FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 8
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Russell Wilson ($8,700 on FanDuel): It's Patrick Mahomes ($9,200) who tops numberFire's projections this week, but with the Chiefs sitting on a 19.5-point (!!) spread over the Jets, there's no small chance that Mahomes sees reduced second-half volume in a blowout. Instead, Russell Wilson looks like the preferred high-salary option in yet another potential Seattle shootout (53.5 total), this time against San Francisco. The 49ers play at a snail's pace, which could potentially put a dent in Wilson's upside, but we're still talking about the only player in the league averaging over 30 FanDuel points per game, and no one else on the slate comes even close. It's also promising that Wilson has added a good chunk of yards on the ground the past couple games, now ranking fifth among signal-callers in rushing yards. And with the backfield all banged up, Seattle could be even more inclined to let Wilson chuck it this weekend.
Joe Burrow ($7,600): Joe Burrow leads all quarterbacks in pass attempts, and he could have another voluminous day in store for us, as the Titans-Bengals game is showing the slate's second-highest total (52.5). Burrow is coming off his first 400-yard passing game and has now tallied at least 300 yards in five of his first seven NFL starts. Tennessee ranks just 19th in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics.
Ryan Tannehill ($7,500): Flipping over to the other side of that game, we have Ryan Tannehill at a slightly lower salary than Burrow despite being on the favored team. In fact, only the Chiefs have a better implied team total than the Titans (29.25), and Tannehill has shown he can hit a high ceiling when the game environment forces him to air it out. He's been incredibly efficient in terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back this season, ranking second behind only Aaron Rodgers ($8,400) among quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs. The Bengals are 25th in adjusted pass defense, further adding appeal to the spot. Note that as of this writing, we could see winds at around 16 mph in Cincinnati, which isn't ideal, but it's also far less than what's expected in Cleveland, Green Bay, Buffalo, and Chicago, which could all have sustained winds closer to 25 mph.
Derrick Henry ($9,500): Derrick Henry is averaging 23.8 rushes per game, and it probably isn't too surprising that he leads the league in rush attempts by a wide margin. The lack of targets (2.8 per game) continues to lower his weekly floor, but a multi-score game is always on the table, as he also leads the league in red-zone carries (34) and attempts inside the 10-yard line (21). His slate-breaking ceiling was on display in Week 6 versus Houston (39.4 points), and that should be in the range of outcomes against Cincinnati, which ranks just 20th in adjusted run defense.
Kareem Hunt ($8,200): Kareem Hunt finally sees a sizable bump in salary, but he still projects as a solid point-per-dollar value. As expected, Hunt saw his opportunities go back up last week (18 carries and 4 targets), but what was especially encouraging was that he also posted a season-high 90.4% snap rate. The Raiders have been one of the worst defenses in the league, which includes coughing up the second-most FanDuel points per game to running backs. Windy conditions and a lack of Odell Beckham figures to further encourage the Browns to look Hunt's way this weekend.
Jonathan Taylor ($7,300): Detroit enters Week 8 as the 31st-ranked rush defense in numberFire's metrics, propping up Indianapolis' Jonathan Taylor as one of the best running back values in our projections. Taylor's workload has been inconsistent, but he's seen over half the snaps the last two games (58.7% and 55.4%) -- coinciding with Jordan Wilkins being relegated to a negligible role -- which are his highest marks since Week 2 (67.1%). That's especially encouraging because the Colts trailed for the majority of both those games, yet Taylor didn't see reduced snaps in favor of pass-catching back Nyheim Hines, and he totaled seven targets, nearly doubling his targets from the prior three weeks combined (four). That should give us more confidence in his floor, and with Taylor coming off a bye into such a stellar matchup, the hope is there's also a path to the high-end workload we saw in Week 2's victory over the Vikings (28 opportunities).
Myles Gaskin ($5,700): Injuries could play a big factor at running back again, as Joe Mixon (foot) was declared out and Aaron Jones (calf) missed practice -- that puts Giovani Bernard ($5,900) and Jamaal Williams ($7,000) back in the limelight for the second straight week. With Jones and Mixon out in Week 7, Williams notching 24 opportunities (19 rushes, 5 targets) and Bernard logged 18 (13, 5). If the same scenario plays out, they'll both be appealing plays in potential high-scoring shootouts.
But even with those two in play, we can still turn to Myles Gaskin for some value. With Jordan Howard no longer getting playing time, Gaskin has averaged 17.0 rushes and 4.5 targets the past two weeks, which is some fantastic volume at this salary. This Rams-Dolphins matchup isn't as exciting as some other spots (46.0 total), but Gaskin should keep getting fed the ball against a team that ranks 18th in adjusted run defense.
Davante Adams ($9,100): In his three full games, Davante Adams has logged 16, 10, and 17 targets, and in two of those appearances, he's ended up on the FanDuel perfect lineup. One of those performances came last week, and the other was against this same Minnesota team in Week 1. Even with high winds expected in Green Bay, it's hard to argue against getting some exposure to Adams again, and he naturally tops numberFire's wideout projections.
D.K. Metcalf ($7,800) and Tyler Lockett ($7,200): It was Tyler Lockett's turn to have the spotlight in Week 7, going full Davante Adams on the Cardinals with 15 receptions for 200 yards and 3 scores. Whew. This isn't an amazing matchup versus San Francisco, but we'll gladly keep rostering the top targets attached to Russell Wilson. Given his salary and recent explosion, Lockett figures to be the far more popular of the two, but let's not forget that Metcalf is among the league leaders in air yards, so there's always the chance the pendulum swings back his way this week.
Marquise Brown ($5,900): Only Calvin Ridley has seen more deep targets than Marquise Brown, per PFF, and as our own JJ Zachariason points out, the Steelers haven't defended the deep ball well this year. In fact, despite their reputation, Pittsburgh has given up the eighth-most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers. We're still talking about a pass defense that ranks 12th in numberFire's metrics, but at this salary, we really only need Brown to cash in on a big play or two to pay off. As of this writing, he pops up as the best point-per-dollar wideout in numberFire's projections.
Brandon Aiyuk ($5,900): If we're stacking up Seattle, we'll need some options to bring it back in game stacks, and Brandon Aiyuk is easy to like at his salary with Deebo Samuel ruled out. Aiyuk's season numbers don't necessarily jump off the page, but he leads the team in deep targets, and his best games have come when Samuel has missed time. The 49ers also like to manufacture touches for Aiyuk out of the backfield, as two of his three touchdowns have come on the ground. No team has allowed more FanDuel points per game to wide receivers than Seattle.
George Kittle ($7,700): The Seahawks haven't been a plus matchup for tight ends to this point, but it's hard to imagine the 26th-ranked adjusted pass defense containing George Kittle in a likely shootout. Kittle is averaging 9.0 targets per game (27% target share), and Samuel's absence should only filter more looks his way. He's the top projected tight end on the slate.
Hunter Henry ($5,600): Justin Herbert threw all over the Jaguars last week, yet Hunter Henry missed out on the fun, finishing with just 3 catches for 23 yards. That said, he still saw seven targets, marking the fifth time in six games he's hit that mark. In fact, he ranks fourth at the position in targets per game despite being just 11th in tight end salary this week. This isn't an amazing spot against the Broncos, but as long as Henry continues to see this level of volume, bigger games should be ahead.
Kansas City D/ST ($5,000): The Chiefs are favored by nearly 20 points over the Jets, leaving New York with a comically low 14.75 implied team total. They're the worst offense in numberFire's rankings, and the return of Sam Darnold did little to turn the tide last week, as he threw for just 120 yards with no touchdowns and 2 picks against a subpar Buffalo defense. Kansas City tops this week's defense projections by a wide margin.
New Orleans D/ST ($3,600): The Saints are easy to like as a point-per-dollar play against Nick Foles and a struggling Bears offense. Among qualified quarterbacks, only Darnold is averaging fewer yards per pass attempt than Foles (5.9), and aside from his then-promising 3-touchdown relief appearance against Atlanta -- numberFire's 32nd-ranked adjusted pass defense -- Foles has tossed just 3 touchdowns to 5 interceptions in the four weeks since.