Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 8: Making the Call on Fringe Starters

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IOctober 24, 2013

Oct 13, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) catches a touchdown pass against Washington Redskins cornerback E.J. Biggers (30) in the third quarter of the game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football leagues are heating up at the halfway point of the season and it can be tricky deciding which players to start from week to week as the competition gets tighter with the playoffs looming.

Injuries to star players have greatly impacted fantasy owners over the past few weeks. This, in turn, has led to active waiver-wire transactions and increased opportunities for fringe starters around the league. 

Making the call on which fringe starters to roll with on game day isn't easy. With that in mind, here is a closer look at a few such players you should start or sit, depending on a few key factors.


Start: Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams is one of the league's brightest stars at the receiver position. Since taking over for Miles Austin, he has emerged as a go-to scoring threat for the Cowboys. As noted by NFLN_Playbook, he's caught a touchdown in three straight games, tying a team rookie record:

Heading into Week 8, Williams' fantasy stock is sky-high—especially considering Dallas' opponent.

The Detroit Lions have struggled to contain receivers all year long, allowing 25.8 points per game, which is fifth-most in the NFL this year. 

With Dez Bryant demanding constant double coverage, Williams often finds himself in single coverage. So far this year, he's winning those battles. 

Projected Stats: Seven catches for 100 yards and one touchdown. 


Sit: Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams

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St. Louis has a date with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football in Week 8. 

Zac Stacy has been solid for the Rams this season since taking over the team's starting tailback duties from Daryl Richardson. He finally broke through in Week 7 with a double-digit fantasy score thanks to his first touchdown of the season, but nobody should expect Stacy to have a big game this week.

Seattle features the league's No. 4-ranked fantasy run defense, allowing just 11.7 points per game to opposing running backs this year. Making matters worse for Stacy, starting quarterback Sam Bradford was lost for the year after he tore his ACL on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Kellen Clemens will start instead of Bradford, and as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, he has the worst QBR of any quarterback in the NFL since 2006:

The Seahawks feature the NFL's most talented and fearsome defensive secondary, and you can be sure Clemens will have a miserable outing. Without the threat of a legitimate passing attack, Stacy will be swallowed up by Seattle's capable front seven.

Projected Stats: 60 total yards and zero touchdowns.


Start: Jarrett Boykin, WR, Green Bay Packers

Losing Randall Cobb was a terrible blow for Green Bay to absorb, but Jarrett Boykin has emerged as a capable receiver in his stead. 

After struggling against Baltimore in Week 6, Boykin busted out with a monster game last weekend against the Cleveland Browns, catching eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. 

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves targeting his slot receivers and Boykin has proven to be a quick study and trusted receiver. He was targeted six times against the Ravens, catching just one of those passes, but he caught all but two of his 10 targets on Sunday. 

Now that tight end Jermichael Finley is out, Boykin can expect to be targeted even more and his abilities in the open field make him a potential fantasy superstar. 

Projected Stats: Nine catches for 120 yards and one touchdown.


Sit: Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders

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Terrelle Pryor had his worst game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs, and he's due for another long afternoon in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Dick LeBeau's defense put the clamps down on Geno Smith two weekends ago and then shut down Joe Flacco last Sunday, forcing Smith into two interceptions and keeping Flacco from completing many of his trademark long bombs. 

Pittsburgh features the No. 3-ranked fantasy defense in terms of shutting down quarterbacks, allowing just 11 points per game. Pryor will be forced into a couple of bad throws that will result in turnovers, hurting his team and fantasy production.

Projected Stats: 225 total yards with one touchdown and two turnovers.


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