Short of starting your studs in fantasy football, sometimes you actually have to put some actual thought into finalizing your weekly lineup. Yes, you play your studs, and then what? Injuries, roles and the beast of them all – matchups – all can come into play. We tackle the big one right here for week eight, as we try to figure out which defenses are best to attack while they’re down.

There’s some really good ones this week, so pay mind and decide for yourself how you should utilize the info on your own fantasy roster:

Panthers, Falcons and Buccaneers in General

These are three terrible defenses. Like, really, really bad. The bummer here is the Vikings face the Bucs, so you’re taking a risk there. Still, Teddy Bridgewater, Jerick McKinnon and Cordarrelle Patterson are on red alert to explode in week eight. Detroit and Seattle players are much safer plays, though. Detroit is in London so it’s a neutral setting, but the Falcons have pretty much crumbled to their death (0-4) away from their home field, so Golden Tate and Joique Bell are pretty good bets. Even Captain Sparey, Matthew Stafford, is going to be worth a shot and if the gimpy Calvin Johnson actually plays, well, you have to plug him in. Russell Wilson went nuts last week and I can’t see that magically stopping against these sad sack Panthers. More importantly, Marshawn Lynch thinks Carolina stole his lunch money and he wants it back. Cuz he wants skittles or some shit. That guy might wreck it this week.

Rams and Saints Against Pass

These two defenses can’t stop the pass right now – period. That’s awesome news for everyone donning the green and gold (Packers), so fire them up with confidence. They’re on the road and it’s in the Superdome, but come on. Truly, the only two teams the Saints have beaten at all have been the damn Vikings and Buccaneers. And they needed overtime against Tampa Bay. At home. It’s going to be a blood bath. As for the Rams, they have a lesser opponent than the Packers, as they head to Kansas City. Alex Smith is probably an OK play and Jamaal Charles will probably do most of his damage as a receiver (if Andy Reid is smart). I might fade Travis Kelce this week, though, because if you take a look at our fantasy matchups to avoid, the Rams are pretty good against tight ends. Dwayne Bowe could randomly provide value, but I wouldn’t bet my entire life’s savings on it.

Vikings and Raiders on the Ground

Minnesota and Oakland suck against the run. The Buccaneers and Falcons are worse (so, yeah, play McKinnon and Detroit RBs), but these two matchups are much more interesting. That means Doug Martin could come alive and Andre Ellington has a shot at his best game yet. Ellington doesn’t have a 100+ yard rushing day to his name yet in 2014 and I think he gets it this week. Ditto for The Muscle Hamster. The Bucs said they’re sticking with their guy and they seem intent on breaking him out of his slump. Let’s hope so, because the matchup begs for it.

Bengals, Bears and Cardinals Against Tight Ends

Cincy, Chicago and Arizona loathe facing tight ends. The Bengals are by far the leaders over the past four weeks, as they’ve given up a remarkable 21+ fantasy points to the tight end position. Owen Daniels has to be one of the hotter plays of the week, although his status is a tad shaky so be sure to be on top of that. The Titans and Jets also suck against TEs, but their matchups don’t offer much promise. The next closest two that do are the Bears and Cards, who are giving up 11 and 10 ppg to tight ends. That’ll do for Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz owners.

About The Author Kevin Roberts

Breaking Football's lead fantasy football expert. Top 40 finisher in FantasyPros accuracy challenge in 2012 and 2013. Your huckleberry.