FanDuel Picks: Week 8 Edition
**REMINDER – FanDuel has eliminated the Monday Night Football game from their main slate tournaments. Therefore, I won’t be writing about any players in the Monday night game from here on out.**
Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a recent DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: I don’t believe there is one this week
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidates: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Matt Ryan vs GB, $8,500
Matt Ryan leads the league in passing yards and is tied for 2nd in TD passes. He will look to build on his great start this week at home against a Packers defense that will be without their top three cornerbacks. The Packers are only giving up the 18th most passing yards per game but I believe that stat is misleading. They had a bye in Week 4, they got bad Eli Manning in Week 5, the Cowboys ran all over them in Week 6, and Brian Hoyer got injured in Week 7. This will be the week the Packers banged up secondary will be exposed.
Andrew Luck vs KC, $7,900
Andrew Luck is 4th in passing yards per game and tied for 5th in TD passes. He’s been very good in 2016 and now gets a home matchup with a Chiefs defense giving up the 14th most passing yards per game. Plus, help is on the way as it sounds like solid #2 WR Donte Moncrief will return to the lineup this week.
Aaron Rodgers vs ATL, $8,800
The Green Bay Packers offense under Aaron Rodgers has generally operated with a solid running game which has somewhat forced Rodgers to accumulate fantasy points by being efficient with his passes. However, with Eddie Lacy and James Starks both out last week and the Packers essentially without a running game, we saw a different Aaron Rodgers. He attempted 56 passes, threw for 326 yards, and 3 TDs. Although I don’t think we see 56 pass attempts again, I believe we see the Packers offense take a similar approach again this week. Rodgers should use his increased volume to take advantage of a Falcons defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 3rd most passing TDs (15) given up.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Plays
Brock Osweiler vs DET, $6,600
Trust me, I get it. There’s no possible way you will feel good rostering Osweiler this week. However, let’s break this down a bit. Osweiler has had three tough road games this year against the Patriots, Vikings, and Broncos. Here are his FanDuel point totals in those games respectively: 8.14, 10.36, and 4.84. That’s awful but Osweiler has fared better at home where he is 4-0 this season. Here are his FanDuel point totals in those games: 17.64, 12.42, 17.56, and 17.36. He’s only failed to reach 17 points once at home and that is where he will be playing this week. Osweiler’s cheap salary and favorable matchup put him in play. He faces a Lions defense giving up the 10th most passing yards per game and that is tied for the most pass TDs (18) given up. They also look like they will be without their top CB Darius Slay this week as well. If your roster construction needs a cheap QB, consider Osweiler.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs CLE, $7,300
Of course Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting again and I’m still writing about him. It’s like an unwritten rule: Wherever he goes he must start. Whatever, I’ve come to terms with it. This week, Fitzpatrick gets a Browns defense giving up the 4th most passing yards per game and that is tied for the most passing TDs (18) given up.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
Ezekiel Elliott vs PHI, $8,500
Although the Eagles are only allowing the 19th most rushing yards per game, that stat seems to be misleading. They gave up 231 rushing yards to Matt Jones, Rob Kelly, and Chris Thompson just two weeks ago and another 98 yards to Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata last week. Ezekiel Elliott is already one of the best RBs in the league and the Cowboys offensive philosophy and strong offensive line only enhance his potential. Elliott leads the league in rushing yards per game. He’s been a monster this season and I expect that to continue on Sunday Night Football.
Devonta Freeman vs GB, $6,900
Devonta Freeman is 11th in rushing yards per game which is very impressive considering he’s been sharing carries with Tevin Coleman all season. We know Freeman is a very talented RB and his true upside could be unlocked this week as it sounds like Coleman is not going to play. Look no further than the four games Freeman played last year when Coleman wasn’t in the lineup. In those contests, Freeman averaged 22.5 rush attempts, 90.75 rushing yards, and a whopping 1.75 rush TDs. The matchup doesn’t make you salivate as the Packers are giving up the least amount of rushing yards per game. However, their schedule has been extremely favorable. The toughest test they’ve had so far was against Ezekiel Elliott in Week 6. Elliott ran for 157 yards on them. Volume = $ for RBs in DFS and that is exactly what Freeman will see this week at home in a game where a lot of points could be scored.
Christine Michael vs NO, $7,800
Before a tough matchup last week in Arizona, Christine Michael’s lowest FanDuel point total without Thomas Rawls in the lineup was 17.5 against the Jets a few weeks ago. Michael is in a great bounce back spot this week against a Saints defense giving up the 10th most rushing yards per game and the most rushing TDs (11).
Matt Forte vs CLE, $7,300
The Jets RB usage has been a mess this season. Either Matt Forte has been a workhorse or he’s been hardly relevant for fantasy purposes at all. Admittedly, we’re playing a bit of a guessing game when it comes to Forte’s usage. However, I believe he sees a ton of touches this week and I’ll tell you why. The Jets season has been a dumpster fire so far. They were on a four-game losing streak until getting a win last week in a game where Forte had 34 touches, 154 total yards, and 2 TDs. The only other game they’ve won all year was back in Week 2 where Forte had 32 touches, 109 total yards, and 3 TDs. The Jets have to start winning more games right now and I expect the coaching staff to realize Forte getting a large workload is a proven winning formula. I believe they lean on him this week especially considering all of the unrest at the QB position. Forte is a talented RB and should have no problem taking advantage of a Browns defense giving up the 2nd most rushing yards per game.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Play
Devontae Booker vs SD, $5,600
Devontae Booker is your clear cheap option at RB this week. C.J. Anderson will not play in this game making Booker Denver’s obvious feature RB. Booker showcased his talents last week in somewhat of a breakout game. He rushed 17 times for 83 yards and a TD against Houston while still sharing time with Anderson. He’s also a very capable pass catcher and should have a solid day against a Chargers defense that is tied for the 4th most rushing TDs (9) given up.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Julio Jones vs GB, $9,200
Julio Jones leads the league in receiving yards per game and has a solid matchup this week against a Packers defense that will be without their top three cornerbacks. Jones saw 15 targets and a 44.1% target share last week and since the Packers have nobody who can cover him, I expect the volume to be there again in this matchup. Plus, this game could become a Back and Forth Bonanza which would likely unlock Julio’s high upside.
Mike Evans vs OAK, $7,900
Mike Evans leads the league in targets per game with 12.2. That crazy high volume should help him have yet another good game against a Raiders defense giving up the most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 7th most passing TDs (13) given up.
DeAndre Hopkins vs DET, $7,600
DeAndre Hopkins is quietly 8th in the NFL in targets. Even better, he has seen 15 and 12 targets the last two weeks and gets to a face a Lions defense giving up the 10th most passing yards per game and that is tied for the most pass TDs (18) given up. Plus, Hopkins matchup looks like it just got easier as the Lions top CB Darius Slay will most likely miss this game due to injury. Yes, Hopkins is tied to Brock Osweiler and that isn’t going to excite anyone. Still, this seems like the week to roster Hopkins in DFS.
Randall Cobb vs ATL, $6,800
Randall Cobb is dealing with a hamstring injury so you’ll need to monitor the injury report. However, if Cobb plays he will be a great start in this matchup. Since the Packers Week 4 bye, Cobb has seen the most targets (36) in the league and he’s seen double-digit targets in all three games. Without a legit running game due to injuries, Cobb’s volume has increased as he is essentially being used as an extension of the running game. That should continue this week and Cobb has a favorable matchup against a Falcons defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 3rd most passing TDs (15) given up.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Play
Michael Thomas vs SEA, $5,700
Michael Thomas has a receiving TD or 100+ receiving yards in four straight games. He also led the Saints in targets last week with 13 and a 27.7% target share. It’s time to stop thinking of Thomas as the Saints “#3 WR.” He’s a very important part of the Saints offense and a case can be made that his role is only continuing to grow. The matchup isn’t a favorable one this week as the Seahawks only allow the 24th most passing yards per game. Still, the Saints are at home where Drew Brees thrives and Thomas is sure to be low owned.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Jimmy Graham vs NO, $6,700
REVENGE GAME ALERT. Jimmy Graham returns to New Orleans to face his old team for the first time and the data points to him having a very good game. Graham is 6th in the league in targets per game at the TE position despite starting the year off slow as he returned from his nasty knee injury of a year ago. Starting in Week 3, Graham hasn’t seen fewer than 8 targets in a game. Those targets have helped him catch at least 5 passes in every game during that stretch. Graham has been very much involved and now gets a Saints defense giving up the 3rd most passing yards per game.
Gary Barnidge vs NYJ, $5,000
Gary Barnidge has quietly been pretty consistent over his past four games. He’s gone over 50 receiving yards in all of them and now gets to face a Jets defense giving up the 7th most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 7th most passing TDs (13) given up. Even better, Barnidge’s best buddy Josh McCown is finally healthy again and will start at QB for the Browns on Sunday. Barnidge catches his first TD of the year this week. Mark it down.
Jack Doyle vs KC, $4,900
Jack Doyle is 6th in the league in catches and tied for first in TDs from the TE position this year despite sharing time with Dwayne Allen for most of the season. With Allen out last week, Doyle’s true upside was unlocked as he saw 10 targets and caught 9 balls for 78 yards and a TD. Doyle is a solid option yet again this week as Allen will miss another game and he has a matchup with a Chiefs defense giving up the 14th most passing yards per game.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Matt Bryant vs GB, $4,800
Matt Bryant has made the 6th most field goals in the league and only missed once on the year. He’s a great play this week at home in a game where a lot of points have the potential to be scored.
Adam Vinatieri vs KC, $5,100
Adam Vinatieri is tied for the most field goals made in the league and has not missed a kick all year. He should have another solid game this week at home against the Chiefs.
Brandon McManus vs SD, $4,800
The Broncos should put up points at home against a Chargers defense allowing the 12th most yards per game. However, Trevor Siemian could struggle getting the ball in the end zone which makes Brandon McManus a very intriguing play this week. He is tied for the 7th most makes this season and could get multiple field goal opportunities in this game.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Denver Broncos vs SD, $5,000
This is not a very good week for defenses. However, the Broncos are at home and were leading the league in sacks heading into Week 8 before Tennessee tied them on Thursday Night Football. This looks like a week where you might just want to fire up the Broncos.
Houston Texans vs DET, $4,300
Without J.J. Watt the Texans are #NotGood at stopping the run. Luckily for them, the Lions are not a good running team. They like to pass which plays right into the hands of Houston’s defense which has given up the 2nd least passing yards per game and only 5 passing TDs so far this season. There is potential here for some sacks and turnovers.