WATCH: Will the Eagles run over the 49ers in Week 8?
Here’s a data-driven breakdown featuring five key NFL stats, courtesy of FantasyLabs contributor Bryan Mears.
FantasyLabs is a daily fantasy tool and real-time analytics platform that enables players to test theories, create and backtest models, and construct customized lineups. In this piece, Mears leverages the same tools used by co-founders Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) for each fantasy football main slate.
+3.75 Projected Plus/Minus — Andy Dalton
Our proprietary Plus/Minus metric measures actual versus expected fantasy production based on the historical performances of previous players at comparable salaries. Dalton leads all QBs in Week 8 with a +3.75 mark, and the Cincinnati Bengals QB also boasts the second-highest Opponent Plus/Minus at +4.5 against the Indianapolis Colts. We’re at the point where essentially any QB facing the Colts is worth considering in fantasy: Indy ranks 30th in pass DVOA and 32nd with 31.7 points per game allowed. Further, the Colts sustained injuries to perhaps their two best defensive players in cornerback Rashaan Melvin and safety Malik Hooker — the latter is out for the season. Dalton hasn’t been great this season, but, at just $5,700 and in such a brilliant matchup, he’s absolutely in play for all formats.
3.4 Red-Zone Opportunities Per Game — LeSean McCoy
Given the Week 8 matchups, it’s possible that guys such as Joe Mixon and LeGarrette Blount could become very popular in tournaments despite playing on just 43.9 and 37.9 percent of their offensive snaps, respectively. Those guys definitely are in good spots, but they also come with underappreciated risk. As a result, it could pay off to instead pay up for a running back who without question will get work. Enter Shady McCoy, who got 30 opportunities last week for the Buffalo Bills and turned those into 28.2 DraftKings points. He has played on 66.3 percent of the Bills’ offensive snaps, and he comes with safety no matter the game script: He has 16 pass targets over the last two weeks. That’s especially intriguing against an Oakland Raiders squad that ranks 25th in the league versus pass-catching running backs.
30 Percent Target Share — A.J. Green
If you like Dalton against the Colts, it’s hard not to like his stud WR1 in Green. He leads all main-slate wide receivers with a 30 percent target share this season, and that’s nothing to scoff at: Almost one-third of the league over the past four games has a non-wideout leading the team in targets. In a time when the league values more balanced offenses, it’s important in fantasy to find teams that still have a true No. 1 receiver. Green qualifies, and he has three touchdowns over his last four games to go along 39 targets. He’ll face an Indy defense that has allowed wide receivers to score 0.3 points over salary-based expectations this season — the second-highest mark in the main slate. Green has the highest projected ceiling in our NFL Models at FantasyLabs for quite a few reasons.
7 Pro Trends — Zach Ertz
Ertz is tied with Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller this week for the most “Pro Trends” — angles we at FantasyLabs have identified that historically yield value. Ertz has crushed this season, exceeding salary-based expectations in all but one game and averaging a +3.77 Plus/Minus. The Eagles’ offense has looked impressive in QB Carson Wentz’s sophomore campaign, ranking third in pass DVOA, and Ertz literally is Wentz’s top target: He owns a team-high 26.09 percent of the targets over the past four games. Ertz certainly is pricey this week, jumping all the way up to $7,000, and it’s possible DFS players could be scared away from him, considering his opponent — the San Francisco 49ers — ranks first in the league against tight ends this season. That said, Ertz is a different animal than many of the tight ends they’ve faced, given he’s essentially acting as Wentz’s No. 1 receiver. If Ertz is projected to be unpopular in tournaments, this could be a week to pounce.
3.9 Projected Sacks — Cincinnati Bengals
We’ve already discussed two Bengals in this piece, so why not continue the onslaught? We’re projecting sacks within our NFL Models this year at FantasyLabs, and Cincinnati owns the top mark of the week with 3.9 projected sacks. That gives the Bengals a ton of upside, and they have two games this season with six sacks. That said, they also bring a lot of safety for cash games: The Colts currently are implied for 15.5 points — the lowest mark in the main slate — and the Bengals are first in allowing just 5.97 yards per play. Defenses opposing the Colts this season have exceeded salary-based expectations by a whopping 4.1 DraftKings points on average. They’re the second-most expensive option at $3,600, but it might be wise not to overthink this one, given the spot.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is bcm9795) 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.