After being spoilt for choice for the first seven weeks of the season, week eight may bring us our first real challenge in DFS terms as the byes are here in full force. This week, we lose six teams, including most namely, the Steelers and Giants.
With that being said, some things have remained constant as week 8 will also include an NFL game in the UK and will see a whole new set of backup running backs make starts following injuries to their lead backs.
Pay up: Tom Brady ($9,000) will no doubt be a popular play this week amongst the community. While there is often good reason to fade the popular guys in GPP’s, picking the right spot to do so is vital. With that being said, I cannot bring myself to do it this week, as the Patriots will undoubtedly look to seek revenge against a banged up Bills team that handed them their only loss of the season. Brady of course, did not take part in this game due to suspension, but has been a picture of consistency since returning, eclipsing 20 fantasy points on each occasion. It’s hard to see this not continuing this week, especially with the most dynamic tight end in the game back up and running.
Value play: Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7,300) is likely to be on the complete other end of the spectrum to Brady and let me concede, there is probably no other quarterback on the slate that comes with a lower floor than Fitzpatrick. With that being said, to take out a GPP you’re going to need some guys with a large upside and Fitzpatrick has shown he can have big games when he gets it going. He faces the Browns this week, a team that has given up the second most points to fantasy quarterbacks and after all the struggles that he has had this season, this is the perfect game for Fitzpatrick to get his season back on track. Proceed with caution, but Fitzpatrick is definitely worth considering.
Pay up: Devonta Freeman ($8,300) was the number one running back in fantasy last season and with Tevin Coleman ruled out for their week 8 clash with the Packers, Freeman will have the opportunity to re-produce those numbers this week. The Packers represent a run defence that has been quite solid on paper to start the season. However, they were gashed by Ezekiel Elliot two weeks ago, giving up 157 yards in the process. While there is heaps of value at the running back position this week, it is hard to ignore a guy that averaged 130 yards and two touchdowns over four games when he had the full share of the backfield last season.
Value play: Devontae Booker ($4,800) and Jacquizz Rodgers ($4,800) are borderline must-plays this week given the state of the rest of the backfield’s they occupy. The pair will see a ton of work and given their minimal price, they are a steal. It is likely that we see a ton of these guys in line-ups this weekend and there is no case to be made against plugging and playing both. Not only are they undervalued, the pair also have quite favourable matchups. Booker faces a Chargers team that has somewhat improved in recent weeks, but still struggle when it comes to stopping the run. On the other hand, Rodgers will face the Raiders who also have their own problems when it comes to slowing down opposing running backs.
Pay up: TY Hilton ($8,600) has been targeted by Andrew Luck 10 or more times in all but one game so far this season and there is no reason that this trend should not continue this week. The Colts passing game has leaned heavily on Hilton over the last month and while Jack Doyle has been productive in recent weeks, the Chiefs have completed shut down opposing tight ends. With that in mind, Hilton may see even greater usage against a Chiefs secondary that have allowed opposing slot receivers to get of the chain.
Value play: Will Fuller ($6,300) is an intriguing value play this week as he looks to get back on track following a relatively quiet month. The rookie started the year with a bang, putting up double digit numbers in three of the first four games of the season before succumbing to ongoing hamstring issues. Tough matchups against the Vikings and Broncos also hindered Fuller’s production as did the demise of Brock Osweiler. However, with Fuller’s health now back on track and a plus matchup against the Lions on deck, he will undoubtedly have a perfect opportunity to start producing for fantasy owners. The Lions have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and given Fuller’s big play potential, he definitely has the upside you need to take out a big GPP.
Jimmy Graham ($6,700) will officially make his return to New Orleans this week in a matchup that will be will carry large amounts of sentimental value for the former Saint. In recent weeks, we have seen Graham develop a greater sense of chemistry with quarterback, Russell Wilson, leading to him receiving 8 or more targets in each of his last four games. There is no reason why this will subside this week and given the fact that Graham practiced fully during the week, there should be no questions about his health.
As I touched on earlier, the Patriots ($4,900) will be out to seek revenge against the Bills this week who will likely be without star running back, LeSean McCoy and a number of other offensive weapons. The Bills have never won both regular season games against the Patriots in the Belichick era and I’m certainly not going to bet on it happening now.
Call me boring, but I’m going to continue rolling with the Patriots theme here and go with Steven Gostkowski ($5,100) in this spot. He’s seen a price drop in recent weeks after starting the season as the most expensive kicker in the game. If you have left over cash, do not be afraid to spend up in this spot. If you’re running thin on the other hand, Roberto Aguayo is again my pick of the budget guys.
Be sure to continue the conversation with me on twitter @damonmarcon where we can talk all things NFL as well as those line-ups that are pushing towards DFS glory. Good luck!