Welcome to the 8th week of NFL action and another edition of my Sunday Morning Player from Every Game article!
Last weekend was a pill which was hard to swallow. However, it still possessed some delicious undertones that has me coming back for more. In particular, Marlon Mack, Kerryon Johnson, and Devin Funchess were absolute home runs, while Kapri Bibbs added an extra element of success I wasn’t expecting. On the other hand, I completely ignored my own advice and took Jermaine Kearse in cash while at the same time using him as one of my main fills in numerous game stacks that still min-cashed. I’m not satisfied, and like Sun Tzu says, those who go into battle and win want to return for continued victory, and those who lose want to return for vengeance and not be a loser anymore.
This weekend presents some really interesting game stacks but more importantly I see a ton of ownership pivots which allow us to look slightly beyond the chalk at some interesting secondary options. While there are some picks I’m super bullish over, some are more in preparation for “told you so”, and some that I’m downright excited over.
I am sorry to say though, this is the week of the hidden TE. A lot of my picks are TEs, and even why I tried not to it was still the guy that was the most obvious play.
Anyways, without any further adieu here is my PFEG player list for the NFL Week 8 slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.
As always, good luck, and see you at the top!
RB, Denver Broncos
This should end up being the most popular game of the slate and draw some of the heaviest ownership levels, but in terms of where people look Broncos RB Philip Lindsay will be someone that people are forced to pass over by default.
For most people this weekend’s RB ownership should be pretty straight forward. If not Gurley, than the 7k guys. If not that high mid-range, than it’ll be the ultra value with guys like Kerryon Johnson or Tarik Cohen. Especially after last weekend, everyone will be instantly clicking on Kerryon the moment they see the K. Johnson, and while that’s not exactly a bad idea it leaves a lot of ownership on the table for the guy who sits literally right below him. In any case, I don’t see people looking at the run game in this match up, and if they do it will rarely if ever be past Kareem Hunt. And why should they? He is the ultimate Gurley pivot, and as always the homer ownership will be on the passing game. So, at the end of the day it will be near impossible to notice Lindsay, nor that he has nobody behind him this weekend, nor nor that he has been sneaky #good all season. I’m not entirely sure what I imagine as a ceiling, nor a tangible game script. If the Broncos get ahead, I can’t see them being eager to throw the ball back to the Chiefs. And, this game is a massive run funnel game, so even if you aren’t on Lindsay the run game pivot is the obvious sharp play from this game.
Anyways, when you are looking for a under 5% owned guy al la Marlon Mack last weekend, look no further than the Broncos’s running-down RB Philip Lindsay.
TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Let’s get straight to it, this should be the game that will win people the million dollar prizes. While everyone is busy talking about whether or not to James Conner, how cheap AB is, Big Ben at home, let alone the other side of the field with the plethora of options (namely Jarvis Landry), nobody will be looking at ol’ Vancey McD. But, when I’m looking to finish off the game stack with something that is still viable and will set me apart, I’m looking at the big man in the middle of the field Steelers’ TE Vance McDonald.
Firstly, the pass game. I think a lot of people will be looking at Conner expecting big things, and while he is seeing usage in the receiving game I’m expecting a more pedestrian outing against a stout Browns’ run defense. Now, that isn’t to say Conner can’t, he probably will have a great game. At the same time I see way more value in owning parts of the passing game in an attempt to pivot off the massive run game ownership, because for some reason people are still obsessed with the Browns’ run game. This game should shoot out to massive proportions. I like both QBs, and Jarvis Landry isn’t only one of the better plays in a comeback stack, but one of the better WR options of the slate. All the Steelers’ pass catchers are in play, and while I think AB and Ju-Ju will draw decent ownership (with Landry), most people will fail to go far enough into the game stack and stop short, or even landing on Njoku for nearly $1k more. By going McDonald you are still buying into the narrative of this game having massive pass catching ceilings and still not taking on too much risk. I still haven’t mentioned how Jesse James had more than two targets for just the first time last weekend, so if anything I see a bigger role coming to the former 49er.
While I think he could even be used as a filler, my preference and biggest suggestion this weekend is to game stack the Steelers/Browns game and to finish it off with Steelers’ TE Vance McDonald. Not only because it’s sneaky, nor because it’s viable (it’s both), but because much like most Browns games this season, it’s probably going to OT.
TE, New York Giants
Someone who I am way too excited about this weekend is the Giants’ TE Evan Engram. He’s back.
When I say he’s back, I don’t literally mean 10 for 12 Engram is back, but for the most part his body is intact, he is running routes, and catching the ball. We have the luxury of the Giants’ playing off last weekend’s main slate, so unless you were watching or actively playing the full week slate you may have missed Engram making his return. It was nothing special, but he was there, and wasn’t a goose egg. For this weekend however I see a slightly different scenario. While the Giants are most certainly in Dr. Destructo mode, I happen to be of the mind that this season one (of the many ) reasons Eli struggled so badly wasn’t (only) the O-Line, but he had no release valve outside of an option to Barkley, or the same slant route over and over to OBJ. Neither were overly complicated to deal with outside of the players’ massive skill sets, but the fact the were scoring so many points in DFS and the Giants were scoring so few in real life should indicate the overall success of only having two guys to play with. Engram should open up a lot of the field, and in the case the opposition continues to focus on the aforementioned duo, Engram will not only be low owned, but the lowest buy-low in the league. It’s not like the Giants have been particularly good over the past couple seasons, and even in the depths of last season that landed them Barkley, Engram absolutely shredded all season. Like I said, do I think Engram is back to his 10 for 12, 120 yards Zach Ertz impressions? No, but I totally see a potential 6 for 8 and a TD outing from no ownership, and maybe two TDs if he’s extremely lucky. I think the NYG passing game will be extremely popular with their salaries continuing to fall, but what I don’t see is people remembering how amazing Engram was with Eli; this is my “why didn’t I think of that?” for the weekend.
This isn’t something I would jump to in cash (like the other duo), but in a GPP when you are (much like McDonald) trying to go the extra mile to be different without sinking your ship, Giants’ TE Evan Engram will keep you sailing, even when the waters are churning.
TE, Seattle Seahawks
Just when I thought the team that loves to make a solid QB/TE relationship would never land a proper TE, the Seahawks told me to hold their beer and picked up wily veteran TE Ed Dickson, formerly of Carolina Panthers fame where he adequately backed up the oft-injured Greg Olsen. This may be one of my favorite plays of the slate.
In truth both sides of this game represent a QB that has been in search of a TE relationship, but I want to be on the side that has occasionally struck gold, not repeatedly struck out. Russel Wilson made half decent DFS options from Will Dissly and Nick Vannett where neither player were in any way established. I can’t see a GPP scenario from this game where Wilson doesn’t make use of one of, if not what was one of last season’s better backup TE options. And it’s not like Dickson is some sort of slouch, he won people serious money last season. From this weekend’s ownership and salary, Dickson could easily smash 5x value without missing a beat. This is of course a GPP script as I definitely think there are better cash TE options, but in terms of a GPP filler that doesn’t even need to be that deep of a field, Ed Dickson is someone I will turn to when the opportunity presents itself (a massive salary card). Despite playing in the early set of games and not necessarily deserving the actual role, Dickson is one of my favorite double TE flex plays of the slate.
Knowing my luck with favorite plays of the slate, Dickson probably won’t even dress, and Vannett with his broken back with go 8 for 12 and a TD to boot. In any case, RussBuss will continue to search for a TE relationship, and I don’t see the Lions being the team to prevent that. Fire up some Seahawks’ TE Ed Dickson in some GPPs this weekend, who knows, he may even win you some respect.
TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Well done, you’ve made it over the halfway point of the TEs, but much like the last pick in Ed Dickson, Buccs TE OJ Howard is probably my favourite play of the entire slate, and I think this will be the last chance to get on board before he will no longer be a buy-low scenario.
I won’t sugar coat this in any way; the way teams beat the Bengals is through their TE. Kelce, Vance McDonald/Jesse James, even when Austin Hooper made only one catch it was still for the usual 20 yards. Basically, every TE that walks up against the Bengals is going to avg at least 14YPR. Much like McDonald, but on a bigger/better scale, OJ Howard features in a massively owned and high scoring game. Again, identical to McDonald, Howard should be the guy you turn to when you want to fill out your game stacks. Brate is on the out, he won’t be as relevant as Howard, especially towards the redzone. Brate lost a fumble last weekend, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him fall even further off the charts and Howard climb in a massive over game. I think Howard makes for an excellent fill but used especially in a game stack featuring both sides of this contest. His addition will help to offset any ownership which should already be quite huge. The main point is not to make the move on Brate for savings, stick with Howard in GPP and hope for a script where The Buccs (like every other team) find success through their upped usage in TE (like every other team).
I think using him as a fill in another popular game stack or at the very least filling out his own is paramount, but I am betting on Buccs’ TE OJ Howard finding the endzone at least once this slate and in doing so help you get set up for a serious weekend of payouts.
RB, New York Jets
Honestly, I could have went literally anywhere with this game as nearly every role position is a viable DFS option, but I’ve settled on Jets’ RB Trenton Cannon as someone I’d like to identify as this weeks Kapri Bibbs.
Every time someone wants to be sharp they will look to this game. Last weekend Sam Darnold threw the ball Andrew Luck amount of times, And Trubz has won people the Milly in two of last the three slates. Jordan Howard had two TDs last weekend, and Tarik Cohen may be one of the hottest players in the league. WIth Powell out and McGuire not back for another couple weeks, this leaves Crowell as the running down and Cannon as the passing down back. Jermaine Kearse represents one of the biggest recency bias tests of this century, and he’s basically the Jet’s Battle Royale last man standing that is the NFL “winner”. It’s looking ever more likely Allen Robinson won’t be playing, and this for weekend that leaves a plethora of mingling 4k, low owned, high risk Bears’ options anyone can and will plug and play in either format. Not to mention I genuinely can’t tell the difference between Trey Burton and the Zach Miller of last season pre-almost died. On top of all this, the Bears are one of the few DSTs that can actually garner enough respect to be worth every penny at +4k salary on DK.
Like I said, this game is loaded, so why Cannon? As mentioned, this game is absolutely keyed to go off so we can predict there is either at the very least more points for certain people, or at the very most more points to go around for everyone. Secondly, since we are buying into the notion of a shootout, chances are the Jets won’t be looking to run and slow things down…chances are the Jets will be looking to play catch up. What is most important to me is the Crow has been dealing with an ankle injury since the fourth week, so I’m not sure he will get to see that increased work minus-Powell, and I’m also not sure the Crow will last out the entire game.
At the end of all this, the point is in a game that has everything going for it, go with the guy who has literally everything going for him. All of the passing game on both sides is well documented, but most people won’t notice Jets’ rookie RB Trenton Cannon, my Kapri Bibbs of the weekend.
QB, Baltimore Ravens
To switch things up I’ve actually been excited to write about this all week, we have Ravens’ backup QB and all around confusing situation Lamar Jackson, and I dunno, this guy could seriously break the meta of the NFL.
At the very least, craziest, far out stretch of a script, if Joe Flacco gets hurt we are there. OK, so that may not be the script to chase, but that isn’t why we are picking Lamar Jackson, it just happens to be a scenario that is bound to happen eventually. Unless Flacco has been riding a Harleys without a helmet running his head through transfer trucks al la Big Ben, then maybe I’d have something else to say. However, the Ravens didn’t use their top pick on Jackson because they have a future vision with Flacco in mind; the Ravens won’t avoid a situation to waste, ruin, or completely use Flacco until he is past running on fumes. None of these things add up to anything good for Flacco, and everything good for Jackson.
Oh yeah, why are we taking Jackson again? He plays (hyperbole, be warned) on piratically half the Ravens 1st and goal redzone attempts, and they also are one of the most effective in the league in that area. He gets the ball when he’s on the field, not Flacco, and chances are when he is getting the ball he is rushing it, and chances are even better it’s to the endzone.
I’m not sitting here saying “Lamar in cash” or even “Lamar in the Milly”, but don’t be surprised when Ravens’ backup QB Lamar Jackson starts rushing it in on the regular, and we have to start asking if he is a viable play from 4.whatever salary in some random future slate.
TE, Indianapolis Colts
Guess who just got back today?
That wild-eyed boy that had been away,
Haven't changed that much to say,
But man, I still think Jack Doyle is crazy.
They were askin' if he was around,
How he was, where he could be found,
Told 'em he were rehabin' downtown,
Drivin' all the Colts fans crazy.
Jack Doyle is back in town,
(Jack Doyle is back in town).
Jack Doyle is back in town,
(Jack Doyle is back in town again).
Seriously, if you don’t start singing this when he scores this weekend, cancel your subscription, you aren’t worth our trouble. I don’t even care if it’s a room full of people or you are on your first date, if you aren’t making money off that Jack Doyle TD and not singing, what are you even attempting with DFS? And honestly, did anyone really enjoy playing Eric Ebron? Really? How sick are your thrill issues? Playing Ebron felt like playing Russian roulette with parachutes and then jumping out of a plane to see who walks away with the money. I CANNOT WAIT to play me some Jacky D, if he doesn’t catch six of those 48 balls Andrew Luck will throw, than I also don’t even know what I’m attempting with DFS.
Fire up some of the Colts’ TE Jack Doyle this weekend in GPPs, not only because of who he is and of the script surrounding him, but because it will feel so friggin’ amazing not to play Ebron for a slate.
RB, Arizona Cardinals
Saving my two favorite plays of the slate for the final two write ups; we have the forever legendary and HOF inbound Cardinals RB David Johnson… who is easily my favorite RB play of this slate.
Well, let me elaborate. I’m fading Gurley this weekend. If you want to know why feel free to message me, but this isn’t something I’m recommending, and is something I feel is a necessity for my own success this slate. A lot of this has to do with the mass amount of options outside of Gurley’s elite salary range, and further more how many adequate GPP punt value plays there are in the lower salary ranges. However, I am very passionate that two players in particular are massively under priced, and both have the last name Johnson. Mind you, I think Kerryon is old news, but at the same time people haven’t been as willing to click on someone like DJ due to his lack of team success. This slate two of my favorite cash plays are DJ and OBJ or Barkley, especially in the context of h2h. They will be low owned and open up a script pattern which is not only unique but very accessible. DJ makes for my favorite game stack fill, because again chances are when it’s a game stack at least half of those stacks will feature one of the runners, leaving the other spot open. In most cases people will hamstring themselves into Gurley and force themselves into the same three to five guys every single time. Sure, that can be great when it works out, but I don’t feel this is the week where those five guys are all that viable. DJ also happens to be going up against the 49ers (need I say more?). Interestingly enough, these two teams met only a few weeks ago, and it was DJ’s coming back party. It didn’t have to be, but it was because of the lack of 49ers capability. Gurley, Conner, Mixon, HuntHUNT, Kerryon, AP, Tarik Cohen, I expect all these guys (outside of maybe Kerryon) to have far more ownership than DJ, and in truth if you are on any kind of viable game stack including the Steelers/Browns, Buccs/Bengals, Packers/Rams, or to a lesser extent Jets/Bears, and then take any one of the names I just railed off, you probably can’t afford DJ.
Anyways, I love DJ for either format. He is too cheap, playing a garbage opponent in a perfect game script, and most importantly will be far too low owned in comparison to how hard he could smash. Fire up some Cardinals RB David Johnson, you’ll wish you had.
TE, Green Bay Packers
Was there really any doubt how I would finish this off? For the weekend of the TE how can I not end with not only one of the better TEs this slate, but maybe in DFS at the moment; Green Bay’s TE Jimmy Graham?
Where to even begin?
So, this game should shoot out like mad. I can’t see the Packers in any way dealing with anything the Rams come up with (I’ll get to that), and chances are near perfect Green Bay will either be playing catch up, or be funneled to throw at Jimmy G at least half the time. The Rams has been a disaster against the TE all season, and considering the lack of a proper running game we are getting a Jameis Winston situation… except with a future HOF QB. Now, in terms of Gurley. Obviously, great play, but eventually eventually something, anything has to happen. I like Malcom Brown a lot, kind of like a por man’s Austin Ekeler, because in the case it’s a blow out and by some random chance the numerous TDs didn’t all come from Gurley, he’s probably not going to pay off while coming off for Brown. If any QB is match up proof it’s Aaron Rogers, and it just so happens he has an equally great TE to target in a game that should shoot out, where they can’t run and are up against a team that can’t defend the TE. Kind of obvious, no?
I expect Travis Kelce to be a gazillion percent owned, and I’m not looking to take on more TE ownership than I have to; it’s literally the worst position to trust. Salary without ownership? Sure. Salary and ownership? Meh. I’ll stick with the moderately priced and far more market share’d Packers’ TE Jimmy Graham, it’s not like they are #bad or something.