Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 8

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Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 8

After a very strong Week 7, I’m back with more recommendations for Week 8. I’m always trying to cherry-pick the options that truly stand out to me, so just because a player isn’t listed it doesn’t mean he’s a bad play. As always, check our DFS Projections and sort them by FPTS/$ to find the best values for your lineups.

I haven’t listed many dirt-cheap options because most of the time players have very low salaries for a reason, making them potentially riskier than the higher-end players. But starting this week I’m going to try to find some dirt cheap options worth getting behind for those looking for those types because there are always a ton of guys who land atop our DFS projections in terms of FPTS/$.

Here’s what I got for this week.

QUARTERBACKS

Aaron Rodgers (GB, vs. Min - $7600 on DK and $8400 on FanDuel) - He’s not an amazing value on either site and it is better on one FanDuel. It’s the state of the Viking secondary that gets Rodgers in the article this week. With CBs Mike Hughes and Holton Hill ruled out and cornerback Cam Dantzler placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, it looks like the Vikes will be down three of their top-2 corners, leaving rookie Jeff Gladney as the top guy. They have been playing a lot more man coverage this year, but considering how thinned out they are, I’d guess they play it safe with a lot of zone, and Rodgers kills zone. The Packers also won’t have Aaron Jones, so they probably won't be dominant on the ground. Rodgers is a good pick no matter against almost anyone right now. He has thrown for multiple TDs in five of his six games, including 364/4 against the Vikings back in the season opener. He’s thrown 4 TD passes in half his games, and he’s averaged 8.0 YPA or better in five of his six games. This certainly looks like another 3-4 TD game, even if they don’t get Allen Lazard back this week.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, at Sea - $5400 on DK and $6500 on FanDuel) - It should be very easy for Jimmy G to hit 3X his salary, so he makes the column this week because that’s my criteria for getting the picks right, and I want to be right. It may not be easy without Deebo Samuel, and we know they want to run the ball a lot and pick and choose their spots when they throw it. But we also know Garopollo can hang with anyone in a shootout, and this could be a shootout given the potency of the Seahawks offense. Neither Garopollo nor Russell Wilson did particularly well last year in this matchup, and you never know with divisional foes, but the 49er and Seahawk defenses were way better in 2019, and Seattle is down its top corner in Shaquill Griffin, and they have been giving up the second-most FPG to QBs this season (28.1) with Griffin in the lineup. Both teams have issues at RB, so it could be a throw-ball game, and if so Jimmy is a lock to get at least 16-17 DK points with 20+ point upside.

WEATHER GUY I LIKE **IF** CONDITIONS IMPROVE

Derek Carr (Cin, vs. Cle - $5500 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - He’s the top QB value on my board this week on DK and top-7 on both sites. I love the matchup, but we’re dealing with some rain and heavy winds, and I’m skeptical Carr can still perform in bad conditions. If the conditions do improve, then I’d like to back Carr. Not only do the Browns basically play without a free safety, opening them up to being vulnerable to big plays against what’s becoming a big-play offense for the Raiders, but they are also bad covering the slot, as Tyler Boyd absolutely crushed them last week; so Hunter Renfrow could be a large factor. Carr is also on a major roll, throwing for 260+ yards and 2-3 TDs in each of his last five games. The Browns have four different QBs to post 25+ FP in their six games, including last week when Joe Burrow threw for 400+ yards and three TDs against them. But again, this is a moot point if the weather in Cleveland is looking very prohibitive Sunday morning.

Note: I will make a call on this Sunday morning and will go in here and either remove Carr or add a note about why I’m keeping him here.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Lamar Jackson (Bal, vs. Pit - $7400 on DK and $8300 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-3 value on both sites and slightly better on FanDuel. Might Lamar be a sneaky play this week? Everyone knows the Steeler front is great, but they did lose athletic LB Devin Bush, and they can be thrown on. The Steelers held Lamar to just 14.44 FPG in his only matchups with Pittsburgh last season, and he has averaged fewer than 7.0 YPA in three of his last four games, so Lamar probably won’t be popular. In his last game, he also failed to reach 200 yards passing for the fourth game in a row. None of this is encouraging, but the Steelers can definitely be thrown on outside, and Lamar was back running in his last game, so I’m seeing 22+ FP from him in this one.

Justin Herbert (LAC, at Den - $6900 on DK and $7500 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-5 value on both sites but the top value on FanDuel (5th on DK). A poor game is coming at some point, but even with my conservatives projections, he still comes out as one of the top values this week. The matchup isn’t spectacular, but it’s not bad at all, as the Broncos have allowed between 18-23 FP to opposing QBs in their first six games. I think 20-22 FP or more this week is very doable yet again.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

None of note.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

Carson Wentz (Phi, vs. Dal - $6200 on DK and $7500 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-3 value on both sites. At this point, it would be an upset if Wentz didn’t hit 20+ FP in a game. He’s made some brilliant plays recently, like his game-winning TD pass to Boston Scott last week, but he’s also leaving plays on the field and making questionable decisions. But I’ve used “scratching and clawing his way to respectability” to describe Wentz for over a month now, and that’s exactly what he’s doing, mainly by running more. Wentz has 18 designed runs this year per SIS, which is fifth-most behind only the notable running QBs in the league (Murray, Cam, Lamar, and Josh Allen). Wentz also leads the Eagles in carries inside of the 10-yard line (red-zone) with seven. And over the last five weeks, he’s the QB8 in fantasy points per game. Miles Sanders won’t play, so Carson should continue to run, especially near the goal, and he will also get #1 pick Jalen Reagor back to give his receiving corps a nice boost. It’s unlikely that Scott will do much of note in the running game, so it’ll be all Carson again, and we’ve noticed on film there that the Cowboys secondary is still struggling with a lot of miscommunication issues

RUNNING BACKS

Kareem Hunt (Cle, at Ari - $6900 on DK and $8700 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-7 value on both sites and a slightly better value on DK. The weather may ruin this game in terms of throwing the ball, but it’ll be fine for Hunt no matter what, and he’s probably more effective in the slop if it gets that bad, given his great contact balance. Last week, in a shootout, Browns RB not named Hunt collected 1 touch. One single touch. All totaled since Nick Chubb has been out, Hunt has handled 70% of the snaps and 75% of the opportunities in this backfield. He has scored 18+ FP in three of his last four games, and the Raiders are allowing the second-most FPG to RBs (32.4) and the fourth-most FP per carry this season (per SIS). They also have the sixth-worst success allowed rate against RBs this season. And over the last four weeks, RBs are getting 10+ targets and 6.5 catches a game against the Raiders. Hunt is going over 20 FP this week if he’s healthy.

Jonathan Taylor (Ind, vs Ari - $6600 on DK and $7300 FanDuel) - He’s a top-3 value on both sites and the top value on FanDuel. Yes, I’m a JT apologist and he’s been good, not great, but they are coming off the bye and Taylor’s snap share has trended up in four straight games (41%<45%<55%<59%). He promisingly played 59% of the snaps with the team playing from behind in Week 6, and he posted a season-best 115 scrimmage yards with 4 catches. The Lions have allowed multiple rushing TDs to three different RBs (Gurley/Latavius/Jones), and Detroit is giving up the fourth-most rushing yards per game to RBs (114.2). They are also the 10th-worst team in the league in terms of rushing success rate against them, per SIS. So this could be the week for the Taylor breakout.

Jamaal Williams (GB, at Hou - $6100 on DK and $7000 on FanDuel) - He’s pricier than last week so therefore less appealing, but he’s still a top-8 value on both sites and a slightly better value on FanDuel. Rookie AJ Dillon was not much of a factor last week, so with Aaron Jones ruled out, the 2021 free agent Williams will get another chance to show teams what he can do with a large role. Last week, he was as fired up as I’ve ever seen him and you can understand why, as Williams gobbled up 89% of the snaps and posted 23/114/1. The Vikings run defense hasn’t been bad, but they’re certainly beatable. Per SIS, they allow the fifth-worst success rate on RB carries, and their EPA/carry is 10th-worst right now. Given Williams’ superior pass-catching skills, which should net him 4-5 catches at least, and the seriously depleted secondary, which should give Williams many TD opportunities, I just can’t see Williams failing with another 20-25 opportunities (24 last week).

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Alvin Kamara (NO, at Chi - $8200 on DK and $9000 on FanDuel) - He was here last week and he wasn’t amazeballs, but 148 scrimmage yards and 8 catches is a pretty good day at the office, especially on DK (full point PPR). He should be quite busy this week given the bad matchup for their passing game and the sad state of their WR corps with Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Week 7 wonder Marquez Callaway out. The Bears haven’t given up a lot of catches to RBs, but they have been run on this year, and they haven’t seen a weapon out of the backfield like Kamara.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

La’Mical Perine (NYJ, at Chi - $4300 on DK and $5300 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on DK but top-10 on both sites. Last week, with OC Dowell Loggains taking over play-calling Perine played a healthy 70.2% of the snaps and 13 touches. Noted fossil Frank Gore played on 28.1% of the snaps with 11 touches, but Gore is also still questionable to play this week, so his snaps and touches could be reduced. The Chiefs are allowing 4.8 YPC and it’s easier to run on them than to throw, but Gang Green should be forced to throw with the Jets entering as 19-point road underdogs. Gore did have 4 targets and 4/24 receiving back in Week 6, but he also has 0 targets in two of his last three games, and Perine got all three of their RB targets last week. If the Jets are getting blown out, it makes little sense for them to play Gore a lot, so Perine should be able to scrape together a 12-point PPR outing at least.

Zack Moss (Buf, vs. NE - $4400 on DK and $5400 on FanDuel) - He’s not an amazing value, but it’s possible we look back when the results are in and see that Moss was, in fact, a great bargain. He’s obviously cheap, but is the risk (albeit smaller) worth the reward? I’m thinking it is, since starter Devin Singletary barely edged Moss in snaps (40 to 35), routes run (19 to 18), and opportunities (13 to 10) last week. And also since the Patriots are in such a sorry, sorry, state offensively right now. Moss may be about to take this backfield, and Jeff Wilson looked like a pro bowl level player last week against the Pats, putting up 112/3 rushing.

DeeJay Dallas (Sea, vs. SF - $4000 on DK and $4600 on FanDuel) - If Chris Carson is ruled out, this guy’s going to be a major factor, even if Travis Homer, a complementary player only, is active. The 49ers are allowing the second-fewest FPG to RBs (17.0), so there is downside, but Dallas is a good receiver and good in pass-pro, so if he can find the endzone he looks like a great bet to get 12+ PPR points. Dallas has only 6 touches on the season, but he’s flashed and this is not some UDFA; the guy was a 4th round pick out of Miami.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

None of note.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Brandon Aiyuk (SF, at Sea - $5800 on DK and $5900 on FanDuel) - He’s a much better value on FanDuel, but top-14 on both sites. Being the 14th best WR on DK surprises me a bit, but his salary is up this week - for a reason. Aiyuk keeps getting better, and better, and better, and last week he posted career-best numbers (with Deebo leaving early) with 6/115 receiving on seven targets on a 28% target share. The Seahawks are giving up a whopping 61.6 FPG to WRs this season, so if they are forced to throw the ball 35+ times, then Aikuk’s upside is through the roof. Seattle is playing a lot of zone this year still, but Kyle Shanahan is one of the best when it comes to breaking down zones and scheming up big plays against it. 15+ PPR points seem to be a lock.

Justin Jefferson (Min, at GB - $6500 on DK and $6600 on FanDuel) - He’s much better value on FanDuel. I could be wrong on this one (hell, I could be wrong on all of them), as Jefferson hasn’t done much against teams that play mostly zone, and the Packers play more zone than anyone. But they also have a shutdown corner in Jaire Alexander, who is on an opposing team’s #1 WR more often than not. And more often than not, when teams look to take out the Vikings #1, it’s Adam Thielen. #2 CB Kevin King is out, so while Jefferson has been boom-or-bust, I’m betting on boom here. Or, at the very least, some garbage time production, since the depleted Vikings secondary should get smoked.

Marquise Brown (Bal, vs. Pit - $6100 on DK and $5900 on FanDuel) - He’s a much value on FanDuel, but I’ll list him here because I’m a Hollywood suckup, and I can’t quit backing Brown. His usage continues to be fantastic, as Brown is one of 8 wide receivers that have seen 6 or more targets in every game so far this season. He has 4+ catches in five of his six games, and the Steelers have been shaky on the outside, giving up 9 TDs to WRs this season. A.J. Brown had a long catch-and-run TD against them last week, and the Ravens are going to have to get the ball to Brown with a tough matchup for their running game and TE Mark Andrews, so I’m back in on Hollywood.

Cooper Kupp (LAR, at Mia - $5800 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - Like most WRs on the board in Week 8, he’s not a great value, and he’s not exactly easy to back based on his recent lack of production. The Rams, it seems, would like to limit Jared Goff’s number of dropbacks, a problem that could be compounded by the Dolphins not making a game out of it with their rookie QB. But Kupp will often avoid their two excellent outside corners, setting this up as a “Kupp game.” TE Tyler Higbee is still iffy to play, and Miami is giving up the eight-most fantasy points this year to slot receiver, per SIS. So I’m willing to take a shot.

Jarvis Landry (Cle, vs. LVR - $5600 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - He’s a much better value on FanDuel. Landry hasn’t looked great to me this year, but he hasn’t looked bad, either, despite not being healthy all season. But obviously, he’s clicked here with Baker Mayfield for 2+ seasons now, and The Raiders allowed 143/1 receiving to Buccaneers WRs out of the slot last week. As long as the weather cooperates and isn’t too nasty, the game should be higher-scoring, giving Landry a legit chance to come out of Week 8 with his best performance of the season and his first strong DFS day.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

DaVante Adams (GB, vs. Min - $8800 on DK and $8800 on FanDuel) - I hate chasing points and he’s costly as hell, but the Vikings secondary is so undermanned this week, down 3 of their top 4 CBs, so I have to list Adams, who has seen 10+ targets in 14 of his last 15 full games. Oh, and he also dropped 14/156/2 receiving on 17 targets in this matchup back in Week 1. This could be like last week, when Adams was seemingly running routes against air.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

Kendrick Bourne (SF, at Sea - $4000 on DK and $4600 on FanDuel) - The 49ers love this guy, and why wouldn’t they? All he does is give them a steady presence as a possession and red zone receiver when called upon. And this week he’ll be called upon with one of the better matchups out there. The Seahawks are giving up a whopping 61.6 FPG to WRs this season, and Bourne saw 5+ targets in each of his first four games before Deebo Samuel returned to the lineup. Deebo is out, so Bourne should be looking at 6-7 targets at least, and he seems to score TDs with ease, scoring 10 TDs on 130 targets the last three seasons.

K.J. Hamler (Den, at LAC - $3600 on DK and $4800 on FanDuel) - He’s not a great value on either site despite his price, which goes to show how deep I’m digging here. But with Tim Patrick out and Jerry Jeudy not producing, and with the Chargers crushing everyone every week, perhaps we can get some GTP for Hamler in this matchup. He needs only 10-11 PPR points to go down as a win on DK, and no Patrick gives him a great chance to have a breakout game with 4-5+ catches.

Hunter Renfrow (LVR, at Cle - $3800 on DK and $5100 on FanDuel) - The weather in Cleveland does concern me, but this could be a Renfrow game, and perhaps the wind will help his chances in the slot. He’s no Tyler Boyd, but Boyd crushed these guys last week with 11/101/1 on 13 targets.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

Scotty Miller (TB, at NYG - $4000 on DK and $5600 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on DK, but top-10 on both sites. I hate to back a guy who is questionable, but the Bucs had another practice to get to Saturday as I write this. If he’s fine after Saturday, he’s a nice play with Mike Evans likely seeing a lot of top corner James Bradberry, who has been a shutdown guy. He really clicks well with Tom Brady and his 67% catch rate is pretty impressive for a young player considering he’s at 16.5 YPC. One thing is for sure, it’ll be either him or rookie Tyler Johnsson getting it done in Week 8.

TIGHT ENDS

Jonnu Smith (Ten, at Cin - $4100 on DK and $6500 on FanDuel) - I’m a little less worried about the weather conditions for Jonnu compared to the other receivers in this game, but poor weather and wind could certainly be a problem. But I cannot pass on pumping up Smith this week given his matchup and his low price. He’s the top TE value on the board for me on DK this week and the fifth-best on FanDuel. Last week, he was coming back from his ankle injury and may have been rushed back, plus it was a bad matchup against the Steelers and they had to keep him in to block a little more. This week, he’s off the injury report and has a great matchup for a bounce-back game against Bengals, who got shredded for 3 TDs against a couple of lower-end guys in Harrison Bryant and David Njoku.

Jared Cook (NO, vs. Chi - $4400 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-9 value on both sites this week, Usually, Cook is TD-dependent, but maybe this week he actually gets 6-7 targets with three of their four top wideouts out. As for Tre’Quan Smith, he’s their top outside receiver this week, but he’s got one of the toughest matchups in the league, as the Bears have allowed a league-low two TDs to WRs this season. Cook has scored in three of the last four games, and Chicago has allowed more TDs to TEs (4) than they have to WRs (2) this season.

Jimmy Graham (Chi, vs. NO - $4600 on DK and $5400 on FanDuel) - He’s not exactly easy to trust, but Jimmy will be more fired up this year in what is truly a good “revenge game,” since he was traded by the Saints several years ago. And he’ll be needed more than ever with WR Allen Robinson not expected to play. Graham has at least been pretty consistent, garnering 5+ targets in each of Nick Foles’ five games. And the Saints have been dreadful against TEs, giving up the second-most FPG to TEs this season. That’s even after facing do-nothing TE Ian Thomas last week. Jimmy is Mr. Red Zone, of course, and the Saints have allowed 6 TDs to the TE in six games and the fifth-most receiving yards per game to the position (63.0).

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

George Kittle (SF, NO - $7000 on FanDuel) - He’s a way better value on FanDuel, FYI. Given the chance that this matchup turns into a throw-ball game, Kittle merits serious consideration because he’s had some massive games already this year. Seattle hasn’t been bad against TEs this year, but that’s largely a function of how bad they have been against WRs, plus they really haven’t seen any top TEs so far this season. Last year, Kittle faced them once and put up a strong 7/86. Kittle has seen 7+ targets and 4+ catches in four straight games with two 100+ yard games the last four weeks. It would help if Jamal Adams (groin, questionable) misses another game, but he’s not really a TE matchup guy.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

Harrison Bryant (Cle, vs, LVR - $3200 on DK) - This is DK only, since he’s a way better value there compared to FanDuel. But Austin Hooper is out again, and Bryant saw more snaps (40 to 31) and he ran more routes (17 to 12) than David Njoku last week. The rookie out of Florida Atlantic finished as the TE1 last week, and I hate chasing points usually, but his price is too low to ignore. The Raiders defense allowed 42 FP to Travis Kelce (8/108/1 receiving) and Rob Gronkowski (5/62/) in their last two games. Bryant can deliver 3X on his salary even if he doesn’t score.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

Rob Gronkowski (TB, at NYG - $4900 on DK and $5600 on FanDuel) - He was here last week and he came up big, so he must be featured again. He’s the top TE value on FanDuel for me this week and the second-best value on DK. Given the situation with Chris Godwin out and Mike Evans a good bet to see a lot of top corner James Bradberry, backing Gronk makes a lot of sense. The matchup isn’t incredible by the numbers, but the #3 TE for Eagles, Richard Rodgers, put up 6/85 on 8 targets against them last week, and even Logan Thomas dropped

3/42/1 on the Giants two weeks ago, so the matchup is fine.

Sample Lineups

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.

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