In the ever-so unpredictable game of fantasy football, it is often challenging to project which players will shine or disappoint in a given week. For example, Houston Texans wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Nate Washington swapped fantasy performances in a classic case of complete unpredictability.
The best we can do is analyze the matchups to formulate an idea about how they will perform. In researching the Week 8 NFL games, here are 10 fantasy football players who have terrible matchups.
New England Patriots Running Backs
In a competitive matchup against the New York Jets, the Patriots running backs combined for a net total of one rushing yard, while Tom Brady of all players led the team in 15 yards and a score.
Now in Week 8, the Patriots host the resurgent Miami Dolphins, whose offense and defense should keep the Thursday Night Football matchup quite competitive. This means Brady will throw the ball a gazillion times and hand it off very few. Even if Dion Lewis, who is a game-time decision is ready to go, he and/or the other Patriots running backs have about as much fantasy appeal as starting Reggie Bush.
Note: Keep an eye on the weather in Boston and if it continues to rain into game time, it might force both teams to play more of their game on the ground.
T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton luckily saved his fantasy owners’ games last week when unpredictable quarterback Andrew Luck finally woke up and connected with Hilton for four receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
It was by far Hilton’s best fantasy performance of the season. However, that late-game outburst may come to a screeching halt when the Colts travel to face the Carolina Panthers, and Hilton comes face to face with cornerback Josh Norman.
The Panthers allowed the Philadelphia Eagles wideouts a total of only 71 yards and zero scores last week, and with Luck playing about as sketchy as Sam Bradford these days, Hilton’s fantasy numbers could plunge. Keep in mind that the Panthers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
Jimmy Graham, Tight End, Seattle Seahawks
Graham is the type of guy his fantasy owners keep starting due to name power and a lack of better options. And, unfortunately for Graham’s owners, he has been a mixture of hot and mostly cold, scoring only two touchdowns and crossing the 100-yard mark just once.
In Week 8, he’ll face the Dallas Cowboys that has only allowed one touchdown to tight ends. Furthermore, the Cowboys have given up only 35.2 average yards per game to opposing tight ends. Graham is a terrible fantasy start in Week 8.
Jeremy Hill, Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals
Hill, who was some fantasy owners first pick this season, has been a dreadful disappointment for the most part. Now in Week 8, he and the Bengals travel to play the Pittsburgh Steelers and a defense that’s allowed the third-fewest fantasy points—including only one touchdown to running backs this year.
He’s losing carries to Giovani Bernard, and unless Hill manages to score a touchdown, he will be virtually useless against the Steelers.
Derek Carr, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders
With some teams on a bye this week, folks might consider starting Carr after an excellent performance last week. Not so fast with this idea. Carr faces the grumpy New York Jets, who just lost to their nemesis in the New England Patriots.
Even though Brady had his way against their staunch defense, most other quarterbacks have struggled, since the Jets have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks all season. Carr is a lovely work in progress, but he isn’t exactly Brady.
On average, the Jets are allowing only 224.7 quarterback passing yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. With Darrelle Revis locking down one side of the secondary, Carr will have his work cut out for him.
Anquan Boldin/Torrey Smith, Wide Receivers, San Francisco 49ers
Unfortunately, both wide receiver’s fantasy value is tied to their dreadful quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kap is hitting water boys more accurately than his receivers, so it’s time to bench Boldin and Smith in a terrible matchup against the St. Louis Rams. Currently, the Rams are surrendering the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers and have only allowed three touchdowns to receivers.
Interestingly enough, Cobb scored all three of them. We all know that Kaepernick is no Aaron Rodgers. Everything about this matchup spells doom for either fantasy wide receiver. Oh, and don’t even think about starting Kap.
Darren McFadden, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
Last week, McFadden suddenly turned into the 2010 version of himself when he earned the nickname “Run DMC.” However, assuming McFadden is all suddenly fantasy gold because of his 152-yard, one touchdown performance opposite the New York Giants 25th-ranked rush defense would be foolish.
Expectations for McFadden should be tempered for his Week 8 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, who have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, including just 61 to the 49ers running backs last week. This should serve a reminder that McFadden likely isn’t going to light it up on Sunday.
Gary Barnidge, Tight End, Cleveland Browns
Barnidge, who’s become one of the most popular waiver-wire acquisitions this year, has been quite the fantasy delight for his owners and currently ranks No. 2 in tight end fantasy points.
While this is an awesome fact, Barnidge may hit some walls against the Arizona Cardinals and a defense that has yet to allow a touchdown to the position. Additionally, the Cards are only giving up 36.4 yards per game to opposing tight ends.
Plus, most of Barnidge’s major production has taken place with Josh McCown under center, so there’s uncertainty about Barnidge if Johnny Manziel starts in Week 8. While Barnidge is likely the best option to start, note that he’ll be facing his toughest competition thus far.
Jay Cutler, Quarterback, Chicago Bears
Cutler doesn’t have the most ideal matchup ahead in Week 8. He’ll be up against a tough Vikings defense that isn’t quarterback-friendly, currently ceding the seventh-fewest fantasy points. To make matters worse, the Vikings defense has limited opposing teams to score a lowly average of only 17 actual points.
It’s a stretch to believe that the Vikings secondary will suddenly start allowing quarterbacks like Cutler to rack up gaudy numbers and fantasy points.
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Owners terribly missed Rodgers last week due to his bye, but now they get to watch him play against the NFL’s best passing defense in the Denver Broncos. Even though Rodgers is among the elites, he could struggle against the Broncos, who have allowed only 192.2 passing yards and 0.83 touchdowns per game.
In Weeks 4 and 5, Rodgers stumbled a bit, passing for only 224 yards and one touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers then throwing two interceptions at home vs. the St. Louis Rams. So, fantasy owners should be somewhat nervous about starting him in Week 8. Unfortunately, this scenario makes Randall Cobb a lousy fantasy start as well.