With the NFL heading into the midway point of the regular season, The Fantasy Football Ghost has some tasty values for us in Week 8!
With only one player I suggested last week even surpassing 2.5 times value, Week 7 was a certifiable bust. Josh Allen was the lone bright spot for the column last week with 2.76 times value. Meanwhile, Evan Engram could only manage a paltry 0.16 times value. That’s about as disappointing as one can imagine. It is likely he rushed back from his injury too soon to take advantage of that juicy matchup as he only hauled in one of his five targets and that reception only netted a minuscule six yards on the play. No time to mope around though, and I’ve decided to target some value plays this week that could pay off in a big way for us. The possibility of all four players hitting over the 2.5 values marker is a real possibility if a few things break correctly for us. If nothing else, these could make for excellent flex plays while we slot in bigger name stars to do the heavy lighting for our Week 8 cash rosters.
To measure the success of the players I recommend to our RotoViz readers, I will review the players I recommended the prior week, determining their value multiplier. I will then calculate the average multiplier across the recommended players to give me a barometer of success for that week. My stated goal is to produce an average greater than 2.5 times value. If I can manage to surpass that goal, I will consider the week a success. If I fall short of that goal, obviously, the week would be considered unsuccessful.
Much of the data presented in this piece can be found in the RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer and Game Level Similarity Projections. I also want to encourage readers to check out the RotoViz NFL Lineup Optimizer so that everyone can squeeze the most value out of their lineups each week.
FanDuel NFL Cash Plays for Week 8
Quarterback: Derek Carr ($6,900)
This is definitely a value play and is perhaps the most volatile play not only of this week but through the first half of the season. Derek Carr hasn’t done much to warrant a selection here but his matchup is so prime and his price is so low that it’s going to require him trying really hard not to hit 2.5 times value, or 17.25 points. His opponent this week, Houston, is a seven-point favorite over the Raiders, meaning it is likely Oakland will be playing from behind for a majority of the game, increasing the likelihood of passing. Luckily, pass defense is one of the weaker aspects of the Texans’ game. Houston has allowed the fifth-most passing yards in the league over the past five games and has allowed 2.1 passing touchdowns per game this season, also the fifth-most in the NFL.
This week, the Fantasy Streaming App ranks Houston as the third-most exploitable matchup for quarterbacks due largely to the fact that the Texans have allowed the fourth-most PPR points to opposing quarterbacks and also rank fourth in terms of fantasy points over expectation (FPOE). Like I said, Carr would need to actively try to fail to hit anything less than 2.5 times his value this week.
Running Back: Austin Ekeler ($6,800)
The Chargers face a Chicago defense that is allowing the 12th-most rushing yards to running backs over the past five games. While not horrible, it isn’t really much to get excited about. This is bad news for Melvin Gordon, who’s handled most of the Chargers’ rushing work, but good news for Austin Ekeler, who still dominates the receiving work in this backfield.
The Bears are allowing the most receptions in the league to opposing running backs with an average of 8.4 surrendered per game. Those receptions are eating up large chunks of yardage as well, averaging 66.6 yards per game, the second-most yards allowed through the air to the position. As fate would have it, Ekeler has been spectacular as a receiver out the backfield this year, averaging seven receptions per game and 70 receiving yards per game.
Wide Receiver: Tyrell Williams ($5,900)
Tyrell Williams not only makes sense from a statistical standpoint, but gives us a high-upside quarterback-wide receiver stack. Much like Carr, Williams will face a Texans defense that is just too tempting to pass up. Houston has allowed the fourth-most receptions in the league to the wide receiver position over the past five games.
Similarly, they have also allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to the position as well over that span. This has been a result of the Texans allowing the third-most air yards to opposing wide receivers and the seventh-most Yards After the Catch (YAC). The position has benefited greatly, ranking as the third-most exploitable matchup in the league in terms of PPR production and has cumulatively resulted in Houston being ranked as the second-best match up according to the Fantasy Streaming App
Tight End: Jared Cook ($5,800)
Tight ends have been quite the mystery for me this season. Even when they perform well, they don’t play up to expectations and the ones projected to have excellent games have often squandered the opportunity. That why I am really apprehensive suggesting Jared Cook for what is now a second time this season. Nonetheless, his matchup against the Cardinals has been exploited time and time again this year with incredibly favorable results. Over the past five games, Arizona has allowed the most PPR points to the position out of all the teams in the NFL and they are also allowing the most FPOE as well. The Cardinals defense has found itself in such a position because they allow the fourth-most receptions to the position as well as the fourth-most receiving yards.
While I’m willing to give Cook another shot, I fully understand the hesitation on the part of some of our readers to play him this week. That said, another great option would be to use Darren Waller if you’d rather pass on Tyrell Williams this week as well.
After a truly depressing Week 7, I have a lot of faith that Week 8 will be significantly better. This week’s strategy of targeting value plays could bring us significant dividends which, of course, is with a little help from Lady Luck. Collectively, this week is more about identifying value plays and getting them into our lineups as opposed to taking the sure plays. More so this week than most, I’m certain that the winners of most Week 8 cash games will be those who dug a little harder and deeper for value than their opponents. 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!