Patrick Mahomes: vs DEN (DK 7000; FD 9200)
The Chiefs offense averaged 29 points in Alex Smith’s final five games as the Kansas City starter against the Broncos when the Denver defense was worthy of respect. Imagine what Patrick Mahomes will do this weekend against this defense that clearly isn’t what it used to be. 300+ passing yards and a 3+ touchdown pass performances in five of seven games as well as 20+ fantasy point performances in six of seven; he has lived up to the preseason hype and shows no signs of slowing down in this high-octane offense. If the Denver defense still causes concern, Mahomes did throw for 300 passing yards against Jacksonville, arguably the toughest defense he will face in 2018. The question will be, can you afford to pay up and roster him?
Andy Dalton: vs TB (DK 6200; FD 7800)
Baker Mayfield may have struggled last week but Andy Dalton looks to continue how Drew Brees, Mitchell Trubisky, and Matt Ryan have all performed in home games against a terrible Buccaneers defense on the road. 300 yards and 3 passing touchdowns have been the floor for home quarterbacks against the Buccaneers outside of Raymond James Stadium. The most recent memory of Dalton was an awful performance against a Chiefs defense that has been burnable all year which may lower his ownership in both cash games and GPPs this week. He’s in a prime position to rebound from that terrible Sunday Night Football performance; start the Red Rifle with confidence.
Matthew Stafford: vs SEA (DK 5600; FD 7300)
Take a look at the quarterbacks that the Seahawks have faced and it makes sense why they’re the “best” fantasy defense against the position. They’ve faced Dak Prescott before Amari Cooper became a Cowboy, Josh Rosen in his first NFL start, and Derek Carr who has been pitiful in 2018. Conversely, when playing teams with a serviceable quarterback and good receivers, notice how Seattle has given up 300+ passing yard games to the Broncos and the Rams. Detroit has one of the best trios of receivers in football and Matthew Stafford should continue to expose Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin on the outside with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. While the rest of the field looks toward Rodgers, Mahomes, and Roethlisberger, this is a good opportunity to differentiate lineups and save some salary in a good spot for Stafford.
Todd Gurley: vs GB (DK 9800; FD 11000)
FanDuel has finally priced Todd Gurley at an appropriate price as he represents nearly 20% of each site’s respective salary cap for those who roster him. Even touching the ball just 19 times against the 49ers, his lowest amount all season, he still managed to find his way to 28.6 FD/30.6 DK. Paying up for Gurley nearly guarantees a floor of 19 touches and 22 FD/25 DK points, all great figures against a Green Bay defense that has been more susceptible to running backs away from Lambeau Field. As if you needed another reason to roster this elite talent, the Packers allow nearly 10 fantasy points more in full PPR scoring to the running back position on the road.
James Conner: vs CLE (DK 7500; FD 8000)
The latest seems to be Le’Veon Bell reporting after the trade deadline passes on October 30th. For at least week 8, James Conner remains the starting running back against a Browns team that has allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns. He has filled in admirably in Bell’s absence touching the ball 20+ times in games that Pittsburgh either won or tied this season while averaging 25.77 FD/30.52 DK points in those games. Vegas loves the Steelers as they are 8.5-point favorites following their bye week against a Browns rush defense that has been exposed by Melvin Gordon and Conner himself back in week 1. Expect him to play a major role in this game as the Steelers may lean on him heavily before he possibly relinquishes the starting duties back to Bell.
Kareem Hunt: vs DEN (DK 7100; FD 8100)
While Tyreek Hill has been more of a focal point in road games, scoring six touchdowns away from Kansas City, Kareem Hunt has been more the focal point in home games as he has crossed the pylons six times at Arrowhead. A 10-point favorite in a high-powered Chiefs offense at a reasonable cost; Hunt meets all of the requirements for a solid DFS start. It should no longer be a secret how bad the Broncos have performed against running backs on the ground as they have allowed the second-most rushing yards in the league. Not to mention he totaled 175 scrimmage yards against Denver back in week 4 and it puts Hunt in an excellent spot to duplicate that performance and perhaps exceed value on both sites.
David Johnson: vs SF (DK 6700; FD 7300)
Things can only go up from here with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy removed from the equation. Byron Leftwich has witnessed what David Johnson is capable of as the quarterbacks coach under Bruce Arians before his promotion to offensive coordinator. If anything, he should make the gameplan as easy as possible for Josh Rosen and heavily rely on his prized running back. Hopefully that starts against a 49ers defense that’s given up the 7th most FPA to the running back position. The price is low enough to take a gamble on DJ with a Cardinals team that should be reinvigorated after the OC change and 10 days to prepare for this game.
Antonio Brown: vs CLE (DK 8500; FD 8800)
From a real-life perspective, the 9th year receiver is putting together another solid campaign. From a fantasy perspective, there are those that feel like Antonio Brown is having a down year as he has produced 222 fewer yards than last year through six games. However, the targets and the touchdowns have been there and this week, he faces a Cleveland secondary that has surrendered the 3rd most FPA to receivers lined up on the left side of the ball and the 7th most FPA to receivers lined up on the right side. The Browns have been effective in shutting down slot receivers which gives JuJu Smith-Schuster the tougher matchup of the two which further bodes well for Brown to put together another strong outing.
A.J. Green: vs TB (DK 8000; FD 8800)
Tyler Boyd: vs TB (DK 6700; FD 6800)
Starting each team’s #1 wide receiver against Tampa Bay has yielded excellent results this year as they are averaging 23.06 FPPG in PPR scoring. A.J. Green should carve up this depleted Buccaneers secondary rather easily and he is slightly discounted on DraftKings. M.J. Stewart will be someone we continuously target each week as Jarvis Landry posted a 20.7 FD/25.7 DK point performance last week under Stewart’s coverage. Tyler Boyd will greatly benefit opposite the struggling slot corner and provides extra salary relief compared to Green.
Doug Baldwin: at DET (DK 5500; FD 6400)
Amazingly, Tyler Lockett is priced high than Doug Baldwin on FanDuel, even after Baldwin played his best game of the year with a 6/91/0 clip. A lot of fantasy owners and experts in the industry have soured on him as he has dealt with a knee injury that has lingered since the end of the preseason. After two weeks of rest since the matchup in London, his knee has had additional time to recover and it sets up well as he lines up against Teez Tabor. Tabor, a cornerback filling in for the injured James Agnew and one that has struggled in his first two seasons in the league, will have his hands full with Baldwin who lines up in the slot on 70% of his snaps. Don’t let the FanDuel pricing cause confusion, he is indeed Russell Wilson’s preferred receiver and it should show in this juicy matchup.
Anthony Miller: vs NYJ (DK 3400; FD 5200)
He saw seven targets which is the most he has seen in a game thus far and played a season-high 63% of the offensive snaps against the Patriots. It aligns well for Anthony Miller to be a cheap option that can return value with a few catches and a touchdown against a Jets secondary that has been horrendous against slot receivers. Adam Thielen, Jarvis Landry, and Golden Tate are among a few of the receivers that have feasted on this weakness that has allowed the 3rd most FPA to the slot. At the time of this writing, Allen Robinson missed Thursday’s practice and if he were to be inactive on Sunday, it puts Miller in an amazing spot to see additional snaps and targets at a bargain bin price.
Travis Kelce: vs DEN (DK 6800; FD 7300)
The Broncos have been fortunate to play the Jets, Cardinals, and Rams in the last three weeks, all offenses that don’t utilize the tight end as much as the Chiefs. Travis Kelce shredded Denver in week 4 to the tune of 9/137/1 and is certainly worthy of being the highest-priced tight end on the main slate. To pay up for him means paying down elsewhere but the Denver defense hasn’t improved from their struggles last year against tight ends. Kelce should certainly prove this for the second time this year.
David Njoku: at PIT (DK 4600; FD 5700)
5.5 catches for 57 yards and .5 touchdowns off 8.75 targets; this is what David Njoku has averaged since Baker Mayfield assumed the starting duties back in week 4. The connection was notable in the preseason and it has blossomed into a reliable weapon for Mayfield. The Steelers allow the second most targets to tight ends and hemorrhage yardage to the position. Njoku is right at that point where he will be considered expensive with another solid outing. While he’s fairly priced on FanDuel, if all goes according to plan, he will be above $5000 and $6000 on each respective site next week against the Chiefs.
O.J. Howard: at CIN (DK 3900; FD 5800)
Jameis Winston has been known to favor the tight end position and that hasn’t changed in the two games since returning from suspension. O.J. Howard has been the main beneficiary as he has seen 13 targets compared to Cameron Brate’s five and played 60% of the snaps vs Brate’s 38%. Up next for Howard is a date with a Bengals defense that allows the most targets to tight ends and surrenders the 4th most FPA to the position in PPR scoring. He’s priced generously on DraftKings and is a solid option to find the end zone and return value as the Bengals have given up four touchdowns to tight ends.
Chicago: vs NYJ (DK 4100; FD 5000)
Fantasy defenses against the Jets have forced multiple turnovers in all but one game and have scored double digit fantasy points in four of seven games. Tom Brady has carved up many of the best defenses in his career; don’t let that deter you from starting the best defense on the main slate this week.
Kansas City: vs DEN (DK 2600; FD 3900)
For as bad as the Kansas City defense has performed on the road, giving up 33.25 points per game while averaging 3.25 fantasy points, it’s been much better at Arrowhead, giving up just 17 points per game while averaging 13.33 fantasy points. While the Broncos have yet to lose a fumble, Case Keenum has been prone to the pick, having thrown at least one in every game thus far. The Chiefs have won the last six games against their divisional foe giving up an average of 19.33 points. There’s plenty of defenses in the $2600 and below category on DraftKings this week; this is surprisingly one of the better options.
Pittsburgh: vs CLE (DK 2300; FD 3800)
The Browns are averaging two turnovers a game since Baker Mayfield took over as starting quarterback while the Steelers force 1.33 turnovers per game along with getting to the quarterback 3.5 times. Pittsburgh comes off a bye and certainly comes into this game angry from an unprecedented tie back in week 1.
Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site. Here are the notable week 8 bargains from both sites:
NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS
QB Jared Goff: 2.16
QB Aaron Rodgers: 1.73
WR Anthony Miller: 1.86
TE O.J. Howard: 1.86
TE Jimmy Graham: 1.26
NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS
RB James Connor: 1.67
RB Joe Mixon: 1.6
RB David Johnson: 1.24
WR Tyreek Hill: 4.2
WR Jarvis Landry: 3.24
WR Mike Evans: 2.6
WR Tyler Boyd: 2.07