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Daily Fantasy Football Picks for Week 8 - FanDuel, DraftKings, Draftday, and Draftster
A very weird week in the NFL which had me simultaneously rooting for and against Le'Veon Bell on Monday - ultimately cashing 95% of my cash games and 5% of my GPPs. I feel both gross and great, somehow. I'll stop my ruminating. On to the picks!
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Andrew Luck - FD 9900 DK 8800 DD 16300 DFSTR 9000
An off week for Luck compared to what we've gotten used to, but an off week for the game's best fantasy quarterback still looks like 300+ yards and 2 touch downs. Luck easily has the lowest floor of any QB this side of Peyton Manning, and he also has the transcendent ceiling to go with it. Now he's the Steel Curtain, which has been parted by such fearsome opposing QBs as Brian Hoyer and Mike Glennon this season. I especially like Luck here given the lack of the effectiveness of the Colts' running game - they leaned on Luck even in a total blowout against the AFC North Bengals in week 7.
Russell Wilson - FD 8900 DK 8400 DD 15050 DFSTR 7100
Oh look! Another ridiculously huge game for Russell Wilson! With 100 yards rushing in two of his last three and a rushing touchdown in all three, Wilson is playing like a feature back who also throws the ball for 200-300 yards a game. With his relative lack of weapons, Wilson is developing into the perfect guy to play and stack with no one on his team (although, damn you Doug Baldwin for being off my radar). In week 8 he'll face the over-rated Panthers' defense, which allowed Rodgers to complete 86.4% of his passes last week. And their overall rank vs. the pass would be a lot worse if they weren't so busy getting blown out. We gave you Wilson in the week 7 picks against an actual good defense against the pass. In week 8, it will probably be your last chance to get him at a discount vs. the big boys.
Philip Rivers - FD 8900 DK 8000 DD 14300 DFSTR 7700
With a lack of a clear #1 receiver, Rivers often gets left by the wayside when it comes to GPP quarterbacks, but there might be more upside here than I thought when I first started investigating this. He's got 3 touch down passes in 4 games this year, and his 39 pass attempts + rushes in the red zone this year are certainly nothing to sneeze at. What I really like, though? The match-up. With a lot of industry people clamoring about Denver's improved results against the pass this year, it's important to take note of their strength of schedule. Three of their games have come against Drew Stanton, Alex Smith, and Geno Smith. If the Broncos get out in front, we could see Rivers' biggest game of the season.
Ryan Tannehill - FD 8400 DK 6700 DD 12650 DFSTR 6000
Because it's silly to just recommend all of the most expensive guys, I submit to you Ryan Tannehill. In his last three games he's averaged 275 yards passing, 2 touch downs, and about 40 yards rushing. And some interceptions. But still. The Jags have been the 3rd worst in the league against the pass this year, surrendering 280 yards per game. That's pretty remarkable, considering many teams are done passing on them by the third quarter. If you want a guy who could put up a random top 3 QB performance at a discount to the big names, Tannehill could be your guy.
Joe Flacco - FD 7500 DK 6500 DD 12750 DFSTR 6600
The major risk to Flacco on a week to week basis seems to be how badly the Ravens crush the opposition. Unlike the Colts, the Ravens are content to grind down opposing teams by running the ball, as evidenced by their 36:25 run/pass ratio in last week's game against the Falcons. Meanwhile, the Bengals have given up huge games in 3 consecutive weeks, and unless AJ Green returns, this team just isn't looking like the squad that jumped out to a 3-0 season. And, if you're the kind of guy to look back earlier in the season, Flacco tossed the ball 62 times against them in week 1. This may just be part of the game plan for the Ravens against what they see the Bengals doing defensively.
Aaron Rodgers - FD 10000 DK 9000 DD 16700 DFSTR 8900
Rodgers is another guy whose year to date statistics have been depressed by how good his team has looked in certain contests. Vegas likes this to be a close game with the week's highest total, which should give Rodgers an opportunity to put up his best stat line of the week. If you came here for Aaron Rodgers stat porn, here you go: his 66.8% completion percentage is the 2nd best of his career, and his 18:1 TD:INT ratio would be historic if the season ended today. Huge upside here.
Nick Foles - FD 8200 DK 6300 DD 12300 DFSTR
If you want to go a little cheaper and go a little big off board this week, I don't mind taking a look at Nick Foles. The Eagles' passing game has been up and down this season, but this seems like it will be their best match up of the year. In case you're wondering, I'm not believing in McCoy's resurgence against the Giants translating to the game against the Cards. The Cardinals' 285 yards allowed in the air is awful, and it's not like they've faced all the best passing teams ever (Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins these past two weeks). I think McCoy will get bottled up again, and that Foles and Maclin put up their biggest games of the season on discount prices.
Jerick McKinnon - FD 5800 DK 4900 DD 8350 DFSTR 3700
Like I mentioned in our week 8 podcast, It's simply the wrong price here. I expect McKinnon to be the most highly played running back across the board this week, and for good reason. For all of the ballyhoo about Asiata getting more touches, McKinnon out-touched him 21-7. Tampa Bay has rolled over against the run all season, and McKinnon just averaged 5.4 YPC against the heretofore #1 Buffalo Bills run defense. It's a great play, what else is there to say?
Andre Ellington - FD 7400 DK 6600 DD 12250 DFSTR 6900
We gave you Ellington in the week 7 picks, and then he went out for an absurd 30 touches and 160 yards of total offense against the Oakland Raiders. He's clearly healthy, and he'll be going up against an Eagles team that plays a fast pace that allows for a lot of possessions. The great thing about Ellington is his usage in the passing game. Even if the Cardinals fall behind (and they might), Ellington will only see his role in the passing game increase, as Larry Fitzgerald's decline has only sent more mid-range yardage opportunities Ellington's way. The one concern here is red zone usage. While Ellington claims that he called in Stepfan Taylor to vulture his touchdowns, we can't know for sure. Either way, Ellington is usable in both GPPs and cash games until his price climbs to the elite levels.
Jamaal Charles - FD 8700 DK 6700 DD 14700 DFSTR 6800
Be prepared - this is the last week that the finally healthy Charles is priced to own, especially on DraftKings. The preseason's most expensive rusher touched the ball 24 times in the win against San Diego, and it looks for all the world like he'll be grinding down the Rams 4th worst rush defense in week 8. The only risk here is that the lead is so decided that Knile Davis takes some of the world, but especially on DraftKings, this price makes that risk a non-issue.
Marshawn Lynch - FD 8500 DK 7100 DD 11900 DFSTR 7600
Man - taking 2 weeks off from scoring a touch down can really depress a brother's value! Killed me seeing one get called back last week. Here's the thing about Lynch - you simply can't find red zone opportunities like he's had in very many places. His 24 touches down there are right up there among the league lead for any skill position player, and one has to think that Seattle's run game will thrive against the Panthers' bottom-five run defense. From where I'm sitting, Lynch has nearly the upside of the big name running backs at a pretty solid discount in price. While the Fortes & Murrays of the world are obviously safer, Lynch brings a lot to the table if the Seahawks are playing from ahead. And they should be.
Lamar Miller - FD 7400 DK 6000 DD 10750 DFSTR 5900
20 modestly uninspiring touches for Miller against the Bears, but as predicted, he got the goal line work and made it all worthwhile. Vegas likes the Dolphins on the road against the Jaguars, and while I like Tannehill from an upside perspective, you have to love Miller as well. If the Dolphins are playing from ahead and getting the ball in the red zone as much as they likely will against the Jaguars' defense, Miller could be in for a monster.
Arian Foster - FD 9100 DK 8400 DD 13350 DFSTR 8000
It's grudgingly that I recommend Arian Foster for the first time this season. I've resisted doing so, but the bottom line is that Foster continues to get mid to high twenties touches per game, and his 17 red zone touches give him plenty of room for touch down upside as well. He's got the best match-up of the huge opportunity RBs this week in Tennessee, and all signs point to the Texans continuing to trust him a heck of a lot more than the combination of Fitzpatrick and his assorted crew of receiving targets.
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Golden Tate - FD 7500 DK 6500 DD 12050 DFSTR 5800
Please, nobody tell the daily fantasy football sites that Golden Tate is a legit #1 wide receiver while Calvin Johnson is out. We probably only have one more week to enjoy the Golden Tate sweepstakes, but I'll certainly be relishing it. Tate led all receivers in catches last week, and was only edged by Demaryius Thomas when it came to total yards. The Falcons have allowed the 5th most passing yards this season. Matthew Stafford has no one else to throw to. All Tate, all day.
Jordy Nelson - FD 8800 DK 7800 DD 12700 DFSTR 9000
Nelson is once again screwed by the flow of the game, as his 4 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown all came in the first half. And while that might just be the cost of doing business with the Packers this season, it's tough to imagine them blowing the Saints out of their own building quite THAT quickly. In spite of having 2 games with 3 and 5 targets respectively, Nelson is still the 3rd most targeted receiver in all of football this season. If you agree that this won't be a blow out, Nelson stands out as the head and shoulders most attractive play at the high $ WR position this week.
Jeremy Maclin - FD 8000 DK 5500 DD 11300 DFSTR
While our projection system likes him quite a bit more on DraftKings, it likes him just fine on FanDuel as well. After signing the big contract, Patrick Peterson has simply not shut down #1 receivers this season, so I'm not as worried about a Maclin disappearance as you might think after his performance against Rodgers-Cromartie and the Giants. Still, Maclin's high-target but low reception repertoire will lead to boom and bust games. Not a cash game play by any means, but if you see Maclin as part of the perfect DK million lineup, don't say I didn't warn you.
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Doug Baldwin - FD 6800 DK 4700 DD 8450 DFSTR 3300
Now that Percy Harvin is out of town and not siphoning looks from Russel Wilson and threatening to punch everyone in the face, it looks for all the world that Baldwin will be the primary beneficiary. The price is still relatively low based on what Baldwin did last week, and that's really where this recommendation comes from. If he emerges as a 8-10 target guy his price will climb another 20%. This is a value play that could pay off in any format, really, until the daily fantasy football industry prices his upside in with the downside that he disappears back into obscurity.
Julio Jones - FD 8400 DK 7000 DD 12150 DFSTR 9000
It's weird to recommend Jones after a down week where he was complaining of an ankle injury, but here we are! Here's the thinking. Demaryius Thomas is now priced through the stratosphere, and Jones is still the NFL's most targeted receiver. Monitor the injury situation closely, but if he's practicing in full Jones could be a terrific low % start that would give you a lot of separation at a reasonable price in GPPs. I certainly prefer Nelson in the elite WR category this week, but against a Lions team that couldn't contain Marques Colston, I think Jones could be a guy that leaves haters scratching their heads in week 8.
Kelvin Benjamin - FD 6800 DK 5000 DD 10250 DFSTR 6700
Considering the Packers knew the Panthers had to pass for the entire game, it was nice to see Benjamin still put up a respectable performance and a score. While I like some other guys a little better than Benjamin in a strict points per dollar sense, I think Benjamin represents a great guy to plug in for lineups where your remaining dollars fall in his price range. His nose for the end zone means that he is going to have huge potential upside on a game to game basis, and his relatively high target percentage somewhat limits his floor as well. Mark my words - there IS a huge Kelvin Benjamin game coming this season (a la TY Hilton last Thursday), and this is Benjamin's lowest price of the season unless the concussion worries resurface.
Keenan Allen - FD 6400 DK 4400 DD 8250 DFSTR 4800
In the cheap with upside category, I present to you one Keenan Allen. Let me break it down for you. The Chargers have been off to a terrific start of the season, but Vegas has them as a -7.5 dog against the Broncos at Mile High this week. In the two games where the Chargers have played from behind, Allen has had 9.5 targets per game. Now, he's still not delivering the same yards per target as he did last year, but that's precisely why he's so discounted. Not a cash game play by any stretch, but stranger things have happened than the most target receiver of a team with a great QB going off against the Broncos.
So, it's a weird week for WRs. Some big names have bad match-ups (Marshall) or are overpriced (Thomas). Our projection system is able to parse little details like that better than my eye test, but these are the only guys I feel comfortable giving my firmest recommendation.
Rob Gronkowski - FD 7200 DK 5900 DD 12400 DFSTR
After playing a season high 93% of the Pats' offensive snaps last Thursday, it appears that we'll finally get a full frontal Gronk experience this upcoming weekend. The Jets were able to swallow him up in the Red Zone, but I'm chalking that up to a one off experience and not a recurring experience. So, this is where it's important to start really digging in to price. Getting Gronkowski at 7200 vs. paying 7200 for WRs like Vincent Jackson, Pierre Garcon, or Julian Edelman looks like a no brainer. For both safety and upside, I'll be all over Gronkowski this week.
Martellus Bennett - FD 5900 DK 5200 DD 9300 DFSTR 5900
I'm looking back 2 weeks ago to the Patroits game against the Bills, where they were able to bottle up a dynamic #1 wide receiver to the benefit of the #2 and the tight end. With Jeffery slumping, Bennett stands to be the primary beneficiary of an increased work load, and I think we'll see a throw back to the early season games where Marshall and Jeffery were injured. We're looking at 10+ targets and lots of yardage and TD upside to go with it.
Jermaine Gresham - FD 5300 DK 3700 DD 6950 DFSTR 3200
Hat-tip to Bryce McVay, our weekly DraftKings contributor, for pointing me in the direction of Gresham last week. I said this in our week 8 podcast, but Gresham had one of the weirdest tight end games I've seen - at one point having multiple receptions for negative yards - and finishing with 10 receptions at 4.8 yards per catch. But man, those targets! With Sanu unable to reel in a lot of what Dalton had aimed at him, Gresham absolutely crushed it from a PPR perspective, and it stands to reason that he'll be one of the top two target getters at a very reasonable price in week 8 as well.
Owen Daniels - FD 5500 DK 4100 DD 7450 DFSTR 3300
The other side of the TE story in the Cincinnati/Baltimore game, Daniels remains a medium floor/reasonably high ceiling play in the right match-ups. One could absolutely see this game following the same script as the Falcons game, and if the Ravens are in a position to want to control the clock with highly reliable/low yardage passing plays, Daniels could see 7-9 targets with his usual touch down upside.
Just a strategy note on kickers, since I figure I'll share what's working well for me this season.
I've been taking kickers against teams that don't have spectacular defenses in decent weather conditions. I don't look at the kicker's individual "skill" at all, just opportunity. Typically kicker will be the very last spot I fill, and while there are situations I'll avoid (I wouldn't play kickers against Seattle, for instance, or any team that's a 6.5 point or more underdog), I think you can justify playing just about any other kicker in a GPP format especially. Don't sweat this too much - just pick a guy that fits in with the rest of what you want to do and go from there.
Defense & Special Teams
A week after shutting down a good Bears offense, the Dolphins will stare down the Jags. Even in an 18 point win, the Jags turned the ball over 3 times an allowed 2 sacks. The Jags still lead the league in sacks allowed, and Blake Bortles' learning process means that defensive touch downs are absolutely in play come Sunday.
New York Jets
We gave you the Vikings against the Bills last week, and they wound up being one of the league's best fantasy defenses at bare minimum prices. The Bills have allowed the 5th most sacks to opposing defenses this year, and when they trot out their 3rd string running backs against the Jets' top rushing defense, one has to think they'll attempt to lean on the pass even more. This doesn't bode well for Kyle Orton and company.
We also gave you the Bills last week, and everything we wrote about their match-up with the Vikings goes double for the Jets. This is basically the same exact situation as the one described above. The Bills get a ton of sacks, and the Jets allow a ton of them. The Jets turn the ball over, and the Bills force turn overs. The Jets are basically a worse version of the Bills offense, and the Bills are a better version of the Jets defense (they stop the run & get after the QB). So why are they ranked below them in our projection system? Price. Paying up for the Bills defense could pay off, but it will sure be tempting to spend that extra money on skill players.
I placed the Vikings here just to brag about picking them last week, but then I remembered that they also have an amazing match-up this week. Minny is tied for the league lead in interceptions and is second in the league in sacks, and one only need harken back to the Bucs game against the vaunted Falcons defense to see what they are capable of providing to opposing fantasy defenses. The price is confusingly cheap here considering the upside, and while the Vikes won't be a great play against legitimately good offenses, the Bucs most certainly ain't that.
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