It’s the unofficial halfway point of the National Football League season as we head into Week 8. Technically, it’s a little less than halfway, but some people do not pay attention to Week 17. Anyway, there is an exciting slate of games headed your way despite the fact four teams are on a bye. We get a rare matchup Sunday night between two 6-0 teams when the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos lock horns at Sports Authority Field in Mile High. With Vegas setting a total of 46 for that game, you can bet there will be plenty of scoring and DFS stars from that game. Looking at the totals for Week 8, the San Diego Chargers-Baltimore Ravens battle figures to have plenty of Fantasy standouts, too, as Vegas expects that game to have at least 50 points. The contests between the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints, and the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers also figure to be offensive shootouts.
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Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans ($7,000 vs. NYG): For whatever reason it seems Brees and the Saints offense are not getting the same kind of respect it has in previous years. But Sunday’s performance should harken back to halcyon days, as New Orleans faces a New York passing defense which ranks 30th against the pass by allowing 288.3 yards per game. The Giants have also yielded 26 pass plays or 20 or more yards.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh ($6,100 vs. CIN): Fantasy owners in seasonal leagues have been hurt by Brown, or really his lack of a consistent quarterback. With QB Ben Roethlisberger ($6,850) back in the lineup Brown will be the top receiving option in the Steel City again. Even with six receptions and 124 yards last week, Brown is a bit of a contrarian play since he has put up poor numbers over the past month. That ends this week, as Brown will get back on track with not only the high yardage, but a touchdown, too. His last score came Sept. 20 against San Francisco.
Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore ($5,300 vs. SD): Forsett has an ultra-favorable matchup working at home against a Bolts rush defense which has allowed 132.1 yards per game with seven rushing touchdowns. The Chargers have also allowed an NFL-high 11 rushing plays of 20 or more yards and two scampers of 40 or more yards. It isn’t a certainty, but Forsett should be able to produce at least 100 total yards from scrimmage with one score against San Diego.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina ($6,700 vs. IND – Mon.): Newton is the 10th most expensive DFS quarterback on the board, but he should put up Top 5 type numbers in Monday’s game against the Colts. Indy’s pass D has been nicked for 285.9 yards per game which ranks 29th in the NFL. They have also given up 32 pass plays of 20 or more yards, which is last in the league. Look for Newton to find WR Ted Ginn Jr. ($4,200) and TE Greg Olsen ($4,950) early and often.
BARGAIN BIN VALUES AND CONTRARIAN PLAYS
Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans ($4,650 vs. NYG): As mentioned above, the Giants pass defense is susceptible to the big play, and Brees should have a big week. His top receiver option, Cooks, has had the luster rub off a little this season. However, he has at least four receptions in each of his seven games this season, including six games for 81 yards and a touchdown last week at Indianapolis, and he also racked up a season-best 13 targets. He is starting to come alive, but he can be still be had at a cheap price.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati ($4,900 at PIT): We’ve picked on the Oakland Raiders when it comes to tight ends, and rightly so, but I don’t feel as confident in New York Jets TE Jeff Cumberland ($3,000) putting up big numbers as I do Eifert against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s pass defense has allowed 44 receptions, 465 yards and six touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Look for Eifert to sit down in the flat and rack up eight to 10 receptions with plenty of yards and at least one visit to the end zone.
Chris Johnson, RB, Arizona ($4,950 at CLE): CJ2K hasn’t quite re-emerged as a 2,000-yard threat like his younger days, but he had seen a renaissance in Glendale this season. He has hit the century mark in two of his past three games while finding the end zone three times in the past five games. At this price level against the NFL’s worst rushing defense, Johnson should rattle off another 90-110 yards with at least one touchdown on the shores of Lake Erie.
St. Louis Rams Defense/Special Teams($2,650 vs. SF): The Rams DST is a slam-dunk play against the listless 49ers offense, which is last in the NFL with just 14.7 yards per game. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick ($5,500) has been slightly better lately, but on the road he is mistake-prone, and will especially be prone to errors against a strong front seven. The Rams should force the 49ers into at least two or three turnovers with a handful of sacks and perhaps a fumble or two while limiting their points to 17 or fewer.
Seattle Seahawks Defense/Special Teams($3,300 at DAL): If you have a few extra bucks in salary for your final spot, splurge on the Seahawks DST. The Seattle secondary, which has been a little more human than past seasons, is still very dangerous, especially with journeyman QB Matt Cassel ($5,000) under center. The Seahawks should confuse Cassel and coax him into a handful of turnovers on a day which could end up being very miserable for the Pokes.
Clive Walford, TE, Oakland ($3,400 vs. NYJ): If you’re looking for a super-deep sleeper then Walford could be your man. He is starting to get more comfortable in the offense, and the Raiders continue to rave about the former University of Miami standout. He still hasn’t had more than two targets in any single game, but he has three grabs for 75 yards and a touchdown over the past two games, and his confidence is building. If you want to save money to spread across other positions, Walford isn’t a terrible play. He could still end up with two grabs for 40 yards and a score to more than earn his DFS salary.
Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego ($4,700 at BAL): Woodhead should find plenty of open spaces against a Baltimore Ravens pass defense which hasn’t been very good, especially against opposing running backs and tight ends on short and intermediate routes. That is Woodhead’s specialty. The Ravens have allowed 29 pass plays of 20 or more yards and an opposing QB rating of 104.1, so pass offenses are having their way with Baltimore.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee ($4,350 at HOU): Wright will face a Texans defense which has given up an NFL-high 16 pass touchdowns this season. Wright isn’t as good of a prospect with QB Zach Mettenberger ($5,000) rather than rookie Marcus Mariota ($5,750) (knee), but the Titans should still be able to move the ball down the field. Wright will be the biggest beneficiary.