Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens
Projected Vegas Score: Ravens 20.25, Dolphins 17.25
Quarterback- We are set up to kick off week eight of the NFL season with a rather ugly game between the Dolphins and Ravens. Matt Moore is in for the injured Jay Cutler, and I actually think he has the potential to play better than Smokin Jay. That being said, it's hard to consider him a fantasy option on a short week, on the road against a Ravens secondary that ranks 4th in passing DVOA. Joe Flacco still hasn't looked fully healthy this season, but the Dolphins do rank 27th in passing DVOA. I could see him having an okay game, but not enough for me to really want to use him in Monday-Thursday contests.
Running Backs- Jay Ajayi has been seeing a solid work load, totaling 74 rushing attempts over the last three weeks. The Ravens got stud defensive tackle Brandon Williams back last week, but got gashed by Latavius Murray on the ground which partially could of been due to rust. Alex Collins/Buck Allen is going to be the tandem once again for the Ravens with Terrence West injured. Of the two, I prefer Allen mainly because Collins hasn't been that great this season. By any chance that the Dolphins jump out in front, Allen is the only one involved in the passing game and I think he's the better player of the two..though I'm really not thrilled with these options.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Dolphins passing game hinges on whether or not DeVante Parker returns from injury or not. If he is out, Landry becomes an elite volume play though if he is active I still have some interest in Jarvis. The last time that Matt Moore saw extended playing time, Landry saw 31% of the teams targets and was clearly Moore's favorite target. I'm not really sure who is going to catch the ball for the Ravens with all their injuries, and that's mainly why I'm off their passing game so much. If Jeremy Maclin is active, you can look at him maybe in a tournament but it's really a gross situation.
Overall Outlook- This is most likely going to be a low-scoring ugly game on Thursday night which is what happens on Thursday night football 8/10 times. I'd mainly be looking at Landry here if Parker is out with the rest checking in as GPP fliers.
Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns (London Game)
Projected Vegas Score: Vikings 23.75, Browns 14.25
Quarterback- As if things weren't bad enough for my Browns, now they get to travel all the way to England to lose. There have been whispers of Teddy Bridgewater making his triumphant return this week in London, but I don't see why they wouldn't just wait until after their bye week. If Case Keenum ends up starting, I don't love him but against the Browns pretty much anyone can do damage. DeShone Kizer is expected to start for the Browns, but there's no telling when he will get yanked out and sat on the bench in this game. Either way, I don't think we are considering him for DFS.
Running Back- Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray both saw work last week against the Ravens, with Murray seemingly rising from the dead and going for 113 yards on 18 carries. He only had one more touch than McKinnon though, and I really don't want either of these guys against the Browns. That's a weird thing to say, I know, but the Browns rank 2nd in rushing DVOA and we have preached all season long that their run defense is actually #good. The Browns backfield is not in play against a really strong Vikings run defense, especially when they refuse to give Duke Johnson (their best player) more touches.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Stefon Diggs is questionable once again for the Vikings and I think it makes sense for them to just bring him back after their bye week next week seeing as they should easily win this game. That gives a big boost to Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph, both of which are great DFS plays if you are playing the Thursday-Monday/SundayAM slates.
Overall Outlook- It's all Vikings in this one. Load up on their passing game options, but make sure to check Sunday morning and see who exactly is starting at QB for Minnesota. Weird things tend to happen in London, like bringing back Teddy?
Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills
Projected Vegas Score: Bills 24, Raiders 21.5
Quarterbacks- This game should be much more exciting than the first two and there are a good number on fantasy plays within this contest. Derek Carr looked much better last week against the Chiefs, and I'm normally skeptical of taking opposing teams traveling to Buffalo but since they haven't played since last Thursday my mind is somewhat eased. The Bills rank 11th in pass DVOA, but they are a bit banged up and Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and 3 touchdowns against them last week. I'm not really in on Carr, but some of his pas catchers are interesting. As for Tyrod, we know the story. He has elite home/road splits and now lines up at home against a Raiders defense that's given up almost 250 yards per game this season to go along with 10 touchdowns. Tyrod is in play in all formats once again this week.
Running Backs- Marshawn Lynch will miss this game due to suspension, leaving DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard to soak up most of the Raiders ground work. I don't really have a big preference or interest in either given that I think they will mainly split the carries. LeSean McCoy was awesome last week against the Buccaneers totaling 121 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns. The Raiders are allowing 4 YPC to opposing running backs this season and Shady is an elite option once again. They struggle with pass catching backs which is exactly what McCoy is.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Amari Cooper finally had his blow up game and I'm so upset their game wasn't on Sunday because we would of been all over it. You guys know how much I love Cooper and just imagine being these people that think Amari Cooper isn't good? Anyways, both Cooper and Crabtree are in great spots in this game and I love the idea of game stacking with Tyrod-McCoy-Cooper or Crabtree. It is interesting that Cooper ran over 30% of his routes from the slot in his explosion against the Chiefs, so I'm curious to see if that trend continues on Sunday. The Bills really have nobody enticing in the passing game, which is why I love McCoy so much. You can look at Deonte Thompson or Nick O'Leary as deep GPP fliers but neither are really making it move for me.
Overall Outlook- I love this game as a whole and I think Tyrod, Shady, and the Raiders pass catchers (including Jared Cook) are all in tremendous spots. Expect some fantasy goodness here.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cincinnati Bengals
Projected Vegas Score: Bengals 26.25, Colts 15.25
Quarterbacks- I really like the Bengals side of this game, as you can see with their big 26 point implied team total. Jacoby Brissett was sacked 10 times last week against the Jaguars, and now has to travel to Cincinnati to face a tough Bengals defense. We simply cannot trust Brissett in this match up. As for the Bengals side, I think a huge game from Dalton is incoming. The Colts surrendered 330 yards to BLAKE BORTLES last week and now get to face Dalton on the road. They're giving up 300 yards per game through the air this season and just lost star rookie safety Malik Hooker to a season ending knee injury.
Running Backs- Marlon Mack finally out-snapped Frank Gore last weekend 48-33. He also saw a career-high 6 targets and with Robert Turbin placed on IR he is the pass catching option out of the backfield. I don't think this is the spot we can use him, but the Colts should be trailing in this game and that does boost his value. Joe Mixon looked fantastic in the first half of last weeks game against Pittsburgh and was rewarded with no second half work. I'm assuming this is because they were trailing, but either way it's frustrating especially to a Mixon truther like myself. I think we can go right back to him in tournaments this week however seeing as the Colts have given up 4 rushing touchdowns over the last two weeks.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- T.Y. Hilton has extremely negative road splits, and with the way the makeshift Colts offensive line is playing I can't trust Brissett to get him the ball in a tough environment. This is a truly elite spot for A.J. Green however, and he is one of the top WR plays of the week. The Colts have been burned by plays of 20+ yards all season and without Hooker this issue will only get worse. I'm not really in love with any other Bengals pass catcher, but you could maybe look at Tyler Kroft as a salary saver in a GPP lineup with Eifert still sidelined.
Overall Outlook- Love the Bengals in this pot and truly think they will smash this Colts team at home. Dalton-Green is a top stack this week in tourneys and Mixon is a great leverage play off of those two.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected Vegas Score: Buccaneers 24, Panthers 22
Quarterbacks- Just when I thought Cam Newton was back, he has crashed back to earth looking legitimately #bad over the last two weeks. He has just 1 touchdown over those contests and even though his form is so bad I think we have to consider him in tournaments. I'm not running to the sites to play him, but I do think he is an option against the 32nd ranked defense in terms of pass DVOA. Jameis Winston is also in play for tournaments. He is averaging 300 yards through the air over the last month of action and he should see a ton of volume per usual.
Running Backs- Christian McCaffrey isn't my favorite option this week, but he makes for a good GPP play on Draftkings where it is full point per reception scoring. He's on pace to break the rookie catch record...as a running back. I was skeptical how he would fit into this offense but Cam is using him and he could easily rack up 6+ catchers in this game. Doug Martin is the guy for the Bucs now that he is fully back, but I'd rather attack Carolina through the air.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Given Cam's form, I don't think I'm looking at any of their pass catchers this week outside of McCaffrey. I don't think that's really a negative play if you really want to use Cam either became when using Cam in DFS you are hoping for rushing upside. The only Bucs skill position player I'm really in love with this week is Mike Evans. Evans has a good track record against Carolina and he is overdue for a big breakout performance. He would be my preferred stack partner with Winston.
Overall Outlook- This game is kind of meh as a whole to me. I think it will stay close and there are some GPP options here but nothing I'm crazy about. James-Evans stacks have some potential.
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints
Projected Vegas Score: Saints 28.25, Bears 19.25
Quarterbacks- We all know what happens when Drew Brees plays at home, so there is a solid chance this game goes over the implied O/U if the Bears can somehow put up points. I'm not entirely sold on that though, given that the Saints defense is a lot better than most thought coming into the season. Their outside corners have been playing at an elite level and with limited options to throw to I am not using Mitchell Trubisky this week. Drew Brees is always in play at home, though the Bears rank top 10 in terms of passing DVOA. I love Brees at home, and they have a monster team total so we can consider him a solid DFS option this week.
Running Backs- This actually lines up as a great spot for Jordan Howard, but my only concern is that they get down big and that kind of takes him out of use. The place to attack this Saints defense has been on the ground (see Aaron Jones last week) and they are giving up 5 YPC to opposing backs. If the Bears get down early and are throwing often, that takes usage away from Howard though he has seen 57 carries over the last two weeks. He's a boom or bust GPP option this week, I'm concerned. On the Saints side, it's a different story. Both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been great since Adrian Peterson was traded, and both are strong DFS options once again. I think Ingram is playable in all formats and Kamara is playable in tournaments. Ingram is still the guy that's going to get the majority of the rushing attempts (20+ over the last 2 weeks) and with them favored by so much they should be bleeding out the clock in the 2nd half.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- I don't think we can really use any of the Bears pass catchers given that their best receivers are two running backs... Michael Thomas is questionable with a knee injury so we need to monitor his status up until Sunday. He is your preferred partner on your Drew Brees teams, but if he can't play then that's a big boost to Kamara/Ingram and guys like Ted Ginn Jr.
Overall Outlook- I think the Saints should win handily which is why I like their running backs so much but you simply van never rule out Brees at home.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Jets
Projected Vegas Score: Falcons 25, Jets 21
Quarterbacks- This is a game where I don't think we can use either of these Quarterbacks. There is supposed to be crazy winds (20 MPH or more) and do we really want to use either of these guys with all the great options this week? Matt Ryan has not looked good all season and we can't trust him whatsoever at this point. especially on the road. #good QB Josh McCown has played well this season, and even though I don't think the Falcons defense is very good I'm not rostering him with other good cheap options this week.
Running Backs- Devonta Freeman is in play for tournaments if you feel the need to play a Falcons player. The Jets rank 22nd in rushing DVOA and I could see them trying to pound the ball with the wind factor...he will be low owned. The Jets employed a true time share last week with 3 players involved in the run game. That's an instant fade to me.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Julio Jones is always a GPP option, and he is really the only Falcons pass catcher I would look at this week, and that's mainly just because he is Julio. The Jets pass catchers are either overrated or overpriced and there's nothing I'm in love with from that group, despite the solid matchup.
Overall Outlook- Devonta Freeman is really the top option from this game and it gets pretty ugly after that. There are much more fantasy appealing games on the slate.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots
Projected Vegas Score: Patriots 28, Chargers 20.5
Quarterbacks- This is going to be a fun game to watch, and honestly I think that Vegas put a bad line out here and I'm going to be watching it closely throughout the week to see if the Chargers total gets bumped up. Yes, they are traveling to the east coast for an early game, but I don't see how Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense doesn't put up points against this Patriots defense. They rank 28th in passing DVOA, they have already allowed 15 touchdowns through the air and I don't think they are good whatsoever. Since, he's such a big road underdog we can't trust him in cash games, but that makes him a strong tournament play at expected low ownership. Tom Brady is Tom Brady, folks. The closer the Chargers keep the game the better for Brady, though I think he is a GPP only play based off price/matchup this week.
Running Backs- Melvin Gordon is in an interesting spot against the Patriots defense that has been burned by pass catching running backs. We saw Austin Ekeler steal some of that usage away from MG3 last week, and I think that trend will continue. I think Gordon will be a mildly popular play this week, but he hasn't looked very good to me as of late and I will pass on him this time around. The Patriots backfield is interesting because I think it's time to focus on the two-headed monster of James White and Dion Lewis. White ranks 3rd on the team in targets and Dion Lewis has seen his snaps and usage increase in each of the last three weeks while Mike Gillislee is pretty much not a factor at this point. Both are in play for tournaments and Lewis will be lower owned. They are better on full point PPR websites, however.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- This is a tremendous spot for both Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. The other Chargers pass catchers are in play for large field tournaments, but these are the two I really want to hone in on. You guys know about my affection for Keenan Allen, and I don't see how this Patriots defense will be able to contain him. I wrote about Henry in my weekly takeaways article a few weeks back, he has finally surpassed Gates as the main Tight End. Both of these guys are playable in all formats. As for the Patriots it's the same story, there's tons of mouths to feed but everyone is in play. The outside corners for the Chargers have been amazing this season and I really don't want to target them, Gronk is probably my favorite partner to stack with Brady but don'r rule out a guy like Amendola in GPPS.
Overall Outlook- I like this game a lot, and I think it's going to be high scoring. Rivers, Allen and Henry are probably my favorite plays from this game and if you want to bring back a stack with someone you can use White/Lewis or Gronk. Never forget about Brady!
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Projected Vegas Score: Eagles 30, 49ers 17
Quarterbacks- Let's have a moment of silence for my C.J. Beathard teams last week...................thank you. Despite my soft spot for #preseasonDFS I'm not sure we can consider Beathard traveling cross country despite how bad I think the Eagles secondary is. The 49ers offensive line is a joke, and that fierce Eagles pass rush should be in his face early and often on Sunday afternoon. MVP candidate Carson Wentz is fresh off a stellar primetime showing and now gets a 49ers defense that has surrendered 258 yards per game through the air (12 touchdowns). Did I mention they're traveling cross country? Wentz is in an amazing spot and he will be popular, especially on Fanduel. He's viable in all formats.
Running Backs- Carlos Hyde has been pretty good for the 49ers this season and is seeing passing game work, he has 14 targets over the last two games. I don't think he is playable against this Eagles defense that is allowing just 67 yards per game on the ground on the road, however. The Eagles still have their three body backfield with Wendell Smallwood, Legarrette Blount and Corey Clement. They are huge favorites, so they should be running out the clock at home but it's tough to guess and I'm not in love with the situation.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The one person that is in a good spot for San Francisco is Pierre Garcon. Garcon has seen over 15 targets since Beathard took over as Quarterback and draws an elite matchup with underwhelming corner Jalen Mills for the Eagles. Zach Ertz is an anomaly at the Tight End position in terms of fantasy production and is in another plus matchup this week. He, along with Alshon Jeffery are top options at their positions and can be used in all formats.
Overall Outlook- The 49ers have 3 of the worst graded corners by Pro Football Focus this season and there's a very slim chance they will be able to stall this Eagles offense that is firing on all cylinders. Stack up the Eagles and bring it back with Garcon in tournaments.
Houston Texans @ Seattle Seahawks
Projected Vegas Score: Seahawks 25.75, Texans 20.25
Quarterbacks- I'm very curious to see if Deshaun Watson is going to be popular in tournaments this week. Yes, people hate picking on Seattle but the Watson phenomenon was so big before their bye week that I'm wondering if people have forgotten who good he was playing. Either way, I prefer Russell Wilson at home. I don't think anyone will want to play Wilson this week which makes him a fantastic low owned tournament play against a Texans defense without J.J. Watt.
Running Backs- Neither of these backfields really interest me so I'll keep it short and sweet. Lamar Miller is in play as a mid-range option mainly because people haven't adjusted to the Seahawks run defense being vulnerable. They rank 23rd (!) in rushing DVOA but I'm still not all in on him. The Seahawks, like the Eagles, simply have too many bodies there for me to attempt to guess who can score the touchdown. There are much better spots on this slate.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The place to attack this Seattle defense this season is on the ground, and although DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller have been outstanding so far, I doubt the make my player pool come Sunday. The preferred partner with Russ Wilson is going to be Doug Baldwin who is finally coming off a nice game.
Overall Outlook- This game isn't crazy appealing but I think that both Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin will go under-owned this weekend. Baldwin follows suit with Wilson in that he also has very positive home splits.
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
Projected Vegas Score: Cowboys 26, Redskins 24
Quarterbacks- The last game on the Draftkings main slate figures to be a good one between two division rivals. Dak Prescott has been as consistent as the come this season and he gets a big-time boost if Josh Norman sits out again for the Redskins. I think his price has finally adjusted to his ceiling, but that doesn't take him fully out of play. Kirk Cousins is in a fantastic spot at home against an exploitable Cowboys secondary. I'm always defending Kirk to friends and people on Twitter, he is a #good Quarterback and is definitely capable of some great fantasy games.
Running Backs- If only I could go back to week seven...I was on Ezekiel Elliot just like everyone else but ended up having more exposure to Le'Veon Bell than I did Zeke. That cost me big time and Elliot lines up as one of the top Running Back plays once again this week. The only running back you can look at for Washington is Chris Thompson and that is in tournaments only. Jay Gruden finally gave in to CT being the best running back on the team (which he is) by playing him on 60% of the snaps last week despite having everyone healthy.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The plays here are very simple to breakdown. If Josh Norman plays, do not play Dez Bryant. If Josh Norman does not play, then play Dez Bryant. Got it? Good! Bryant is notorious for struggling against elite cornerbacks and Norman is one of the best in the biz. The Redskins rank bottom 3 against Tight Ends this season so Norman being in would vault Jason Witten into GPP consideration. My favorite two plays to pair with Cousins are Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson. Dotson jumped ahead of Terrelle Pryor last week, and he has the pedigree to be a solid WR. Jordan Reed found the box twice last week and has seen increased usage in back-to-back weeks. There should be a lot of points scored in this game and Reed is a top option for the Skins.
Overall Outlook- Vegas expects this game to be a shootout and I see no reason why it shouldn't. I love both sides of this game and I would probably try to have exposure in most of my lineups somehow.
Analysis for the Sunday Night and Monday Night game will be posted shortly!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)