FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 8 Thursday Night
Week 7 is in the books and your first crack at redemption in week 8 is on FanDuel's Thursday Night Football single-game slate. The salary cap remains at $60,000 and scoring is unchanged from the full roster game, but we don't have to worry about individual positions. Instead, your roster will consist of five offensive flex spots with kickers replacing team defense/special teams. One player will be designated as your "MVP," who is awarded 1.5x his total fantasy points. Making the correct choice for MVP is crucial for a top-scoring lineup but we also can't ignore the value plays that let you squeeze in your favorites.
Tonight's game features a pair of 4-3 teams as the Miami Dolphins travel to Houston to face the AFC South leading Houston Texans. Both teams are banged up and dealing with a myriad of injures, especially the offense of the Dolphins. The game has a 44.0-point over/under and the Texans' 25.75 implied points are eleventh-most this week. We'd certainly like to see that total closer to 50 for fantasy goodness but this matchup still features a few strong options.
Before we sort through the injuries to find value let's take a look at the top plays you should consider for your MVP slot.
DeAndre Hopkins ($17,500): Hopkins stands out as the top offensive player in this matchup. He trails only Julio Jones in air yards and target share and is the overall wide receiver four in FanDuel scoring. He saw at least 10 targets in every game through the first five weeks but has 14 combined in his last two. That drop in volume can be attributed to Deshaun Watson's health, as the Texans passed only 49 times combined against the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.
We're projecting Nuk for 18.7 FanDuel points, which is second-most on the week at wide receiver. He's likely to be given the Xavien Howard treatment with shadow coverage, which may deter some fantasy players. Our models aren't concerned though, fade Hopkins at your own risk.
Deshaun Watson ($16,500): Watson was injured in week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys and has played through a chest injury the previous two weeks. The Texans bussed him to Jacksonville to avoid any effects of cabin pressure on his injured chest. He has played hurt and led the Texans to wins over the Bills and Jaguars but his effectiveness has been muted, posting a success-rate below 38 percent in each game, his lowest since week one.
Looking at our advanced stats, the Dolphins rank 10th against the quarterback position but 25th overall. We have a solid team total with Watson and a ceiling projection of 30.41 points, but his injury and short week are a concern. We could be in for another run-focused game plan from the Texans as more than a touchdown favorite at home, which makes Watson a contrarian option for the MVP spot.
Brock Osweiler ($14,500): Osweiler was the primary target of the DFS community when he was announced as the started in week six due to Ryan Tannehill's shoulder injury. Of course, he was being targeted as someone to bet against, with the Chicago Bears defense coming in as a chalk play. Brock completed 28 of 44 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns in that game though. In his second tour of duty with head coach Adam Gase, Osweiler has been solid through two starts, completing 67 percent of his passes with a 0.37 Passing NEP per drop back, which trails only Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, and Philip Rivers. He's also limited the big mistakes which made him a prime candidate to stream defenses against, with just two interceptions. If the Dolphins offensive line can keep him upright, Osweiler could be in-line for another strong fantasy outing against numberFire's fifth-worst passing defense.
Kenyan Drake ($14,000): If we're going to attack Houston's weak pass defense, it makes sense to stack Osweiler with the Dolphins top pass catcher. That happens to be a running back, as Drake leads the team in targets (40), despite playing fewer than 70 percent of the snaps in every game since week one.
A running back as a road underdog, especially by more than a touchdown, is typically a spot to avoid for DFS purposes, as our 8.71-point projection implies. Interestingly, Drake has actually fared better in this situation so far in 2018, averaging 12.70 points per game on the road and 12.52 as an underdog. The hope with Drake is that his receiving workload sees a bump in usage with a thin wide receiver group due to injuries.
Lamar Miller ($11,500): Miller ended week 7 with 22 carries for 100 yards and a rushing touchdown. As 7.5-point home favorites, the game script sets up nicely for Miller to control the clock on the ground and take some heat off Watson. He faces a Dolphins rush defense that just gave up 208 yards and a touchdown to the Detroit Lions duo of Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount.
Despite the Lions' big day, Miami is still numberFire's 13th-ranked rush defense and Houston's offensive line has struggled in run blocking, ranking 23rd in adjusted line yards per Football Outsiders. Volume has been an issue for Miller this season but it's hard to dream up a much better spot for him to get more touches than Thursday night. Miami has allowed a top-12 running back performance in every game this season and while Miller's price fits into the "value range," we should also consider him for the MVP slot.
Danny Amendola ($10,000): With Albert Wilson injured early in Sunday's loss to the Lions, Amendola played a season high 96 percent of snaps. He caught 6 of 7 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown while playing primarily from the slot. With Wilson and Kenny Stills already ruled out, Amendola should be Osweiler's top option at wide receiver against a Texans pass defense that ranks 27th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play.
Ka'imi Fairbairn ($9,500): If you need to save salary, Fairbairn is a worthy option. I'm avoiding the tight ends on both teams here and using one of the two Dolphins value wide receivers. The Texans are playing at home in a dome and he should provide a solid floor without sacrificing too much salary.
DeVante Parker ($6,500) and Jakeem Grant ($6,000) will occupy the outside receiver positions with Stills and Wilson out. You likely need one in your lineup to afford two higher-priced options. Parker has been the subject of trade rumors and head coach Adam Gase stopped short of giving him a ringing endorsement at Monday's press conference. The matchup is good and both receivers have similar projections but I'd rather have Grant if I'm going down this far. He was in for almost 40 percent of the snaps on Sunday and caught both of his targets for 32 yards. If he can get free, Grant has the speed to break a long one.
Ryan Bobbitt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan Bobbitt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Drummerinabox. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.