2023 Week 8 DFS Early Look

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2023 Week 8 DFS Early Look

Week 7 of the NFL regular season just wrapped up, and that means Week 8 is just around the corner. As my readers likely know, DFS is the best version of fantasy football, and since DraftKings and FanDuel have released their Week 8 prices, it’s time to track down the obvious values and best plays.

Here are the plays that jumped out to me for Week 8 DFS.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens (@ ARI)

DraftKings: $8,100 (QB3) | FanDuel: $8,800 (QB3)

Lamar Jackson might be throwing the ball better than any other QB right now. His 90.1 PFF passing grade is the 2nd-highest in the league, and by far the best of his career. And over the last four weeks, Lamar has graded as a top-4 passer three times.

Jackson throwing the ball as well as any QB in the NFL arguably makes him the best fantasy QB on a stacked slate, as he’s averaging another 9.5 FPG on the ground. And that’s before we note the outstanding matchup.

The Cardinals have allowed the 4th-most FPG (23.4) to opposing QBs, while grading out as PFF’s worst coverage unit (46.0 team coverage grade). This is one of the best possible matchups for opposing QBs, much less one playing as well as Jackson.

Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers (VS. CIN)

DraftKings: $5,600 (QB14) | FanDuel: $7,200 (QB10)

Purdy averages 19.4 DraftKings FPG in healthy starts across his career, which ranks 6th-best among slate-eligible QBs. The 49ers tout the 6th-highest implied team total (25.5) on this 13-game slate, and Cincinnati ranks as a top-8 schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing passers.

That makes Purdy’s Week 8 salary on both DFS sites look like a joke, at least from a value perspective. And it’s easy to argue that this game has fantasy upside that isn’t fully reflected in the 45.5 total, with Joe Burrow looking like his old self and Cincinnati finally getting healthy coming off of a bye. After all, Bengals games averaged 51 points per game in Cincinnati’s final 10 contests last season, after the Bengals started airing the ball out more aggressively. And what did we see in Week 6? Cincinnati posted the highest PROE (+23%) of any team in any game this season.

We know Purdy provides a great floor relative to his Week 8 price tag, and the recent resurgence in Cincinnati’s offense could push him to a ceiling game in a potential shootout.

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints (@ IND)

DraftKings: $7,300 (RB6) | FanDuel: $8,300 (RB5)

Kamara isn’t just seeing the best usage in the NFL, he’s seeing the best usage in the NFL by far. Kamara’s 25.9 XFP/G is +4.4 XFP/G better than the next-closest player (Keenan Allen), and it’s 28% better than the next-closest RB (Christian McCaffrey). Kamara is tied for the positional lead in targets (39), and leads the position in receptions (35) – despite playing just four games. His 9.8 targets per game bests WRs like Chris Olave, Cooper Kupp, and Jakobi Meyers.

Kamara hasn’t quite lived up to that usage, falling -4.2 FPG under his expectation. And you could argue he doesn’t have the upside he once did, ranking bottom-12 in missed tackles forced per attempt – a metric he’s historically crushed.

But usage is king at the RB position. And even if Kamara doesn’t have the 50-point upside he once did, he’s still seeing an incredible workload – a workload that would almost always result in a DraftKings salary that’s $1,500 higher.

Kamara is one of the slate’s cheapest bets on usage in a neutral matchup. And that sounds like a good bet to me.

Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets (@ NYG)

DraftKings: $5,900 (RB14) | FanDuel: $7,200 (RB11)

Hall hit season-highs in snap share (68%, 12th-most), route share (50%), and target share (15.2%) in Week 6. Across Weeks 5 and 6, he ranked 5th in carries (34), 7th in targets (8), 11th in XFP (30.5), and 4th in fantasy points scored (48.7).

Importantly, he’s looked great. He’s 5th in explosive run rate (9.1%), 3rd in yards after contact per attempt (4.6), and 6th in FPOE (+3.1) among 59 qualifying RBs.

This is the rare contest where the Jets are favored (-2.5), and the Giants have given up the 12th-most FPG to opposing RBs (23.3) this season. Hall is underpriced relative to his recent usage, is playing like a top-5 RB, and should finally see positive gamescript in a decent matchup. Expect him to be one of the most popular RBs of the Week 8 slate.

Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints (@ IND)

DraftKings: $6,400 (WR13) | FanDuel: $7,300 (WR11)

Olave is averaging 11.2 targets per game, 91.0 receiving YPG, 132.4 air yards per game, and 19.4 XFP/G if we exclude Week 4 (Derek Carr was severely injured and couldn’t throw downfield) and Week 5 (a 34-0 win where New Orleans attempted just 4 passes in the 4th quarter).

That means that in normal game scripts with a healthy QB, Olave is seeing mid- to high-end WR1 volume. Derek Carr is clearly healthy, and the Saints are just 1.5-point underdogs to Indianapolis this week. It should go without saying that he’s far too cheap, priced as the WR13 DraftKings.

And he should get an added boost from this matchup – the Colts are the 7th-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing outside WRs (+5.9 FPG). Olave pops as one of the most obvious values of the week, which should make him a chalk option at WR.

Christian Kirk, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (@ PIT)

DraftKings: $5,900 (WR18) | FanDuel: $7,000 (WR16)

Excluding Week 1, Christian Kirk has earned at least 6 targets and scored at least 13.9 fantasy points in every game this season. He’s beaten Calvin Ridley in both target share (22%) and receiving YPG (67.7) over that stretch, and now he gets a great matchup.

The Steelers rank as the 2nd-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing WRs (+9.5 FPG), allowing the 7th-most receiving YPG (259.7) and the 2nd-most yards per reception (12.8).

I’d expect the field to lean into Kirk in this matchup (because he’s clearly a strong play), and for that reason, you could argue it makes more sense to pivot to Calvin Ridley ($5,800) in tournaments if ownership becomes a concern.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (@ SF)

DraftKings: $5,900 (WR18) | FanDuel: $6,800 (WR19)

Higgins has been a major disappointment this season, averaging 8.2 FPG and 7.2 targets per game. But we can easily discount the slow start – Joe Burrow was dealing with a serious calf injury that notably impacted offensive efficiency, and Higgins suffered from broken ribs in Week 4.

But now Higgins is coming off a bye, and Cincinnati is clearly comfortable relying on Burrow again after their +23% PROE game in Week 6. The Bengals averaged a +15.8% PROE in their final 6 games with Higgins last season, and he scored over 26.0 DraftKings fantasy points in half of those contests.

The icing on the cake here is Higgins’ price – he’s the cheapest he’s been on DraftKings since Week 13 of 2021 (688 days ago). The matchup against San Francisco isn’t great, but Higgins looks too cheap if we think Cincinnati airs the ball out here. And why wouldn’t they as 5.5-point underdogs?

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (@ DEN)

DraftKings: $8,400 (TE1) | FanDuel: $9,000 (TE1)

Kelce’s route shares had been all over the map while he battled injury, but he looked great in Week 7. He earned his best usage of the season (25.9 XFP), 2nd-highest route share of the season (71%), and he dominated the Chargers' defense with 35.9 fantasy points – the 8th-best fantasy score by a pass catcher this season.

Sure, the Chargers are a plus matchup. But what could Kelce do in the best possible matchup? Because that’s what he has this week, facing a Broncos defense that’s the single-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing TEs (+5.1 FPG).

Even if we think Kelce is priced near his ceiling, his positional upside in this matchup is borderline unmatched. He won’t pop as an elite projected value, but we want to roster great players in perfect matchups, and Kelce fits that bill.

Trey McBride, TE, Arizona Cardinals (VS. BAL)

DraftKings: $2,800 (TE25) | FanDuel: $4,700 (TE23)

Punting TE is a necessary evil on a slate loaded with high-priced talent. And I think McBride is the best way to do that this week.

Over the last two weeks, McBride has averaged 8.2 XFP/G, 5.5 targets per game, and 45.5 receiving YPG. Among slate-eligible TEs, those numbers rank 12th-best, 10th-best, and 7th-best over the full season.

And now Zach Ertz is on IR, opening the door to a true, full-time role for McBride. Baltimore is a bottom-6 matchup, but McBride’s usage in likely negative gamescript (Arizona +8.0) more than makes up for it. Crucially, he enables your lineups the flexibility needed to pay up for the slate’s many stars.

Jake Tribbey is a recent college graduate and lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from NFL DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.