FANTASY: It's time to hold 'em or fold 'em

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis (21) breaks up a pass intended for Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, October, 16, 2016, in Houston. Hopkins has struggled to back up his first-round draft position. It could be time to try and deal him and see what you could get. (AP Photo/George Bridges)

There is a Kenny Rogers country music song titled "The Gambler" which was released in 1978 that has a chorus that starts with "You have to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em."

We have reached Week 8 of the fantasy football season and it is officially Know when to hold them and know when to fold them time.

That shiny receiver running back you drafted in the first, second or third round may not be producing the kind of magic you expected. Or that quarterback or tight end you picked up off the waiver wire a couple weeks ago and enjoyed an influx of points has now stagnated and you are wondering what your next move is?

Fantasy owners, in my opinion, must Always Be Working, or ABW, which means every week should be know when to hold them, know when to fold them.

But I digress because some weeks are more important than others and entering Week 8 is the time to take a serious look at your roster and players and make the decision. Bye weeks are almost over, so rosters should begin to start being finalized.

Here are two lists of 10 players who fall into one of those two categories.

 

KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM

1, Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay; 2, Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis; 3, Russell Wilson, QB Seattle; 4, Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay; 5, C.J. Anderson, RB Denver; 6, Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville; 7, Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay; 8, Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina; 9, Willie Snead, WR, New Orelans; 10, Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City

The Evidence: The three quarterbacks listed above all have done it before with high numbers and all three either will be getting key offensive players back and/or have very favorable matchups the rest of the way. For Winston and Wilson, it's the latter with Winston able to get healthy against Oakland, Atlanta and Chicago all in the Top 15 for points allowed to QBs with Oakland/Atlanta in the top 5. Luck is getting back receiver Donte Moncrief, which will help his scoring and passing while also enjoying favorable matchups until Week 15 at Minnesota.

As for the running backs, Anderson has underwhelmed recently, but what are you going to get in a trade for him? Isaiah Crowell? It is not worth it plus Anderson has shown historically he gets stronger as the season goes along. Both Ivory and Martin have dealt with injuries or are currently injured. Martin owners frustrated need to remember the 96 total yards he gave you in Week 1 and was on the way to more in Week 2 before his injury. Like Johnson, it's doubtful you will get value in a trade so hold. Ivory has been extremely frustrating, but looks to be the top back in Jacksonville going forward, so you could do worse.

All 3 of the wide receivers above have not produced what their owners expect, but all three have one thing in common - a very good quarterback throwing them the ball. Expect improvement and you will be happy that you did not miss out.

Kelce is a top 5 tight end, although he hasn't performed that way recently. He is more than capable of putting up 100 yards and a TD against both of Kansas City's next two opponents (Indianapolis, Jacksonville).

 

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM

1, Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville; 2, Eli Manning QB, N.Y. Giants; 3, Brock Osweiler, QB, Houston; 4, Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville; 5, DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston; 6, Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City; 7, Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia; 8, Ryan Matthews, RB, Philadelphia; 9, Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City; 10, Jacob Tamme, TE, Atlanta

The Evidence: Any owner who has suffered with the three quarterbacks listed above as their QB1 would rubberstamp Manning, Osweiler and Bortles and droppable. In the past five weeks, Manning has thrown five touchdowns, three of those coming in a win over Baltimore. He passed for 196 yards last week against Los Angeles. Bortles, in five weeks has as many interceptions (6) and touchdowns while failing to reach 300 yards since Week 2. Osweiler, on the road especially, has been a disaster. The Texans QB in his last three road starts has 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions with a combined 511 yards! If you are going to hold on to Osweiler, at the very least, find another option when the Texans are on the road.

Both Robinson and Hopkins are suffering due to their poor quarterback's play, but Maclin and Matthews are interesting because they are just not being targeted. Maclin is the No. 1 receiver for the Chiefs, but for the past four games, has received 23 targets. Jordan Matthews, also a perceived No. 1 receiver for Philadelphia is even less (18). You can't do much if you don't have opportunities. These guys both have the name recognition, so would be great trade options to other owners not reading this like you are.

Ryan Matthews cannot stop fumbling, which could lead to the Eagles RB being benched and Charles looks to be not the lead back in Kansas City, but a complimentary ball carried to Spencer Ware. Like Matthews and Maclin, he has a name and could be traded for past years performances, so shop him around and see what you get.

Tamme is simple. As long as he's catching touchdowns, he's usable, but his receptions have gone from 6 and 5 in Weeks 1 and 2 to 1 last week, it just happened to be a touchdown. Try and move him to an owner looking at that touchdown and not the rest of the story.

Teams on byes this week: Baltimore, Miami, N.Y. Giants, Pittsburgh, L.A. Rams, San Francisco.

 

Who to Add?

Quarterbacks: Pittsburgh Steelers' Landry Jones provided a serviceable 281 yards and a TD last week. The Steelers are on a bye this week, but if Big Ben is not back, Jones will always benefit from having Antonio Brown to throw the ball too. Jay Cutler is back for the Bears. He is infuriating, but with the emergence of Cameron Meredith next to Alshon Jeffery, he has receiving weapons.

Running Backs: Peyton Barber rushed 12 times for 84 yards and scored in a rout of San Francisco and could be in line for 5-8 carries this week if Doug Martin is still not healthy enough to return. Rashad Jennings did not do much last week for the N.Y. Giants, but he is the team's primary back, and most importantly, does not lose carries at the goal line. The same could be said for Minnesota's Matt Asiata who rushed for 55 yards last week and could be the primary back this week against the Bears if Jerick McKinnon can't go (he left Sunday's game and did not return).

Wide Receiver: Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles won't throw to Allen Robinson, but he does seem to like Marquise Lee who finished with 7 catches for 107 yards last week. Of course, this is all dependent on Bortles, who has looked shaky. Davante Adams could be a major weapon down the stretch for Green Bay after the Packers receiver caught 13 passes for 132 yards and 2 TDs last week. Ty Montgomery of Green Bay was also big AND has running back eligibility for those of you in ESPN.com leagues.

Tight End: Those of you who did not grab Jack Doyle off of waiver wire's last week need to go get the Indianapolis Colts tight end this instant! All he did as Andrew Luck's second receiving option last week was catch 9 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.

 

Who Week 8 matchups to exploit?

Quarterbacks: N.Y. Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick has been brutal, but after being benched, is back under center because of the season-ending injury to Geno Smith and gets a terrific matchup against the most generous defense for quarterbacks, Cleveland. In the past 5 weeks, teams have averaged 300 yards passing and nearly 3 touchdowns per game against the Browns. Brock Osweiler gets a Detroit defense that is allowing the second most TD passes (12) the past five weeks, and it is at home where the Texans QB plays better.

Running Backs: Load up on your N.Y. Jets because Cleveland's run defense is not that great either, which makes Matt Forte a player to get in lineups. Ty Montgomery/Knile Davis of Green Bay is facing an Atlanta defense ranked in the top six in fantasy points allowed thanks to the Falcons giving up 5 rushing touchdowns in those three games.

Wide Receiver: It has been a rough stretch for Minnesota receivers, but the Vikings face a Chiacgo defense that has allowed 796 yards and five touchdowns in its last three games, which means if healthy, Stephon Diggs is a must start. Of course, start N.Y. Jets' Brandon Marshall/Quincy Enunwa against the Browns and Larry Fitzgerald/John Brown against Carolina, which has allowed 464 yards and 3 TDS in its past two games.

Tight Ends: If you need a bye week fill-in, Arizona's Ifeanyi Momah might be worth a one-week flier. He's listed as Arizona's fourth tight end, but is coming off a two-catch for 50 yards performance and facing Carolina, which has allowed 11 catches for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns to tight ends in its last two games. Either Jordan Reed or Vernon Davis also need to be in luineups. If Reed is finally through concussion protocol, he gets a great matchup against a Bengals defense that has allowed tight ends to catch 22 passes for 340 yards in their last three games.

 

How did my teams do?

My CBSSports.com team in a PPR league is on a slide and now sits at 4-3 with several started either injured or on a bye. As for Yahoo.com (standard) and ESPN.com (PPR), the wins keep rolling in. I am 6-1 in Yahoo and 7-0 in ESPN. If I could only get the other league's team to turn it around.

Good Luck in Week 8.

 

Chris Parry is a staff writer for the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETFinalScore.com, and an avid fantasy football player for nearly two decades. His weekly fantasy takeaway appears on Wednesdays. Feel free to email with any questions or comments to  or you can tweet to @CParryETFS.

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