With all of the top players at your disposal each week in daily fantasy football, it can be tough to decide between guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones when building your lineup. In this weekly article, I’ll take a look at guys on the upper or middle range of salaries at each position (“retail prices”), identifying my favorite plays for the week. Make sure to complement these players with “value plays,” and as always be mindful of the different strategies that apply for GPP versus Cash contests.
FanDuel and DraftKings NFL Week 8 Picks: Top QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs and D/ST
Carson Wentz (PHI, FD: $7,900, DK: $7,200) vs. San Francisco 49ers
The second-overall pick from last year’s draft has quickly showcased his superstar potential this season. His fantasy potential has been on display as well, as he’s the highest scoring fantasy QB and third when it comes to points per game. He’s finished below 15 points just once and over 25 points three times, giving us the floor and ceiling we’re looking for on a weekly basis. Wentz will now face a 49ers defense who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. They’ve surrendered the QB1 (Kirk Cousins) and QB3 (Dak Prescott) in the last two weeks. Wentz should have no problem racking up yards in the air and on the ground, making him one of the top QB plays of the week.
Cam Newton (CAR, FD: $7,800, DK: $6,600) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It was a tough Week 7 for Newton, but he has a prime bounce back matchup against the porous Buccaneers defense. Tampa Bay has allowed the third-most points per game to opposing QBs, surrendering an average of 20 per game. Newton has shown his upside this season, as he piled up over 80 fantasy points in Weeks 4-6. The most exciting aspect of his fantasy performance stems from his renewed usage on the ground. Since Week 4, Newton has averaged nearly nine carries and over 40 yards rushing per game (includes 0-yard performance in Week 5). Tampa just surrendered 53 yards rushing to Tyrod Taylor. I love his matchup for him and will have plenty of Superman this weekend in probably a low-ownership spot after a dude in Chicago.
Le’Veon Bell (PIT, FD: $9,400, DK: $9,300) at Detroit Lions
Bell has become the gold-standard when it comes to fantasy running backs. He’s the only back in the NFL averaging more than 25 touches per game, and is quite a bit above that mark at 28.9 touches/game. He’s seen 30+ rushes three times since Week 4, while Jordan Howard is the only other RB to see 30+ rushes in that span (36 in Week 6). Bell will now head on the road to face a Lions team that’s surrendered the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. In a solid matchup with the highest workload in the league, Bell makes for a great option once again this week at the RB position.
Melvin Gordon (LAC, FD: $7,900, DK: $8,100) at New England Patriots
This is an enticing matchup for Gordon on the road, as New England has struggled against opposing backs, especially those with receiving ability. They’ve allowed the second-most catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns in the league. Gordon has become an underrated pass-catcher, as he has the third-most targets (39) among running backs with 50+ carries. His 222 receiving yards are ninth-most in the league for RBs, and his four receiving touchdowns leads the position. All four of those TDs have come on the road, where Gordon is averaging 6.7 catches on 8.7 targets and 50 receiving yards in three games this season. The Chargers will likely need to air it out with the dynamic Patriots’ offense on the other sideline, so I love Gordon’s chances to put up a big week in the passing game in route to a great fantasy performance.
A.J. Green (CIN, FD: $8,500, DK: $8,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are a struggling defense that just lost their most promising player in Malik Hooker (torn ACL). Green should have a field day against a secondary allowing the most receiving yards and fifth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs. Their numbers would be much worse, but they’ve allowed just four receiving touchdowns to wide outs, which is tied for sixth-fewest. Green has already reached pay dirt three times this season, and actually has two touchdowns in two career games against the Colts. No one in Indy’s secondary will be able to match up with Green, giving him the opportunity to blow up at home this Sunday.
Alshon Jeffery (PHI, FD: $6,600, DK: $6,700) vs. San Francisco 49ers
The first-year Eagle has been underwhelming thus far, but draws his most favorable matchup on the season. He’s faced the likes of Patrick Peterson, Casey Hayward, Janoris Jenkins, Marcus Peters, and Josh Norman, but will square off against a 49ers secondary that possesses some of the worst corners in the NFL. Out of 112 qualified corners, San Fran has the 86th, 106th, and 110th ranked corner according to Pro Football Focus. Although Jeffery’s production has been subpar thus far, he leads the team with 59 targets. I expect Carson Wentz will carve up this secondary while trying to get Jeffery on track, which could lead to a great week for a historically great fantasy wide receiver.
Keenan Allen (LAC, FD: $7,800, DK: $7,300) at New England Patriots
It’s been a tough few weeks for Allen recently, as he’s failed to exceed four catches and 70 receiving yards in each of his last three games. This should be a great bounce back opportunity for him, however, as the Patriots have allowed the fourth-most points per game to opposing WRs. They’ve surrendered the second-most catches and receiving yards, both stats that Allen has a large upper hand in among Chargers’ receivers. He’s currently third in the entire NFL with 72 targets and a team target share of 31%, which is fourth in the NFL behind DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, and Jarvis Landry. This game possesses the second-highest total of the weekend (48), giving it solid fantasy relevance. Allen should be able to exploit the weak Patriots’ secondary and will look to post his third 100-yard receiving game of the season.
Kelvin Benjamin (CAR, FD: $6,600, DK: $6,400) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m going to be targeting a lot of Carolina’s passing game this weekend, as Tampa Bay has been torched through the air all season. They’re allowing 294.8 passing yards per game to opposing teams, and I like the Panthers’ chances of surpassing that mark this weekend. Benjamin leads Carolina WRs with 19 targets in the last two weeks. He’s showcased he has a solid floor, as he’s surpassed 60+ yards or had a receiving touchdown in five of his last six games. The Buccaneers have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers this season, giving us another reason to target Benjamin.
Travis Kelce (KC, FD: $7,200, DK: $6,800) vs. Denver Broncos
Denver has only showed vulnerability to tight ends this season, as they ranked 30th in DVOA after Week 6 and allowed another five catches and 77 yards to Chargers tight ends this past week. The Broncos have now allowed at least five catches and 60+ yards to tight ends in every game since Week 1, including three touchdowns in those five games. Kelce is by far the most consistent passing weapon in Andy Reid’s offense, and that won’t change this week. He destroyed this Denver defense last season as well, posting games of 8-101-0 on the road and 11-160-1 in Arrowhead. Those are awfully gaudy numbers that will be hard to match, but this is the lone offensive matchup on KC that is appealing against a tough Denver defense.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN, FD: $5,800, DK: $4,500) at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland continues to struggle against tight ends, as Tennessee tight ends added another nine catches for 85 yards in Week 7, and would’ve had a touchdown if Marcus Mariota had not grossly underthrown a wide-open Delanie Walker. Rudolph is the next man up on our DFS carousel, as Cleveland has now allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing TEs. After seeing just 15 targets through the first four weeks, Rudolph has accumulated 25 in the last three games. He should continue to see targets this weekend as Cleveland funnels targets to the middle of the field, making for a great DFS play.
Minnesota Vikings (FD: $5,300, DK: $4,000) at Cleveland Browns
The Brownies have been a dream matchup for opposing defenses this season. They’re averaging the fewest points per game this season at just 14.7 and have coughed up plenty of turnovers. Their QBs have thrown 17 interceptions through seven games, including eight in the past three. The Vikings have allowed 20+ points just once this season (on the road against the Steelers), and have had four interceptions over the past three weeks. Mike Zimmer will be dreaming all week about scheming against such a bad offense, and I expect Minnesota to come out and dominate the Browns this weekend.