Fantasy Football Week 8: Start Em’ Sit Em’ for Falcons-Buccaneers


Looking ahead to this week’s clash between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you may be faced with some tough fantasy football decisions. Which players should you start with confidence and who should wind up on your bench? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Start with confidence

Devonta Freeman

Since becoming the starting running back for Atlanta in Week 3, Devonta Freeman has set himself apart from every other running back in the league, and has become a high end RB1. His versatility to put up points in the running and receiving game makes him a fantasy gem.

It’s got to the point with Freeman that it would be hard to bench him even in tough matchups. Against the Bucs, be confident to play Freeman has your RB1.

Doug Martin

Another running back to turn it on in recent weeks is Doug Martin. After a slow start to the season, the fourth-year pro has lit up defenses and is now the third-highest scoring running back in fantasy, behind only Freeman and the Saints’ Mark Ingram. Yes, the top three fantasy runners are from the NFC South.

The Falcons, despite owning a very strong run defense, give up the fourth most to RBs in fantasy. Have confidence playing Martin this week. He’s a low end RB1 and high RB2 for this week.

Julio Jones

Nov 9, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) is gang-tackled in the second quarter as the Falcons beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-17 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Julio Jones is another undroppable player. After a lightning start, a hamstring injury hurt his real life and fantasy numbers. He continues to get healthy and hasn’t featured on the injury report the past two weeks, which is encouraging news.

The Bucs give up the fourth most points to receivers, so Jones is an obvious start this week. He should always be considered a WR1, no matter the matchup.

Be cautious

Matt Ryan

The Bucs may give up the fourth most points to quarterbacks this season, but I would be cautious starting Matt Ryan. On paper this looks like a great matchup, but he’s lost some trust from a fantasy standpoint of late.

Matty Ice is currently the No. 13 QB in fantasy, and is averaging just 15.50 points per game. He’s had some strong weeks, with a season-high of 23.10 against Dallas, but has also had weeks of 6.16 and 10.74. The latter came in last week’s win over Tennessee, so be cautious.

Ryan should be a solid starter this week, but if you have a better option available, take it.

Mike Evans

Mike Evans finally made some fantasy noise in 2015 last week, putting up 164 receiving yards and a touchdown to total 22.40 fantasy points. But, he needs to prove it. After recovering from a hamstring injury suffered early in the season, he’s only put up good numbers once, which was last week.

The Falcons give up the fourth fewest points to receivers, and Evans could spend a lot of time opposite Desmond Trufant, which could hurt his production. He could be a solid WR2 or flex player this week, but only if there isn’t a better option available.

Falcons defense

The Buccaneers are capable of scoring points in this game, which would scare me about starting the Falcons defense. However, the Bucs give up the 12th most to defenses, and the Falcons defense has scored 46 fantasy points over the past four weeks. This is largely due to turnovers, which Jameis Winston is prone to.


Jameis Winston

You should be able to find a better option than Winston this week, even if your team is hit with byes. While the rookie’s fantasy numbers haven’t been bad this season, they have been too inconsistent. Turnovers can hurt him, and the emergence of Doug Martin in recent weeks puts more emphasis on the run game in Tampa Bay.

Roddy White

Roddy White has disappointed majorly this season. With injuries to Leonard Hankerson and Nick Williams, it’s possible the veteran gets more targets this week. But to play him and it to pay off would be a huge stroke of good fortune, and it’s best to play it safe and keep him away from your lineup this week.

Tevin Coleman

Tevin Coleman is yet to hit double digit fantasy numbers all season, and it’s largely due to the dominance of Devonta Freeman. In deeper leagues he’s worth stashing, but this one should be obvious. It’s impossible to play Coleman with any kind of confidence due to the lack of touches he’s getting each week.

More from Blogging Dirty

Justin Hardy

It may be tempting to add Justin Hardy to your fantasy team this week, but avoid the temptation. While the rookie is expected to make his debut this week, the likelihood is he won’t get a whole lot of touches. With Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones and Roddy White all playing, it would take a huge play to make Hardy worthwhile.

Buccaneers defense

Nobody should own the Tampa Bay defense. Amongst all of the Falcons’ offensive struggles last week, the Titans were only able to put up eight fantasy points. It’s too risky to expect a similar performance from Atlanta, and this matchup would rely heavily on turnovers.

Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson is officially listed as doubtful to play Sunday, so keep him away from your lineup. Even if by some miracle he does play, his touches will likely be limited.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

See Jackson, Vincent. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is doubtful to play on Sunday as he still recovers from a shoulder injury.