NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Start or Sit Mailbag: Kenyan Drake in Sneaky Good Spot at Texans
- Each week we crowdsource fantasy football start or sit questions on Twitter and by email.
- Ryan Collinsworth answers three questions for Week 8, including whether to bet on Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake and Texans QB Deshaun Watson on Thursday Night Football.
The Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans are all on byes this week, which should result in roster shuffling for plenty of fantasy teams in redraft leagues.
Thus the question many of us face for our deeper bench players is: Start or sit?
Each week we crowdsource fantasy football questions on Twitter at @ActionNetworkHQ and @ActionNetNFL, and by email at email@example.com. Remember to include your league settings (standard, PPR, superflex, etc.) in your question.
Thanks to everyone who reached out with questions for the Week 8 mailbag. Let’s jump into it.
Question: Kenyan Drake or Alex Collins (PPR)?
Start Drake on Thursday night. He boasts higher median, ceiling and floor projections than Collins this week, and is coming off of three straight games with solid production.
Drake has earned 11, six and eight targets over the past three weeks and has posted PPR RB8 numbers over that span with 17.7 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, Collins has been the RB19 over that same stretch, averaging only 10.9 fantasy points per game.
On top of that, the Dolphins have lost Albert Wilson for the season due to a hip injury, and Kenny Stills (groin) has been ruled out. Miami has a depleted receiving corps, and Drake’s recent receiving usage could signal another high-volume receiving game this week.
As Justin Bailey highlighted in our Thursday Night Football betting preview, the Dolphins’ offensive line is the seventh-worst in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
The Texans’ defensive line could apply major pressure to Brock Osweiler, potentially leading to even more check-downs for Drake. Consider him a high-floor RB2 option on Thursday.
Question: Deshaun Watson or C.J. Beathard?
I assume you’re asking this due to Watson’s subpar performances over the past two weeks (QB29 and QB21, respectively). But, it’s important to recognize that Watson faced the Bills and Jaguars over that span. Those teams have great pass defenses. The Dolphins … well, they don’t.
Miami ranks 18th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA, and the Dolphins concede the 10th-most passing yards to quarterbacks.
Beathard has been a popular waiver-wire add and streaming quarterback sinceJimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending knee injury. But, he’s no Deshaun Watson. Moreover, Beathard draws a low Vegas total matchup against the Cardinals, who rank 10th in pass defense DVOA.
Watson boasts higher projections than Beathard does across the board and is in a sneaky bounce-back spot. Start Watson without hesitation.
Question: Was offered Alvin Kamara for Adam Thielen. PPR with small bonus for first downs. Would you take that trade?
Thielen is having a historic start to the season, with seven straight 100-yard receiving games to his credit. He is the undisputed fantasy WR1 and our consensus No. 1 wide receiver in PPR this week.
Nonetheless, Kamara still leads Thielen 26.4 to 25.6 in average PPR points per game.
Kamara should be a top-five PPR running back for the rest of the season, but there are some obvious concerns: In the Saints’ past two games, Kamara has not produced at his usual elite level. Some of that could be due to the return of Mark Ingram, but Kamara has also faced two legit defenses in the Redskins and Ravens.
Kamara also started the season by playing the Buccaneers, Browns, Falcons and Giants — four pretty bad pass defenses — so his early season production might have been somewhat inflated. His true median value likely lies somewhere between those two extremes, around PPR RB4.
Historically, PPR RB4s and WR1s are virtually inseparable in terms of positional leverage, so this decision comes down to your team build.
Kamara consistently boasts higher floor projections, but Thielen edges the running back in ceiling projections. If you need help at WR and can stomach the loss at RB, Thielen should adequately replace Kamara’s production for the rest of the season. Furthermore, by trading for Thielen, you could insulate yourself from any workload risk Ingram might impose.
Still, running backs are at a huge premium in fantasy football, and I would be hesitant to make this trade.
Thielen has likely maxed his statistical ceiling so far this season, and Kamara still slightly edges him in fantasy points per game despite two straight subpar weeks. In a vacuum, my advice would be to hold on to Kamara. But if you’re desperate for WR help, this trade is at least fair value.