By MIKE HERNDON
It’s a short bye week, with only two teams off, but they’re two big ones – Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers. So no Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Austin Ekeler or Justin Herbert. And no Mike Williams for at least four weeks or so, as the injury hits keep coming.
Remember, however, injuries present opportunities. Look for the next man up on the wire. See if any trade opportunities present themselves with managers who suddenly find themselves down a player. Always be looking to improve your roster.
With that said, here are Week 8’s starts and sits.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins: He was just OK in his first game back last week against the Steelers, but the Lions’ sieve-like defense should give him plenty of opportunities for chunk plays. Fire him up.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers: We recommended starting him last week and his two touchdown passes were all that saved him from being a total bust. On the road at Buffalo this week with Allen Lazard banged up, he’s an easy fade.
Miles Sanders, Eagles: Philly’s reportedly been shopping for running backs, but assuming they don’t strike a deal before this weekend, Sanders should be in a nice spot against a Steelers team that has improved, but not fixed, its run defense.
Tony Pollard, Cowboys: It appears that Zeke Elliott will miss this week’s game against Chicago with an MCL sprain. We’ve been waiting to see what Pollard could do with a full workload, and the Bears’ defense is forgiving. Let it rip.
Raheem Mostert, Dolphins: He’s taken over the Dolphins’ backfield, scoring 16 or more fantasy points in two of the last three weeks. He’s reportedly dealing with a bit of a knee injury (when isn’t he?), but if he’s active on Sunday when Miami faces the Lions, he’s in a good spot to make it three of four.
Travis Etienne, Jaguars: It’s mighty tempting to put him in the lineup with James Robinson now a member of the New York Jets and Etienne coming off a 100-yard day. But Denver has one of the best defenses in the league. Hang tight for a week.
Darrell Henderson, Rams: He hasn’t gained 50 yards in a game all year and now he’ll face the 49ers’ stout D. A Kareem Hunt trade would make a lot of sense if the Rams hadn’t already traded away so many picks last year.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals: Fantasy managers got a shock on Thursday when it was revealed that Ja’Marr Chase will miss several weeks with a hip injury. Boyd, who piled up 155 yards last week as the Bengals made a concerted effort to get him more involved, should be a primary beneficiary of the extra targets. The opponent this weekend is the Browns, whose defense should scare no one.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers: Deebo Samuel is dinged up and this is a game in which the 49ers should have to throw. Hopefully, they’ll have adjusted their offense to include Christian McCaffrey in the passing game, but Aiyuk is the downfield threat and has more than 80 yards in each of his last two games.
Christian Kirk, Jaguars: Denver has been a no man’s land for receivers, particularly if they’re lined up against Patrick Surtain. Kirk may largely avoid Surtain’s blanket coverage, but I’d still be looking for better options.
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts: Matt Ryan has been benched and Sam Ehlinger is the Colts’ new starter. I want a prove-it week before I’m comfortable trusting him, and any receivers tied to him.
Irv Smith Jr., Vikings: Minnesota plays the Cardinals, who are allowing the second-highest point total to tight ends in the league, and Smith had 40+ yards or a score in his last two games before the bye. If you need a dart throw, you could do a lot worse.
Travis Kelce and Gerald Everett are off. Mark Andrews got hurt again. Start whoever you can find that’s getting targets.
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