Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 8


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Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 8

Week 7 didn’t seem like a particularly bad week of calls for me overall, but the picks in this column were pretty brutal.

The QB calls were a mixed bag with some great picks like Tua Tagovailoa (QB1), Aaron Rodgers (QB4), and Jalen Hurts (QB5) along with some very solid inclusions in Ryan Tannehill (QB12) and Matt Ryan (QB14). But the week was marred with two flops in Patrick Mahomes (QB22) and Justin Fields (QB24). I can’t defend the call, but if Fields protected the ball and didn’t have 3 INT and 2 FLs, he would have technically been in a win.

The RB picks were minimal last week, but mostly bad. I did have Alvin Kamara (RB1) and Damien Harris (RB3) in there, but even Derrick Henry (RB14) let me down. But not as much as flops Darrell Henderson (RB31) and Chuba Hubbard (RB29). I think Hubbard stinks now, by the way. Never again

At WR, some good ones like Davante Adams (WR9) and Chris Godwin (WR6), and Tee Higgins (WR25) and DJ Moore (WR23) were okay. But Tyreek Hill (WR28) and Calvin Ridley (WR29) underperformed majorly and Darnell Mooney (WR49) and Mecole Hardman (WR50) were flops even at their low price.

TE was pretty good with Mike Gesicki (TE3), Dallas Goedert (TE8), Ricky Seals-Jones (TE10), and I got hosed with Darren Waller (OUT), since backup Foster Moreau ended up as the TE5 for the week.

Onward and upward to Week 8, though. Better days are ahead.

As always, I’m not looking for every single possible play; just the ones that jump out at me based on player, cost, matchup, and any other mitigating circumstances.


Note: I’m ranking them in order of my favorite plays, mainly for cash games.

Josh Allen (Buf, vs. — $8100 DK, $8800 FD) — He’s the top value on both sites and worth paying up for. Despite a season-low 17.7 FP in a blowout victory over the Dolphins in Week 2, Allen is still averaging 24.1 FPG in this matchup dating back to 2020. He’s also still averaging 3 TD passes a game in his last three games against them. They play a lot of man coverage, which he and Stefon Diggs shred, and Miami’s pass rush and secondary play is definitely worse now than that Week 2 matchup.

Carson Wentz (Ind, vs. Ten — $5700 DK, $7200 FD) — He’s the fifth-best value on DK, but only the ninth-best on FD. The Titans just put the clamps down on Patrick Mahomes, but that was in Tennessee, and KC’s OL isn’t very good blocking for the run nor did they have a running game to help the QB. Wentz has actually been better than Mahomes on film for most of this season and he will have run support with stud Jonathan Taylor. He’s tossed 2 TD passes in four straight and even got back to running with 4/23/1 on the ground last week. If they can protect with their OL, healthier than they have been all year, the Titans secondary is very beatable. I also think this could be a mini-shootout.

Taylor Heinicke (WFT, vs. — $5300 DK) — This is DK only, since he’s the #2 value on DK but only 11th on FD. Denver’s secondary has been solid overall, but they are giving up 9.1 YPA to QBs the last four weeks. Denver has gotten beat deep by Marquise Brown, Diontae Johnson, and Henry Ruggs in three of their past four games. Heinicke this week talked about getting back to his comfort zone last week, which entails running with the football. Terry McLaurin is off the injury report and Ricky Seals-Jones has been a big factor, so those two and his running should get him up over 16 FP points with some upside from there.

Matt Ryan (Atl, vs. Car — $5900 DK, $7200 FD) — I can’t say I love him this week, but I never love Ryan. But I sure love how he’s averaging 42 attempts and 301 passing yards per game over his last five games. The Panthers will get CB Stephon Gilmore this week, but they’re still thinned in the secondary and gave 373/3 passing to Kirk Cousins in Week 6. Per our guy Wes Huber, Ryan excels with 24+ FPG vs. the two main coverage shells the Panthers are running this year, including Cover 1 (man), which is great news for Kyle Pitts.

Teddy Bridgewater (Den, vs. WFT — $5400 DK) — DK only, where he’s the fourth-best value on the board. Teddy needs a lot of help if he’s to produce, and he gets that help with this matchup. For one, the FT runs a lot of Cover 1, which is easily the best coverage shell for Teddy. The FT is also giving up the most PPG out of the slot, and Teddy will get slot man Jerry Jeudy back, which is huge. The FT has allowed 24+ FP to QBs in six straight games, with multiple TD passes in five straight, so Teddy is looking good here in terms of delivering 3X return on his lower DFS price on DK.

Jared Goff (Det, vs. Phi — $5200 DK) — DK only, where he’s the ninth-best value this week. Goff is struggling the last 4-5 weeks, but he should be able to compile a decent stat line against this very giving Eagles defense. Their secondary looks to take away big plays, but they also give up a league-high 74.4% completion percentage. Last week, Derek Carr completed an incredible 91.2% of his passes, so Goff should be able to get the ball to TJ Hockenson and the RBs, which should be enough for 15+ points.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

Joe Burrow (Cin, vs. NYJ — $7100 DK, $7800 FD) — He’s only the 10th-best value on DK, but he is top-3 value on FD. Burrow may not have to throw it much, which is a concern, but he crushes the coverages the Jets run, and the Jets have given up 300+ yards and 2 TDs to Mac Jones and Matt Ryan in their last two games. Ja’Marr Chase should eat again.

Jalen Hurts (Phi, vs. Det — $7200 DK, $8400 FD) — He’s surprisingly barely a top-10 value on both sites, but that’s a function of increased price. For example, he’s tied as the second most expensive QB on FD. The matchup could not be any better against the pitiful Lions secondary, one that’s giving up a 69% completion rate and 9.1 YPA over the last four weeks. The Lions have given up three TD passes to Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow the last two weeks.

Running Backs

Darrell Henderson (LAR, vs. Hou — $6500 DK, $7700 FD) — He’s a top-3 value on both sites and the top value on DK, per our projections. I gotta go back to this well this week, since the Texans defense is as beatable as they come. They give up 5.2 YPC to RBs, second-worst, the most YAC in the league, and the second-most rushing yards. He played 88% of the snaps in a bad game last week, as well. James Conner and Chase Edmonds combined for 25/145/1 rushing in this matchup last week.

Damien Harris (NE, vs. LAC — $6100 DK, $6900 FD) — He’s a top-2 value on both sites with his great matchup against the Chargers, whose 5.39 YPC allowed is the worst in football right now. They’re also the worst in the league in EPA per attempt. Harris has 14+ carries and a TD in three straight with 100+ rushing yards in two straight. The Chargers actually gave up 26/115/3 rushing to the sad Ravens backfield in their last game.

Joe Mixon (Cin, at NYJ — $6900 DK, $7600 FD) — He’s a top-7 value on both sites, and that’s because his matchup and situation is very good with them as 11.5-point favorites. The Jets are giving up the second-most carries per game to RBs (28) and the ninth-most rushing yards per game. He’s no lock, but he has 2-TD potential with 100+ rushing yards.

D’Andre Swift (Det, vs. Phi — $7100 DK, $7900 FD) — He’s definitely a better value on DK, but he’s top-10 on both sites. Swift’s snaps are up lately with at least 73% of the snaps in four straight games, and the Eagles are giving up the second-most rushing yards per game (117.1) and 4.5 YPC to RBs this season, plus they are giving up over 7 catches a game to RBs. Philly’s offense should get well with their great matchup, so Swift is looking at another big catch game. Kenyan Drake (17/79/1 scrimmage) and Josh Jacobs (9/68/1) combined 32.7 FP against the Eagles last week.

Cordarrelle Patterson (Atl, vs. Car — $6200 DK, $7400 FD) — He’s a top-8 value on both sites, and even though it’s a tough matchup by the numbers for a RB in the passing game, I’m not shying away from him after he set a new season-high in snaps (73%) last week with his highest number of routes run (23). The Panthers are giving up 5.1 YPC to RBs the last four weeks and gave up 65/1 scrimmage to Devontae Booker last week, and he’s not very good.

Zack Moss (Buf, vs. Mia — $5200 DK, $6100 FD) — He’s a top-12 value on both sites. Moss had 12+ FP in four straight games before Week 6, which was a buzzkill. But they seem to pit him and Devin Singletary against each other week-to-week by giving the other more carries, so Moss is now due. Moss may finally get a chance to close out a game with volume, as the Bills are 14-point home favorites.

David Johnson (Hou, vs. — $4200 DK) — DK only, since it’s all about the PPR for Johnson. Actually, it’s not all about the catches now with Mark Ingram gone. Johnson had 7/25 rushing and 5/27 receiving on six targets on 54% of the snaps even with Ingram playing last week, so we’re looking at 15+ opportunities and 70% of the snaps or more. The Rams are actually ninth-worst in EPA per attempt to RBs, per SIS.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

None of note

Wide Receiver

Ja’Marr Chase (Cin, at NYJ — $7500 DK, $8200 FD) — Despite his rising price tag, he’s still a top-3 value on both sites. I usually don’t like chasing points, but is it really chasing points when he produces every week? He does have a pair of 13.7 point games on the season, so he’s not infallible for DFS, but he crushes their main coverage schemes and so does Joe Burrow.

Michael Pittman (Ind vs. Ten — $5300 DK, $7600 FD) — He’s the top value on DK, and he’s top-7 on both sites. It’s pretty clear Pittman is the alpha dog here, but they do spread it around, so he’s not yet a “lock” for fantasy. But he’s producing and I like this one to hit the 50-point over with some fireworks. Pittman posted 6/68 receiving on 12 targets when these teams met earlier this year, and I think he can pretty easily deliver 3X value with the situation much better this time around.

Jerry Jeudy (Den, vs. WFT — $4900 DK, $6000 FD) — He’s a top-8 value on both sites, and the #2 value on DK. Jeudy is the perfect RAC receiver for Bridgewater, and Teddy B was all about him in the opener, with Jeudy posting 6/72 receiving on seven targets and 24 routes (19 from the slot) in just 37 minutes of action. The FT is giving up the second-most catches per game (16.0) to WRs, and the MOST FPG to slot receivers. There’s some questions about his health after he sat out Friday’s practice, but that could help his ownership down, and he’s fully expected to play barring a setback.

DeVonta Smith (Phi, at Det — $5500 DK, $6200 FD) — He’s not easy to trust, but he is a top-8 value on both sites because the matchup is literally as good as it gets for a downfield weapon like Smith. The Lions are giving up 104.6 yards a game to outside WRs, second-most in the league, and they lead the league in giving up a 14.9 aDot to outside WRs, most in the league. Smith has shown some downside, but he has 100+ yards and a TD upside for sure.

AJ Brown (Ten, at Ind — $6900 DK, $7600 FD) — He’s a top-4 value on both sites. He’s posted 15/224/1 receiving on 18 targets in basically his last six quarters against the Bills and Chiefs, and Deebo Samuel just ripped the Colts for 7/100/1 receiving last week in the rain. Xavier Rhodes will go with his calf injury, but he’s going to have a lot of problems with Brown, especially with Julio Jones out. This one here has blowup potential for Brown.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

Stefon Diggs (Buf, vs. Mia — $8100 DK, $7300 FD) — Diggs is actually the top value on FD, but he’s only the 21st, so he is pricey. But I generally love him this week. Diggs got only 4/60/1 in that first matchup, but he scored on Xavien Howard, and that was a terrible game for Josh Allen. Diggs threw up 15/229/1 in two games against the Dolphins last year, and he has clear 100+ yard potential.

Diontae Johnson (Pit, at Cle — $6700 DK, $7500 FD) — Johnson has had some tougher matchups this year, and it hasn’t slowed him down at all, thanks to a target share of at least 32% in four-of-five games. He’s scored 14+ FP in every game this year, and he had 11/117 receiving on 16 targets against this defense in the playoffs last year. Diontae won’t also have to square off with top corner Denzel Ward, who is out.

Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones (WFT, at Den — $3800 DK, $5400 FD) — A top-6 value on both sites, he’s the second-best value on DK. RSJ has posted 40+ yards, 4+ catches, and 6+ targets in three straight games, and he’s played all but one snap in the last three weeks. The Broncos have allowed just Darren Waller (5/59 receiving) and Mark Andrews (5/67) to reach double-digit FP against them this season, but they do give up the ninth-highest YPT (yards per target) to TEs

TJ Hockenson (Det, vs. Phi — $5400 DK, $6200 FD) — A top-6 value on both sites, he’s the top value on FD. We’ve learned that when TJH is working earlier in the week that his health is in solid shape, and he was taken off the injury report this week. The Eagles defense is bad right now, and there should be a lot of space for TJH to roam in the middle of the field and the intermediate area. LV’s Foster Moreau came off the bench for 6/606/1 receiving against the Eagles last week after O.J. Howard ripped them for 6/49/1 the previous week, so he’s a very strong play.

Hunter Henry (NE, vs. LAC — $4200 DK, $5500 FD) — He’s a top-7 value on both sites. It does seem like Jonnu Smith (shoulder) is quite iffty, which would help for sure. But regardless, Henry has scored in four straight and the Chargers have given up a TE TD in four straight games, including 5/68/1 to Mark Andrews in their last game. They also cede the second-highest EPA per attempt to the TE position, per SIS.

Tyler Higbee (LAR, at Hou — $4500 DK, $5300 FD) — A top-12 value on both sites, I just can’t quit this guy because the payoff is always potentially big. His role is not a problem, as he’s run the seventh-most routes at the position and he’s been above a 75% snap share in every game. The Texans do actually have a great slot corner who can help slow Cooper Kupp down this week, so the hope is some targets are funneled to Higbee. The Texans have also been bad against TEs all year and have given up a TD to a TE in four straight games and five scores overall in that span.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

Kyle Pitts (Atl, vs. Car — $6300 DK, $6800 FD) — He’s actually the top value on FD, but he’s only the 13th-best on DK. He’s lining up on the perimeter at a position-best 31.6% rate, and the Panthers play a lot of man coverage, which Matt Ryan loves and Pitts is already loving. Evan Engram posted 6/44 receiving on eight targets against the Panthers last week, then Pitts can go for 10 grabs for 100+ yards.

Primetime Players

Patrick Mahomes (KC, vs. NYG— $7900 DK, $8400 FD) — I think he bounces back in a big way against a Giant defense that gives up a 70% completion rate, fourth-worst, and a 5.9% TD rate, ninth-worst, and the third-most PPG to outside WRs. The Giants allowed Matthew Stafford (251/4 passing) and Dak Prescott (302/3) to post 22+ FP in Weeks 5-6 before they stifled Sam Darnold (3.5 FP).

Ezekiel Elliott (Dal, at Min — $7300 DK, $8500 FD) — He’s still not a great value, and he may not have Dak Prescott, which would be a problem. But the Vikings won’t have DT Michael Pierce, and they have given up a sixth-worst 4.6 YPC and the eighth-most rushing yards per game (108.3) to RBs with Pierce, their top run-stopper. Zeke will get his this week no matter what.

Dalvin Cook (Min, vs. Dal — $8000 DK, $9200 FD) — He’s still not a great value, but he will be if Dak Prescott is ruled out before or on Sunday. That factor alone should afford Cook 3-5 more carries. The Cowboys are facing the second-fewest rushing attempts (14.8) per game but they’re allowing 4.5 YPC to RBs, and Damien Harris posted 18/101/1 rushing against the last time out. Cook is off the injury report, at home coming off a bye, and the Cowboys may not have Dak Prescott.

Adam Thielen (Min, vs. Dal — $7000 DK, $7600 FD) — We like this one as a Thielen game and he bounced back the last time out with 11/126/1 receiving on 13 targets against the Panthers. He should see the better matchup once again with most of his routes likely coming against Anthony Brown, who has given up two touchdowns in his coverage this season, and Trevon Diggs spends a lot of time on Justin Jefferson. I also prefer Thielen over Jefferson against man-heavy teams like the Cowboys. He’s scoring.

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,, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded