Week 8 DraftKings and FanDuel NFL picks are here as Collin Hulbert attempts to put together another strong lineup.
Week 8 is upon us. There were a lot of the same storylines this week as weeks prior. We had a few shootouts, another overtime for the Browns, and another massive game for Mitch Trubisky. Most notably, Vegas took a big hit on the weekend’s action. As for us, we had another good week.
Despite some big performances from all four of our running backs (Barkley, Hunt, Cohen, Lindsay), the anemic efforts from Boyd, Dalton, and Taylor Gabriel were enough to keep us from surpassing the stellar Week 6 average. Hunt (34) was our highest scoring back, while Lindsay (16) was our lowest. Baker Mayfield turned in a great value performance with 21 points. Josh Gordon got us a healthy 12 points and 100 yards for only $5,600 on DraftKings. The Rams absolutely crushed it on defense for us this week with 23 points. We selected a cheaper set of tight ends to promote in Week 7 and it paid off. All three tight ends either scored a touchdown or netted 100 yards as we capped off another strong week.
A look ahead to Week 8
This week, we are going to go out on a limb in a few areas and focus on a core group of players by which we will be constructing our lineups. I’m avoiding most of the Monday night matchup in my picks because I like to focus on the Sunday games to keep things simple. For those who want the full spectrum, I’ll provide some quick analysis on Monday’s game if you fancy a try at it.
Before we get into the week, I’m going to include one additional source in some of my breakdowns. This source is the player prop line from a few online sites. One secret to my success this season has been my careful consideration of the Vegas player prop lines for individual games. In case you aren’t familiar, player props are prop bets based on the performance of a single player in a game. These lines are released by various sites and sportsbooks and tend to be even more accurate than most fantasy analysts. When I make my picks in my column each week, I check out many of the player props as a means of determining how I choose some of my picks for the week. It’s a great way to cut through some of the fog and get some clear answers for game day. Throughout the weekly selections, I might reference these prop lines as a means to reassure you of the pick.
Monday night in brief
Monday’s Bills-Patriots matchup is likely going to be a terribly one-sided game. The Pats will be throwing early as Sony Michel’s knee injury will affect their offensive balance. Kenjon Barner should get a healthy dose of carries as a fill-in for Michel, but it shouldn’t have much of an impact on James White’s workload. I anticipate the Pats getting a lead by which to work in Barner as the cruise to a smooth victory. However, this is the NFL, so we don’t really know how it’s going to pan out.
The 37-5 drubbing from the Colts last week really exposed the offensive impotence of Buffalo, but the Buffalo defense has been strong in spurts this season, so it’s certainly possible for Brady to stay busy throughout the game. I would certainly endorse a Brady start this week, as well as James White. I just think there are better options with games more likely to develop into shootouts.
As it is set every week, the prices on FanDuel and DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.
Without further delay, let’s get right into Week 8.
|2018 WSOP Europe Main Event Chip Leaders (End of Day 5)|
|Position||Player||Chips||Lifetime Winnings (from Hendon Mob)|
Pat Mahomes (DK-$7,000/FD-$10,200)
As the Chiefs continued to pass the ball late in the game against the Bengals, I felt no sorrow for Andy Dalton and company. The Bengals came out lifeless, and Andy Dalton zeroed-in on one receiver the entire game. The Bengals laid down and took a beating so badly, it should’ve been a pay-per-view event. The best part was, the Chiefs did not take their foot off the gas. For that reason, I expect Mahomes to get a good amount of work in this one.
I am slightly worried the Broncos won’t be able to keep up, but last week quelled some of the worries I have on the usage dropping in a positive game script. This is a safe pick, albeit one with a lower ceiling than most of his matchups. Due to Denver’s inability to stop running backs this season, there is some concern Kareem Hunt will amass a horde of points via big runs. At the very least, Mahomes should have a high floor in this one at home.
Mitch Trubisky (DK-$6,100/FD-$8,200)
I never expected I’d say there would be a stretch of three games in which Mitch Trubisky averaged 36 points this season. Alas, I was mistaken. Mitch has really begun to flourish under Matt Nagy’s direction this season. It’s fairly safe to expect a high floor this week when Trubisky faces the Jets’ 21st ranked passing defense. Much of Mitch’s success has been his high rushing output each week, so it’s probable we see that trend continue as the Jets love to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
Expect Nagy to continue involving Cohen in this up-tempo offense, as the recent success would indicate the Bears are making a successful transition away from their previous ground and pound approach. I like Trubisky at home here.
Jameis Winston (DK-$6,000/FD-$8,300)
Since re-capturing the starting job in Tampa, Jameis Winston has been on fire. Though his last two matchups were ideal for big outputs, Winston is taking advantage of the offensive scheming in Tampa. This week, Jameis faces the 29th ranked passing defense in the Bengals, on the road. It should be noted that Winston’s estimate for the week, according to some Vegas props, is 330 yards passing and 2.8 Touchdowns. It’s slightly lower than his projection from a week ago, but still a high estimate.
I anticipate this game turning into a shootout. On the road, I expect the Bucs will be struggling to slow this balanced Bengals attack , assuming they show up. Winston is going to stay busy in this one. It looks to be another big week for Winston.
Kirk Cousins (DK-$5,900/FD-$8,900)
I have no idea why Cousins is priced so low on DraftKings. Cousins will face the 28th ranked passing defense, New Orleans, this week. No matter who the Vikings have played this season, they have given Cousins plenty of work throughout the game. In a good matchup against a strong Saints offense, I think Cousins will be looking to his favorite target, Adam Thielen, throughout the contest.
The Saints have made improvements on defense as the season has progressed, but there are still some exploitable matchups the Vikings are sure to find when the teams take the field this weekend. I like the point potential in this game and Vegas does too, with the line sitting at a 52.5. There should be plenty of scoring to keep this game entertaining. A stacking opportunity with Thielen will be a pretty safe bet this week.
James Conner (DK-$7,500/FD-$8,000)
It’s really nice, as a Conner owner in fantasy, to hear Leveon Bell has yet to report to the Steelers. With each week, Conner continues to be productive and fade the noise of the Bell situation. Following their bye week, the Steelers are at home against the Browns. In their first matchup this season, Conner set the Browns ablaze with a hot Week 1 performance. He comes into Week 8 well rested and playing at the friendly confines of Heinz Field. With the Browns struggling last weekend against the potent Bucs offense, I expect much of the same this week.
Conner should get plenty of usage in this one, and he’s going for a reasonable price considering the Browns are 28th against running backs this season.
Kareem Hunt (DK-$7,100/FD-$8,100)
After last week’s massacre against the Bengals, I’m shocked Hunt is going for so little. The Broncos are just two weeks removed from allowing back-to-back 200-yard rushers and the Chiefs high-powered offense gets its second shot at the Broncos this week at Arrowhead. Earlier in the year, Hunt rushed for 125 yards on 19 carries and added 54 yards on 3 receptions. The Broncos are 31st against the run this season. This is a no-brainer. Get Hunt into your lineup and enjoy the fireworks this week.
Marlon Mack (DK-$5,400/FD-$6,700)
The Raiders just lost their best receiver to a trade. They lost their best running back to an injury. They rank 27th against the run, and their quarterback has completed one pass over ten yards in the past two weeks. Not only do I like the Colts here, I think the game script should be positive enough throughout the game to allow Marlon Mack
Adam Thielen (DK-$8,700/FD-$8,800)
Every week Adam Thielen puts up 100 yards and a score, I try to act surprised. The cold, hard truth is that I haven’t been very surprised about the connection between Thielen and Cousins. Their consistency is exactly the type of thing one hopes for each week in their fantasy team. Instead of wondering when the light will go out in this bright connection, we should appreciate the magic and just embrace it. Get Adam Thielen into your lineup anytime you feel uncertain about where to put your receiver money. A 52 point line in this game is reason enough to start Thielen, as it’s likely going to be another successful outing for the best receiver in fantasy.
Emmanuel Sanders (DK-$6,500/FD-$7,200)
I keep convincing myself Emmanuel Sanders can’t be trusted. I’m being consistently proven he can be trusted, every week now. Sanders has quietly crept close to the top of the rankings this season, currently third among fantasy receivers, Sanders has a date with a defense that has only surrendered one touchdown to a receiver since Week 4. That being said, the Chiefs defense is still ranked 31st against the pass and Sanders is too explosive to be corralled for an entire game. Though I will say his ceiling isn’t especially high, Sanders is a good pick for the value this week.
Desean Jackson (DK-$5,300/FD-$6,400)
The player prop line for Jackson this week is very enticing for those considering the veteran speedster. With a line of around 74 yards, Vegas is expecting Desean to get plenty of opportunities this week against the feeble Bengals secondary. With the Bengals ranked 29th against the pass, the Bucs have a long list of guys who can take advantage of this secondary. Considering the lack of a reliable running game, the Bucs will take to the air quite a bit on Sunday, and Desean Jackson should see some solid work this week. He has a very high ceiling this week.
Travis Kelce (DK-$6,800/FD-$7,300)
I don’t feel amazing about any of the tight ends this week. However, you don’t have to feel good about Travis Kelce’s matchups. He’s such an important piece to that offense, much like Ertz is in Philly. With Kelce, he’s always going to be good value when compared to the more volatile tight ends in football. With his propensity to go off in bad matchup weeks, he makes for a good value play when compared to receivers at the same price. This week, Kelce faces the 19th ranked defense against tight ends.
It’s a lovely matchup for Kelce when you consider just how bad the Broncos are against running backs. There will be some bad matchups Kelce can exploit this week.
David Njoku (DK-$4,600/FD-$5,700)
Njoku came through in last week’s picks. He had a big game, as expected, against a vulnerable Bucs secondary. This week, he has a very similar matchup with Pittsburgh hosting the Browns. Njoku’s six targets were second behind Jarvis Landry, but the Steelers have been pretty good about slowing down the opposing team’s top receiver. With the focus on Jarvis Landry this week and a likely negative game script, Njoku should get a load of targets against a defense ranked 28th versus the tight end.
CJ Uzomah (DK-$3,500/FD-$5,400)
The Bengals were terrible against the Chiefs. Uzomah found the end zone, but the majority of the action was focused on AJ Green (14 targets). It was their first real stinker in a long time, so I’m expecting a rebound at home versus a weak defense in the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Bucs rank 31st in passing defense, so opportunities will be there for points. As long as Andy Dalton doesn’t fixate himself on AJ Green for the entire game again, the Bengals should be in line for a great bounce-back game this week. Though his overall volume was low last week, Uzomah is a strong red-zone option as he is replacing Eifert and Croft in an offense designed to target big bodied players in the red-zone.
Bears D (DK-$4,100/FD-$5,000)
The Bears are undoubtedly the top pick this week, which may come as a surprise when one considers the Patriots are playing Buffalo. Regardless, the Jets have been prone to turning the ball over and lost Bilal Powell to the Injured Reserve yesterday. With limited options in the passing game, the Jets will be fighting an uphill battle for four quarters. I like the Bears to pressure the Jets heavily in this game. The defensive options aren’t great this week, so the Bears are a worth the heavy price.
Patriots D (DK-$3,500/FD-$4,600)
The Bills just lost to the Colts, 37-5, with the Colts DFS defencing scoring 19 at FanDuel in the contest. Last week, the Patriots defense had two scores in their victory over the Bears. With Derek Anderson back at quarterback this week, there will be plenty of chances for the Patriots defense to feast, again.
Steelers D (DK-$2,300/FD-$3,800)
The Steelers host the Browns at home this week. The Browns have had some issues lately with Baker Mayfield holding the ball too long. The Browns are also prone to turning the ball over since Baker became the starter. For the price and situation, the Steelers have good value this week. If you’re short on your budget, plug them in.
Jalen Richard (DK-$4,200/FD-$5,700)
Lynch is headed to the IR, so there’s now a void in the backfield for the Raiders. The “first option” is Doug Martin, since he’s more of a first and second down option than Richard. The problem is, Martin has been awful in limited action this season. Richard is quick and is talented as a receiving back. With the Colts in town, Martin might get more work early, but Richard will be getting more touches as the game goes on. He’s a great value buy this week.
Raheem Mostert (DK-$3,800/FD-$5,600)
Mostert was the only other bright spot last week aside from George Kittle. If Breida is ruled out this week, Mostert is an amazing value. Put him in your lineup while he’s cheap and swap him out later if Breida does indeed play. I can see the 49ers playing Mostert and being cautious with Breida. If this happens, Mostert carries massive upside in a matchup against the league’s worst rushing defense. I wouldn’t worry too much about Alfred Morris, seeing as how he’s been less and less effective as the season has gone on.
Chris Godwin (DK-$4,500/FD-$6,300)
Chris Godwin has been an ancillary target in a target-rich environment this season. His ceiling isn’t tremendously high because he’s not an elite physical threat on the field. He possesses good size and makes for a formidable outside receiver against any number two corner. In good matchups, he is a safe option. If you’re looking at a limited budget and want someone to give you a relatively high floor, look no further than Godwin. This week’s matchup against the Bengals will provide him with many opportunities to pick up chunk yardage and possible a score or two.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CollinHulbert