Welcome to Week 8 of the NFL! We are finally starting to see some usable sample sizes and learning how coaches will be using their players in high leverage situations. Also the BYE weeks add an extra dynamic when it comes to roster construction and recency biases.
Let’s look at the last three weeks of the season to find some players who are scorching hot right now. Here are the QBs:
Brady, Luck, Mariota, Dalton, Stafford. Wait a minute, one of those is not like the other. That’s right, Marcus Mariota has scored the 3rd most DraftKings points over the last three weeks. He hasn’t cracked 300 yards in any of those games, but has accounted for nine TDs and rushed for 60+ yards in two games. His dual-threat and ability to run the ball increases his ceiling significantly. I don’t love that he’s going to have to play on short rest this Thursday, but the matchup with Jacksonville is one of the best you can ask for. Also, with last week’s game at home as well as this one, there was no travel required for Tennessee.
We have to continue to point out the Patriots running backs. James White and LeGarrette Blount, who rank 8th and 9th in DraftKings points scored in the last three weeks. Two of the other backs ahead of them (Ajayi and Bell) will be on a BYE this week. Blount is getting nearly all the work on the ground as well as the goal line touches while White is a PPR play thanks to his ability to catch the rock. New England enters this game as a solid six point favorite over Buffalo, a team that has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing RBs.
There aren’t too many surprises at the WR position in terms of who is trending upwards. You’re looking at Hilton, Beckham and the Packers WRs. The most interesting option could be Tyrell Williams who has scored 55.5 DraftKings points over the L3, 10th in the league. He tacked on 24 and 25.7 DraftKings points in two of those games and has been a solid option for QB Philip Rivers this season. The matchup with Denver is less than ideal, but the good news is that San Diego should have to throw a ton to stay in this game.
At tight end, Rob Gronkowski is literally lapping the field in the L3 department. His 70.4 DraftKings points is nearly 25 more than second place (Greg Olsen). In Olsen’s defense, he had a BYE last week and hasn’t scored less than 12.4 DraftKings points in any game this season. Olsen is in “the worst” matchup for TEs, but he’s likely matchup proof, making him a solid GPP play.
Arizona looks like the chalk defense, scoring 36 DraftKings points over the last three weeks (2nd most). The Cards DST can do it all! They’ve forced 2+ fumbles in four of seven, have two interceptions in two of three and are averaging nearly three sacks a game. They will have to battle Carolina who is hoping to spend the BYE week getting right, but the Panthers have surrendered the third most points to opposing defenses.
When you look at last week’s target numbers, there’s a lot that jumps off the screen. Obviously three Packers in the top five thanks to Aaron Rodgers throwing it 56 times. How about Michael Thomas who saw 14 (!!) targets last week? The Saints rookie is proving to be an electric offensive option for QB Drew Brees. Thomas has scored double digit DraftKings points in all but one game this season (scored 9.6 in the other) and is coming off games of 26 and 18.8 DraftKings points. Week 7 marked the third time in four games that Thomas has seen 9+ targets. It’s not a great matchup with Seattle (noticing a trend here?) but Vegas still has this game listed with a 48 o/u, which is 4th highest on the slate.
Let’s look at the more valuable Redzone Targets. It continues to be the Jack Doyle show this week assuming Dwayne Allen misses another week. Doyle’s five redzone targets were the most for a non-Packer. He converted on four of those, including a TD. The only one he didn’t catch was another likely TD which slipped through his hands. He played 90% of snaps and Andrew Luck looked his way early and often.
Don’t Give Up On Me Just Yet!
I’m not ready to give up on Allen Robinson just yet. He’s having a pretty dismal season, especially compared to his expectations coming into the year. He’s scored just 10.8 DraftKings points combined in the last two games, but I’m still optimistic. The two games prior to those, he amassed 41.2 DraftKings points so his year hasn’t been a complete wash. He still ranks 20th in the league in targets, it’s just been converting on those targets that’s the issue. A date with Tennessee could be just what the doctor ordered.
Another “buy low” candidate is Julian Edelman. He hasn’t found the endzone yet this season, but he’s seen 27 targets in the three games since Tom Brady has returned. We know how good Brady has been this year so it’s only a matter of time before Edelman gets loose. Don’t expect him to continue without a TD for too much longer.
The return of Jay Cutler should benefit Alshon Jeffery more than anyone. In the only full game that Cutler played this season, Alshon scored 17.5 DraftKings points. That also happens to be his highest scoring game of the year. If you want to look back to last season’s matchup with the Vikings, Alshon went nuts for 30.6 DraftKings points thanks to 10 catches, 116 yards and a TD. This is the cheapest I can ever remember Jeffery but after a dismal start, I think the only place he can go…is up!
The outlook moving forward for Ty Montgomery is a little murky. He was used last week as a RB, Monty saw nine rushes and converted for 60 yards. He also piled on 10 catches for another 66 yards. The Packers did add Knile Davis to the roster which could remove some backfield opportunity for Montgomery, but it’s a bit too early to tell. It appears that Montgomery will see at least a few rushing attempts but still be involved in the passing game. That passing game has targeted him 25 times in the last two weeks and will go up against the Falcons secondary in the game with the highest total on the board.
I’m buying in on Matt Forte again this week for a few reasons. First off, in games that the Jets are either favored or just slight underdogs, Forte has been awesome. He posted 20.5 DK points, 33.9 DK points and 33.4 DK points with lines of -1, +1 and -2.5 respectively. The games that Forte has struggled have been as bigger dogs and the offense being forced to throw the ball. The Jets should be favored this week against the Cleveland Browns who are in the bottom third of the league in stopping fantasy RBs. Finally, the Jets are leaning on Forte for those valuable redzone rushes. Forte ranks 4th in the league with 25 redzone rushes.
Marqise Lee is coming off a career game last week against Oakland. He notched 107 yards on seven catches, for 20.7 DraftKings points. If you’re not buying Allen Robinson bouncing back, then consider Lee. He’s seen at least six targets in five straight games and unlike his teammates, is converting those targets at a very high clip. He’s yet to score a TD which will come soon if he keeps this up.
We live in a world where Matt Asiata is a really good play. Keep a close eye on the injury reports out of Minnesota, because if McKinnon sits, Asiata should see all the workload on the ground. He converted 12 carries for 55 yards last week and has always been a very capable pass catcher. Additionally, he should monopolize all the redzone and goal-line carries.
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