Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 8 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus. With that being said, let’s get to it…
49ers (16.5) at Eagles (29) Total 45.5
If you haven’t had a chance to yet, go check out our TFA DFS podcast on iTunes “DFS DegeNation.” Kevin Steele, Eliot Crist, and I broke down every single position for the slate this week and we are ready to smash. I mention that under this game because I go into depth on the podcast about how awesome of a spot Blount is in this week. He has everything going for him here in what we look for in RBs: 1) is he playing at home: yes. 2) is he favored by Vegas: yes, big time. 3) does he have a good matchup: the best one he will have all season. 4) is he going to see a floor of touches: absolutely. Blount has seen about 15 carries a game this season and is averaging about 5 yards per carry. With his 15 carries, he is consistently reaching the 70-yard mark. Due to game flow, I think his 15 touches is actually boosted to the 20-22 range here which should allow him to get over the 100-yard mark. We all know he has TD upside as well, and he is only $5100 on DK. Smash spot for me and should be under-owned. The Eagles pass attack is in a great spot too, but I am playing Blount this week, so no passing attack for me. Playing Wentz and Co. is not a bad play though.
On the 49ers side, I love every single pass catcher, but I don’t want them all in the same lineup. I don’t see the 49ers putting up a ton of points so I want to spread out my exposures between Goodwin, Garcon, and Kittle, but I definitely want exposure to all 3. Goodwin is probably my favorite due to his insanely cheap price and his consistent targets. He is currently questionable, so pay attention to that.
Top Plays: Wentz, Jeffrey, Agholor, Blount, Goodwin, Garcon, Kittle
Raiders (21.75) at Bills (24.25) Total 46
This game is a stay away from me for the most part. I guess if you want to play Tyrod I won’t hate you for it. The Raiders entire secondary is injured. Two of their starting cornerbacks are out this week, and Tyrod offers rushing upside as well. McCoy is in play here, but if paying up at RB there is a different RB I prefer. Jordan Matthews is fine in a big field tourney but isn’t safe enough for cash due to lack of targets.
On the Raiders side, I think it is Crabtree over Cooper here. Last week they moved Cooper all around the formation and placed him in the slot to get him going. If they do that this week, the Bills should be able to contain Cooper, unlike the Chiefs, did. Instead, though, Crabtree gets to face EJ Gaines replacement. That is a huge boost to Crabtree and at only $6300 on DK and $7200 on FD he is firmly in play here and is the main player from this game that I want. The rushing attack is a stay away for me because we have no clue what the script will be in terms of carries. If I had to choose one of the two I would pick Washington because of talent and possibly goal-line ability, but he should split carries with Richard.
Top Plays: Tyrod, Crabtree
Colts (15.25) at Bengals (25.75) Total 41
While the Bengals have the 4th highest team total on the board, this game total is one of the lowest of the week. That scares me when wanting to play Dalton in big tourneys. I think he is fine for cash as he should be able to throw for 250 yards and 2 TDs in his sleep in this matchup, but I worry about the 300 yard, 3TD upside you want to win tourneys. With Lazor being the OC and throwing the ball almost 60% of the time it certainly is possible. But trusting Marvin Lewis and his staff to do the smart thing is a deadly combo. Regardless of if you play Dalton or not, AJ Green is in a smash spot. If Dalton throws for 250 and 2 TDs, you have to think AJ Green gets 150 of those yards and 1 of the TDs here against this putrid Colts secondary who made Blake Bortles look like God last week. If playing Dalton and AJ, I don’t mind throwing in Tyler Kroft for a stack.
On the other side, game flow strictly favors Marlon Mack. I respect this Bengals D though and wouldn’t go crazy.
Top plays: Dalton, Green, Kroft, Bengals D
Panthers (22.5) at Bucs (23.5) Total 46
The Bucs have been awful against passing attacks this year. This makes the Panthers air attack an awesome target this week. Even though I think Cam is bad at football, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have upside here. Benjamin should be able to get into the end zone in this one, and Funchess should be involved as well. Ed Dickson doesn’t soak up a lot of targets, but with him being banged up, there could be a couple extra targets to go around. I love McCaffrey here as we can treat him as a WR in this passing attack more so than an RB. He is consistently seeing double-digit targets.
On the other side, we have yet to see a huge game from Mike Evans, the 100 yard two touchdown variety, and this could be the week. I would not shy away from playing Evans here. Desean Jackson is also being used in a more consistent role than he is used to and not just ‘go routes.’ He has 100-yard upside in this matchup, especially if the Bucs D keeps giving up points in bunches requiring the Bucs O to pass.
Top Plays: Cam, Benjamin, Funchess, McCaffrey, Evans, Jackson
Bears (19) at Saints (28.5) Total 47.5
The Saints D has been really good over the last couple of weeks and they are in play here again this week against a Bears team struggling to score points. They are more of a cash game play for me because Trubisky hasn’t been throwing much, limiting their turnover upside. If the Saints take a huge lead though, that could change.
On the Saints side, Mark Ingram figures to be one of the more popular plays this week. Ever since AP was traded, he has smashed for more than 25 DK points. In a game they should be winning, he will get a lot of carries and makes a good cash game play. I can fade him in big tourneys though.
Top Plays: Saints D, Ingram
Falcons (25.25) at Jets (19.25) Total 44.5
Anytime Julio Jones is on the slate, he has tourney winning upside. However, until Sarkisian gains any sort of common sense and starts targeting Julio more, especially in the red zone, I won’t have much Julio at his price tag. If you are desperate for a super cheap defense in cash, the Jets have only been in the negatives one time this season and are only $2200. That is not a recommendation to play the Jets, but if you love your lineup and you have $2200 left for a defense, you could definitely do worse. The Falcons offense doesn’t look right with Sark calling plays.
No thanks on the Jets side this week.
Top Plays: none
Chargers (20.25) at Patriots (27.75) Total 48
This is the highest total of the week and my favorite game to target this week. While most people are going to flock to Brady, we are going to play chess while they play checkers. We are going to load up on the Chargers side. This Pats D has been awful all season and just got worse. Gilmore is questionable still, but they just lost Hightower for the season. This is a huge hit to the linebacker core and their heart of the defense. If Melvin Gordon plays, he is the RB I want to pay up for, and you can even pair him with Rivers as he catches TDs inside the red zone. Hunter Henry is finally seeing more snaps and targets than Gates and makes for a great play with a weak LB core in the middle of the field. Also in the middle of the field roams the slot receiver, Keenan Allen. See how easy it is to love the Chargers O this week? Load up on them…
On the Pats side, Brady stated this week their emphasis of wanting to get rid of the ball early and quickly against the Chargers pass rush. This favors the short target receivers. With Amendola struggling through a hyperextended knee, I think James White sees a heavy workload again this week and is dirt cheap for his consistency and role. Hogan is the receiver I want as he has seen shallow targets as well.
Top Plays: Rivers, Gordon, Allen, Henry, White, Hogan
Texans (19.75) at Seattle (26.25) Total 46
Russell Wilson is in an interesting spot here. The Texans defense since losing Mercilus and Watt is not the same. If the Seahawks are going to score, it is going to be because of Russ, Baldwin, and Graham. The RBs are awful. I don’t mind the stack here with the Seahawks coming off the bye week.
The Seahawks D is the defense to load up on this week. The Texans are dealing with some controversial comments from their owner and there is 0% chance they are focused on the game plan for the week. This game could end up being a major blow out, and wouldn’t be surprised to see Watson makes some mistakes trying to force a couple throws downfield.
Top Plays: Russ, Baldwin, Graham, Seahawks D
Cowboys (24.75) at Redskins (22.75) Total 47.5
In the second highest total of the week, this is my second favorite game to target. I absolutely love Captain Kirk in this spot. The Redskins run game is non-existent, and the Skins are going to put up points. Expect them to do so through the air. Thompson, Reed, and Doctson are the guys I want to pair here.
Zeke has a hefty price tag of $9200 and I can’t pay that this week. The Skins run D is respectable, and he needs 35 points to pay off this price tag. While this is doable, I don’t think it is likely. Norman is returning this week which makes me not want any Dez Bryant. Instead, Beasley and Witten become intriguing here.
Top Plays: Cousins, Thompson, Reed, Doctson
Steelers (24.25) at Lions (21.75) Total 46
I have been one of the biggest Martavis Bryant fans, and now he has been sent to the scout team. JuJu Smith Schuster has fully taken his spot in the pecking order. Big Ben has looked good this season but hasn’t had the stats to back that up. I think that changes here in the dome. Big Ben should throw for a couple scores here and all the Steelers are in play.
On the Detroit side, Golladay is listed as out, and Tate is questionable. The Steelers have been one of the best defenses against the pass, so nothing on the Detroit side excites me. I guess you can take a shot in the dark on Riddick in PPR format, but even that doesn’t feel great.
Top Plays: Ben, Bell, Brown, JuJu