Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 8 quarterbacks

Matt Moore does great off the bench, Deshaun Watson does great every week, and Ben Roethlisberger is great again… so why sit ‘em?

Maybe it’s the bye week or maybe it’s injuries. But there seems to be less sure-thing start ‘em quarterbacks every week once you get past Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott and … Alex Smith? There are a lot of question marks. Here’s a few I’d start this week and a few I’ll be sitting down. 

Start this guy: Andy Dalton, CIN vs IND 

Andy Dalton had one great week this season against Cleveland. He had other weeks when he showed flashes, but he’s never finished with a good week against a quality defense. Indianapolis is not a good pass defense and they are even less of a good pass defense now that they lost excellent rookie defensive back, Malik Hooker. 

Dalton was the QB-3 against Cleveland. He could be a top-five quarterback in Week 8, especially if they make Joe Mixon a bigger part of the passing game and John Ross gets more into the flow. 

Sit this guy: Matt Moore, MIA vs BAL

Crazy things happen on Thursday night, so he might be worth a gamble, but Moore could be this week’s Adrian Peterson. The backup quarterback looked great in bringing the Dolphins back from a 14-point deficit in the 4th quarter. Now he has to play a quality defensive backfield on national television. Miami should beat the depleted Ravens, but it probably won’t be because Matt Moore is throwing for big yards and multiple touchdowns. Expect a conservative approach to Thursday’s game from Adam Gase. 

Start this guy: Tyrod Taylor, BUF vs OAK 

Tyrod Taylor is entering the easier part of the schedule with a home game against the Raiders. He finally found a reliable deep threat in Deonte Thompson to complement his tight ends and possession receiver. LeSean McCoy appears to be back to provide a distraction from Taylor’s game. Look for Taylor to run for 50 and throw for 250 with at least two touchdowns. He loves to vulture those close ones from McCoy.

Sit this guy: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT at DET

No, this isn’t just an on-the-road thing for Ben Roethlisberger. This is a legitimate defensive backfield in a loud indoor arena taking on a quarterback who has slowed a step. Le’Veon Bell will play his usual big role in this game, but with Antonio Brown shadowed by Darius Slay and the rest of the Lions backfield playing tricks with Ju-Ju Schuster while Martavis Bryant stays busy counting targets, this could be an off week for Big Ben. Look for a letdown in Detroit. 

Start this guy: Phillip Rivers, LAC at NE 

Here is where we find out if the New England Patriots defense is improving or if the Atlanta Falcons offense brought their own fog Sunday night. Rivers and the Chargers are excited and motivated to get back to .500 after starting the season 0-4. They might not pull it off against the magic of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but Rivers will make it a game with a big night in Massachusetts. 

Sit this guy: Deshaun Watson, HOU at SEA 

Deshaun Watson has been tremendous for Houston and for his NFL fantasy owners this season. In his last three games, he has been the QB-1 or QB-2. He comes off a bye in Week 8 to face the unique challenge that is CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Although Watson has seen college crowds that were bigger and maybe even rowdier, he has not experienced the earthquake-inducing frivolity of the 12th man. Coupled with the return of the Legion of Boom, Watson could be in for a long game. I would not sit him for just anybody, but if you have a good streamer or backup option, let Watson have another week off. 

Week 8 flash in the pan prediction 

Chicago’s defense can’t stop New Orleans this week. As the Saints pull away, coach John Fox lets Mitch Trubisky throw a few passes. He goes 10-14 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Occasional scrambles net him 22 yards and a 22-point NFL fantasy line. 

Full disclosure: about last week

Last week, all three of my start ‘em picks were top-12 quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor (7), Jared Goff (9), and Matt Ryan (11) all made the grade, but so did QB-6 Jameis Winston, who I sat. My two other sit ‘ems were Andy Dalton (21) and Cam Newton (23), making me good on five of the six choices. I’ll take it. 

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.