I hope my Week 8 daily fantasy (DFS) football picks do as well my Week 7 picks did because I absolutely crushed them. I really only whiffed on one, Zack Moss. And I still believe that breakout is coming very soon as his snap share has trended upward (see below).
Other than that, I pretty much "hit" on every other pick. Justin Herbert and Alvin Kamara were nice to get right, but those were not daring picks. Picking the Washington Football Team DST however took a little more intuition (guts? insanity? Go ahead, you pick the right word). But after a sub-par performance with my Week 6 picks, I felt it necessary to remind you that sometimes I definitely know what I am doing.
But just like last week, this is a new week, and I am faced with an all-new set of challenges. One of those challenges is that I really like a bunch of the players that are not on the "main" slate but instead on Sunday or Monday night. But there are enough options out there that we can still cobble a decent team together.
So who do I like this week? See below for my Week 8 DFS picks.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Houston, Jacksonville, Washington
Safe Quarterback Week 8 Pick
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers at Seahawks (DK $5400, FD $6600)
You should know that I struggled with whom to put in this spot. There are a number of attractive quarterback options this week, and no exaggeration, it took me hours to decide. But in the end, Aaron Rodgers got cut in favor of Garoppolo. I still think Rodgers can have a huge game and he also comes with a very high floor. However, this decision came down to the price tag. And with Jimmy G about $2K less on both sites, it was just too much of a cost difference. The difference in my expected production of the two is very slight. And whether I'm wrong on either, neither, or both, the money saved will allow us to make more secure decisions elsewhere.
Because after the nightmare against Miami, Garoppolo has bounced back strong with two very solid wins while throwing for a combined 545 yards and three touchdowns. We can't rely on Garoppolo to have huge games frequently enough in a Kyle Shanahan offense. However, with Seattle on the docket this weekend, we might see some big numbers from Jimmy G.
Because the Seattle secondary is just horrible this year. The addition of defensive end Carlos Dunlap will help the pass rush. But Seattle is giving up 34 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, second-worst in the league behind Atlanta. Five of the six quarterbacks that Seattle has played threw for 315 yards or more. Garoppolo might get there, he might not. But I do think he gets to 300 and is responsible for a couple of TDs. At this low cost, that is a ton of profit.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 8 Pick
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins vs. Rams (DraftKings $5600, FanDuel $6800)
The amount of risk you are taking on with this pick is immense. The matchup alone could not be much tougher. Rams opponents are scoring just 17.7 points per game, which ranks them second in the NFL. They are also second lowest in yards per attempt (6.49) as well as touchdown rate (3.15 percent). And yet Tagovailoa looked comfortable avoiding the pressure in his first NFL possession.
Maybe it's because I've had luck with rookies in this slot before. Maybe it's just the gambler in me. Maybe it's because we know a number of teams had Tua as the top quarterback on the draft this past spring. It's a ton of maybes. But maybe, just maybe, those maybes add up to a strong enough performance to match the hype. The brain says don't do it. But the heart says take a chance!
Safe Running Back Week 8 Pick
Jamaal Williams, Packers vs. Vikings (DK $6100, FD $7000)
So first off, Aaron Jones is not going to be playing on Sunday.
The ceiling is never going to be as high on Williams as it might be for Jones. However, Williams did just fine last game when Jones was out, toting the rock 19 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also notched another 37 yards through the air. Williams is not as quick as Jones, but he is a bigger back. That's noteworthy because it's the bigger backs like Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor against whom Minnesota seems to struggle. The Vikings allowed both of the aforementioned backs to smash through the century mark against them and I see Williams doing similarly.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 8 Pick
Zack Moss, Bills vs. Patriots (DK $4200, FD $5400)
He was my one miss last week. And they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Yet I am going to pick him again this week because the results were different last week. Not only were they were different, but everything is trending in the right direction.
Moss is slowly taking over the Bills backfield. Devin Singletary's snaps are trending downward. Singletary has not had more than 40 yards the last three weeks while Moss had 47 yards on seven rushes last week. Furthermore, Moss also caught more passes for more yards than Singletary last week.
Furthermore, I keep telling everyone this is not the Patriot defense of last year or anywhere close to their Super Bowl years. They are not horrible, but they're not good either. Despite being tied with six other teams for the second-fewest rushing touchdowns allowed, New England is 13th in terms of most fantasy points per game given up to running backs. Given that the Bills are in the top half of the league for rushing plays, that does not bode well for the skidding Pats. This low price on Moss is not going to stay this low for very long. Get him cheap while you can!
Safe Wide Receiver Week 8 Pick
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers at Seahawks (DK $5800, FD $5900)
Aiyuk has been so good lately, that I am moving him to "safe pick" this week after occupying the higher risk space last week. Of course, the fact that he is facing Seattle might also have quite a bit to do with it. To say that Seattle has been horrible against the pass is an insult to the word horrible. These Seahawks have given up an abominable, league-worst 60 fantasy points per game to the WR position alone. The next closest team is Cleveland with 48. If we went 12 points the other way, we'd be down in the middle of the pack. Seattle is not just an outlier – they'd be an outlier to an outlier! I know, those of you who took statistics like I did are probably rolling their eyes. It's a lot easier for the non-statistically inclined than to start explaining standard deviation and so forth. That's enough of the fancy-schmancy talk. Bottom line, Aiyuk is a solid play against Seattle this week.
But while we are talking about Seattle, I agree with the adulation that DK Metcalf has been receiving lately. However, this tweet does a great job reflecting my thoughts on it:
Let's move on shall we to a pick I think will be very low owned this week.
High Risk/Reward Receiver Week 8 Pick
Marquise Brown, Ravens vs. Steelers (DK $6100, FD $5900)
Brown is an acceptable buy on DraftKings where he is priced like a mid-level WR2, even though he is not a PPR stud. However, it's his value on FanDuel that really jumps out to me. He is barely one of the top 25 wide receivers on the slate. He's not going to be a top-10 receiver, but that price is an absolute steal.
Many will stay away from the offensive players in this game as they hear "Ravens-Steelers game" and think this will be a defensive slobber-knocker. Oh yes, there will be some bone-crushing hits. But this is not the Ray Lewis Ravens or Troy Polamalu Steelers. I will remind you that the Ravens put up 26 and 28 points in their two games against the Steelers last year. Vegas agrees, giving the Ravens an implied total of more than 24 points.
And the Steelers' defense is okay, but not great. For example, they are giving up more than 40 fantasy points a game to WRs, which puts them a mediocre 21st from a defensive perspective. While Pittsburgh was in a battle with Tennessee last week, Baltimore was on bye, getting an extra week to recover and prepare. Head coach John Harbaugh is 10-2 after a bye. My point is that you should expect the Ravens to draw up a number of plays to get the ball into the hands of their best wide receiver.
Brown is only in his second year, but he is averaging seven targets a game and is on pace for a 1,000-yard season. Even more impressive than his base stats might be some of his more advanced stats. Through his first six games, Brown had the third most "air yards" and after this week should see his touchdown total double.
Safe Tight End Week 8 Pick
Darren Waller, Raiders at Browns (DK $5600, FD $6800)
I've got Waller third in my Week 8 TE rankings. So why not go with George Kittle or Travis Kelce, who I have ranked higher and come with a higher ceiling? Because both are pretty pricey this week and could find themselves in game scripts that aren't ideal (i.e., their team runs the ball more than throws it, are taken out early because it's a blowout, etc.). Meanwhile, the Raiders/Browns game could easily become a back-and-forth, high-scoring affair. The books agree, putting the over/under of this game around 54 points.
Even if this game doesn't become a shootout, Waller should be heavily involved again this week, as he's averaging more than nine targets a game over his last three. (Which, bee tee double-you, is more targets per game than Kittle or Kelce). He's put up double-digit PPR points in five of six games already, giving him a very stable floor. Waller is well off the pace of his 1,100-yard campaign in 2019, but I think we see him show more of that form this week. The Browns are 12th in terms of most fantasy points allowed to tight ends. That's even more exciting when you realize who comprises that group. Cleveland has allowed four receptions to seven different tight ends, including fantasy stalwarts like C.J. Uzomah, Drew Sample, and Trey Burton.
See why I am recommending Waller this weekend?
High Risk/Reward Tight End Week 8 Pick
Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos vs. Chargers (DK $2800, FD $5000)
I especially like this play as a "runback" option to those stacking the Chargers and my boy Justin Herbert this week. Okwuegbunam is so ridiculously cheap that he will give you plenty of money to spend elsewhere. "A-OK" as I like to call him, was pretty quiet to start the season but has exploded the last couple of weeks. He caught all seven of his targets last week for 60 yards. The Chargers are giving up nearly 14 fantasy points per game to tight ends. A-OK is a sneaky play that is exactly the type of option that enables you to take down a GPP or two!
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 8 Pick
Chiefs at Jets (DK $4500, FD $5000)
They are giving up the ninth-fewest points per game and they happen to be this week's answer to the popular question: "Which team is playing the Jets?"
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 8 Pick
Bills vs. Patriots (DK $3300, FD $4500)
The Bills are eighth among DSTs for most fantasy points on DraftKings. And do you really want to wager against Bill Belichick? I still think he's brilliant and I suspect he might be playing a long con this season. However, here's a fact: Belichick is 51-65 without Tom Brady. Here's an opinion – New England's offense stinks. The Pats are third in fantasy points allowed to DSTs, a number you just don't expect to see. Add in the fact that the Bills have a respectable 17 sacks along with nine turnovers, and they make for a great, and likely low-owned, DFS play this week.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.