Welcome to bye week hell, Sharks! We will be without any player from Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, and Tennessee. Go now and check your lineups for any players from the teams I just stated. I said I would never bring up Jay Cutler again in this article, but he now has broken ribs which will keep him sidelined 2-3 weeks (if not more). He actually looked much better before the injury, as he threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns in one half. Carson Palmer was a popular stream last week, and he exited early due to a broken arm. He is now out at least 8 weeks (this could be a career ender…), thus making life hard on the Arizona Cardinals and any fantasy owner of a Cardinal wide receiver. Life must go on, though. With that being said, let’s look at some quarterbacks and tight ends with exploitable matchups for Week 8.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (vs. Indianapolis)
The Red Rifle needs to be in your lineups for week 8, as he goes to battle with the Colts. The Colts grade out as the 3rd easiest matchup for a quarterback, so Dalton should get back on track in this contest. Look, the Colts defense just made Blake Bortles (you read that correctly….Blake Bortles…) look good, as he threw for 330 yards on just 18 completions. With so many teams on bye and with so many injuries, Dalton could easily be a Top-5 quarterback play this week.
Philip Rivers, L.A. Chargers (at New England)
Rivers should have a field day with New England’s porous defense, who grade out as the easiest matchup for a quarterback this year. Besides Matt Ryan in Week 7, every quarterback to face the Patriots has surpassed 300-yards through the air. I don’t think New England’s defense suddenly became stout last Sunday (Matt Ryan is just regressing…yeah, I said it,) so you should look to exploit this matchup in Week 8 if you have Rivers hanging out on your bench.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (vs. Pittsburgh)
Stafford should be well-rested after his bye week, but you need to keep him on your bench for Week 8. Stafford has the pleasure of facing Pittsburgh this week, and they grade out as the 2nd hardest matchup for a quarterback. Andy Dalton did throw two touchdowns against the Steelers in Week 7, but they also held him to a paltry 140 yards and picked him off twice (while sacking him 4 times). This is NOT a week in which you want Stafford leading your team, so keep him on the bench.
Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati (vs. Indianapolis)
Kroft gets the Colts in Week 8, and they grade out as the 7th easiest matchup for a tight end. In a tough matchup against Pittsburgh in Week 7, Kroft hauled in all four of his targets for 23 yards and a touchdown. Kroft hasn’t had less than four receptions since Week 4 and he should have no issue exceeding that number in Week 8. Old man Anthony Fasano just scored on the Colts in Week 7…just let that sink in.
Jason Witten, Dallas (at Washington)
Witten may have been dropped during his bye week (Week 6) and not picked up for his tough Week 7 matchup against the 49ers (tough against opposing tight ends), but he needs to be in your starting lineup in Week 8. Against the hardest matchup for a tight end, Witten hauled in four receptions for 54-yards and a touchdown. In Week 8, he gets the pleasure of facing the Redskins, who are the 5th easiest matchup for a tight end. Witten is going to eat in Week 8 — be ready.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis (at Cincinnati)
Doyle has been a target hog in his last two games, amassing 18 targets in both contests combined but you may want to find an alternative tight end for Week 8. Cincinnati grades out as the 4th hardest matchup for a tight end this year, so don’t be shocked when Doyle’s stat line isn’t what it has been the past two weeks. You’ve been warned, Sharks.
A Look Ahead to Week 9…
Whomever gets the start for Arizona in Week 9 (I’m not convinced it will still be Drew Stanton…Blaine Gabbert may get the call) has a cake matchup against the 49ers 6th easiest pass defense. On the flipside, C.J. Beathard is up against the Cardinals pass defense, which grades out as the 5th easiest matchup for a quarterback. Guess who gets the Titans lowly pass defense in Week 9…Joe Flacco! If you’re feeling frisky, that is a great matchup on paper for Flacco.
This is mainly for deeper leagues, but Tyler Higbee gets the pleasure of facing the Giants in Week 9, who have given up eight touchdowns in seven games to the tight end position. Nick O’Leary gets the Jets in Week 9, and they grade out as the 8th easiest matchup for a tight end. Keep an eye on O’Leary’s target share in Week 8. Arizona grades out as the 9th easiest matchup for tight ends, so maybe George Kittle can show us more than he did in Week 7 against the Cowboys (Dallas is actually pretty tough for opposing tight ends).
Good luck to you all in Week 8. You can utilize the Fantasy Sharks Strength of Schedule tool yourself to find good and bad matchups for any part of the upcoming season (and any other position). As always, don’t hesitate to ask me any and everything regarding fantasy football on Twitter (my Twitter handle can be found below). Until next time, Sharks!