Week 8 was a crazy set of games in the NFL, complete with a record
setting shootout in the bayou, season-ending injuries to stars like
Bell and Steve
Smith, and lopsided games in which bonafide fantasy stars failed
We watched Alex Smith run for more yards on the ground (78) than
Aaron Rodgers threw in the air (77). Drew Brees tied an NFL record
with seven passing touchdowns in a 52-49 win over the Giants to
keep the Saintsí playoff hopes alive, while the G-men became
the first team in NFL history to score 49 points and lose.
It was a crazy week to say the least, and an excellent time to
look back at one of my DFS contests to see what worked, and what
didnít, in hopes of gaining some intelligence that I can
use for future weeks.
The following lineup placed 9,395 out of 479,166 entries in a
$1.25 million DraftKings GPP contest, with the top prize earning
$100,000. I won $10 on a $3 buy in.
Rivers entered the week on the heels of five straight 300-yard
plus games, including a 500-yard behemoth on the road against
the Packers Week 6. With a proven track record of playing well
on the road against tough teams, Rivers seemed like a lock for
top production against a Ravens team that had struggled mightily
against the pass.
Although Rivers did manage 301 yards and three passing TDís,
either QB in the bayou bonanza between the Giants and Saints would
have been a much better play. In hindsight, I should have paid
closer attention to the 51.5 over/under Vegas had on the game
when looking for value at the quarterback position. Check out
my article on Vegas betting
lines for more info on how to use Vegas lines to your advantage
I decided to use a large portion of my budget on Freeman and
Gurley based on the advantageous match ups each player had at
home against suspect defenses. Freeman against the Bucs and Gurley
against the Niners seemed worthy of the cost, however, only the
latter proved to be the right play.
Gurley rushed for 133 yards on 20 carries, including a 71-yard
scamper to the house against a hapless San Francisco squad. It
was his fourth straight 100-yard game, making him an excellent
foundation play for me this week. The risk of starting him seemed
low and the reward of a great game was not out of the question.
Gurley finished in first place for running backs with 26.6 points
for the week.
Freeman, on the other hand was a disappointment. After finding
the end zone in five of his six previous games, my hunch was that
this would be a bounce back game for Freeman after failing to
score Week 7 against the Titans. The Bucs entered the game giving
up the 18th most points to opposing running backs, leading me
to believe that the top rusher in the NFL would do well and be
worth the $8000 price tag.
With hindsight being 20/20, I should have taken a closer look
at the game log of points
allowed on the FFToday site. Although the Bucs started off
slowly defensively against the run, they have been stout as of
late and have not given up a rushing TD since Week 3. Freeman
did manage to score 19.1 fantasy points, but he did not deliver
the game-changing points you expect from an expensive RB in DFS.
Odell Beckham Jr. led all fantasy receivers
in Week 8 with 130 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Beckham seemed like a no-brainer play due to the fact that New
Orleansí defense is terrible, and a return home to Louisiana
would be added motivation for the former LSU star. Both factors
turned out to be true as OBJ torched the Saints for three touchdowns
in route to 42 points and the number one play on DraftKings.
With John Brown active I was a little hesitant to use Floyd on
the road against the Browns, despite the fact that Joe Haden and
the Cleveland secondary has been terrible this year. I rolled
the dice in hope that my cheap play of the week would pay off
for only $3,500. This gamble worked out well, as Floyd posted
23.6 fantasy points with 106 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately, my against-the-grain choice of Randall Cobb in
primetime did not pan out, costing me a chance at a decent payday.
My logic was that Cobb would work in the slot while Harris and
Talib shut down Jones and Adams on the outside. In a classic case
of overthinking things and a career worst game from Aaron Rodgers,
my hope of fantasy glory went up in flames in Denver.
After spending 95% of my budget on other skill position players,
tight end was the last position to fill and only $2900 to spend.
My lack of funds did not allow me to choose my favorite of the
week - Travis Kelce against the Lions. But Miller proved to be
a strong play with 10 catches and 100 yards in Big Benís
return to action. Of the low cost tight ends, Miller seemed like
the safest play, as Roethlisberger leans on him against tough
defenses like the Bengals. My hope was 10 points, and I was pleasantly
surprised to get the 4th best tight end of the week at only $2700.
$4,100 seemed like a value for a starting running back playing
against the Colts on Monday Night, especially considering the
fact that the weather report of rain led me to predict a running
game plan by OC Mike Shula.
Stewart delivered a decent game of 84 yards and a touchdown,
but fumbled the ball on a snap due to the wet conditions. Using
adverse weather conditions to find advantageous fantasy match
ups in DFS is a nice tool, especially when you are looking for
players to fade. This was a case in which a play based on weather
In large guaranteed prize pool games with nearly a half-million
people playing, you need to hit on the top player at nearly every
position to cash. I managed to pick the correct play with Gurley
and Beckham Jr, but my failure to choose either Eli
Manning or Drew
Brees proved to be my downfall.
Rivers gave me solid production with 300 yards and three TDs,
but he paled in comparison to the top performers of the week,
leaving me with a small consolation of doubling my money. In hindsight,
this would have been an excellent lineup for a head-to-head match