WATCH: THE CASE FOR FADING T.Y. HILTON IN WEEK 8
With six teams on bye and eight more teams playing Thursday, Sunday morning in London, Sunday night and Monday, only 18 teams and nine games are available for Sunday’s main slate. With fewer games to choose from, selecting the QB-WR combo that goes off can be even more important than usual, anchoring your lineup on its way to glory.
While Options 1-4 are strong enough that I may have recommended them regardless of Week 8’s peculiar nuances, Option 5 is significantly less desirable. Think of Options 1-4 as “Alex strongly recommends these”, while Option 5 is more along the lines of “if you’re not sold on Options 1-4, but still want to stack a QB and a WR, here is the best of what’s left.”
With that out of the way, let’s get to the recommendations:
5. Tyrod Taylor ($5,900) — Jordan Matthews ($3,900)
I like this Buffalo Bills stack better than the rest of what’s out there. This stack is driven by Taylor’s value and the fact that his receivers are all cheap. Though Taylor has had one of the worst wide receiving corps in the league, he’s been fairly productive all season, his price is great and the Oakland Raiders’ defense is a favorable matchup. Taylor’s 7-2 TD-INT ratio is one of the best in the league, and considering his receiving options, his 91.8 passer rating and his 62.1 percent completion percentage are impressive. He also has at least six rushing attempts in five of his six games. The Raiders’ defense is already a good matchup, and it looks like it will be out multiple key starters in Week 8.
Matthews leads Bills receivers in receptions and yards, despite missing one game and being limited in two more. Seemingly back to full health, he’s the most likely player to lead the team in targets and yards. The Deonte Thompson ($3,700) explosion from Week 7 feels fluky for two main reasons. First, though he racked up 104 yards, he did so with only four targets. Big plays are important to fantasy success, but they are very volatile. Second, Thompson is 28 years old, so the odds of him being a good player that previous teams missed on are lower than if he were a 25-year-old signing with his second or third franchise. That said, if you want to take him over Matthews, especially in a GPP, that is a reasonable decision.
4. Kirk Cousins ($6,400) — Josh Doctson ($3,900)
You’re not going to catch anybody off guard by rostering Week 8’s fantasy darling, Doctson. That said, Doctson’s production is far from certain, and some managers stay away from players whose salary is this low — both of which are factors that could lessen his ownership numbers. Popularity aside, Doctson passed Tyrelle Pryor to claim one of the Washington Redskins’ starting receiver roles in Week 7, and getting a top pass-catcher in this high-volume offense ahead of a good matchup at this price is an incredible bargain. Doctson set his career highs for snap count and snap percentage in Week 7, nearly doubling his previous highs in those categories, while Pryor saw season-lows in snaps, receptions and yards, and saw only one snap in the entire first half. Doctson is a preferred red-zone target of Cousins, and now he’s in line to get extra opportunities to shine.
After a slow start, Cousins has had a fantastic four-game run, scoring at least 20 fantasy points in each. In each game of this streak, he has thrown for multiple touchdowns and had a QB rating over 100. Three QBs have already scored 24 fantasy points against the Dallas Cowboys, and Jared Goff and C.J. Beathard scored 18.1 and 16.4, respectively.
3. Russell Wilson ($6,500) — Doug Baldwin ($6,900)
For both of these players, their biggest appeal is that they are slightly underpriced compared to their ceiling and recent productivity. In three of his last four games, Wilson had at least 295 yards, two touchdowns and 29 fantasy points. The one exception came against the Rams; a team that has held five of its seven opposing QBs below 15 fantasy points. Though Baldwin only has two games above 11 fantasy points this season, he is by far the dominant player in the Seahawks’ receiving game. He has scored more than 20 fantasy points 14 times in his last 38 games. The Texans’ defense has smothered some below-average quarterbacks, but better players such as Tom Brady, Alex Smith and Marcus Mariota have all had good days against it – and Houston is hampered significantly by a slew of injuries to key starters.
2. Philip Rivers ($6,300) — Keenan Allen ($7,300)
The New England Patriots suffocated the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7, but don’t be tricked by the mirage. Their defensive gameplan was fairly simplistic, and while it was certainly improved in comparison to the first six games, a few minor adjustments might have caused some significant problems. The Patriots’ gameplan left room for the Falcons to attempt lots of shorter “chunk” gains, but they never really took advantage. While the Falcons failed to adjust on the fly, with a week to watch the tape and prepare, the Los Angeles Chargers should be ready. Allen’s ownership will likely be down after his poor showing against the Denver Broncos, but that was against the Broncos’ elite pass defense. Allen has twice as many targets as any Charger other than Melvin Gordon, and Allen is averaging 69.6 yards per game. Matt Ryan was the only QB to record less than 300 yards and 21 fantasy points against the Patriots, and he still managed 17 fantasy points.
The Patriots’ defense is so bad — yes, even after Week 7’s improvement — that I am personally going to use multiple three-Chargers stacks, adding either tight end Hunter Henry ($4,800) or running back Gordon ($8,100) (foot, questionable).
1. Carson Wentz ($7,200) — Nelson Agholor ($5,500)
The 49ers are bad, Wentz is good and both he and Agholor are underpriced. I suppose you probably want some facts justifying those three claims. Ok. The 49ers are bad: Over the past five games, every QB to face the 49ers has scored at least 20 fantasy points, and two have scored 30. Those five QBs have combined for nine passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, four games of over 290 yards passing and only three interceptions. Wentz is good: Wentz has five of the top-60 QB performances so far this season (for reference, there has been 212 quarterback starts so far, so those five starts all rank in the top 30 percent of QB games). He leads the NFL in touchdowns, and his 17-4 TD-INT ratio is fourth among QBs with at least four touchdowns. Both Wentz and Agholor are underpriced: Though Wentz leads the NFL in total fantasy points, is second in fantasy points per game and enters a favorable matchup, he is only the third-most expensive QB on the slate. Though Agholor is the 28th-most expensive WR this week, he ranks 19th in terms of fantasy points per game among WRs and enters the same favorable matchup.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is arikleen) 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.