NFL

Fantasy Football Week 8 starts, sits: Fade Baker Mayfield vs. Patriots

Fantasy Football Week 8 starts, sits: Fade Baker Mayfield vs. Patriots

Fantasy football is predictably unpredictable. But some trends are too hard to ignore.

The New England Patriots' defense, for example, has swallowed up every opposing quarterback it has faced this season, and the numbers suggest Baker Mayfield won't have any better luck when his Cleveland Browns come to town Sunday.

So, who should you roll out instead of Mayfield? We've got the positives and negatives covered in our top fantasy football starts and sits for Week 8 of the NFL slate.

START

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: Is Stafford maddeningly inconsistent? Yes. Can you count on him Sunday against the New York Giants? Also yes. With lead running back Kerryon Johnson out, Stafford should see plenty of volume against a weak Giants secondary.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: Ekeler averaged 8.3 yards per touch last Sunday, while Melvin Gordon fumbled the game away at the goal line. Gordon is still the RB1, but these two clearly can coexist. You can confidently roll out Ekeler versus a Chicago Bears defense that just allowed 20-plus fantasy points to Latavius Murray.

Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions: Even if Stafford chucks the ball all over the field, there's room for Johnson to put up some points. The top backup to Kerryon Johnson is a strong bet to find the end zone after Chase Edmonds did so three times against the Giants last Sunday.

John Brown, WR, Buffalo Bills: No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wideouts this season than the Philadelphia Eagles. Brown is the Bills' primary deep threat, and big plays will be there for the taking Sunday.

DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Metcalf has been quiet over the last two weeks, but he still saw nine targets in Week 7 and has a great matchup against the Atlanta Falcons' porous secondary. He's a WR2/3 this week.

SIT

Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Brown: Stop what you're doing and read Phil Perry's Patriots-Browns fantasy preview. Then do yourself a favor and plant Mayfield firmly on your bench against this historic New England defense.

Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers: It's troubling enough that Breida exited San Francisco's Week 7 game with a concussion. But he's also splitting time with Tevin Coleman, who's been the better runner of late. If you're starting anyone here, go with Coleman. 

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Give it up, Mixon owners. The running back's two rushing yards on 10 carries was final proof that this simply isn't his year, and the Los Angeles Rams' front should swallow him up.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers: Don't be tantalized by Samuel's strong Week 6. He only caught four passes in that game and still takes a back seat to D.J. Moore. Fantasy points will be hard to come by against a stingy Niners secondary.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Watkins has been cleared to play Sunday, but Patrick Mahomes has not. As long as the reigning NFL MVP is sidelined, Watkins is nothing but a boom-or-bust (read: bust) play.

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Fantasy football Week 15 waiver wire: Can A.J. Brown deliver in playoffs?

Fantasy football Week 15 waiver wire: Can A.J. Brown deliver in playoffs?

You didn't come this far just to come this far.

Week 15 of the NFL season means it's the semifinal round of the fantasy football playoffs in most leagues.

If you're reading this, congrats on still being alive. But you're not interested in a runner-up trophy, and we're not interested in providing runner-up advice.

Below are the top players at each position who are widely available on fantasy football waiver wires and are worth adding for Week 15 as you seek fantasy glory.

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues): We'll continue to put Tannehill on this list until he's owned in more than half of leagues. The Titans gunslinger was the sixth-best quarterback in fantasy last week and faces a Houston Texans defense that just allowed 309 passing yards and three touchdowns to Drew Lock. He's your guy again this week.

Other quarterbacks to target: Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA), Jacoby Brissett (IND), Kyle Allen (CAR)

RUNNING BACK

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (40 percent owned): News that Derrius Guice has a sprained MCL means Peterson is the clear-cut workhorse on a team that loves to run the ball. The ageless veteran has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and should see north of 20 touches against the Philadelphia Eagles, making him the safest waiver wire pickup among running backs.

Other running backs to target: DeAndre Washington (OAK), Patrick Laird (MIA), Boston Scott (PHI)

WIDE RECEIVER

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (27 percent owned): The rookie wide receiver has become Tannehill's go-to deep threat, with 333 receiving yards over his last three games. Brown's low catch total makes him a bit of a boom-or-bust play, but it's the playoffs. Gotta take shots to make shots.

Other wide receivers to target: Zach Pascal (IND), Darius Slayton (NYG), Justin Watson (TB)

TIGHT END

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (37 percent owned): Njoku caught just one pass for four yards in his first game since Week 2, but has a dream matchup against an Arizona Cardinals defense that's given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. He's a high-risk breakout candidate.

Other tight ends to target: Gerald Everett (LAR), Darren Fells (HOU)

DEFENSE

Kansas City Chiefs (32 percent owned): Is the Chiefs defense ... good? Kansas City has held each of its last opponents (including the New England Patriots) to 16 points or fewer. The Denver Broncos are riding high after upsetting the Texans, but we're sensing a turnover-filled letdown game in KC.

Other defenses to target: Oakland (vs. JAX), Seattle (at CAR)

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Fantasy football Week 14 waiver wire: Texans defense a great streamer for playoffs

Fantasy football Week 14 waiver wire: Texans defense a great streamer for playoffs

No more fun and games, folks. It's winning time.

The fantasy football playoffs start this week in many leagues, and with them come raised stakes and raised expectations.

The good news for fantasy owners with holes in their lineups is that there are several quality players available in more than 50 percent of leagues who could be plugged in as legitimate starters for Week 14.

Let's get right into it with our top fantasy football waiver wire adds at each position for Week 14.

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (owned in 39 percent of Yahoo! leagues): That Tannehill is available in over 60 percent of leagues is a testament to the depth of this position. The veteran QB has accounted for multiple touchdowns in six consecutive weeks and faces a reeling Oakland Raiders defense that's allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Tannehill is the top streaming option this week.

Other quarterbacks to target: Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA), Jacoby Brissett (IND), Daniel Jones (NYG)

RUNNING BACK

Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers (20 percent owned): Snell established himself as Pittsburgh's lead back over Jaylen Samuels last Sunday, logging 16 carries to Samuels' seven and scoring his first career touchdown. If James Conner can't go this weekend -- he's played just once in the last five weeks -- Snell is a solid RB2 against a porous Arizona Cardinals defense.

Other running backs to target: Raheem Mostert (SF), Alexander Mattison (MIN), Darwin Thompson (KC)

WIDE RECEIVER

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (11 percent owned): Gage benefited from Julio Jones' absence in Week 13 to the tune of five catches for 52 yards and a TD. But he still led Atlanta with eight catches in Week 12 with Jones on the field. Even if Jones returns in Week 14, he might be on a pitch count, opening the door for Gage to contribute for a third straight week. 

Other wide receivers to target: Anthony Miller (CHI), John Ross III (CIN), Zach Pascal (IND)

TIGHT END

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (33 percent owned): The Dolphins' offense has suddenly come alive, and Gesicki is benefiting: He's scored TDs in back-to-back weeks and been targeted 14 times by Ryan Fitzpatrick in that span. The New York Jets are stingy against tight ends (fifth-fewest fantasy points allowed), but Gesicki is your best waiver wire bet this week.

Other tight ends to target: Gerald Everett (LAR), Darren Fells (HOU)

DEFENSE

Houston Texans (27 percent owned): Yeah, Drew Lock won his NFL debut Sunday. But the Denver Broncos are much worse on the road (1-5) than at home (3-3), and the Texans are coming off an inspiring defensive effort against the New England Patriots. Expect another strong effort out of Houston in Week 14.

Other defenses to target: Jacksonville (vs. LAC), Green Bay (vs. WAS)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.