We only have two teams on a bye this week. It’s a welcome sight after dealing with six byes in Week 7. Betting responsibly is always the first step toward maximizing profits. This is a waiting game. Think of DFS as an invading army utilizing a war of attrition on the enemy barricaded within a castle. Your opponent may have walls, the high ground keeping them safe. We know the riches inside will be ours as soon as the food and water supplies are exhausted. The absolute worst move we can make is to squander all of our resources at the opponent in a single, futile attack.
Base the amount you put on the line each week on your bankroll. Determine a percentage that you would be willing to lose each week. But you are wagering far too much if losing the entirety of that amount would cripple your bankroll for future slates/weeks. If we were simply dealing with binary code, all variability would be eliminated. But living, breathing athletes will always have the final say over any scouting or statistical process. Busted coverages and/or a string of unexpected broken tackles can lead to results nobody on Earth can predict. However, we are not in competition with football players. We only need to outthink the field in our preparation.
In Cash/Single Entry (SE), we must follow the ownership projections very closely. If 25-50% of the field is on a specific player, we will fall below the cash line if that player hits and we fade. It’s better that we roster the individuals with the highest anticipated ownership determined using every tool available to us. When dealing with large-field GPPs, the contrarian will rule the day. Identifying the individuals with the highest upside, lowest projected ownerships will differentiate your lineups toward striking oil when the cards fall in your favor.
You’ll see a number of coverage metrics throughout this series. The following chart provides the full names for the acronyms and the average numbers for each position group:
If you’d like to learn more about/refresh yourself with each of the defensive coverage shells and other relevant schematic details mentioned throughout this series, utilize the following resources:
Fantasy Shells: Coverage Glossary
Fantasy Shells: Cover 1
Fantasy Shells: Cover 2
Fantasy Shells: Cover 3
Fantasy Shells: Cover 4
*22-24 (48%); 4-4 in Week 7
Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) vs. Green Bay Packers
Buffalo Bills (-13.5) vs. Miami Dolphins
Los Angeles Rams (14.5) at Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans (-1.0) at Indianapolis Colts
Detroit Lions (+3.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Chicago Bears (+3.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots (+5.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
New Orleans Saints (+5.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants (+10.0) at Kansas City Chiefs
*17-18 (49%); 3-3 in Week 7
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets (Over 43.0)
Los Angeles Rams at Houston Texans (Under 47.5)
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (Over 50.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (Under 48.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (Over 42.0)
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (Over 45.5)
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers (Under 49.0)
Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos (Over 43.5)
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (Over 55.0)
*31-11 (74%); 8-4 in Week 7
Arizona Cardinals (-280) vs. Green Bay Packers
Cincinnati Bengals (-475) at New York Jets
Buffalo Bills (-900) vs. Miami Dolphins
Los Angeles Rams (-955) at Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans (-115) at Indianapolis Colts
Cleveland Browns (-190) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
San Francisco 49ers (-170) at Chicago Bears
New England Patriots (+185) at Los Angeles Chargers
Seattle Seahawks (-180) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-240) at New Orleans Saints
Denver Broncos (-160) vs. Washington Football Team
Minnesota Vikings (+125) vs. Dallas Cowboys
Kansas City Chiefs (-425) vs. New York Giants
Matchups to Target
Kirk Cousins, MIN ($6.5K DK | $7.6K FD) vs. Cowboys’ Cover 1
A Sunday Night Football matchup between the Cowboys and Vikings on Halloween. Our children collecting candy from throughout the neighborhood and dropping that yummy bounty of diabetes directly into our laps for safe keeping. Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen defended by the third-highest Cover 1 rate. Cousins priced in said matchup as the QB13/QB11 (DK/FD). Thielen priced in said matchup as the WR13/WR10. These are just a few of the finer things in our American lives this Halloween. For those that need an introduction/orientation/refresher course, Cousins ranks second-best with 0.57 FPs/dropback (FP/Db) over the last three seasons against Cover 1. Under those exact parameters, Cousins’ 115.9 passer rating ranks second-best, his YPA increases by 20% (fourth), and it’s when he’s thrown 27 TDs vs. only three INTs. The Cowboys are surrendering 20.3 FPG to opposing QBs (ninth-most). Need I say more?
Adam Thielen, MIN ($7.0K DK | $7.6K FD) vs. Anthony Brown, DAL
If I managed to catch your attention in Week 6 regarding Adam Thielen, you likely shared in the spoils of his 11/126/1 receiving line. The luxury of $5.8K DK pricing is no longer in play. Even with the 21% increase, DK is still presenting us with a tremendous value. During his previous three seasons, Thielen ranks ninth-best among all WRs with 0.66 FPs/route (FP/Rt) when opposed by Cover 1. That’s a 40% spike in his overall average. Further increases to his metrics include a 44% jump in yards/route (YPRR), 17% increase in air yards/target, 14% spike in yards/target (YPT), 19% rise in target share, and a 32% leap in targets of 20-or-more yards.
On 22% of Cover 1 routes during those three campaigns, Thielen has tracked down 27% of his receptions, 32% of his yardage, and 35% of his TDs. With Justin Jefferson almost assuredly drawing the attention of Trevon Diggs, Thielen will square off with Anthony Brown on Sunday night. Brown is currently permitting 1.71 YPCS (70th), 0.34 FP/CS (65th), 0.41 AY/CS (64th), and an 85.9 TPR (25th). It’s no wonder that Brown has been the ninth-most targeted outside corner this season. When you are setting your lineups for any format that includes this matchup, at the very least, insert Thielen and do not look back.
Amari Cooper, WR ($6.1K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Bashaud Breeland, MIN
Minnesota features the eighth-highest rate of Zone coverage. Built within that number is the fourth-highest rate of Cover 2 and fifth-highest rate of Cover 6. Over the last three seasons against Cover 6, Cooper has collected the third-most receiving yards, and is tied for the second-most TDs among all wideouts. His 0.49 FP/Rt against Cover 6 ranks seventh-best, 2.63 YPRR ranks fifth, and 15.1 YPT ranks third. The alignment percentages state Cooper will see coverage from Bashaud Breeland on at least half of his reps. Breeland is permitting 1.69 YPCS (69th), 0.43 FP/CS (72nd), 0.34 AY/CS (44th), and a 115.5 TPR (62nd).
Final notes on Dallas
Never count out Dak Prescott ($7.3K/$8.2K). Prescott is among a handful of QBs free from all scheme vulnerabilities. When you see his name listed on a slate, he is entering a plus matchup. With the Cowboys now able to choose between the reinstated RT La’El Collins and Terence Steele, the run game metrics between Ezekiel Elliott ($7.3K/$8.5K) and Tony Pollard ($5.0K/$5.6K) are about to improve. All things being equal, we want CeeDee Lamb ($7.8K/$7.8K) in our lineups over Cooper. All things are not equal. Lamb is priced appropriately above Cooper. The window for Cedrick Wilson ($4.0K/$5.4K) to make his mark is closing fast with Michael Gallup returning to his first practice since Week 1. As long as you are willing to shoulder his TE4/TE6 pricing, Dalton Schultz ($5.2K/$6.1K) is not all that far behind Cooper in the pecking order.
Final notes on Minnesota
Just too many outstanding matchups facing perfect stylistic schemes to spend premium dollars at RB this week. In addition, we have a candy basket full of excellent RB valuers. It’s very likely that I'll have 0% exposure to Dalvin Cook ($8.0K/$9.2K). Even though Justin Jefferson ($8.2K/$7.7K) will be dealing Trevon Diggs, it’s not as though Stefon’s little brother has been ghosting his elite assignments. Diggs is blessed with a level of athleticism that most men can’t even imagine. But he is still raw in his technique, often undisciplined with his coverage angles. Since Tom Brady simply focused his efforts on delivering the ball to Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin in Week 1 when Diggs was in coverage on Mike Evans, Jefferson will present Diggs with his most significant challenge to date. It’ll certainly be the matchup to watch from Week 8.
As mentioned prior to K.J. Osborn ($3.8K/$5.5K) entering a 6/78/1 line and 19.8 FPs in Week 6, in matchups across from top-10 Cover 1 rates, Osborn has scored 78% of his FPs, and 18.2 FPG. Perhaps, over time, the numbers will normalize to the benefit of Tyler Conklin ($3.2K/$5.3K) against Cover 1 as he continues to work with one of the top-three Cover 1 QBs in football.
Matchups to Target
Sterling Shepard, NYG ($5.3K DK | $6.5K FD) vs. L'Jarius Sneed, KC
It’s unfortunate that Sterling Shepard can’t roll back the clock to face the Falcons in Week 3. Atlanta is playing Cover 2 at a rate at least twice as much as 30 other teams. I am unable to buckle your knees with Cousins vs. Cover 1 metrics when it comes to Shepard — or Darius Slayton for that matter. Shepard has been good during his career. His play this season has elevated up a few levels. What I can state is that Shepard has done his very best work with 0.35 FP/Rt (20th-best) the last three seasons against Cover 2. The Falcons are using Cover 2 at 2.7x the rate used by Kansas City. But the Chiefs are still utilizing it at the sixth-highest rate. Since Shepard does three-fourths of his work from the slot, a showdown with L'Jarius Sneed is on tap. Sneed press zone coverage is supporting 1.57 YPCS (36th), 0.34 FP/CS (37th), 0.20 AY/CS (24th), and a 145.1 TPR (40th).
Darrel Williams, KC ($5.6K DK | $6.2K FD) vs. Giants’ Cover 2 | 3 | 4
New York’s run defense is delivering 26.8 FPG to opposing RBs (seventh-most). We’ve been witness to some of the very worst football ever displayed by Patrick Mahomes II and company during his young career. As it stands, the Chiefs have a 46% chance to make the playoffs. And it should be noted that Kansas City has played the eighth-toughest schedule to date. When you have the benefit of Andy Reid, Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, the only expectation is a return to the Super Bowl.
Darrel Williams took on a 75% carry share in his first game replacing Clyde Edwards-Helaire. And the results followed suit (23.9 FPs). His second game as the lead back did not go as well. Tennessee handed Kansas City their molasses in Week 7. Williams only took five carries, but those handoffs still accounted for 39% of the total attempts. And it’s with the expectation that enough of the field will look past Williams due to that low number, even entering a smash spot.
Final notes on New York
One of the more alluring QB values will be Daniel Jones ($5.6K/$7.3K) if enough of his weapons take the field. We know Shepard and Darius Slayton ($4.8K/$5.7K) will play. That’s more than Jones had last week. The options were so limited that Evan Engram ($3.9K/$5.2K) even got involved 😲. If the Giants want to make things very interesting on Monday Night Football, they will two of the following in play: Saquon Barkley ($7.0K/$6.5K), Kadarius Toney ($4.9K/$5.5K), and/or Kenny Golladay ($5.5K/$5.8K). If Barkley is unable to play, New York would not be able to score with KC without both Toney and Golladay. The prospect of another featured week for Devontae Booker ($5.8K/$6.2K) should only frighten the Giants’ fanbase.
Final notes on Kansas City
Patrick Mahomes II ($7.9K/$8.4K) took a nasty hit against the Titans. It’s very surprising that he managed to avoid being concussed. If the NYG offense somehow manages to enter Week 8 at full strength, it would even provide a boost to their defense. James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson have played much better in recent weeks. They will need every possible morale boost available if they are going to contain Tyreek Hill ($8.3K/$8.2K). But it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Travis Kelce ($7.5K/$8.0K) is set up for big Week 8 numbers. I finally opened up my heart-and-mind to Mecole Hardman ($3.9K/$5.2K) exposure, and he posts his lowest output since Week 1 😡. Many have attempted to mirror the inefficiency, none have succeeded. Demarcus Robinson’s ($3.0K/$5.2K) crown earned for being the least efficient WR in the NFL is safe…. for now 😟.