It’s now Week 8, marking the halfway point of the regular season and therefore our fantasy seasons. Let’s take a second and remember how worried we were we wouldn’t get to this point due to COVID-19. Thank goodness for football and the diligence of the league. Now, let’s get into some DFS!
All values are subject to DraftKings’ prices and scoring format. All ownership data is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
Fire ‘em up
Justin Herbert @ DEN ($6,900)
Many would be hard-pressed to name a more impressive rookie than Herbert, who has firmly entered the Offensive Rookie of the Year race. He’s been nothing short of special, especially with his deep attempts. He faces off against Denver which shouldn’t be a scary matchup. We have already seen that Herbert has a massive ceiling — just look at last week when he finished as THE QB1 — and his low projected ownership of 3.5% confounds reason, especially when considering how dominant Denver has been against the run. This game will be won through the air, and that’s where Herbert will earn every dime of his price tag.
Jonathan Taylor @ DET ($6,600)
This is the week Taylor truly hits. The 2020 second-round running back has yet to give us the ceiling we expected when Marlon Mack (Achilles) got injured but he faces a beautiful matchup against Detroit. Taylor should see work early and often against a 31st ranked Detroit defense against fantasy running backs. He’s higher owned, projected to be in over 10% of lineups, but the upside is too high to deny for someone who has the opportunity that Taylor has.
Stefon Diggs vs. NE ($6,800)
It’s Stefon vs. Stephon (Gilmore) this week; or maybe not. Gilmore picked up a knee sprain in practice this week and is questionable for Sunday. Should Gilmore miss this week Diggs is a must-play. The Patriots play mostly man coverage, which Diggs thrives against given his route-running prowess. Josh Allen is also an excellent stack option as the third-year quarterback has performed incredibly well against man coverage. This is the perfect get-right matchup for a Bills offense that has faltered in recent weeks.
Mark Andrews vs. PIT ($5,800)
Pittsburgh performed well against Jonnu Smith last week in lieu of the Devin Bush injury, but as a Steelers fan color me skeptical. Andrews is a more polished route-runner and overall tight end than Smith. Lamar Jackson has struggled against the blitz this season which could limit the options this week, but Andrews is the kryptonite to this Steelers defense. If the Ravens win it will be on the back of Andrews who can expose a part of the Pittsburgh defense that has yet to be beaten.
Los Angeles Rams @ MIA ($3,800)
Rookie quarterbacks always have bumps on the road to evaluation, and that will be the case for Tua Tagovailoa who will make his first start on Sunday. The Alabama product will face a fierce pass rush that sacked Bears quarterback Nick Foles four times and pressured him all game long. It’s a tough ask for Tagovailoa to perform against a defense that is allowing the fifth-fewest passing yards per game already. Simply put, Aaron Donald will put the fear of God in Tagovailoa’s head.
Colder than ice
Baker Mayfield vs. LV ($6,100)
It’s a promising matchup which has led to a middling 5.1% projected ownership. Not too bad. But the weather conditions are a real concern for Mayfield, where it is expected to rain with extreme winds going up to 40 miles-per-hour. That will limit the passing attack and put an emphasis on the ground game which is already the centerpiece of this offense. Stay away from the passing options in this game on both sides of the field assuming the weather forecast is correct the day before.
David Montgomery vs. NO ($5,900)
A lack of ceiling, once more, makes Montgomery a puzzling play in DFS lineups. Almost 9% of DraftKings lineups feature the Bears running back in a tough matchup against the Saints defense which is allowing the seventh-fewest points to the position. The Saints also rank inside the top 10 in rushing touchdowns allowed. There simply is no reason to play Montgomery this week in a stagnant Bears offense.
Adam Humphries @ CIN ($3,800)
Humphries is a nice cheap play, but he won’t have a high enough ceiling to compete in DFS lineups. This is a prototypical slot receiver that will catch five for 50 and give you a nice floor, but rarely gets in the end zone which limits the ceiling. I want to shoot for players with higher “boom” ability than the Titans slot receiver who will likely be facing a negative game script as the Titans should beat the Bengals.
T.J. Hockenson vs. IND ($5,300)
It’s a tough matchup for Hockenson as he faces off against the No. 1 ranked Colts defense against the fantasy tight end. It’s been an impressive year for Indianapolis on defense and while Hockenson has shown flashes of what made him a first-round pick, he won’t overcome this defense that just got Darius Leonard back from injury. The Colts already allow the second-fewest passing yards per game — there is not much to work with for Hockenson this week.
New England Patriots @ BUF ($3,100)
Projected to be owned in over 11% of DraftKings lineups, the Patriots are an eerily popular play this week. I’ve already written in detail about how Diggs and the Bills are perfect matchups for a Patriots defense that might be missing its best defensive player. You get the point — avoid this unit.
Jimmy Garoppolo @ SEA ($5,400)
Fantasy football is a matchup game sometimes and just because people generally dislike Garoppolo doesn’t mean that he isn’t a good play. Seattle allows the most points to the fantasy quarterback and just allowed a four-touchdown game to Kyler Murray. This is simply a bad defense with a great offense — perfect for opposing quarterbacks. Losing Deebo Samuel hurts but Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle are capable of making up the deficit.
James White @ BUF ($4,500)
Julian Edelman is out. N’Keal Harry is out. The team needs to utilize White heavily in the receiving game and they will do so. White already has two games this season with eight or more targets and last week’s dud was likely due to the early blowout nature of the game. Buffalo can be beaten by the running back and White is the only receiving weapon this team has left. Through pure necessity White will see immense volume in the passing game; a valuable thing.
Allen Lazard vs. MIN ($4,400)
The Vikings allow the second-highest percentage of “explosive plays” in the league, according to Sharpfootballstats.com. The team has sorely missed Lazard, who has been out with a core injury since Week 3, but the third-year wide receiver has practiced all week and seems set to return. This, of course, requires Green Bay to activate the receiver which, with a bye week on the horizon in Week 9, is no sure thing. But if Lazard is active it’s because he’s ready to go in an incredibly juicy matchup. Play away.
Jared Cook @ CHI ($4,400)
Chicago is certainly a scary defense, but they have been beaten by the tight end, allowing the ninth-most points to the position. With Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Marquez Callaway all out or expected to miss Sunday’s tilt, Cook will be one of the last guys standing. A multi-touchdown game cannot be ruled out — this is Cook we are talking about. He’s done it before, and he can do it again. A projected ownership of 2.1% is icing on the cake.
Indianapolis Colts @ DET ($3,100)
This is a talented defense, simply put. The Lions passing game has not been as potent as it has in years past, likely due to the decline of Marvin Jones, and the Colts defense is currently averaging 11.2 fantasy points-per-game. Every year there’s a defense that might be matchup proof. The Colts deserve consideration for that title, and the Lions aren’t the offense to scare me off of them. They’re also only expected to be played in 2.1% of DraftKings leagues.