Welcome to bye week hell. With six teams on bye, fantasy owners are left in a bind for Week 8, as the options to keep lineups across the spectrum competitive have dwindled. It would be nice to reassure fantasy owners that it only gets better going forward, except Week 9 will have six more teams taking their bye weeks. Fun times.
In the meantime, fantasy owners can look at each game to see who can be a capable fill-in while their studs are sidelined, starting with the Raiders and Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fantasy owners would have been bold to expect the slight-framed Jacquizz Rodgers to handle 27 touches or more in each of his starts, but that’s exactly what happened. The Buccaneers are committed to running the football by giving Rodgers a workload that makes Doug Martin owners jealous, as he nurses a hamstring injury. Rodgers can be considered an RB1 due to his workload and matchup with a Raiders defense that is surrendering 5.0 yards per carry this season.
Mike Evans also has a dream matchup at hand, as the Raiders have been equally gashed through the air as they have on the ground. No team has allowed more passing yards, and Evans’ target share remains massive enough to do incredible damage. He remains a top-flight WR1, and Evans has potential to be the No. 1 wideout in fantasy leagues of all formats for Week 8. Quarterback Jameis Winston has streaming appeal with such an elite option to throw to, as well as a plus matchup. Cameron Brate is a fringe TE1/TE2.
The committee of Adam Humphries and Russell Shepard has upside, but both are better suited for the bench in 10 and 12–team leagues. Despite having a long touchdown run in Week 7, Peyton Barber is merely a handcuff to Rodgers at this point.
Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree face a Buccaneers defense that has kept quarterbacks in check for most of the season, but that could change in Week 8. With the Buccaneers being so stout against the run and the Raiders having a weak rushing attack to begin with, Carr may have several passing plays dialed up for him and his receivers. This will especially be the case if the Raiders’ defense struggles to contain a capable Buccaneers offense. Game script can make up for the seemingly poor matchup, and fantasy owners can start Carr, Cooper and Crabtree without hesitation.
Latavius Murray remains the lead back in the Raiders’ backfield, but only fantasy owners in a bye-week bind need to give him starting consideration against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed a 3.7 yards per carry average to opposing running backs.