The Fantasy Football Party will post a values story every week at ZoneCoverage.com to help you set winning DFS lineups for the show listener league and all the other great games at FantasyDraft.com — our exclusive DFS partner for 2018!
Whether you’re getting in our weekly listener league for just $5 or playing for some big money in tournaments like the $90,000 Run & Gun, you’re going to want to take advantage of the value plays on the board at FantasyDraft.com this week while avoiding the overpriced guys. Below are some of the players at each position who stand out one way or another on this week’s main slate (11 games) using the modeling tool at FantasyLabs.com.
All scoring projections/rankings are from their cash model for Week 8. If you’ve never played at FantasyDraft before, use the listener league link above and deposit at least $10 and you’ll automatically get a free $4 GPP ticket! And if you’re not a FantasyLabs subscriber, get half off a trial membership with the code 50OFF.
Russell Wilson at Detroit — $11,000
Given Seattle’s run-heavy approach, there aren’t going to be a ton of opportunities to use Wilson this season. But this week may be the perfect storm. The Seahawks play indoors against a team that they could have trouble keeping off the scoreboard while facing a defense that struggles to rush the passer. Every quarterback the Lions have faced except for Tom Brady (weirdly enough) has thrown multiple touchdown passes against them. I’m not predicting any 300-yard, three-touchdown game here, but you don’t need that when you’re rostering a quarterback for just $11,000 who is likely to come at a very low ownership percentage.
Baker Mayfield at Pittsburgh — $11,300
The body of work for Mayfield has been overwhelmingly positive. Yes, he had some struggles two weeks ago, and yes, his receivers have done him no favors statistically. But the future is bright as Mayfield matures and Cleveland finds capable coaches. In the meantime, I wouldn’t go chasing a breakout game — even against a defense like the Steelers — especially on the road.
Yes, it’s fun to be the first to the party. But DFS players have been playing that game for the last month, including against Tampa Bay last week, and don’t even have a 20-point day to show for it yet. There are plenty of options at a similar price with much more upside than Baker this week.
Christian McCaffrey vs. Baltimore — $14,300
McCaffrey’s price is as low as it’s been since Week 2, but I’m not biting in this matchup. Baltimore has more than proven itself defensively, having easily given up the fewest fantasy points to running backs per game this season—more than two points clear of second-best Pittsburgh.
McCaffrey’s still playing virtually every snap, but his touches have gone down four straight weeks. I would surmise they’ve about bottomed out at this point, but there’s no reason to think there’ll be a major uptick in volume or efficiency in this contest. Spend your fake money elsewhere.
David Johnson vs. San Francisco — $12,300
The world has been spared from any more Mike McCoy offensive game plans, and Johnson will reap the biggest rewards. We don’t know Byron Leftwich the play-caller yet, but we know it can’t get worse — and has a lot of room to improve.
Considering that and the fact that Johnson scored a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 55 yards against this same defense in the greater San Francisco area just three weeks ago, he’s a nice combination of ceiling a price, with much less risk than he would’ve carried with him had he not lost the league’s worst offensive coordinator. Johnson’s salary is likely to start climbing after this week. Now’s the time to use him.
Chris Carson at Detroit — $8,400
You could pair Carson with the aforementioned Wilson — QBs and RBs are positively correlated) or choose to go just with the Seattle run game. Carson’s touches went down in back-to-back games after his 32-carry performance, but he still got 14 carries his last time out and has a date with one of the league’s most fantasy-running-back-friendly defenses.
I see him flirting with 20 carries in this one because Brian Schottenheimer wouldn’t have it any other way. That volume brings with it a ton of upside and minimal downside — especially considering his low price. Only five running backs have higher FantasyLabs value ratings this week.
Kenny Golladay vs. Seattle — $10,400
When Miami manned up on Sunday, Xavien Howard was matched up on Golladay. Not Golden Tate. Not Marvin Jones. Ultimately it meant a quiet fantasy day for Golladay in Week 7, though it required a questionable O-line penalty that negated an incredible Golladay touchdown reception.
I’m going right back to the well this week. Golladay’s at home, has scored in three of his last five overall, and is the cheapest he’s been since Week 3. He’s never going to be the 10-catch guy — not as long as he’s got such competent counterparts — but he’s a big play waiting to happen and should have plenty of opportunities to make it happen in this contest. Only four receivers on the main slate have a better FantasyLabs value rating in Week 8.
Tyreek Hill vs. Denver — $16,000
He’s not exactly a value—but these days you’re paying full price for the high-end Chiefs. And you can’t go any week without considering at least one of the Kansas City elite any time they’re on the main slate. I picked Hill specifically over the others because he’s been good anywhere against any opponent, but he’s vastly overperformed on the road. In his career.
In fact, 19 of his 25 touchdowns (receiving and special teams) have come away from Arrowhead Stadium. Hill had a season-high nine receptions against the Broncos’ pedestrian defense in Denver back in Week 4, but only managed 54 yards while Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce put up the big numbers. This time it’s Hill’s turn.
Taylor Gabriel vs. NY Jets — $10,100
Gabriel’s price jumped for the third straight week despite a poor outing in Week 7. Perhaps it’s based on opponent, but the Jets’ corners did decent against Minnesota’s elite group last week, and Gabriel hardly belongs in the Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs conversation. What’s most concerning, however, is Gabriel’s usage. He’d been a regular part of the passing game all season, but hadn’t done much with his targets until Week 4.
He was incredibly efficient in Week 6 out of Chicago’s bye, but Week 7 saw him get a season-low in targets (four) for the second straight week. What’s worse, it happened in a game where Mitch Trubisky set a season-high in pass attempts. If Tarik Cohen’s going to stay so involved, and Trey Burton is going to be worked in the way he was against New England, it’ll likely come at Gabriel’s expense.
Jimmy Graham at LA Rams — $8,700
I’m not quite sure what’s going on with Graham’s pricing this week, but I’m not going to complain about it. Graham jumped to $10,500 last week after spending much of the season in the mid-$8K range and delivered with 104 yards on nine targets against San Francisco. With 20 targets and 180 yards in his last two contests, Graham’s usage and production are trending in the right direction.
Now he’s in the game with Vegas’ highest total against a defense whose biggest weakness may be against tight ends and his price drops nearly $2K? Pocket the savings, plug in Graham, and reap the rewards.
Jeff Heuerman vs. Kansas City — $5,000
If you’re shopping in the bargain bin, Heuerman may be your … man. Yes, he didn’t show up on the stat sheet last week — his only catch was a 10-yard touchdown reception wiped out by his own pass interference penalty — but he’s otherwise had at least 4 targets in every contest since Week 3, and had his season-best stat line of four catches for 57 yards against the Chiefs when the teams met in Week 4. There’s obviously some downside here, but if you’re trying to wedge in Chiefs, Heuerman provides a game-stack path to get it done.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland — $4,500
The Steelers defense has been a roller coaster — up one week, down the next. So it’s not like there’s no downside here. But the price is right in a home matchup against Cleveland, which has ceded five sacks in three straight games and turned the ball over at least once in four consecutive.
Pittsburgh had one of its up performances against the Browns back in Week 1, but that was against Tyrod Taylor. Mayfield could inflict much more damage than Taylor did when these teams tied, but Baker’s first go at Heinz Field could result in some turnovers—unforced or otherwise.
Indianapolis Colts at Oakland — $5,600
The Colts defense has been much better than expected this season, having been usable in multiple weeks and downright elite against Derek Anderson’s Buffalo Bills in Week 7. But don’t look at the Raiders, with Marshawn Lynch now on IR and Amari Cooper traded to the Cowboys, and think Indy’s ready to do it again.
It’s a home game for Oakland, which has had two weeks to prepare and get healthy (outside of Lynch) while it sees the football pontificators talking tanking. Derek Carr’s played well before, and this is a get-right spot for him and this offense. The Colts simply cost too much and are in the wrong spot for me to get excited about them against in Week 8.
There is an endless trove of additional data plus incredible tools for modeling, lineup building and more at FantasyLabs.com. If you play DFS, FantasyLabs will make you a better player. Use the code 50OFF to get half off a trial membership. And be sure to get in on the DFS fun at FantasyDraft! Start by joining the listener league for just $5. Good luck this week!
The Fantasy Football Party is recorded each week by John Tuvey, Bo Mitchell and Anthony Maggio. You can also find a story from one of the three each week right here at ZoneCoverage.com. Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode by clicking here for iTunes or here for Android.
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