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Remember: All positional breakdowns are open to the PUBLIC. Here they are:
Welcome to Week 8 Cheat Sheet! This is a feature that will be released every Friday throughout the season. It will be a fluid article (so check back often!) that will encompass everything you need to set your lineups for the NFL. We will go game by game, discussing the most relevant players on each team.
If you are interested in reading last week’s Cheat Sheet, here it is for Week 7.
DraftKings strategy and pricing is front of mind, but these can also help you set your season long lineups. I love action, so we will go in order of Vegas point totals, highest to lowest! Let’s do it!
BYEs: Buffalo, Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville
New England (-8) vs. Miami o/u 51.5 (TNF)
Death, taxes and Tom Brady ($8,300). The man is absolutely unstoppable, now scoring at least 25 DraftKings points in every game this season. To put that in perspective, there have been 37 games by QBs who have scored over 25 in a game this season and Tom Brady has 6 of those games. He’s accounted for 16% of such games across the entire league! He’s matchup proof and he’s gamescript proof. No matter the score or the situation, the Patriots are liable to throw the ball and Brady is clearly the top QB on the slate.
Brady’s favorite target, Julian Edelman ($8,100) is back in play this week after a date with Darrelle Revis. Edelman was actually servicable against Revis, catching 5 balls for 54 yards. He did drop a sure-TD which could have really boosted his output. The Dolphins don’t have a CB who can cover Edelman and they’ve allowed the 9th most DraftKings points to opposing WRs.
Fading Rob Gronkowski ($8,000) is getting harder every week. His price is ridiculous and he would be the 5th highest priced WR but he’s significantly better than every other TE available. He’s on pace to break the Tight End receiving yard record, which he already owns. Luckily, you don’t have to make the “start or sit” decision if you’re playing the Sunday slate. Expect him to be heavily owned in Thursday contests and for good reason.
Some nice value in Ryan Tannehill ($5,700) this week. I certainly don’t expect 4 TD passes on only 19 attempts like he did last week, but Tannehill has been solid all season. He’s averaging 19.8 DraftKings points per game and has provided his owners at least 3x value in four out of six games this season. This is the highest total on the board and Miami is a 8 point underdog. Expect them to have to throw the ball a ton to stay in this game. That’s been the recipe for many QBs against NE this season, which is why the Patriots have surrendered the 4th most DraftKings points to opposing QBs, despite their undefeated record.
Lamar Miller ($4,700) has been an animal, but this sets up to be a bad gamescript for him. 64.6 DraftKings points over the last two games and his price is still a steal at $4,700. Unfortunately, the Patriots have been great against the run and most teams have had to abandon the ground attack to play catch up. With the Patriots being large favorites, that’s certainly a reasonable outcome for Miller this week as well.
Rishard Matthews ($4,300) continues to fly under the radar. We talked in the QB preview that the Dolphins should have to throw the ball a ton to stay in the Thursday Night game versus New England. Matthews has been a sneaky good option for Miami this season, averaging 16.6 DraftKings points per game and racking up at least 75 receiving yards in four of his last five games. The NE secondary has surrendered the 7th most DraftKings points allowed. That’s not a clear indictment on their skill level, just the fact that opponents have to throw the ball so often and WRs are able to rack up garbage time fantasy points. That’s the same gamescript I expect this week.
Baltimore (-3) vs. San Diego o/u 50.5
The Ravens have been terrible this season but Vegas seems to think this game is going to be a complete shootout. A massive O/U and a tiny point spread would indicate plenty of points to go around. Joe Flacco ($5,500) is volatile, but plays well at home so he is in play this week. My favorite Raven has to be Justin Forsett ($6,100). Forsett has been solid, racking up 78 DraftKings points in the last four weeks. There’s no better matchup than SD who’s allowed the most DraftKings points to opposing RBs this season.
The hype train on Philip Rivers ($6,600) continues and it should! Rivers is on pace to break the single season passing yards record, which is almost unfathomable to think about. Rivers has four straight games of 24+ DraftKings points including 30.44 and 31.12 in his last two. The Chargers are certainly not afraid to throw the ball as Rivers has attempted 48, 65 and 58 passes in the last three outings. He’s now stepping into the best matchup in the league as the Ravens have allowed more yards to opposing QBs than any team in the league.
Speaking of great matchup, Keenan Allen ($7,700) has been the biggest beneficiary of Philip Rivers’ magical season. Allen is averaging 22.4 DraftKings points per game this season, which would make him WR3. He has been targeted 10+ times in five of seven games this season. The matchup with BAL is excellent as they have allowed the second most DraftKings points to opposing WRs.
Keep an eye on the status of Antonio Gates ($4,800) this week. If he doesn’t play, Ladarius Green ($3,000) may emerge as a top value play at the position. Green is only $3,000 and is averaging 14.1 DraftKings points per game. He’s caught exactly four or five balls in all but one game this season, including a TD in three of his last four. He has been a lock to score double digits this season, which would provide plenty of value for his measly price tag.
Atlanta (-7) vs. Tampa Bay o/u 49
I still cannot grasp why Matt Ryan ($7,100) is priced so highly. I understand it’s a good matchup, but he’s had good matchups for weeks and is only averaging 13.71 DraftKings points per game this month. He’s priced as QB4 this week despite being QB25 on the season! The Falcons are relying heavily on their running game via Davonta Freeman which is hurting Ryan’s value.
Julio Jones ($9,200) is the chalk WR of the week. The second highest scoring WR this year is essentially un-stoppable and he can still score plenty of points even when QB Matt Ryan struggles. Jones has scored 56 DraftKings points over the last three games and gets an excellent matchup with Tampa Bay who has allowed the 5th most DraftKings points to opposing WRs.
Doug Martin ($5,500) is back, baby! Three massive weeks in a row (like Gurley), but a much more reasonable price. Games of 28.3 39.8 and 23.1 in that span and his price has only crept up to $5,500. Martin has tacked on 11 catches in those three weeks and has snapped off at least 106 yards in each game on the ground. Only one team gives up more DraftKings points to opposing RBs than the Falcons, so expect another big day for Martin.
Mike Evans ($6,800) had a massive 8-164-1 game out of the BYE last week and he could be in line for another massive game this week. His counterpart, Vincent Jackson, is dealing with a knee injury that has him doubtful in this contest. If V-Jax misses this game, that should provide an influx of targets for Evans. It’s clear that the relationship between QB Jameis Winston and Evans is getting stronger every week and there is good gamescript this week as well. The Bucs are 7 point underdogs in a game with a high O/U. There should be plenty of passing opportunities for Tampa Bay.
A few factors have to come together, but if they do, Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($2,800) could be one of the best TE values of the week. ASJ has been practicing this week after missing four straight games. If he is able to suit up and Vincent Jackson doesn’t play, ASJ will be thrusted into the role of the second receiving target in a game where we expect Jameis Winston to throw a ton. ASJ scored 31 DraftKings points in Week 1 this season and has only played in two games.
New Orleans (-3) vs. New York Giants o/u 49
Here’s a common theme. A former stud QB who is priced as low as he’s been all season. That certainly applies to Drew Brees ($6,700) who gets another discount after a sub-par week. We’ve beat this to death, but the yards are not a problem for Brees. He’s averaging 311 yards per game which is 3rd best in the league. It’s the fact that he’s only thrown more than one TD in two games this season and he’s never thrown for more than two. Another plus matchup, at home, against NYG. He just feels like a resonably priced GPP option because I still feel that upside is there if things just slightly improve in the redzone.
It’s pretty amazing that Mark Ingram’s ($6,400) price hasn’t jumped any higher than it currently stands. He has now scored 18+ DraftKings points in 5 of 7 games this season and dropped 25.8 last week despite teammate Khiry Robinson snatching two TDs away from him. Ingram is running with purpose, involved in the passing game and should continue to see the goal-line rushes (despite Robinson last week). That’s a killer combination for only $6,400 as he faces off with the 8th worst rush defense in the league.
You down with ODB? I love Odell Beckham Jr ($8,500) this week and every week. He is more volatile than guys like Julio Jones, but his upside is probably the highest in the league. He’s the only receiving threat on a team that is going to have to throw a lot in this game. Vegas is predicting a high scoring shootout which is right up the alley for ODB. This is the first time he was a full participant in practice since Week 5, so it looks like the hamstring injury is behind him.
Pittsburgh (-1) vs. Cincinnati o/u 48
I’m willing to take any risk involving Ben Roethlisberger ($6,700) this week. He has been solid in the 2.5 games he played this season. He was one of the most efficient QBs in terms of Points Per Dropback and has one of the deepest aDOT’s in the league. He averaged 27.85 DraftKings points per game in the two games he started (and finished) this season. It’s obviously a small sample size, but would be good for the 2nd best average in the league behind only Tom Brady. Keep an eye on his status, but I plan on firing him up if he plays. As Rotoworld notes, the Saints have surrendered six TDs to WRs in the last four games.
I am hoping that Big Ben suits up this week so I can fire up Antonio Brown ($7,800). AB had dismal results with Mike Vick under center, but his upside is as high as any WR. He’s received a significant discount over his Week 4 price ($9,200), meaning you can get one of the league’s best WRs priced as WR7.
Tyler Eifert ($5,300) has as much upside as any TE in the league. He’s coming off two solid games of 29 and 13 DraftKings points and is now averaging 16.9 on the season. I like his prospects coming off a BYE week as Cincy should be prepared and clicking on all cylinders against division rival Pittsburgh this week. The Steelers have been miserable against TEs, allowing the third most points to the position.
It’s probably worth noting that Marvin Jones ($4,200) is quietly having a solid season. He’s now scored 11+ points in four of the last five games including 24.5 in their last game. He’s certainly not going to score like that every week, but it’s worth him being on your radar for his tremendous upside. All CIN WRs are in a plus matchup with PIT who has surrendered the 8th most DraftKings points to opposing WRs. If you’re stuck in this price range, Jones should be servicable.
Arizona (-6) @ Cleveland o/u 46
Chris Johnson ($4,600) is a little hard to figure out right now. His statline of 18-122-1 from last week looks great, but half of that yardage came on a really flukey 62 yard run. The week before that he was completely bottled up and only managed 40 yards on 14 carries. I don’t believe he can continue to sustain the success he had earlier in the season, but this week is another prime matchup. The Browns have surrendered the most rushing yards per game this season and Arizona is a sizable favorite which would indicate a heavy workload for CJ. I am not buying long term, but he’s a very good value play for Week 8.
As much as I love Larry Fitzgerald ($7,700), he is trending in the wrong direction. His price is as high as it’s been all season and he hasn’t scored more than 17.3 DraftKings points in any of his last four games and averaging only 10.4 points per game in that span. He’s going to be hard pressed to reach value, needing at least 23.1 DraftKings points, which he’s only done twice this year. The Browns secondary isn’t formidable, but the way teams have been beating them has been on the ground. That’s led to the Browns surrendering the 12th fewest DraftKings points to opposing WRs.
If Johnny Manziel starts for CLE, Travis Benjamin ($5,300) becomes a little more interesting. Benjamin had two of his best games this season with Manziel under center. They are both big-play type players and Manziel is not afraid to chuck it deep. That’s where Benjamin can do a lot of damage quickly and could be a nice contrarian play in this price range. With the Browns listed as a six point underdog, there should be plenty of passing opportunities for whoever the CLE QB will be.
Speaking of pass attempts, Duke Johnson Jr. ($4,200) has been heavily involved in the passing game, hauling in 31 catches in the past five weeks. In the full PPR format of DraftKings, Johnson can return his owners a ton of value at a low price point. Averaging 16.2 DK points per game in the last month, he’s gotten to the point where he’s more of a pass catcher than a running back, so any rush attempts he receives is just icing on the cake.
Carolina (-7) vs. Indianapolis o/u 46 (MNF)
I know the Colts have struggled, but I was a little surprised to see CAR as such a large favorite in this game. I believe that is a testament to how well QB Cam Newton ($6,800) has played in both real and fantasy football this season. Really the only thing that has hurt Cam recently has been his interceptions. He’s thrown 5 in the L2 games but has still scored 16.88 and 21.76 in those outings. If he can avoid the interceptions, his upside is even higher. The Colts are not a massive threat on defense, allowing the 9th most DraftKings points to opposing QBs this season. What I like about Newton is he should stay heavily involved in this offense no matter what the score is, since he runs the ball so often. Newton is one of my favorite GPP plays this week.
The Panthers have found success in giving the rock to Jonathan Stewart ($4,100) in the last two weeks. He’s received 20 and 24 carries in the last two, turning them into 21.6 and 15.5 DraftKings points respectively. Few teams have been worse versus RBs than the Colts this season (ranked 26th) so J-Stew is in a really great matchup. Gamescript would also indicate that Stewart could be in line for another 20+ carries this week, which would be plenty of opportunity for his small price tag.
Andrew Luck ($7,400) has been really bad in real life. Fortunately, for us, that doesn’t really mean much. He’s had to throw the ball 94 times in the last two weeks resulting in 30.98 and 29.02 DraftKings points. Luck can get hot at any time as indicated by his performance last week. He was basically scoreless through the first half before finishing with 29 points. That’s a nice safety net to have when rostering one of the most expensive QBs on the slate. Again, gamescript could indicate it will be another week of heavy usage for Andrew Luck. Despite the poor matchup with CAR, the sheer amount of passing attempts we could see from Luck this week would be worth a roster spot.
Kansas City (-4) vs. Detroit o/u 45.5 (London)
Charcandrick West ($4,700) put up the game we expected from him, but it was one week too late! A big 22-110-1 performance for 23.9 DraftKings points was just what the doctor ordered for West’s Fantasy relevance. Here’s an interesting note regarding West’s usage:
That’s a great sign moving forward. If he continues to see that type of workload, he’s going to be a steal at under $5K.
It’s reasonable to consider Matthew Stafford ($5,800) in GPPs this week. He’s way too volatile to be a cash game play, but his upside is well-known. A 37 point performance two weeks ago that included 400 passing yards and 4 TDs. The matchup with KC is sublime, as the Chiefs have been picked on by Quarterbacks every week this season. There should be plenty of opportunity as the Lions average 43 pass attempts per game, the 3rd highest total in the league.
It looks like Calvin Johnson ($7,900) is starting to hit his stride with 31.6 and 19.6 DraftKings points in the last two games and finding the endzone in both. We’ve talked before that there should be plenty of opportunity for Calvin as only two teams throw the ball more than the Lions. Finally, you can’t ask for a better matchup with KC who ranks dead last in points allowed to opposing WRs and it’s not particularly close.
Green Bay (-3) @ Denver o/u 45.5 (SNF)
I am really conflicted on Aaron Rodgers ($7,500) this week. On one hand, he’s the best quarterback in the league, coming off a BYE week and he is usually matchup proof. On the other hand, he has the worst matchup in the league, who’s also coming off a BYE and hasn’t scored more than 19.6 DraftKings points in any of his last three games. It’s certainly a risky proposition, but I am going to fade Rodgers this week. The Denver defense has had two weeks to prepare for Rodgers and they haven’t allowed any QB to score more than 16.06 points in a game this season and are averaging just 10.84 points against, which is BY FAR the best in the league.
Despite the bleak outlook for Rodgers, I am as optimistic as I’ve been on Randall Cobb ($7,000) in quite some time. A BYE week was just what the doctor ordered and Cobb has not appeared on the injury report this week for the first time all season. He is also the cheapest he has been all season long. The BYE week was good for teammate Davante Adams as well, who looks like he’s on pace to play this week. That means that defenses won’t be able to focus on Cobb nearly as much as they have in previous weeks. This is still a high total game and WRs can have outstanding outings even if their QBs struggle. Cobb would make for a contrarian play this week.
I’ll just go down with the ship on this one. It’s worth noting that Peyton Manning ($6,400) is also the cheapest he’s been all season and way down from his opening week price of $8,200. Manning hit seven different receivers last week which is vintage Peyton. If Manning can’t get it going in this game, which has a big total, off the BYE, in a plus matchup I promise I’ll never write about him again.
NY Jets (-3) @ Oakland o/u 44
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,200) has been one of the safest QBs this season. Here are his value returns this season: 3x, 3x, 3x, 3x, 5x, 4x. That’s about as good as it gets. He has a great chemistry with both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and has benefitted from a power run game that has opened up the entire playbook. The Raiders have surrendered the 8th more DraftKings points to opposing QBs. As a small favorite, Fitzpatrick should be in line for another solid day.
We knew it was going to be tough sledding last week for Chris Ivory ($6,000) with a poor matchup and gameflow. He still found the endzone through the air to salvage his fantasy day despite not reaching full value. The script has flipped in this game as Ivory will see a much better gameflow and matchup with the Raiders. OAK is 21st in the league in points allowed to RBs. Ivory should be a lock for 20 carries and a few catches as well. Fire him up!
Both Brandon Marshall ($7,600) and Eric Decker ($5,300) are firmly in play.They simply dominate the targets on this team, garnering 59 and 40 looks respectively. The next closest WR is Quincy Enuwa with only 17. I expect Decker to be much less owned than Marshall since Decker has been limited at practice this week and is currently carrying a Questionable designation on DraftKings. Last week was the first week that Decker didn’t find the endzone, but he racked up 94 yards on six catches.
All around this is a really poor matchup for the Raiders. The Jets have been stout defensively this season. They’ve only surrendered the 4th fewest points to QBs, the fewest to RBs and the 7th fewest to WRs. The only player I would consider having any exposure to (and it would be a small amount) would be Amari Cooper ($6,700). He’s just an all-world talent that can break off a huge play at any time. I would never roster him in a cash game, but more as a GPP flier.
Chicago (-1) vs. Minnesota o/u 42.5
There is so much value at RB this week that many might overlook Matt Forte ($7,300). Forte is incredibly consistent and has scored 18.5, 21.9 and 19.9 in his last three games. You know exactly what you’re going to get from Forte and that’s a ton of touches. The last four weeks have been touches of 27, 23, 29 and 20. In fact he’s only had less than 20 touches in one game this season and that was Week 2 where he had 19. I’d say he is a staple for cash games, but his projected low-ownership could make him a valuable GPP play.
Martellus Bennett ($4,900) is completely matchup dependent. Good thing for him, that he has an excellent matchup this week with MIN who has allowed the 5th most DraftKings points to opposing TEs. Bennett’s three best games this season have come against GB (16.5), OAK (25.3) and DET (11.9). It’s no surprise that all three of those teams are in the bottom 1/3 of the league at defending TEs.
It feels like the industry is down on Adrian Peterson ($7,400) right now. He’s been a little volatile and has popped up on the injury report with some weird “ailments”. That has made him fall out of favor a bit with fantasy owners, but AD is still an elite RB right now especially with how depleted the top end of this position currently stands. He’s an absolutely workhorse who you know is guaranteed to see 20 touches. It’s another common case that he’s the cheapest he’s been all season, so now is the time to buy.
I need to point out Stefon Diggs ($4,800) here as well. Diggs has exploded out of the gate in the first three games he’s played this season. He’s scored 14.7, 22.9 and 26.7 DraftKings points in the last three weeks while hauling in 6, 7 and 6 catches in that span. I wrote a few weeks ago that the Vikings were begging for someone to step up and be their WR1 and it certainly looks like Diggs has filled that role. Another great matchup with CHI who’s allowed the 8th most DraftKings points to opposing WRs.
Seattle (-6) @ Dallas o/u 41
I could copy and paste what I wrote about Marshawn Lynch ($7,100) last week and it would still fit. When the Seahawks are big favorites (or win big), Lynch has his best games. He didn’t disappoint last week, earning 27 carries and turning them into 21.2 DraftKings points. SEA is a solid six point favorite against DAL who’s been shredded by RBs this season (3rd most points allowed). Lynch is one of my favorite cash game RBs of the week.
It’s not a good matchup but Darren McFadden ($3,900) needs to be on your radar. He earned a ridiculous 29 carries last week and turned them into 152 yards and a TD. He’s been named the starter for this week against SEA and despite the poor matchup, anytime you can get a starter who’s staring down 20+ touches for under $4K, you need to take advantage. That situation does not present itself often.
Dollar for dollar, I love Jason Witten ($5,200). Witten is having a solid season and hauled in 6 catches for 73 yards in his first game with QB Matt Cassel. He led the team in receptions, targets and yards in that game and has plenty of upside left in him as he hasn’t caught a TD since Week 1. I would downgrade his value just a tick if WR Dez Bryant suits up, but Bryant is going to face one of the toughest matchups in the league while Witten should be able to take advantage of SEA. Only the Raiders have allowed more fantasy points to opposing TEs than the Seahawks.
St. Louis (-8) vs. San Francisco o/u 39.5
Todd Gurley ($6,300) is absolutely scorching and will be massively owned this week. Despite that, he’s still reasonably priced and should be in your lineups. Since taking over the workhorse role for the Rams, Gurley is averaging 25.1 DraftKings points per week in those three games. He’s seeing a heavy workload and gets the fourth best matchup against the Niners this week. Gurley should be a staple in your cash game lineups.
Other than Gurley, this game is a fantasy wasteland. 39.5 is one of the lowest O/Us we’ve had this season and with STL being such a large favorite, SF’s projected point total is also one of the lowest this season. Any exposure to these players (Anquan Boldin $4,400) would be nothing more than an ill-advised GPP flier. There is literally no indication for big time fantasy performances.
Houston (-4) vs. Tennessee o/u OFF
Alfred Blue ($3,500) should be a popular option this week despite a poor matchup. Houston would like to be a running team, but have had to throw quite a bit due to gamescript. This is one of the rare opportunities that they are favored which could allow them to keep the entire playbook open for the entire game. At 27 rushing attempts per game, Blue should see a large share of those carries. The TEN defense has been stout against the run, but he wouldn’t need a big performance to pay for himself.
Whoever plays QB for the Titans this week is going to step into the 3rd best matchup in the league. I’d prefer it be Marcus Mariota ($5,400) who has had a solid season, averaging 17.4 DraftKings points per game. I am not sure how long the Titans will wait before making an official decision, so keep a close eye on the situation. Mariota would be a cheap, GPP option.
It was encouraging to see Delanie Walker ($4,100) have another nice game last week, even with Zach Metterberger under center. The big TE turned in 7 catches for 55 yards. That now makes 26 catches over the last four weeks for Walker who owns 36 targets this season (2nd on the team) and is converting on 80% of them!
That’s all folks! Good Luck!