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Fantasy football preview: Week 8

Get prepared for your Week 8 fantasy matchups!

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Greetings, Falcoholics! The Atlanta Falcons are 3-3, hitting the .500 mark for the first time since the 2019 season. This week, the Falcons turn their attention to divisional play as they take on the Carolina Panthers who are on a four-game losing streak. So with that, let’s look at what this means for fantasy football.

Throughout the season, every Friday, we will be previewing the fantasy matchups and who you may want to consider starting and also benching. Additionally, if you have any fantasy questions you’d like answered, you can submit them every week.

With that, let’s get started.


Is Matt Ryan a viable fantasy starter?

After starting out the season on the wrong foot, Matt Ryan has had no less than 20.62 fantasy points in every game this season since Week 2. Over the last four games, Ryan has recorded 10 passing touchdowns and only one interception, and that one wasn’t really his fault.

The Panthers have allowed an average of 18.9 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year, and Ryan remains a quality starter if you need him. He’s still available in roughly 31% of leagues, so if you’re quarterback needy this week, Ryan is definitely worth starting. At the very minimum though, he should be rostered in all leagues as a backup just in case your starting quarterback misses time.

Cordarrelle Patterson is officially RB1

Week 7 was set up to be a big Mike Davis week, so naturally it was his worst fantasy game of the season. Davis had only four carries which went for 10 yards and received zero targets, the first time that’s happened all season. Cordarrelle Patterson on the other hand got the bulk of the carries with 14 touches for 60 yards and touchdown.

The Panthers are a touch matchup, as they’ve allowed the fewest fantasy points in the league to running backs this season. With that, Patterson has proven to be matchup proof, as he has outperformed his weekly projections in every game this season. Davis on the other hand should be left out of lineups, even in a revenge game, as he can’t be trusted in a tough positional matchup like this even if Arthur Smith has promised to ride the hot hand.

Could Kyle Pitts finish 2021 as the top fantasy tight end?

Over the last two games, rookie tight end Kyle Pitts has caught fire. Pitts has over 51 fantasy points combined over the last two games for the Falcons, and faces another favorable matchup against the Panthers on Sunday.

The Falcons have turned to Pitts as their No. 1 receiving threat, and I don’t see them turning away from him anytime soon. Pitts currently has the 7th most fantasy points by a tight end this season, and should keep climbing with similar games going forward. If you have him, Pitts remains a must-start every week going forward.

What should you do with Calvin Ridley?

One of the league’s biggest fantasy letdowns so far this season is Calvin Ridley. Ridley has yet to crack the 20-fantasy points mark and has yet to have a game with 100-yards receiving. The problem with Ridley in fantasy football terms is if you trade him, you’re getting less value than what he’s worth.

The hope is Ridley will re-awaken as there are some favorable games ahead matchup wise, but until then you just have to ride the wave. Unless you get a trade that makes sense for you, I wouldn’t take less just for the sake of trading Ridley. The Panthers have allowed only two receivers this year to have 100+ receiving yards, so his breakout likely won’t come this week.


That about does it for the Week 8 fantasy football preview. Next week the Falcons head to New Orleans to take on their divisional rivals, the Saints. As I say every week, when it comes to fantasy football – always go with your gut!