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Fantasy Football Volatility Index: Risky & Safe Starts for Week 8

Is this the Chris Godwin breakout week? Using NECC consistency rating to identify the riskiest and safest starts for Week 8 fantasy football.

There’s always risk in fantasy football. You’re never certain in the performance you’re going to get from a certain player when you start them. In order to help you make the best start/sit decisions for your fantasy team this week, I’ve used our NECC consistency rating to chart the safest and riskiest starts for Week 8.

What Is NECC Rating?

NECC stands for NerdBall Efficiency and Consistency Coefficient. It is a glorious stat, developed by our stats man Paddi Cooper, to help gage both a player’s consistency and efficiency with each touch in fantasy football. Here’s a full breakdown of what goes into the calculation.

The rating is a great way to help make determinations when it comes to weekly starts and sits as you have a clearer image of how volatile a player’s fantasy production has been this season. A player with a high NECC rating who’s in a bad matchup isn’t likely to be a great start. The reverse is likely to be a great start.

I’ve charted every position’s NECC rating over their .5PPR points per game to help visualize who are safe and risky starts this week. The chart is hard to read but never fear, I’ve highlighted a few high-risk, mid-risk, and low-risk starts for Week 8. Feel free to do your own digging with the stat and use it when making your own start sit decisions.

Let’s get it!

High-Risk Starts

Jared Goff (QB29 in NECC rating)

Only three quarterbacks have a lower NECC rating than Goff at this point in the season. It shouldn’t come as a surprise either as Goff has given some ridiculous highs—378 yards, 4 touchdowns vs Seattle—but also real deep lows—228 yards, 2 interceptions vs Dallas. Over the last few weeks, the Lions offense has failed to look like the unit we saw to start the year. Maybe that comes back or maybe that hot start was a fluke.

On the year the Dolphins defense has struggled to stop opposing quarterbacks, giving up the fifth-most points per game (19.9). However, over the last four weeks, Miami has gotten much more stout, allowing just 15.4 QB PPG, good for 15th-best in the league. This feels like a matchup where both offenses let the ball fly around the yard, but how much do you trust recent Goff to get that done?

AJ Dillon (RB47)

Much like Regina George’s sage advice to Gretchen Weiners, it’s time to stop trying to make AJ Dillon happen. Dillon has very clearly been the Packers’ No. 2 option, not the 1B option many thought he’d be. His opportunity share ranks in the bottom half of backs and almost 10 points behind Aaron Jones (46.6% vs 53.4%). He’s also failed to be efficient with his touches with one of the lowest NECC and PER ratings among backs this year.

This isn’t the week AJ Dillon is going to happen either. The Bills have the best run defense per NEFF rating and rank top 5 in points allowed to RBs. Given Dillon’s already erratic usage and production this season, I’m staying far away.

Garrett Wilson (WR56)

Unfortunately for Wilson managers, outside of his massive Week 2 performance, the rookie receiver hasn’t done much fantasy-wise this season. It’s rarely a good thing when you can look at a receivers target totals and know exactly when the team made a QB switch. Wilson started the year strong with Joe Flacco under center, averaging 11 targets a game. With Zach Wilson under center, the rookie wideout is averaging just five. He’s also failed to record 30 receiving yards in each of his last three games.

New England’s secondary has been vulnerable over the last four weeks, allowing the fourth-most targets (85) and eighth-most receptions (49) to opposing wideouts. The Patriots on the year still rank 9th in WR PPG allowed, giving up 30.7. And no matter how bad the opposing defense is, it doesn’t change the fact that Zach Wilson just isn’t throwing the ball to his fellow Wilson. Bring back Joe Flacco!

Mid-Risk Starts

Tyler Boyd (WR29)

Boyd is currently the WR17 in .5PPR thanks in very large part to two massive performances. Last week Boyd put forward his best game of the year, catching 8-of-9 targets for 155 yards and a touchdown. While he’s not seeing consistent work, he has been amazingly efficient this season, currently third among wide receivers in PER rating, averaging 2.05 points per target.

Coming off a big game, Boyd might feel like a clear and obvious start this week. However, the Browns have been one of the best defenses against slot receivers. They’re currently allowing the seventh-fewest points to the position, just 12.8 per game. If Boyd sees a high target share, he’s going to produce. It’s just a matter of if he’ll see the work.

Alvin Kamara (RB26)

Kamara’s season got off to a slow start but since his Week 5 return, he’s been the RB9 in .5PPR. And that’s all without scoring a single touchdown. He’s had at least 100 total yards and 18 touches in each of his last three games. The Raiders meanwhile are bottom 10 in RB PPG allowed (26.0) and just gave up 117 total yards to Dameon Pierce last week. Kamara is a rock-solid RB2 this week with some serious RB1 upside if he can just find the end zone.

Tyler Higbee (TE12)

If not for a dud in Week 6, Higbee would likely be a top tight end per NECC rating. Outside of his game vs the Panthers, Higbee has gone over 39 yards in every game this season and seen double-digit targets in all but one. His 22% target share is third to only Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce among tight ends.

On the season the 49ers are allowing the eighth-fewest PPG to opposing tight ends (9.3). However, in the last four weeks they’re allowing the 12th-most, giving up 14.5 PPG. Never forget, they were the defense who gave Kyle Pitts his lone touchdown of the season. Just saying. There’s risk starting Higbee this week but he could pay off in a big way Sunday.

Low-Risk Starts

Antonio Gibson (RB8)

Despite all the negative press this preseason, Gibson has quietly been a solid RB2 this season. He currently ranks RB19 in .5PPR, averaging just over 10 PPG. Gibson isn’t likely to break off any RB1 performances this year, especially with Brian Robinson back on the field. However, he’s proven to reliably give you mid to low-end RB2 production on a weekly basis.

The Colts have struggled slowing down opposing backfields this season. On the year they rank 13th in most RB PPG allowed (23.4) and that climbs up to 11th over the last four weeks (26.0). Gibson should confidently be started in your Flex this week in a plus-matchup.

Chris Godwin (WR13)

Similarly to Gibson, Godwin isn’t going to wow you with his fantasy production. Still, the Bucs’ wide receiver has been one of the more consistent and efficient receivers this season as evident by his high NECC rating. Since returning from injury in Week 4, Godwin has had at least 6 catches and 43 yards in every game. He’s been the WR28 in .5PPR during that span.

After a rough start to the year, the Ravens secondary has gotten better limiting opposing wide receivers. They’ve given up the eighth-fewest PPG (25.5) and ninth-fewest yards (499) over the last four weeks. That being said, they have not been able to cover slot receivers. Baltimore is giving up the fifth-most PPG to slot receivers (19.1) with their starting slot corner Damarion Williams allowing a 144.1 passer rating in coverage. This feels like a boom week for Godwin.

Derek Carr (QB3)

Only fantasy royalty Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts have a higher NECC rating than Carr. Only once this season has Carr not thrown for over 240 yards and at least 1 touchdown. And even in that lone game when he threw for under 240, he added 40 yards rushing to help save his week. You can’t say Carr doesn’t care about your fantasy team.

The Saints defense has been one of the worst at limiting opposing quarterbacks over the last four weeks. Since Week 4, New Orleans has given up 21.7 PPG to quarterbacks, good for 4th-worst in the league. They also gave up two three touchdown performances during that time. Carr’s shown to get it done on a weekly basis and I trust him to do so again in a positive matchup.

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