Week 8! Time flies when the NFL is having fun, and we are moving quickly
In Daily Fantasy, it’s crucial to hit on the high-priced players in your line-up. They require a big chunk of your salary, and when paying up for a player, you shouldn’t have to worry about him letting you down.
Heading into the opening week of the NFL season, here are four studs who should prove to be worth their high price tag.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Projected Points: 23.4
With Andrew Luck unceremoniously retiring before the start of the season, it felt like the stars were aligning for Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans to put a stranglehold on this division.
But Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts have had other ideas, especially after knocking the Texans off a week ago. However, that has not been due to the play of Watson — and with a pretty clean pocket as of late, he has soared to even further heights.
Hitting a high-water mark of 41.74 fantasy points three weeks ago, Watson could wreck that previous outing with a juicy matchup against the Oakland Raiders — a team we rank as having the fourth-worst defence overall, and third-worst specifically against the pass.
Just a week ago, they were roasted by Aaron Rodgers for 429 yards and 6 scores, so the upside is real — and Watson has been pretty efficient this year. In terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, among passers with 100 or more drop backs, Watson clocks in fourth (0.28).
Look for a big day from the Texans’ signal-caller.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Projected Points: 18.5
There are five games with double-digit spreads, with three on the main slate, and one of the largest of those belongs to the Los Angeles Rams, who get a home contest against the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals clock in 18th via our per-play rushing defence metrics, and they have been roasted on the ground this year — Leonard Fournette (29 carries, 131 rushing yards), Lamar Jackson (19-152), Kyler Murray (10-93), and Matt Breida (12-121) have all smashed in this spot.
While this pass-happy Rams attack certainly doesn’t focus the run, it’s one they have been successful with. Among runners with 75 or more carries (25), Gurley ranks seventh in Rushing Success Rate (45.12%).
A positive game script certainly feels indicative of a rush-heavy day, making Gurley a great option.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Projected Points: 16.5
Whether or not Drew Brees elects to return this week for the New Orleans Saints, Michael Thomas is in a fantastic spot to go off in this week’s game.
This season, the Arizona Cardinals, New Orlean’s Week 8 opponent, have been dreadful on defence. They rank 28th in total defence and rank 26th against the pass — that’s great for Thomas and crew.
The Cardinals also rank first in pace and second in situation-neutral pace, offering plenty of opportunities for the Saints to score. And while the Cardinals have been strong with 22 sacks on the year, the Saints’ offensive line ranks 10th-best in adjusted sack rate.
The Saints are tied for the second-highest implied team total (29.50 points) on the day, so grab Thomas and a piece of this offence.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Projected Points: 11.1
This season is not going as planned for the Atlanta Falcons — unless you are one of their opponents. Off to an ugly 1-6 start this year, they will need to get that ship righted in a hurry if they plan to get in the playoff picture.
Hooper, however, has been awesome. His 55 targets place him second on the team with an 18.9% target market share, trailing only Julio Jones. And the volume seems likely to stick — the Falcons rank second in pass-to-run ratio this season (2.37).
This week’s opponent provides some intrigue, too. Seattle has been torched by opposing tight ends, as they’ve allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to the position this season.
Keep an eye on Matt Ryan’s availability, though. If he is unable to play this week, it may make Hooper a less-appealing option.