Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 8

Is there any chance Najee Harris could be worth a start against Philadelphia's vaunted defense? Find out which surprises might be in store this Sunday.

One of the things that makes fantasy football so captivating is the variance. Even throughout Cooper Kupp's historic, unflappable season, he was the top wideout for the week just three times in 2021. That means, on individual weeks, some very strange players may pop in terms of fantasy points at their positions.

That opens the door for some room to be "spicy" and make some fun predictions. In a landscape increasingly set ablaze by "hot takes," it can be difficult to understand the difference between a bold prediction -- based on a particularly strong spot for a team or player -- and a senseless take with the prayer of becoming correct based on variance.

Let's shoot for the former with five interesting spots to target during this weekend's NFL games.

Note: All predictions are for half-PPR formats (and FanDuel scoring for quarterbacks).

1. A Jone to Pick with Danny: New York's Quarterback Disappoints, Falls Short of 18 Fantasy Points

I think we've lost our minds a bit with Daniel Jones.

The Giants are 6-1, so to him and Brian Daboll go the spoils, but I'm waiting for this house of cards to fall in real life and fantasy football.

Sticking in the fantasy realm, Jones was masterful in Week 7, totaling 11 rushes and 107 yards on the ground as he led the comeback effort in Jacksonville. However, expecting it to last might be a bit naive given, in his other two games this year with double-digit rush attempts, he failed to crack 40 yards.

Also, this is allegedly some high-upside spot with Seattle, but Tariq Woolen and this Seahawks' secondary is rapidly improving. They've held Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert in check the past two weeks, allowing -0.13 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in that time. That's the fifth-best mark in football.

Now, you want me to believe Jones waltzes into the lair of the 12th Man and bucks that trend? I'll pass and stream Jameis Winston against the Raiders' secondary instead.

2. Tortoise and the Harris: Najee Rumbles to 50+ Rushing Yards in Philadelphia

Coming off their bye, the Eagles seem invincible. There's at least one crack in the armor we can see using our NEP model -- their rush defense.

Philadelphia actually has the seventh-worst rushing defense (per numberFire's nERD rankings) in the league, and they've allowed the 16th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Honestly, it hasn't been worse thanks to Jalen Hurts and the offense securing an early lead in every single game.

Now, the Steelers aren't likely to change that. They're 10.5-point underdogs in this weekend's game. However, I still would turn to the frustrating Najee Harris in fantasy lineups.

Harris's role is still pristine. He played 76.8% of the snaps in Week 7 and seems completely healthy. I think this is a phenomenal spot to buy Harris if you can given he's faced the Jets, Buccaneers, Bills, and Dolphins in consecutive weeks. Those are four top-half rush defenses in our nERD rankings, but coming up, five of his next seven opponents are currently in the bottom half.

In a better-than-perceived matchup, Harris might surprise unsuspecting fantasy owners on their bench on Sunday if Philly's run defense stays mediocre.

3. Feeling Honolulu Blue: Tyreek and Waddle Torch Detroit for 250+ Receiving Yards Combined

I looked at this week's schedule and immediately grimaced at this matchup.

The Dolphins are numberFire's fourth-best passing offense in the NFL, and Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are two fantasy football sticks of dynamite. They're ready to burst at any moment.

On the other side, the pitiful Lions' defense is numberFire's worst against the run, and they're not much better (second-worst) against the air. Last week, Dallas chose the former, but there's good reason to believe Miami -- with the eighth-highest pass rate over expectation -- will choose the latter.

Waddle and Hill have posted three 100-yard games each, but only one of them was together. They exploded for 361 combined yards in Baltimore.

Miami's defense hasn't been iron-clad in recent weeks, and Detroit is likely getting back Amon-Ra St. Brown and D'Andre Swift. As a result, I'm expecting this script to stay close enough that both exceed the 100-yard threshold together again.

4. Curious George: Kittle Drops Back to Single-Digit Fantasy Points in L.A.

George Kittle was left for dead earlier this season -- and maybe even hit a waiver wire or two. He's responded since.

Kittle's supreme snap share (91.4% for the season) has finally been met with an appropriate target share in the past two weeks (21.8%), and the Iowa alum has cruised to double digits in consecutive weeks as a result. I still don't love him in daily formats -- or if I had a decent season-long alternative -- this week.

First, this is still an offense in flux after adding Christian McCaffrey. Kittle's target share is far from secure with McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel in a passing offense that's just the 12th-best, per our nERD ranks.

Second, the Rams are a brutal matchup for tight ends. They've allowed a league-low 3.2 fantasy points per game to tight ends, and they've already met Kittle, Kyle Pitts, and Zach Ertz.

There are some interesting streams like Irv Smith Jr. and Juwan Johnson that I'd even consider over Kittle this week given his matchup and the tumult around his target tree.

5. D.C. Disruption: Washington's D/ST Spoils Ehlinger's Debut, Turns Him Over Multiple Times

The Colts are turning to Sam Ehlinger this week to be the answer to their poor quarterback play. Here's the problem -- it's not all on Matt Ryan.

Indianapolis' offense is ceding a 25% pressure rate, which is the 13th-highest mark in the league. They've also -- astonishingly with Jonathan Taylor for a good chunk of the year -- put together numberFire's second-worst rushing offense. I know Ryan is an immobile statue, but there are fundamental problems here.

Here's another issue -- Ehlinger, while mobile, wasn't an elite prospect for a reason. He completed a borderline 60.2% of his passes during his senior year at Texas.

This appears to be just an audition for a young quarterback for a team that's season is ostensibly over. That's a huge issue given the Washington D/ST has been significantly better recently.

For the season, they're now sporting a 31% pressure rate (11th-best in the NFL), and the Commanders will likely force Ehlinger to beat them as numberFire's third-best rushing defense.

I'm expecting an ugly slog for Ehlinger and the Colts' offense on Sunday, and the Commies -- with three turnovers in their past two games -- could have a season-best effort in this one.