What’s up everyone and welcome to Ben’s Building Blocks! If you’ve never read my content before, welcome. To those that have, welcome back. I truly appreciate everyone that reads and supports during NFL season. This article is designed for me to highlight the top plays of the week, and my overall player pool for the main slate. Obviously, things can change rapidly in the NFL with injury news on the weekends, so I would be sure to subscribe to our premium package for access to my Final Thoughts cheat sheet, our premium discord channel and my core plays. Our Core Plays product gives you the ability to tail all of our analysts in your contests each week. We do the work for you, and you simply plug and play with our premium Core Plays. With that being said, let’s hop into the Week 8 slate…
Quarterback is pretty straightforward in Week 8, and it starts with the minimum-priced Sam Ehlinger making his NFL debut. Ehlinger has strung together back-to-back solid preseason campaigns, and has clearly done well enough in practice to earn his first career start. There’s pretty much no way that they let him loose and have him throw as much as Ryan was, but at this price it doesn’t matter. He ran for over 30 touchdowns in college at Texas, and simply shouldn’t be this price. Had the sites known that he would be starting when salaries were released, he would be at least $5,000 on DK. I doubt I will play much (or any) of him in tournaments, but for $4,000 he will anchor my (and most) cash game builds.
I’m actually playing less teams this week than I have in past weeks. Pricing is very tight, and with tons of big name teams off the slate there isn’t much I’m in love with. I think Miami will be the highest-owned stack in single entry contests, but I actually really like Derek Carr against the Saints. This game features the second-highest O/U on the slate at 49.5 and the Raiders team total has been steamed above 25 points. New Orleans has been reeling in the secondary, and they haven’t been able to stop any passing attacks the last few weeks. It’s a really strong spot for Carr and Davante Adams to get going, and gives you some leverage off the chalky Josh Jacobs teams.
Core: Sam Ehlinger
Pivots: Derek Carr, Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray
I truly can’t remember a week like this at running back, with so many strong plays that are affordably priced. Typically, my cash game pool is three to four backs, but I think there are legitimately seven or eight you can make a case for in cash games this weekend. Starting at the top, Derrick Henry is in a fantastic match-up against the Houston Texans. I’m unsure of if he will make my main team yet, but this is someone I want to be overweight on this weekend. His last three full games against Houston is essentially a good season for most running backs — over 700 yards and seven touchdowns! He’s my favorite spend-up on the slate and viable in all formats. After Henry, we have Josh Jacobs who’s received a major price hike, but is still viable. I know there’s some sticker shock here when we see the price next to his name, but we’ve never seen a role like this for him. He’s up to first overall on the slate in opportunity share and red-zone share, and has out-carried other Raiders 111 to 12. Other running backs on the Raiders have earned just 12 carries through seven weeks…this is the best role in football right now. New Orleans have struggled to tackle, and Jacobs is second-overall in broken tackles. I know he’s expensive, but he is a very strong play once again.
We also finally get Tony Pollard without Zeke, against a bad Chicago run defense in a game the Cowboys should be winning. Pollard is so good in the passing game, however, that he is game-script proof and the top play on the slate. I will likely have close to 100% exposure to him on Sunday. You can make the case for a lot of these other guys — both Kenneth Walker and Alvin Kamara are in great spots again and can be used in both cash games and tournaments. I prefer Kamara to Walker if choosing one, especially with Thomas and Landry out once again for New Orleans.
We also have two strong sub-$6K options in Raheem Mostert and D’Onta Foreman. Mostert has an amazing match-up against the Lions — who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. Foreman is coming off a 19.5 PPR point game, while he ran a bit pure to get there he gets a nice boost with Chuba Hubbard out and both these guys are creeping up my board as we head into the weekend.
My favorite tournament play is spending up on Christian McCaffrey or Jonathan Taylor — I think JT can be stacked with Ehlinger as well in tournaments.
Core: Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, Alvin Kamara, Kenneth Walker, Tony Pollard
Pivots: Jonathan Taylor, Raheem Mostert, D’Onta Foreman, Christian McCaffrey
It’s a pretty condensed cash game pool at WR this week — with a few plays from the DET/MIA game sticking out and then a very clear chalk concentration on DJ Moore in the mid-tier. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are in amazing spots. Detroit is pretty man-heavy on defense and I think they will be able to absolutely pick them apart. This is the type of game I could see them both going over 100 yards and I think they are both viable in all formats. We also get Chris Olave without Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas once again. He’s had one of the best roles in football despite being a rookie, and he should simply cost more than $6,000 in salary. Las Vegas is bottom-three in pass DVOA (Per Football Outsiders) and he’s been absolutely dominating the targets, both short/intermediate and deep balls.
I find it funny that I played DJ Moore at 5% owned in cash games last weekend, and now everyone wants to play him yet nothing has changed. DJ Moore is simply good at football. He’s dealt with bad QB play his entire career, and with CMC now gone from the offense they have no option other than to throw the ball to him. AJ Terrell is out, which improves his match-up even further and I don’t care that he is going to be owned, I think he’s a good play. There are some concerns with the game environment, but overall he fits the build too much to ignore.
Some guys I really like for tournaments are Davante Adams and Wan’Dale Robinson. Adams fits in with my Carr stack, and this is a great spot with how banged up the Saints secondary is. This is the spot for him and Carr to get loose and he will be virtually unowned with Tyreek Hill $100 less projecting for nearly 30% ownership. As for Robinson, he’s a full-time player for the Giants now that he’s healthy and targeting Seattle in the slot has been a fruitful move all season. He paced the Giants in targets last weekend, and they are finding creative ways to get him involved, I love the price tag.
I will note that I play Amon-Ra St. Brown every week, and would like to find a way to get to him on my man team. Check my Core Plays this weekend to see if I get him in, but I think he’s 100% healthy and Miami is very banged up in the secondary right now. If this game shoots out, he will have to have a big game.
Core: Tyreek Hill, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Chris Olave, DJ Moore, Wan’Dale Robinson
Pivots: Justin Jefferson, DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Jaylen Waddle, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings
Tight End is a hot mess in Week 8. I love weeks like last week when there’s multiple sub-$3,000 options. Pick one and move on. This week, that’s not the case. It seemed like Noah Fant was going to be mega-chalk at $2,800, but I’m not sure if you’ll really need this salary? He definitely takes a hit for me if DK Metcalf ends up playing, but he’s still been running as many routes as Will Dissly and he is so cheap he really can’t hurt you. Freiermuth is a really good play against the Eagles, who have struggled vs TE’s since Jonathan Gannon took over their defense. They are absolutely lock down on the perimeter, and targeting them over the middle of the field is the best move. He’s been seeing a lot of targets from Kenny Pickett, and now ranks top-ten among tight ends in target-share.
For tournaments, I love George Kittle with Deebo Samuel out. He’s been seeing a lot more targets recently, and doesn’t have to block as much as he was with Trent Williams back on the line. He has crushed this Rams team in the past, and things could open up for him in the middle of the field with the defense accounting for more usage from CMC. Juwan Johnson would get a bump up for me if Adam Trautman is ruled out, as well.
Core: Pat Freiermuth, Noah Fant
Pivot: George Kittle, Zach Ertz, Irv Smith, Juwan Johnson
Bold Call of the Week
Derek Carr throws for four touchdowns!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)