Week 8 NFL DFS Main Slate Daily Plug

Week 8 NFL DFS Main Slate Daily Plug


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The Daily Plug is our weekly NFL DFS picks write-up that highlights the top plays from our Occupy Model. The Plug then provides actionable information for each slate by making specific recommendations on how much of your bankroll to allocate and exactly what types of contests to play — all depending on the type of player you are.

Occupy Fantasy’s Chris Rooney has written up a guide to the slate using the Occupy Model, betting line movements, and news updates. Be sure to read all the way through to the end!

Follow Chris on Twitter @cdr02989 for updates through lock.

Keep an eye on this page, updates will be made IN BLUE on Sunday mornings if anything changes. For NFL Inactives, visit this link to the NFL.com page – updates roughly 90 minutes before kickoff for each game.

Consider the Plug an in-depth road map for the main slate. Let’s get to it!

Want analysis for every player in Week 8? Check out the Occupy Model. Want help building lineups? Our partner, DFS Magic, is offering an optimizer FREE for all Occupy members through the end of October.

BETTING ODDS

Biggest Favorites:
Rams, -13.5
Patriots, -13
Saints, -11.5
Jaguars, -7.5
Texans, -7

Highest Game Totals:
OAK@HOU, 52
SEA@ATL, 51

NYG@DET, 49.5
ARI@NO, 48
GB@KC, 47.5 (Yahoo! Only)

Highest Implied Team Totals:
Rams, 30.25
Saints, 29.75
Texans, 29.5
Seahawks, 29
Patriots, 28.25

Seahawks, 28.75

Lowest Implied Team Totals:
Browns, 16
Jets, 16.5
Bengals, 16.75
Cardinals, 18.25
Panthers, 18.25

GAMES TO STACK

Each week, we’ll point out three games to stack based on the Occupy Model, betting line information such as game totals, implied team totals, line movements, and more. 

OAK@HOU, TB@TEN, LAC@CHI

While Seattle and Atlanta sits at the highest implied total, the game is off the board thanks to uncertainty around Atlanta’s QB situation. If Matt Schaub draws the start, we have much less interest in this spot. Matt Ryan is OUT on Sunday, and the total has dropped 3+ points as a result, removing this game from stacking consideration. 


The Raiders head to Houston to play the Texans, and this is the second highest total game on the slate at 51.5 points. Even without Will Fuller available, Deshaun Watson gets to feed DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills, and slot specialist Keke Coutee targets against the same defense that Aaron Rodgers just tore up in Week 7. Derek Carr’s weapons are going to be improved in this spot, with both Tyrell Williams and newly acquired Zay Jones expected to join Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs and company back in the starting lineup. As mentioned on our Twitch streams in the past, finding QBs who will face little pressure lead to big fantasy performances. Watson is projected to face the least amount of pressure according to our model (16%) while Carr will benefit from the return of all five starting offensive linemen — clean pockets on both sides should lead to a shootout. 

At a 46 point total, the Titans and Buccaneers might not jump off the page at first. A deeper dive into expected usage, however, highlights the opportunity in this spot. Jameis Winston’s tough to click on after a 5 INT performance on national television two weeks ago… making him a perfect play in high-risk builds. He has Chris Godwin and Mike Evans at his disposal against a Titans defense that ranks 23rd by Football Outsiders DVOA against the pass. On the other side, Ryan Tannehill ranks 4th highest in the Occupy Model for QBs, and has sneaky efficient weapons in Corey Davis and A.J. Brown for his downfield threats. Derrick Henry has a tough matchup against a Buccaneers defense allowing just 68 rushing yards per game to their opponents.

Really? The Chargers and the Bears? Mitchell Trubisky returned last week and threw the ball 54 times against the Saints, still looking mightily inept at just 4.6 yards per attempt (Y/A). The Chargers allow opponents to throw for 8.18 Y/A, so if he’s going to turn it around, this is a spot it can happen. Allen Robinson has the 4th highest team target share in all of football at 27%, and is the best stackable WR with him here. Anthony Miller is one of our favorite buy low WRs of the entire week, as well. On the Chargers’ side, Philip Rivers will have a tight target distribution with only Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon III and Hunter Henry expected to reach any semblance of fantasy relevance in Week 8 (with Keenan Allen questionable). 

This is the ultimate high-risk stack of these three – it’s a low 40.5 total game, but all the options are cheap – which allows you to pay up for some of the best players on the slate around your stack.

BEST PLAYS BY POSITION

Quarterback

Stud: Russell Wilson (@ Atlanta)

With Prescott on bye and Mahomes on the shelf for at least Week 8, Wilson is the top ranked passer by QBR on the season available. His average of 8.5 yards per attempt (Y/A) is also the most of all QBs yet to play in Week 8 (Kirk Cousins leads the NFL at 8.9 Y/A, but played Thursday). Seattle is in a great spot against the Falcons, who allow opposing passers to throw for 8.3 Y/A with 2.4 TD passes per game. As of publication, Wilson has seen the largest move in the Occupy Model since we launched it this week (+2.9 increase in OF Index), likely thanks to the injuries on the Atlanta side and their 28.75 point implied team total. While off the board at most sports books, this game did debut with a 54 point total before being taken down. Wilson has one of the highest QB floors on the slate.

Value: Ryan Tannehill (vs. Tampa Bay)

Would it surprise you to learn Tannehill is the 4th highest ranked QB in the Model for Week 8? He comes with a super affordable price tag in Week 8, and draws a start at home against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed QBs to throw for 304.5 yards/game at a 7.3 Y/A clip. Tannehill has been efficient, averaging 10.1 Y/A on 45 attempts in two games for the Titans.  While it’s wise to expect regression towards his career average of 7.1 Y/A, this is still a great spot for the veteran, who is a 1 point home favorite.

Running Back

Stud: Christian McCaffrey (@ San Francisco)

He’s back on the main slate, so he’s back in the stud section of the Plug. Despite playing Tampa Bay last time out (32nd by Football Outsiders DVOA against the rush), CMC still posted 21.7 DraftKings points. His two lowest scoring outputs came in both games against Tampa Bay – he has 30 or more DraftKings points against all other opponents. So while Carolina is a 6 point underdog against the 49ers, CMC’s slate-high 39.6 weighted-opportunity score in the Occupy Model makes him a great play. He commands 80% of the carries and over 20% of the targets for the Panthers, something that isn’t changing anytime soon.

Stud: Leonard Fournette (vs. NY Jets)

The Walmart brand CMC this year has been Leonard Fournette. He too commands a massive workload, with 20+ carries in each of his last four games, as well as an average of 4-5 targets a game. As a 7.5 point home favorite in Week 8, Fournette should be a very popular play – especially in low-risk lineups. He has a 35.9 weighted-opportunity score in the Occupy Model himself.


Value: Ty Johnson (vs. NY Giants)

With Kerryon Johson on injured reserve, rookie 6th rounder Ty Johnson sits atop the Detroit depth chart at RB. With a 92nd percentile 40 yard dash time of 4.45, it’s safe to say this is a nice athlete who should see his chance to shine. The Giants allow an average of 131.4 rushing yards per game to their opponents in 2019. They are particularly susceptible to RBs in the passing game, where they rank 29th per Football Outsiders DVOA. This is where the risk lies – pass catching RB J.D. McKissic could see more work in that aspect here in Week 8. It will be hard to find better value spots than Johnson’s in Week 8, though. We have him projected for 22.1 weighted-opportunities against the Giants.

We have confirmation from coach Matt Patricia that Johnson and McKissic will be in a committee. ESPN story here.

We also know all four Lions RBs (Tra Carson and Paul Perkins behind those two) are active. 

Value: James White (vs. Cleveland)

White leads the entire NFL in red zone targets in 2019 with 11, and has seen 8+ total targets per game in each of the last four weeks. With only one touchdown on the season, expect that to increase sooner rather than later based on his usage. The Browns are 23rd by DVOA against RBs in the passing game, so the matchup is juicy. With Josh Gordon done for the year, Mohamed Sanu just arriving, and Rex Burkhead and Julian Edelman still nursing injuries, expect White’s role in the offense to remain consistent in Week 8. He has a 24.6 weighted-opportunity score in the Occupy Model.

Wide Receiver

Stud: DeAndre Hopkins (vs. Oakland)

With Will Fuller out for at least the next few weeks with a hamstring injury, both Kenny Stills and DeAndre Hopkins should be the consistent safe plays at WR in the Texans offense. While Stills himself is a nice value play, paying up for Hopkins could prove wise in a smash spot against the Raiders. We have him projected for 9.9 targets in the Occupy Model, more than twice than the 4.4 we see for Stills at the moment. Hopkins also leads all Texans pass catchers in red zone targets on the season with 7.

Stud: Chris Godwin (@ Tennessee)

Godwin projects for 8.0 targets in the Occupy Model against the Titans. We do rank Mike Evans slightly ahead of him by OF Index, however, Godwin has proven to be the more consistent asset in this receiver group to date in 2019. He also benefits from the fact he runs more slot routes than Evans; Tennessee ranks 32nd by DVOA against slot WRs in 2019. He’s in a great spot in Week 8, however there are two similar priced WRs on DraftKings with similar floors you can consider such as Tyler Lockett and Julian Edelman here. 

Value: Mike Williams (@ Chicago)

Mike Williams was going to be in this spot anyway this week thanks to his team high 35% share of LAC’s air yards since Week 5. With Keenan Allen now questionable after tweaking his hamstring, he becomes that much more attractive thanks to the thin WR depth behind him. He’s posted a 15-193-0 line on 29 targets since Week 5, and is underperforming his 395 air yards in that stretch by over 50%. The Bears are 24th by Football Outsiders DVOA against WR2s, so while it would potentially be better to have Allen out there for matchup reasons, he should command a large enough workload to offset that risk without him.

Keenan Allen is active, but should be limited, per report. 

Value: DaeSean Hamilton (@ Indianapolis)

No Emmanuel Sanders in Denver is actually a scenario we’ve seen before, since he missed all of December last season with a torn achilles. DaeSean Hamilton commanded a 22% target share and 26% of the air yards for the Broncos in Weeks 13-17 of 2018. His 8.5 yard average depth of target (aDOT) in that stretch suggests he’s a good fit for a slot-type role here in 2019 without Sanders once again. We project the bargain bin priced Week 8 WR for 6.8 targets against the Colts.

Tight End

Stud: Darren Waller (@ Houston)

If you listened to the Week 8 DFS podcast, we said Waller is an easy TE to just plug and play the way he’s being used in this Raider offense. He’s seen 5+ targets every week, with 8+ in all but one game. Waller is a WR1 playing the TE position, so while he’s been priced way up from his Week 7 salary, he’s still cheap when viewed through the lens of WR pricing and what his role is. His 26% target share leads the Raiders by a healthy margin (Tyrell Williams 2nd with 19%).

Value: Hunter Henry (@ Chicago)

Henry should also see increased work should Keenan Allen miss in Week 8, but even if Keenan were in he’d be a great option at this low price. Since returning from injury, he’s posted a 14-197-2 line on 17 total targets at an 11.4 yard aDOT. Chicago can be attacked through the TE position, as they are 24th by DVOA against TEs on the year. He’s a very strong option to set and forget at the position while building your low-risk lineups as a result.

Keenan Allen is active, but should be limited, per report. 

DST

Defenses are not typically going to be written up in detail in our Daily Plug on main slates. One of the optimal ways to select defenses for low-risk contests? Focus on defenses facing opponents with low Vegas team totals. We also want to target turnover prone quarterbacks when it makes sense. You shouldn’t ever pass on a player at another spot just to jam in a defense. We’ll always provide a list of low and high risk defenses in the player pool below.

BANKROLL ALLOCATION

Max. Allocation. Slate! 6-8% is back on the table with so many juicy value plays, stackable games, and high volume plays accessible for cash games.

Play 60-70% of that allocation in low-risk, and take some careful shots for your bankroll tier (recommendations below) at tournaments with the other 30-40%.

For low risk, remember to focus on H2Hs, single entry double ups (as always, multi-entry double ups are OK if you can max enter them).

Our studs and values by position are intended to be a roadmap to help you win in low-risk contests. For high-risk, there are plenty of strong GPP plays in the player pool, as well as contests for you to target.

For more information on contest selection and bankroll allocation, check out our MUST-READ Ultimate Guide e-book.

LINEUP STRATEGY

Check out the player pool below. In low-risk contests, you should continue to try and play 3 running backs from the write-up and low-risk sections. Often, the highest projected owned RBs in the Occupy Model end up being the sharpest low-risk plays. Smart players have all week to figure out who to run, ownership projections reflect that. 

Building 5-10-20 or more lineups for these large-field GPPs? Stick to a core of top plays (outlined below) that are projected to be highly owned, and build game stacks around that core. We strongly recommend stacking the highest total games on the slate above to accomplish this. Our partner, DFS Magic, has a lineup builder you can use to set your groupings using the Occupy Model rankings!

CONTEST RECOMMENDATIONS

Smaller Bankrolls

First and foremost, always play freerolls. Two of them available in the DraftKings lobby for Week 8 – the AutoNation Free Football Challenge, and the Jameson 20K NFL Free Contest Series. (Must be 21+ for the freerolls sponsored by alcoholic beverage companies). 

Look for no-badge users for low-risk H2Hs in the lobby. On DraftKings, post your own H2Hs and make sure you limit the opponents to 1 entry (per price point) against you (FanDuel doesn’t have this option). With the rest of your low-risk allocation, play single-entry double ups.

This is likely most people reading this – single-entry GPPs are the best high-risk tournaments to play. You want to give yourself the best shot to win; being on a level playing field with every other user by max-entering a contest is the way to go. Single entry contests are the easiest places to do this.

The first place you can do that are with “Contests” – these low priority, blandly named GPPs come with smaller field sizes and (usually) less experienced players. On DraftKings, the $0.25, $1, and $3 Contests are good places to start looking at playing. On FanDuel, the single entry 3-100 Player leagues meet this criteria. Everyone is drawn to the sexy, high-dollar top prize contests – you can lay low in here and (hopefully) grow your bankroll. You can 20-25x your entry fee by beating just 99 other people in these formats – it’s a great place to play.

The $3 entry fee, NFL $80K Pylon or $12 entry fee, NFL $250K Fair Catch on DraftKings are great places to spend your high-risk allocation. On FanDuel, there is also the $5 entry fee, $125K Sun NFL Spike, $2 entry fee $30K Sun NFL Safety, and $1 entry fee $25K Sun NFL Squib you should look at for single entry GPPs.

You should continue to play satellites for Millionaire Maker tickets you can use in later weeks. There is also an NBA Holiday BBall Millionaire contest that has satellites available on DraftKings now for some cross-sport opportunity – you have several weeks to rack up tickets for this.

Want to practice your multi-entry skills? Max enter a three entry max contest like the $5 entry fee, $100K Nickel on DraftKings.

The $40K Quarter Jukebox is a 20 entry-max tournament that costs just $5 to play at $0.25 per entry. Practice your mass-multi entry skills with our optimizer with a shot to win $1,500!

Want an even bigger challenge? FanDuel has a 150-entry max contest at just $0.05 per entry, the $17K Sun NFL Pooch Punt.

Larger Bankrolls

100-player Leagues/Contests remain great places to play – on DraftKings look for Contests in the $5 to $50 entry fee range, these are the best places to build your allocation around.

We introduced 20 entry-max contests to the Smaller Bankroll contest players. At your level, you should consider max entering the $3 entry fee, $1.3M Play-Action on DraftKings. This contest comes with a shot of taking down $100K, so you should have exposure to that nice prize here.

You can also probably look at some of the higher dollar value single entry GPPs at your bankroll size – The $27 entry fee $75K Blind Side, $50 entry fee $150K Red Zone and $100 entry fee $300K Spy contest are the best ones available to you on DraftKings (there’s also a $50K Spy at the same entry fee with a smaller field).

For FanDuel users, you can consider the $1, 294 person WFFC Fan Championship on 12/15 satellites in addition to the NFL Sunday Million ones. The best single entry GPPs in the next tier up not mentioned above? The $33 entry fee, $120K Sun NFL Sweep, the $100 entry fee, $120K Sun NFL Cover 2, and the $50 entry fee, $55K Sun NFL Hot Route.

Largest Bankrolls

Have enough to (WITHIN our allocation guideline for your bankroll) max-enter a larger GPP? Congrats on being a big baller! Teach us your ways.

The $150 entry fee, $500K Power Sweep is a three entry-max GPP on DraftKings with a $100,000 prize to 1st (there’s also a $150K Power Sweep with a smaller field). Consider this heavily every week it’s offered at your bankroll size.

On DraftKings, the largest expense (and largest upside) play is the $3.5M Fantasy Football Millionaire, which is a 150-max contest with a $1 million dollar top-prize. We like to say you shouldn’t play contests with your own dollars unless you can max enter them – the Milly Maker is no different.

The next best 150-max contest is the $9 entry fee, $500K Slant. It has one of the flattest payout structures on the slate, and a $50K top prize.

FanDuel users, you’ve got the $2.5M NFL Sunday Million which is a $9 entry fee 150-max contest with a $1 million dollar top-prize. There’s a bonus $50K prize pool each week this month for users who roster a player who scores an overtime touchdown in this contest.

BEST OF THE REST

If building player pools for mass-multi entry is your thing, consider using these names in addition to top plays above. Please remember – the Occupy Model is designed for high-risk contest optimization. Lower-ranked plays may still be great low-risk plays for that reason.

QUARTERBACKS:

LOW-RISK: Gardner Minshew, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray

HIGH-RISK: Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, Matthew Stafford, Josh Allen, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Derek Carr, Mitchell Trubisky

RUNNING BACKS: 

LOW-RISK: Chris Carson, Austin Ekeler, Saquon Barkley, Chase Edmonds, Todd Gurley, Tevin Coleman, Latavius Murray

HIGH RISK: Le’Veon Bell, Melvin Gordon III, Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry, Devonta Freeman, Sony Michel, Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, Royce Freeman, Phillip Lindsay, Tarik Cohen, J.D. McKissic, Alvin Kamara (if active)

WIDE RECEIVERS: 

LOW-RISK: Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Julian Edelman, Tyler Lockett, Allen Robinson, Jamison Crowder (if active), Dede Westbrook (if active), Courtland Sutton, Cole Beasley

HIGH RISK: Odell Beckham Jr, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Calvin Ridley, Brandin Cooks, D.J. Moore, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Golladay, John Brown, D.J. Chark Jr., Curtis Samuel, Larry Fitzgerald, Alshon Jeffery, Demaryius Thomas (if Robby out), Antonio Callaway, Anthony Miller, Corey Davis, Keke Coutee, Tyrell Williams, Adam Humphries, Kenny Stills, DK Metcalf

TIGHT ENDS:

LOW-RISK: Austin Hooper, George Kittle, Evan Engram

HIGH RISK: Josh Hill, Zach Ertz, Jonnu Smith, Cameron Brate, Noah Fant, Gerald Everett, T.J. Hockenson

DST:

LOW-RISK: Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots

HIGH-RISK: San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Denver Broncos

Plays are listed in order of preference (OF Index, DK Index where applicable).

Situation statistics sourced from Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Play Index Finder. DVOA data from FootballOutsiders.com. Air yards data pulled from AirYards.com. All salaries from contest providers. While we like the player pool selected above, we reserve the right to roster other players should news and trends closer to lock push us in that direction. Pay attention to our stream schedule for discussion of those thoughts!