Week 7 with all 32 teams playing in Week 8. Sometimes, it’s a head scratcher.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at Denver)

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia (at Washington)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. Tampa Bay)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Arizona)

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Chicago)

Tua Tagovailoa (vs. New England)

ROLL THEM OUT

Mac Jones, New England (at Miami): Jones is coming off his best performance of the season last week against Buffalo, and this week he draws a banged-up Miami secondary that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to signal-callers this season.

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville (at Pittsburgh): Lawrence hasn’t really met expectations this season, although he has worked his way into the back end of the Top 10 quarterbacks for the season ahead of a matchup with Pittsburgh’s 25th-ranked pass defense.

Jordan Love, Green Bay (vs. Minnesota): Love isn’t an easy quarterback for fantasy managers to trust right now — but he’s back at Lambeau Field facing a Minnesota team giving up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this year.

Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. Los Angeles Rams): Prescott has been mostly underwhelming to this point in the season, but he’s had an extra week to get ready to face a Los Angeles Rams defense that has surrendered the 11th-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in 2023.

SIT THEM DOWN

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati (at San Francisco): Burrow has had an extra week to try to get his bad calf right, but his first matchup out of the bye is with a San Francisco defense that has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in 2023.

Geno Smith, Seattle (vs. Cleveland): Smith’s numbers are way down relative to his breakout 2022 season, he could be without No. 1 receiver DK Metcalf and Cleveland is allowing less than 150 passing yards a game. Other than that, everything’s great.

C.J. Stroud, Houston (vs. Carolina): Stroud has been easily the best of this year’s rookie quarterbacks, ranking 12th among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game. But while Carolina is winless, it has been surprisingly stingy to opposing fantasy quarterbacks.

Russell Wilson, Denver (vs. Kansas City): The last time Wilson took on Kansas City and its sixth-ranked pass defense, the veteran quarterback threw for all of 95 yards. Kansas City is also 29th in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks this year.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award four times. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.