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NFL DFS Week 8 – Ben’s Game-by-Game Breakdown

NFL DFS Showdown Thursday Night Football

New York Giants @ Detroit Lions

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: I’m still not used to Detroit Lions games sporting 50 O/U’s, but that’s what this has come though, as weird as it sounds, I’m not sure if this game will stay *that* close. One thing for sure is, after Daniel Jones electric first start in Tampa Bay, he has looked unready for the NFL and it’s gotten to the point where he went from DFS chalk against Washington to not even making my player pool. If there was a matchup for him to succeed, it would be this one as the Lions have failed miserably to get pressure on opposing Quarterbacks this season, but it’s still not enough for me to roster him in DFS.

Matt Stafford seems like a trendy pick this week in tournaments coming off a 4 touchdown game in a shootout with the Vikings. He has been throwing more this season, but I can’t bring myself to roster him over the likes of higher upside options such as Josh Allen or Kyler Murray. I’m tagging him as a GPP play, but will be underweight.

The backfields here will certainly get attention, Barkley is cash game playable each week even on an awful offense, and the Lions have given up 7 touchdowns on the ground this season, the 10th most in the NFL. Christian McCaffrey is in a really tough matchup this week, and Dalvin Cook isn’t on the slate, so I wouldn’t blame anyone for anchoring their main team with Barkley come Sunday. As for the Lions, they placed Kerryon Johnson on IR, opening the door for Ty Johnson to see the majority of the work. Johnson looked great in the preseason, and in relief of Kerryon last week, but this is still the Lions and they have four RB’s on the roster, so this could turn to a committee. I’m listing Johnson as cash playable due to his price, but it seems like we will have better options in the mid tier.

I’m not chasing Marvin Jones four touchdowns, but I will go back to Kenny Golladay who I ended up with in cash games last week. He’s top-ten in the entire NFL in air yards and clearly ran bad in Week 7. On the Giants side, Golden Tate is the clear run-back for a Staff/Golladay stack in a revenge game — with the Lions looking to be without Darius Slay.

 

Cash Game Plays: Saquon Barkley, Ty Johnson

 

GPP Options: Kenny Golladay, Golden Tate

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: This seems like a gross game on the surface, but there is actually a lot of DFS viable plays withing the ugliness. Jameis Winston, however, is not one of them. The Titans defense is legitimately good, and Winston has historically been better against man coverage, a split that MigTheTig and I discussed on the Week 4 Game Theory podcast. I will be avoiding Winston this week, but I do think you can take some shots with Ryan Tannehill in tournaments. Typically I want high-upside options in GPPs, which is not what Tanny is on the surface, but he is extremely cheap and the Buccaneers are a clear pass-funnel defense. They have locked down even the likes of Christian McCaffrey on the ground this season, and with Tannehill topping 300 yards last week I think he is in line to do so again in this matchup that allowed a monster game to Daniel Jones of all people — as well as Jared Goff.

The Running Backs for Tampa Bay are too jumbled for me to go there in DFS, or season-long for that matter, and I am not using Derrick Henry in this matchup. He lacks the receiving upside to counteract the inefficiency expected on the ground against this defense.

We definitely want to attack this game through the air, but with my lack of interest in Jameis Winston, I don’t find myself super enticed with Chris Godwin or Mike Evans either. Godwin has arguably his toughest matchup of the season against Logan Ryan who is one of the top slot corners in the league and Mike Evans has seen up-and-down fantasy production. I would much rather throw a dart with Evans over Godwin this week, but keep an eye on the inactives list this weekend. OJ Howard popped up on the injury report, and if he was unable to go, that would thrust a really cheap Cam Brate into the cash game range for me at TE.

Both of Corey Davis and AJ Brown saw breaths of fresh air with Tannehill now at Quarterback, I like them both as value plays for cash games this week…Davis saw 7 targets while Brown saw 8.

 

UPDATE: Howard has been ruled out, bump Cam Brate up. 

 

Cash Game Plays: Corey Davis, AJ Brown, Cam Brate (If OJ Howard out)

 

GPP Options: Ryan Tannehill

 

New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: Some of these games are just brutal this week, but there are at least a few plays I’m excited about in this game — both on the Jaguars side. I’m mostly going to be avoiding the Jets here, Sam Darnold famously noted he was “seeing ghosts” in the midst of a four interception performance against the Patriots, and I will be avoiding him in DFS until a softer matchup comes. The Jaguars don’t have a vaunted defense like they did a few years ago, but they still rank top-three in the NFL in Quarterback pressures and Darnold could be under heavy fire again in Week 8.

The Jets have actually had a really solid run-defense this season, but this is the same situation I feel like we have seen time and time again for Leonard Fournette…volume over efficiency. He’s been fed 20+ touches in every game since Week 2, and that’s picked up even heavier recently with 25+ in every game since Week 4. He’s still under $8,000 on DraftKings, and even in this matchup I think that’s just too cheap for the workload he is getting.

If I am going to take a shot on a Jags pass catcher in tournaments, I would side with DJ Chark over Dede Westbrook. Chark still leads this team in both air yards and weighted opportunity rating, and was stopped twice inside the 10 yard line last weekend, running about as bad as one possibly could.

 

Cash Game Plays: Leonard Fournette

 

GPP Options: DJ Chark

 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Chicago Bears

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: I’m not sure which game is worse, the last one, this one, or the next one…but, there are players to talk about here nonetheless. I’m not interested in either of the Quarterback’s, however, the Bears defense is good enough to keep me off of Philip Rivers and Mitchell Trubisky has made his best case to be the worst Quarterback in the entire NFL this season.

Not even Mitchell Trubisky is having as bad of a year as Melvin Gordon, he sat out, watched Austin Ekeler post monster numbers while the Chargers won games…returned, has looked horrible, and they haven’t won once since he came back. Truly a poor decision to sit out in the first place, but that’s where we are. Not all of it is his fault, the Chargers offensive line has been legitimately bad, and that has affected Gordon as much as anyone. Latavius Murray ran all over the Akiem Hicks-less Bears defense in Week 7, but he was also running behind one of the best offensive lines in football. Austin Ekeler actually out-snapped Gordon last week, went over 100 receiving yards, and the Bears have been quietly bad against pass-catching running backs this season. It looks like there will be value at RB this week, so I am tagging Ekeler for tournaments only, but he should be low-owned and I love him as a pivot.

The Bears secondary has contained Tight Ends with ease this season after allowing a touchdown to Jimmy Graham on opening night, but Hunter Henry has seen 9 and 8 targets since returning from injury and gone over 90 yards in both games. It’s tough to avoid him at his price again this week. On the Bears side, Allen Robinson has once again made the best of the worst, putting up another huge fantasy season despite dismal Quarterback play. I don’t think I can list him as a cash game option just because of Trubisky, but he is certainly in play in the mid-tier again this week in tournaments.

 

UPDATE: Keenan Allen missed practice both Thursday and Friday, if he is out I am bumping up Austin Ekeler even more, and also adding Mike Williams to the cash game pool (puke).

 

Cash Game Plays: Hunter Henry (maybe)

 

GPP Options: Austin Ekeler, Allen Robinson

 

Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: With just a 43 O/U and two respectable defenses, this is not a game that sticks out to me in DFS where we can roster players from any team rather than ones we are tied to because we drafted them in August. After one good week in Week 4, Joe Flacco has returned to form with 10 or fewer fantasy points in his last three games. The Colts defense was much healthier last week coming out of their bye, and they should be getting Malik Hooker back this week as well to help in the secondary. Jacoby Brissett is one off the NFL lead for passing touchdowns, but even with his volume increasing over the last few weeks, I’m not very interested in him against the Broncos defense.

The presence of both Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay make them tough sells in DFS while both are healthy, I think they are both legitimately good players but the split is too even most weeks, and Freeman has seen more snaps over the last two games. It’s too thin for me to guess which one will score on a 12 game slate. If I was betting on a Colts player this weekend it would be Marlon Mack, despite the Broncos fixing up their run-defense in recent weeks. Mack has taken the leap and become a full-on bellcow this season, increasing his passing game usage and dominating the snaps and touches. I’m tagging him as a tournament play, not one that I’m in love with, but I see this as a game where they ride Mack at home.

I would probably be more interested in Courtland Sutton if he had a different Quarterback, but even then, we can’t ignore him with Emmanuel Sanders now in San Francisco. Sutton was already seeing over 30% of the Broncos team targets and averaging 16 PPR points per game with Sanders in the picture, and should benefit from even more targets heading his way. I will include him in my tournament pool this week, along with Noah Fant who just can’t seem to stop dropping passes. It’s frustrating that an athletic freak like Fant just can’t keep his hands on the ball, but rookie Tight Ends also do perennially struggle and he is coming off a five target game. I doubt they stop targeting him, especially with Sanders gone, and the Colts zone defensive scheme forces targets to the middle of the field. They were one of the worst teams against TE’s a season ago, and that trend has continued this season.

As for the Colts, TY Hilton will be shadowed by Chris Harris which pretty much ends that discussion for me. You can take a shot on one of the Tight Ends if you want, but there are way better options on this slate in my opinion and I will be avoiding their offense outside of Marlon Mack when lineup building.

 

Cash Game Plays: none

 

GPP Plays: Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, Marlon Mack

 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Los Angeles Rams (London Game)

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: Weird things always happen in London games, but I would be lying if I said that I think the Bengals have any hope of staying competitive in this game. The only play from their team I would even entertain is Tyler Boyd, who somehow only posted 5-55 last week despite 14 targets, and has now seen the ball thrown his way at a top-five mark in the NFL.

Home/Road splits aside, this is one of the best matchups that Jared Goff will see as the Bengals are third-worst in the NFL in QB pressures. Pressure has been Goff’s biggest weakness this season, so having a clean pocket and time to pick out receivers will go a long way for him in London on Sunday. All of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks are string tournament plays, which is why I have them listed as such over the cash game pool. If I had to pick one, it would still be Kupp, but Woods has run so bad when it comes to touchdowns this season that it feels like the big game is coming at any moment…

The Bengals have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL this season, but even that won’t get me on Todd Gurley this week. His knee could legitimately flare up at any points, and if they are winning this game easily it could be a good game for them to get prized rookie Darrell Henderson going. I would rather take a shot on him, than Gurley.

 

Cash Game Plays: none (for now)

 

GPP Options: Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Darrell Henderson

 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Buffalo Bills

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: This is one of my favorite spots on the slate, and I’m really hoping this is the big week for Josh Allen. The Eagles looked downright horrible on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys, and while I don’t want to overreact to a one game sample size, I’m not sure how good they will look against this Bills defense either. Their defense is a clear run-funnel, but the Eagles Running Backs aren’t trustworthy enough for DFS so the focus of this game is really on the Bills for me.

Once again this season the Eagles secondary has been toast, they’ve allowed the 6th most passing touchdowns and 4th most yards thus far this season. Allen was inches away from a huge fantasy day last week, missing two wide open long touchdowns, and it served as a reminder that with his ability to run he has massive upside every time he steps on the field. Both John Brown and Cole Beasley will benefit from the Eagles secondary, and I’m going to tag both as cash game options. I really want to get up to Deshaun Watson in cash games, so Allen may end up on my main tournament team, but Brown and Beasley both remain options as one-offs.

 

Cash Game Plays: John Brown, Cole Beasley, Josh Allen

 

GPP Options: All the Above

 

Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Analysis will be posted once we get RB news

 

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: This is pretty much the best game on the slate in terms of collective DFS juiciness, but I’m only tagging Chris Carson as a cash game play because it sets up much better as an entire game stack in my opinion. I rostered Russell Wilson in cash games against Arizona Cardinals earlier this season, and the Seahawks ended up winning so easily that it really hindered Wilson’s fantasy production down the stretch of the game, and I could see something similar happening here. The Falcons defense has basically been the Coors Field of NFL DFS since Keanu Neal (and now Trufant) went down, and last week we saw them completely fold with Matt Ryan getting hurt and the offense just melting down and failing to stay in the game. I would be crazy to say Wilson isn’t one of the top QB options on the slate, I just prefer him for tournaments as part of stacks. We don’t know if Matt Ryan is playing yet, and that has a huge impact on this game. If he’s out, we can basically cross off all of the Falcons, but if he is in, the Falcons do stand a chance to stay in this game.

Chris Carson continued to dominate the work even with Rashaad Penny back last week. Penny got just two snaps, and even if the Seahawks are winning handily, Carson should be in line for another week of bellcow level usage. He’s one of my favorite overall plays on this slate and is viable in all formats on all sites.

The Falcons have allowed nine touchdowns in the slot this season, so we are going right back to the Wilson-Lockett stack in GPPs. It will be arguably the highest-owned stack this week, however, so pivoting to DK Metcalf makes sense in larger field tournaments. Metcalf has seen nine endzone targets this season, but has yet to pop off for that truly big game.

Julio Jones carries slate breaking upside every time he takes the field, and is the clear top run-back for Wilson stacks against a beatable Seattle secondary. The biggest beneficiary of the Mo Sanu trade, Calvin Ridley, should see a few extra targets this week and now seems like the best time to buy him before he posts a big game (which could be this week).

 

Cash Game Plays: Chris Carson

 

GPP Options: Russ Wilson, Tyler Lockett, DK Metclaf, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Austin Hooper

 

Cleveland Browns @ New England Patriots

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Analysis will be posted Saturday morning…debating if I really want anyone other than Sony Michel here.

Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: Oh man, this is an interesting game. I’m really excited that the Panthers decided to roll with Kyle Allen even with Cam Newton back, because Cam just isn’t very good when he is injured and I highly doubt that he fully recovered that quickly. That being said, this is about as tough of a matchup as you can get in the NFL right now, the 49ers are undefeated and their defense has aced every single test they have been handed. I’m largely going to be avoiding this Panthers team, outside of their DST (they lead the league in sacks), outside of Christian McCaffrey. I will dive into whether or not I am going to use CMC in cash in my Building Blocks article, but for now we know that he gets more usage and than anyone else in the NFL, and I always take volume over matchup.

The 49ers side of things isn’t much better for DFS, but we can definitely look at Tevin Coleman who remains cheap on all sites. Since returning from injury, Kyle Shanahan has not been scared to hand him leadback duties — he’s handled touch totals of 16, 19 and 22 and has seen all of the red zone work. He is a great pivot off of what could be a chalky mid tier if David Johnson and or Alvin Kamara are out. George Kittle is routinely a tournament play at his price, and this Panthers zone defense often schemes targets to the middle of the field.

 

Cash Game Plays: Christian McCaffrey

 

GPP Options: Tevin Coleman, George Kittle

 

Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans

Vegas Implied Team Totals:

Outlook: The Texans are clearly in one of the best spots on this entire slate, especially after Aaron Rodgers went out and had his way with this Raiders defense to the tune of 429 yards and 5 touchdowns. Derek Carr has been abysmal for fantasy purposes this season, so I’m interested to see what happens with Houston being a clear pass-funnel defense. It looks like Josh Jacobs might actually miss this game for the Raiders, making Darren Waller the lone play I am interested in. He finally found the end zone last week against the Packers, and with Houston stacks set to be chalky in all DFS formats, running it back with Waller seems optimal in GPPs.

Watson will continue to feature one of the highest upsides at his position due to his ability to run the football, and we have an interesting situation this week with Will Fuller looking unlikely to play. This not only solidifies DeAndre Hopkins as a much safer play when baking in his salary, it opens up Kenny Stills to log 90%+ of the snaps (as he did once Fuller exited in Week 7) and moves Keke Coutee full-time into the slot. Still has long been a DFS darling, and he seems destined to be thrust back into relevance this week at a cheap price. Watson is my top overall QB play on this slate, and pairing him with one or two pass catchers i my preferred route in Week 8.

I don’t have a ton of interest, but if you aren’t using any Texans, grabbing Carlos Hyde as a low-owned pivot makes sense. Since you already don’t have Texans, you can hope that they jump the Raiders from the get-go and the they have already surrendered a few big games on the ground. Hyde and Watson don’t correlate very well with Watson’s tendency to steal goal line work, however.

 

Cash Game Plays: Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills

 

GPP Options: Darren Waller, Keke Coutee

 

Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)

 

 

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