Players to Avoid: Week 8

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the eighth week of the NFL season.

Philip Rivers, Chargers, $11,400 – Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Just a few weeks ago, Philip Rivers and the Chargers squared off against the Broncos at home and Rivers only finished with 178 yards passing and one passing TD. Sure this is a division game and a game they would like to win but now they have to go on the road against a defense that has only allowed the third fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs so far this season. Furthermore, his go-to guy in the previous game against the Broncos was Hunter Henry and now Henry is going through concussion protocol (so he may or may not play). That will leave Rivers will Antonio Gates at TE who has slowed down at least a few steps from his prime and a bunch of receivers will be blanketed by arguably the league’s best cornerback core. There is just not a whole lot to like about this matchup especially because Rivers only attempted a season-low 29 passes in the last meeting and he is at his best in fantasy when the volume is high. Safely avoid him in all formats.

Mark Ingram, Seahawks, $9,900 – Only the Ravens, Vikings, Jets and Packers have allowed fewer rushing yards per game than the Seahawks, but of that group, only the Jets and Packers have allowed fewer yards per carry than Seattle’s 3.3. Their stoutness has led to them surrendering the fifth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backs this season. At home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Drew Brees likes the sling the football around. It is unlikely they keep attempting to run into a wall if it does not work from the get-go. Mark Ingram is at his best when he is able to cap his day with a TD and that is becoming less and less likely; he has only received 51.7-percent of his team’s red zone rushes which ranks 23rd amongst all backs. Without much yardage potential against this specific opponent, and with goal line opportunities few and far between, there is no reason to pull the trigger on Ingram in Week 8.

Jordan Howard, Bears, $8,700 – The price decrease makes him an enticing proposition because it factors in the difficult matchup against the dominant Vikings defense. However, it does not factor in both the matchup and the ascension of Ka’Deem Carey’s role simultaneously. Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty in the Bears backfield even though Jordan Howard never failed to fall below 4.8 yards per carry (YPC) in any of his first four ballgames. Additionally, he gained 100-plus rushing yards in both Weeks 3 and 4 so he appeared to have broken free from the pack but Carey actually played more offensive snaps (26) and total snaps than Howard did (22 offensive and 22 total snaps) last week. Combine the committee developing with the treacherous matchup against the Vikings (sixth fewest fantasy points to the position) and Howard is an easy fade even with a discounted price tag.

Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs, $11,300 – The Chiefs passing game as a whole is tough to rely on from week-to-week but on the surface the upcoming matchup against the Colts feels favorable; they have allowed the eighth most fantasy points to opposing QBs and the sixth most passing yards. Surprisingly, the Chiefs are implied to score the third most points of the weekend, behind only the Falcons and Patriots. Therefore, one would infer rostering Jeremy Maclin is a viable strategy, right? Wrong. Literally the only player on the Colts defense to fear is their star cornerback Vontae Davis who should draw the matchup against Maclin for a majority of the afternoon. Coach Andy Reid’s offense is built on establishing the run and the Colts are absolutely awful at defending it. If the Chiefs do choose to throw, Travis Kelce is going to be the preferred option in a much more favorable spot against a team that has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to the position. With Maclin already struggling and now being shadowed by a star, he should simply be overlooked when constructing DFS rosters.

Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers, $13,700 – Speaking of solid receivers matching up against top corners, the Cardinals’ collection is amongst the best in the league. Patrick Peterson will very likely shadow Kelvin Benjamin as he has lined up all over the formation this season (suggesting he shadows opponents frequently). Since Week 2, Benjamin has failed to eclipse 17.00 fantasy points in every single game. Last week, it took 14 targets for 16.60 fantasy points and his game even as a breakout rookie was built on volume (he produced one of the worst catch rates in the league). Even if they decide to force-feed him the ball this week, Peterson is legitimately one of the best few cover corners in the league. The recent results have been ugly and the matchup is even uglier for Benjamin so mark him down as a “no thanks.”

Jason Witten, Cowboys, $7,000 – Opposing TEs need to wish upon a shooting star when squaring off against the Eagles because the defense just does not allow any production to the position. So far this season, TEs have gained just 148 yards receiving and scored one TD (through six games). According to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average statistic, the Eagles rank as the second toughest defense against the position this season. Meanwhile, Jason Witten has produced a career-worst 6.5 yards per target (YPT) this year and the 9.8 yards per reception would be the second worst of his career (behind last season’s 9.3). The reason he is not being targeted as far down field is because he is older and slower. In tune, this is hurting his ability to get open as well. At this point, he will need a ton of short catches or one TD in order to approach value on any given week and the Eagles are not likely to allow him to do either.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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