Answer Fantasy Start/Sit Questions With These Week 8 Tiers & Rankings

Answer Fantasy Start/Sit Questions With These Week 8 Tiers & Rankings article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Davis, Tyler Lockett

  • Need answers to your first fantasy start/sit questions of the week? Sean Koerner has you covered.
  • The No. 1 in-season ranker in three of the past five seasons, Koerner outlines his initial Week 8 tiers.
  • Find his rankings for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, kickers and defenses below.

Go to Sean Koerner’s updated tiers now.


If you want to contend for your fantasy football championship, you have to be diligent about in-season management. And a big part of that is making start/sit decisions.

To help you start strategizing for Week 8, I’ve outlined the early version of my fantasy football rankings into tiers so you can better visualize the drop-off in expected production at each position.

As always, there will be a ton of volatility in how I adjust my rankings up until kickoff, so be sure to check my updated rankings before making final decisions. I’ll also publish an updated version of these tiers before Sunday’s kickoff, but for now, let’s dive into the initial version of my Week 8 tiers!

Week 8 Fantasy Tiers

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QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DEF

QUARTERBACKS

Tier 1

Russell Wilson (vs. SF)
Patrick Mahomes (vs. NYJ)

The Chiefs are massive 19-point favorites against the Jets (find real-time data here), which lowers Mahomes’ ceiling. Last week was a harsh reminder why: The Chiefs managed to blow out the Broncos, 43-16, yet Mahomes finished as the QB23. They built their lead off two DEF/ST touchdowns, and Mahomes wasn’t needed to do much to help preserve the win.

He should bounce back with a huge first half against the Jets, then take the foot off the gas in the second half once the Chiefs have a sizable lead.

Tier 2

Josh Allen (vs. NE)
Lamar Jackson (vs. PIT)
Aaron Rodgers (vs. MIN)

Lamar Jackson has a brutal matchup against a Steelers defense that ranks first against the run and eighth against the pass according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The good news is that Jackson should be close to 100% following their Week 7 bye. He’s a must-start this week, but we need to lower expectations.

Tier 3

Teddy Bridgewater (vs. ATL)
Ryan Tannehill (@ CIN)

Bridgewater is my quarterback streamer of the week.

He managed to put up the QB12 score in his first meeting against the Falcons in Week 5 — and that was when they were without Julio Jones and managed to score only 16 points. Expect the Falcons to put more pressure on Bridgewater on Thursday night, and for his foot to be on the gas for all 60 minutes, elevating his floor and ceiling.

Tier 4

Carson Wentz (vs. DAL)
Tom Brady (@ NYG)
Justin Herbert (@ DEN)
Joe Burrow (vs. TEN)

I sounded the alarms to buy low on Wentz a couple weeks ago. His schedule lightens over the next several weeks, and he should be getting some of his top weapons — Jalen Reagor, Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert — back soon. He’s a low-end QB1 against Dallas this week.

Tier 5

Matt Ryan (@ CAR)
Derek Carr (@ CLE)

Ryan had a rough patch from Weeks 3-5, when Julio Jones was in and out of the lineup with a hamstring injury. Now that Jones is back to playing at a high level, we can trust Ryan as a low-end QB1 again.

Tier 6

Baker Mayfield (vs. LV)
Matthew Stafford (vs. IND)
Jared Goff (@ MIA)
Cam Newton (@ BUF)
Jimmy Garoppolo (@ SEA)

The lack of pass-catching weapons is coming to haunt Newton’s value, which has hit rock bottom. His rushing upside gives him QB1 upside every week, but it’s no longer worth taking on the risk.

Stafford has a tough matchup against the Colts: Five of six QBs have failed to  throw for either more than 200 yards or more than one touchdown against Indianapolis so far.

nfl mvp-predictions-picks-betting-2020-1
Leon Halip/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Stafford

Tier 7

Philip Rivers (@ DET)
Ben Roethlisberger (@ BAL)
Kirk Cousins (@ GB)
Drew Brees (@ CHI)

Big Ben is a “sit” this week against a Ravens defense that just added Yannick Ngakoue. Roethlisberger will return to the QB1 discussion next week against the Cowboys.

Tier 8

Tua Tagovailoa (vs. LAR)
Daniel Jones (vs. TB)
Nick Foles (vs. NO)
Drew Lock (vs. LAC)

Tagovailoa makes his debut this week, meaning he’s start-able in 2QB/Superflex formats. The Dolphins offense may take a step back initially, considering Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing at a high level at the time of his “benching.” However, Tagovailoa carries high-end QB2 upside, and rookies have exceeded expectations this season.

Tier 9

Andy Dalton (@ PHI)

We don’t know if it’ll be Dalton or Ben DiNucci starting on Sunday. Either way, both are “sits” until we see the Cowboys offense show signs of life.

Adam Gase’s Starting QB Tier

Sam Darnold (@ KC)


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RUNNING BACKS

Tier 1

Derrick Henry (@ CIN)
Alvin Kamara (@ CHI)
Kareem Hunt (vs. LV)

Hunt hasn’t come close to the upside we would have expected with Nick Chubb out of the lineup, but I believe we’ll see Hunt hit that upside this week. It was encouraging to see his routes run per dropback shoot up to a season-high 76% in Week 7. He should be a true workhorse back in a great matchup against the Raiders.

Kareem Hunt
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Kareem Hunt

Tier 2

Mike Davis (vs. ATL)
Aaron Jones (vs. MIN)
Jonathan Taylor (@ DET)

There’s an outside chance CMC can return this week, but it seems more likely he’ll be back in Week 9, in which case Davis will get one more week of RB1 value — and he’s put up RB5 overall numbers in his five starts.

Let’s pour one out in honor of Davis this week as he’s been one of the top in-season pickups of 2020.

Tier 3

Dalvin Cook (@ GB)

Cook sat out Week 6 with a groin injury then had a Week 7 bye to hopefully get right. It’s unclear whether the Vikings plan on limiting him in his return, so this rank is more of a placeholder. But you will want to get him back in your lineups either way.

Tier 4

Josh Jacobs (@ CLE)
Ezekiel Elliott (@ PHI)
Todd Gurley (@ CAR)
James Conner (@ BAL)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. NYJ)

Elliott’s value has dropped significantly over the past week.

The Cowboys offense is broken, and their offensive line has been decimated due to injury. Both factors are going to make it challenging for Zeke to return to Tiers 1-2 any time soon. Anyone who has Zeke rostered likely knows this and may panic by trading him away for an RB2-caliber player, but you may want to take advantage of their panic — I just wouldn’t be too aggressive in trying to land him.

nfl-week-3-picks-predictions-betting-bears-vs-falcons-cowboys-vs-seahawks
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott.

Tier 5

David Montgomery (vs. NO)
Myles Gaskin (vs. LAR)
Miles Sanders (vs. DAL)

Montgomery struggles to generate value as a runner. Still, his increased passing game usage (after Tarik Cohen’s season-ending injury) and lack of competition are why he remains a solid (if unspectacular) RB2.

Tier 6

Carlos Hyde (vs. SF)
Joe Mixon (vs. TEN)
Ronald Jones II (@ NYG)
Melvin Gordon (vs. LAC)
D’Andre Swift (vs. IND)
Joshua Kelley (@ DEN)

Hyde and Mixon are both game-time decisions this week. It’s important to remind you that my projections/rankings within teams are connected, therefore each player’s projections also impact their teammates. I would advise double checking my rankings for Seahawks-Bengals running backs in my Updated Tiers (published Saturday) when we have more information.

If Mixon were to sit, we could trust Gio Bernard as a RB1/2 again this week.

If Hyde were to sit, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas would be expected to split work. Homer is dealing with a knee injury, so there’s a chance Dallas ends up being the Seahawks’ workhorse back this week. If you can afford the bench space, he makes for a potential RB2/3 flier.

Tier 7

Darrell Henderson (@ MIA)
JaMycal Hasty (@ SEA)
Justin Jackson (@ DEN)
Jerick McKinnon (@ SEA)
Leonard Fournette (@ NYG)
Devin Singletary (vs. NE)
Le’Veon Bell (vs. NYJ)

Nearly every RB in this Tier has a wide range of outcomes.

It’s anyone’s guess how Kyle Shanahan will handle the backfield between Hasty and McKinnon this week, but either is worth rolling the dice as a potential RB2.

In Tampa Bay, Fournette may have forced his way into an even timeshare with Ronald Jones or taken over the starting job outright. He’s worth gambling as an RB2/3 option this week if you need some upside.

Bell is a sneaky RB3/Flex play given the #RevengeGame narrative and the blowout potential. I don’t necessarily consider Bell as a threat to CEH’s starting job. Instead, I feel like the Chiefs brought Bell in to give CEH a breather when they lead.

The Chiefs have more run-heavy when playing with the lead this season, and Bell could see 10 or more touches against his former team.

Tier 8

J.K. Dobbins (vs. PIT)*
Jamaal Williams (vs. MIN)*
Latavius Murray (@ CHI)*
Devonta Freeman (vs. TB)
Nyheim Hines (@ DET)
Adrian Peterson (vs. IND)
Boston Scott (vs. DAL)*
Malcolm Brown (@ MIA)*
Damien Harris (@ BUF)
Alexander Mattison (@ GB)*
James White (@ BUF)

Tier 9

Giovani Bernard (vs. TEN)*
Zack Moss (vs. NE)*
La’Mical Perine (@ KC)
Mark Ingram (vs. PIT)
Wayne Gallman (vs. TB)
Gus Edwards (vs. PIT)
Phillip Lindsay (vs. LAC)*
Rex Burkhead (@ BUF)
Frank Gore (@ KC)
Tony Pollard (@ PHI)*
Brian Hill (@ CAR)*
Matt Breida (vs. LAR)

*high upside backup

The final two tiers feature mostly RBs who can be emergency Flex plays. I indicated which backs should be stashed in most leagues — those who offer RB2 (or greater) upside if their team’s starter were ever to miss time. Be sure to cross reference with my Backup Upside Ratings to identify potential bench stashes.


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WIDE RECEIVERS

Tier 1

Davante Adams (vs. MIN)

Adams torched the Vikings for 14 catches, 156 yards and two touchdowns in their first meeting this season. He’s also coming off a 13/196/2 game.

Get him in your lineup.

nfl-betting-picks-bets-spreads-totals-week-6-2020
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Davante Adams

Tier 2

Tyler Lockett (vs. SF)
Tyreek Hill (vs. NYJ)

Lockett bounced back from a poor two-game stretch with a massive 15/200/3 game in Week 7. He may have the occasional dud from time-to-time, but should never be on anyone’s bench — ever.

Tier 3

Julio Jones (@ CAR)
Robby Anderson (vs. ATL)
Keenan Allen (@ DEN)
D.K. Metcalf (vs. SF)
Kenny Golladay (vs. IND)
Calvin Ridley (@ CAR)

Metcalf finally put up a “dud” with a 2/23/0 line in Week 7. It’s worth noting that he had a game-winning touchdown called back and made arguably the best “football” play of the year (chasing down Budda Baker to prevent him from a pick-six). Not bad for his “worst” game of the season.

DK Metcalf is FREAKY FAST. @dkm14

📺: #SEAvsAZ on NBC
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/FSTZl0ocgC pic.twitter.com/WSuLjzfIl3

— NFL (@NFL) October 26, 2020

Tier 4

Adam Thielen (@ GB)
Stefon Diggs (vs. NE)
Mike Evans (@ NYG)
D.J. Moore (vs. ATL)
A.J. Brown (@ CIN)
Robert Woods (@ MIA)
Justin Jefferson (@ GB)
Allen Robinson (vs. NO)
Cooper Kupp (@ MIA)
Tyler Boyd (vs. TEN)

Evans has been playing through a nagging ankle injury but should see WR1/2 usage this week with Chris Godwin out. If Evans has a big game, I would try to sell high. Once Godwin returns, and Antonio Brown carves out a role in this offense, Evans will be more of a WR2/3.

Tier 5

Travis Fulgham (vs. DAL)
Tee Higgins (vs. TEN)
Brandon Aiyuk (@ SEA)
Michael Thomas (@ CHI)
Marquise Brown (vs. PIT)
Amari Cooper (@ PHI)
Jarvis Landry (vs. LV)
Chase Claypool (@ BAL)
Juju Smith-Schuster (@ BAL)
DeVante Parker (vs. LAR)

Claypool pulled the rug out from under us and had his worst game of the season in Week 7, going 1/-2/0 while Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster both erupted for nine catch games. It’s a reminder that there are many mouths to feed in this Steelers offense, so we shouldn’t expect too much consistency from Claypool — he remains a bet-on-talent WR3 with WR1 upside.

Tier 6

Corey Davis (@ CIN)
Diontae Johnson (@ BAL)
Cole Beasley (vs. NE)
A.J. Green (vs. TEN)
CeeDee Lamb (@ PHI)
Jamison Crowder (@ KC)
Scott Miller (@ NYG)
Curtis Samuel (vs. ATL)
T.Y. Hilton (@ DET)

Johnson and Crowder look to be game-time decisions this week — another reminder that their projections have an impact on their teammates. If Johnson is ruled out, expect Smith-Schuster and Claypool to shoot up. If Crowder is ruled out, Denzel Mims will be in-play as a potential WR3/Flex.

Tier 7

Darius Slayton (vs. TB) (+)
Jerry Jeudy (vs. LAC)
Marvin Jones (vs. IND)
Rashard Higgins (vs. LV)
Greg Ward Jr. (vs. DAL) (-)
Zach Pascal (@ DET)
Mike Williams (@ DEN) (+)
Julian Edelman (@ BUF)
Kendrick Bourne (@ SEA) (-)
Sterling Shepard (vs. TB) (-)
Henry Ruggs (@ CLE) (+)
Tim Patrick (vs. LAC)

nfl-betting-picks-spreads-totals-cowboys-seahawks-raiders-patriots-week-3-2020
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Darius Slayton

Tier 8

Tre’Quan Smith (@ CHI)
John Brown (vs. NE)
Russell Gage (@ CAR) (-)
Hunter Renfrow (@ CLE) (-)
Mecole Hardman (vs. NYJ) (+)
Nelson Agholor (@ CLE)
Breshad Perriman (@ KC)
Preston Williams (vs. LAR)
Josh Reynolds (@ MIA)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (vs. MIN) (+)
Denzel Mims (@ KC) (-)
Marcus Johnson (@ DET)
Marquez Callaway (@ CHI)
Michael Gallup (@ PHI)
Darnell Mooney (vs. NO)
Adam Humphries (@ CIN) (-)
Demarcus Robinson (vs. NYJ)
Damiere Byrd (@ BUF)

(-) = high floor
(+) = high ceiling

For the final couple tiers, I like to treat sit/start decisions based on the type of player you need for your matchup. If you’re a big favorite, you want to lean toward a player who is guaranteed to get you a handful of points (i.e. has a high floor). If you’re an underdog, you should be more willing to use a high risk/reward player (i.e. has a high ceiling).


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TIGHT ENDS

Tier 1

George Kittle (@ SEA)
Travis Kelce (vs. NYJ)

The Seahawks should be getting Jamal Adams back this week, which should be a huge help for their porous defense, but it still won’t be enough to lower Kittle from the top spot this week.

Tier 2

Darren Waller (@ CLE)

Tier 3

Mark Andrews (vs. PIT)

I mostly consider Waller and Andrews as every-week Tier 2 TEs. However, Waller has a much higher floor and will give you 10-plus points nearly every week while Andrews has a much wider range of outcomes considering he’s pretty touchdown-dependent.

standard te rankings-fantasy-draft
Silas Walker/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Andrews

Tier 4

Rob Gronkowski (@ NYG)
Hunter Henry (@ DEN)
T.J. Hockenson (vs. IND)
Richard Rodgers (vs. DAL)
Jonnu Smith (@ CIN)

Rodgers filled in nicely for Zach Ertz, going for 6/85/0 last Thursday Night Football. He ran a route on 65% of dropbacks, which means there’s room for increased usage this week. I’m treating him as a low-end TE1 until Dallas Goedert’s potential Week 10 return.

Tier 5

Hayden Hurst (@ CAR)
Jimmy Graham (vs. NO)
Evan Engram (vs. TB)
Robert Tonyan Jr. (vs. MIN)
Mike Gesicki (vs. LAR)
Eric Ebron (@ BAL)
Harrison Bryant (vs. LV)
Noah Fant (vs. LAC)
Jared Cook (@ CHI)
Trey Burton (@ DET)

Harrison Bryant started for the injured Austin Hooper and erupted with a 4/56/2 stat line. The two touchdowns were a bit fluky, but the passing volume was not. He ran a route on 60% of dropbacks, a rate we could see a jump up to 75-80% in Week 8. With Odell Beckham out of the lineup, Bryant could also end up seeing one to two more targets as a result.

Bryant is a what-the-heck flier at TE if you’re in a pinch.

Tier 6

Dalton Schultz (@ PHI)
Greg Olsen (vs. SF)
Tyler Higbee (@ MIA)
David Njoku (vs. LV)
Gerald Everett (@ MIA)
Drew Sample (vs. TEN)

Higbee was a surprise inactive in Week 7, and Everett capitalized with a 4/28/1 game in Higbee’s place. He would jump up a couple of tier if Higbee ends up missing Week 8.

Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Tier 7

Irv Smith Jr. (@ GB)
Tyler Kroft (vs. NE)
Albert Okwuegbunam (vs. LAC)
Anthony Firkser (@ CIN)
Kyle Rudolph (@ GB)

Okwuegbunam has looked great in his first two games as a pro. Drew Lock is the tight end’s former teammate, and their chemistry has carried over into the NFL.

Fant looked like he was playing at far less than 100%. If Fant were ever to miss time, Albert O could end up providing TE1/2 value — he is that talented.


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KICKERS

Tier 1

Harrison Butker (vs. NYJ)

Tier 2

Stephen Gostkowski (@ CIN)
Jason Myers (vs. SF)
Mason Crosby (vs. MIN)
Rodrigo Blankenship (@ DET)
Ryan Succop (@ NYG)
Justin Tucker (vs. PIT)
Cody Parkey (vs. LV)

Tier 3

Joey Slye (vs. ATL)
Robbie Gould (@ SEA)
Matt Prater (vs. IND)
Jake Elliott (vs. DAL)
Kai Forbath (@ MIA)
Michael Badgley (@ DEN)
Randy Bullock (vs. TEN)
Younghoe Koo (@ CAR)
Wil Lutz (@ CHI)

Tier 4

Daniel Carlson (@ CLE)
Chris Boswell (@ BAL)
Tyler Bass (vs. NE)
Dan Bailey (@ GB)
Jason Sanders (vs. LAR)
Brandon McManus (vs. LAC)
Nick Folk (@ BUF)

Tier 5

Greg Zuerlein (@ PHI)
Cairo Santos (vs. NO)
Graham Gano (vs. TB)
Sergio Castillo (@ KC)


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DEFENSES

Tier 1

Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ NYG)

fantasy-streamers-defense-kicker-qb-te-week-7-2020
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Fletcher Cox

Tier 2

Los Angeles Rams (@ MIA)
New Orleans Saints (@ CHI)
Los Angeles Chargers (@ DEN)
Buffalo Bills (vs. NE)

Tier 3

Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
Tennessee Titans (@ CIN)
Dallas Cowboys (@ PHI)
Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT)

Tier 4

Indianapolis Colts (@ DET)
Denver Broncos (vs. LAC)
New England Patriots (@ BUF)
Seattle Seahawks (vs. SF)

Tier 5

Cleveland Browns (vs. LV)
Pittsburgh Steelers (@ BAL)
Miami Dolphins (vs. LAR)
Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
Chicago Bears (vs. NO)
Detroit Lions (vs. IND)
Las Vegas Raiders (@ CLE)

Tier 6

Atlanta Falcons (@ CAR)
San Francisco 49ers (@ SEA)
New York Giants (vs. TB)
Cincinnati Bengals (vs. TEN)
Minnesota Vikings (@ GB)

Tier 7

New York Jets (@ KC)


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