The Week 8 matchup between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders features a pair of teams who have made significant strides this season and surprised some people. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.
New York Jets
Going into Week 8, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is providing about the same amount of fantasy value as the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan. Considering the Jets have had their bye week already and the Falcons have played an extra game, that's pretty surprising. In light of that reality, it's now totally worth it to roster Fitzpatrick in fantasy leagues. He's not going to blow anyone away with huge yardage totals or four-touchdown performances, but he's proven he can put up a certain baseline of points each and every week. He's especially a good quarterback to use in head-to-head formats for that reason.
Part of the reason for Fitzpatrick's success is the fact he has one of the best receivers in the game on his team in Brandon Marshall. After going over the 100-yard receiving mark in four straight games and scoring touchdowns in three of them, Marshall finally had a marginal outing last week against the New England Patriots. He caught just four passes for 67 yards. There's no reason to push the panic button though as he's been solid all year long and his high level of play should continue to be as such on Sunday in Oakland.
The Raiders find themselves with a .500 record heading into Week 8. Raise your hand if you can remember the last time that happened. To say the least, these Raiders are not the Raiders of old. Running back Latavius Murray has been a steady fantasy option in the backfield for the team. He's a solid pass catcher but last week he proved he can produce even when he's not catching passes. Murray only had a single reception against the San Diego Chargers, but managed to rush for a respectable 85 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He's capable of putting together the odd big game, and even when the numbers don't jump out at you, they're good enough to warrant regular RB2 use. Murray should find his share of receptions against the Jets, but finding running room when he gets to carry the ball might be tough.
If he does struggle to get the ball moving on the ground, wide receiver Amari Cooper might find himself getting a lot of targets from quarterback Derek Carr. Cooper has been one of the most solid rookies in the league this year. It's clear that he's a budding young fantasy superstar. Last week he put together his third 100-yard receiving game of the season, notching 133 yards and a touchdown on five catches. He'll be in for a tough test against the Jets, but it should be a great learning experience for Cooper.
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SB Nation presents: NFL Week 8 start/sit fantasy advice