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Matt Savoca’s Week 8 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown Column




Matt Savoca's game-by-game breakdowns of the Week 8 daily fantasy football slate for NFL DFS lineups on DraftKings + FanDuel + Yahoo.

Matt Savoca’s Daily Fantasy Football Matchups Column returns for Week 8 of the NFL season. In it, he goes through every single game on the main slate on Sundays for your season-long fantasy football lineups on Yahoo, ESPN and CBS and your NFL DFS ones on DraftKings and FanDuel. We have 11 games on tap for Week 8, so let’s dive into the action.

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You can check out Matt Every Thursday on the NFL DFS Strategy Show, going over all the fantasy football matchups with Dave Loughran. And don’t forget about On The Contrary for Week 8 this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. EST!

Table of Contents

Week 8 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown for NFL DFS

Daily Fantasy Football Matchups: Early Games

New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Los Angeles Rams at Miami Dolphins

Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions

Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals

Daily Fantasy Football Matchups: Afternoon Games

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos

Daily Fantasy Football Matchups: New York Jets (14.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (34.5)

New York Jets Passing Game

It was a hellacious return to the field for the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold, who had missed the previous two contests with a shoulder injury. Overcoming an offensive line with a league-worst 78% pass protection rate that allowed six sacks Sunday is hard enough, but Darnold was terrible on the 23 attempts he managed to get away before the pass rush swarmed, throwing for a feeble 5.2 yards per attempt. His expected points added in week 7 ranked fourth worst among starting signal-callers, and his 0.79 passer air conversion ratio ranked dead last. Without adding a single yard as a scrambler, and trapped in the dark cloud that is the Adam Gase regime, Darnold is in the conversation for worst starting quarterback in the NFL right now. At only 23 years old, Darnold still has significant upside as a re-do prospect (similar to former Gase-hostage Ryan Tannehill). A savvy front office needs to rescue Darnold as soon as humanly possible, particularly a team with Super Bowl aspirations who can’t afford to lose their starter. Needless to say, Darnold, in this current iteration carries almost no value as a DFS asset. He can’t be counted on at all this week against a Chiefs defense that eviscerated the Denver offense on the road in week 7, leading all fantasy defenses in fantasy points, they are equally impressive from a statistical perspective. They rank well above average (tougher for offenses) in yards allowed per pass attempt and top-10 in the league in points allowed per play. The defensive line has been more than adequate as well, ranking in line with league average in adjusted sack rate. In short, the Chiefs’ defense is becoming as scary as their offense.

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Darnold’s dilapidated receiver corps wasn’t doing him any favors either last Sunday. With Jamison Crowder sidelined with a groin injury, no other receiver was able to establish themselves as a primary option, as two tied for the team lead with seven targets. In fairness to the Jets’ offense, however, week 7 wasn’t completely devoid of encouraging moments, as the injuries created a massive opportunity for second-round rookie Denzel Mims. Mims saw the first action of his career on Sunday and made the most of it, at least contextualized for his situation, leading the team with 58 air yards and tying for the team lead in targets and receptions. With Crowder’s status for week 8 still iffy as of midweek, and adding in a scary injury to receiver Breshad Perriman in week 7, Mims appears primed for an ascension in usage in the second half of the season. Even with the lack of healthy receivers, Jeff Smith saw his opportunities dwindle once again. After a seven-target game in week 4, he’s seen three, one and zero targets. With Mims in the fold, Smith only played on 21% of the team’s snaps.

The other primary receiver in week 7 was Braxton Berrios, who saw seven targets (along with Mims) and ended up with four catches for 35 yards, just the kind of statline we’d expect from a Jets’ secondary receiver. Without a particularly high depth of target (his ADOT is 12 this year but was just 6.0 in week 7), Berrios, even within this depleted group of wideouts, shouldn’t be on fantasy gamers’ radars for week 8. Even at just $3,500 on DraftKings, you’re best off playing Crowder at his $5,800 salary (assuming he’s back in week 8) or taking the upside shot on Mims, whose salary is even less this week. At $3,200, Mims is the bargain receiver option for fantasy nihilists who are ready to get hurt by Jets receivers in a terrible overall matchup.

New York Jets Rushing Game

Operating in a primary bell cow role for the first time this season, rookie La’Mical Perine was relatively impressive while playing on 70% of the Jets’ snaps. Perine saw 14 opportunities (compared to Frank Gore’s 11) and out targeted Gore three to nothing. Though they’re bound to be of the low value variety, Perine’s reasonably salary of $4,300 makes him an intriguing option, as most at that salary-point don’t have anywhere near the expected volume of Perine, who appears to be overtaking the 37 year-old Gore for the lead role in the Jets’ backfield. The Kansas City defense has been more attackable on the ground than through the air, allowing about 10% more yards per attempt than league average. The concern here, of course, is that the Jets will be forced to abandon the run entirely, likely operating in comeback mode for a majority of the game this weekend. If that’s the case, it might be, as usual, a complete stay-away situation for the backfield as a whole. Gore is technically less salary at $4,000 this weekend on DraftKings, but with absolutely no rushing upside and no receiving work to speak of, no one should be considering Gore in any format whatsoever.

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Kansas City Passing Game

For the second week in a row, Patrick Mahomes wasn’t called upon to throw more than 27 times, and (also for the second week in a row) finished with exactly 8.7 yards per attempt, maintaining the elite efficiency he’s been known for since he became a starter in 2018. Without the requisite volume, the fantasy football production was lacking, however, as the Chiefs were cruising and didn’t need the offense to make splash plays as they’re normally wont to do. Mahomes finished with just 200 yard passing, his fourth game in seven weeks where he’s passed for under 250 yards. In fact, the Chiefs now rank below-average in team pass plays per game at just 36.4 per game. The fact that Mahomes ranks fourth in touchdown passes, third in fantasy points per dropback and sixth in fantasy points per game is a testament to his elite ability. He continues to operate at a generational level, regardless of how much (or how little) is needed of him on a weekly basis due to game environment.

Speaking of game environment, that’s exactly the phrase fantasy gamers should be thinking about when considering Mahomes for daily fantasy football lineups this weekend. While the “Any Given Sunday” axiom always applies, Awesemo’s OddsShopper tool estimates the Jets to have a 6.3% chance of winning, the lowest pregame win probability for the Jets this season, and it’s easy to understand why — they’re completely outmatched in this situation. That makes the game’s most likely scenario fairly straightforward: The Chiefs get up by a few scores early and spend the rest of the game running out the clock. That’s not a scenario one typically wants to target the quarterback of the winning team, but to be fair, this is Mahomes we’re talking about. He could easily put the game out of reach with three or more pinpoint-accuracy deep shots, which would make him more than fantasy-viable, but the downside here is immense. As the highest-salary quarterback on the main slate by a wide margin, Mahomes will need to have a slate-breaking score to be a worthwhile pick at that price. On paper, there appears to be very little chance he’ll be needed for even 30 passes, which means he’ll need a fantastic touchdown rate and/or rushing production to be valuable at his salary. That’s always a possibility, but it seems like a very good week to look further down the list of quarterbacks.

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When Mahomes is passing, the opportunity hierarchy is quite stable. Tight end Travis Kelce remains Mahomes’ trusted safety valve and bailout option when Mahomes begins operating off script. Week 7, however, was his lowest target total of the season for and his second game without a touchdown, leading to quite a disappointing day for fantasy gamers who started him. Nonetheless, there’s little concern about usage going forward (the Broncos prioritized shutting Kelce down) or matchup here, as the Jets rank well below average in yards allowed per pass attempt and points allowed per play, which means one only needs to be concerned with his salary of $6,600, which is second highest among all tight ends. At an intriguing 6% discount from George Kittle, Kelce is an interesting game-theory play. That said, he runs into the same trouble as Mahomes — it’s hard to see many scenarios against the Jets where he’s needed to catch upwards of 10 passes, which means he’ll need elite efficiency or multiple touchdowns. While Kelce’s more than capable of both, it’s far from guaranteed in week 8.

Tyreek Hill saw the most targets on the Chiefs in week 7, commanding 10 looks for the first time since week 2. In that context, his 55 yards receiving were fairly mediocre, especially compared to some of the fantasy outputs Hill has posted with similar usage. His week 7 fantasy scoring was saved by a touchdown reception, but a monster game from Hill seems imminent. With the Jets ranking bottom 10 in team coverage grade via PFF, week 8 seems like as good as any for Hill to go-off. As the ninth-highest-salary wide receiver on the slate, acquiring his services won’t come cheap, but Hill presents plenty of upside in this matchup because he doesn’t necessarily need a huge amount of volume to have a great game. His true air yards share ranks 15th among all players. Mahomes’ auxiliary options are never the worst bets, but none of them saw more than two looks in week 7, and besides the big two and the running backs, only Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins have games of six or more targets this season. Robinson then, with a salary that’s $1,700 less than Watkins on the main slate (and who’s only two weeks removed from a six-target game of his own), makes for an intriguing dart-throw play in large-field tournaments. Robinson’s the best low-salary access to this matchup by a wide margin.


Kansas City Rushing Game

As expected, the signing of Le’Veon Bell immediately cut into the workload of first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who had his lowest snap count of the season on Sunday, seeing the field of just 53% of the Chiefs’ plays. His previous season low had been 62%. Bell saw a 33% snap share and immediately pulled off his longest run from scrimmage since 2017, leaving little doubt about his viability in the high-powered Chiefs offense. With the game out of reach, 20% of snaps went to DeAndre Washington, who also made his Chiefs debut Sunday, but that likely changes during closer matchups down the stretch. Washington makes for an interesting Chiefs blowout bet, as he could get garbage time usage once again if the game gets out of hand quickly. Among the top two backs, from an opportunity standpoint, Edward-Helaire saw 26% of the team’s opportunities, and Bell was nipping at his heels by commanding 22% of opportunities. Edwards-Helaire still saw four targets compared to Bell’s 0, but, as fantasy gamers know from Bell’s time in Pittsburgh, there’s little doubt the Chiefs will eventually begin using him in the receiving game as well. With a significant salary difference between the two, Bell seems like a much more interesting option than Edwards-Helaire, who’s still among the top seven running backs in salary on the main slate, priced as if the backfield still belongs entirely to him. That’s simply no longer the case. At $4,600, Bell has a chance to be one of the best value running backs on the slate this weekend.

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Jets 10.

Looking for more NFL DFS picks and daily fantasy football matchups content? We have loads of articles, data, and more on the Awesemo NFL home page. Just click HERE.

Return to the main Week 8 Matchups Breakdown page.

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A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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