Outstanding Fantasy Matchups: Week 8
It was a mixed bag of results for me in Week 6 as I hit big with my Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski stack and then correctly called the Cardinals passing game bouncing back as well as
Antonio Gates Ladarius Green putting up numbers in a great matchup.
However, I missed on Chris Ivory, who saved me from embarrasment with a receiving touchdown, but was otherwise neutralized and then completely whiffed on my Dorial Green-Beckham flier because Ken Whisenhunt did Whisenhunt things. Seriously, if you told me the Titans would attempt 35 passes and dress only three wide receivers I’d make that call 10 times out of 10. How he saw just one target is beyond me.
Anyways, we start with a clean slate this week so let’s get to the matchups.
Attack the Bucs and Bears Secondaries
Target Falcons and Vikings passing games
It’s no secret that both the Bears and Buccaneers have terrible secondaries. In fact, both Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus have them ranked in the bottom third in pass coverage. The Bears are coming off their bye week, but before that they gave up 405 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to Matthew Stafford. While Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a prolific passer (neither is Stafford, for what it’s worth) he does have capable pass receivers in Mike Wallace, Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, and Kyle Rudolph. He could make for a nice streaming quarterback this week even though the Vikings have an implied points total of 21 , according to Vegas.
On the other hand, the Buccaneers have allowed two-straight 300-yard passers in Kirk Cousins and Blake Bortles with a total of seven passing touchdowns so that should speak volumes to the quality of their pass defense. This week they get a tough matchup with the Falcons and Julio Jones, who should feast on Sunday. I could even see Roddy White providing some FLEX value in PPR leagues especially if Leonard Hankerson is out or limited. Obviously, Matt Ryan should put up a solid stat line as well.
Bengals Offense vs. Steelers Defense
Plenty of Great Fantasy Options
It’s possible you forgot because the Bengals were off last week, but this offense is e-l-i-t-e. First of all, Vegas has them at an implied total of 25 points, but most importantly the Bengals are facing a defense that struggles to cover good tight ends. Against the Patriots, Chargers, and Chiefs the Steelers have allowed 26 catches for 312 yards, and six touchdowns. Against everyone else (49ers, Rams, Raves, Cardinals) they have allowed 18 catches for 153 yards, and zero touchdowns.
In addition to that, the Steelers defensive line is only average at rushing the passer, which means the Bengals should continue to keep Andy Dalton upright. This year, when Dalton hasn’t been pressured he has completed 104-of-146 passes (71.2 percent) for 1,239 yards, 12 touchdowns, and two interceptions. To get pressure on him, the Steelers will likely have to blitz and in those situations he has completed 37-of-58 passes (63.8 percent) for 631 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Clearly, the passing game has a plus matchup this week.
A.J. Green is an automatic play in standard leagues and is worth every penny in DFS this week thanks to his favorable home/away splits. Over his career, Green has averaged 17.8 fantasy points when away vs. 11.6 fantasy points when at home.
In the running game, the Bengals really want to get Jeremy Hill going as he’s the player who should be in the “bell-cow” role, not Giovani Bernard. They aren’t ready to shy away from Hill yet and I think he could be a sneaky start this week as the Steelers have an average run defense. Hill out-snapped Bernard 35-to-26 in Week 6 against the Bills.
Cam Newton vs. Colts
Newton, Olsen Should Roll on Monday Night
Cam Newton is coming off a sub-par performance where he threw three interceptions against the Eagles on Sunday night so it’s likely there’s a sour taste in owners’ mouths going into Week 8. It’s no secret that the Colts are vulnerable via the pass outside of Vonta Davis. It’s for this reason I can see a big Newton-Greg Olsen week and will likely be playing this stack in many GPPs this week due to the high upside and low ownership potential.
The Colts have allowed tight ends to catch nine or more passes three times this season so expect Olsen to be heavily targeted. In three games where Olsen has been targeted at least 10 times, he’s averaged seven catches, 112 yards, and one touchdown.
Chris Johnson vs. Browns Run Defense
Your No-Brainer DFS Play Of The Week
Sometimes a player just jumps off the page and screams, “pick me! pick me!” This week that’s Chris Johnson, who gets an absolute cake matchup against a struggling Browns run defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
On DraftKings, Johnson comes at a super-cheap price of $4,600 and makes for a perfect cash-game play this week. While there’s a perceived running back committee in Arizona it’s all a mirage as Johnson has seen 60 percent of the team’s carries this year which is comparable to running backs such as Doug Martin, Chris Ivory, and Carlos Hyde. Don’t worry about Andre Ellingon and David Johnson because as long as this game is not a blow out it will be the CJ2K show.
Alex Smith vs. Detroit Lions
Stream Alex Smith In London
The Lions have an average run defense, but one of the worst pass defenses in the league this year, which suggests the play-calling could be funneled through the arm of Alex Smith. I don’t normally recommend him because I have a very hard time trusting a quarterback as conservative as he is. However, this is a great matchup for Smith and he should hopefully be getting Jeremy Maclin back as well.
When Smith has faced a bottom-five pass defense since joining the Chiefs, Smith has averaged 24.7 fantasy points vs. 18.7 fantasy points otherwise. Without Jamaal Charles, it’s Smith’s turn to carry this offense and while his ceiling is still more limited than the elite options he should have a very high floor this week.
George has been playing fantasy baseball since he was a kid, filling out every Sporting News salary league card, but never sending one in due to his lack of a checking account. He still remembers the time he spot-started Storm Johnson and got a rushing TD out of it. Never forget.