Can you believe it, we’re about halfway through the 2017 NFL season. That means every matchup in your fantasy football league is growing in importance as the playoff race heats up.
Here are NESN.com’s top five fantasy football starts and sits for Week 8.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Newton has a good matchup against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowing a 69.1 completion percentage and 11 passing touchdowns with just four interceptions. Tampa’s D also is giving up 8.2 yards per pass attempt — the third-highest mark in the league.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon could be in for a huge performance versus an Indianapolis Colts defense giving up 4.3 yards per carry and a league-high 10 rushing touchdowns.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott torched the San Francisco 49ers last week, and it could be Blount who does the same Sunday. The 49ers have given up an average of 134.2 yards per game, with a total of eight rushing touchdowns.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
The Patriots defense ranks 32nd in passing yards allowed and the unit has given up 15 passing touchdowns, which is tied for the most in the league. Expect a strong performance from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and his No. 1 wideout Keenan Allen, who leads the team with 487 receiving yards.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
The Browns aren’t good at much, but they actually have been pretty stout against the run, allowing 3 yards per carry, which is the best in the NFL. So the Vikings might have to air it out a little, which makes Thielen an obvious candidate for a nice day. Only six receivers in the NFL have been targeted more than him this season.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Watson has a very tough matchup against a Seahawks defense that allows the fewest yards per pass attempt (5.6). Seattle’s D also has given up just five passing touchdowns and a 55.6 completion percentage.
Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Gore is not having a great season, and who can blame him? There’s not exactly much talent on the Colts offensive line. He has a tough Week 8 matchup against a Bengals defense giving up just 3.8 yards per carry and a total of three rushing touchdowns on the season.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Siting Hunt, who’s played like an MVP candidate for much of the season, is a bold move. However, he’s totaled just 108 rushing yards and zero touchdowns over the last two games, and he’s playing a talented Broncos defense that allows the fewest yards per carry and is highly motivated after back-to-back losses.
Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
There are question marks about whether Tate even suits up this weekend against the Steelers. If he plays, though, he could face a tough test against a Pittsburgh defense allowing the fewest fantasy points against per game from the wideout position.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton usually is a good start, but with all the Colts’ issues — particularly on the offensive line — he’s a risky start on the road against a good defense. He also has just three catches on 12 targets the last two weeks.
Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images