With Week 8 upon us, we are officially halfway to the end of the fantasy football season. To make sure that you are playing a meaningful game in Week 16, lets get inside the numbers to find the matchups to exploit this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota is a nice option on a short week. The quarterback has scored at least two touchdowns in each of his last three games. His running ability has also paid off nicely. He has rushed for 60 yards in two of his last three. Mariota also has rushed for a touchdown in each of his last two games against the Jaguars.
Tennessee is allowing just 3.8 yards per rush attempt this season so no need to consider either Jaguars’ running back this week. The two ball carriers have combined to register just two double-digit fantasy point performances this week.
DeMarco Murray is a weekly must start. Over his last four contests, he is averaging 27 touches, 112 offensive yards and a touchdown.
In 2015, Allen Robinson owned the Titans. He had two 100-yard games and a total of three touchdowns in two games versus Tennessee.
Allen Hurns make a fantasy name for himself in 2015 by scoring touchdowns. This season he has just one score.
Marqise Lee has come on off late. In his last two games, he has 13 receptions for 168 yards. But his uprising should be halted at least for this week. The Titans are allowing an average of just 46.3 to No. 2 wide receivers.
Even though it was as a member of the Dolphins, Rishard Matthews did go for 115 yards on six catches against the Jaguars in 2015. The Jaguars are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season so the wide receiver could be worth a flier in Week 8.
Tajae Sharpe leads the Titans in targets.
If you have to start a Jaguar this week, Julius Thomas is probably your man. In each of his three career games against the Titans the tight end has walked away with a touchdown. The Titans are also allowing the 12th-most fantasy points per game to tight ends this season.
Although the matchup isn’t great, Delanie Walker should be in your lineups this week. The tight end leads the Titans in receiving yards and was pretty successful against the Jaguars in 2015. In two games against them last season, Walker had at eight catches and at least 92 yards in each of the two contests.
Washington Redskins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Excluding a game against the mighty Tom Brady, Cincinnati has allowed just two passing touchdowns in their last three. So Kirk Cousins, who has had trouble finding the end zone lately with just four in his last three games, isn’t a strong play in Week 8.
Washington has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in just one of seven games this season. So don’t have high expectations for Dalton this Sunday.
You will probably want to avoid the Redskins’ backfield this weekend. In four of their last five games, the Bengals have held opposing running backs to under 79 rushing yards.
After Jeremy Hill busted out for 168 yards last week, the Bengals’ bruiser should pick up right where he left off this Sunday. The Redskins are allowing a 5.1 yards per rush average this season.
But don’t overlook Giovani Bernard this week. He has received at least 15 rush attempts in each of his last two contests and the Redskins are struggling to cover running backs in the passing game. They have allowed 34 receptions to ball carriers this season.
In his last six games, DeSean Jackson has topped 55 yards just once. With the Bengals allowing just 53 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, this likely isn’t the week the pass catcher goes off.
Jamison Crowder has a touchdown or 100 yards in each of his last two games, but the pass catcher will struggle to reach either of those numbers this Sunday. Over their past two games, Cincinnati allowed a total of 14 catches for 160 yards and zero touchdowns to wide receivers. On the season, the Bengals are allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
A.J. Green had a very strong performance in Week 7 when he finished with eight catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. He now has six or more catches in four of his last five games. His strong workload should continue this week. Washington is allowing 10 targets per game to No.1 wide receivers this season.
Brandon LaFell has registered four touchdowns in the last three weeks. He could strike again this week. Football Outsiders has the Redskins a 30th-ranked DVOA against No. 2 wide receivers.
Over the past two weeks, the Bengals have allowed 18 receptions to tight ends so keep an eye on the health of Jordan Reed heading into Sunday.
Tyler Eifert returned to action in Week 7 but played in just 25 percent of the Bengals’ offensive plays. Between the low opportunity and the matchup, fade the tight end this week. The Redskins are allowing just 46.3 yards per game to tight ends and have surrendered just one touchdown to the position.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts
In his last two games, Alex Smith is averaging just 219 passing yards while the Colts have allowed an average of 251 over that time. But if forced to play Smith, take solace in the fact that Indianapolis has allowed multiple touchdowns in each of their last three games.
Kansas City has allowed nine passing touchdowns over their last three. Lock Andrew Luck in your lineups.
Spencer Ware has a combined 208 rushing yards in his past two contests. He should be good for another hundred on the ground this week. The Colts have allowed at least 100 yards rushing in four straight and all but one game this season.
Frank Gore has registered a double-digit fantasy performance just once this season without scoring a touchdown. The Chiefs have allowed just two rushing touchdowns to running backs this season.
Jeremy Maclin has disappointed fantasy owners thus far this season. He has just one touchdown and a game high of 78 yards. The struggle should continue this week as he is facing a Colts’ defense that is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
T.Y. Hilton has scored a touchdown in four of his last five games; therefore, expect another big game this weekend. He is averaging eight receptions and 141.3 yards per game at home this season.
Chester Rogers ran the second-most routes last week for the Colts so he could be a nice sleeper option in Week 8 if Donte Moncrief can’t give it a go.
If Moncrief does play feel free to insert him into your lineup immediately. The Chiefs are allowing the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2016.
Travis Kelce has just five catches in his last two games. That should change this week. The Colts have had their struggles with tight ends this season. Since Week 5, they are allowing an average of eight receptions, 94.3 yards and 0.66 touchdowns per game to the position.
Last week, Jack Doyle had nine receptions on 10 targets. Both of those totals led all tight ends in Week 7. Look for those numbers to come down in Week 8. Kansas City is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position this season.
Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay has allowed more than 238 passing yards just one time in their last four contests, which limits Derek Carr’s upside this week.
Fresh off a 269 yard, three touchdown performance in Week 7, Jameis Winston has a nice matchup this Sunday. Oakland has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Latavius Murray returned to action and regained his control of RB1 in the Raiders’ backfield with a two touchdown showing while controlling 52 percent of the Oakland rushes. With Tampa Bay allowing 23-plus fantasy points to running backs in four of their last five games, Murray should produce again in Week 8.
Jacquizz Rodgers has 62 touches in his last two games. If he gets that workload again this week, watch out. The Raiders are allowing 5.09 yards per carry in 2016.
After allowing nine touchdowns to wide receivers in the first four games, Tampa Bay has held opposing wide receivers to 15 catches for 148 yards and zero touchdowns in their last two contests. This could be bad news for Amari Cooper, who had just four catches for 29 yards last week. Tampa Bay is allowing just 62.4 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers.
Michael Crabtree has six touchdowns on six receptions on passes thrown to him in the end zone and could be the go-to guy this week for Carr. Tampa Bay has the 25th DVOA against No. 2 wide receivers this season.
In his last seven games without Vincent Jackson in the lineup, Mike Evans is averaging 6.3 receptions, 105.3 yards on 12.6 targets. He should be right on average again this week. In each of their last five games, Oakland has allowed a 100-yard receiver and seven on the season.
Tampa Bay has yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end this season so no need to consider Clive Walford in Week 8.
Cameron Brate saw just three passes thrown his way in Week 7 so he is a bit of a wild card this Sunday, but he has an excellent matchup against Oakland. The Raiders have allowed fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2016.
Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees’ historical dominance at home has continued in 2016. He is averaging 421 yards and 3.67 touchdowns per game in New Orleans. Don’t fear the Seahawks’ defense in this one. In three games on the road this season, they have allowed 842 passing yards to the likes of Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carson Palmer.
Russell Wilson has not thrown for a touchdown since Week 5, but this should be the week for the Seattle quarterback. New Orleans has allowed multiple touchdown passes in each of their last four.
New Orleans has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs in 2016, so Christine Michael makes a strong play in Week 8. The Saints have allowed eight touchdowns to running backs in their last four which plays to Michael’s strength. He has four scores in his last four.
Mark Ingram has rushed for more than 62 yards just once this season. Getting to face the Seattle run defense certainly won’t help the ball carrier. The Seahawks are allowing just 72.6 rushing yards per game to running backs in 2016.
Despite New Orleans’ defense reputation, the Saints’ are allowing just 71 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers. Take note Doug Baldwin owners.
The Saints’ Michael Thomas has led the team in targets in three of his last four contests. And leads the team in about every receiving category in that time. He has 26 receptions for 323 yards and three touchdowns in that span.
Cooks has seven catches and a touchdown in each of his last two games. Could be tough for the wide receiver to match those numbers again this week though. Seattle is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in 2016.
Willie Snead saw 11 targets on Sunday.
Jimmy Graham has caught at least five passes in each of his last four contests. New Orleans has allowed 16 receptions to tight ends over the last three weeks, so Graham should be in for another fine outing.
Tough to trust Coby Fleener moving forward. In Week 7 he played in just 38 percent of the Saints’ offensive plays.
Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans
A week after tossing for just one touchdown, Matthew Stafford runs into another potential trouble area. Houston has allowed just one multiple touchdown games this season and a total of just five passing touchdowns this season.
Brock Osweiler has just five passing touchdowns in his last five games. But if in a pinch, he could be a decent stream option in Week 8. The Lions are allowing the most-fantasy points per game to the quarterback position this season. They have allowed 300-yards passing or multiple touchdowns in each game in 2016.
Zach Zenner led the Lions’ in rushing attempts but was only able to muster 29 rushing yards last week.
Over his last 35 rush attempts, Lamar Miller is averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Detroit is allowing 4.9 yards per rush this season so the Texans’ running back should run wild in this one.
Houston has allowed just 56 yards per game to No.1 wide receivers this season so Marvin Jones will have his hands full this week.
In the last two games with Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron out with injuries, Golden Tate has seen at least 32.2 percent of the team’s targets in each contest. During Weeks 1-5, Tate was receiving just 18 percent. If those two players are out again in Week 8, Tate’s fantasy value rises a bit.
DeAndre Hopkins’ rough 2016 could get a boost this week. Detroit is allowing the ninth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season.
Detroit has allowed 22 passing plays to go for at least 20 yards so this could be the week Will Fuller goes off. His average target this season has gone 16.1 yards.
Houston has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season so shy away from Eric Ebron.
C.J. Fiedorowicz is a solid option this week. The tight end has caught at least four passes in each of his last four games with two touchdowns. He takes on a Lions’ defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns
If in need of a quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a stellar matchup. The Browns have allowed multiple touchdowns in each of their games this season.
The Jets have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season if you want to take a chance on the Browns’ quarterback, whoever that may be this week.
Matt Forte finds himself in a friendly matchup this week. The Browns have allowed a touchdown to a running back in five straight games and is giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to the position.
The Jets are allowing just 3.7 yards per carry this season. This is bad news for Isaiah Crowell who has a total of 101 yards in his last three contests.
Even though he is struggling this season, Brandon Marshall still is tied for the league high in red zone targets with 12. With the Browns allowing four touchdowns to wide receivers in the last two weeks, those red zone targets should pay off this week for the Jets’ primary wide receiver. Especially considering he found paydirt in his lone game against Cleveland last season.
Cleveland has the second-worst DVOA against No.2 wide receivers so look for Quincy Enunwa to build off of last week’s big touchdown play.
After playing in less than half of the Browns’ offensive plays last week, look for Terrelle Pryor to get back on track in this one. The Jets are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. And in the last three weeks, New York has allowed 52 receptions to wide receivers.
Gary Barnidge has had at least 57 yards in each of his last five games but offers a low ceiling this week. Not only has he failed to find the end zone yet in 2016, the Jets are allowing an average of just 61 yards per game to the position.
New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
Tom Brady has multiple touchdowns in each of his three games this season. The quarterbacks will face his toughest challenge yet in his short season. Buffalo has allowed just two passing touchdowns in their last five games.
Earlier this season the Patriots limited Tyrod Taylor to 246 passing yards and one touchdown, which is his second-highest total of the season. If Taylor is going to get his fantasy points going this week it will be via his legs. New England has allowed 95 rushing yards on 19 carries to quarterbacks this season.
Buffalo is allowing 4.1 yards per rush to running backs this season, so LeGarrette Blount should have some running room. If nothing else, the running back that has scored eight touchdowns already this season will face a Buffalo defense that has allowed eight touchdowns on the year, including two last week.
The Bills have also allowed 30 receptions to running backs this season so there will be plenty of opportunity for James White as well. Last time these two teams played the running back finished with five catches for 50 yards.
New England is allowing just 3.6 yards per rush this season so the Bills’ running game should have a tough time getting going especially if LeSean McCoy misses this one.
Mike Gillislee is averaging 6.2 yards per carry so if McCoy does miss this game the backup running back has some upside but it is limited. New England has not allowed a rushing touchdown in the last five weeks.
Julian Edelman’s 2016 season has been a bit of a disappointment, but he did catch nine balls last week and gets a Bills’ defense that has allowed the fifth-most yards to wide receivers this season.
With Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods on the shelf last week Marquise Goodwin led the Bills’ receiving corp with 93 yards and a touchdown. New England is allowing 93 yards per game to No.1 wide receivers so if Woods is out again this week, Goodwin could be a sneaky play.
When these two teams squared off in Week 4, Martellus Bennett finished with five catches for 109 yards.
In his last three games, Rob Gronkowski has at least 93 yards and has scored in two of the contests. The Bills have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position.
The Patriots have allowed just one touchdown to tight ends all season so Charles Clay is probably not the best tight end option in Week 8.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers
Pass over Carson Palmer this week. The veteran quarterback has struggled since committing six turnovers against the Seahawks in the playoffs having thrown just two touchdowns since Week 2.
Arizona is allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. But there still is an opportunity for Cam Newton to strike this week. Arizona has allowed a league high 183 rushing yards to quarterbacks this season and the quarterback has ran well against the Cardinals in the past. In last season’s playoff game, Newton rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
David Johnson is a stud and a must start regardless of the opponent. He is averaging 32 touches per game over his last three games, including a 41 touch night last Sunday against the Seahawks.
The Panthers’ Jonathan Stewart is in for a tough day on Sunday. The Cardinals have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. They have been especially dominant in the last two. Arizona has allowed just 83 total rushing yards to running backs in those two contests.
Larry Fitzgerald has scored in just one of his last five games this season, but he could get it going this week. Carolina has allowed 114.2 yards per game to No.1 wide receivers this season.
John Brown hasn’t got it going yet in 2016 but if you want to take a chance on a guy, he’s not a terrible option if he plays. The Panthers have allowed 883 yards and five touchdowns to wide receivers over the last three weeks.
Michael Floyd has yet to score 10 or more fantasy points this season.
Kelvin Benjamin has at least 70 yards or a touchdown in every game this season. He will have his work cut out for him if he wants to reach either of those numbers on Sunday. Arizona is allowing just 64.3 yards per game to No.1 wide receivers this season. The Cardinals also have given up just five touchdowns to wide receivers in 2016.
Arizona is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends this season but last time Olsen faced the Cardinals he went off. He finished with 113 yards on six catches.
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
Denver is allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season so no need to rush Philip Rivers into your starting lineup. Even more so with the fact that the Broncos held the Chargers’ signal caller to 178 yards and a touchdown earlier this season.
Trevor Siemian has thrown for more than one touchdown in a game just once this season. That likely won’t change this week. The Chargers have allowed just one passing touchdown in each of their last two contests.
Despite the tough matchup, Melvin Gordon is still in play this week based on workload alone. He has averaged 54.5 offensive snaps per game in his last six contests.
Last week was Devontae Booker’s best as a pro. He finished with 17 rushes for 83 yards and a touchdown. With C.J. Anderson out this week, Booker should top last week’s performance. The Chargers have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. And for what it is worth, Booker rushed for 46 yards on five carries against the Broncos in Week 6.
Denver is allowing the fewest-fantasy points to wide receivers in the league so you will want to avoid the San Diego wide receivers if you can. But if you have to start a Chargers’ wide receiver Tyrell Williams is your guy. In San Diego’s last six games, the wide receiver leads the team in targets, receptions, yards and targets inside the 10-yard line.
In Week 6, the Chargers limited the Broncos’ receivers to 18 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown so not a great matchup for the Denver pass catchers.
Since Week 1, Demaryius Thomas has had at least five receptions in each game.
Emmanuel Sanders has just eight catches over his last two games.
Hunter Henry has been on the field for less than 70 percent of the Chargers’ offensive snaps in each of the last two weeks, but the last time he played the Broncos he finished with six catches, 83 yards and a score.
San Diego has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Aaron Rodgers last three game stretch has seen him drop back to pass 143 times, most ever in his career during a three game period. Atlanta is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season so look for Rodgers to have a big performance if given a bunch more dropbacks again this week.
The Packers have allowed one or less passing touchdowns in two of their last three while Matt Ryan has thrown for more than one touchdown in just one of his last three.
Ty Montgomery has 20 receptions over the Packers’ last two games. With the Falcons allowing the second-most receptions to running backs and the most receiving yards to the position, Montgomery should go wild in this one.
Devonta Freeman will have a tough time getting it going this week against a Packers’ team that has allowed more than 70 rushing yards in a game just once in 2016.. Green Bay has allowed the fewest-fantasy points to running backs this season.
While Atlanta has allowed a lot of passing yards this season, they have been tough on No.1 wide receivers. They are allowing an average of just 52 yards per game to them. So no break for Jordy Nelson, who has just 115 combined yards in his last three.
Randall Cobb has seen 36 passes thrown his way in the last three weeks, which is most in the league during that span. If his heavy involvement continues this week, look for the wide receiver to have a big performance. The Falcons have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers out of the slot.
Davante Adams has five touchdowns this season. Atlanta has allowed just seven touchdowns to wide receivers this season.
With at least 139 yards in three of his last four games, Julio Jones is a must start each and every week. This week is no different. Green Bay is allowing 104 yards per game to No.1 wide receivers.
Since Week 1, Mohamed Sanu has not topped 47 yards in a game. Green Bay is allowing just 33 yards per game to No.2 wide receivers so this is probably not the week for Sanu to go off.
Atlanta is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. So if your Week 8 Hail Mary fantasy play belongs to Richard Rodgers.
Jacob Tamme has just four catches over the last three weeks.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Over his last two contests, Carson Wentz has combined for only 317 yards, one touchdown and three turnovers. Dallas has allowed just 563 passing yards in their last three so there probably are better options for your fantasy team in Week 8.
While Dak Prescott has been performing well, Philadelphia has allowed just six passing touchdowns to quarterbacks this season.
Since Week 2, Ryan Mathews has failed to reach 61 rushing yards in a game. Dallas is allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season so no reason to suspect that he goes big in Week 8.
Ezekiel Elliott is a start him every week type of stud. He has rushed for at least 134 yards in each of his last four contests.
In two games against the Cowboys last season, Jordan Matthews finished with at least six catches, 80 yards and a touchdown.
In his last seven games versus the Eagles, Dez Bryant has done pretty well for himself. He is averaging 5.7 receptions, 97.9 yards and 1.1 touchdowns per game.
Cole Beasley has three touchdowns in his last two games and also found pay dirt twice last time he faced the Eagles. But Philadelphia has allowed just three touchdowns to wide receivers all season long so don’t look for him to score in his third straight contests this Sunday.
Tight end Zach Ertz has a total of nine targets in his last three games.
Philadelphia has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. Combine that with fact that Jason Witten has not topped 47 yards in his last four games and there is no reason to consider the Dallas’ tight end in Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
Sam Bradford has just five passing touchdowns in his last four games.
Minnesota has allowed just three passing touchdowns in their last five contests so feel good about fading Jay Cutler in Week 8.
In their last four games, the Bears have allowed a total of 195 rushing yards and one touchdown, so neither Jerick McKinnon or Matt Asiata should warrant much fantasy consideration this week.
Jordan Howard has just 56 rushing yards in his last two contests. Minnesota is allowing just 67 rushing yards per game to running backs this season so it is safe to assume the Bears’ rookie will be limited this week.
Stefon Diggs has a total of 105 yards in his last three games. Look for a better effort from him this week. The Bears have allowed the most-fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. Also, Diggs had three touchdowns in two games against Chicago in 2015.
Don’t look now but Cordarrelle Patterson has seen at least six targets in each of his last three contests. He also has two scores in that time.
The only person in Chicago to be happy to see Jay Cutler back under center has to be Alshon Jeffery. In his last 11 games with Cutler he is averaging 5.7 receptions, 91.6 yards and 0.4 touchdowns per game. In his last five without the quarterback, Jeffery is averaging just 4.6 receptions for 63.8 yards and zero touchdowns. And this week that relationship could pay off. In his last seven against Minnesota, Jeffery has six touchdowns.
With the switch back to Jay Cutler, Cam Meredith finds himself in a wait and see situation. But the wait part should be easy this week as the Vikings have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.
Kyle Rudolph has at least five catches in three of his last four. While the Bears have allowed five or more receptions to tight ends just three times this season.
Zach Miller had six catches for 57 yards in his last game against the Minnesota Vikings.