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Sports

The Observer’s Fantasy Corner Week 8

, , , and | Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Week Seven of the NFL was out of this world. Between position players throwing touchdowns and plenty of games that turned into shootouts, there was a tremendous amount to unpack. We only have 10 more weeks left and fantasy is just getting started. Let’s break down who to start and who to sit!

Sam Ouhaj – Sports Writer 

Must Start: Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers 

After JuJu Smith-Schuster was placed on IR for the rest of the season, Diontae Johnson has become the new number-one wide receiver in Pittsburgh. The former third-round pick out of Toldeo in 2019 has quietly been averaging 18.4 points and is getting almost nine receptions per game. While Big Ben’s play has been abysmal, Johnson has not been heavily affected, which is a good sign. When the Steelers return from their bye, Johnson will be going against a decimated Browns team that may or may not have Denzel Ward. This is something to watch, and if there is no Ward this week, play Johnson with confidence. 

Must Sit: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

Normally Alvin Kamara is a starter every week. However, in order to save your team this week, do not play Kamara. He will be going up against the number one run defense in Tampa Bay and in previous years, Kamara has looked terrible. The Tampa Bay run defense is currently allowing 3.4 yards per carry and have only given up three rushing touchdowns on the season. While Kamara is still valuable as a receiver in PPR leagues, that just does not do enough for me to feel safe starting him. Avoid Kamara at all costs this weekend. 

Who To Pick Up: A.J. Green, WR, Arizona Cardinals (Owned in 37.2% of leagues)

John Kalemkerian – Sports Writer

Must Start: Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Mitchell has clearly established himself as the lead back in Kyle Shanahan’s run-heavy scheme, garnering 17+ carries in three of the four weeks he’s been active this season. Last week he eclipsed 100 yards rushing and found the end zone in a rainy SNF matchup with the Colts. This week he gets a Bears defense that has been generous to RB’s this season, letting up an average of 122 rushing yards per game. Expect Mitchell to deliver starting value again this week.

Must Sit: Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans

Name recognition is the only reason Jones is still being started weekly in over 50% of leagues. The supporting production just hasn’t been there all season to justify a start from him. The former Falcons superstar is averaging under 4 catches per game and has yet to find the end zone through the five weeks he’s been active, scoring double-digit PPR points just once. Facing an exploitable Colts secondary in Week eight is certainly a plus, but the Titans rely so heavily on MVP front-runner Derrick Henry and their ground game that Jones is unlikely to see any significant target volume. It’s best to leave him on the bench this week.

Who To Pick Up: Kalif Raymond, WR, Detroit Lions (Owned in 5.9% of leagues)

Gehrig Smalstig – Sports Writer 

Must Start: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts

Pittman continues to make big plays down the field and Carson Wentz continues to love throwing the ball deep. Additionally, the Colts will be desperate for a big division win against a Titans team that sports a top-tier offense and a lackluster defense. This should provide an outstanding game script for Pittman, who is finally starting to see the fruits of his talents and target share. Really, the Colts seem to have a clear number-one wide receiver for the first time since T. Y. Hilton had a healthy season. Going forward, I expect Pittman to continue to produce in that role.

Must Sit: Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team

Through Week Five, Gibson looked like he was trending towards the feature back kind of season that people expected out of him. The truth is, his flaws have caught up to him quickly. Gibson only racked up 8 points in each of the last two weeks. On top of that, he plays a limited role in the offense due to his own injury and the production of teammate JD McKissic. He simply doesn’t have the touchdown upside or receiving floor that you want out of an RB1. He might even slip below RB2 status soon. All that being said, he looks to be facing a nightmare matchup against the Broncos defense this week and should likely ride the bench until he sees a better matchup or a better snap share.

Who to Pick Up: Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens (Owned in 19% of leagues)

J.J Post – Sports Writer 

Must Start: Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

It looks like the generational talent everyone thought the Falcons had drafted has finally been unlocked. After a slow start, failing to post more than 10 points in three of his first three games, Pitts has broken out in his last two games. Against the Jets, he exploded for 9 catches, 119 yards, and a score. Then, against Miami, he posted 7 catches for 163 yards. With two more favorable matchups against a slumping Panthers team and a weak New Orleans secondary, Pitts should keep up the production as the season continues.

Must Sit: Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons

For many fantasy owners, Davis projected as something of a high floor-low ceiling sleeper pick. As a backup, Davis shined in the time he got on the field while he replaced running Christian McCafferty. At face value, Davis signed on to have near-complete control of the backfield in Atlanta. Through the first few weeks of the season, that proved true enough. He consistently received 13-15 rushes as well as a few targets and would reward fantasy owners with about 10-13 points, which is plenty serviceable. And then Cordarrelle Patterson happened. The Falcons haven’t bothered splitting Davis and Patterson into much of a committee. In their last two games, they’ve simply doubled Patterson’s rushes (who carried the ball 14 times against the Dolphins) and cut down on Davis’ (who only rushed 4 times for 10 yards this week).

Who To Pick Up: Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys (Owned in 49.9% of leagues)

Jamison Cook – Sports Writer 

Must Start: Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans

Cooks had a monster performance in terms of volume a week ago. The Texans receiver posted nine catches for 89 yards on a whopping 13 targets. It was a return to the level of targets that Cooks was seeing at the beginning of the season, an encouraging sign for his managers. Whether it is Davis Mills or Tyrod Taylor under center for the Texans, it seems that Cooks will see a lot of balls thrown in his direction. This, paired with the matchup with the pass-happy, high-scoring Cardinals, provides excellent boom potential for Cooks this week. Make sure Cooks is in your starting lineups this week, as the 17.4-point projection in PPR leagues seems a little low for me. 

Must Sit: Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears

Allen Robinson is an unbelievably talented wide receiver. He is just on the wrong team. Robinson does not have more than 63 receiving yards in a game yet this season. Week two (the only week in which he caught a touchdown) was the only week he scored double-digit fantasy points. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is Andy Dalton or Justin Fields taking snaps for the Bears; Robinson just cannot find a way to involve himself. It has been a massive disappointment of a season for Robinson managers. I don’t see it turning around anytime soon, especially in this run-heavy offense. Stay away from Robinson going forward unless something drastic changes. 

Who to Pick Up: Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team (Owned in 41.7% of leagues)

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