Austin Ekeler, Josey Jewell

The Week 7 main slate had some pleasant surprises along the lines of Aaron Rodgers and Marvin Jones, and also some notable busts — hopefully you weren’t stuck with Matt Ryan or David Johnson.

It’s hard to believe Week 8 is here, and it brings us a 12-game main slate. Two teams with some pretty viable fantasy options on a general basis are on bye, as the Cowboys and Ravens will get the week off. Also off the main slate and in the primetime games will be the Vikings vs. Redskins (TNF), Chiefs vs. Packers (SNF) and Steelers vs. Dolphins (MNF).

It’s crucial to have all the latest lineup and injury news when constructing your lineups. Make sure you’re following @DKLive for every update, and also feel free to hit me up on Twitter with any comments or questions — @JulianEdlow.

Here are the plays that jump out early:

All lines and odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

Quarterbacks

Expensive

Russell Wilson, SEA at ATL ($7,200)

There’s arguably no better spot in fantasy right now than being a QB facing the Falcons. Over the past three weeks, Atlanta’s given up 124 total points, and an average of 33.85 DKFP to the QB position. Wilson’s averaging more than 25 DKFP per game this season and will have ideal playing conditions in the dome. The Seahawks should be hungry in this one, coming off a loss to the Ravens at home. Look for them to continue pouring it on the Falcons in this spot.

Drew Brees, NO vs. ARI ($6,300)

Brees is an interesting consideration this week. He’s going to get some work in during practice, and then we’ll find out if he’s healthy enough to face the Cardinals on Sunday. It’s worth noting Teddy Bridgewater ($5,900) is a perfect 5-0 as the starter, and the Saints are on bye next week. So resting Brees will be an option just to get him two more full weeks off. The point is, whichever QB starts for the Saints is in a terrific fantasy spot. Arizona’s allowed the most DKFP to the QB position this season, and the Saints have been clicking offensively regardless of who’s at the helm.

Value

Ryan Tannehill, TEN vs. TB ($5,100)

How about Tannehill getting the nod for the Titans and putting together a solid fantasy day? The former Dolphin completed 23-of-29 passes for 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns, getting picked off once in the win over the Chargers. Tannehill proved capable and now gets another home game against a terrible Tampa Bay secondary. The Bucs have allowed the third-most DKFP per game to the QB position, and Tannehill’s salary doesn’t reflect his good game last week, or the plus matchup this week.

Other value options: Teddy Bridgewater ($5,900 — if Drew Brees is out)


Running Backs

Expensive

Christian McCaffrey, CAR at SF ($9,200)

After a two-week absence from the main slate, CMC is back, and with his salary inflated salary — up $600 and the most expensive player on the slate. Normally, CMC has been someone you lock into your cash-game lineup and can trust in GPPs while differentiating your lineup elsewhere. But the matchup against the 49ers on the road is concerning. This might be the week to pivot off CMC, especially which Saquon Barkley’s ($8,900) matchup against the Lions, who rank 30th in DKFP allowed to RBs.

Todd Gurley, LAR vs. CIN ($7,400)

We finally have guys like Leonard Fournette ($7,800) and Chris Carson ($7,000) much more appropriately priced for their enormous roles. While they’re both still playable this week, they’re not slam dunks like they have been in recent weeks. Gurley had a terrible game outside of his touchdown catch last week, but he did see a season-high 18 carries. If he gets that same workload against this Bengals defense, he’ll be in a great spot to put up big numbers. Cincinnati allows the most DKFP to the RB position in this NFL this season.

Value

Austin Ekeler, LAC at CHI ($5,900)

Here are a couple of things we’ve learned over the past few weeks: 1. The Bears are nowhere close to the daunting rush defense we’ve seen in the past, ranking 26th in DKFP allowed to RBs. Over the past two games, Chicago’s been torched by the likes of Latavius Murray and Josh Jacobs. 2. Ekeler carries significantly more fantasy value than Melvin Gordon ($5,400), even if Gordon gets more touches. In Gordon’s three games back, he’s yet to reach double-digit DKFP, while Ekeler’s gone for a pair of 20-plus DKFP games, thanks to his role in the passing game.

Other value options: Marlon Mack ($6,100), Josh Jacobs ($5,800), Sony Michel ($5,200), James White ($5,100), Ty Johnson ($4,900 – if Kerryon Johnson is out), Carlos Hyde ($4,700)


Wide Receivers

Expensive

DeAndre Hopkins, HOU vs. OAK ($8,100)

Hopkins broke out for his best game since Week 1, bringing in 9-of-12 targets for 106 yards and a touchdown (28.6) DKFP last week against the Colts. That’s now 24 targets over the past two weeks, and it looks like Hopkins is back in the trust tree entering Week 8. The bump in salary to more than $8,000 isn’t ideal, but the matchup and situation are. Hopkins will face a Raiders secondary that just got smoked by the Packers, and Will Fuller (hamstring) is going to miss some time.

Michael Thomas, NO vs. ARI ($8,000)

It really doesn’t matter who the QB in New Orleans is; Thomas has had at least 16 DKFP in every game this season. He’s seen at least 11 targets in three straight weeks and is putting up his typical monster numbers. A matchup with Patrick Peterson complicates things a bit, but the Arizona defense as a whole has been soft. Look for the volume to continue this week.

Value

John Brown, BUF vs. PHI ($5,900)

The price is starting to creep up on Brown, but the $400 increase is worth it this week. The Eagles will travel to Buffalo and come into this one dead last in the league in DKFP allowed to WRs. The Bills like to use the deep ball, and that’s led to some consistent production for Brown. He’s hauled in 10 of his past 11 targets the past two weeks and posted a 5-83-1 line for 19.3 DKFP against the Dolphins last week. This week’s matchup offers more of the same.

Other value options: Marvin Jones ($5,800), Courtland Sutton ($5,300), DK Metcalf ($5,000), Dede Westbrook ($4,500), Cole Beasley ($4,200), Phillip Dorsett ($4,200)


Tight Ends

Expensive

Zach Ertz, PHI at BUF ($5,100)

The matchup here is brutal for Ertz, who’s in Buffalo to face a Bills defense that’s allowed the fewest DKFP to TEs. Coming off a pair of bad games, Ertz is the cheapest we’ve seen him all season, and $1,100 cheaper than his highest salary of the year. The Eagles should do a much better job of trying to incorporate him, bringing in just 6-of-14 targets the past two games.

Value

Hunter Henry, LAC at CHI ($4,900)

While Henry isn’t as cheap as your typical value TE, we can’t ignore this price point. Henry could easily be $1,000 more, playing a huge role in the Chargers’ offense the past two weeks and getting a lot of work in the slot and on the outside. In his two games back from a knee injury, Henry’s caught 14-of-17 targets for 197 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The overrated Bears defense ranks just 24th against the TE position this season.

Other value options: Jared Cook ($4,000), Josh Hill ($3,200 — if Cook is out)


Defense/Special Teams

Expensive

Patriots D/ST vs. CLE ($4,300)

After demolishing the Jets 33-0 on MNF, the Patriots D/ST has scored 25 or more DKFP in four of its nine games. That’s insane, especially since the other three games have been between 10-14 points. Yes, I know, the Patriots haven’t played anybody, but we still need to acknowledge how historic this defense has been. The turnover-prone Browns are in trouble this week on the road.

Value

Broncos D/ST at IND ($2,100)

I don’t love much D/ST value on this slate, and I don’t love targeting a D/ST on the road. But the Broncos showed life in Weeks 5 and 6, and the Colts don’t look to beat you through the air, regardless of what we saw last week against Houston. If this defense can get back to sacking the QB and force a couple turnovers, there could be some value.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.