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from the slot

From the Slot: Week 8 NFL DFS Picks Based on Awesemo’s Grades

Geoff Ulrich

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FREE Week 8 NFL DFS picks with grades + values for DraftKings NFL lineups based on | Awesemo expert projections Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt.

Much like last week when plenty of late injury news was out there to watch, Week 8 looks like it will again force us to watch the headlines right up until lock for our NFL DFS picks. Green Bay’s backfield will need sorting out, as it looks like Aaron Jones will again be a game-time decision. As of Wednesday, he’s yet to practice. Michael Thomas is now dealing with a hamstring injury but did finally get some practice in Thursday. With Emmanuel Sanders also out another week (COVID), potential value plays with Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway could open up again if he sits. The Seattle backfield could also be something to watch, as both Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are highly questionable to play. That would leave DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer as the last two men standing there.

From a matchup perspective, we have one of the largest game spreads on this slate in recent history this week, as the Jets will head into Kansas City as 19.5-point underdogs. The Las Vegas Raiders at the Cleveland Browns, the Tennessee Titans at the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers at the Seattle Seahawks all have over/unders of 52.5 points or greater as of writing and should be some of the more popular games to stack on the slate for GPPs this week.


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Week 8 NFL DFS Picks | DraftKings Lineups

QB: Aaron Rodgers ($7,600) Grades: A, Values: A

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers take on a Vikings team here who has allowed 32 points per game so far, the third highest in the league. They recently announced the loss of Danielle Hunter for the season and will also be down Cameron Dantzler in the secondary this week (although this may actually be addition by subtraction). Green Bay has the second-highest implied team total on the slate here at 30.5, and with Minnesota’s lack of pass rush and thin secondary, their defense has been acting like a funnel for opposing pass games. Of the 19 offensive touchdowns the Vikings defense has ceded this year, 14 of them have come through the air.

From a projection standpoint, it looks like Rodgers’ higher DraftKings salary will keep his ownership low (projecting under 5% right now) despite being in such a plus matchup. He has the second-highest points projection for the week at quarterback in the Awesemo model and comes in cheaper in price and with about half the projected ownership of Patrick Mahomes. If you’re paying up for quarterbacks in Week 8, choosing between Rodgers and Russell Wilson will be a tough call, but right now Rodgers is projecting as a slightly better NFL DFS pick and has the more exploitable matchup by far.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 6.1%

RB: Kareem Hunt ($6,900) Grades: B, Values: A

Hunt won’t be sneaky play at all this week. He is projecting to be one of the chalkiest plays on the slate at around 30% ownership. Still, we saw players like Jamaal Williams and Alvin Kamara pay off at this position at higher ownership levels (in great matchups), and the opportunity that exists for Hunt here looks too good to simply ignore. With Nick Chubb out and the rest of the running back hive in Cleveland either hurting or ineffective, Hunt grabbed a 90% share of the offensive snaps last week, his highest mark of the year, and produced over 100-yards and a touchdown on 21 touches.

With the former Chief now locked into a near every-down role, the matchup this week could really propel him into an even better game. The Raiders have allowed 4.6 yards per carry this year and the second-most DraftKings points to the running back position on the year, including nearly seven receptions per game. As you can guess, the Awesemo model loves him too, as he has a better points projection than every back in the $6,000-$7,000 range on DraftKings this week. This Raiders – Browns game is projected to shootout (52.5 over/under), so stacking Hunt with lower-owned players from both sides to make more unique lineups in big GPP fields shouldn’t be an issue. Eating a little chalk here seems fine this week.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 31.5%

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WR: A.J. Green ($4,500) Grades: C, Values: A

For the wide receiver position this week, we have a lot of strong values that are popping up on Awesemo, and Green is high up on that that list. The Bengals receiver has started to look more like his old self of late and comes in with a ridiculous 23 targets over his last two games, 15 of which he’s converted into catches. The going looks great here in Week 8 for some more volume too, as the Bengals will be hosting the Titans who have ceded the fourth most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position and the third-most receptions to wide receivers overall.

While Green isn’t super high up in the model this week, he does have the best projections of any player under $4,800 on DraftKings, and more importantly, he has the best value score of anyone under $6,000 on the main slate. With Tennessee and Cincinnati currently projected for a 53-point over/under and the Bengals coming in as +5.5 underdogs, there’s a great possibility that Green’s value score rings true here and he produces one of the best points-per-dollar returns in DFS for Week 8.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 9.4%

TE: Travis Kelce Grades: A, Values: A

Tight end continues to be a barren wasteland, with many min-priced punt plays leading the charge on DFS leaderboards lately. It does feel like that could change in Week 8, though, as three of the top tight end in the game are all in play on the main slate this week. The Chiefs currently have the highest implied team total on the slate at 34.50, so getting some exposure to their offense seems necessary to say the least. Travis Kelce could easily be in a position here to bounce back from a slow Week 7, as the Jets defense comes into this game having allowed five touchdowns to the position on the season already, and that’s without facing any of the truly elite tight ends thus far.

In fact, the most skilled pass catcher the Jets defense has faced at tight end in 2020 was likely Jordan Reed in Week 7, who put up two touchdowns and seven receptions on them. Kelce could easily carry the load here with a patented multi-touchdown game of his own and comes in with a salary $600 cheaper than George Kittle. Kittle ranks out with a slightly better points projection, but considering the matchup against the Jets, I think it’s fair to lean to the cheaper Kelce here given the insane team total for the Chiefs this week.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 24.3%

Contrarian DFS Stack: 49ers/Seahawks

I mentioned the big game total attached to this San Francisco – Seattle matchup this week above, and it is worth noting that its now carrying a 54-point over/under, which grades it out as the biggest total of the slate. Despite that factoid, many of the players from this game are retaining quite low ownership projections in the Awesemo Data, at least early in the week. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is facing a Seattle defense here who has allowed 368 yards passing per game and against whom opposing quarterbacks have averaged 47 pass attempts. Add in the fact that San Francisco is without its best two early-down options at running back in Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, and you have a recipe for a high-volume day from the 49ers quarterback.

With Deebo Samuel out, Brandon Aiyuk makes for a great stacking target and is projecting at well under 10% ownership as of writing. He’s averaging 14 yards per reception and faces a Seattle secondary who has allowed the most receptions, yards and fantasy points to the wide receiver position in 2020. On the other side of this game, Seattle may be without both Carson and Hyde, which could mean Wilson again pushes for 40-plus passes. D.K. Metcalf has to be considered a bounce-back candidate after Seattle got him just two touches last week. His $7,500 price tag has kept his ownership hovering around 5% so far. Names like Travis Homer, Kendrick Bourne and Jerick McKinnon could also all be considered low-owned NFL DFS picks to anyone looking to build specifically around this game.


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