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RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 8

Fri Oct 30 9:57am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

Adams setup for more success


Week 8 brings the potential for another fun slate of games across the NFL, including what should be a great matchup between the Steelers and Ravens. From a DFS perspective, there are also a lot of excellent matchups to take advantage of, and a few to possibly avoid. With that in mind, let’s break down each position to help make setting your lineup a little easier.

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. MIN ($7,000): The Vikings probably aren’t too excited to see Rodgers again. When these two teams faced off in Week 1, he lit up their defense for 364 yards and four touchdowns. Outside of struggling in a loss to the Bucs in Week 6, Rodgers is having an excellent season with 17 touchdown passes and only two interceptions through six games. Look for him to dominate the Vikings again in their rematch, considering they have allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game in the league.

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF at SEA ($5,800): If you’re looking to fade Rodgers at his lofty salary, then Garoppolo should be on your radar further down the salary scale. Yes, playing without Deebo Samuel (hamstring) likely won’t make his job any easier. However, it doesn’t get much better than this matchup against the Seahawks, who have allowed the most passing yards per game despite posting a stellar 5-1 record.

Player to Avoid

Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. PIT ($6,800): Considering you can add Rodgers to your lineup for only $200 more, it’s difficult to justify rolling with Jackson based on his tough matchup. The Steelers defense is among the best in the league, allowing the sixth-fewest passing yards per game and the second-fewest rushing yards. That second stat is more alarming for Jackson, considering he normally does a lot of damage with his legs. Expect this to be a low-scoring game between two teams with excellent defenses.

Running Backs

Derrick Henry, TEN at CIN ($7,900): If you can fit Henry’s salary into your lineup, doing so could pay off in a big way. He already enters as one of the safest options at running back since he has received at least 19 carries in every game this season. On top of that, this is a great matchup against the Bengals, who have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards per game. Not only should Henry rack up yards in bunches in this game, but it’s also likely that he finds his way into the end zone at least one time given that the Bengals have allowed an average of 27.7 points per game.

Giovanni Bernard, CIN vs. TEN ($6,600): The key here will be the status of Joe Mixon (foot), who was unable to play Week 7 against the Browns. Bernard started in his place and stepped up to produce 96 total yards and a touchdown. He was heavily involved both running the ball and in the passing game, and would be again in Week 8 if Mixon is unable to play. A lot of attention has been given to the Titan’s thriving offense, but don’t forget that their defense hasn’t been great. They find themselves in the bottom-10 in the league in both rushing yards and passing yards allowed per game.

Player to Avoid

James Conner, PIT at BAL ($7,000): I’m avoiding this game as much as possible. The Ravens have arguably the best defense in the league, allowing only 17.3 points per game. That has resulted in them allowing four rushing touchdowns all season. Since Conner doesn’t come at much of a discount, the risk might not be worth the potential reward here, especially since Kareem Hunt’s ($7,300) salary isn’t that much higher and he has a great matchup against the Raiders.

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams, GB vs. MIN ($8,900): Adams was the main reason why Rodgers went off the first time these two teams faced each other this season. He couldn’t be stopped, finishing with 14 receptions on 17 targets for 156 yards and two touchdowns. He’s only played four games this season, but he already has two games with at least 150 yards and two touchdowns. Given the likelihood that he once again sees a ton of targets, he’s arguably the top receiving option for this slate.

Nelson Agholor, LV at CLE ($5,300): The Raiders might not have an extremely exciting group of wide receivers, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been productive. Agholor has certainly been a pleasant surprise, catching four touchdowns through seven games. He received a season-high nine targets in a tough matchup against the Bucs last week and came away with five receptions, 107 yards and a touchdown. This has the makings of a high-scoring game between two teams that have both allowed at least 31.6 points per game, so Agholor could provide value at his cheap salary.

Player to Avoid

Amari Cooper, DAL at PHI ($7,400): The Cowboys’ offense has fallen off a cliff. It’s not because of a lack of talent at the skill positions because they have one of the best units in the league. The problem has been staying healthy at quarterback. Not only is Dak Prescott (ankle) out for the season, but Andy Dalton could miss Week 8 with a concussion. That would leave Ben DiNucci to start at quarterback. Add in a tough matchup against Eagles’ star cornerback Darius Slay and Cooper could really struggle.

Tight Ends

Darren Waller, LV at CLE ($5,700): Agholor isn’t the only Raiders’ pass-catcher to consider. Waller is the focal point of their passing attack, which has resulted in him garnering 56 targets across six games. That includes a whopping 10 red-zone targets. No other player on the team has more than four such targets, so Waller could explode in this potentially scoring-friendly game.

Richard Rodgers, PHI vs. DAL ($4,000): It will be important to monitor the status of Dallas Goedert (ankle), who has been a limited participant in practice this week. The Eagles do have a bye in Week 9, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Goedert sit against the Cowboys to make sure he’s completely healthy for the rest of the season. If he doesn’t play, this is a great spot to deploy Rodgers against a Cowboys team that has one of the worst defenses in the league. With Goedert and Zach Ertz (ankle) out in Week 7, Rodgers finished with six catches and 85 yards on eight targets against the Giants.

Player to Avoid

T.J. Hockenson, DET vs. IND ($5,300): This could be a rough week for the Lions’ offense with the Colts allowing only 19.2 points per game. They are fresh coming off of their bye and could get star linebacker Darius Leonard (groin) back from injury. A $400 difference between Waller and Hockenson shouldn’t be enough to deter you from starting Waller when you consider their contrasting matchups.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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Denver Broncos Dec 5 6:00pm ET

Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who is recovering from his battle with COVID-19, will miss his sixth game in Week 13 against the division-rival Chiefs on Sunday night. Donatell went through an entire practice week but will be cautious with the team playing on the road this week. He's expected to return in Week 14 against the Panthers. Denver's defense stepped up in Week 11 in the upset win over the Dolphins, but they failed to slow the Saints Defense down in Week 12 and have allowed 30-plus points to their opponents in five of their last six games. That trend will likely continue on Sunday night against a high-octane Chiefs offense after they gave up a season-high 43 points to them back in Week 7. Avoid Denver's defense in fantasy this weekend.

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Tua Tagovailoa Dec 5 5:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) appears to be on track to play in Week 13 against the Bengals. Tagovailoa's agent, Leigh Steinberg, said that he is flying to the game in Miami to watch the rookie play. The 22-year-old jammed his left thumb on a helmet in practice last week and sat out of the Week 12 win over the Jets. Tagovailoa has mostly been a game manager in his four starts and was benched late in the fourth quarter of his last start against the Broncos in Week 11. He has six touchdowns to zero interceptions, but he hasn't thrown for more than 248 yards and has been sacked 10 times, including six times against the Broncos. The Bengals have allowed 22 passing touchdowns this year (tied for sixth-most), so Tagovailoa will have a chance to rebound this Sunday. Fantasy managers should be treating him as a low-end QB2, though.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Dec 5 5:40pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles elevated running back Jordan Howard from the practice squad to the active roster on Saturday for the team's Week 13 game against the Packers. Howard played the 2019 season with the Eagles before getting cut after playing in five games for the Dolphins this year. The Eagles already have Miles Sanders as their lead back and Boston Scott and Corey Clement on the roster, but Howard could be used in a short-yardage and goal-line role as early as Sunday against Green Bay. Howard is unlikely to see more than a handful of touches this weekend, but his presence is more bad news for Sanders, who disappointed his fantasy managers in Week 12 against the Seahawks. Sanders had just 15 yards rushing last week and hasn't found the end zone since Week 5 against the Steelers.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Dec 5 5:40pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Nelson Agholor (ankle) was a limited participant at Friday's practice but does not carry an injury designation heading into Sunday's game against the Jets. Agholor has been inconsistent for most of this season but has put together solid back-to-back games. Over the last two games, he has seen 15 targets and has gone for 142 total yards. He will look to continue this against a Jets Defense that has struggled all season. His volatility makes him a risky play, but he will be a solid flex option if he can put together another good performance.

From RotoBaller

Jihad Ward Dec 5 5:40pm ET

The Baltimore Ravens activated running back Mark Ingram II and defensive ends Calais Campbell and Jihad Ward from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. Ingram missed the Week 12 loss to the Steelers after testing positive for the virus. However, his role in the backfield was already being diminished prior to last week, making him one to leave on benches for Week 13 against the Cowboys on Tuesday. Baltimore will return to a three-headed backfield with Ingram, rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Dobbins has become the leader of the group, giving him RB2 upside against Dallas. Campbell missed some time with a calf injury as well and hasn't played since Week 9 against the Colts. The 34-year-old five-time Pro Bowler will give the team's defensive line a big boost with his return, having recorded 24 tackles, 10 QB hits and four sacks in his eight games. The Ravens Defense will be a top-five fantasy unit against Andy Dalton and Dallas this week.

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Chris Wormley Dec 5 5:30pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers activated defensive end Stephon Tuitt from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. Tuitt has 31 tackles and seven sacks in 10 games and has also forced two fumbles and has two passes defensed. His return is a huge boost for a defense that just lost linebacker Bud Dupree (knee) to a season-ending torn ACL. Defensive lineman Chris Wormley was also activated from the Injured Reserve, returning the team's defensive line to full health. Tuitt went on the COVID-19 list on Nov. 27 and missed the Week 12 win over the Ravens on Wednesday. The 27-year-old has been a starting defensive lineman in IDP leagues in 2020 and ranks 10th at the position through 10 games in overall fantasy points. Pittsburgh's defensive unit will be a top-three play in Week 13 against Washington on Monday.

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Nyheim Hines Dec 5 5:30pm ET

Indianapolis Colts Nyheim Hines was not great running the ball last week against the Titans but contributed in the passing game with eight receptions. Hines has shown throughout the year that he is a productive player when given ample opportunity. He has three games all season where he has played in at least 50 percent of the team's snaps. In those three games, he has caught 21 passes, rushed for 127 total yards, and tallied four touchdowns. He has a great matchup this week against a Texans Defense that ranks 31st against opposing running backs. Hines is a volatile option due to uncertainty about the amount of snaps he will get but is worthy of flex consideration if given enough opportunity.

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Cole Beasley Dec 5 5:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley looks like a steal in PPR formats this year. He wasn't expected to have a huge role in Buffalo, but clearly that has changed. Beasley continues to put up reliable numbers in PPR formats just about every week. He'll get a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13. Beasley will likely be a low-end WR3 in most standard formats. However, he'll remain a reliable PPR option because the Bills love looking his way.

From RotoBaller

Gabriel Davis Dec 5 5:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis is being asked to step up with John Brown (calf) likely sidelined for the rest of the season. Davis has played well this season despite having a limited role throughout most of the year. He's the third target in the passing game, but still finds a way to make an impact. He'll be an interesting flex option against the tough San Francisco 49ers Defense in Week 13. Davis might be more helpful in PPR leagues, but could have some flex appeal in standard formats.

From RotoBaller

Zack Moss Dec 5 5:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss hasn't been able to get much going on the ground this season. However, he has been able to hold some fantasy value because he gets a majority of the goal line work. Devin Singletary continues to split up the carries, which hurts both of their fantasy appeal. Moss will get a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13. He'll likely only hold deep league appeal this week.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Dec 5 5:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been a fantasy star throughout most of the regular season. That should continue despite a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13. A secondary that has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. However, quarterback Josh Allen loves throwing it deep to Diggs, so good luck trying to stop them. Regardless of the matchup, Diggs should remain a WR1 most weeks.

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Devin Singletary Dec 5 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary has not been able to produce much fantasy value over the last month or so. However, he did rush for 82 yards on 11 attempts in the win over the Los Angeles Chargers last week. Sadly, Singletary will get a tougher matchup here against the San Francisco 49ers. A defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Singletary is avoidable here and a low-end flex option, assuming you're forced to play him.

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Josh Allen Dec 5 4:50pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (knee/ankle) is on the injury report, but is expected to suit up for the Week 13 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. The team has not limited him in practice, so it sounds like he'll be good to go here. The 49ers Defense is beginning to get healthy, but it's tough to slow down the Bills offense. Allen should remain a top tier QB1 this week despite the tough matchup.

From RotoBaller

Damiere Byrd Dec 5 4:40pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Damiere Byrd has been a heavily involved option on offense over the last few weeks. He saw eight targets last week, but was only able to haul in three of them for 33 yards in the win over the Arizona Cardinals. Byrd will get a much tougher matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. He'll likely continue getting targets, but Byrd is probably going to have a tough time putting up reliable fantasy numbers. He might only be worth a look in deep leagues this week.

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N'Keal Harry Dec 5 4:30pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry has been a tough player to trust in fantasy leagues all season long. He is coming off a zero reception game last week and isn't expected to do much versus the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. A secondary that has been solid against the passing attack this season. The Pats are having trouble getting Harry involved on a consistent basis. Fantasy owners shouldn't put much faith in Harry doing anything productive this week.

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James White Dec 5 4:20pm ET

New England Patriots running back James White has been lackluster on the ground lately, but continues to carry fantasy value. Last week, White finished with 18 total rushing yards, but scored two touchdowns, which saved his fantasy value. The Pats are going to continue getting White involved whether it's on the ground or through the air. The Los Angeles Chargers haven't been able to stop running backs this season, which makes White a solid flex play for Week 13.

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Jakobi Meyers Dec 5 4:20pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers rebounded fairly nicely last week with five receptions for 52 yards in the win over the Arizona Cardinals. He saw six targets in that one and should continue getting involved versus the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. Sadly, the Chargers have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. The Pats are not exactly known for their solid passing attack. Meyers should be able to carry low-end flex appeal in PPR leagues this week.

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Cam Newton Dec 5 4:10pm ET

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (abdominal) is currently listed as questionable for the Week 13 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. He is expected to suit up, but won't be a favorable fantasy option for this one. Newton is coming off a performance in which he had a season-low 84 passing yards. He'll now face a Chargers secondary that has been fairly solid against the passing attack this season. It appears Newton is banged up and in an unfavorable matchup here. Fantasy owners probably don't want to trust Newton unless no other decent options are available.

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Damien Harris Dec 5 4:10pm ET

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris has seemingly run away with the lead back job. Sadly, Harris has been unable to do much damage on the ground lately. He has failed to surpass 47 rushing yards over his last two games. He'll get a decent rebound matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. A team that has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. However, Harris has struggled lately, so he should be considered a low-end flex option this week.

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Terry McLaurin Dec 5 1:30pm ET

Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been one of the most consistent fantasy options and should be locked-into starting lineups despite a tough matchup in Pittsburgh. McLaurin has seven catches in five of his last six games and has at least 74 yards in every game in that span. On the season, McLaurin is yet to see less than seven targets in any game. He'll draw the Steelers' toughest coverage, but McLaurin has been blanketed by every team's best corner this year and has still been anywhere from good to elite for fantasy. Start Scary Terry, period.

From RotoBaller