Hello and welcome to the Week 8 Sunday Morning Update. What is this article? Mostly it’s a follow-up to yesterday’s big DFS piece – Scott Barrett’s Week 8 DFS Breakdown. But this article should also offer some utility of its own for redraft and dynasty players.
Each week Graham Barfield and I will be breaking down the key injuries, news, and notes from Saturday / Sunday and will be updating this article up until kickoff (1PM EST). And we’ll also be providing a sort of TL;DR to yesterday’s big DFS article. Who are my core cash game plays? Who are Graham’s preferred low-owned plays for tournaments? You can find that at the end of this article.
Key News, Injury Updates, & Notes
Sunday Morning Update
– Jamaal Williams is OUT. This just locks in D’Andre Swift as the best play on the slate, especially on DK.
– Calvin Ridley is OUT. Cordarelle Patterson was already trending up in usage and Ridley missing another game will only help. Patterson got a season-high 9 targets in Week 5 when Ridley missed. Kyle Pitts is head and shoulders above the rest of the TEs on this slate in terms of floor / ceiling projection. Russell Gageis now cash viable.
– Corey Davis is OUT.
– OBJ is ACTIVE, Donovan Peoples-Jones is OUT.
– TY Hilton is ACTIVE.
– DeVante Parker is ACTIVE.
– Julio Jones is OUT.
– Bucs’ beat Rick Stroud said there is some doubt over Rob Gronkowski’s ability to play vs. Saints. He’s “trying to play” – but keep in mind, Tampa has their bye next week and have no reason to push Gronk if he’s still less than 100%. With AB already out and Gronk potentially limited if he does play, it just makes Chris Godwin an even better play.
This is a pretty clean slate injury-wise. Barring any news around inactives, we’re pretty much set…
- Chargers RB Austin Ekeler is EXPECTED TO PLAY.
- Browns QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham are EXPECTED TO PLAY. Donovan Peoples-Jones is OUT. CB Denzel Ward is OUT.
- Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy is EXPECTED TO PLAY.
- Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski is QUESTIONABLE.
- Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown is OUT.
- Dolphins WR DeVante Parker is EXPECTED TO PLAY. Preston Williams is OUT.
- Seahawks RB Alex Collins is EXPECTED TO PLAY.
- 49ers QB Trey Lance is EXPECTED TO BE AVAILABLE.
- Panthers CB Stephon Gilmore is EXPECTED TO PLAY. (More on this later.)
- Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey and WR Terrace Marshall are OUT.
- Jets RB Tevin Coleman and QB Zach Wilson are OUT.
- Titans WR Julio Jones is OUT.
- Rams WR DeSean Jackson and LT Andrew Whitworth are OUT.
- Washington WRs Dyami Brown and Curtis Samuel are OUT.
- Saints QB Taysom Hill is OUT.
- Eagles RB Miles Sanders is OUT.
- Bills TE Dawson Knox is OUT.
- Steelers TE Eric Ebron is OUT.
- Bears LB Khalil Mack is OUT.
- 49ers DT Javon Kinlaw is OUT.
- Jets WR Corey Davis is DOUBTFUL.
- Colts WR T.Y. Hilton is QUESTIONABLE.
- Patriots TE Jonnu Smith is QUESTIONABLE.
Things I Think
I think this is a weird slate. One cash-heavy DFS pro I talked to was adamant there’s not much of an edge at all this week, and considered sitting out.
I think I don’t have much to add on what I wrote down in the Slate Breakdown (2,000 words longer than it typically is). I think it’s a great week to try to go contrarian.
With Jamaal Williams out, D’Andre Swift is a lock button play. With Calvin Ridley out, I’m bumping Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts massively. Russell Gage is now cash-viable.
Some lower-owned plays I like:
- I think I’m hitting the lock button on Jerry Jeudy so I especially like that he’s at just 6% projected ownership on both sites.
- Jonathan Taylor is a phenomenal GPP-play with massive slate-busting upside.
- Nick Chubb projects to be even lesser-owned with similar upside. I slightly prefer Taylor, but do expect him to be a little more highly owned than our projections suggest. Johnny greatly prefers Chubb, as potentially “the nuts” play of the week.
- Our projections are madly in love with Damien Harris, but he’s at just 4% projected ownership. He’s another great upside-bet for tournaments.
- Jamal Agnew, Wes Huber’s favorite contrarian punt projects to be just as lowly owned as we suspected.
- Diontae Johnson still too damned low on DraftKings (9%), mispriced (WR11) against a Denzel Ward-less Browns defense that ranks worst in schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WR1s. Mike Williams dropped 36.5 fantasy points in Week 5 when Ward only played 9 snaps.
- Mike Gesicki’s projected ownership (5%) is far too low given his recent success.
Graham Barfield’s Contrarian Angles
Overlooked Stacks / Games
Ryan Tannehill (2% DK | 2% FD) + A.J. Brown (9% DK | 9% FD) – After a slow start, Brown is starting to get going with 7/91 and 8/133/1 in his last two games. With Julio out, AJB has face-melting upside and is going to be fairly moderately owned. The Colts have given up 125 to Hollywood Brown, 89 to Brandin Cooks, and 100 to Deebo Samuel over the last three weeks. Stacking Tannehill-Brown provides leverage off of what will be a fairly popular Derrick Henry on DK and you can bring this back with Jonathan Taylor to correlate your stack.
Washington / Denver
Even though this season hasn’t gone to plan for The Team, Washington’s games have at least been fun for fantasy. They played over the total in four-straight from Weeks 2-5, gave up 31 to the Chiefs in Week 6, and last week’s game vs. the Packers should have been a shootout if it weren’t for a comedy of errors in the red-zone. Washington plays fast on offense (fifth in pace), their defense gives up a ton of points (2.85 per drive, second-most), and gets thrown on a ton (+7.6% above expectation, second-most). It’s the perfect storm.
Denver’s offense has sputtered over the last month, scoring a TD on just 8-of-42 drives while turning the ball over on 7-of-42. That’s not the ratio you’re looking for. Teddy Bridgewater was battling hard through a foot injury last week, though, and now has had extra rest to get right. Hopefully that’s exactly what this Broncos offense does here – get right – in a cake matchup. Especially with Jerry Jeudy back, I hope Denver comes out and takes advantage of this Washington secondary that is facing the fourth-most attempts per game (39.6) and giving up the most passing FPG (22.2).
Contrarian Plays With Slate-Breaking Upside
(Projected ownership in parenthesis).
Nick Chubb (5% on DK and FD) is the nuts at this ownership. Back in 2019, Chubb was the RB5 (18.7 fantasy points per game) in Weeks 1-9 before Kareem Hunt’s suspension was up in Week 10. In that span, he played on 74% of the Browns' snaps, handled 20 or more touches in 7-of-8 games, and finished worse than RB25 once. The Browns told us exactly how they feel about Chubb’s health on Friday when they took him off of the injury report.
Zack Moss (5% DK | 6% FD) is great leverage off of what will be massive Allen-Diggs chalk on FanDuel. Moss is splitting touches with Singletary, but he is clearly the Bills goal-line back. Over the Bills last four games before their bye, Moss was on the field for a whopping 16-of-19 of Buffalo’s snaps from inside-the-five while Singletary got just three snaps. As huge home-favorites, Moss has legit TD equity and if he scores twice, it’ll really hurt the Allen chalk.
Terry McLaurin (6% on DK and FD) was my favorite tournament WR last week and I’m running it back again. I’m not sure the public understands just how amazing his role is… 1) tied for the league-lead in targets of 15 or more air yards with Hollywood Brown (24), 2) McLaurin has seen a whopping 48.6% of the team’s air yards, which is the second-highest percentage right behind Brandin Cooks (48.8%), and 3) he’s gotten a whopping 42% of Washington’s end-zone targets (10th-highest).
Tight end is wide open this week and, as a result, there won’t be massive ownership on just one guy. Hunter Henry (4% on DK and FD) sets up as a nice low-owned play against a Chargers defense that gave up 7/104 to Kelce, 4/50/1 to Waller, 7/149/1 to Njoku, and 5/68/1 to Andrews over their last four games.
Chalk Plays (Ownership Projections)
- Darrell Henderson, RB (21.9%)
- Chris Godwin, WR (20.6%)
- Cooper Kupp, WR (19.3%)
- Michael Pittman, WR (18.7%)
- D’Andre Swift, RB (18.4%)
- James Robinson, RB (17.9%)
- Calvin Ridley, WR (17.1%)
- Cordarrelle Patterson, RB (16.1%)
- Jalen Hurts, QB (15.9%)
- Brandin Cooks, WR (14.8%)
- Tee Higgins, WR (14.0%)
- Devonta Smith, WR (13.8%)
- Darrell Henderson, RB (22.7%)
- Stefon Diggs, WR (21.2%)
- Cooper Kupp, WR (20.0%)
- Devonta Smith, WR (19.5%)
- Deebo Samuel, WR (19.2%)
- Joe Mixon, RB (18.5%)
- Alvin Kamara, RB (18.4%)
- Calvin Ridley, WR (17.9%)
- Dallas Goedert, TE (17.8%)
- Chris Godwin, WR (17.4%)
- D’Andre Swift, RB (16.8%)
- Ja’Marr Chase, WR (15.4%)
Cash Core (DK/FD)
QB: Jalen Hurts (DK), Josh Allen (FD)
RB: D’Andre Swift, Darrell Henderson, Elijah Mitchell (FD), Derrick Henry, Cordarrelle Patterson, James Robinson (DK)
WR: Stefon Diggs (FD), Chris Godwin, Jerry Jeudy (DK), Cooper Kupp, Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Emmanuel Sanders (DK), Diontae Johnson (DK), D.J. Moore, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, Keenan Allen (DK), Russell Gage
TE: Dan Arnold (DK), Kyle Pitts, Ricky Seals-Jones (DK), Tyler Higbee (FD)
DEF: WAS, CIN, LAR (FD)