Point/Counterpoint: Week 8 DraftKings Strategies
By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:
Every week of the season for daily fantasy brings new debates about core plays, fades, game stacks, and more. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with.
For the NFL season, our series of Point/Counterpoint will be a back-and-forth discussion between siblings Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup about the slate strategy, stacks, core plays, and fades for that week.
So let’s get to Week 8 strategy talk!
Let’s look at the NFL Week 8 DFS Main slate. There are only two teams on a bye this week – the Chiefs and the Chargers. The Broncos and Jaguars play in London and then of course the primetime games are off the main slate.
But we still have some fantasy firepower back on the main slate with the Eagles, Rams, and Vikings back this week.
Only three games currently have a Vegas total above 48 points – Vikings/Cardinals, Dolphins/Lions, and Raiders/Saints. So which games are you most interested in targeting and stacking this week?
I’m definitely glad to see some players/teams back on this slate that we missed last week, but we do lose the Chiefs and Chargers which have afforded us some winning players in recent weeks. What stuck out to me right away is how the QB pricing is on this slate. You have Jalen Hurts at $8,300 then a gap to Kyler Murray at $7,500, and then another gap until Dak Prescott at $6,600. That is a sizable gap in pricing between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd QBs. On top of that with 22 teams on this slate only 6 QBs top $6,000. This is pretty reflective of how bad the state of QB play is in the NFL right now, but it really shows where we are from a DFS perspective.
Hurts being the top-priced QB makes total sense given what he and the Eagles have done so far this year. Murray, though as the 2nd highest and Dak as the 3rd, shows some issues with QB play in the league right now. Murray is $7,500 despite not having a game over 26.8 DK points this season. Murray has had a solid floor, but he’s mainly been in the high-teens to low-20’s range. Not exactly what you are looking for at this price. Prescott will just be in his 2nd game back from a thumb injury. Maybe he opens it up more in this game, but they seemed to be pretty conservative with him in his first outing. I will maybe take a few shots on Murray and Prescott, but I will probably mainly focus on the next two QBs, Tua Tagovailoa and Kirk Cousins.
Tua didn’t finish drives in his Sunday night showdown with the Steelers, but overall he looked good coming back from injury. He now faces just a terrible Lions secondary. I like firing him up with one or two of his pass catchers and hope that it all clicks this week. We’ve seen the upside this offense can have, and this is a match-up we can see it hit again. Cousins has a similar strong match-up versus a poor Cardinals secondary in a game that could be a shootout. You are saving $1,400 in playing Cousins over Murray, and that is the side that I want to focus on.
After these two though, there isn’t a ton I like on the slate. How about you, anyone else standing out?
You make great points about QB pricing. I land on the same two QBs as my favorite price considered. At this point, my two favorite stacks are Tua and Kirk Cousins stacks. The best part about those two is the target tree is condensed. Whether you want to single or double stack, you know which receivers to pair them with (Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and maybe throw in Irv Smith).
Would you punt off QB with $4000 Colts’ Sam Ehlinger against the Commanders in an effort to just jam in studs at RB and WR? It may be worth a couple of shots. Especially this week with the QB talent pool being lower.
It’s funny, the QB and TE pool is weaker, but there are a lot of RBs and WRs I want to pay up for. Who are your favorite spend-up options at RB and WR?
That is definitely an issue on this slate, for as many games that seem to be lower-scoring environments, there aren’t a lot of cheaper plays at RB or WR. That does make some cheaper QB options maybe a bit interesting, but I don’t know if I can go down to Sam Ehlinger. It is crazy to see a starting QB at the $4K minimum. DraftKings prices up every expected backup, but the Colts went and surprised everyone by jumping to Ehlingher.
I do feel that the Commanders’ secondary is exploitable, but I’m not sure if the Colts are up for the task, especially with Ehlingher at the helm. Given the Colts’ offensive line struggles, I think Washington’s pass rush can control this game and prevent the Colts from taking advantage of the poor Commanders’ coverage unit.
As for my pay-up options at RB and WR. Well, it’s pretty simple when it comes to RB, Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley, and Josh Jacobs are where I want to be spending my cap on the position. Kenneth Walker III also will be in the mix with a little savings there. My WR list is a bit deeper with Kupp, Jefferson, Hill, Waddle, and A.J. Brown all top options for me. Are you planning on going back to Amon-Ra St. Brown in another strong match-up?
The more I learn about Sam Ehlingher, it is a bit intriguing because he offers a rushing floor. I’m not saying I’m going to be overweight on him, and I’ll have plenty of Commanders’ defense this week. But it’s more what Ehlinger allows you to get. There are so many stud RB and WR that I want to pay up for and I also like some mid-tier options. And as you mentioned, there is really no value at RB and WR this week.
So that’s why I have some interest in punting at QB when I don’t play Tua or Cousins. As we mentioned, I’ll have a lot of exposure to those two QBs. But when I don’t, I think I’m punting at QB. I’m fine with Ehlinger, Goff and yes, Taylor Heinicke, I think Heinicke is a similar play to Mills, just at almost no ownership. Plus for Mills, I think the Titans will just play keep away and pound the rock with Derrick Henry. It looks like the Saints will stick with Dalton, and I would be interested, but if he has another multi-interception game, I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets benched, so I”m not going there.
We 100% agree on pay-up options at RB and WR. Your list is my spend-up core plays too. Derrick Henry is probably my top spend-up priority, as he has destroyed the Texans’ defense. The Texans’ defense is definitely one you want to target running backs against. I am going to go back to ASB, even though last week was brutal for my lineups.
As for mid-tier RBs and WRs, here are the ones I like:
RB: Kamara, Stevenson, Mostert (esp in non-Tua lineups), and Pollard if Zeke is out
WR: Hopkins, Lamb, Thielen, Lockett, McLaurin, and Olave
What do you think of my mid-tier RBs and WRs and my “value” WR? I am going to mostly pay down at TE too since again, I love so many expensive RBs and WRs. My favorite cheap TE are Irv Smith, Foster Moreau, Dalton Schultz, and Logan Thomas if he’s back. Who are your favorite TEs this week?
I like that list of mid-tier plays. Pollard especially becomes very interesting if Zeke is ruled out (which seems likely). It will be interesting to see if he becomes chalky at that price, or if there are enough strong options in this range that he doesn’t get steamed up. I’d also add a couple of other backs to the list. Eno Benjamin would be in play for me if Conner misses time again. Brian Robinson Jr. is in a time-share with Antonio Gibson, but he got 20 carries last week and 2 targets in a game that Washington barely won. In this game against the Colts, the Commanders’ have a chance to control this game. In that case, they will rely upon their ground game and Robinson to eat the clock. He also gets the goal line carries so he could have a 2 TD type of game. The other back that would be in play is D’onta Foreman. Not only did he look pretty good against the Bucs last week and now faces the Falcons’ defense, but there is a chance that Hubbard is out. I will have some consideration regardless, but if Hubbard misses the game I think Foreman is a nice play.
At the wide receiver, I love Hopkins, Lamb, and Olave from that list. The target share these guys are getting is ridiculous and it makes them all under-priced. McLaurin, unfortunately, I don’t see it viable this week. The Commanders simply haven’t focused their offense on him. Despite Dotson and Logan Thomas being out the past few games, McLaurin hasn’t seen any sort of target bump. Add in no Wentz, and a game that could be quickly in Washington’s hands and you have almost no ceiling in his game. On the other side of this game, I will add Parris Campbell to my list. Despite a ton of targets in the past two weeks, he hasn’t seen any price increase. If the Colts are down this game, I could see him getting peppered with targets underneath.
Tight end for me will be pretty simple. Zach Ertz if I can afford $5,100, if not Dalton Schultz and Irv Smith. I might include Logan Thomas in the mix, but I also worry that there simply won’t be a ton of targets in that game.
You make great points about Eno Benjamin, Brian Robinson, and DOnta Foreman if Chubbard is out. I do think Heinicke will target McLaurin more even if the volume is lower. He knows he’s the go-to guy, and I also think Logan Thomas could be a great underneath option for Heinicke. I like the addition of Parris Campbell too, because we are lacking so much value at the RB and WR positions. But we have now mentioned a few options.
I’m a little nervous about Ertz’s target share with Hopkins back, so I’ll almost strictly be paying down at TE to make room for all these RBs and WRs in great spots. Hopefully, one of these lineup constructions is the right one.
What do you think of these strategies for Week 8 DFS on DraftKings? Who are your main game stacks and core plays?