No matter how you did in Week 7, that all gets erased as of today. We start to prepare for Week 8, and I have you covered from top to bottom. Let’s get right to all the information and get you ready to build those lineups. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
The Vegas Lines
Highest Scoring Games
Below are the three highest scoring projected games and individual teams based on Vegas Lines.
1) Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Over/Under: 51 points
Line: New England -7.5
Here’s something I’m shocked about, the Patriots involved in one of the highest scoring games of the week. The Dolphins and Patriots square off in this week’s Thursday Night Football game in week eight, in what sure should be a good one. Normally, I like to fade the Thursday game while playing the Thursday night slate, but this is one game I’d like to get some exposure to. Besides the fact that it’s projected to be the highest scoring of the week, we do have some good matchups here as well. Ryan Tannehill is coming off his best performance this season, where he was 18/19 for 282 yards and four touchdowns. The Patriots are not a strong team against opposing quarterbacks as they’ve allowed 11 touchdowns and a 62% passing completion rate. At $5600, Tannehill could be a nice sneaky play this week.
As for the Patriots, the Dolphins defense as been as strong as we thought it might be. They’ve allowed at least 23 points in four of the six games this season. They Dolphins have also had four games where they’ve registered one or zero sacks. With Tom Brady throwing as well as he ever has, he’s in another great spot for another successful week. The Patriots are a strong favorite in this one and have plenty of weapons to throw to. This game certainly deserves a look, so much so that I’m willing to deviate from my normal fading of the Thursday night matchups.
2) San Diego Chargers at Baltimore Ravens
Over/Under: 50.5 points
Line: Baltimore -3
This game certainly looks like it could be a huge spot for the Chargers and their receivers, even if Vegas tends to lean toward a Ravens victory. If the line was a bit larger, I think I would disagree completely with this, but since it’s close, you have to love this matchup on both ends. The biggest and most obvious play in this one had to be Phillip Rivers. The Ravens continue to be dominated by opposing quarterbacks, as their defense is the worst ranked against them. With 13 touchdowns and the second-most yards allowed, Rivers is in a huge spot here in week eight. What makes Rivers even more enticing, is his $6,600 price tag. That feels awful low for a quarterback that has thrown for 839 yards in his last two contests with five touchdowns. Pairing Rivers with Keenan Allen this week sounds like one of the chalk plays of the week, as the Ravens do defend well against the tight end position.
As for the Ravens, one player you have to love in this one is Justin Forsett. The Chargers are one of the worst against the run this season, ranking just below the Cleveland Browns. They also struggle with running backs on the receiving end of the game, allowing three touchdowns with 376 yards and an 87% completion rate. With Forsett getting his share of targets, this is a prime spot for him. The Ravens are favored in this one, so if they get up early and keep it that way, this could be the Justin Forsett show in this one. Once again, a game with plenty of fantasy goodness to choose from.
3) New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
Over/Under: 49.5 Points
Line: New Orleans -3.5
Eli Manning has had one essentially solid game on the season thus far. He has a perfect opportunity to make his second one in week eight. With the prospect that the Giants are underdogs for this one, Manning should be playing from behind and airing the ball out. The Saints are one of the worst teams against the quarterback position, only behind the Baltimore Ravens. The Saints have allowed 14 touchdowns this season to opposing quarterbacks, which is the second most in the league. The 2036 yards are the 6th most in the league to go with a 63% completion rate. I think this could end up being a sneak week for Manning, as he certainly will be looked over on the surface.As for the Saints, they certainly have their work cut out for them. The Giants have done well on defense this season, except against the run, which makes Mark Ingram an intriguing option. With the Saints favored in this one, Ingram could be in line for his third straight performance of double-digit points scored. His targets have been sporadic this season, but the Giants have allowed two touchdowns to running backs on the receiving end this season along with 356 yards and a 72% completion rate. I don’t think we have a TON of fantasy upside in this one, but it’s still projected to be the third highest scoring game of the week. Worth a gander at the least.
Lowest Scoring GamesBelow is the lowest scoring projected game and individual teams based on Vegas Lines.
1) San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams
Line: St. Louis -8.5
I don’t think I could come up with a bigger snoozefest than this matchup. The 49ers taking on the Rams, oh goodie. The Rams are heavy favorites in this one and rightfully so. The Rams defense has had a stranglehold on opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers. Their defense price has skyrocketed since last week, as they’ve now put up double-digit points in four of the six matchups this season. Kaepernick has been sacked 25 times this season, which is second-most in the league, tied with Alex Smith. Truly, I don’t love a lot in this game, except the Rams defense and Todd Gurley, who’s coming off a fantastic 35.3 point performance against Cleveland. In that game, Gurley rushed 19 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, he also caught four passes for 35 yards on five targets. With the 49ers having trouble against the run and the Rams expected to be up big, how could you not fire up Gurley in this one? Otherwise, I’m staying away.
Defense vs. Position Matchup Breakdown
Worst DvP Matchups – Quarterbacks
1) Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers – No doubt about this one, the Broncos have been phenomenal on defense in 2015. Now, if only they could get their offense going. Coming off a bye week, the Broncos have only allowed five touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, which is tied for the least amount in the league with the Carolina Panthers and the St. Louis Rams. The Broncos have grabbed nine interceptions, which is tied for the third most with the Panthers. They’ve allowed a 62% completion rate on 1321 yards, the second least amount of yards in the league.
2) St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers – Another team that has been fantastic against opposing quarterbacks, but certainly isn’t getting the talk the Broncos have, is the Rams. St. Louis has allowed five touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks while grabbing five interceptions. They’ve allowed 1574 passing yards with a 74% completion rate. This could be a long day for the 49ers.
3) Carolina Panthers vs. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck is coming off one of the easiest teams against the quarterback position to one of the best. The undefeated Panthers is one of the three teams that have only allowed five touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks while nabbing nine interceptions. The 1470 yards allowed is good for 26th in the league with a 58% completion rate.
Best DvP Matchups – Quarterbacks
1) Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers – Some things just never change, do they? The Baltimore Ravens remain the worst team against the quarterback position as we head into week eight. Phillip Rivers and the Chargers look forward to facing a team that has allowed 13 touchdowns while grabbing only three interceptions. The 2105 passing yards allowed are the second most in the league, trailing only the San Francisco 49ers. The Ravens are allowing a 65% completion rate on all passes as well.
2) New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants – For quite some time last week, the Saints were working on a shutout of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, but that quickly changed in the second half. That being said, the Saints still rank as the second worst team against quarterbacks. The Saints have allowed 14 touchdowns, which is ranked third highest in the league while grabbing only four interceptions. The 2036 passing yards is the sixth most in the league while giving up a 63% completion rate.
3) Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans – The Texans have been one of the better defenses in the league for a few years. They certainly have done a complete 180 in 2015. So far on the season, the Texans have given up 15 touchdowns to the quarterback, which is tied for second most with three other teams. The five interceptions they’ve managed is tied for fourth-least amount in the league while allowing a 60% completion rate on all passes.
Worst DvP Matchups – Running Backs
1) New York Jets vs. Oakland Raiders – I think a telling sign that the Jets are almost impossible to run against, is that Tom Brady led the Patriots in rushing last week. Yup, you read that correctly, Brady and his 15 rushing yards lead the team. Overall, the Jets are only one of three teams that have allowed a single rushing touchdown on the season. The measly 300 rushing yards are the least amount in the league on 104 attempts, which also leads the league as the least amount attempted.
2) Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys – Nothing to see here, just the Seahawks doing Seahawks things. Seattle has only allowed two rushing touchdowns on the season to go along with 526 rushing yards on 145 attempts. The 526 yards allowed is ranked 25th in the league.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – With the Philadelphia Eagles on a bye this week, the Steelers slide into the third best spot against running backs. The Steelers are one of the three teams that have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season, tied with the Jets and the Eagles. They’ve giving up 590 rushing yards on 156 attempts so far this season. The 590 yards are a bit high, ranked 16th in the league.
Best DvP Matchups – Running Backs
1) Cleveland Browns vs. Arizona Cardinals – We all knew the Browns were one of the easiest defenses to run on, as Todd Gurley and his 128 rushing yards on 19 carries proved that point. The Browns remain the king for rushing yards allowed at 1026, which is 166 more than the San Diego Chargers, who have given up the second most. The Browns have also given up six rushing touchdowns this season, which is tied for the fifth-most in the league.
2) San Diego Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens – This should be a great spot for Justin Forsett, who has a favorable matchup on the ground and sees some targets, another spot the Chargers struggle with. The Chargers have allowed seven rushing touchdowns on the season to go along with 860 rushing yards. The touchdowns are tied for fourth most in the league while the yards are second. As I mentioned, the Chargers struggle with the receiving game to running backs, as they’ve allowed three touchdowns to be caught with an 87% completion rate.
3) Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks – Another good spot for an elite running back in Marshawn Lynch. The Cowboys have allowed six rushing touchdowns on the season, tied for fifth in the league. They’ve given up 566 yards on the ground and have also allowed 398 yards through the air, which is the third most in the league. This certainly sounds like a prime spot for Lynch.
Worst DvP Matchups – Wide Receivers
1) Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys – So if the Cowboys aren’t going to beat the Seahawks on the ground or through the air, how are they supposed to win this one? The Seahawks are neck and neck with the Broncos for the best defense against wide receivers. The Seahawks are tied with the Broncos are the least amount of touchdowns allowed, as both teams has only let him a single touchdown. The Seahawks have allowed 765 yards, which is only second to the Broncos, with a 61% completion rate.
2) Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers – A truly tough matchup for the Packers coming off the bye week. The Broncos, as I mentioned, are one of the best against wide receivers, as their numbers matchup up with Seattle almost exactly. The Broncos have only allowed the one touchdown on 743 yards with a 58% completion rate.
3) Carolina Panthers vs. Indianapolis Colts – This is starting to sound more and more like another week to go cheap at quarterback, as some of the elite have tough matchups this week. The Colts get to look forward to a Panthers defense that has allowed three touchdowns to wide receivers on 815 yards, which is ranked 29th in the league, and a 54% completion rate.
Best DvP Matchups – Wide Receivers
1) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Detroit Lions – From one spectrum to the other, we go from the best to the absolute worst against receivers. The Chiefs have been atrocious against them and makes this an incredibly enticing matchup for Calvin Johnson. The Chiefs have allowed a league leading 12 touchdowns on the season. The 1549 yards also is the league leader with a 60% completion rate.
2) Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers – This list of the three worst teams against wide receivers hasn’t changed one bit, other than the teams that they’re facing this week. The Ravens hold down the number two spot heading into week eight, as their 11 touchdowns allowed are ranked the second most in the league. The 1498 yards allowed are also ranked second with the 63% completion rate to go with it.
3) San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams – Well, at least the 49ers and their awful defense against wide receivers can look forward to facing the Rams. On the season, the 49ers have allowed eight touchdowns, which is tied for fifth. The 1455 yards is the third most in the league, to go along with the 64% completion rate.
Worst DvP Matchups – Tight Ends
1) Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns – Well, at least we can debate for a change if this is a good spot for a particular tight end or not. For the most part, it’s usually a quick yes or no. The Cardinals come into week eight as the best against TEs. They are one of two teams, the other being the Bengals, that have not allowed a touchdown to the tight end position. They’ve allowed 241 yards on a 63% completion rate.
2) Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers – Again, another matchup here this week that showcases one of the top TEs in the game with Antonio Gates against a tough Ravens D against that position. The Ravens have only allowed one touchdown to tight ends this season on 255 yards and a 60% completion rate.
3) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Detroit Lions – At least the Chiefs can defend against someone! In a spot that would belong to the Eagles, the Chiefs have allowed two touchdowns to the tight end position but have kept the yards received low. The 214 yards are the third least amount in the league on a 46% completion rate.
Best DvP Matchups – Tight Ends
1) Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets – I think almost everyone knows by now that the Raiders are atrocious against the tight end position. I mean, the numbers don’t lie here. The Raiders seven touchdowns, which leads the league, with 438 yards and a 61% completion rate.
2) Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys – Maybe this is the week to polish off the Jason Witten pick. The Seahawks, for as great as they are on defense, have been getting run over by the tight end position. On the season, the Seahawks have allowed five touchdowns on 528 yards, the third most in the league, with a huge 71% completion rate. $5200 for Witten this week.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – Oh, hey Tyler Eifert. The Steelers are struggling against the tight end position on a week where the tight end position is thinner than usual. They’ve allowed six touchdowns on the season, which is the second most in the league. The 465 yards allowed is the fourth most in the league with a 65% completion rate.
Last Week’s Target Leaders
Last Three Week’s Target Leaders
Lineup Quick Hits
One Quarterback You Should Build Lineups Around…
Philip Rivers vs. Baltimore Ravens ($6,600) – This feels very similar to last week when I had Carson Palmer here against the Ravens. I promise we won’t have a quarterback here every week against the Ravens (even though, we very well could) but it’s tough not to love this spot for Rivers. First and foremost, in my opinion, Rivers is underpriced this week. At $6600, he’s only the 9th most expensive quarterback on the week, when you’re looking at the Sunday only slate. Rivers has certainly thrown his fair share of picks this season with seven, but 15 touchdowns is still 15 touchdowns. The least amount of yards he’s thrown on the season was 241 in a matchup with the Bengals. Since then, he’s had four out of five games with 300+ yards, which also gives us a nice bonus on DraftKings. The Ravens are the worst team against the quarterback, and I think Rivers will be in a prime spot for another high scoring affair. Fire Rivers up with confidence this week.
And the Wide Receiver You Should Pair Him With…
Keenan Allen ($7,700) – Even at less than 100% in week seven, Allen was still able to reel in 9-of-13 targets for 89 yards against the Raiders. Allen has been a target monster even with Antonio Gates returning to the team. What makes Allen even more intriguing, is that the Ravens have been able to put the tight end position on lock down. If that indeed remains true this week, Rivers should be focusing even more on Allen. Allen is averaging 98.6 yards per game and should once again be close to reaching that point. Don’t forget, once again, we get bonus points on DraftKings when a receiver reaches over 100 yards. Allen has seen last than double-digit points only twice this season so that the targets will be coming in bundles.
The Highest Scoring Running Back This Week Will Be…
Todd Gurley ($6300) – Anyone who’s read any of my articles before knows that I’m not a huge fan of staring the obvious when it comes to picks for the week. If you wanted an obvious answer, you could get it anywhere. However, Gurley is pretty hard to get off of this week. After completely bursting onto the scene last week, he is in such a good spot to do it once again in week eight. The 49ers are not good against the run by any means and are a big underdog to the Rams this week. If the game goes according to how Vegas is predicting, how can Gurley not rack up the points here? The 49ers have allowed seven rushing touchdowns on the season along with 704 yards on 170 attempts. Not numbers that make you feel very confident in their ability to stop everyone’s new favorite running back. Gurley will be highly owned this week, but I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice by fading him. The other running back I was strongly considering for this section was Justin Forsett, with my reasons at the beginning of this article.
The Biggest Bust of the Week Will Be…
Aaron Rodgers ($7500) – He’s the highest priced quarterback of the week, coming off a bye, what’s the issue? The issue is the brick wall of a defense known as the Denver Broncos. So, for that very reason of being the highest priced quarterback, I’m completely off Rodgers this week. Let’s be honest, has Rodgers been that stellar lately already? Key injuries to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams are finally starting to rear their ugly head in my opinion. In the past three weeks, Rodgers has not exceeded 20 points or passed for more than 255 yards. Normally, I’d be ok with these type of stats if they were a mid-tiered quarterback. Certainly not for one that is going to be the most expensive. The Broncos have only allowed five passing touchdowns on the season while intercepting nine. I don’t think this is a week to get cute with Rodgers. Your money could be spent much better elsewhere.