Strap in as The Fantasy Football Ghost guides us through a wild Week 8 for DraftKings NFL cash plays!
Week 7 saw another average well above the three-times value mark with a weekly average that clocked in at 3.2-times value. This average excluded LeSean McCoy, whom I featured, due to the fact that he got injured (concussion) on just his second carry of the day. As I’ve stated previously, I can’t foresee injuries, as much as I would love to be able to account for them, I simply cannot. As such, if a player is injured in their game, I will generally remove their statistics from the weekly average. If you, or I, were able to foresee that injury occurring and had pivoted off McCoy and onto his backup, Chris Ivory, the average would have jumped up to 3.3 times value off of Ivory’s 13.6-point performance coupled with his $3,800 price tag in DraftKings cash games.
McCoy’s injury aside, the week was yet another very successful showing featuring no highlighted player (who finished their games) failing below the 2.5 times value marker I set for myself. Let’s keep this hot streak going right through Week 8!
As a reminder, I will put forth a few players each week that I think you should work into your cash lineups. Some weeks I might only have a single player at a position, the next week I may have three, it is all going to depend on the strength of the slate, the values present on a given week and the match ups. The following week I will recap how my picks fared. A successful week will be determined by the players I suggest averaging 2.5-times their value, while an unsuccessful week will be an average under 2.5 times value.
Another quick reminder, much of the data presented in this piece can be found in Dave Caban’s Weekly Stat Explorer, found here. Check it out to keep on top of all the week’s key match ups!
DraftKings NFL Cash Plays for Week 8
Andy Dalton – $6,200
After seeing his price rise for three consecutive weeks while also posting the three worst statistical performance of his season, Dalton once again sees his price drop and all indications point to him breaking out of the slump he has found himself in through the month of October. Dalton will gladly welcome the Buccaneers to Cincinnati as Tampa Bay is one of the easiest match ups for opposing fantasy quarterbacks. The Buccaneers are allowing the most fantasy points in the NFL to opposing quarterbacks. This is arguably due to the fact that Tampa Bay’s defense is allowing both the league’s most passing yards and most passing touchdowns!
Dalton’s opponent has allowed only one quarterback to post less than 334 passing yards in any of their first six games. Only one quarterback has posted less than two passing touchdowns against Tampa Bay’s hapless secondary. It should probably come as no surprise then when I tell you that the Buccaneers are also allowing the league’s highest passer rating to opposing quarterbacks and highest pass completion percentage allowed in addition to being ranked dead last in interceptions. Dalton’s get right game looks to be this week, don’t be on the outside looking in!
Baker Mayfield vs. Pittsburgh – This is a bit risky but Mayfield will likely be playing catch up all game. This is also the same Browns team that played the Steelers to a tie in their last meeting back in Week 1. Pittsburgh is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks while allowing the second-most passing touchdowns and sixth-most passing yards. This is a high-risk, high-reward option for a reasonable price.
Case Keenum vs. Kansas City – Keenum might have seen his job security increase a bit after Chad Kelly’s bizarre situation which culminated with him being cut on Wednesday. Keenum’s new confidence might serve him well as he faces off against a Chiefs’ defense that is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks as well as allowing the second-most passing yards to opponents.
Kareem Hunt – $7,100
Hunt is one of many top-notch running backs facing favorable match ups this week. Hunt though, is a bit more affordable than some of his fellow running backs. His matchup against Denver pits him against the league’s eighth-most generous defense to opposing fantasy running backs. The Broncos are also allowing the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in addition to allowing the second-most rushing yards. Kansas City, meanwhile, is no stranger to running the ball, successfully I might add, posting the tenth-most rushing yards in the NFL and they are also tied for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns as well.
Hunt himself hung 121 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, three receptions and 54 receiving yards on Denver’s defense in Week Four, good for 29.5 fantasy points or nearly 4.5 times value! Even at $7,100 dollars this week, Hunt is a relative value at the position with heaps of upside baked into this matchup as evident by the projections provided by the Weekly Stat Explorer.
Other Running Backs:
Matt Breida vs. Arizona – Breida is dealing with an ankle injury so be ready to pivot away from him if he doesn’t suit up. If he does get on the field, Breida will be facing a Cardinals defense allowing the most fantasy points in the NFL to opposing running backs. Arizona is also allowing the most rushing yards in the league and the most rushing touchdowns. If not for his injury I would have likely featured Breida as my featured running back this week, the matchup is just too tantalizing to ignore.
James Conner vs. Cleveland – In his last matchup with the Browns, Conner made the world take notice with his 38.2-point performance. The Cleveland defense in Week 8 isn’t much better than it was way back in Week 1 as they are allowing the fifth-most rushing yards and the second-most rushing touchdowns. Conner’s success against the Browns has clearly bumped his price up a bit but there is still some serious upside to be had here.
A.J. Green – $8,000
To say there are going to be a whole lot of stacks this week featuring Dalton and Green could be a massive understatement. It is highly likely that if you play even a modest amount of volume in DraftKings cash games that you’ll run into multiple variations of this stack. The reasons for starting Green this week are nearly the exact same as those outlined in Dalton’s write up. To add to that case, Tampa Bay is allowing an average of 8.8 yards per pass attempt to the wide receiver position, the eighth-highest average in the league while the Bengals target their wide receivers with 62 percent of all their pass volume, the fifth-highest target percentage in the league. Green collected a lions-share of those targets, accumulating 69 targets thus far in the season, good for the ninth-highest total through seven games.
Green should be given ample opportunity to put points on the board. The only question that remains is just how many opportunities he will compile by the final whistle.
Other Wide Receivers:
Jarvis Landry vs. Pittsburgh – Another case of a wide receiver being stacked with his quarterback this week, Landry is pitted against a Pittsburgh defense that is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. In a game where the Browns are 8.5-point underdogs to the Steelers, expect a whole lot of passes headed Landry’s way.
Robby Anderson vs. Chicago – Anderson is a highly-volatile play on any given week and this week is no exception. The Bears are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Chicago is also allowing the fifth-most receiving touchdowns, making the possibility of a nice boom game just a bit more tantalizing for any Anderson owners this week.
Jared Cook – $5,000
At the rate that the Raiders are getting rid of their top players, this could be the last time we see Cook in a Raiders uniform. Obviously, I’m kidding here — well, maybe. With the departure of Amari Cooper, Cook will be leaned on to an even greater degree for the remainder of the season. That increased dependence on Cook’s production will begin this week against a welcoming matchup in the form of Indianapolis. The Colts have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and the sixth-most of all the defenses on this slate. Indianapolis is allowing the tenth-most yards per pass attempt to the position and have already given up two touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Opponents have exploited this weakness quite well, targeting their tight ends with 23 percent of all passes thrown against the Colts, the sixth-highest percentage in the league. Meanwhile, the Raiders are targeting the position with an identical 23 percent of all their passes, the tenth-highest rate in the league.
Cook himself has accounted for 43 targets, good for the seventh-most targets of all the tight ends in the NFL, while securing 32 of those passes, tying him for the fourth-most receptions by the position. With the absence of Cooper and an exploitable Colts defense ripe for the picking, don’t be surprised if Cook has one of the best games of his season.
Other Tight Ends:
O.J. Howard vs. Cincinnati – Howard will face off against a Bengals defense that has been one of the most exploitable by tight ends all season long. Cincinnati is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to the position thus far this season. Additionally, the Bengals are allowing the league’s highest target rate to the position of all defenses in the league. At a highly affordable $3,900 price tag, Howard could be a great player to work into high-priced lineups as a value play.
Travis Kelce vs. Denver – Not that anyone needs much of a reason to play Kelce on any given week but his opponent, the Broncos, are allowing just a hair under 10 yards per target to the tight end position through seven weeks. That average places them as the third-worst defense in this category of all the teams in the league. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are averaging 9.4 yards per target to the tight end position, the fifth-best average in the league. Kelce could be in for some big gains come Sunday.
With some really prime matchups this week, across all positions, what may separate a lot of winners from losers in DraftKings cash games may well come down to who identifies the best bargains across the board. It is highly likely that we could see plenty of cash games where three times value across the board might not be enough to win. As always, good luck to everyone, and feel free to both reach out to me and follow me on Twitter at @TheFFGhost. I’ll do my best to answer any and all questions you may have heading into this ultra-competitive week.