NFL

Daily Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Primer: Week 8

DeAndre Hopkins has an ideal matchup versus the Raiders' secondary this week. Is he a wide receiver to build around?

We're coming off a strange week for wide receivers in fantasy football, in which Marvin Jones and Zach Pascal ranked as the highest-scoring players at the position. It was a good reminder of the unpredictability of fantasy performances on a week-to-week basis, but also of the value of landing in a positive game script. Both players found themselves involved in relatively high-scoring games, allowing them to see valuable targets deep into the second half.

In this week's preview, I'll break down the wide receivers into three categories based on FanDuel's prices: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.

Players to build around are more expensive, but their ceilings are high enough that you should consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are cheaper options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are guys you might normally consider at their price tag but have tough matchups and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.

Players to Build Around

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($8,500) -- Drew Brees might return this week, but with or without him Michael Thomas's fantasy performance has remained elite. Not only is he the number-one scoring fantasy receiver overall, but he's the only receiver who's ranked among the top 25 every week, peaking at number two in Week 5. On Sunday, Thomas faces an Arizona Cardinals secondary that ranks 29th in pass defense. His consistency and ceiling makes him a good play in cash games and tournaments.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans ($8,200) -- The Oakland Raiders have given up an NFL-worst 32 receptions of 20 or more yards, including nine touchdowns. Will Fuller had been the Houston Texans primary deep threat this season and led the team with seven receptions of 20 or more yards, but with Fuller out for a few weeks, Deshaun Watson may need to lean more heavily on DeAndre Hopkins for some big plays.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers ($7,300) -- It's been a disappointing season for JuJu Smith-Schuster, but the Miami Dolphins defense may be just what he needs to heat up. Miami is allowing an NFL-worst 11.5 yards per target to receivers lined up in the slot, according to Sports Info Solutions. Smith-Schuster has seen 76 percent of his targets from the slot this season.

Value Plays

D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks ($6,600) -- Seattle Seahawks rookie D.K. Metcalf is a little expensive to be considered a value play, but he's worth mentioning due to a good matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Metcalf has primarily lined up wide on the left side of the field, which will force him into a matchup with Isaiah Oliver, who has allowed an NFL-worst 93.8 fantasy points to receivers this season, according to Pro Football Reference. On targets 10 or more yards downfield, Oliver has allowed 11 receptions on 19 targets (57.9 percent) for 238 yards and two touchdowns, per Sports Info Solutions. Metcalf is seeing 58 percent of his targets at that depth, so Oliver will likely be challenged often in this matchup.

John Brown, Buffalo Bills ($5,900) -- The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed a top-12 performance from a wide receiver in five of seven games this season. John Brown has two top-12 performances of his own, and is coming off a 16.8-point performance against the Dolphins last week. Brown is the Bills' big-play threat, leading the team with eight receptions of 20 or more yards, which also makes him an ideal tournament play.

Kenny Stills, Houston Texans ($5,700) -- According to Sports Info Solutions, Will Fuller leads the team with 17 targets at 20 or more yards downfield. However, Kenny Stills also factors into the deep passing game, with 37 percent of his targets coming on the deep ball. With Fuller out for a few weeks, Stills should get more opportunities to stretch the field, an area in which the Raiders defense struggles. On throws 20 or more yards downfield, Oakland has allowed 18 receptions and eight touchdowns, both NFL-worsts.

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans ($5,500) -- It's been a disappointing year for Corey Davis but he appeared to benefit from Ryan Tannehill taking over as the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback last week. Davis posted a season-high six receptions on seven targets and reached the end zone for just the second time this year. This week Davis gets to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have allowed a top-10 fantasy performance to a wide receiver in each of their last four games. Assuming Davis remains Tannehill's go-to target, he could finally break out with a big game.

DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos ($4,800) -- This isn't an ideal matchup against a solid Indianapolis Colts defense, but with Emmanuel Sanders now on the San Francisco 49ers, DaeSean Hamilton should see an increased workload. According to Sports Info Solutions, Hamilton has 26.7 percent drop rate (four drops with 11 receptions), so don't load up on him in too many lineups. But this is a cheap price for a receiver likely to play a significant role in the passing game, making him an intriguing tournament option.

Players to Avoid

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers ($7,500) -- After a dominant start to the season, Keenan Allen has disappeared from the Los Angeles Chargers offense. Through the first three weeks of the season, Allen averaged 24.4 fantasy points per game but has been held to 23.5 points combined over his last four games. He also draws a tough matchup against the Chicago Bears in a game which carries the lowest total of the week at just 40.5 points.

Odell Beckham, Cleveland Browns ($7,400) -- After being held to single-digit fantasy points in three of his first six games, Odell Beckham's price is finally starting to drop. Unfortunately, he's still a risky play against the New England Patriots. Among cornerbacks who have faced at least 25 targets in coverage, Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty rank second and third, respectively, in fewest fantasy points allowed per target, according to Pro Football Reference. Additionally, Bill Belichick has a long history of game planning to shut down his opponent's best offensive weapon, which likely means a long day for Beckham.


Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. 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.