DFS Cash Game Plays: NFL Week 8
DFS Cash Game Plays: NFL Week 8
The NFL Week 8 slate is ready for us to attack, but first, let's think about how to react to last week's DFS slate. With seven weeks of data under our belts, it's hard not to overreact to what we saw on the field, particularly as injuries and outlier performances pile up. Let other people chase the outcome stats, and we will instead focus on usage and opportunity.
We will go through each position at a variety of salary levels to see who are the best plays in cash games on DraftKings and FanDuel. For these purposes, a cash game is any contest that pays out more than one-third of the field. While these are also viable GPP options, we are primarily looking for a safe floor combined with high usage that can lead to ceiling games.
Previous Week's Results
Results on DraftKings:
- NFL MASSIVE $25 Double Up [Single Entry] - 4721/6896
- NFL GIANT $5 Double Up [Single Entry] - 10256/16303
- NFL GIANT $5 Double Up [Single Entry] - 4708/9195
- NFL GIANT $5 Double Up [Single Entry] - 1578/2298
- NFL GIANT $10 Double Up [Single Entry] - 2352/4597
- NFL Single Entry $2 Double Up - 1934/2873
- NFL Single Entry $2 Double Up - 3823/5747
- NFL GIANT $10 Double Up [Single Entry] - 3861/5747
Winning percentage in Single Entry contests - 0%
This was my cash game lineup for all contests in Week 7:
As you can see from the score here and from my contest entries above, this was not my best week in cash. In terms of score and finishing place in the large Double-Up contest, this was my worst week of the season. I actually felt good about this lineup, especially after one of my just two early slate players (Jahmyr Gibbs) went off for 27.6 fantasy points. But the news that came in after Gibbs and Robinson were locked threw the whole slate in a blender and caused most entries to move past me in the late games.
I am actually comfortable with every play in this lineup except Wan'Dale Robinson. As you can see, everyone (including Wan'Dale) was between 24% and 81% rostered, so this was a lineup of mostly chalk players. But we knew before the slate started that D.K. Metcalf was highly questionable to play and I should have had a lineup that was able to react better to that news. What I should have done to give myself the opportunity to pivot to Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the afternoon was to find a way to get a cheap Josh Palmer in the lineup instead of Wan'Dale. I could have gone down at TE or DST to do that.
If that had happened, I either get Palmer's score (21.3) or I get JSN's score (17) and I would have been right on the line to cash (that line was 117 points in the massive $25 contest). One move not allowing myself an out based on news that would clearly up-end the slate was a bad move and I deserved to lose.
Or it's all just Cooper Kupp's fault.
Be sure you're following me on X (@CableBoxScore) for any updates I make to my player pool as we get closer to lock. I will update that account every weekend with additional players as other news emerges.
Scoring Differences Between DraftKings and FanDuel
A quick primer on DraftKings versus FanDuel scoring for DFS if you are unfamiliar with their platforms.
- On DraftKings, you are selecting nine spots with a total of $50,000 to spend. FanDuel has nine spots with $60,000 to spend, so salaries are slightly higher.
- DraftKings is full PPR scoring, while FanDuel is half-PPR.
- DraftKings deducts one point for a fumble lost and an interception. FanDuel is minus two points for a lost fumble and minus one for an interception.
- DraftKings awards three-point bonuses for 300-yard passing games, 100-yard rushing games, and 100-yard receiving games. FanDuel does not award bonuses.
With those differences in mind, let's look at which players make good selections in Week 8.
Lamar Jackson (DK: $8,100, FD: $8,800) is one of a trio of high-salary quarterbacks this week (Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes being the others) who are in smash spots. All of them are good options in cash games if you have the funds to pay up for them, but Lamar Jackson is the cheapest so I'll roll with him coming off his MVP-type performance against the Lions last week. Arizona allows the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and has already given up three rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks this year.
C.J. Stroud (DK: $6,300, FD: $7,400) might not look like a traditional cash game quarterback this week, and he doesn't have the rushing upside of Lamar Jackson or Jalen Hurts or the low salary of Sam Darnold. What he does have, however, is a matchup with the Carolina Panthers who are hemorrhaging fantasy points to quarterbacks. They allow the ninth-most passing yards per completion to quarterbacks and are giving up almost two passing touchdowns per game. Add in a little #revenge narrative with Stroud playing the team that didn't pick him first overall, and this could be a big spot for the star rookie.
Sam Darnold (DK: $4,300, FD: 6,100) looked to be a lock in cash games until late Thursday afternoon when reports came out that Brock Purdy (concussion) was back at practice. This is an unusual situation because Purdy did not develop symptoms or get checked out by a doctor until the plane ride home on Sunday. All speculation was that he would be out for this game, but now we must monitor practice on Friday and the injury reports from the weekend. If Purdy is out, Sam Darnold will be a lock for me at this salary and with the weapons he has at his disposal. In their last six games, Cincinnati allows the sixth-highest yards per completion to opponents.
Christian McCaffrey (DK: $9,200, FD: $10,200) paired with Sam Darnold is probably not the best play in the world (although plenty of people paired Geno Smith with Kenneth Walker last week), but Darnold in the lineup likely means the 49ers will rely heavily on McCaffrey to move the ball down the field. As if you needed another reason to roster one of the best and most reliable players in the game, Cincinnati is 30th in the NFL allowing 5.0 yards per rush attempt. You know CMC is getting a touchdown, so it's just a matter of how much production he will get beyond that.
Alvin Kamara (DK: $7,300, FD: $8,300) is racking up running back targets like they are going out of style and he now is averaging 10 per game since he returned to play in Week 4. That's led to multiple games with more than 10 catches and now he is getting goal-line work as well. In their last game, there were eight running back touches in the red zone for the Saints and Kamara handled seven of them. The Colts allow the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this year so this could be a great game in the air and on the ground for Kamara.
Isiah Pacheco (DK: $6,100, FD: $7,400) might have the best possible setup this weekend and I am literally giddy at the thought of rostering him against the hapless Broncos defense. Denver allows four more fantasy points per game to running backs than any other team this season, including almost 150 more rushing yards than the second-place New York Giants. Pacheco has at least 17 opportunities in five straight games and has nine of the Chiefs last 10 touches in the red zone.
Breece Hall (DK: $5,900, FD: $7,200) may not be down where we traditionally think a "value" running back would be, but considering his new role and the matchup, his $5,900 tag on DK is one of the most egregious misprices of the season. Over the past two weeks as the Jets have committed to him as a feature back, Hall has averaged 17 rush attempts, four targets, and 25.5 fantasy points thanks to two touchdowns. The Giants are tied for 30th in the league with 5.0 yards per attempt allowed to opponents and only two other teams have given up more rushing touchdowns this season.
Tyreek Hill (DK: $9,500, $FD: $9,500) told the media on Thursday that he was good to go for the Sunday game, which means we should be good to go for stacking him in our lineups. He missed practice on Wednesday with a hip injury but declared himself ready. The only thing we have to decide now is if we are ready to pay the highest salary we've ever seen for Tyreek Hill since he joined the Dolphins. He plays New England who are bottom ten in receiving yards allowed and fantasy points to wide receivers, but his team has the highest total on the slate and he got nine targets with a touchdown the last time they played in Week 2.
Adam Thielen (DK: $6,600, FD: $8,200) returns to action after his bye week ready to pile up the targets he was seeing before his week off. Thielen has become the focal point of this young offense and has more targets this year than any two other Panthers players combined. Houston has been very good against wide receivers this year, but they are 25th in the NFL with 6.9 yards per pass attempt allowed and they gave up 353 yards passing to Derek Carr in their last game in Week 6. Now up to sixth in wide receiver fantasy points per game (21.1), Thielen is still too cheap at this $6,600 salary on DraftKings.
Christian Kirk (DK: $5,900, FD: $7,000) is another player who falls under the "too cheap" category on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Kirk has at least 14 fantasy points in six straight games and hasn't seen less than six targets since Week 1. The normally stout Pittsburgh Steelers have been horrific against wide receivers this year, giving up the third-most fantasy points which includes bottom ten numbers in both yards and touchdowns allowed. Once Kirk starts to get above the mid-$6,000s we can have the conversation about whether he can pay that off, but for now, he remains a solid cash play.
Kendrick Bourne (DK: $4,400, FD: $6,200) represents maybe our best opportunity for wide receiver value unless something opens up over the weekend. But at just $4,400 on DK, he gives the value we need to put everything together. Bourne has 18 targets and 16 receptions in the last two games, averaging 18.3 fantasy points per game. He now gets a Miami secondary that has been torched recently by the Philadelphia wide receivers as well as 115 yards and a score from Adam Thielen. Even if it's in garbage time, Bourne is going to get his stats on Sunday.
Mark Andrews (DK: $6,400, FD: $7,700) found the end zone two more times last week, giving him five scores on the year and now he also has a streak of four games with at least four catches and 60 yards. That's a 10-point baseline in DraftKings' PPR format and now he gets Arizona in Week 8 who allow a 102.6 passer rating on the year (30th among all teams). Andrews remains slightly too cheap for his upside on DK, and is slightly overpriced on FD.
Jake Ferguson (DK: $3,600, FD: $4,900) comes out of the bye week looking to build on a very strong last few games for the Cowboys. In Week 6, he got up to 86% of the snaps played as he solidified his role as the top guy at the position. Ferguson will play against the Rams in Week 8, with an eye on taking advantage of the lack of defense against the position. The Rams allow the fourth-most receiving yards and the sixth-most receiving touchdowns to the position this year.
Trey McBride (DK: $2,800, FD: $4,700) takes over as the full-time tight end now that Zach Ertz has been placed in IR due to injury. After McBride took over when Ertz was injured last week, he ended up 53% of the game's snaps, six targets, and three catches. The Cardinal have the fourth-most overall targets thrown to tight ends this year with Ertz soaking up 43 of the 69. Much of that usage now goes to McBride.
Atlanta DST (DK: $2,900, FD: $3,900) takes on the Tennessee Titans and it looks like rookie Will Levis is trending to get the start in this matchup. The NFL Draft-day sob story would be making his first start against a Falcons defense allowing the sixth-lowest yards per pass attempt. and the third-lowest yards per game. The defense is under $3,000 and that's about all I need to know to lock them in this week on DK.
Green Bay DST (DK: $2,700, FD: $3,800) hosts the Vikings this week, and while Minnesota can certainly put points on the board, Kirk Cousins has been known to make a mistake or ten in games where he drops back at a high rate. Green Bay is in the top half of the league in sack percentage and has generated five turnovers in six games.
Cash Game Sample Lineup
Using the players listed above, you could construct a roster that looks something like this. However, remember that this is just a suggested build and could change drastically by the time the games kick off on Sunday. You should come to your own conclusions and build a cash game roster that suits the players you prefer and your style of build. Both of these builds feature Sam Darnold at quarterback as that start leaves you room to do almost whatever you want to fill out the rest of your roster, especially on DraftKings. As of Friday morning, I don't feel there is enough value on the slate to pay up at quarterback.
Ryan is a 20-year veteran of fantasy baseball, football, and basketball leagues. He has been writing about fantasy sports, sports betting, and DFS since 2018 and is a member of the FSWA and IBWAA. A native of Houston, he is a die-hard fan of the Astros, Rockets, and - reluctantly - the Texans. When he is not buried under sports analysis and TV show recaps, he works full-time in higher education and can be found pursuing his other passions: drinking coffee and writing about comic book investment and speculation.