FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 8
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Jalen Hurts ($9,200 on FanDuel): With some notable quarterbacks off the main slate, Hurts is in his own tier on Sunday, and that's reflected in numberFire's model. Not only does he have the highest median projection among quarterbacks by over three FanDuel points, but he's tops across all positions.
Hurts has been efficient through the air, ranking fourth in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, and he continues to produce on the ground, averaging 12.8 carries and 48.8 rushing yards per game. His six rushing touchdowns are at least double that of anyone else at the position, and he even leads the team in red zone rush share (45.8%).
Perhaps the only thing potentially holding him back is a likely blowout against the Steelers -- the Eagles are 10.5-point home favorites -- but some of Hurts' best performances have come in lopsided wins this year due to the majority of Philadelphia's scores funneling through him.
Kyler Murray ($8,200): This Arizona-Minnesota matchup is looking like one of the better fantasy game environments, coming in with a 48.5 total and rating as a top-four matchup in both pace and pass rate this week, per our Brandon Gdula.
Murray has cracked 25 FanDuel points in just one of seven games thus far, but he's still the QB6 in fantasy, averaging just under 19.3 FanDuel points per game. He's started to run a bit more lately, too, and is now averaging 6.4 rushes and 37.6 yards per game on the ground.
While Murray's been a mixed bag as a passer this season, the return of star wideout DeAndre Hopkins improves his outlook moving forward, and this is the right spot to get on track against a team that's 26th in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics.
Miami should be able to dice these guys up however they choose, and seeing as they're eighth in pass rate over expectation, that figures to mostly come via the arm of Tagovailoa. The Lions have coughed up the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks.
This game also has the slate's highest total (51.5), and the Dolphins are just 3.5-point road favorites, which points to a possible shootout. While Detroit's offense has sputtered over the last two games, they should perform better at home and are expected to have both of their key weapons in Amon-Ra St. Brown and D'Andre Swift.
Alvin Kamara ($7,800): It feels like Kamara has flown under the radar a bit this season, but his usage has been incredible over the last three games since recovering from a rib issue. Over that span, he's averaged 141.0 scrimmage yards, 17.7 carries, and 8.0 targets per game.
Despite a 66.7% red zone rush share during this stretch, he inexplicably failed to score any touchdowns and is still looking for his first trip to the end zone this season. On the bright side, this has kept Kamara's salary in check, making him one of the better values at running back.
Perhaps he finally finds pay dirt on Sunday. This Raiders-Saints contest has the slate's second-best over/under (49.5) and a tight 1.5-point spread in favor of Las Vegas, giving us another potential back-and-forth affair. New Orleans should be able to move the ball against the 30th-ranked adjusted pass defense, and Vegas is also just middle of the pack against the run.
Dameon Pierce ($7,300): Houston may be one of the NFL's worst teams, but Pierce continues to see a fantasy-friendly workload. Since taking over as the lead back in Week 2, he's averaging 109.4 scrimmage yards, 19.0 rushes, and 3.6 targets per game, and that's with the Texans losing four of those five games. He also has three touchdowns over this span with a tantalizing 94.4% red zone rush share.
While this isn't an exciting matchup against a Tennessee defense that's been strong against the run, the volume is too good to pass up at this salary. The Titans are mere 2.5-point road favorites, so this one shouldn't get out of hand, either.
Raheem Mostert ($6,800): As noted earlier, the Lions are last in adjusted rush defense, so Mostert could be another Dolphins player who feasts. Detroit has given up the second-most FanDuel points per game to running backs.
Chase Edmonds has become a complete afterthought in this Miami backfield, which has opened the door for Mostert to thrive. Over the last four games, Mostert has played just under 70% of the snaps while averaging 15.8 carries and 3.3 targets, and he's cracked 18 FanDuel points twice across that span.
Note that Mostert was limited in practice on Thursday, so keep tabs on his status entering Sunday.
Tony Pollard ($6,300): With Ezekiel Elliott missing practice and expected to sit out this week, Pollard jumps to the front of the line as the slate's top projected value play at running back. Our model is projecting Pollard for a hefty 19.0 carries and 3.7 targets, helping him to the fourth-best median projection at the position.
The matchup also checks out. The Cowboys are 9.5-point home favorites against the Bears, a team that's 25th in adjusted rush defense and has allowed the 7th-most FanDuel points per game to opposing backfields.
Tyreek Hill ($8,700): If we're rostering Tagovailoa, his top wideout is an easy guy to buy into, too.
Hill leads the team with a 31.3% target share and 38.0% air yards share, and he's seen double-digit targets in five of his seven games. He's exceeded 20 FanDuel points three times already this season, and numberFire's model projects him for the fifth-most points at wideout on Sunday.
DeAndre Hopkins ($7,900): Hopkins didn't miss a beat in his first game back, catching 10 of 14 targets for 103 yards in Week 7. He logged a massive 48.3% target share and 59.0% air yards share while playing on 93.3% of the snaps.
Hopkins could be exactly what Arizona needs to jumpstart their 2022 offense, and he's the perfect player to pair with Kyler Murray.
Amon-Ra St. Brown ($7,200): We have loads of options to roster from Miami, so it only makes sense to find someone to bring it back with in game stacks.
St. Brown was lifted early from last week's game due to a concussion, but it was later determined that he wasn't actually concussed. While he's technically still going through the concussion protocol, he's predictably expected to play this week.
While it's a frustrating situation for both the Lions and those who rostered St. Brown last week, the good news is that we're now getting him at an even lower salary.
Prior to his injury issues, the Detroit wideout enjoyed a 30.6% target share over the first three weeks, posting double-digit FanDuel points in all three games. Now fully healthy, we should see him go back to that kind of usage as the Lions try to keep pace with the Dolphins this weekend.
D.J. Moore ($6,200): Moore still has a questionable floor at best in this lackluster Panthers offense, but with Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson out of the picture, he should be the focal point of this passing attack that has next to nothing left.
In Week 7 against Tampa Bay, Moore played every single snap and saw a 47.6% target share and 55.4% air yards share, leading to him catching 7 of 10 targets for 69 yards and a touchdown.
The matchup is right for Moore to have some success again, taking on a Falcons team that's 31st in adjusted pass defense and has struggled against wide receivers specifically. He projects as the top wide receiver value in numberFire's model this week.
The Philadelphia tight end has had a solid role on offense this season, logging an 87.3% snap rate, 82.4% route rate, and 19.2% target share. Despite scoring just one touchdown so far, he's still managed to record double-digit FanDuel points in half of his games.
Goedert is a great way to gain exposure to the Eagles' lofty 27.00 implied team total without breaking the bank.
Mike Gesicki ($5,400): Admittedly, Gesicki is difficult to trust, but we've now seen him get seven targets in back-to-back weeks (17.5% target share) while playing on 62.7% of the snaps. Although the uptick in usage didn't amount to much last week, Gesicki scored a pair of touchdowns the week prior with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, resulting in 21.9 FanDuel points.
In all, there's enough trending in the right direction to consider Gesicki against the Lions' sorry defense, which has also been one of the worst versus tight ends.
Indianapolis D/ST ($3,900): While the Commanders got a win over the Packers last week, quarterback Taylor Heinicke was shaky at times, which included tossing a pick-six. We got a pretty good sample of Heinicke as a starter in 2021, and he threw 15 interceptions (third-most) and was sacked 38 times (seventh-most).
The Colts have struggled mightily on offense, but they're roughly league average defensively and should be able to hold their own as slight home favorites.
Perhaps Ehlinger is an upgrade over Matt Ryan, but we're also talking about a 2021 sixth-round draft pick making his first NFL start. According to PFF, the Colts' offensive line grades as the sixth-worst in pass blocking, which doesn't bode well for Ehlinger. The Commanders project as the top value play at defense.