Welcome to Week 8 in the NFL, where we’re in store for a wide variety of matchup narratives come Sunday. From some highly anticipated divisional dogfights such as that between the one-loss Baltimore Ravens welcoming the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers to their home field, all the way to the potentially tragic beatdown-to-be assumed to the New York Jets a la Chiefs Kingdom, the fantasy potential is looming far and wide. Let’s breakdown some of the best NFL DFS picks for FanDuel given potential weaknesses to exploit with what we’ve seen thus far all season (and prior of course).
Week 8 FanDuel NFL DFS Picks Based On Awesemo’s Grades
FanDuel NFL Pick: QB Patrick Mahomes ($9,200): Points A, Value A
I hate to be the advocate of top chalk, but the fact of the matter is Patrick Mahomes is coming off a solo-touchdown performance in Week 7 and draws a beyond-distraught New York Jets defense at home in the mighty Chiefs Kingdom. The added motivation of “fear of missing out” (also known as FOMO) is very much incentivized by the once-in-a-season opportunity to take on a defense this porous (twice if you’re a member of the AFC East), which to their credit played a decent first half against the problematic Buffalo Bills last week. But Mahomes could put up serious numbers here, (and believe that goes without saying but I’ll indulge) and especially in front of their live crowd at home.
Mahomes is having a modest 1,899-yard, 16-touchdown season and has a vast advantage over the Jets secondary with consideration paid to the arsenal set before his fingertips (Mahomes’ individual talents aside). Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and pass-catching backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell can hardly ever be overstated as advantageous in most scenarios of opposition, with a mismatch at nearly every Kansas City offensive outlet. This would include the Chiefs offensive line as well, where Mahomes has been sacked just ten times (less than 1.42 sacks per game) and thrown just one interception. And then there’s the Jets.
New York has allowed 1,877 passing yards (25th in NFL) and 11 passing touchdowns, while registering just 11 sacks (1.57 sacks per game) all season. The Jets defense is not just deflated but riddled with injury nonetheless, including a decimation of their linebacking corps along with injury to safety Bradley McDougald.
As added testimony to the sake of the spend-up option in Mahomes, Awesemo’s Top Stack Tool seems to concur with the selection as well. With not only the highest probability of Kansas City being the top stack at a whopping 17.8% but the second-largest differential between quarterback ownership and Top Stack % at 4.6% in favor of Mahomes. Kansas City also retains the highest team total of the slate at 34.50 points.
Despite being the second-highest projected ownership among quarterbacks on FanDuel, Pat Mahomes is an excellent play in both Cash Games and tournaments, possessing both a high floor as well as high ceiling for fantasy point projection, warranting the included price premium.
Awesemo’s Projected FanDuel Ownership: 13.1%
FanDuel NFL DFS Pick: RB Kareem Hunt ($8,200): Points B, Value A
While the chalk celebration continues, the matchup is too good to ignore as Kareem Hunt is a FanDuel running back very much inclusive of FOMO consideration (seemingly the theme this week). Hunt has shined in Nick Chubb‘s absence since Week 5, proving his athletic multi-talent is every bit as much intact to his heyday in Kansas City with 463 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 105 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns. Provided a Las Vegas rush defense that’s surrendered the second-most receiving yards to running backs further paves the road of possibility on a promising spend-up investment in Hunt.
The Las Vegas Raiders have been thrashed by opposing running backs in 2020, allowing the third-most FanDuel Fantasy Points to running backs (28.6 FDFP/G) with 380 receiving yards included to that fantasy total (tied-30th in NFL). In tandem with 4.87 yards-per-rush conceded (28th NFL), bonused by 6.23 yards-per-target to running backs, a big day for Hunt may be made all the more possible with the Browns losing star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the season with a torn ACL. As it already was, Hunt has been involved in 71% of Cleveland’s offensive snaps since Chubb went down in prior to Week 5, burdening 67.2% of the Cleveland rushing attack coupled with 12.3% of targets among Browns potential receivers (no less than 10.5% of targets in Chubb’s absence).
As further benefit to our cause in rostering Hunt, the Cleveland offensive line bears a considerable advantage in both the run-blocking and pass-protection departments over the Raiders front seven. Eating the chalk can be a difficult pill to swallow, but Hunt contributes too much to this Browns offense to ignore as it is when Beckham is present. In a matchup that favors him in several facets, the ceiling is that much higher without his fellow talented Browns teammate to consume from his workload.
Awesemo’s Projected FanDuel Ownership: 32.3%
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FanDuel NFL DFS Pick: WR Tyler Boyd ($6,400): Points B, Value C
Wins have been extremely hard to come by for the Bengals, with rookie star quarterback Joe Burrow notching his first career tie before even getting his first win. However, much of that blame lies with the Cincinnati defense as the offense has been quite explosive all season under Burrow’s quarterbacking, and wide receiver Tyler Boyd being a major part of that equation.
Boyd has accomplished the most receptions among Bengals offensive members (48 REC), alongside 517 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Outside of Burrow, Boyd accounts for the highest involvement on the Bengals offense with 77.8% of the Cincinnati snap count alongside a team-leading target-share of 21.5%. His inclusion on offense has only been further set in stone as the season has progressed, with no less than 20.5% of the Bengals target share in their past five games. With sizeable potential for the Bengals to be playing from behind against this one-loss Tennessee Titans team, we can expect to see a lot of Burrow slinging the rock once again and the writing on the wall emblazoned for Boyd’s success.
Tennessee has allowed 1,169 receiving yards and nine touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, married with 7.74 yards-per-target surrendered all season. The 37.4 FanDuel Fantasy Points per game punched by opposing wide receivers to the Titans makes them that much more of an enticing team to target against with regards to fantasy, and especially considering Boyd’s matchup with rookie safety Chris Jackson covering the slot.
Cincinnati’s offensive line isn’t the greatest but should allow Burrow the time to operate long enough to give Boyd his initial attention as he’s garnered most of the season. He’s not the chalkiest receiver on FanDuel this week (although not under-the-radar by any means), while Boyd’s talent compounded with running back Joe Mixon‘s absence make his potential that much greater in Week 8.
Awesemo’s Projected FanDuel Ownership: 14.7%
FanDuel NFL DFS Pick: TE Jonnu Smith ($6,100): Points C, Value E
Most certainly not trying to be contrary to the Awesemo ranking system, but there’s a lot to like in the matchup against the Bengals pass defense, especially as an opposing tight end, making Jonnu Smith (and even touchdown-dependent Anthony Firkser) an intriguing play for Week 8.
Posting 20 receptions for 243 receiving yards and five touchdowns, Smith is averaging 12.2 yards-per-catch and looks to bounce back from the past two dud weeks following an 18-FDFP performance against Buffalo in Week 5. The Cincinnati defense is coughing up a considerable margin of fantasy points to tight ends, with the worst average in the league per game at 15.6 FDFP on average to the position. The points don’t fall from the sky, yet coming by means of a 7.5 yard-per-target average in 2020 inclusive of 480 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns by tight ends against the Bengals.
Smith’s workload hasn’t been the tops of the Titans yet has remained at a consistent 3A/B (whichever you favor in splitting hairs between he and receiver Adam Humphries), generating 17.6% of the Titans target share and actually a higher inclusion of snaps on offense (73.9%) than otherworldly running back Derrick Henry (67.7%). In one of the best matchups for tight ends on the slate as Smith should see a fair share of safety Vonn Bell, Jonnu remains a tight end worthy of roster consideration this Sunday.
Awesemo’s Projected FanDuel Ownership: 5%
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FanDuel Contrarian Stack: Los Angeles Rams
One of the fun surprises of the 2020 COVID-laden season has been the consistency of the Los Angeles Rams as they’ve provided solid proof to rediscovering their identity in life after Todd Gurley. Drawing a matchup with the mediocre Miami Dolphins defense makes for one worthy of attention that seems to be lacking in the public eye based on Awesemo’s Ownership Projections.
In the premiere of rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as starting quarterback for the Dolphins, Jared Goff may be riding added inspiration to best the heralded 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, and with a versatile offense to do just that. Although the Dolphins defense has proven stout in defending against the pass, the Rams remain in a favorable contrarian position based on Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool, with just a 2.1% projected quarterback ownership in contrast to a 3.4% Top Stack probability.
Cooper Kupp remains matchup proof in 95% of case scenarios while drawing Nik Needham in the slot, as Robert Woods and an opportunistic Josh Reynolds make for sound reasoning in rosterability given their matchup on the right side of the field with cornerback Byron Jones. With the public seeming to be favoring the Dolphins coming off a bye and giddy about the first career start for the Alabama poster child of yesteryear, the Rams are getting little respect here after several noteworthy victories this season. Coach Sean McVay should bring plenty of pressure to Tagovailoa with Aaron Donald making the case for the best defensive end of all time, in turn providing the breathing room for Goff to operate the play action convincingly.
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