After taking a brief leave of absence for Week 7, maybe I should have stayed away and let someone else suggest Daily Fantasy Football (DFS) core and value picks for Week 8 too. Holy cow was that a disaster. The few good hits were all but wasted on Jameis Winston stinking up the joint and then getting benched. To be fair, it wasn't ALL Winston's fault (looking at you Demaryius Thomas and Ricky Seals-Jones).
The beauty of DFS is each week offers a fresh start and the chance to completely put the previous week behind us. And Week 9 should be an interesting one thanks to the combination of schedule (which is actually lighter) and the fact that six teams are on bye. A whole bunch of fantasy owners are going to be digging deep into the bench to put together a starting lineup this week and that could be the case with DFS as well.
As for the schedule, we have some massive matchups with New England hosting Green Bay on Sunday night and more importantly, the undefeated Rams going to New Orleans to take on the rolling Saints. I am probably going to be drawing upon both of those games quite a bit because where there are high projections there is usually fantasy goodness.
Here are the Week 9 games with projections of 50 or more:
Chiefs at Browns — 51.5
Buccaneers at Panthers — 54.5
Rams at Saints — 60
Packers at Patriots — 56.5
(Favored teams in bold)
So let’s get into my Week 8 DFS Picks, shall we? If this is one of your first times playing DFS feel free to check out my "10 Tips to Win at DFS."
As always any questions, arguments, or glowing praise can be sent to me via Twitter @fantsychillpony.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Philadelphia
Week 9 Core Plays
These will be my top plays for the Sunday-Monday slate of games. These are players who I will try to have in as many lineups as possible. If I can, I will use three or all four in one lineup. A reminder that for cash games going with an elite quarterback is typically recommended. If you go value at quarterback he MUST meet value for your loaded lineup to be worth it.
QB: Cam Newton, Carolina vs. Tampa Bay ($8,600 FanDuel/$6,600 DraftKings)
Newton has been clicking with offensive coordinator Norv Turner and currently boasts the highest completion percentage (72.4) of his career. Toss in the ever constant threat of rushing yards and touchdowns and Newton remains a viable fantasy play each and every week. This week, however, he draws the NFL's worst pass defense and has rookie DJ Moore seemingly poised to break out to give Newton another weapon to join Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess. Don't be surprised if Newton matches last week's three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing), if not top that.
RB: Kareem Hunt, Kansas City at Cleveland ($8,500 FanDuel/$7,700 DraftKings)
Hunt didn’t have as good of a Week 8 as I projected, but I like him to bounce back in a big way. He did catch a TD pass (giving him 10 total), which helped salvage what was otherwise a so-so performance for him. This week, Hunt gets a Browns defense that's giving up around 120 rushing yards per game. Add in his work as a receiver and 20-plus DraftKings points seem possible with an even higher ceiling.
WR: Adam Thielen, Minnesota vs. Detroit ($8,900 FanDuel/$8,900 DraftKings)
Another repeat play from Week 8, and why not if you can afford Thielen. The targets are there, he's gone over 100 yards every game and he scores touchdowns too. His fumble last week against the Saints came at a horrific time, but it didn't seem to faze him the rest of the game. I expect Thielen to play with a chip on his shoulder. Detroit has a solid secondary and has done a good job against the pass, but Thielen has produced every week despite the attention he draws. Why question him now?
WR: Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans ($7,500 FanDuel/$6,700 DraftKings)
Choosing between Cooks and Robert Woods is tough for me this week for sure. They both are in the game with the highest projected score, against a secondary that got additional help recently (trade for Eli Apple), but one that is still giving up some numbers. What it comes down to is price and this week Cooks is the cheaper option. The Saints are surrendering nearly two touchdown passes each game, and I like Cooks to make a big play in this one.
TE: Austin Hooper, Atlanta at Washington ($5,900 FanDuel/$3,800 DraftKings)
Hooper is cheap, and in a good offense that seems to avoid throwing the ball to its best options in the red zone. That leaves Hooper with a chance to do some damage. He only had three catches against the Giants in Week 7, but prior to that had nine in back-to-back games. That sort of volume could happen again this week and in a week with so many teams on bye, any tight end with a pulse who is targeted plenty makes a lot of sense.
Value Plays of the Week
QB: Alex Smith, Washington vs. Atlanta ($7,500 FanDuel/$5,000 DraftKings)
Smith was a game manager last week, throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown to Adrian Peterson, while AP looked like he was young again in dominating the game. This week the passing game and Smith will likely be in play given the matchup. He is more than affordable, if you are willing to take a chance. You can certainly fit another stud to your core if you do.
RB: Nick Chubb, Cleveland vs. Kansas City ($6,600 FanDuel/$4,500 DraftKings)
Chubb didn’t find the end zone last week, but he picked up 65 yards on 18 carries and mixed in a few catches as well. The Chiefs have been vulnerable on the ground this season, so Chubb could be a very nice flex or RB2 play that also offers you some savings as well.
WR: Michael Crabtree, Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh($6,300 FanDuel/$4,800 DraftKings)
The Steelers have been allowing 190 yards to receivers so far this year and the Ravens' duo of John Brown and Crabtree will need to be heard from if Baltimore wants to sweep their AFC North archrivals. Crabtree has been seeing plenty of volume (69 targets in eight games) and he could find his way to the end zone too.
— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.