Are Founette, McLaurin and Harris Worth the Risk in Week 8?
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I’m not a firm believer in the old adage “always start your studs”, as it’s sort of lazy and not entirely accurate if you want the most out of your fantasy squad. There are only a handful of players who fit into the never-sit category and those guys won’t be included in this weekly column.
I’m certainly not saying to sit all or even any of the following Week 8 potential busts, but in some instances, there are better options to roll with, and if not, prepare to at least temper your expectations for their output this week.
Leonard Fournette @ Saints
Lenny has been enjoying a wonderful renaissance in Tampa Bay and sits as the RB3 in half-PPR points over the past four weeks. He’s averaged a whopping 21 touches per game in that time frame and is now the clear lead back in a very productive offense.
While it’s exciting for those who took a chance on Fournette at his eighth-round ADP, this week may not be a high-scoring one for the 26-year-old. He’s facing a Saints defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards (333) to RBs this season, along with just 16.3 half-PPR points per contest to opposing backfields. While you may not be in a position to sit Fournette this week, expect low-end RB2 numbers from the Buccaneer back.
Terry McLaurin @ Broncos
The Washington WR has several things working against him this week, giving him a seat at the play-at-your-own-risk table. It appears the Football Team is going to stick with Taylor Heinicke for at least one more week, which doesn’t help McLaurin’s potential for a banner day in the Mile High City. Heinicke has been fairly inaccurate of late, overthrowing McLaurin multiple times and tossing poorly-timed balls to all of his pass-catchers, resulting in missed connections and four interceptions in his last three outings.
Along with a mediocre passer, McLaurin has to deal with the Broncos’ defense, which was stellar to start the season, but has dealt with some injuries and poor play in recent weeks. First-rounder Pat Surtain ll is among the league’s best rookies with Bryce Callahan also playing very well. If the secondary that began the season shows up this week against Washington, McLaurin could end up as more of a WR2 than the WR1 production we expect from the 26-year old.
Najee Harris @ Browns
Harris is fourth among RBs this season in touches per game with 22.7 and is the clear bellcow in the Pittsburgh offense. He hasn’t been the most efficient in his rookie season (3.8 yards per attempt), but with his volume, he’s still been in the fantasy RB1 conversation.
In Week 8 Harris will face a Browns’ defense that has been stout against opposing backfields, yielding just 16.4 half-PPR points per week to the position in seven contests. This contest has the second-lowest over/under on this week’s slate (42.5), and Harris may struggle to produce, rendering him more of an RB2 on Sunday.
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Mike Gesicki @ Bills
I know Gesicki is not an elite fantasy star or high-draft pick but considering how brutal the TE position is, he’s been falling into the automatic starter category on a weekly basis in 2021. He’s just eight targets behind Jaylen Waddle in the Miami offense on the season and both players saw eight looks last week as a team-high. Gesicki is the fantasy TE1 over the last two weeks, with 200 yards and a score on 15 receptions, but may get taken down a peg this week after a potentially tough Sunday.
The Dolphins head to Buffalo, to face a Bills defense that has only allowed 6.9 half-PPR points per game to TEs this season, playing tough in the middle of the field. DeVante Parker may finally be back from assorted injuries, which could also rain on the volume party Gesicki has been having. You’re probably still starting the Dolphin TE as you should, but don’t expect a high-scorer this week.
Robert Woods @ Texans
This season has been mostly a disappointment for the usual target-monster Woods. He’s only had two games north of 70 yards and has found the end zone three times. As a touchdown-dependent WR, things don’t look great for Woods this week, as he lines up against a Houston defense that has surprisingly only allowed five scores to the WR position this season.
As WR36 in targets per contest, the volume just isn’t there for the nine-year veteran in 2021, and to make things worse, the Rams could get up early in this one with Woods getting game scripted right out of startable territory. View him as a WR3 this week in Houston.