Draft Kings

Draft Kings Week 8 Preview

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Throughout the NFL season, Football Insiders’ fantasy expert Michael Gonzalez will be providing advice to help you assemble your Draft Kings team. He will be providing three solid plays at each position – a high-priced option, middle-priced option and low-priced option – so you can find talented players for your roster and stay under the $50,000 salary cap. He’ll tell you his best values based on their Draft Kings salary.

This week, Football Insiders’ Draft Kings league is offering $1.25 million in total prizes including a $100,000 first-place prize. It only costs $3 to enter (or FREE if it’s your first time playing). You can draft your team here.

Here are Michael’s top plays for Week 8:

QUARTERBACKS

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, $7,100, TB@ATL

I remember exactly where I was when Matt Ryan absolutely destroyed Tampa Bay on a Thursday night game last year.  In that game, Ryan was 21-24 for 286 yards and three touchdowns. It doesn’t appear as though the Bucs defense is considerably better this year. The Bucs have allowed below-average quarterbacks to have big games this year, including Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles and Ryan Mallett.  This week, when they travel to Atlanta, I expect Ryan and Julio Jones to remind Tampa Bay about what happened last year.  He’s the third-most expensive quarterback for a reason this week, and I think he has the most favorable matchup of the top-tier options.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, $6,600, SD@BAL

Philip Rivers is second only to Tom Brady in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks this year, and he’s coming off four games in a row with over 300 yards passing and multiple touchdown throws.  The Chargers offense is poised to put up big numbers, and Rivers is getting it done each and every week.  He’s in the mid-tier price range this week and with the upside of being the highest scorer, that makes him a great play with the matchup he has in Week 8.  Rivers and the Chargers will be facing the Baltimore Ravens, who are very susceptible to the aerial attack.  All signs point to Rivers going off in Week 8.

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings, $5,100, MIN@CHI

Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t had a huge year passing.  He’s only thrown five touchdowns all year, with only one game having at least 300 yards passing and multiple passing touchdowns.  His best game was last week against a weak passing defense in the Detroit Lions.  In Week 8, Bridgewater and the Vikings face another weak defensive team, the Chicago Bears.  The Bears will allow any team a lot of points, and that means Bridgewater has fantasy relevance on Draft Kings this week.  He’s just about the cheapest starting option among quarterbacks.  If you want to save money at quarterback and invest elsewhere, Bridgewater could be your best play.

RUNNING BACKS

Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers, $8,300, CIN@PIT

Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers get Ben Roethlisberger back this week, and I expect Big Ben to instantly elevate the play of his skill players.  Bell is one of the most dynamic backs in football so it shouldn’t take a super expansive explanation to persuade you he’s a good play.  He has an average matchup against the Bengals, who just let LeSean McCoy rush for a touchdown and 90 yards.  Bell is a much better player than McCoy and has a better offense around him. Now, with Roethlisberger back, Bell is the best high-priced option at RB in Week 8.

Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams, $6,300, SF@STL

He’s not going to be cheap anymore, as Todd Gurley has emerged as one of the best running backs in the entire league. He’s gone over 100 yards rushing for three straight games since being highlighted as the go-to back in St. Louis.  He’s coming off a week in which he scored his first professional rushing touchdown, and then followed up that score with his second TD as well.  The San Francisco 49ers aren’t anything special on defense anymore, and Gurley should continue to be a monster on the ground.  Eventually he’s going to have a game where he doesn’t rush for 100 yards, but I’m not going to bet against him in Week 8.  He’s one of the 10 priciest options at RB this week, but he is still a great play.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $5,500, TB@ATL

Regardless of how many points the Falcons put up against the Bucs, the offense in Tampa funnels the ball through Doug Martin.  The reason they do that?  Martin is probably the best player on the Bucs’ offense and he has been a huge surprise this year with his production on the field.  Martin is ranked in the top five in fantasy scoring among running backs, and this week I expect Martin to be used both in the running game and passing game (especially since wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy are out).  The Falcons have had their issues stopping the run, so don’t be surprised if the Bucs use Doug Martin a lot on Sunday.

Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals, $4,600, ARI@CLE

Chris Johnson has been quite the pleasant surprise this year running the ball for the Arizona Cardinals.  Johnson has had an impressive season and appears happy in his role with the Cardinals.  Over the last five games, Johnson rushed for over 100 yards three times, and he is consistently getting around 16 touches per game.  Facing a Cleveland defense that doesn’t stop the run exceptionally well, Johnson will have every opportunity to have a big game.  He’s less than $5,000 this week and a great RB2 or flex option in Week 8.

Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys, $3,800, SEA@DAL

Darren McFadden is the starting running back for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks.  Anytime we know a back will receive the majority of the work out of the backfield and get goal line touches, they are fantasy relevant in every format.  With 29 rushing attempts last week, which yielded 152 rushing yards and a score, we can expect similar usage out of McFadden in Week 8.  Yes, the Seahawks are very good on defense, but McFadden will get the volume you want out of a daily fantasy option who is worth playing (and under $4,000).  Loading up at other positions is possible if you play McFadden. I’d find a spot for him on your roster this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, $9,200, TB@ATL

Last year in two games versus the Bucs, Julio Jones combined for 17 catches, 280 yards and two touchdowns. Those were easily two of his best games of the year – both against the same defense.  You’d have to expect the Bucs are saying this whole week, “We have to stop Julio.”  And I’m sure that is a part of their plan. However, that’s easier said than done and the Bucs’ secondary remains a huge weakness. Jones may be pricey, but that’s what happens when one of the best receivers in the game goes against a division rival who he has recently lit up.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers, $7,800, CIN@PIT

I usually don’t select two players who are both in the top five most expensive options at their position, but this week is the exception.  Jones had to be included for the obvious reasons already stated.  Antonio Brown has to be listed as a great play because he gets his quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back, and that’s the only quarterback Brown catches touchdowns from.  Seriously, look it up.  Brown and the Steelers will be re-energized with Big Ben leading the offensive unit. This should be Brown’s coming out party for the second half of the year.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $6,800, TB@ATL

I told you to play Mike Evans last week, and he went off for 164 receiving yards and a touchdown.  Now, this week, his team is going to be in a big hole versus the Falcons, and he will be without fellow wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy (and possibly tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins as well). It looks like Evans will be the main (and only) target for Jameis Winston in Week 8.  Even if he isn’t open, Winston will be forced to give Evans opportunities to keep up with the Falcons.  Even if Jameis throws some interceptions, I still expect Evans to have at least one touchdown catch and a season-high in targets.  He’s less than $7,000 this week and a nice mid-tier option in Week 8.

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings, $4,800, MIN@CHI

One of the reasons Teddy Bridgewater is attractive this week is because of the emergence of Stefon Diggs.  Over the last three games, he’s averaging 108 yards per game and approximately six catches.  He’s getting behind secondaries as the deep threat for Bridgewater.  He’s cemented in his role due to his recent success, and he will see his fair share of targets and opportunities in Week 8 versus the shaky Bears defense.  He’s super cheap and a nice WR3 or flex play.

TIGHT ENDS

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals, $5,300, CIN@PIT

Tyler Eifert has had a great season in 2015 and is one of the top scoring tight ends in all of football.  Coming off a bye week with fresh legs, he has a favorable matchup against the Steelers in Week 8, who have let opposing tight ends play well against them this year.

Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints, $3,500, NYG@NO

Although quiet last week, Watson has built a nice rapport with quarterback Drew Brees and will be utilized each and every week.  The Giants don’t lock down tight ends amazingly well, so Watson will be a nice cheap option at tight end with large upside due to the faith of his veteran quarterback.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $2,800, TB@NOLA

You’ll have to keep an eye on the game-time updates surrounding Austin Seferian-Jenkins this week, as he is still questionable to return in Week 8 from a shoulder injury he sustained weeks back.  If he does go, he will be in line for a ton of targets since the Bucs’ second and third receivers will be missing in Week 8 due to injuries. Prior to ASJ’s injury, we had a small sample that showed Jameis Winston and his tight end have a lot of chemistry together.  With no one else to pass to and a lot of garbage time, this could be a sneaky big game from Seferian-Jenkins in Week 8. Just be sure to keep checking his status, so you don’t get stuck with an injured player in your lineup.

DEFENSES

Arizona Cardinals, $4,000, ARI@CLE

The Cardinals are one of the best fantasy defenses, and they face the Cleveland Browns in Week 8.  The Browns aren’t anything to be scared about on the offensive side of the ball, meaning the Cardinals should have a dependable week once again.

Houston Texans, $3,100, TEN@HOU

The Texans let us down last week, allowing the Dolphins to put up 38 points against them.  They are right back on the list this week, because there is no way they let it happen again.  They face the Titans this week, who have not been particularly impressive on offense.  With Zach Mettenberger starting this week, chances are we won’t see a big offensive explosion, making the Texans a safe play on defense this week for what they cost.

Minnesota Vikings, $3,100, MIN@CHI

Last week, the Vikings held Detroit to just 17 points and had seven sacks.  And in Week 6, they held the Chiefs to 10 points with a couple sacks and a fumble recovery.  They have been great on defense all year, and I expect them to give Jay Cutler and the Bears issues in Week 8.  They’re a cheap option that helps you save money elsewhere.


About Michael Gonzalez