Ten members of the Footballguys DraftKings staff compiled value-based rankings for Week 8 of the NFL season. Those results are shown below with the highest ranking at the top. Each position is ranked as follows: (A dash indicates that player was not ranked).
Quarterback - Top 8
Running Back - Top 12
Wide Receiver - Top 12
Tight End - Top 8
Defense - Top 5
To determine the average ranking, any player not ranked received a value of the lowest rank for that position, plus 1 (LR+1). For example, the Top 8 quarterbacks are ranked by each staff member. If one staff member did not rank a particular quarterback, but others did, the ranking for that quarterback is 8+1 or 9. Instead of displaying a 9 in the table, a dash is used to show that player was not ranked, after average rank was obtained.
The value-based, collaborative results provide a window into which players are the best options for this week's slate of games. I'll explain why certain players are ranked as they are and also provide additional commentary volunteered by various staff members.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: QUARTERBACK
|Derek Carr||OAK||at TB||5900||5||4||3||3||2||7||6||-||5||2||4.6|
|Tom Brady||NE||at BUF||7600||6||8||7||-||4||6||-||5||3||6||6.3|
|Alex Smith||KC||at IND||5800||2||2||-||-||-||5||-||-||6||-||6.9|
|Sam Bradford||MIN||at CHI||5000||-||-||-||-||-||2||2||-||-||-||7.6|
|Russell Wilson||SEA||at NO||7200||-||-||4||8||-||-||-||8||2||-||7.6|
|Aaron Rodgers||GB||at ATL||7500||4||-||6||-||-||-||-||4||-||-||7.7|
|Carson Palmer||ARI||at CAR||6000||8||-||5||-||-||-||-||2||-||-||7.8|
|Matthew Stafford||DET||at HOU||6400||-||-||-||6||6||-||-||7||-||-||8.2|
The consensus loves Jameis Winston at home against an Oakland team that has been friendly to opposing quarterbacks this year. I was only one of two staffers not to rank Winston in the Top 8. Seven of the 10 staffers not only ranked him, but gave him a #1 ranking. The consensus looks at his appealing price tag of $5,700 and immediately sees bargain. It's safe to say if our staffers rank him that high, others will as well. Here's my thinking on Winston and why I left him off my list. Oakland was a doormat for opposing quarterbacks early on in the season, but they have improved over the last few games, holding Alex Smith to 0 touchdowns and Blake Bortles to just one touchdown. If Winston has a fault, it's that he's inaccurate at times, especially on deeper throws. He had a good game last week against San Francisco, but many quarterbacks do. He could have a decent game this week, but for a cash game quarterback I want a quarterback that can get 3 touchdowns and over 250 yards. I'm not sure Winston can get us that. I'd rather have Derek Carr for $300 more and have better receiving options.
The Colts have scored 35, 26 and 29 points at home this year. In those games, Luck has totaled 385-4, 331-1, 322-2. A 300-yard game is a virtual lock even with a challenging opponent in Kansas City. Matt Ryan is a much better play when he's at home, which makes him an attractive option this week. Green Bay kept the Bears in check last Sunday night, but Matt Barkley is nowhere close to Matt Ryan. This seems like another back and forth battle, similar to what we saw last week between Atlanta and San Diego. Consider Aaron Rodgers ($7,500) as well. Tom Brady has played better than expected so far, but this week's game at Buffalo is not an A-plus matchup. Some people believe this is more of a ground attack game for the Patriots against a tough Bills defense that shut out New England (at Foxborough) earlier this season. Brady's counterpart Tyrod Taylor is a cheap option who could provide a spark this week, but he's more of a stretch for cash game lineups.
Darkhorse: Alex Smith ($5,800) Smith's last outing to Indianapolis in the 2013 playoffs resulted in him reaching 378 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Jameis Winston - There's too much value elsewhere, even at that price point. Personally I can't imagine cashing him when Tyrod is so cheap and Palmer/Luck are both underpriced. And while I generally like Evans' outlook, I don't see the dynamism or efficiency elsewhere to suggest Winston is just destined for a big day. I think there's a good chance Evans racks up 120 and a score, and Winston lands around 240 and 2. That's value, but it's conditional - if Evans is off, Winston is toast - and it kinda blends in with similar options.
Jameis Winston bounced back in a big way last week, which we thought would happen as Tampa’s schedule normalizes. He’s my top pick this week on DK for sure.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: running back
|Spencer Ware||KC||at IND||6800||7||3||2||2||2||4||10||8||3||4||4.5|
|David Johnson||ARI||at CAR||7700||4||8||1||4||6||10||6||1||2||5||4.7|
|Melvin Gordon III||SD||at DEN||5700||8||7||10||7||-||2||2||6||-||3||7.1|
|Matt Forte||NYJ||at CLE||6400||3||5||7||11||10||6||-||-||5||9||8.2|
|Christine Michael||SEA||at NO||7300||10||10||6||10||4||-||-||-||7||7||9.3|
|James White||NE||at BUF||4800||-||4||-||-||-||5||7||12||-||-||10.6|
|Matt Asiata||MIN||at CHI||3500||-||-||-||5||-||-||1||-||-||-||11.0|
|Latavius Murray||OAK||at TB||4500||-||-||8||-||12||7||-||-||-||11||11.6|
|Mark Ingram II||NO||SEA||5000||-||-||-||-||-||-||11||9||12||12||12.2|
|Ryan Mathews||PHI||at DAL||4000||-||-||11||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.8|
The news of C.J. Anderson's injury status came in Wednesday evening and some staffers had already submitted their rankings for this week, otherwise we'd see Devontae Booker much higher on this list. Last week was a very chalk-filled week, where several lower priced players hit paydirt and produced for us. This week's chalk play is Devontae Booker. At $3,700 he is expected to carry the load for the Broncos and has shown the ability to move the ball well. Now that he will be given more touches, it should mean a much higher rate of production. Booker is a virtual must play who could reach 6x value if not higher.
Freeman is expected to be the Falcons primary back this week with Tevin Coleman (hamstring) likely out. The matchup against Green Bay is not a favorable one, but Freeman's volume and Atlanta's offense could allow the Packers to struggle on defense, especially on the road in the noisy Georgia Dome. Spencer Ware has a good matchup at Indianapolis, but the biggest factor when discussing Ware is that he is expected to be the Chiefs lead back while Jamaal Charles recovers from a knee injury that just isn't fully healing. Ware is the Chiefs main back and he's capable of big production not just as a rusher, but also as a receiver. If this game is high scoring, like expected (50 point Vegas O/u), look for Ware to be a big contributor. David Johnson and the entire Cardinals team is coming off a grueling battle against Seattle last Monday night. They have to travel across the country to Carolina, who is coming off their bye and will be much more rested than the Cardinals. Johnson has youth on his side and has shown that he can be relied on as a staple of the offense. It's hard to think he won't have a good game, but there is some degree of doubt. He may not be the best option this week as a result.
Darkhorse: Melvin Gordon III and his double digit touchdowns isn't exactly a darkhorse, but this game at Denver could be a struggle. Having said that, if Denver has a crack in their defense, it's their run stopping. They are 10th worst in DK points allowed to running backs in the last three games. That's not horrible, but it's an area San Diego will be looking to exploit. Look for a heavy attack from Gordon this week.
Devontae Booker is the top running back for me this week after C.J. Anderson is out with an injury. I view Booker and Anderson as largely interchangeable and being able to get a running back who is going to get 15-20 carries for $3,700 is a great value.
With Tevin Coleman expected out, DeVonta Freeman jumps to the top of my RB board this week. If Freeman gets over 20 touches, he will produce in most matchups. Also like David Johnson, Spencer Ware and Ezekiel Elliott in the top tier right behind Freeman.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: Wide receiver
|Ty Montgomery||GB||at ATL||5300||5||-||5||2||2||2||5||9||9||6||5.8|
|Randall Cobb||GB||at ATL||6400||1||10||10||1||-||-||3||4||6||1||6.2|
|Amari Cooper||OAK||at TB||7600||9||8||3||7||3||4||-||6||5||7||6.5|
|Larry Fitzgerald||ARI||at CAR||7500||3||4||-||5||9||7||-||11||-||4||8.2|
|Doug Baldwin||SEA||at NO||6900||10||-||8||9||-||6||-||-||10||8||10.3|
|Michael Crabtree||OAK||at TB||6700||7||7||-||-||10||10||-||-||8||9||10.3|
|Golden Tate||DET||at HOU||5100||-||-||-||-||-||-||9||1||11||10||10.9|
|Brandon Marshall||NYJ||at CLE||7800||8||9||-||8||8||11||-||-||-||-||10.9|
|Marqise Lee||JAC||at TEN||3300||-||-||-||11||-||-||2||-||-||-||11.7|
|J.J. Nelson||ARI||at CAR||3000||-||-||-||-||-||-||1||-||-||-||11.8|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||MIN||at CHI||3300||-||-||-||-||-||-||4||-||-||-||12.1|
|Michael Floyd||ARI||at CAR||4100||-||-||-||-||-||-||6||-||-||-||12.3|
|Marvin Jones Jr||DET||at HOU||6600||-||-||7||-||-||-||-||-||12||-||12.3|
|Jordy Nelson||GB||at ATL||7200||-||-||-||-||6||-||-||-||-||-||12.3|
|Quincy Enunwa||NYJ||at CLE||4800||-||-||-||-||-||-||7||-||-||-||12.4|
|Stefon Diggs||MIN||at CHI||5600||-||-||-||-||-||9||11||-||-||-||12.4|
|Julian Edelman||NE||at BUF||6300||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||10||-||-||12.7|
|Nelson Agholor||PHI||at DAL||3100||-||-||12||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.9|
The first point of note is the hamstring injury to Randall Cobb that has become known this week. He has been very limited in practice and it's not a given that he will play this week. View his place in the rankings knowing that injury news has arisen.
The consensus is high on Mike Evans ($8,100) this week, which coincides with the high ranking for Jameis Winston. Evans has scored in every game but one this year and has topped 89 yards in four of six games. He's a good bet to produce once again and his price is less than that of the elites (Julio Jones and A.J. Green).
Ty Montgomery ($5,300) saw productive reps at running back and wide receiver last week yielding positive results at both positions. It's unclear how many rushes he'll have against Atlanta, but there's a real possibility that he'll be a dual threat once again. The matchup against Atlanta figures to be high in points (52.5 Vegas O/u) and if Randall Cobb is out or limited, Montgomery could see an increase in snaps and targets. He's a bargain at $5,300 especially if he can find the end zone.
Julio Jones ($9,600), A.J. Green ($8,800) and Larry Fitzgerald ($7,500) are three elite wide receivers with a pedigree of consistency. Fitzgerald is the cheapest of the three and faces off against a Panthers secondary that has played poorly this season. They'll get some key names back, but it's still unclear how effective they'll be against the pass. Arizona has struggled to dominate in the passing game this season, but this matchup could be what they need to get back on track. Julio Jones at home is a near lock to produce, but at $9,600 the price limits your spending in other areas.
Darkhorse: DeAndre Hopkins ($7,400) The first quarter of the season featured Hopkins and Will Fuller V in an even race that Fuller may have had a slight edge. The next few games saw Fuller injure his hamstring, making Hopkins the receiver of choice for Brock Osweiler. This week Houston will host Detroit, who has given up 9 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this year. This is a favorable matchup for Hopkins that could pay big dividends.
J.J. Nelson - Nelson was targeted seven times last week, catching three passes for 84 yards in a tough matchup with Seattle’s elite secondary. Even though John Brown should be back this week, Jaron Brown is out, Michael Floyd is banged up and struggling, and Carolina gives up the most yards per pass attempt in the NFL. Nelson should see about 40% of the snaps if both Brown and Floyd play, which is all the time he needs to make a big play and approach 4x his minimum salary.
Cordarrelle Patterson - Patterson has clearly moved ahead of Charles Johnson on the depth chart, and leads the Vikings in targets, receptions, and receiving touchdowns over their last three games. He hasn’t flashed much upside yet, but we know Patterson is dangerous with the ball in his hands and even without a big play, he’s a lock for 3x value against Chicago if his recent usage persists.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: tight end
|Kyle Rudolph||MIN||at CHI||3500||8||1||-||1||4||2||3||2||6||-||4.5|
|Jimmy Graham||SEA||at NO||6100||3||-||3||4||3||4||-||5||2||4||4.6|
|Rob Gronkowski||NE||at BUF||7000||6||6||7||-||6||-||-||3||-||6||7.0|
|Travis Kelce||KC||at IND||4900||7||-||5||-||-||-||-||8||4||-||7.8|
|Vernon Davis||WAS||at CIN||2900||-||-||-||-||-||-||2||-||-||-||8.3|
|Antonio Gates||SD||at DEN||2700||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||7||8.8|
Gary Barnidge ($3,300) is the top play this week at tight end. He has 21 receptions in the last four games to tie Terrelle Pryor for the team lead during that span. Pryor is nursing a hamstring injury and is not expected to be a full 100%, thus making Barnidge more of the team's focal point in the passing game. Josh McCown may be back this week, which only helps Barnidge's chances of a productive day.
Other options: Jack Doyle ($3,500), C.J. Fiedorowicz ($2,800) and Kyle Rudolph ($3,500). Doyle is coming off a big game last week that saw him reach 9-78-1 as a $2,500 bargain. His price has jumped up some, but the results may be similar, especially with Dwayne Allen still out with an ankle injury. Rudolph is another option to consider at the same price, but Minnesota's offense was dreadful last week, arguably the opposite of what you'd get from the Colts offense. Fiedorowicz is someone to consider, especially at his low price of $2,800. His 15 receptions is second on the team over the last three games and this week's matchup against Detroit could result in a high number of points scored by Houston - all favoring Fiedorowicz.
Higher priced options with a higher degree of consistency include Greg Olsen ($6,500), Rob Gronkowski ($7,000), Jimmy Graham ($6,100) and don't forget Jordan Reed $5,900 (not ranked), but he looks to be cleared from his concussion protocol and could play this week at London against Cincinnati. This is a good week to target value tight ends, so you may want to shy away from the big spending at the position.
Gary Barnidge week everybody, when Josh McCown starts at quarterback, you have to consider Barnidge and at his price being as depressed as it is. Barnidge was the #2 overall tight end last season with McCown as the quarterback and should expect a big game from him this week.
C.J. Fiedorowicz - Since Week 4, Fiedorowicz is quietly the cumulative TE5 on DraftKings, yet he remains priced as the TE20 in the grandfather of all positional matchups against the Lions. Only Dennis Pitta and Zach Miller have more targets than Fiedorowicz’s 22 over the last three weeks.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: defense
|NY Jets||NYJ||at CLE||3400||4||-||1||-||2||2||-||-||-||5||4.4|
|New England||NE||at BUF||3300||2||5||-||-||4||-||-||-||-||-||5.3|
|Kansas City||KC||at IND||2800||-||-||-||5||-||-||-||-||-||3||5.6|
There doesn't seem to be a go-to defense to target this week, unlike previous weeks. Minnesota is enticing against Jay Cutler and the Bears, however it's a road game against a divisional opponent. You never know what to expect in those situations. Denver seems like a decent option at home against San Diego, but just two weeks ago Philip Rivers had their number and produced well. Could there be a difference this week, in Denver? Possibly, but it's not a foregone conclusion. Detroit at Houston has some intriguing possibilities especially at $2,500. We've seen Brock Osweiler struggle and this seems like the type of offense that Detroit could have success against. However it's still a road game for a team that hasn't been a true consistently dominant defense - at least not one from a fantasy sense. This week has the feeling of an unknown defense scoring the most points. Perhaps Tennesee, Dallas or Arizona comes away the top defense. Maybe even Carolina at home against Arizona, if they get their act in gear defensively. There's no clear chalk play and the consensus backs that up with 14 different teams ranked in the Top 5 by all ten staffers.
Minnesota and Denver are in my top tier defense this week. Big drop to the next tier.
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