Large field tournaments are what make DFS such an exciting attraction week after week. It takes just one lineup to hit it big and cash in for a five or six figure week (or seven if you’re “lucky” enough to win a millionaire contest). Building GPP lineups can be pretty labor-intensive with so many options throughout the league, and chasing upside can be defeating when your favorite life-changing lineup bombs and you can’t even see the cash line from the depths of your couch.
In order to speed up your lineup building process, I’ll be here weekly with some of my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL weekend. Remember, all we’re chasing is upside in our tournament lineups, but check out more details regarding GPP lineup construction here.
Tournament Plays for FanDuel and DraftKings: NFL Week 8
Russell Wilson (SEA, FD: $7,900, DK: $6,500) vs. Houston Texans
Russ has really turned it on his last four games. He’s finished as a top-five quarterback in three of those, with 295+ passing yards and multiple passing TDs in all of those games. His legs have continued to add to his production as well, as he’s averaging 27.3 rushing yards per game this season. The Texans defense is overrated at this point in the season. They’re extremely depleted (J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Whitney Mercilus, A.J. Bouye all injured/gone) and have been torched by the two elite quarterbacks they’ve faced this season. Tom Brady dropped 375 yards and five touchdowns and Alex Smith carved them up for 324 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson has the capability to put up those numbers, and makes for a great tournament pivot off the chalky Carson Wentz on FanDuel where he’s the same price.
Kirk Cousins (WSH, FD: $7,800, DK: $6,400) vs. Dallas Cowboys
The franchised-QB has found his stride and is rolling over the last four weeks. He’s averaging 304.5 passing yards and 2.5 TDs over those four games, leading to 25.8 fantasy points per game in that stretch. In two games against Dallas last season, Cousins posted 364 yards with one TD, and 449 yards and three TDs. The Cowboys don’t have a strong defense this year either, as they’re allowing 23.7 points per game (22nd). This game features the highest total of the weekend (50) and is between two division rivals fighting for second behind the 6-1 Eagles. I expect this to be a high-scoring affair with Cousins leading the charge for the Skins.
LeGarrette Blount (PHI, FD: $6,100 – FanDuel only)
The Eagles are nearly two-touchdown home favorites and welcome one of the worst rushing defenses in the league to Philly. The Niners are allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game and now are the worst defense in the league when looking at fantasy purposes after Ezekiel Elliott shredded them for 219 total yards and three touchdowns. Blount continues to see the majority of the ground (14+ carries each of the last four weeks) and Philly should be able to build a lead in this one. His floor is lower than we would like, but the upside in this matchup is great and he can provide some solid salary relief from a top-heavy RB group this weekend.
Melvin Gordon (LAC, FD: $7,900, DK: $8,100) at New England Patriots
I love this matchup for Gordon on the road, especially in tournaments. The third-year back produced a clunker at home in Week 7, posting just 4.9 FanDuel points against the Broncos. I like this matchup for Gordon on the ground (New England bottom half of league in rushing yards allowed), but I love his tournament upside as a receiver. In road games this season, Gordon has averaged 6.7 catches on 8.7 targets, 50 yards receiving, and has totaled four receiving TDs. The Patriots have struggled against pass-catching backs, allowing the second-most catches, yards, and touchdowns to the position. This game possesses the second-highest total of the weekend, and I think Gordon is a major factor for the Chargers in Week 8.
Le’Veon Bell (PIT, FD: $9,400, DK: $9,300) at Detroit Lions
I have a tough time avoiding Bell when making lineups, as he sees an incredible amount of opportunity compared to his peers. Over the last four weeks, Bell has totaled 137 touches (34.3 per game) while the next closest RB is Jordan Howard with 97. His matchup against the Lions is solid as well. They’ve allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs and have allowed the most catches and fourth-most receiving yards per game to opposing backfields. His touchdown upside is as high as anyone, as he’s toted the ball 17 times inside the 10-yard line, the most in the league. His price is high, but well worth it in this scenario, so I’ll be plugging Bell into several lineups this weekend.
A.J. Green (CIN, FD: $8,500, DK: $8,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Nearly all Bengals players are in play this week against a defense allowing a league-high 31.7 points per game. A.J. Green just happens to be my favorite skill target, and should be yours as he’s accounting for 66.5% of the Bengals’ receiver yardage this season. The Colts have allowed the most receiving yards to opposing wide outs, and I have a hard time believing they’ll just suddenly slow down the All-Pro Green. He’s already posted two 100+ yard receiving weeks, and this should be another one. Make sure to have him in your lineups.
Demaryius Thomas (DEN, FD: $6,900, DK: $5,900) at Kansas City Chiefs
I always like targeting guys who have just let down a whole slew of players the week before. DT fits that narrative perfectly, as he posted just two catches for nine yards against the Chargers. We’re starting to see the Chiefs’ defense fall apart before our eyes, as they’ve surrendered 30+ points in two of their last three games. KC has allowed the most points to opposing WRs this season, including a league-high 13 TDs. Thomas should avoid the coverage of Marcus Peters on the majority of his routes, so Siemian should look his way plenty as QBs love targeting Terrance Mitchell. His price is reasonable on both sites, especially with the volume he should see with Emmanuel Sanders likely sidelined. If he can’t do it this week, it might be finally time to write off Thomas as someone we’re willing to roster in DFS.
Devin Funchess (FD: $6,500, DK: $5,900) and Kelvin Benjamin (FD: $6,600, DK: $6,400) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa has been a sieve in the passing game thus far, allowing over 210 receiving yards to opposing wide outs per game, the most in the league. They’ve allowed 94 catches to opposing WRs, the third-most in the league and 12 more than any other team who have played six games. To make matters worse, Brent Grimes and Robert McClain (Tampa’s two starting corners) were both absent from practice on Thursday. Carolina’s running game has been horrendous, as they’re averaging a league-low 2.8 yards per carry this season. Cam Newton should have a field day against this secondary, and both Funchess and Benjamin have a chance to put up big performances. I recommend gaining exposure to both come Sunday.
Keenan Allen (LAC, FD: $7,800, DK: $7,300) at New England Patriots
There has to be some positive regression coming Allen’s way, and I think this is the week we see it. He’s seen the second-most targets and red zone targets in the NFL, but has scored just one touchdown on the season. He’ll be facing a Pats defense that’s allowed the second-most catches and receiving yards to opposing wide outs, so he should have no problem finding value from his targets this week. This game has the second-highest total on the slate and has the chance to be shoot out, making the Chargers’ top WR option a great tournament option.
Jimmy Graham (SEA, FD: $6,400, DK: $4,600) vs. Houston Texans
The former Saint is a great option to stack with Russell Wilson this weekend. Graham now leads the NFL in targets inside the five-yard line and is second inside the 10. The Seahawks can’t run the ball when they get in the red zone, so they should turn to Graham again. Everyone is discussing his huge drops last week, and rightfully so, but I’m hoping that rhetoric leads to lower ownership this week. The total in this game opened at 42 and has climbed up to 46, showing sharp bettors are interested in the over. Seattle seems to have finally figured out how to isolate Graham around the goal-line, so I like his chances of racking up another touchdown and hopefully maximizing his fantasy potential rather than leaving oodles of points on the field.
Jordan Reed (WSH, FD: $6,100, DK: $4,700) vs. Dallas Cowboys
We finally saw Reed emerge from the depths of fantasy hell in Week 7, as he saw his first double digit target game, first game over 50 yards, and first receiving touchdown(s) on the season. Reed has been able to amass touchdowns in the bunches in past years, so I’m hoping he’s finally healthy and can tack on another strong performance this upcoming Sunday. In two matchups against the Cowboys last season, he posted lines of 5-70-0 and 10-95-2. With the receiving corps in complete disarray, I’m hoping Captain Kirk looks to his old pal Jordan Reed and together they light up the Cowboys at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers (FD: $4,400, DK: $2,900) at Detroit Lions
The Steelers should get overlooked this weekend, but I really like their price on both sites and think they match up well with the Lions. Pittsburgh is allowing just 258 yards per game, tied for fewest in the NFL, while Detroit is one of seven teams averaging fewer than 300 yards per game on offense. It looks like the Lions will be without their top pass-catcher in Golden Tate, which favors the Steelers even more. Also, Pitt is second in the league with 24 sacks, and Detroit has always struggled to protect Matthew Stafford. Case in point – they’ve allowed 17 sacks over their last three games. Facing a team on the road just coming off their bye doesn’t give you that tingly feeling inside when clicking their name, but I think Pitt has a solid chance to shut down the Lions.