The season is flying along, and Week 8 sets up as one without a ton of byes and injury worries at the quarterback. We welcome numerous fantasy studs back after their time off and have a bunch of potential sleepers with favorable matchups at our disposal. Our Week 8 fantasy QB rankings are about as stacked as you’re going to find this time of year.
Derek Carr and Lamar Jackson are off the table this week due to byes, but we welcome back Josh Allen (vs. Dolphins), Dak Prescott (@ Vikings) — assuming his calf injury is healed — and Justin Herbert (vs. Patriots), among others. You can now move those guys back into your lineups to never be touched again. Tom Brady (@ Saints) and Herbert (vs. Patriots) are the only top-tier studs with matchup concerns, but as always, they should still be started.
There are a ton of guys on the start-or-sit bubble who do have appeal this week. Teddy Bridgewater (vs. Washington), Daniel Jones (@ Chiefs), Jameis Winston (vs. Buccaneers), Carson Wentz (vs. Titans), Sam Darnold (@ Falcons), and Ryan Tannehill (@ Colts) are the top guys on the list. If you don’t already own Tannehill, this means nothing to you because he’s not available in most leagues. However, all the other guys mentioned are at least somewhat attainable on most waiver wires. Chances are, you can scoop one of these guys if you’re looking for a streamer. All of them square off with bottom-10 defenses against QBs. (Quarterbacks listed in order from the worst defense to best defense). We understand if you’re itching to play Trevor Lawrence (@ Seahawks), but we like some of the other options with safer floors more.
Matt Ryan (vs. Panthers), Joe Burrow (@ Jets), and Tua Tagovailoa (@ Bills) are among QBs with matchup concerns who actually make us hesitate. Ryan has been a boom-or-bust candidate throughout his career — with zero rushing upside — and although Carolina’s defense has struggled in recent weeks, its front seven should outmatch Atlanta’s offensive line and make Ryan’s life miserable. Tua has shown he can put up big numbers in good matchups, but we don’t trust him in Buffalo.
Burrow is a slightly tougher call. The Jets’ pass defense has impressed most weeks. In fact, heading into Week 7, New York had allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks prior to allowing Mac Jones’ solid day. If the Jets defense plays as well as it can, that’s obviously bad news for Burrow. However, given what we’ve seen from Burrow and the Bengals’ offense this year, we can’t recommend benching him. It’s more likely he’s closer to the elite, “must-start” class.
It is worth noting Bridgewater looked hobbled on Thursday Night Football against Cleveland, so his injury status should be monitored. Additionally, Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) has a chance to return to practice this week, so he might be in play soon, though we wouldn’t touch him against the Rams. The same goes for Baker Mayfield (left shoulder) if he returns against the Steelers.
Many of you have survived the brutal bye week at QB and will have a “must-start” guy slotted in the lineup for the rest of the season. Injuries, COVID complications, and future bye weeks will continue to shake things up. We’ll make sense of it all every week, so continue to check back for our weekly fantasy QB rankings.
Note: We’ll be updating these QB rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest player movement and analysis.
Fantasy QB Rankings Week 8: Who to start at quarterback
Rankings are based on standard, four-point passing TD formats.
|1||Josh Allen, BUF vs. MIA|
|2||Patrick Mahomes, KC vs. NYG|
|3||Kyler Murray, ARI vs. GB|
|4||Jalen Hurts, PHI @ DET|
|5||Matthew Stafford, LAR @ HOU|
|6||Tom Brady, TB @ NO|
|7||Dak Prescott, DAL @ MIN.|
|8||Kirk Cousins, MIN vs. DAL. Dallas has been better than expected on defense, but they’ve still given up north of 20 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Their secondary may be better than that number indicates, but their offense has been so good that opposing teams have been forced to pass to keep up. This game has shootout potential with all the offensive firepower on the field, so Cousins should have one of his better fantasy performances of the season in a high-volume passing attack.|
|9||Justin Herbert, LAC vs. NE. We understand if you refuse to bench Herbert for a guy like Cousins, but it’s no secret New England is a tough matchup for quarterbacks. Additionally, the Pats’ offense isn’t good enough to make this game a shootout, so the game conditions aren’t the best for a strong fantasy performance. Still, we’ve seen Herbert’s upside, and all it would take is a few broken coverages for him to put on a top-five performance at the position.|
|10||Aaron Rodgers, GB @ ARI. Arizona has gotten a lot of attention for their prolific offense, but their defense has been just as impressive. Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford enjoyed some success against them, but they’ve limited all other quarterbacks. Of course, Rodgers will be the best or second-best QB they’ve played thus far, but Arizona could limit him some in this game. That’s not to say you should bench him, but finishing as a low-end QB1 sounds reasonable.|
|11||Joe Burrow, CIN @ NYJ. Burrow has been the QB11 in fantasy points per game thus far, and that’s where we rank him this week. He could have a high-end QB1 day against the outmatched Jets, but again, this game could be over before it starts, keeping Burrow’s passing attempts low. Matchups with bottom-feeders can look juicy, but it doesn’t always play out like that. We know a Mike White-led Jets’ offense won’t be able to keep this one competitive. All that said, his floor could be very low.|
|12||Ryan Tannehill, TEN @ IND. Tannehill has been disappointing this season, but he had his best day against Indianapolis in Week 3. He’ll face them again this week, and A.J. Brown finally looks healthy, while Julio Jones essentially got another day of rest as the Titans routed Kansas City. The passing game will come together if the WR duo can stay off the injury report, and the Colts’ secondary is depleted majorly by injuries. As always, he has attractive rushing upside and finds the end zone on the ground often. Heading into Week 7, Indianapolis was a bottom-eight unit against QBs.|
|13||Carson Wentz, IND vs. TEN. Wentz has had four straight games with multiple passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s scored 17-plus fantasy points in all games except one this season, and the one down performance came against this Titans team. However, that feels more and more like an outlier as the season rolls on. Tennessee is coming off a game in which they held the Chiefs to just three points, and forced Patrick Mahomes into the worst game of his career. Is this a sign of a vastly improved defense in Tennessee or simply a fluke? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle and we’re not ready to fade quarterbacks playing against the Titans — who gave up the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs before Week 7.|
|14||Daniel Jones, NYG @ KC. It’s time to put your trust in Danny Dimes again — for at least this week. Kansas City looks to have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and gives up the second-most fantasy points to the position. Jones has had at least 27 rushing yards in five-of-seven contests this year and has a season-high of 95 rushing yards to go along with two scores. Even an extra 2.7 fantasy points from rushing can go a long way, and that feels like the floor against this defense. We’ll see how healthy the Giants’ pass-catchers are at the end of the week, but his rushing upside creates a safe floor no matter what.|
|15||Teddy Bridgewater, DEN vs. WAS. The only concern here is Bridgewater’s health, as he looked hobbled against the Brown in Week 7. Washington is the worst defense against fantasy QBs, and it’s not even close. Bridgewater has shown he can take advantage of weak matchups, so that should be the expectation again here.|
|16||Jameis Winston, NO vs. TB. 2021 has been full of revenge games, and here we go again. Winston faces the franchise that drafted him No. 1 overall, and he seems like a guy that would be highly motivated. Still, we can’t really make that a huge factor in our start-or-sit decisions. We do know Tampa Bay is a bottom-five unit against QBs, and Tre’Quan Smith (hamstring) should be back for this contest. New Orleans has been conservative through the air this season, but Tampa Bay’s first ranked rushing defense should force them to air it out. That might result in some Winston interceptions, but maybe this is the game he finally approaches 400 yards passing and adds a couple of scores. His conservative ranking is mostly based on his low floor, but his ceiling is also sky-high.|
|17||Sam Darnold, CAR @ ATL. We’re back to the point of wincing in pain when we think about starting Darnold but come on, it’s the Falcons defense. Atlanta was the seventh-worst defense against fantasy QBs, even before Tua Tagovailoa passed for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns against them. With that taken into consideration, we have to look past Darnold’s ugly performances and love the matchup.|
|18||Matt Ryan, ATL vs. CAR|
|19||Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @ CLE|
|20||Trevor Lawrence, JAX @ SEA|
|21||Tua Tagovailoa, MIA @ BUF|
|22||Geno Smith, SEA vs. JAX|
|23||Mac Jones, NE @ LAC|
|24||Jared Goff, DET vs. PHI|
|25||Jimmy Garoppolo, SF @ CHI|
|26||Taylor Heinicke, WAS @ DEN|
|27||Justin Fields, CHI vs. SF|
|28||Case Keenum, CLE vs. PIT|
|29||Davis Mills, HOU vs. LAR|
|30||Mike White, NYJ vs. CIN|