Week 8! How is it already Week 8? No complaints though! We still have a lot of football left and a NFL slate that we should be ready to smash. There is a lot of potential value due to RBs statuses in the air, but I won’t be covering the ifs and buts. In this piece, I will be highlighting the players that stand to benefit from matchups and recent trends. Also a few players to consider fading.
This will be a source for you to get all the necessary information that you might not recognize quickly looking through the slate early in the week. The goal of this first look is to help leave no stone unturned before the week kicks off. Being able to project for different potential outcomes of players and games is a crucial trait to have as a DFS player. Here is my first look and deep dive on the Week 8 slate:
Game Script Targets
Chiefs -19.5 (vs. NYJ)
RB Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell presents one of the biggest ceilings in the lower end salary range of RB this week ($4,600 DK / $6,000 FD). The game is not projected to be competitive at all (19.5-point favorites). This presents a perfect game to get Bell game reps and revenge against his former team. The Chiefs have the highest implied team total of 34 points. Bell will benefit from a more run orientated attack when the Chiefs are up big. When ahead 7+ this season, the Chiefs are 55% run compared to 44% in neutral game scripts. It was also a flukey game last week so tough to project anything concrete from that game. They were only able to run 51 plays on offense due to a pick 6 and kick return TD. They average 66 plays per 60 minutes on the season so a noticeable dip. The Chiefs should have no trouble moving the ball and in the red zone we could see Andy Reid dial up a TD for Bell to fulfill the revenge game.
49ers +3 (@ SEA)
WR Brandon Aiyuk (SF, @ SEA)
TE George Kittle (SF, @ SEA)
It is no surprise by now that the Seahawks are the premier matchup for passing offenses. They allow the most schedule adjusted FPTS/game to WRs and it is not close. The 49ers running back group is decimated and should go more pass heavy against a pass funnel defense. Deebo Samuel being out gives Brandon Aiyuk a chance at a 20%+ target share here. Deebo had led the 49ers in WR targets the past 3 games (19). Aiyuk has already been the leader in air yards market share leader on the 49ers (25%). To stack the 49ers passing attack, George Kittle is an easy second option alongside Aiyuk. He offers the highest ceiling by far at TE with Travis Kelce facing a negative game script. His biggest games this year have come against above average run defenses in the Eagles and Rams (43.1 + 26.9 DK FPTS). The two freak athletes Aiyuk and Kittle should be on full display this week.
Browns -2.5 (vs. LVR)
RB Kareem Hunt (CLE, vs. LVR)
WR Jarvis Landry (CLE, vs. LVR)
TE Harrison Bryant (CLE, vs. LVR)
To unlock the Browns offense maybe all it took was an injury to… Odell Beckham?
Cleveland Browns w/ Odell Beckham Jr.
On the field: +0.02 Passing EPA/Play
Off the field: +0.27 Passing EPA/Play Diff: -0.25
It also helped them to unlock Harrison Bryant who has looked like an absolute steal in the 4th round of the draft this year. Despite having a split in routes with David Njoku, he made his case for the lionshare moving forward. He was one of the most efficient tight ends this past week with 3.29 yards/route. Bryant has been used as a bigger focal point in the red zone as well. 3 of his 18 targets on the season have come in the red zone. In comparison, Austin Hooper has only 2 red zone targets on the season. They definitely have the urge to get him involved more on those higher fantasy upside targets compared to Hooper.
The Odell injury will also trickle down more available targets to Kareem Hunt and Jarvis Landry. Odell led the way in target share (22.1%) and air yards share (34.1%). Jarvis has had only one game this season with more than 6 targets so his ceiling opens up. Hunt draws one of the best matchups you can ask for at RB with the Raiders allowing the most schedule adjusted FPTS/game to the position.
WR Keenan Allen (LAC, @ DEN)
There aren’t many people that should be happier about the Justin Herbert draft pick than Keenan Allen. Excluding the Saints game where he left due to injury early, he has seen 10+ targets each game with Herbert starting. He has averaged 20.8 FPTS/game in those games. On the season he has the 2nd highest target share (30.6%) and the 2nd highest target/route rate (0.31). He draws a beatable matchup against Bryce Callahan in the slot and Herbert should continue to be locked onto him.
WR Tyler Lockett (SEA, vs. SF)
Jason Verrett has quietly been a lockdown cornerback for the 49ers this season. It remains to be seen if he can shut down D.K. Metcalf to the extent Patrick Peterson was able to. However, there is no arguing that he has been the best cornerback on the team. Since he took over in Week 3 as a starter he has allowed the 3rd fewest yards/snap (0.3), 2nd fewest receptions/snap and a 23.2 passer rating. The Seahawks already have the 2nd highest pass rate in neutral game scripts (62%) and with how banged up they are at RB we could see a higher rate given it is a positive or neutral game script.
RB Jonathan Taylor (IND, @ DET)
Taylor is hurt by his limited role in the receiving game but has a more positive game script against the Lions (3-point favorites). Running backs against the Lions are getting Top 10 rushing yards per game (90.8) and Top 10 FPTS/game on the ground (11.8). Taylor has had a strong grasp on the rushing market share over the past two weeks. His 82.8% rushing share could translate to 20+ touches this week in a game that goes to projected script. Off the bye week the Colts should have a game plan focused on getting their 2nd round draft pick featured.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC, vs. NYJ)
It will be tough for Le’Veon Bell and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to both hit value. My exposure will be on Bell over CEH with the higher probability of hitting value. As mentioned above, even if the Chiefs view CEH as the featured back going forward this game will not be competitive. It is the perfect opportunity to get Bell comfortable in the offense. Bell finished with two less carries in his first game on the Chiefs. The lessened snap share and touches upside make CEH a risky proposition and especially in this game environment.
WR Stefon Diggs (BUF, vs. NE)
The Patriots have been a disaster over the past few weeks but what remains true is that they have an elite secondary. They have not been as dominant at limiting WRs looking at schedule adjusted FPTS/game allowed, but are still capable with the 17th most allowed. The game overall is one of the worst game environments for fantasy. The over/under is the lowest on the slate (43 O/U) and the Patriots run a below average pace of play and run heavy offense. Diggs efficiency has waned the past two games as well with 4.4 and 5.8 yards/targets in each game. With him being the clear #1 in the passing attack the Patriots defense should look to limit him with the safeties paying most attention to him.
WR DeVante Parker (MIA, vs. LAR)
A new quarterback taking over the offense can adjust how we perceive the fantasy value of players. We have seen over the course of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career that he can boost the fantasy production of the top targets on the team, but we have no data on Tua Tagovailoa. He could develop a better chemistry with Preston Williams, Mike Gesicki or struggle out of the gate hurting the whole offense overall. It is a tough matchup to draw in his NFL debut. The Rams are allowing the lowest YPA (6.48) and WRs are scoring the 2nd fewest schedule adjusted FPTS/game. Parker could draw one of the toughest shadow cornerback assignments in Jalen Ramsey.
Pace of Play
Colts (@ DET) - Colts average neutral game script pace (16th) -> Lions 7th fastest
Dolphins (vs. LAR) - Dolphins 2nd slowest neutral game pace -> Rams 19th fastest
49ers (@ SEA) - Seahawks 11th fastest neutral game pace -> 49ers 8th slowest
Seahawks (vs. SF) - 49ers bottom 10 pace of play and Seahawks are 11th fastest in neutral game pace (3-point spread game)
Bills (vs. NE) - Patriots 50% run rate in neutral game script (3rd highest) and 12th slowest pace
Projected Fast Pace Game:
Titans vs Bengals - Both teams Top 10 in neutral game script pace (Over/Under of 54.5)