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Changing the Call: Quarterback Start/Sits Week 8

Is Tua all the way back from his concussion woes? Was Monday night’s outburst the Justin Fields breakout we’ve been waiting for? @Spydes78 answers these questions and more in his Week 8 installment of Changing the Call, a weekly start/sit guide to QBs. Take a look!👀

Huddle up, Nerds! You’ve looked to your favorite dynasty site to guide you through the spring and summer months, but a strong offseason alone will not win you a championship. No matter how talented your roster, you’ll need to make the right lineup decisions to wrestle glory from your league mates.

But have no fear! Your Dynasty Nerds writers are here to shepherd you through the minefield of starts and sits. Each week, our staff will make recommendations to aid in your lineup decision making. Look for the position-specific columns below to guide you to dynasty grandeur.

Follow us, friend us, or tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc. and are pulled from Fantasy Pros consensus expert rankings.

About Last Week…

Previous Week Record: 2-2

Season Long Record: 20-8

Week 7 Starts:

The starting slate for Week 7 appears to have been foiled by Father Time. Firstly, and most notably, Matt Ryan completely flamed out against a vulnerable Titans defense. Coming off of a hot week at home, I expected him to gain traction in his visit to Nashville. Instead, he finished 20th on the week and ended up being benched permanently by the Colts. Sadly, this game may have indeed marked the end of a long career for Matty Ice.

My other start recommendation wasn’t quite so stark of a failure. Though Aaron Rodgers made news with his struggles and follow-up criticism of teammates in the media, his statistical performance was actually decent. He ended with 15.8 fantasy points on the week, which qualified as the 12th-best effort, a QB1 on the week. However, as he technically finished below the FantasyPros ECR of 10 on the week, I will concede this recommendation as a loss.

Week 7 Sits:

The crystal ball was far more intuitive when it came to my Week 7 ‘sit’ recommendations. I warned that despite the Jets recent successes, Zach Wilson would be a risky start against the stingy Broncos. New York’s quarterback went on to throw for just 121 yards and no scores, finishing 26th in fantasy points for the week.

That output was prolific, however, compared to Jared Goff’s day in Dallas. The Cowboys harassed the Lions’ QB, blockading the end zone while forcing four turnovers. The final tally was a lowly 3.5 fantasy points, putting fantasy players who ignored my advice at a distinct disadvantage.

WEEK 8 STARTS

Tua Tagovailoa (FantasyPros Wk8 ECR: 6)

The Dolphins season seemed to teeter on the precipice of disaster. The organization had been rocked by particularly horrific incidents of head trauma to their starting quarterback. The very public nature of these injuries was so jarring that it ushered in immediate alterations to the protocols designed to minimize such dangers. Injuries and uncertainty threatened a promising start and left Miami reeling.

However, they successfully weathered the storm. And with a victory in Tua’s Week 7 return versus the Steelers, the Dolphins look to be back on track as an AFC contender. Amassing 261 yards and a touchdown, Tagovailoa made a strong statement as he rejoined the team. His season-long PFF grade of 74.3 places him as a Top 10 quarterback. At the helm of a well-stocked Miami team that’s averaging a robust 281.6 yards per game, there’s every reason for optimism as the midpoint of the season approaches.

This week, Tua should carry a particular air of confidence as the Dolphins prepare to square off with Detroit. The Lions were one of the worst teams in the NFL at guarding the passer in 2021. In 2022, they’ve been even worse. Detroit has given up an average of 20.8 fantasy points to the quarterbacks they have faced. Only three defenses have been more vulnerable. This is a tailor-made matchup for Tua.

With player props of 271.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns, it appears that the gambling market agrees. The Dolphins are favored in this game, which features an over/under of 51 total points, the highest of the week. Take advantage of a high-scoring affair by inserting Tua into your lineup. If you do, I suspect that Week 8 will go quite swimmingly.

Kirk Cousins, MIN (FantasyPros Wk8 ECR: 7)

With their competition in the NFC North floundering, the Vikings are instead ascending. An indisputable component of that success has been the play of their quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Though often overlooked for names with more cache, Cousins has proven to be a remarkably consistent fantasy option over the years.

Under new Vikings boss Kevin O’Connell, Kirk has scored an average of 17.15 fantasy points per game. Minnesota is a Top 10 passing offense, netting an average of 242.0 yards through the air. 

Coming off of a Week 7 bye, a well-rested Cousins will look to continue his hot start against the Cardinals. Though a once respected defensive unit, the wheels have really fallen off for Arizona in 2022. Particularly weak against opposing quarterbacks, the Cardinals have thus far allowed 19.5 fantasy points per game. This inevitable stat ranks 27th in the NFL and is surely one that a 5-1 Minnesota squad will capitalize upon.

The home Vikings have already been installed as a 3.5-point home favorite. Even more compelling is the juicy over/under of 49 total points that have been laid by oddsmakers. According to betsperts.com, Kirk Cousins has standing player props of 272.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns for the game. When sportsbooks are willing to grant a quarterback at least two scores, it certainly portends a big day.

Look for Cousins to come out swinging against the visiting Cardinals. Start him with confidence and let him pillage your Week 8 competition.

WEEK 8 SITS

Trevor Lawrence, JAC (FantasyPros Wk8 ECR: 16)

Adding a championship-level coach in Doug Pederson has unquestionably lent stability in Jacksonville. Nowhere has this influence been greater felt than at the quarterback position. Trevor Lawrence, who seemed to stray wildly from lofty expectations as a rookie, now seems back on the track toward achieving his great potential. In fact, Lawrence is coming off of a Week 7 performance in which he posted over 300 yards and came within a single score of toppling an impressive Giants team. There are many reasons for optimism in Duval.

The Jaguars next opponent, however, is no reason to feel bullish. Denver, though struggling in the win column, has been a downright nasty matchup defensively. Through 7 games, they have allowed a total of three passing touchdowns, fewer than half a score per game. As such, they’ve allowed just 9.6 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, making them the most challenging unit to face in the league.

The game will be played in London’s Wembley Stadium, another in the NFL’s international showcase series. Though not in and of itself a crippling factor, the additional travel and ad hoc changes to preparation must also be considered.

A young quarterback traveling overseas to face off against the league’s most miserly defense? It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? If you are currently rostering Lawrence, you are likely feeling relieved by his 2022 resurgence. But don’t be lulled by the siren song of overconfidence. Keep him on the bench this week, and find yourself a better option.

Justin Fields, CHI (FantasyPros Wk8 ECR: 19)

After a fairly dismal start to the season, Justin Fields actually showed some signs of life in the Bears upset win over New England on Monday night. Under the bright lights of primetime, he posted 179 yards, his second-highest passing total on the season. A pair of scores, one on the run and one through the air, boosted the Chicago field general to a Top 5 fantasy finish for the first time since Week 8 of the 2021 season.

Seems promising, no? (Get ready, here comes the cold water…)

The truth is that despite a nice week against the Patriots, it’s difficult to overlook a gnarly body of work for Fields and the Bears in 2022. Even with last week’s standout performance factored in, PFF grades Fields as 60.5 on the season, 29th in the NFL. The Bears have mustered a lackluster 126.3 passing yards per game through seven weeks. That’s the absolute worst in the league, with the 31st-place Falcons owning more than a 25-yard advantage. The Bears passing offense has been frankly awful.

And, even if you believe that last week’s upset signals a change in Chi-town’s outlook, this week’s opponent seems destined to crush that momentum. In 2021, the Cowboys were 7th best in the league, holding passers to just 15.9 fantasy points per game. This season they’ve clamped down even harder. Relenting just 11.0 points per game, they have routinely terrorized quarterbacks. Additionally, they hold the home field advantage in this game, a place where they completely dominated Detroit’s Jared Goff just a week ago.

Potentially without running back Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas is still a nearly double-digit favorite in this contest. With a large spread and a low over/under of 42.5, look for the underdog Bears to struggle mightily to find the end zone. After wondering if your investment in Fields would ever pay off, it’s ok to finally feel some reassurance. Just avoid a rough matchup this week by keeping Justin on your bench.

In Closing…

I thoroughly enjoyed bringing you this piece and would love to continue the conversation on quarterback starts/sits. Please feel free to comment below or contact me @Spydes78 on Twitter. And also, stay tuned to @DynastyNerds for a steady pipeline of content from our eminently qualified staff to carry you through your season. If you like what you read, please consider becoming a subscriber to any of the elite tools that Dynasty Nerds has to offer. Make sure to use the promo code “SPYDES” to receive a 15% discount. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the grind!

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