Onto the next battle. Since we're still early in the season, here's a bullet point list of what you'll find in 'Value Plays' article each Friday ...
- Each position features three players that I believe are strong value selections for the upcoming weekend, plus the reasoning behind the choice.
- The price tag indicated in parentheses is what you will find over at DraftKings.com.
- Following a quick write-up of why each particular player is a solid value, I'll offer a suggestion on where you should then take your money savings. This works to provide a run-down of the more highly-priced guys that I do like for the upcoming weekend.
- At each position I will also list the highest-priced player in that spot, alongside a 1-10 score which references how confident I would be in that player earning back their cost (10 being a guarantee).
Of course, when you're dealing with a salary cap structure, a good portion of the players I recommend do not correlate to top-notch starting options in season-long play. About half the time, a DFS recommendation is not a thumbs' up for that same player in your season-long set-up
Before I jump into the Week 8 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 7 Report Card ...
- Ryan Tannehill proved to be a monster with four touchdown throws. Both Matthew Stafford and Ryan Fitzpatrick easily earned on their low prices.
- I came up lame on all three selections with Rashad Jennings, Alfred Morris, and Theo Riddick all failing to register.
- Both Albert Wilson and Jamison Crowder came up as reasonable hits. New Orleans went 'run-first' in their win over Indy and that crushed Willie Snead.
- Ladarius Green and Eric Ebron were home runs, as both tight end's ranked in the top four at the position. On the other hand, Jordan Cameron, couldn't get involved in all the fun that his team had versus Houston.
- St. Louis was the top defense in all the game for Week 7, but Washington and Pittsburgh never found their stride.
Overall Week 7 Grade - B
Brian Hoyer ($5,300) vs. TEN - Steadily, Mr. Hoyer is escaping the world of the 'value.' But, for a Week 8 that actually features very, very few real values at all the positions ( ... Nice job, DraftKings!), Hoyer still makes the cut. His price tag has reached a high-water point for the season and will probably take another small move upwards next week. As usual, the Texans will probably have him dropping back at least 40 times. That's because there is no Arian Foster, but it's also because that's just how Houston does things ... Hoyer has fired the ball nearly 120 times in just three starts. Much of that slinging has come in blowouts and that feature doesn't appear to be in the cards for this game against the Titans. But, I can bring myself to think he'll throw fewer than 35 times on Sunday, looking to improve on his highly impressive 11:3 TD:INT ratio.
If you save here, spend here - Chris Johnson ($4,600) @ CLE
Jay Cutler ($5,200) vs. MIN - It has gone mostly unnoticed in '15, but Cutler has been on his best behavior all season long. Ever since he got off the injured list (hamstring), he's been quite effective (not great, mind you) for the Bears, getting them in position to win and not making too many bone-headed mistakes. As one might expect, it's because he's actually gotten some good pass protection this season. The work by the front five has given him more time to cycle through all of his available and, might I add, good options like Alshon Jeffrey (finally back on the field), Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte (still good for 4-5 catches per game). The Vikings come into town this weekend with a solid unit and, in all honesty, this match-up doesn't set up as a great for Cutler. Still, in 11 games versus the NFC North rivals Cutler has been on the positive side, overall. In the past three head-to-head's, he's completed more than 69% of his throws, averaging more than 290 yards, with 6 TD passes to 2 picks. A 250/2 game is do-able and would be a score at this cost.
If you save here, spend here - Doug Martin ($5,500) @ ATL
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,200) @ OAK - It's usually at this point in the schedule that Fitzpatrick is due for a run a funk. The run of fuck will feature many bad decisions. The run of funk will feature the subsequent interceptions that follow. And, of course, the run of funk will lead to the inevitable caustic fantasy efforts. Thus far, we have not seen that run. Instead, what we've gotten is a run where the QB has turned in multi-TD efforts in five of his six starts for 2015. And, check this out ... he's averaging 18.7 DraftKings points per week. The third-highest priced QB for Week 8, Matt Ryan, sits at 16.7 per week. Perhaps the run of funk shows up this weekend. That's always a fear. But, Fitzpatrick does have talented wide outs to throw to and a matchup with the Raiders (dead-last in the NFL pass defense rankings, failing to keep a single QB under 250 yards this year) that is fertilizer for fantasy roses.
If you save here, spend here - Keenan Allen ($7,700) @ BAL
Top of the Chart - Aaron Rodgers ($7,500) @ DEN - 7.1
Chris Johnson ($4,600) @ CLE - Johnson is riding a similar wave to Fitzpatrick. He's had to win over naysayers each and every week and, even to this point in the year, he's still fighting the expectation that claims he'll wear down/show his age/get hurt/etc. But, until we see signs of that assumption, I believe that it's still safe to roll him out there ... and, especially, against the likes of the Browns. Just look at this defense! The rankings say it all ... dead-last in yardage allowed on the ground, 5th-worst in rushing TDs allowed, 2nd-worst in yards per rushing attempt. To crush the nail into the box, there's this ... they've failed to hold the opposition under 150 total rushing yards in 6 of their 7 games this year. With Johnson due to get the bulk of the work this week (13-15 carries), this comes close to be the cheap-play no-brainer.
If you save here, spend here - Tyler Eifert ($5,300) vs. PIT
C.J. Anderson ($4,300) vs. GB - Wait a sec, Kyle, haven't you heard??! Anderson is done and Ronnie Hillman is the Bronco to have. Well, dear reader, that is totally what everyone's saying right about now, isn't it? Might I remind you that those were the very same people saying that Anderson was absolutely, positively, without a doubt, the man in Denver ... less than two months ago? We've yet to hear that the Bronco coaching staff is ready to mothball Anderson. In fact, I think that we'll continue to see a planned split of work duties heading into the upcoming weeks. Denver has got to realize that Hillman has continually failed to stay healthy and effective when given opportunities throughout his career. Thus, they have to keep Anderson involved, unable to turn over all the work to the currently, more efficient, Hillman. Specific to this weekend, I think the bye week will re-charge some of the faith in Anderson. The matchup with Green Bay dictates that you should run more than you pass if you're the Broncos. Finally, who else is going to have Anderson in their lineup?! A simple 60 yards and a score (admittedly, something he's failed to do all season!!) makes for a huge win. It's my gutsiest call of the year, thus far. If I have managed to convince you to go for the gusto, just make sure you get relative givens to be your other RB, two of your three WRs, and your QB.
If you save here, spend here - Todd Gurley ($7,300) vs. SF
Jonathan Stewart ($4,100) vs. IND - How many other running backs have gone beyond Stewart's 44 carries in the past two weeks? Just one ... Adrian Peterson. Obviously, the vulture TDs by Mike Tolbert in Week 7 have plenty of folks (including the DraftKings' number crunchers) scared off Stewart. But, as any season-long reader of this column knows, I loooovvveee workload. It's one of the largest keys to opening up the world of value plays. Stewart is just too cheap this week. Remember, he had a pair of 1-yard TD runs in Week 6 versus Seattle, so it's not as if Tolbert is automatically the call at the goal-line. Indianapolis is also a mediocre rush defense, across the board. While my Anderson push was a gutsy, difference-maker kind of call ... this call on Stewart is just a common sense push.
If you save here, spend here - Matt Forte ($7,300) vs. MIN
Top of the Chart - Le'Veon Bell ($8,300) vs. CIN - 7.9
Marvin Jones ($4,200) @ PIT - With a bye last weekend, you might have forgotten how well the other Bengals' wide out has been doing. Jones has bagged 14 receptions in the past two games and has a pair of 90+ yard receiving efforts in the past month. He's always going to be the second banana to A.J. Green, but with Andy Dalton starting to make use of all the weaponry around him, Jones comes in as a bonafide bargain in this week's tilt vs. the 22nd-ranked Steeler pass defense. Even if you don't get the five catches you're aiming for in this pick, you still have a decent shot at the TD. Recall that before missing all of 2014, Jones emerged in 2013 with a robust 10 scoring catches. He's a big-play threat and has learned how to take advantage of the attention his more-heralded counterpart receives.
If you save here, spend here - Jason Witten ($5,200) vs. SEA
Rueben Randle ($4,200) @ NO - Randle performs a similar role to Jones ... he's the running mate to a better and more dangerous option. In the case of Randle, he gets to make hay while opposing secondaries hone in on Odell Beckhman, Jr. As anyone who's taken a shot on Randle knows, though, he's constantly failed to emerge on his side of the field, while Beckham gets shadowed and followed on his side of the field. That could change on Sunday as the Giants visit the Superdome in New Orleans. Defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, has had his hands full all season when it comes to leading his Saints' defense. They're struggling on multiple fronts, but the biggest is that they are 3rd-worst in the entire league when it comes to yards allowed per attempt (an embarrassing 7.5 yards per throw). Ryan is known for his willingness to double-team the 'big' talent, letting the 'other' guy go one-on-one on the flip side of the field. That could be the set-up for Beckham and Randle this weekend. In each of the past couple of games, the Saints have allowed the 'second' option out wide to find the end zone, too (Donte Moncrief in Indy and Roddy White with Atlanta). Let's make it three consecutive weeks.
If you save here, spend here - Justin Forsett ($6,100) vs. SD
Stevie Johnson ($3,200) @ BAL - The Chargers will be without Antonio Gates again this week. That opens up 6-8 targets for other guys. Johnson has been the forgotten guy most of the year. He's battled injuries throughout his first campaign in San Diego, but he's been involved and targeted in each and every game that he's been on the field. Expect more of that with the trip across country to Baltimore. The Ravens have continued to struggle with QB pressure and that has shown up in the massive passing stats for opposing QBs. Outside of a hideous effort from Michael Vick, the Ravens have been strafed for an average of 347 passing yards in games dating back to Week 2. Plus, we can almost count on Philip Rivers to fling the football at least 35 times per game (he's averaging an insane 44 pass attempts through seven games!). Add all of this up and Johnson comes in as massive bargain buy for Week 8.
If you save here, spend here - Julio Jones ($9,200) vs. TB
Top of the Chart - Julio Jones ($9,200) vs. TB - 8.5
Delanie Walker ($4,100) @ HOU - Delanie Walker is like your best pair of socks. You don't wear them every day, but when you do, they prove to be warm, sturdy, consistent, and comforting. Walker has been use usual solid-as-rock self, up to this point in '15. Despite working with two below-average quarterbacks, he continues to rack up catches, with 29 of them in just five games. A finger injury that has been bothersome most of the season is getting better and you can bet that he's going to remain as one of the top-2 pass catching options for the Titans this week. His price doesn't give him great value, per se, but if you spend the extra few bucks you get a little more of that comfort and sturdiness that comes with a tight end featuring a relatively high floor.
If you save here, spend here - Philip Rivers ($6,600) @ BAL
Ben Watson ($3,500) vs. NYG - Lo and behold, we're nearing the half-way point of the season and Ben Watson is still a fantasy factor. His effect hasn't been to the Gary Barnidge-level, of course, but there have been a couple of weeks here and there where Watson can be in play. This might be one of them. He's never a great bet to buy in on because we have a decade of inconsistent, if not awful, results. But, it's hard to totally ignore him when the Saints continue to profile him as their lead tight end dog. This week's he's facing a New York defense that is mostly uninterested in guarding opposing tight ends, ranking as one of the five-worst D's for points allowed to the position.
If you save here, spend here - Carson Palmer ($7,000) @ CLE
Ladarius Green ($3,000) @ BAL - It's fairly simple, isn't it? No Antonio Gates. Yep, that's about all I got! But, it should be close to enough for you. Green has been a top-8 tight end leading into Week 8. Then, how can he still be this cheap, you ask? Ah, for that, you can thank the silly salary lock that DFS sites employ at the beginning of the week before we know who's even playing. Next time someone makes the argument that 'DFS is just like the stock market,' you can inform that the stock market has ever-changing, up-to-the-second, reflective values on each company. Daily sports comes nowhere near that, thus, allowing for what we have here ... a truly under-priced Green
If you save here, spend here - Devonte Freeman ($8,000) vs. TB
Top of the Chart - Greg Olsen ($6,500) vs. IND - 7.5
Chicago ($2,400) vs. MIN - As usual, I'm not selecting this defense because of anything that they necessarily bring to the table. In fact, I don't even like this match-up all that much, but as noted elsewhere in this column, there aren't many values to be found anywhere in Week 8. Before last week, Teddy Bridgewater, was mostly a mess under center, but he found his way to the best game of the season versus Detroit. I'm not betting on a follow-up showing. The Bears will be home, and although I think they'll struggle to contain Adrian Peterson, they can still force some turnovers and even hold the Vikes under 20. After all, Minnesota does rank 26th in points this year.
If you save here, spend here - Marshawn Lynch ($7,100) @ DAL
Oakland ($2,200) vs. NYJ - Here's another team that doesn't have a whole lot going for it defensively. Just last week they coughed up 29 points to San Diego. Yet, if you watched that game, you would have seen that the Raiders were dominating the proven Charger offense for a full three quarters before going soft in the final quarter. The Raiders have been quite strong versus opposing ground games, so that could go well towards slowing down Chris Ivory. Against the pass, they have managed to pick off 7 passes which is the 9th-best total in the NFL. And, up against Ryan Fitzpatrick, you always have a chance at a few picks. There aren't a ton of points to be earned here, but they should end up in positive territory with little investment.
If you save here, spend here - Matt Ryan ($7,100) vs. TB
San Francisco ($2,100) @ STL - All the attention is on what the Rams defense can do while beating up on the mostly-overmatched San Francisco offense. But, don't forget about some of the struggles that the Rams' offense has dealt with. Their passing game is but a rumor. Heck, Nick Foles hasn't even managed 200 yards passing in any of the last five games. Sure, Todd Gurley is a load and will be tough to keep under 100 yards, but the 49ers might actually be able to sell out against the runs, daring Foles to beat them. At the very least, the Rams will likely struggle to get to 20 points. Keeping them there, and securing a pair of turnovers with a couple of sacks, would make San Francisco a solid value grab.
If you save here, spend here - Le'Veon Bell ($8,300) vs. CIN
Top of the Chart - Arizona ($4,000) @ CLE - 6.6
You can hear Kyle, Monday-Thursday from 8-10 ET and Friday's from 10-midnight ET, on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive', on Sirius 210, XM 87.